A response to Lambeth from the Chairman
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Gafcon Family,
Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus our Savior and only Lord! “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16a).
I am writing to you regarding last week’s Lambeth Conference as this is on the minds of many Anglicans around the world. Over the last couple of decades, Lambeth Conference organizers and events like these have routinely mixed heresy and orthodoxy; treating both positions as equally valid. The clear teaching of Scripture is treated as one of many valid options with no accountability for those Provinces who depart from the Bible.
I wish I could be writing to you and sharing that the recent Lambeth Conference was different, but it was not. Before the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba (Nigeria), Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba (Uganda) and Archbishop Laurent Mbanda (Rwanda) wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury that they were not attending the Conference “because the Anglican Communion has failed to address with remorse and repentance the issues that necessitated their absence at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.” Retired Archbishop Mouneer Anis eloquently named the problem, “The Anglican Communion cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken.”
Sadly, rather than being a source of healing and unity, the Lambeth Conference compounded the problems. The Lambeth Conference was filled with confusion, and what that means for global Anglicanism has just begun to be felt. The Canterbury Communion is broken, not just metaphorically, but literally, as those in attendance could not in good conscience all share Holy Communion.
The Primates of Brazil, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North America, Rwanda, and Uganda, and many bishops from all over the Anglican Communion in the Gafcon movement did not attend the Lambeth Conference because to do so would violate their consciences. However, we respected the decision of our brother Primates whose consciences led them to go to Lambeth and contend for the Gospel and the Holy Scriptures. The power of their presence magnified the power of our absence.
Archbishop Justin Badi (South Sudan) and Archbishop James Wong (Indian Ocean) of Gafcon and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans admirably led the orthodox cause for biblical theology and morality in the midst of a situation in which the balance of institutional power was stacked heavily against them. I commend them for differentiating themselves from the false teaching of the Canterbury Communion and for not partaking of Holy Communion with unrepentant bishops living in immorality.
It was also helpful that they reminded the Conference that we have not agreed to walk together no matter how many times the Archbishop of Canterbury says otherwise. At the end of the conference, these orthodox leaders in attendance provided a communique of their experience at the meeting, and for all those who care about the future of global Anglicanism, I commend it for your reading. The Canterbury Communion has ceased to be a place where communion can be shared and has devolved into something more akin to a federation or association of Provinces with a common history and incompatible theologies and moral ethics.
While their colonial structures are imploding, the Anglican Establishment in England continues to ignore the valid concerns of those who hold to the teaching of the Bible and the historical teaching of the Church. Through the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, led by the power of the Holy Spirit, new courageous leaders are filling this gap with authentic community and communion, seeking to make up for the Gospel deficit and the Ecclesial deficit (Windsor Report).
We are living in a unique moment in which, by the grace of God, global Anglicanism can be genuinely reformed by Biblical repentance and renewal. This will be the focus of the Gafcon IV Conference next April when we gather in Kigali, Rwanda. The world needs the transformation that comes from hearing and responding to an unambiguous, saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Let us not hesitate in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around us, teaching them what he has taught so clearly in the Bible: that they are loved by God and how to be his disciples. Please join me in praying and working for a faithful global Anglican future.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20,21)
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Chair, Gafcon Primates Council