Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

In the last week, there has been news of a potential Primates’ Meeting scheduled to begin October 2, 2017. Consequently, we have received a number of inquiries, both from the media and our membership, asking the question of whether or not the Gafcon Primates will attend.

For all who had hoped that attendance at the January 2016 Primates’ Gathering might restore godly order to the Communion, the results were clearly discouraging. Gafcon is fully committed to guarding the unchanging truth of the Gospel, and restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. In due course, the Gafcon Primates will take counsel and together make a decision about the wisdom of attending future meetings.

The next meeting of the Gafcon Primates’ Council is in April of 2017. We give thanks for the courage that is being shown by our members across the globe, as they share God’s Word both “in season and out of season.” Please continue to pray for the continued growth of this reformation movement.

(Via email-KSH)


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

8 comments on “Gafcon Statement on Proposed Primates’ Meeting 2017

  1. tjmcmahon says:

    I think this is a very wise approach, and indeed the one I was hoping the Primates would take. It accomplishes three things. One, they will take council together, and act in concert. Two, this gives them time to consult with others in the Global South, and the moderates within the Communion, and in that way, may be able to fashion a unified response among the 26 to 30 Primates who voted in favor of “consequences” for TEC. Three, the CoE will have had its early 2017 Synod meeting, at which it is expected some sort of gay marriage and/or blessing and/or “pastoral accommodation” which will be a blessing of civil gay marriage but called something else in hope of maintaining the charade, will be tabled (in the English sense of putting it up for discussion or vote, not the American sense of delaying it indefinitely).

    Promises and emotional statements aside, TEC, ACoC and Scottish Episcopal Church, along with, I think, Brazil, have made it quite clear that they are “walking apart,” intend to continue to walk apart, and will do everything possible to get the rest of the Communion to join them in rejecting the one, holy and apostolic Church.

    Even the “walking together” language makes the issue obvious. There are 2 separate entities under the Anglican umbrella. The schism (the “tearing of the fabric”) is complete- there are in reality 2 distinct and separate Churches not in communion with one another (ie- they no longer can exchange ministers without substantial review, they no longer recognize the same sacraments, words no longer mean the same thing, the ABoC effectively ex-communicated a half dozen bishops who were at the last Lambeth as well as 200,000 former Episcopalians, etc).

  2. Undergroundpewster says:

    In order to stay committed to “guarding the unchanging truth of the Gospel, and restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion” the GAFCON Primates have been effective in the first half of those objectives but not so much in the second half. The question of how to do the latter is at the heart of the decision to attend or not.

    Arguments for a clean break will be countered by arguments for a strong witness and voice at the 2017 Primates’ gathering.

    Arguments against a clean break might include the as yet undeveloped formal structure to take the place of the existing broken one.

    Arguments against continued witness and voice might include the fact that precedent has been set that presence at these meetings will be twisted to mean tolerance which can be further misconstrued as acceptance, and that attendance has not changed behavior in the past.

  3. MichaelA says:

    Agreed, tj and UP. Each member of the Communion is slowly being forced to decision, when many would rather avoid one.

    You may be right about the CofE Synod taking an overt step to endorse SSBs, but even if it doesn’t (noting the CofE’s reputation for dithering) it may not matter: TEC’s behaviour after the Canterbury Primates Meeting in January this year was overt, and completely unrepentant. It gives the orthodox Primates ample excuse to take whatever actions they wish.

    The next meeting of the Global South is less than two months away. The last I heard, ++Beach of ACNA had a standing invitation to attend GS meetings, so that will give the Gafcon primates the chance to confer with each other, but also with two other groups: (a) those non-Gafcon primates who voted for the first motion at Canterbury (to inhibit TEC) – there are at least six of them; and (b) those who did not vote for the first motion, but did vote for the second motion (to call TEC to repentance on one issue, same sex marriage). I am assuming that virtually all members of both groups were members of the GS.

    I expect by the end of that GS meeting, the Gafcon Primates will have a pretty good idea about everyone’s attitude towards TEC and ACoC, in view of their behaviour after the January meeting.

    In the meantime, the real work goes on – making and planting orthodox Anglican congregations throughout the world, particularly in those places where Anglican leaders are apostate or flirting with apostasy. These great meetings are of some importance, but church planting is where the issue will be decided.

  4. MichaelA says:

    Re tj’s point about what the CofE does, I think the Gafcon primates reaction to this will be to some extent affected by what the orthodox rectors in CofE think. Up until now, most of them have been very reluctant to leave CofE – they have strong churches with established buildings and community links, and greater protection by law than congregations in TEC had.

