Monday 28 October 2013

Did *anything* substantive happen at GAFCON 2013?



The Church of England is an Episcopal church - which is to say it depends on Bishops for running things in general and for ordaining priests in particular. The fact that there are no conservative evangelical Bishops in the CoE is therefore... a problem.

No such Bishops are appointed, which means virtually all Bishops are hostile to conservative evangelicals and will not appoint conservative evangelicals as Vicars (Priests-in-charge); and also that there is virtually no official theological training for Conservative evangelicals but on the contrary indoctrination with Liberal Christianity, often of a very extreme type.


This means that no matter how successful (large, profitable, growing, devout) a conservative evangelical church in the CoE becomes (and I am a member of one such church), its existence is extremely precarious - the moving-on, retirement or death of the existing Vicar usually spells an end to its achievements; and in particular a forced accommodation to the latest diktats of the sexual revolution.

The options are therefore: 1. Join the mainstream. 2. Leave the Church of England but remain Anglican (that is, being supervised by GAFCON Bishops from abroad). 3. Leave the Church of England AND the Anglican Communion.

Thus I was awaiting the outcome of GAFCON 2013, to see whether they would be an alternative system of Anglican Episcopal supervision so that conservative evangelicals could remain Anglicans while leaving the CoE .


But I am not sure whether-or-not anything substantive happened at GAFCON 2013!

I can find no analysis or summary from a trusted source - only this segment from the Nairobi Communique and Commitment

"We commit ourselves to defend essential truths of the biblical faith even when this defence threatens existing structures of human authority (Acts 5:29). For this reason, the bishops at GAFCON 2013 resolved ‘to affirm and endorse the position of the Primates’ Council in providing oversight in cases where provinces and dioceses compromise biblical faith, including the affirmation of a duly discerned call to ministry. This may involve ordination and consecration if the situation requires.’ "

Is this anything new, or just more of the same?

It sure doesn't sound like the kind of alternative but formal and solid Episcopal structure required for a church contemplating leaving the CoE but remaining Anglican...


Something new or more of the same? I fear the latter; in which case there will be no prepared place for ex-CoE conservative evangelicals in the Anglican church - which suggests that individual conservative large evangelical churches will probably leave the CoE and set-up on their own - and, over time, will almost certainly abandon the Episcopal structures (including ordination) and cease to be Anglicans.



Adam G. said...

I'm sorry to hear it. I would like to preserve as much from the wreck as possible.

josh said...

Are evangelical COE Churches committed to the Apostolic Succession?

Bruce Charlton said...

@josh - Well there are loads of them, and mostly independent, so I don't know for sure - but I doubt it: Protestants in general do not seem to mention the Apostolic succession. For Anglo Catholics (that is, Catholics in the Church of England) the unbroken Apostolic succession of the CoE is very important - for instance, Charles Williams mentions this in The Descent of the Dove. Anglo Catholics were dominant in the CoE for many decades, up to about the 1930s or even 40s (you might be surprised to know that, starting in the late 1800s there were many thriving orders of nuns, monks and friars in the CoE)- but were displaced by Liberals. But there are very few serious Anglo Catholics now.