An ex-Anglican Schismatic Pronounces on Lambeth

In an unprecedented situation in the complex world of Anglican Churches, we have here an ex-Anglican minister, once a member of the U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC) – now elevated to the status of ‘Archbishop of ACNA’ – a ‘Confessional Anglican‘ church planted by the separatist GAFCON conglomerate – pontificating on the outcome from the recent 650 bishop-strong Lambeth Conference in the U.K.

Not only is ‘Archbishop Foley Beach, the Head of a schismatic Anglican off-shoot in North America; GAFCON now rejoices in claiming him as its chief spokesman (Chairperson) throughout the world – even though provinces of the GAFCON still claim to represent the only ‘truly orthodox’ Anglicans in their membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion, whose bishops were gathered at the recent Lambeth Conference – but with many of the Gafcon bishops choosing not to attend. (Archbishop Beach was not invited to the Lambeth Conference!)

The non-attendance of some GAFCON Bishops, however, did not deter other like-minded conservative evangelical Bishops from the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSAF), who were obviously intent on trying to persuade the rest of the Communion’s Bishops (the vast majority present at Lambeth) to sign a declaration of support for an outdated and homophobic resolution: Lambeth 1:10 (dating from the contentious 1988 Lambeth Conference) – in order to dis-enfranchise the actions of Anglican Churches around the world that have – in response to the relaxation of criminal laws against homosexuality – allowed Same-Sex people to legally marry.

With the obvious failure of this ploy of the part of the G.S. Bishops to enforce their view of same-sex relationship on the rest of the gathered Bishops (some 125 of the 650 bishops were actually persuaded to sign their unofficial document of implicit agreement with Lambeth 1:10); it seems that the Chair of GAFCON, Archbishop Beach, is now declaring the Anglican Communion (of which he is not a part) to be what he is pleased to call – in the weblog ‘Virtue Online‘, GAFCON’s accredited ‘Orthodox Anglican‘ mouthpiece in North America – ‘Broken’.

Well, if Foley, and the GAFCON Primates, consider the Anglican Communion to be ‘Broken’ – they have only themselves to blame. Each has been a party to the culture of Intentional Schism, which, egged on by former Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen (one of the Founders of the Global South and Gafcon movements), has already set up schismatic ‘Confessional Anglican‘ Churches in the U.S.A and Canada (ACNA of which Foley is Archbishop), in England, in New Zealand, and in process, shortly in Australia (Sydney Diocese is already a member of GAFCON).

To my mind – and perhaps the minds of many Anglicans outside of the Global South (where homosexuality is still a crime) who have helped to rid our churches of institutional homophobia, misogyny and blatant sexism – the exercise has been worth the trouble, bringing our Churches into the modern world, where young people are wondering what the fuss is all about, and choosing for themselves to live their lives under the law, and at peace with those whose gender or sexual identity may be different from their own – without prejudice and discrimination.

If our beloved Anglican Communion Churches that remain – after the dissidents have departed on their own initiative (not by any excommunication from the Lambeth/Canterbury hub, but because of their disdain for our Inclusive Church ethos) – can agree to work together in the Ministry of Christ to ALL people – without prejudice – then we might be a stronger and more cohesive witness to the world of the fact that Christ died for ALL – not just the ‘pure and holy’ among us.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

_________________________________________

GAFCON CHAIRMAN’S AUGUST LETTER

  • Aug 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

CHAIRMAN’S LETTER

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Gafcon Family,

Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus our Savior and only Lord!  “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16a).

I am writing to you regarding last week’s Lambeth Conference as this is on the minds of many Anglicans around the world.  Over the last couple of decades, Lambeth Conference organizers and events like these have routinely mixed heresy and orthodoxy; treating both positions as equally valid. The clear teaching of Scripture is treated as one of many valid options with no accountability for those Provinces who depart from the Bible.  I wish I could be writing to you and sharing that the recent Lambeth Conference was different, but it was not. Before the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba (Nigeria), Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba (Uganda) and Archbishop Laurent Mbanda (Rwanda) wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury that they were not attending the Conference “because the Anglican Communion has failed to address with remorse and repentance the issues that necessitated their absence at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.”  Retired Archbishop Mouneer Anis eloquently named the problem, “The Anglican Communion cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken.”

