The GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) final statement has been posted and then re-posted with one small correction on the Stand Firm site. Read it HERE.
What follows is written with the supposition that the Final Statement will be accepted as printed by the GAFCON meeting itself. The posting of this was not accompanied by any comment on how or if it had been accepted. I am assuming that the major points of the GAFCON statement will be as presented in this released statement.
The supposed center of the statement is "The Jerusalem Declaration," but the bottom line is the "Road Ahead." Here is what the Statement has to say, broken down into sections:
" We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, do hereby acknowledge the participating Primates of GAFCON who have called us together, and encourage them to form the initial Council of the GAFCON movement.
We look forward to the enlargement of the Council and entreat the Primates to organise and expand the fellowship of confessing Anglicans.
We urge the Primates’ Council to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.
We recognise the desirability of territorial jurisdiction for provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion, except in those areas where churches and leaders are denying the orthodox faith or are preventing its spread, and in a few areas for which overlapping jurisdictions are beneficial for historical or cultural reasons.
We thank God for the courageous actions of those Primates and provinces who have offered orthodox oversight to churches under false leadership, especially in North and South America. The actions of these Primates have been a positive response to pastoral necessities and mission opportunities.
We believe that such actions will continue to be necessary and we support them in offering help around the world.
We believe this is a critical moment when the Primates’ Council will need to put in place structures to lead and support the church. In particular,
we believe the time is now ripe for the formation of a province in North America for the federation currently known as Common Cause Partnership to be recognised by the Primates’ Council.
Conclusion: Message from Jerusalem
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, were summoned by the Primates’ leadership team to Jerusalem in June 2008 to deliberate on the crisis that has divided the Anglican Communion for the past decade and to seek direction for the future. We have visited holy sites, prayed together, listened to God’s Word preached and expounded, learned from various speakers and teachers, and shared our thoughts and hopes with each other.
The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency that a false gospel has so paralysed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.
It is our hope that this Statement on the Global Anglican Future will be received with comfort and joy by many Anglicans around the world who have been distressed about the direction of the Communion. We believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations."
On June 16th I wrote, in reference to the beginning comments about the final statement, that the end result would look like this:
"GAFCON is a bible based, betrayed and abandoned, gathering of people on the way to becoming a movement, one that will have a theological framework (read oath of conformity), a world wide structure (not including the betraying and abandoning leadership one assumes), permanent structures (read new Provinces) to take the place of provinces that have abandoned traditional teachings, etc., and inclusion of Anglican like bodies that are not now part of the Anglican Communion."
It would appear I was right on all points, save the triumphal voice replacing the betrayed and abandoned voice.
GAFCON will now attempt to become a world wide church with a Primates Council, with an oath of conformity to the three creeds, the 39 Articles, the 1662 Prayer Book of the CofE, and the Ordinal of the CofE. This Primates Council will recognize a new Province in North America made up of the Common Cause Partnership folk, and its Moderator (one supposes) as the Primatial officer.
Well, there it is: GAFCON has decided to supplant the old order of the Anglican Communion, which it believes is "a global Communion with a colonial structure." The new order, a new Anglican "whatever" is arising, one in which a Primates Council replaces the Archbishop of Canterbury as the basis of unity, and in which those who preach a false gospel - read most of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada and Brazil (nice twist getting Brazil in there) - are fair territory for new work.
GAFCON may love being Anglican, but its membership has decided that the Anglican Communion is not the way, nor the Church of England (and in particular the see of Canterbury) is not the locus of unity. It is carving a new path and proclaimed a new orthodoxy - one that is distinctly evangelical in the hard line British puritan linage.
I can hardly wait to see just how well the Thirty Nine Articles and an unreconstructed 1662 Prayer Book will go down with those many Anglicans who have already moved on to become sacramentally based communities with a both newer and more ancient sense of the liturgy and the elements of a faithful expression of the Gospel.
The GAFCON Primates Council will consist of a number of Primates who will not be at Lambeth, and if there is a new primate along with a new province for North America, a Primate not recognized by Lambeth at all. Somewhere along the line the GAFCON Primate's Council will become the core of a new church.
As with all Christian churches, we will wish them well and hope for some ecumenical bonds of friendship after the wounds heal a bit. But they will not be the Anglican Communion. They will be something else - The World Wide Orthodox Anglican Communion - WWOAC - or some such. Life is like that in Christendom.
Tom Waits sang, "Wasted and wounded, it's not what the moon did, I got what I paid for now." I guess GAFCON's got what it paid for now: a new church in the making.