GAFCON UK statement in response to the Primates' Communique
[See here for the Primates' Communique, released on 30th April 2017].
GAFCON UK would like to thank the GAFCON Primates for their courageous spiritual leadership, consisting of clear re-statement of the essentials of the faith, and practical action to take forward the mission of global Anglicanism in the 21st century.
We appreciate the way in which the Communique both looks back – to the witness of those who brought about the Reformation of the Church in the 16th century; and looks forward – to the exciting vision of multicultural and united Anglicanism which will be celebrated at the third GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, 2018.
The statement also reminds us of the serious suffering experienced in many parts of the world, where Anglicans minister sacrificially with only a fraction of the necessary resources, yet they remain faithful, trusting in God to provide. As affluent Westerners we repent of our complacency and lack of compassion, and commit ourselves to partnering more intentionally to support the church where it serves in contexts of desperate need.
The Primates go on to talk about the challenges in the Global North, “the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations” which are “spiritually dangerous”. We recognize the need to repent of our participation in a weak version of the Christian faith which has too often failed to point out these dangers or even made accommodation with them.
This accommodation and ‘cultural captivity’ is seen in the failure by many Anglican leaders in the UK to hold to the key principles of Holy Scripture as speaking clearly to God’s will for human flourishing, and of requiring unequivocal obedience whatever the cost. It is shown, for example, in unwillingness to be clear about the uniqueness of Jesus and the authority of the Bible, and rejection of clear biblical teaching God’s gift of sex and marriage, and of celibate singleness.
This has contributed to the increasing concern that many faithful clergy and lay people in the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales feel about the revisionist trajectory of these churches. As the Communique points out clearly, some Anglicans are already outside of these structures and need Episcopal oversight; others may do so soon.
So we warmly welcome the decision of the Primates to consecrate a missionary Bishop who will fulfil this function. We appreciate the way GAFCON has recognized that this intervention is giving global support to one of a number of initiatives being taken by biblically orthodox Anglicans in Britain; others include the work being done to strengthen the Free Church of England. Meanwhile the Primates have generously expressed respect for and continued warm fellowship with those who for the moment are choosing to remain within the official structures and contend for orthodox biblical faith there, while warning that inaction in the face of revisionist pressure is not a faithful option.
We understand that more will be revealed about the plans for the consecration in due course. We commit ourselves to prayer about this and invite all who hold to the historic and trustworthy teaching of our faith to join us.