Sadly, rather than being a source of healing and unity, the Lambeth Conference compounded the problems. The Lambeth Conference was filled with confusion, and what that means for global Anglicanism has just begun to be felt.  The Canterbury Communion is broken, not just metaphorically, but literally, as those in attendance could not in good conscience all share Holy Communion.  The Primates of Brazil, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North America, Rwanda, and Uganda, and many bishops from all over the Anglican Communion in the Gafcon movement did not attend the Lambeth Conference because to do so would violate their consciences. However, we respected the decision of our brother Primates whose consciences led them to go to Lambeth and contend for the Gospel and the Holy Scriptures.  The power of their presence magnified the power of our absence.

Archbishop Justin Badi (South Sudan) and Archbishop James Wong (Indian Ocean) of Gafcon and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans admirably led the orthodox cause for biblical theology and morality in the midst of a situation in which the balance of institutional power was stacked heavily against them.  I commend them for differentiating themselves from the false teaching of the Canterbury Communion and for not partaking of Holy Communion with unrepentant bishops living in immorality. It was also helpful that they reminded the Conference that we have not agreed to walk together no matter how many times the Archbishop of Canterbury says otherwise.  At the end of the conference, these orthodox leaders in attendance provided a communique of their experience at the meeting, and for all those who care about the future of global Anglicanism, I commend it for your reading. The Canterbury Communion has ceased to be a place where communion can be shared and has devolved into something more akin to a federation or association of Provinces with a common history and incompatible theologies and moral ethics.

While their colonial structures are imploding, the Anglican Establishment in England continues to ignore the valid concerns of those who hold to the teaching of the Bible and the historical teaching of the Church. Through the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, led by the power of the Holy Spirit, new courageous leaders are filling this gap with authentic community and communion, seeking to make up for the Gospel deficit and the Ecclesial deficit (Windsor Report). We are living in a unique moment in which, by the grace of God, global Anglicanism can be genuinely reformed by Biblical repentance and renewal.  This will be the focus of the Gafcon IV Conference next April when we gather in Kigali, Rwanda. The world needs the transformation that comes from hearing and responding to an unambiguous, saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Let us not hesitate in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around us, teaching them what he has taught so clearly in the Bible: that they are loved by God and how to be his disciples.  Please join me in praying and working for a faithful global Anglican future. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21)

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach

Chair, Gafcon Primates Council

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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2 Responses to An ex-Anglican Schismatic Pronounces on Lambeth

  1. Kieran Crichton says:

    Two matters of record that may be helpful for readers to note:

    1. Foley Beach was invited to attend the 2022 Lambeth Conference as an ecumenical observer. This accords with a number of other times Justin Welby has invited Beach to bishops meetings over the past 9 years. Welby doubtless has good enough reasons for this, others might see it as muddying the waters.

    2. There are other more influential parties to GAFCON in Australia. The president of the local sodality is the Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie. Whatever Sydney’s role in the organisation, and this is a reality, the movement is more disparate and widespread. It is presently a real danger to historically broad dioceses, particularly Melbourne. This is where the real challenge lies.

  2. kiwianglo says:

    Yes, Kieran. Regarding your first Point, I think the ABC, in inviting ACNA as an Observer at ACC meetings, was careful to demonstrate that – for ACNA – there is still some hope of reconciling.

    And yes. living on the spot, you are in a better position to judge whether or not, Sydney is numerically strong enough on your Provincial Synod to sway arguments for ‘sola Scriptura to prevail – over the traditional Anglican 3-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition & Reason. Good Luck!

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