    However, one of their leaders, Rod Thomas, in an interview given in September last year hinted that they may be reaching the end. See He refers to the big issue coming up for the CofE as being ”sexuality” and then says at about 8.40:

    [blockquote] “But once we know what sorts of things are being decided within the Church of England, we will then have a clearer idea whether a way forward can be found within the structures of the Church of England (and I am going to be part of the structures and hopefully want to remain there) or whether in fact the future is going to have to be forged, to some extent at least, outside the structures of the Church of England. My concern in all this is not to preserve the structures per se; my concern is to be faithful to our Lord, to be faithful to what scripture says, to stand up for it, and to seek to find ways of doing that.” [/blockquote]

  5. tjmcmahon says:

    My view is that there are four challenges that orthodox rectors and congregations will face (assuming the CoE keeps going in its current direction). First, training for orthodox ministry will become increasingly difficult to find if the “official” doctrine of the CoE changes. The rot in the churches begins in the schools and seminaries. If you look at what happened with WO and women bishops, once you begin training everyone in the “new way of thinking”, then pretty soon, the minority opinion becomes the slim majority then becomes a vast majority.
    Second, and a parallel to the first, orthodox rectors in CoE have no influence on the selection of bishops- and will find all the money that gets forwarded to the diocese used to undermine their ministry and support the heretical cause. Many parishes currently operate in a toxic atmosphere, where revisionist bishops isolate orthodox clergy. No doubt, a few large urban congregations will be able to hold out, but they are effectively independent evangelical churches. For the small town or rural parish, the influence of the bishop is much greater.
    Third, there is just the expectation that a parish will conform to the doctrine of the Church. This is the issue currently being faced in the 8 or 10 domestic TEC dioceses that are reluctant to get on the gay marriage bandwagon. At some point, push will come to shove, and a gay couple will demand to be married in their home parish in one of those dioceses, and will take action to force it under the canons. The clergy may be able to personally opt out, but it will become increasingly difficult for congregations to do so. The building belongs to the church, and the church says “this is the doctrine of the church.”
    And number 4 is the least difficult to predict. And that is individual conscience. If we look at TEC as an example (and we saw this first with WO, and then with gay blessings and marriage), no matter how strong the parish, there were losses within the congregation as the revisionist steamroller moved forward. Some people cannot abide official heresy- when the church officially changes doctrine, some will leave- they see it as their duty. A couple years later, the change is instituted at the diocesan level (first woman priest in the diocese, or first “out” gay rector), and more leave. Then a new bishop is installed, who is an active supporter of the “cause” and more leave. Then a new rector, who is an active supporter, or perhaps, example, and more leave. All the while, the church will be spouting rhetoric about the 2 to 3% annual decline in membership being a national trend for all churches. Of 10 TEC “preacher’s kids” (ok, plus an organist’s kid) since the 1960s, by 2010, there were 2 Piskies, 1 non-TEC Anglican, 2 agnostics, and the rest are Roman Catholic. Of course, I grew up in an Anglo Catholic family, and would guess that in an Evangelical parish, people would be siphoned off to other Protestant churches rather than Rome, but I think you will see the attrition non-the-less. And bringing in new folks will be more difficult, once the national church is no longer seen as an orthodox expression of Christianity.

  6. tjmcmahon says:

    Appears that even Idowu-Fearon+ has had enough of the western progressives meddling with the Church:

    He seems particularly upset with the western take on Africans in general: “He said: “Their view of progressivism places them at the forefront of historical and social development – with us Africans bringing up the rear. Even worse, deep down, they think that all of us, whatever our faith and commitments, have our price.”

    Apparently, trying to buy him did not work.

    More generally…. “The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has urged Anglican leaders in Africa not to “fall in line” with “socially progressive” views and programmes “which suggest that the Bible is wrong”. Speaking to members of the Council of African Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meeting in Rwanda, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that the Church “will not crumble or bow the knee to a godless secular culture that despises the Bible and what it teaches” and urged the Churches in Africa to remain focused on serving the people of the continent.”

    I think he is not going to be very popular with TEC or revisionists in the CoE by this time tomorrow.

  7. tjmcmahon says:

    Oops, that should, of course, be +Idowu-Fearon, my apologies. Typing too fast.

  8. Marie Blocher says:

    One of the consequences of “buying someone” is that there is no respect given by either the buyer or the group the person left.
    +Idowu-Fearon may have experienced this lack of respect in his new position and rebelled. Perhaps now he can use the position for good, for as long as the power structure of the AC allows him to remain in that position.