CANTERBURY: Can Two Walk Together Unless They Are Agreed?

David Virtue david at
Fri Oct 6 20:36:50 EDT 2017

CANTERBURY: Can Two Walk Together Unless They Are Agreed?
GAFCON's Initial Response to the Primates' Meeting 2017 Communique

October 6, 2017

Today's Communique from the Primates' Meeting 2017, in Canterbury,
England, is very disappointing, but it is not surprising. As we have
consistently said, the current "Instruments of Unity" are broken, and as
Archbishop Ntagali, Primate of Uganda, has said, "every attempt to
repair the torn fabric and heal the betrayal has made the situation
worse."[1] This has again proved true.

When the leaders of Gafcon and the Global South, representing the
majority of the world's Anglicans, met in Cairo last month it was their
prayer that "the outcome of the upcoming [Primates] meeting would be
decisive and lead to coherent and responsible action regarding the
issues which continue to tear apart the fabric of the Communion, issues
that have eternal consequences."[2] Judging by the Communique, their
hopes for the meeting have been disappointed.

The Primates' Meeting has been portrayed as "good disagreement" over
issues of sexuality, and that the irreconcilable theological convictions
underlying the different positions can be set aside for the sake of
institutional unity. But this does not reflect the reality. We are not
"walking together."[3]

Of most significance is the fact that several primates, including the
Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Gafcon Primates' Council have refused
to attend the meeting. In the words of Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate
of the Church of Nigeria,"Attendance at Canterbury would be to give
credibility to a pattern of behaviour which is allowing great damage to
be done to global Anglican witness and unity."[4]

The consciences of others led them to attend, to make a robust defence
of the Gospel. They bore faithful witness to the authority of
Scripture's unchanging teaching on marriage and human relationships.
Unfortunately, the primates' call to repentance was not heeded by those
who have sought to redefine marriage. Without repentance there can be no

Again we have seen the "inability of existing Communion instruments to
discern truth and error and take binding ecclesiastical action. The
instruments have again been found wanting in their ability to discipline
those leaders who have abandoned the biblical and historic faith."[5]

The rejection of Scripture and the changes in pastoral practice which
have been initiated by The Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada,
and the Scottish Episcopal Church have torn the fabric of the Communion.
For this reason we are grateful for those primates who have consecrated
a missionary bishop to care for the faithful in Scotland. There is no
moral equivalence between border crossing, which arises, "from a deep
concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation", and the
innovations themselves (Dar es Salaam Communique 2007)

As was said earlier this week, it would be tragic if meetings such as
this, or the Lambeth Conference were our only, or primary, form of
global Anglican relationship. Fortunately, the Gafcon movement gives us
the ability to share in authentic Christian fellowship, that in turn
builds us up for ministry. Gafcon remains committed to modelling truly
global orthodox Anglicanism, where the unity is based on the biblical
foundation of the unchanging Gospel.

Our attention turns now to Jerusalem 2018 where we will gather together
to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Gafcon and share in worship,
teaching, and fellowship.


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