GAFCON: Jerusalem Declaration: A Participant’s Reflection
Joanna and I found it the most moving and uplifting week of our 25 years ministry within the Anglican Church. At this critical time in the history of the Church, the Lord has raised up a united global leadership within the Anglican Communion that is unashamedly committed to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the authority of Scripture and the historic creeds.
There were 1,200 invited participants from 25 countries including 291 Bishops and 12 Archbishops, representing 40 million out of a total of 55 million Anglicans worldwide – a clear majority who uphold a biblical, apostolic and orthodox view of the Christian faith. Tonight I am going to talk you through the Jerusalem Declaration which was endorsed by those who attended. But let me begin with three red herrings that have been circulating at Christ Church while we were away.
1. We are leaving the Church of England
I want to emphasize most strongly our full and continuing commitment to both the worldwide Anglican Communion and Church of England. We are not leaving. Please realise the cost involved in us taking this stand. You can decide to change your church affiliation as easily as you can choose to shop at a different supermarket. We as a family have invested 28 years of our lives in the Church of England. Our integrity, our home, our income, our pension, our future is at stake. No, we are not taking this issue lightly. We are not leaving the Church of England. We are reclaiming the Church of England and realigning the Anglican Communion that we dearly love.
2. We are being divisive or schismatic
Schism occurs when Christians divide over secondary issues. We are not doing so. This is a first order Gospel issue that affects our eternal salvation. We are upholding the orthodox Anglicanism which is rooted in the Scriptures, the 39 Articles, Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal. This is the basis of our unity, not the Archbishop of Canterbury. We treasure that unity and will maintain it. We will not break the unity of the Spirit by embracing a new and different gospel espoused by those who have departed from the Scriptures.
3. We are acting precipitously without consultation
I have kept those of you with email access fully informed of the GAFCON conference and put a commentary of our visit on my blog. Tonight is the first opportunity we have had to share with you personally. True, I have endorsed the Jerusalem Declaration wholeheartedly and I commend it to you. I have written to Bishop Christopher and Bishop Ian to give them the opportunity to do so also. Yesterday, eight members of our leadership team went to All Souls Church, Langham Place to hear three godly Archbishops Henry Orondi (Uganda), Greg Vanables (Southern Cone) and Philip Jensen (Sydney) together with the Revd Dr Jim Packer who all spoke in Jerusalem. Four more PCC and church members attended an evening meeting.
The Jerusalem Declaration is a global Anglican response to a generation of assaults on biblical orthodoxy by liberal Anglicans. (For this outline I am grateful to Dr Mark Thompson http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2008/06/10/the-anglican-debacle-roots-and-patterns )
It really is simply a matter of historical record that the last fifty years or so have witnessed an increasingly virulent attack upon biblical truth and biblical morality led liberal Anglican Bishops and Archbishops who should instead have been guarding both… Although it might not have been the first instance of this, we might start with the publication, in 1963 of John A. T. Robinson’s book Honest to God. At the time he was the Bishop of Woolwich. In that book he questioned the doctrine of God and many other elements of classic Anglican teaching. And this was the new thing: that a serving bishop should mount a challenge to the doctrine of the articles and the teaching of the Bible in such a public and unashamed way.
Even before his consecration as Bishop of Newark in 1976, John Shelby Spong, an admirer of J. A. T. Robinson, had been writing controversial books. In fact his controversial views would eventually lead to charges of heresy, which were dismissed in 1987. In 1986 he published Beyond Moralism: A Contemporary View of the Ten Commandments. Two years later he wrote Living in Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality. A year later he openly and knowingly ordained a practicing homosexual man. He has denied the uniqueness of Christ as the only saviour of the world, and the authority of the Scriptures to determine Christian doctrine and Christian practice. In 2001 he published his autobiography: Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love and Equality. In it he appended ‘Twelve Theses for Christianity in the Twenty-first century’ which begin with the breathtaking statement, ‘Theism as a way of defining God, is dead’.
In 1984, the then bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, gained notoriety by commenting in a BBC interview that the belief that Jesus was raised bodily from the grave was ridiculous, an infantile preoccupation with ‘a conjuring trick with bones’.
In 1995 the then bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries, defended his cathedral’s invitation to a practicing Muslim to preach the university sermon on the BBC’s ‘Thought for the Day’. He quoted Jesus’ words ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God’ and then went on to deduce that since the Muslim concerned was working for peace in his own country he not only came under the blessing of Jesus, but shared the title Son of God with him. When challenged about the uniqueness of Jesus on the basis of John 14:6 he wrote ‘to suggest that Jesus actually said those words is to deny 150 years of scholarship in the Gospel of John.
Michael Ingham, the present day Bishop of New Westminster in the Church of Canada was interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen in September 1997. In that interview he insisted, ‘It’s time for Christians to drop the idea that Christ is the one sure way to salvation’. He developed these ideas in his book of the same year, Mansions of the Spirit: The Gospel in a Multi-faith World.
Outlandish statements by bishops of the Anglican Communion, undermining the teaching of Scripture and the doctrine of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion are only barely newsworthy these days. They seem to come with such regularity and disdain for anyone who disagrees with them that only rarely do they provoke controversy. Instead, it’s the orthodox who are the source of scandal as far as the secular press is concerned. Statements of orthodox Anglican doctrine are often ridiculed and then dismissed.
