The Global South grouping of the Anglican Communion is moving away from being based on geography to being founded on doctrinal orthodoxy.
This is a significant move for the group, which – at its first meeting in 1994 – gathered churches from all parts of the Southern Hemisphere including Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
“With the theological diversity in the Anglican Communion growing beyond the bounds of the plain reading of Holy Scripture and the unchecked spread of revisionism in the Anglican communion, it has become necessary for the Global South body to have a clear doctrinal foundation,” said its new chairman. Archbishop Justin Badi Arama from South Sudan. “With that foundation clearly in place, we want our Global South fellowship to major on gospel mission and ministry in the world.”
Archbishop Arama then quoted Billy Graham. “The famous evangelist of our generation said, ‘I want to take Christianity back to the book of Acts where the first-century followers of Christ were accused of turning the Roman Empire upside down’. I believe God has called us in the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans to stand for the true gospel witness in our time.”
The Global South group has just held its eighth conference, this time online, with a series of Bible studies and business sessions attended by 90 delegates from 16 provinces and one diocese. The delegates were primates, archbishops, bishops, clergy and laity. Representatives from Sydney included Archbishop Raffel, the Bishop for International Relations Malcolm Richards and the director of Anglican Aid, the Rev Canon Tim Swan.
Said Canon Swan: “It has been terrifically encouraging to join with bishops and Anglican leaders from right around the world who share our commitment to biblically faithful Anglican ministry, who are also working hard to build co-operation across Anglican provinces to strengthen and grow God’s church.
“We were seeing names and faces on the Zoom screen representing the geographical and cultural spread of the Anglican Communion, and praying in small groups each day with faithful believers from various countries. One evening I was praying with a former student from Chile, a lady from the Solomon Islands and a bishop from Sabah.”
The final conference communiqué laid out the challenges facing Global South churches – including political upheaval, the pandemic, the effects of climate change, persecution of Christians and the spread of secularism, liberalism, revisionist theology and the prosperity gospel.
The statement committed the group to “continue to be ‘a voice’ (Isa 40:3) calling the Anglican Communion to be faithful to the authority of Scripture and the historic faith handed down to us by our Anglican heritage.
“In the power of the Spirit, we will remain steadfast against compromise and pressures from the surrounding culture. In God’s grace, the Global South Fellowship will support and nurture Anglican provinces, dioceses and networks of churches that hold on to the orthodox teaching of holy Scripture across our worldwide Communion.”
Archbishop Raffel, who joined from his office in Sydney, said it was “a joy and privilege to meet [online] with Global South brothers and sisters from around the world, and to say ‘Amen’ to this clear statement of biblical orthodoxy, gospel partnership and mission enterprise”.
You can read the communiqué online at the Global South website.