A group of conservative bishops attending this year’s Lambeth Conference have published a document assessing of the health and future of the Anglican Communion. Primates leading the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), which they say represent around 75% of Anglicans across the globe, told a press conference that they will positively respond to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation for primates to bring forward proposals for the future basis and discipline of the Anglican Communion. GFSA has been embroiled in controversy after taking a stand against the Call on Human Dignity at the conference which omitted a 1998 Lambeth 1:10 resolution that rejected homosexuality as incompatible with scripture. Archbishop Justin Badi, Chairman of the GSFA was clear regarding the GSFA position on sexuality.
He said during a press conference: “We wish to be clear about our commitment to Resolution 1:10 in its entirety; and that includes the commitment to listen to the experience of homosexual persons, to minister pastorally and sensitively to all and to condemn all irrational fear, homophobic behaviour and violence. We also give thanks to the Lord for the life, witness and ministry of faithful same-sex attracted Christians in our churches who practise abstinence, and we hope to pastorally support them more in our local churches.” He also added that the GSFA cannot accept the Anglican Communion has a “plurality of views” on the topic of sexuality and that there “needs to be limits to theological diversity”. The Archbishop of Canterbury has written a letter giving the opposite view, calling on bishops to “remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues”.
Archbishop Justin Badi, said that GSFA giving an opportunity for bishops to re-affirm the 1998 biblical base for Lambeth Resolution 1.10 again in 2022, was an “important as a first step to signal the need for the Communion to reset its current policies and trajectory”. GSFA leaders said that in calling for repentance and re-setting, they don’t exempt themselves. The Communique states: “In every Province and diocese, there is unfaithfulness to the Lord’s way. So, we will return to our Provinces and dioceses with humility to repent of all our sins, walk in newness of life and pursue holiness.” GSFA leaders believe the Anglican Communion is “drifting more and more into becoming an association of churches, confirmed by the way the Lambeth Conference is no longer expected to yield the mind of the bishops on matters of Faith & Order.”
It adds: “The hard reality is that we cannot be a true Communion if some Provinces insist on their own autonomy and disregard the necessity of being an interdependent body. What affects all should be decided by all.” Orthodox bishops believe at the end of the conference, the Communion is “not in a healthy, working state”, and that “the road to recovery and spiritual vibrancy will be long, and must start with a critical decision on whether Scripture is an indispensable basis of our common life as one Communion of Churches.” Archbishop Badi reiterated at the press conference that the GFSA does not want a Church split. He said he is hopeful about the Archbishop of Canterbury suggesting there could be a chance for an orthodox influence in policy making within the Communion.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said during the Plenary on the Call on Human Dignity:” I am very conscious that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to be a focus of unity and is an Instrument of Communion. That is a priority. I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion. I will not do so. I may comment in public on occasions, but that is all.” In the meantime, the GSFA leader said that the GSFA churches “would do everything possible to ensure there is no letup in our mission and ministry to a lost, darkened and broken world. We have a gospel to proclaim to the multitudes, a flock to feed and disciple for Christ, and a world to bear witness to that people everywhere may respond to the light of Christ.”
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