I'm about to be ordained presbyter in the Anglican Church (in about 90 minutes!) It's heartening to know I'm joining guys like these!
Here's the final statement of the GAFCON conference.
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, are a fellowship of confessing Anglicans for the benefit of the Church and the furtherance of its mission. We are a fellowship of people united in the communion (koinonia) of the one Spirit and committed to work and pray together in the common mission of Christ. It is a confessing fellowship in that its members confess the faith of Christ crucified, stand firm for the gospel in the global and Anglican context, and affirm a contemporary rule, the Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the movement for the future. We are a fellowship of Anglicans, including provinces, dioceses, churches, missionary jurisdictions, para-church organisations and individual Anglican Christians whose goal is to reform, heal and revitalise the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world.
Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Building on the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship.
I like this conclusion too:
The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency that a false gospel has so paralysed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.
If there's a bee in our bonnet - it's that Christ is not being proclaimed clearly and distinctly enough. Everything else that's objectionable in these controversies flows from this crucial point.
0 thoughts on “GAFCON's Final Statement”
I find this all a bit upsetting though...
btw appreciated your last post:
ultimately with any division of the 'visible church' it's still always that the image of Christ will suffer and more people will be disillusioned with the whole thing
not that I don't sympathise with the evangelicals, but isn't it in Scripture the way things work is more like:
1 John 2:19 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Jude 1:20-23 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Thus what we do is not separate out from the church or huddle together, but rather gird ourselves up in and holiness, have more zeal for Godliness and persevere in loving our enemies? Then we can proclaim a true gospel and they will go out from us, or persecute us, either way is glory...
No division being spoken of here. Wallace Benn was very keen to stress to me that we're staying in and fighting for it because it is ours. Notice the wording of the paras above.
I was powerfully struck over this last week, reading over much of the BCP, the 39 articles and the ordinal at how evangelical the Anglican church is. It's ours. You're absolutely right - its the heterodox who should leave. And this is what GAFCON's saying too.
It's important not to confuse A) GAFCON with B) abstaining from Lambeth (many will go to both). Note here, Wallace Benn's reasons for not going to Lambeth:
But it's also important not to confuse A) or B) with C) - breaking off from the Anglican Church. This is not something that we should (nor is it something that GAFCON does) desire. Read again the statement - this is not a break away this is a movement for the furtherance of the mission of the church.
'In it to win it' is a great mantra. As is Brad Pitt's line from Troy - 'It's yours, take it!'
As part of this, isn't it appropriate to express a movement for orthodox Anglicanism within the church?
This alone would justify a movement such as GAFCON.
The more tricky issue is what to do when many in the church are under the authority of false teachers. What do you do with a bishop who's a wolf? Do you take communion with a false teacher? Now thankfully my area bishop is one of the greats and my diocesan bishop is thoroughly orthodox. But what if I was in the diocese of New Hampshire?
It's all very well having them leave when you have the position of authority. Paul could hand over Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme (1 Tim 1:20) but what if Hymenaeus and Alexander are the ones who are in the position to ex-communicate? Paul clearly came to the point of not being able to share a table with these people - the diff being he was in the position to have them 'go out'. What do you do when the shoe's on the other foot?
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. (2 John 1:10-11)
If it did get to the point of the orthodox coming to the point of not sharing a table with false teachers by breaking away I think it would be important that we never identified *them* as the schismatics. The ones causing schism would be the ones who stayed.
But we're not at that stage yet. Not at all. And GAFCON, to my mnd is not about that. It's a fellowship of confessing Anglicans existing for the unity and mission of the church. That's how I see it at the moment. Perhaps I'm naive.
yea... as I said I sympathise
but the issue I really have is are our churches really godly?
are we living such godly lives or just proclaiming godly words?
is there such a discernable difference between the ortho & heterodox church members' lifestyles that warrants such a movement?
i too find it upsetting, dev.
as it turns out i have now found myself to be in what is, by all accounts, the most evangelical diocese in the world (armidale, nsw). our bishop peter brain is going to both gafcon and lambeth - i'm encouraged by that.
dev i hope you got my postcard. glen what's your new address?
yea was great to hear from you!
Given all that just went for the post-Gafcon thing today
great to see Packer & the archbishops of the southern cone & uganda
was very informative i guess
sensed a bit of loving rebuke against the English anglican church in general in quite a few areas...
but that's just me
this also is pause for thought - Tom Wright's response:
I'll link to it in my next post...