Church Society Director’s Thoughts on GAFCON IV

Church Society Director’s Thoughts on GAFCON IV Kigali

Welby’s “Leadership Role in the Anglican Communion Entirely Indefensible”

The Revd Dr Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, has not wavered in his commitment to see a spiritual and ecclesiological turnaround in the Church of England.  He was a delegate to the recent GAFCON meeting in Kigali and expressed some very direct home truths to the members of CS and the C of E at large through the CS website.

“The 1302 delegates from all over the world said in their statement released today that “we delighted in our unity in Christ and the love that we share.” They also stated clearly that “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).” They made it clear that “fellowship is broken when we turn aside from God’s Word or attempt to reinterpret it in any way that overturns the plain reading of the text in its canonical context and so deny its truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency, and thereby its authority.”

“Turning to the Church of England in particular, the conference passed a devastating judgment on recent developments. “It grieves the Holy Spirit and us that the leadership of the Church of England is determined to bless sin”, it said. “Since the Lord does not bless same-sex unions, it is pastorally deceptive and blasphemous to craft prayers that invoke blessing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” This is a strong but biblically warranted statement. With clarity and compassion, GAFCON has said that “Any refusal to follow the biblical teaching that the only appropriate context for sexual activity is the exclusive lifelong union of a man and a woman in marriage violates the created order (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6) and endangers salvation (1 Corinthians 6:9).”

“For those in the Church of England who have been made to feel as if they were old fashioned and out of step or even evil for holding onto the biblical faith, GAFCON reassured them that they are not, and that they have in fact been badly let down by their episcopal leaders. “Public statements by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other leaders of the Church of England in support of same-sex blessings are a betrayal of their ordination and consecration vows to banish error and to uphold and defend the truth taught in Scripture”, says the statement.

“The future of the Anglican Communion as a whole will now have to be very different. The conference said, with great sadness and regret which has been expressed here by so many, that “We have no confidence that the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the other Instruments of Communion led by him (the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meetings) 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. The Instruments of Communion have failed to maintain true communion based on the Word of God and shared faith in Christ.” The grief felt by many in having to say this has been palpable and deep.

“The problems in the Communion have come about because of a failure of church discipline at every level. Justin Welby’s position as leader of the Communion is now “entirely indefensible” says the GAFCON systems. “Successive Archbishops of Canterbury have failed to guard the faith by inviting bishops to Lambeth who have embraced or promoted practices contrary to Scripture. This failure of church discipline “has been compounded by the current Archbishop of Canterbury who has himself welcomed the provision of liturgical resources to bless these practices contrary to Scripture. This renders his leadership role in the Anglican Communion entirely indefensible.”

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