Who are the real schismatics? A look at the Church of England


Something momentous happened this week.

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) announced they no longer recognize the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury as “first among equals.” What’s more, they say that in adopting “innovation in the liturgies of the Church and her pastoral practice” in order to bless same-sex sexual relationships, the Church of England has “departed from the historic faith passed down from the Apostles” and has thus “disqualified herself” from leading the Anglican Communion.

In choosing to move closer to the wishes of politicians and revisionist church leaders in the United Kingdom, the Church of England has signaled that her desire to stay as a “wife” to the state is greater than her desire to remain a “mother” to the worldwide Anglican Communion. Perhaps the fear of disestablishment and divorce from the state is greater than the fear of losing “the kids.”

But here’s what’s strange. If you read the headlines or peruse the news articles or listen to Church of England leaders who have promoted revisionist teaching, you get the impression it’s those pesky, stubborn African bishops who have chosen schism rather than “unity.” Everyone else just wants peace, to walk together in love. It’s the Global South that refuses to just “agree to disagree” and “maintain the bond of the unity.” It’s unfortunate, sad really—this schismatic impulse of those who pull away.

But this take is backward.

First of all, the Church of England and the other churches associated with the Anglican Communion that have adopted revisionist theologies in line with the sexual revolution make up a tiny proportion of the Anglicans who worship every Sunday around the world. The vast majority of today’s Anglicans are represented by the Global South and by theologically orthodox provinces. It’s not Africa that represents a small segment of the worldwide church breaking away; it’s the revisionists who are splintering off from the whole.

Read it all at The Gospel Coalition