The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches Issues Strong Rebuke to Revisionists
Orthodox Anglican bishops from the Global South Anglican provinces issued a strong rebuke to revisionists. In an eighteen page Communique, they clearly set out their understandings about the matters tearing at the fabric of the Anglican Communion.
Rather than describing what was said in the Communique, we have chosen to reproduce several of the most pertinent paragraphs so that our readers could read for themselves and see what godly episcopal leadership looks like.
The document pulls no punches.
Anglican identity is neither sociological nor historical. It is first and foremost doctrinal. Our identity as a Communion is rooted in that doctrine which is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion,
The Book of Common Prayer (1662), and The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, annexed to The Book of Common Prayer, and commonly known as the Ordinal’. (Section1.1 (a) of the GSFA Cairo Covenant of 2019).
5.7 If Anglican identity and unity are rooted in common doctrine, then we cannot be a Communion with a plurality of beliefs. There need to be limits to theological diversity, limits that are set by a plain and canonical reading of Scripture and which is supported by church history. We cannot accept the hermeneutic of revisionist Primates and Provinces that allow a plurality of views on the essential truths contained in ‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude v3).
5.8 The matter of same-sex unions is not a secondary issue that allows for a position of adiaphora (indifference). God’s revealed intention for marriage to be a life-long commitment and union between a man and a woman is an essential truth in the corpus of the faith once delivered.’ To authorise the practice and teaching of same-sex unions as normative and not a violation of divine intentions for humankind is to undermine the clarity and authority of Holy Scripture, which is the bedrock of our common life as a Communion
Hence, our unyielding commitment to uphold and abide by the teaching of Resolution I.10 is not about sexual relations per se, but about upholding the clear and authoritative teaching of Holy Scripture.
5.9 Those of us who have come to the Lambeth Conference 2022 want to make the call to reset the Communion on its biblical foundation in person and as a unified grouping of orthodox Bishops within the Communion. We are keen to represent the global face of Anglicanism and we want to sound a clarion call to return to biblical faithfulness at the historical home of our Communion. All Anglican Provinces trace their roots to Canterbury, where our branch of Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’, emerged.
5.10 So, together with those who painfully and in good conscience decided not to come, we want to register our collective ownership and stewardship of a Communion that in God’s grace has become worldwide. All Bishops are joint stewards of God’s Church, which we take to include the Anglican Church in its institutional form. We therefore exercise this stewardship in the spirit of Christ’s commission to St Peter to tend my sheep’ (Jn 21:16) and St Paul’s exhortation to overseers ‘to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood’ (Acts 20:28).
5.11 In calling for repentance and resetting, we do not exempt ourselves. In every Province and diocese, there is unfaithfulness to the Lord’s way. We all fail in various ways to keep covenant faithfulness with our God. So, we will return to our Provinces and dioceses with humility to repent of all our sins, walk in newness of life and pursue the holiness that glorifies the One who redeems and re-creates us by the power of the Cross.
5.12 Brokenness that leads to repentance springs from recognising that we have violated the will of God as revealed in His Spirit-inspired word. When we repent, we receive mercy and pardon in Christ, and in the strength of the Spirit amend our lives to walk in His ways. Herein lies the difference with the revisionist Provinces. They adapt the Word of God to the prevailing culture, bring in unorthodox interpretations of God’s word and end up condoning what is morally wrong in God’s eyes. Failing to correct false teaching is to fail to act in love. Hence, orthodox Bishops are duty-bound to God not to live and let live’ under the guise of simply walking together in continuing dialogue with those who have departed from the way (or path) of truth.