The Anglican Church has split! Meeting in Jerusalem at the Global Anglican Future Conference, the conservative members of the Anglican Church, many of whom will be boycotting next month’s Lambeth conference issued a statement. This statement is a very serious, if not fatal blow to the Anglican Communion. Read this, but hang on for an alternate suggestion.
[W]e grieve for the spiritual decline in the most economically developed nations, where the forces of militant secularism and pluralism are eating away the fabric of society and churches are compromised and enfeebled in their witness…Sadly, this crisis has torn the fabric of the Communion in such a way that it cannot simply be patched back together.
The Anglican Communion, present in six continents, is well positioned to address this challenge, but currently it is divided and distracted. The Global Anglican Future Conference emerged in response to a crisis within the Anglican Communion, a crisis involving three undeniable facts concerning world Anglicanism. The first fact is the acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel. This false gospel undermines the authority of God’s Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgement. Many of its proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.
The second fact is the declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote this false gospel. These declarations have resulted in a realignment whereby faithful Anglican Christians have left existing territorial parishes, dioceses and provinces in certain Western churches and become members of other dioceses and provinces, all within the Anglican Communion.
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.
Note to our friends the Anglicans, what you are proposing to do is an awful lot of work. What with setting up your own provinces, appointing new leadership, and not to mention all political headaches that will come along with this. I have a suggestion. Save yourselves all that trouble. If you want to belong to a church that does not condone “a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony.” If you want to get away from all that but maintain some sort of unity (perhaps with, say…, the apostles?), why not just join the Catholic Church. Hey, we even let you use your Anglican prayer books and everything. It is quite the bargain.
C’mon guys, cross the Tiber. The water is fine. Save yourself all that trouble. You won’t regret it.