In a significant response to the Appellate Tribunal opinion of last month, GAFCON Australia have this afternoon issued their “Commitment 2020“. The Commitment, accompanied by a covering letter, sets out very clearly what steps they will take in order to respond to any further departures from orthodoxy in the Anglican Church of Australia.
The cover letter, addressed to GAFCON’s supporters, urges restraint and perseverance until the General Synod in May/June 2021 can take a definitive position. The letter describes the General Synod as “the proper place for determining the doctrine and practice of the church”. There is also a call to faithful Anglicans all over the country to now consider “how to respond to matters locally”.
The Commitment itself will be understood not just to provide clarity to GAFCON’s supporters, to whom it is primarily addressed, but also to those who want to pursue further revision in the national church. Its emphasis is on the role of bishops to maintain catholicity and discipline in their own dioceses and sets out what GAFCON Australia will do to work within the existing structures of the Anglican Church of Australia if they are not upheld.
GAFCON Australia explains their position as a natural consequence of the Jerusalem Declaration:
We affirm the Jerusalem Declaration, which in section 13 says: ‘We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed’.
What is striking about the cover letter and the Commitment is that GAFCON Australia have now made clear public accusations that there are bishops in the Anglican Church of Australia who do not uphold the doctrine of the church. What is also striking is that they are clear in their commitment to respond.
The Commitment sets out 5 scenarios where Anglicans may no longer be able to accept the oversight of their diocesan bishop. They include inaction on the part of the bishop in the face of denial of doctrine by their clergy.
GAFCON Australia’s most marked commitment in response is, if necessary, to form an “Extra-Provincial Diocese”.
If a sufficient number of churches and clergy disaffiliate from the ACA, Gafcon Australia will seek the approval of the Gafcon Primates Council to establish an Extra-Provincial Diocese (EPD) for Australia authorised by the Gafcon Primates.
davidould.net has spoken to senior leaders and their intent is clear – there is no desire to have to enact any of the more drastic contingencies and every wish that all sides will hold back from anything that will further exacerbate the situation until the General Synod meets in just over 5 months time. But it does appear that GAFCON Australia have learned from other Anglican provinces around the world that the revisionists are persistent in their actions and so clear plans must be made and communicated and, if necessary, acted upon.
The ball is now firmly in the revisionists’ court. Will they listen to the call of their Primate for restraint? Will they recognise that both the Appellate Tribunal opinion is seriously flawed and that the right place for determining this matter is the General Synod? Or will they push on regardless, sacrificing the catholicity of the Anglican Church of Australia?
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This letter and Communication from GAFCON Australia have made a clear, firm and decisive position concerning the Anglican Church of Australia and its future, with grace and patience following the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal.
It is now time to make a stand for Truth and Orthodoxy.
The Minority Opinion from the Appellate Tribunal written by Ms Gillian Davidson spells out very clearly what the orthodox opinion is – it is well-worth reading; thorough and compelling.
Where does this leave me who live in rural NSW
It doesn’t matter whether you live in the city or the bush: there are apostate bishops, like the three in Newcastle, who rule over the city and the bush, and try to push their satanic agenda onto people who live in all sorts of places.
It is important for those of us who live in the bush to stand against their evil beliefs and deeds, and to persuade the nominal Anglicans who live around us that the Church is not just a mob of homosexuals and paedophiles, and their supporters, even though many in leadership positions are in one or more of those categories.
Country people are mostly direct in the way they speak to their neighbours, so we must take the opportunities we are given to speak against the apostates and their evil, and tell our neighbours that the little wooden church in the village is still the house of God, and they can come to it and receive the Word that leads to salvation.
Take heart, mate. God will not be mocked.
David, what is Gafcon’s plan now that General Synod has been postponed, yet again, to 2022? It seems very unlikely that Wangaratta/Newcastle will hold off blessing same-sex marriages in their churches until then.
I think it’s unchanged. The conference will go ahead this year and the 2020 Commitment remains.
And if W/N start blessing same-sex marriages before this year’s Gafcon conference? Would it not be wise for Gafcon to remind the revisionists of its fall-back position if ACA were to split over same-sex blessings? The last day thoughts this week of the retiring Archbishop of Sydney were quite pessimistic that Church unity could be maintained in the face of the W/N insurgency.
I think the 2020 Commitment makes it more than clear what will happen.
How convenient that the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia for a second year has decided that COVID will prevent church leadership from meeting to determine serious issues that need to be discussed and decisions made over doctrine and practice.
In so many parishes around the nation faithful clergy and lay people are crying out for strong leaders who will hold firm the tenets of Christ’s Church. We are the Body of Christ. We are called to be holy. Why are so many of our leaders following the spirit of the age, prevaricating and obfuscating in an attempt to hold on to so called “good disagreement”? Compromise doesn’t work!
As Elijah said to God’s people, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Ba’al, then follow him”. (1 Kings 18:21)
If General Synod will not meet, then it’s now time for GAFCON to take the next step.
Convenient indeed Helen, thank you. Another postponement of General Synod (GS), this time until “most likely in 2022” (Primate Smith) suits the prevaricators & obfuscators down to the ground. The ‘progressive’ bishops in Wangaratta & Newcastle are likely still laughing.
My guess is, like me! you didn’t make the cut to attend this year’s GS as a lay ‘member’. In the absence of personal attendance or knowing an attendee able to debate one’s concerns, petitioning seems the only way for everyday Anglicans to have their issues raised. (“perhaps raised” is more accurate – GS can decide to accept or reject a petition & even if accepted there is no guarantee it will resurface & be debated).
Prior to this postponement I approached the heads of the (supposedly) most orthodox diocese, Sydney, seeking a lay member willing to present a petition asking if the revisionist dioceses proposing to bless same-sex marriages were encouraged by the Church’s decision to continue using the Marriage Act (with its secular definition of marriage) after Parliament legalised same-sex marriage in 2017. To use an Americanism, I was politely ‘stonewalled’ at every turn by the then Archbishop & one of those Bishops presently contending for that post. So much for listening to the people.
From Gafcon’s 2020 Commitment it seems a number of churches/clergy would have to disaffiliate before it could offer them an extra-provincial diocese. That ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’, following on from any disaffiliation, is exactly what my petition wished to avoid by “praying for” (a legal term) GS to debate whether the Church’s decision on use of the Marriage Act was sound or unsound & if found unsound, to revisit it. I am confident GS would have found the decision unsound & successfully moved for religious solemnisations only, aligning the Church unambiguously with Christ’s own teaching.
That the revisionists would then see their blessings bubble as lacking any foundation, was the outcome I had hoped to see.