Mere Anglicanism

Report from the Entebbe GAFCON primates meeting

For more than 15 years there has been a crisis of authority in the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali welcomed his fellow members of the GAFCON Primates’ Council earlier this week to Uganda for their annual meeting. In attendance were seven Primates of Anglican Provinces around the world, several active and retired Archbishops, and Bishops and clergy leaders from GAFCON Branches around the world. The meeting was held in Entebbe.

The Primates Council finalized preparations for the Third Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem from 17th – 22nd June. The theme of this third global conference is “Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations.” The Church of Uganda is expecting to send more than 200 delegates, including the entire House of Bishops and their wives.

For more than 15 years there has been a crisis of authority in the Anglican Communion.

First, there is the crisis of Biblical authority. Anglicanism rests first and foremost on the Bible.

Increasingly, the Anglican Churches in the Western world, as well as a few in the Global South, are officially and formally embracing homosexual relationships and transgendered identities as normal. They are developing liturgies to bless those relationships and identities, and opening up ordination to them.

The Anglican Church in Canada led the way in 2002 by offering the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions, followed by the Episcopal Church in 2003 that consecrated as a Bishop a divorced father of two living in a homosexual relationship. The Episcopal Church has gone on to officially approve same-sex marriage as has the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Anglican Church in New Zealand will soon propose that some dioceses be allowed to offer the blessing of same-sex relations. The Episcopal Church ordains transgendered persons and the Church of England House of Bishops has recommended local adaptations of the baptism service for people who decide their gender identity is different from their biological sex.

There has long been a crisis of Biblical authority among many liberal Bishops and priests who no longer believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, his bodily resurrection, or that he is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that no one comes to the Father except through him.

Secondly, there is a crisis of ecclesiastical authority. If whole Provinces – such as the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Scottish Episcopal Church and soon, the Church of England – can act contrary to God’s Word, who in the Anglican Communion has the authority to discipline those erring Provinces? 

The so-called “Instruments of Communion” in the Anglican Communion have failed repeatedly to bring discipline. Consequently, GAFCON formed in 2008 as a global “revival fellowship” to declare that fellowship and unity in the Anglican Communion must be centred in a common confession of faith, based on the Bible, the historic creeds, the Book of Common Prayer, and the 39 Articles of Religion. That confession of faith was articulated in the Jerusalem Declaration in 2008 and is the foundation of GAFCON’s relationships.

The GAFCON Primates’ Council provides leadership and direction for this global “revival fellowship.”

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