Akinola on GAFCON

Archbishop Peter Akinola has clarified the purpose of GAFCON, stating unequivocally that the conference is an alternative to Lambeth, and that they believe their purpose extends well beyond the question of homosexuality and into what amounts to a nebulous rejection of “modern” culture, presumably in the sense of present-tense life in much of the Anglican communion. By asserting the primacy of Scripture and the Word over engaging with said culture, Akinola declares that he is leading people away of a significant tradition in the Anglican church:

What led to GAFCON? It is a very long story. In the last five years we have had this endless controversy in the Anglican Communion. To the world this is about homosexuality. To us it is just a symptom of the real problem. Homosexuality is not peculiar to Anglicans but Anglicans have the courage to discuss it openly. The issue is that there are members of our Anglican family who are not paying attention to scripture, but are giving prominence to modern culture. They are bringing new principles to interpret scripture. The word of God has precedence over any culture. Those of us who will abide with the Word of God, come rain come fire, are those who are in GAFCON.

Those who say it does not matter are the ones who are attending Lambeth. There might be a view, for whatever it is worth, that they want to be there to observe what is going on. But Uganda, Rwanda, Sydney, Nigeria: we are not going to Lambeth conference. What is the use of the Lambeth conference for a three weeks’ jamboree which will sweep these issues under the carpet. GAFCON will confer about the future of the church, which will set a road map for the future. We are a movement that will move away from the “maybe – maybe not”.

The issue is that church leaders are endorsing what is wrong. They are not willing to make the gospel that the Lord can bring change available. We want to move forward with commitment to the word of God. The question is asked how many people we are. The question is rather how many people we are representing. Four primates who are in the leadership of GAFCON represent more than 30 million Anglicans.

Akinola is careful not to name the four primates, but the Archbishop of Sydney is not a primate.

The full address, given as a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria, yesterday, is here.

It’s also important to observe that Kenya is missing from Akinola’s list. Further, while Akinola speaks of whole provinces boycotting Lambeth, Lambeth Palace is concerned that some primates are threatening bishops who want to attend Lambeth with discipline if they do in fact attend. Some in Sydney have gone to the trouble of disassociating themselves from GAFCON. Furthermore, three provinces in Africa responded to the efforts of Akinola and Minns to organize an all CAPA boycott of Lambeth at the last CAPA meeting.

As to whether GAFCON is about homosexuality, remember the minutes of his recent meeting with the Bishop of Jerusalem.

Mark Harris calls it for what it is:

GAFCON is about forming a new Communion of bible-belt Anglicans.

The fourth point of the Lambeth Quadrilateral speaks of the historic episcopate locally adapted in the methods of its administration. It turns out that “locally adapted in its methods of administration” has come to include ripping out the leg of reason, trimming the leg of tradition, both of which have a large dose of “modern culture” to them, and sitting on the post of scripture. Well, so be it. When the Archbishop dozes off, he will fall over. When he gets up, the Archbishop will no longer be an Anglican.

His post is here.

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