There was only really one event at the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem — but what an event!
A new church representing almost half of the world’s 80 million Anglicans has been officially formed, posing a serious challenge to the Archbishop of Canterbury, writes Martin Beckford in The Telegraph. Moreover:
The organisation created by traditionalists — called the Gafcon movement after the Global Anglican Future Conference which led to its creation — will retain ties with Dr Rowan Williams and will technically remain within the global Anglican Communion. But it is also likely to lead to orthodox Anglicans severing all links with the main churches in America and Canada, whose liberal leaders are blamed for sparking the current crisis by breaking with the Bible’s teaching and by consecrating openly gay clergy and blessing gay “marriages”.
Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, a big supporter of the new faction, says this is not a split in the church, reports ABC News. He blames “the homosexual crisis” — and the postmodernity it represents — for forcing the long-term rift to go official. “We have decided to rescue people in the west who want to stand for the old ways, who want to stand on the Bible.”
Here’s what bloggers are saying about the move:
Finally, the next Reformation. Joanna and I were privileged to witness the beginning of a new Reformation in the Church of England. This morning when the declaration was read to us, it was the most joyful experience in my 25 years as an Anglican minister. I confess that on many occasions, especially in the past ten years, I have been ashamed of being an Anglican. Not anymore. This conference was indeed a miracle of unity, focus and purpose…
The failure of the leaders of the Church of England to discipline those who have departed from the faith of the Scriptures and who have promoted a false gospel will no longer be ignored or tolerated. The Lord has raised up a united global leadership within the Anglican communion that is unashamedly committed to the gospel, the authority of scripture and the historic creeds, and I am glad to be alive to be part of this new reformation. The Church of England will never the be the same again. The sleeping giant of evangelical orthodoxy has awakened. — Stephen Sizer
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More to this than homosexuality. It is clear that Gafcon is not a one-off but going to be a permanent structure. Another conference of this nature will probably take place in Jerusalem in two years, after the pilgrims received a warm welcome from the Israeli tourist authority. A senior Israeli representative actually told delegates on their pilgrimage to the garden at the foot of Temple Mount that Jewish and Christian people must stand together against the ‘common enemy’. And no, that ‘enemy’ is not homos-xuality…
Dr Jensen’s role in this is key. He is a hugely influential figure on the conservative evangelical wing of the Church of England and will be a main speaker at the London conference on 1 July, at the evangelical flagship All Souls Langham Place. Up to 600 Church of England parishes are expected to be represented at the conference, when they will discuss how to take forward in the UK the action plan being drawn up in Jerusalem this week. — Ruth Gledhill, Articles of Faith, The Times
What bloggers are saying. From the various bits of reporting and blogging it seems to me that many (most) people still aren’t entirely sure what it all presages, nor how it will cash out. Ruth Gedhill’s question is pertinent: “When is a schism not a schism?” It seems to be receiving different answers from commentators at least. There are signs that some participants led others to row back from an original intention to emerge from Jerusalem with a fully fledged structure. The incompetent early release of a version that said the conference “recognised the GAFCON Primates’ Council” betrayed a more definite proposal than the final version’s “[we] encourage GAFCON Primates to form a Council.” — MetaCatholic
Get ready to witness the birth. Heads up: Those doubtful that GAFCON is birthing a movement should check out the London event this coming week. On July 1, All Souls Langham Place in London will be hosting a one-day event, reportedly to be attended by 750 Anglican clergy. Archbishops Orombi, Venables, and Jensen are the headliners. — Christianity Today