FIFNA Response to GAFCON [7 Jan 2019]
“Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you, to contend for the Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Beloved in Christ,
As Forward in Faith North America we represent several jurisdictions in Anglicanism, and as such are blessed to have clergy and laity who are united in one purpose “contending for the Faith which was once delivered to the saints.” We continue to pray for our members in the Episcopal Church as they witness ongoing issues that have caused many to leave most especially over the last five decades. Likewise, we pray for our members who are participating in ways that will reunite brothers and sisters in concordats, both specifically with Anglican jurisdictions and also with those who broadly come under the category of “non-papal Catholics.”
In particular we wish to commend the recent GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem for their boldness in proclaiming the Gospel and for standing in the face of non-Biblical revisions of the “Faith once delivered.” We commit ourselves to praying for the Most Rev. Foley Beach, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and for the Most Rev. Ben Kwashi of Jos in Nigeria as they soon will assume the critical leadership of the GAFCON Movement. Most particularly we pledge ourselves to pray for Archbishop and Mrs. Kwashi as they continue to be attacked by Islamic forces. The unity of Anglicans specifically and of Christians globally is critical at this time in history as we see a divided Christianity being attacked by an ever-growing number of people united to destroy the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – the Bride of Christ – the Body of Christ. The outside attacks on the Faith are regularly in the news, requiring Christians more and more to address the problems within the Body of Christ which prevent us from a unified response.
Forward in Faith, and our predecessors the Episcopal Synod of America, the Evangelical and Catholic Mission, the Committee on Apostolic Ministry, and the American Church Union have spoken clearly for decades about aberrations and innovations that have caused division in Anglicanism. Sadly, even some of our own have created new categories for the evaluation of innovative theologies. “Core Doctrine” and “First and Second Order Issues” are subjective terms and apart from not being able to be supported historically, can be used by anyone who is seeking to defend their reasons for revising the “Faith once delivered.” Forward in Faith has labored to maintain the highest level of Communion possible in the midst of the many changes that have been imposed upon Catholic Anglicans over the years. Our heritage is an unbroken one from Jerusalem to the lands that produced Saints such as Alban, David, Patrick, George, Augustine, Hilda and Dame Julian. Our unique Heritage has had a profound effect on countless Anglican
Worthies, including C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and numerous Monks, Nuns, and Missionaries. The various Catholic Congresses of the last century have articulated well the so-called Englishpatrimony of which we of Forward in Faith count ourselves heirs. Being an heir carries with it a
responsibility of speaking the Truth boldly but in love.
Patrimony of which we of Forward in Faith count ourselves heirs. Being an heir carries with it a responsibility of speaking the Truth boldly but in love. The matter of Holy Orders is not a second order issue for it is grounded not only in the Doctrine of Creation and in the Doctrine of the Incarnation with the implications well-articulated in the qualifications listed in the Pastoral Epistles. We are compelled to say that failure to address and resolve a major stumbling block to the Unity of Christianity, in particular with regard to the two larger Communions, will result in ongoing divisions and a precious loss of time in mobilizing
Christians to combat the attacks from without and within. A truly Orthodox, truly Conservative, truly Traditional, and truly Missional approach must take place if we are to be engaged in reclaiming the world for Jesus Christ. Enshrining any moment or even several decades in Church history will not serve us well. A truly Conciliar approach is essential, which will mean reminding ourselves of the Historic Councils’ proceedings and revisiting how the Church has dealt with heresies of the past. Schism is counterproductive, but heresies which contain enough truth to be believable and somewhat convincing infect the Body.
We are intentionally named “Forward in Faith” as we continue to move into the future armed with the Gospel, the Sacraments, the Councils, the Apostolic Ministry – “Contending for the Faith once delivered to the Saints.”