Global South Anglicans at crossroad

Michael Nai Chiu Poon, of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia in Singapore charts the emergence of of “Global South Anglican” and places its rise within the broader historical developments of churches in the Southern Hemisphere. He challenges the interpretations of Philip Jenkins and conservative bloggers and the purposes of GAFCON. Poon encourages a greater involvement in future of Anglicanism by Christian intellectuals who live day to day in the Southern Hemisphere and not leaving it to a few primates and their northern allies. His article ends with some broader questions for the future of the Communion.

GAFCON holds before the Communion a new and unfamiliar utopia that is post-modern to its core. Webmasters and web bloggers render synodical processes irrelevant. They preside over web blogs in the virtual worlds of their own fabrication. Its power in shaping public opinion on ecclesiastical authorities simply cannot be ignored. A communion that is no longer dependent on patient face-to-face encounters and governed by geographical proximity: it is a Gnostic gospel that renders the Cross in vain.

Jenkins attributed the biblical and theological conservative and supernaturalist character of global South Christians as congenial to the social and political realities in which they find themselves. For Jenkins, this “lived Christianity” is more authentic than the “liberal” and Northern style gender theologies that are also present in the global South. Yet, is this all that is to “lived Christianity”? More importantly, must our homes in the Southern Hemisphere continue to be at the mercy of repressive regimes and natural disasters, and are consigned to poverty and power traps? What contribution should Anglicans in the South make towards world Christianity and their societies? Jenkins had no answer.

“Global South Anglican” introduces a new geopolitical grammar to the discussions on the present Communion crisis. It provides a new vision for the Communion. The Communion as a whole and the Global South Anglican leadership in particular needs to be alert to this. Greater vigilance should be given against hasty adoption of new IT-driven definitions and entities. Two central issues follow.

In the first place, how do Anglican churches across the oceans order themselves as part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Jesus Christ?

Secondly, Anglican churches in the South need to reconnect their “lived Christianity” with the spiritual and intellectual traditions in their parts of the world.

To end, global South Anglicans are at a crossroad in 2008. Whither it goes should not be left to the primates. It is a matter of prime concern for all Anglicans in the Southern Hemisphere. Our homes are at stake; our Communion is at stake.

Read it all here.

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