6/22/2008

GAFCON Leader Akinola's opening salvo: we are apostate, revisionist, destructive and in error.

The Global Anglican Future Conference is now underway. Archbishop Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) delivered an opening address titled, "GAFCON - A Rescue Mission.) In it he refers to the leadership of TEC (The Episcopal Church) and ACoC (Anglican Church of Canada) as manipulative, apostate, champions of spiritual bondage, revisionist, destructive and in error.

The Archbishop of Canterbury as a primary instrument of union is viewed as trivializing of concerns, compromising in the context of spiritual warfare and disinterested in the opinions of what is viewed as the larger part of the communion.


The myth that GAFCON is about working to find ways to gather Anglicans together is pretty well shot down by the Archbishop's opening salvo.

Instead what the Archbishop laid out was an argument that it is GAFCON, its leadership, the Global South directorate, CAPA and their loyalists in the US, Canada and elsewhere, which IS the future of Anglicanism, and that the mantle of leadership in the Anglican Communion will pass, in one way or another, to them.


As with the attempt to capture the flag in North America, where Anglican "new starts" and old established breakaway bodies argue that they are the "true" voice of Anglicanism in North America, GAFCON and its leaders are clearly arguing that they are the "true" voice of Anglicanism in the world.

The final words of the Archbishop's address spell it out:

"We have no other place to go nor is it our intention to start another church. Anglicans we are, Anglicans we'll remain until the LORD shall return in glory to judge each one according to his deeds.

Let us walk, work and pray together here in Jerusalem to inaugurate that glorious future of the Anglican Communion."

Remaining Anglican and inaugurating the "glorious future of the Anglican Communion" means taking the title with them. The Anglican Communion will become, if the Archbishop has his way, a post-Lambeth, particular "world wide Church." There will be a world-wide synod the majority of whose members will be from the Global South and it will have final say concerning the interpretation of faith and morals, guided by a fundamentalist garbled version of "the faith once delivered to the saints."

It is true: GAFCON does not intend to break the Anglican Communion in parts. It intends to take over leadership and guidance of the Communion.

It is true: GAFCON is not making schism. It is making revolution.

Hold on to your hats, boys and girls, it is going to be some ride.

On a bad day I say, "Welcome to it." If the Anglican Communion becomes a world wide church I am only mildly interested. I will mostly hope that here in the back waters of a village by the ocean it will not affect what we do.

On a good day I say, "It is not yours for the taking, and we will not give up on the idea of a world wide fellowship of churches bound by affection for one another and common cause in the Gospel."

These are mostly good days. The Anglican Communion will not become GAFCON's for the taking.

Meanwhile, here are some tidbits from the Archbishop's address. If you want to read the whole thing, go HERE.

For your convenience, I have highlighted the words of note referenced above.

"Our beloved Anglican Communion must be rescued from the manipulation of those who have denied the gospel and its power to transform and to save; those who have departed from the scripture and the faith 'once and for all delivered to the saints' from those who are proclaiming a new gospel, which really is no gospel at all, {Gal 1.} In the wisdom and strength God supplies we must rescue what is left of the Church from error of the apostates."

"We are here because we know that in God's providence GAFCON will liberate and set participants [particularly Africans] free from spiritual bondage which TEC and its Allies champion. Having survived the inhuman physical slavery of the 19th century, the political slavery called colonialism of the 20th century, the developing world economic enslavement, we cannot, we dare not allow ourselves and the millions we represent be kept in religious and spiritual dungeon."

"Yes, GAFCON offers fresh hope for a meaningful spiritual haven for orthodox Anglicans who can no longer hold out and be truly Anglican under revisionist leadership."

"Because we know that together as lay leaders, clergy and bishops of our Church we can banish the errors plaguing our beloved Communion-for we will not abdicate our God-given responsibility and simply acquiesce to destructive modern cultural and political dictates."

"A sizeable part of the Communion is in error and not a few are apostate; is the Communion correctable from within or must it be from without?"

"...the Communion is deeply in trouble. This is not only because of the actions of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada but also because the hitherto honoured Instruments of Communion, in recent years have, by design become instruments of disunity, putting the Communion in an unprecedented brokenness and turmoil."

"To our utter dismay, it became apparent that our sober resolutions were, in the aftermath, trivialized by some of our most respected leaders. As if that was not bad enough, our corporate integrity was abused and the pains and concerns shared so open-mindedly ridiculed and betrayed by the flagrant compromises of those entrusted with the responsibility of guarding divine and eternal truths. These rather reckless departures from our painstaking resolutions turned delicate matters into what became more of a pastime for merely pious rhetoric at the expense of the spiritual welfare of our Communion which was evidently in jeopardy."

"At this point, it dawned upon us, regrettably, that the Archbishop of Canterbury was not interested in what matters to us, in what we think or in what we say."

7 comments:

  1. Mark, Akinola can't claim to speak for CAPA. They refused his call to a continent-wide boycott of Lambeth and defeated his handpicked candidate to succeed him as president.

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  2. "apostate, revisionist, destructive and in error..."

    ohhhh--I've never been cussed at with such big words!

    I just say yikes and wow!

    And he, and all those at GAFCon continue in my prayers. And Mark, --here's to all your 'good days.' !

    --margaret

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  3. I am awed and and glad the Bp. Akinola, Bp. Kolini and others are the new leaders of the Anglican Communion.
    They speak clearly, bluntly and with authority. It may not be popular with those who like big words and small ideas, but its is refreshingly honest.
    Contrast that to ABC Rowan Williams and his wishy-washy, intellectual speak.
    Also it contrasts with Bp. Griswolds' pluriform truths and his maddeningly obtuse pronouncements that did more damage than good.
    The new PB of TEC is equally obtuse and vague in her pronoucements.
    For those of us who want clear teaching and one truth, these men of God are a breath of fresh air.
    Think what you will of them, but you never have to wonder where they stand or what they are saying.
    Not so with the leadership of the left.
    I will be glad when the real schism occurs so that both sides can move on to pursue ministry and leave behind the rancor, lawsuits and fuss of the past five years.
    It's not our church, it's not your church, it's Jesus's church.

    Jim of Michigan

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  4. A lot of fiery rhetoric here, all the nasty words piled in a heap. I wonder who was his reviser, editor, and wordsmith. We've heard this all before. It is overblown, and untrue.

    I wonder how they intend to pull off this revolution. The numbers keep growing: 1200 people from 25 countries. It may well be true, but what does it signify?

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  5. Can I suggest that a close reading of what GAFCON leaders have said over the months has been picked up rather well by Ruth Gledhill and that she lays out what is most likely to be the GAFCON scheme. I make an interpretation; it follows on from other posts.

    http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/06/gledhill-on-money.html
    http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com

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  6. "...revisionist, destructive and in error..."

    If one were to take the actions of the California Four - elite bishops all - and how they charged ahead with open & public SSBs at Caesar's invitation, then it's hard to shake Akinola's assessment from a General Convention point of view. Or does that body need to meet ever again? Seems as though reappraisers just save everyone the trouble of meeting and change the rules without GC when it suits and then claims others are fracturing the good will of this Church.

    Funny how deeply institionalist these discussions are becoming. No wonder we're dying out except in metropolitan pockets. People abhor a lie.

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  7. "GAFCON does not intend to break the Anglican Communion in parts. It intends to take over leadership and guidance of the Communion."

    Mark, as I opined over at my own blog, this admission will work against Akinola's case in Virginia, which relied upon the existence of a "division" in the church. This could be a big oopsey.

    ReplyDelete

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