As if presiding over the first royal coronation for 70 years was not enough, the Archbishop of Canterbury is facing a schism in his Church
by Andrew Halloway and Melanie Symonds
After over 1,300 Anglican leaders met in Rwanda in April, they decided to reject the Rt Rev Justin Welby’s authority as the leader of global Anglicanism.
The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) are deeply unhappy about the Church of England’s decision to bless the partners in same-sex marriages.
“Majority (Developing) World Christians are horrified by the woke envelopment of the West”
A statement issued by GAFCON said: “We have no confidence that the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the other Instruments of Communion led by him… are able to provide a godly way forward that will be acceptable to those who are committed to the truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency and authority of Scripture.”
Premier reports that the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has welcomed GAFCON and GSFA’s decision to work together to “reset” the Anglican Communion. The CEEC also called on the Church of England’s bishops to “to step back from the brink” and change their mind on the same-sex issue, to “prevent the unity of the Church of England being torn apart in the same way that the Communion has been”.
The bishops’ guidance on blessing those in a same-sex relationship will be presented to the General Synod in July.
Meanwhile the decision to separate from the compromised Western churches has been welcomed by campaigners such as Dr Lisa Nolland, CEO of the Marriage, Sex and Culture Group, London. After attending the landmark event in Rwanda, Dr Nolland told The Christian Post: “I am rarely optimistic. However, this GAFCON was a game-changer. Majority (Developing) World Christians are horrified by the woke envelopment of the West.”
She hailed the Kigali Commitment, the conference’s concluding statement, as “magisterial’ and “impressive”, calling it “a document which, in my view, will prove to be a touchstone for decades to come.”
Dr Nolland added: “Though the writing has been on the wall for decades, it is now public knowledge: the Anglican Communion is broken. Though Justin Welby minimises the challenges posed by GAFCON and the Global South, he and the other Instruments of the Communion have basically become an irrelevance.
“That the Primates of GAFCON and the Global South are moving forward together and getting on with the many tasks at hand gives great hope for the present and the future.
“God met me, God met us, in Kigali. I am encouraged and excited. God is on the move.”
“Taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies of this world”
The Kigali Commitment, signed in 2023, includes these statements: The current divisions in the Anglican Communion have been caused by radical departures from the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some within the Communion have been taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies of this world (Colossians 2:8). Such a failure to hear and heed God’s Word undermines the mission of the Church as a whole.
The Bible is God’s Word written, breathed out by God as it was written by his faithful messengers (2 Timothy 3:16). It carries God’s own authority, is its own interpreter, and it does not need to be supplemented, nor can it ever be overturned by human wisdom.
What is GAFCON?
GAFCON’s first meeting in 2008 saw over 1,000 primates, archbishops, bishops, clergy and lay leaders gather in Jerusalem.
According to GAFCON’s website, “moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth.”
GAFCON’s Primates Council represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans who meet every five years.
After meeting in Kenya in 2013 and again in Jerusalem in 2018, those delegates who could not travel to Jerusalem for political reasons gathered a year later in Dubai for ‘G19’, a conference for “faithful Christians in ‘restricted situations’.” Their final statement “spoke powerfully of the sense of betrayal they have experienced when the very Gospel for which they are suffering is being undermined and denied in other parts of the Anglican Communion.”
GAFCON members are bound by their 2008 Jerusalem Declaration. Key statements include:
- We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family.
- We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
- We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.