All the above seems pretty straight forward and I can’t see anything happening to change the outcomes I’ve described. But what then? Well, on the basis of how things have played out in almost every other western province of the Anglican Church I think we’re going to see the following:
- A number of revisionists (possibly even a Metropolitan Archbishop) will ignore the clear (restated) mind of General Synod and push on with a renewed energy to legislate for same-sex weddings and related changes in disciplinary structures.
- Conservatives will begin disciplinary procedures against any clergy who participate in or preside over the new liturgies and against bishops who approve of them in their own dioceses.
- Conservatives will also refuse to meet with those who continue to openly reject Biblical standards as reiterated by the General Synod.
- The new Primate will be faced with a difficult decision – will they uphold the clearly-stated position of the General Synod and refuse to invite to meetings those who reject it, or will they still act as though we’re all united?
In one sense the answer to 4. will be partly academic. Either way I don’t expect conservatives to continue to pursue fellowship with those who have shown no desire to maintain catholicity, undermine the doctrine and discipline of the church and won’t uphold their ordination vows.
So what will the Anglican Church of Australia look like in 2021? My best guess is that we will have a sadly fractured church. Whether we are meeting nationally as the entire church depends on whether the new Primate will be robust in upholding the position of General Synod. If we don’t meet in this way then expect the bonds of fellowship within the GAFCON movement to be only strengthened and expressed more formally.