6/14/2008

GAFCON Intro: GAFCON prewritten conclusion to follow.

The Lead posted a document purporting to be a challenge to GAFCON participants. It can be read HERE.

The essay ends as follows: "GAFCON is seeking to give public and institutional expression to the truth of the gospel in the public ordering of the Church. Far from accepting unlimited diversity and disobedience to the truth, this will mean respecting the order that God has given for authority in his Church and wholesomeness in society.

Bishops have responded to God's call to action by holding a public gathering at GAFCON. As they gather, they will look again to God's call for future action in faithful leadership of their Anglican Churches."

Note the phrase in the last sentence, "as they gather." This is the warm up pitch for the GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem. The GAFCON meeting is not, however, a "public gathering" in the sense of being open to participation by the public, but rather a meeting to which the public may be invited to observe. GAFCON participants are not the public at all, but rather the chosen few.

The written intro may be the product of Bishop Minns who is in the Middle East (Jordan? Israel?) preparing for GAFCON. But no matter by whom written, it is an attempt to cast the issues in terms of the supposed "orthodoxy" of the GAFCON participants and the heterodox and heretical position of the decedent West. This article protests that GAFCON is not about sex but rather "...about whether or not there is one Word, accessible to all, and whether or not there is one Christ, accessible to all." On the other hand, near the end of the message, the writer(s) state, "GAFCON is a statement that the truth of God can be known; that it is the gateway to fulfilling and fruitful life for men and women, in marriage or celibacy, and that obedience and witness to that truth cannot be confined to the space or the form that is offered by the powerful." So it returns to sexual expression again, to men and women, marriage and celibacy, obedience and witness.

My understanding is that there is already in place a closing statement for the GAFCON

The management, who invited a select group, may be leaving nothing to chance. It will no doubt give further directions concerning the future action of this self-selected gathering of particular groups from the so called Global South and their friends in the West.

The Anglican Communion Network notes,
"Out of a total of more than 1,000 bishops, priests, deacons and laity who have registered for GAFCON, just over 130 will be from North America. Of the more than 280 bishops registered to attend, 19 are affiliated with Common Cause." This is considered a good thing since it shows that the real work and the agenda is being set, so ACN says, by the Global South.

"We are a small contingent going to what is likely the most important Anglican event in decades. We are not running the show or driving the agenda. This meeting is not about North America or our problems. It is about expanding a faithful, orthodox Anglican witness worldwide. It is also about working together to sail through the storms assailing the western colonial model that has characterized the Anglican Communion for the past century."

The nineteen bishops from the Common Cause Network will of course include several not part of the Anglican Communion. It will in all likelihood include no more than five of the Network Bishops. They will be there to negotiate a future North American Province linked to the other 260 bishops through their Provinces.

I believe this is the beginning of a second Anglican Communion. Where AC 1 has some
possibility of continuing as a fellowship of churches, AC 2 will be a more focused entity - a world wide church. Small and irrelevant to the greater catholic churches of the East and West AC 2 will become a shadow of its own hopes. AC 1 at least does not pretend to be the answer to the question, "What is the true Church?"

The closing document yet to see light is likely to be the product of two or three writers from the North - from England, Canada and the US. It will call GAFCON to a future that is neither Anglican or Good News.

3 comments:

  1. "Small and irrelevant to the greater catholic churches of the East and West XXX will become a shadow of its own hopes. "


    Deleted "AC2" - which will be bigger than "AC1" anyway...and I am wondering if "TEC" works in the less than generous sentence

    ReplyDelete
  2. "'GAFCON is a statement that the truth of God...is the gateway to fulfilling and fruitful life for men and women, in marriage or celibacy, and that obedience and witness to that truth cannot be confined to the space or the form that is offered by the powerful.'"

    Yes, it is painfully clear to everyone who bothers to follow all this that whatever else this GAFCON event might be about - power etc. - sex (gay sex especially) is front and center. The language they use attempts to disguise that and dress it up a bit, but why bother? The whole word knows Anglicans are primarily arguing about homosexuality these days. GAFCON represents the group most vehemently opposed to accepting gay people, the group most committed to trying to change gay people or impose celibacy on them. Why not just say that? Oh right, that might sound uncharitable and wouldn't want that to make the media.

    "'We are a small contingent going to what is likely the most important Anglican event in decades. We are not running the show or driving the agenda. This meeting is not about North America or our problems.'"

    Methinks thou dost protest too much. At least they have finally come around to the idea that the 1998 Lambeth Conference - with its much-discussed Resolution 1.10 - was not quite as important to the future of the Anglican world as the GAFCON crowd have liked to think or argue.

    christopher+

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mark,
    It seems like the organizers are trying to downplay the presence of North Americans. I am aware of at least one North American bishop who would not be counted as either a"Network" or "Common Cause" bishop. Len Whitten (retired, W. Nfld.) is on his way to Jerusalem, and has not, as yet, formally declared allegiance to any of these entities.

    Of course, no matter the numbers, everyone will assume the hand of Minns and Duncan in the final communique.

    ReplyDelete

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