Anglican Perspectives

Global South is an Ecclesial Body, GAFCON is a Movement

Here at GAFCON, there are many who are asking the question: “What is the relationship between GAFCON and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA)?”  At today’s press briefing, the correspondent from The Living Church confessed that he was struggling to explain to his audience the relationship between the two bodies. Without missing a beat, Archbishop Glenn Davies replied, “Global South is an ecclesial body; GAFCON is a movement.”

Amen.  This is a simple and elegant response to the question. It is exactly what the American Anglican Council has been saying about the ways that GAFCON and GSFA should see each other— GAFCON as a movement that authenticates and recognizes biblically faithful Anglicans who cannot remain in heterodox Anglican Churches, as well as a reforming movement that calls the Church to repentance, biblical faithfulness, and mission.  Global South is like the Mother Church in Jerusalem in Acts 15. It has ecclesial authority and structures, has the authority to welcome biblically faithful Anglican refugees into its Communion of churches as full members, is equally confessional, and gathers for mission. 

But there is another equally, if not more pressing, question inextricably linked to the first.  It was the question raised in the GAFCON assembly for clergy and laity today: What is our hope for the Anglican Communion?  Among the answers given were:

  • That we would be a growing global fellowship of mutually accountable followers of Jesus under the authority of Scripture who spread the Gospel of Jesus
  • That we would live together within good and godly synodical structures with provisions for discipline for Provinces and Dioceses that fail to uphold orthodoxy
  • That we would be known by what we are for rather than what we are against

If this, indeed, captures the future of a biblically faithful and missional Anglican Communion, what can GAFCON and the Global South do together to make this future a reality? 

The possibilities are many, and only time will tell if ideas like these or others will find their way into the upcoming declaration. Regardless, all GAFCON and GSFA provinces, dioceses, and networks must withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and associated committees and networks associated with the Canterbury-led Communion in keeping with both the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration Clause 13 and the GSFA Ash Wednesday 2023 Declaration. When matters arise that require a response, GSFA and GAFCON leaders should commit to issuing joint statements to exhibit a unified alternative to the Instruments of Communion they left behind.

GAFCON could adopt the Chairman and General Secretary’s vision of GAFCON as a mission network to proclaim the unchanging Gospel in a changing world and to adopt a Decade of Evangelism, Discipleship, and Mission, again providing a unified front towards global transformation in Christ.

It would also be beneficial if all provinces, dioceses, and networks present at this GAFCON IV are asked to study the GSFA Cairo Covenantal Structures and to seriously consider applying for membership under the terms of the Covenant. The more people who enter into a covenantal relationship with one another through the GSFA Cairo Covenant—including existing Anglican provinces as well as new branches, networks, dioceses, and provinces—the stronger we will be as the true and faithful Anglican Communion. GSFA and GAFCON can partner together to authenticate and recognize those dioceses, networks, and other ecclesial bodies of biblically faithful Anglicans who are refugees of corrupted and compromised churches in the Canterbury-led Communion, helping them to become full members of both GAFCON and GSFA.

Above all, both bodies must reaffirm that WE ARE already the true and faithful Anglican Communion! 

ACNA Archbishop emeritus Robert Duncan reflected long ago on the issue of Anglican identity in the context TEC’s abandonment of biblical Christianity when could no longer remain in corrupted company.  Reflecting on the actions of TEC and our loss of so many church buildings, he said, “Let them take the stuff; we will take the souls!” So, let Canterbury take the “stuff.”  Let GAFCON and GSFA take the souls. That’s what we have been called to do together for Christ and his Kingdom!

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