More than at any time in the recent past, those who seek to offer an open, inclusive and welcoming Gospel within the Anglican Communion are facing great challenges. Chris Sugden of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, writing in the Guardian today said, “For five years, the Episcopal church in US, the Anglican church of Canada, and elements of the Church of England and church in New Zealand have acted precisely like the student unions of the 1970s and Militant Tendency in putting facts on the ground and defying the authorities to do anything about it.”
Another feature that has made this a moment of crisis is the way attempts have been made to officially endorse teaching which is in direct conflict with the teaching of Scripture. This could be illustrated in a number of areas. We might focus on the defeat of a motion affirming the authority of Scripture on the floor of the General Synod of ECUSA in August 2003. However, because it is the catalyst for our immediate decisions, I will simply trace the official shift of position on homosexuality in the American and Canadian churches. I want to emphasis that this controversy is not about homophobia – it is about the rejection of the supreme authority of the Scriptures and the doctrine of the Church of England. Homosexuality os merely the presenting issue. On this subject the Bible is clear and unambiguous. Homosexual practice is a sin requiring repentance, without which there can be no salvation.
‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. 22 “ ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. 23 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it.” (Leviticus 18:21-23)
Notice in what is a long list of prohibitions, homosexual practice is listed between pagan child sacrifice and having sex with animals. God’s moral law as enshrined in the Old Testament is reiterated in the New Testament. In Acts 15 the Council of Jerusalem declared that Gentiles must also keep the moral law of Moses and “abstain from food polluted by idols, [and] from sexual immorality...” (Acts 15:20-21). The apostle Paul reiterates Leviticus and condemns homosexual practice:
“In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” (Romans 1:27)
Paul is not distinguishing between stable loving faithful homosexual relations and promiscuity. He is applying the ban on all homosexual practice found in Leviticus. Referring explicitly to the Law, in his pastoral letter to Timothy, Paul says,
“Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. 8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” (1 Timothy 1:6-11)
In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul elaborates:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sin, but the fearful judgment of God and the eternal fires of hell.
The apostle Jude warns of the same:
“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)
We will expand on these passages in more detail on Saturday with the PCC and in our sermon series in September.
For now let me simply say that the Bible is clear and unambiguous. Homosexual orientation is not sinful. Homosexual practice is sinful and renders one subject to the wrath of God. That has been the position of the universal Church for 2000 years and remains the doctrinal position of the Church of England.
Here is a time-line of when the tear in the fabric of the Anglican Communion began.
1943 Lectionary readings touching upon homosexual practice are declared difficult by ECUSA and removed from the lectionary.
1989 Bishop Spong of Newark openly and knowingly ordains a non-celebate homosexual .
1994 Bishop Spong drafts the Koinonia Statement defining homosexuality as morally neutral and affirming support for the ordination of homosexuals.
1997 ECUSA General Convention defeats a motion to endorse the Kuala Lumpur Statement, which affirmed the Bible’s teaching on human sexuality.
July 1998 Lambeth Conference passes Resolution 1.10 affirming the biblical teaching on human sexuality.
1998 Synod of Diocese of New Westminster in the Church of Canada votes to endorse the blessing of same sex unions, although bishop urges caution for the time being.
2002 Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster votes for the third time to endorse the blessing of same sex unions, this time with the support and encouragement of the bishop (a number of evangelical leaders, including Jim Packer and David Short) walk out.
23 July 2002 Rowan Williams announced as Archbishop of Canterbury despite having admitted that he had knowing ordained a homosexual man.
20 May 2003 The Bishop of Oxford announces that Jeffrey John, an advocate of gay rights and himself a non-practicing homosexual, will be the next Bishop of Reading.
7 June 2003 Gene Robinson, a practicing gay man is elected as bishop of New Hampshire.
6 July 2003 Jeffrey John withdraws his nomination as Bishop of Reading after much discussion in the press and a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
August 2003 General Convention of ECUSA votes to confirm Gene Robinson.
2 Nov. 2003 Consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
April 2004 retired Bishop Otis Charles ‘marries’ his homosexual partner in Pasadena.
The roots of this shift in thinking can be seen way back in the 1940s.
However, in the last ten years, since the last Lambeth Conference, the onslaught on the official position of the Anglican church has only grown. Now it is not just a matter of an individual bishop’s heretical opinion, either expressed in private or published for general consumption. This is the institution changing its official position by stealth. And at this year’s Lambeth Conference will neither discuss the issue or pass any resolutions. Nor will Rowan Williams agree to meet with the Primates, the fellow archbishops of the Anglican Communion to hear their concerns. That is why some of them have decided to act without him.
Let me explain what is going to happen next:
On Saturday the Church Council will, as part of their Away Day, consider some of the biblical and theological issues raised by the Primates of GAFCON.
In August the Global Primates Council will meet and decide how best to provide pastoral oversight for orthodox Anglicans.
In September, Ro, Francis and I will preach a four week sermon series on the issues confronting the Church of England at the moment – namely biblical authority, homosexuality, false teachers and false gospel.
On Saturday 11th October (mark it in your diary) we will be hosting an all day conference at which we will watch the presentations made by the three Archbishops and Jim Packer at yesterday’s All Soul’s conference, together with further material from the Jerusalem conference. During the day there will also be space for small group discussions and prayer.
Then and only then will the PCC will be invited to respond to the Jerusalem Declaration, as will every church in the global Anglican Communion have to, sooner or later. Then in November the issue has been tabled for discussion by the Deanery Synod.
As to the future, we are in God’s hands. But burying our heads in the sand and hoping it will all go away will not do any good. We cannot go back to the way things were. Like a nuclear explosion, the fall out will affect every church within the Anglican communion. So we are not leaving the Church of England. We are not being divisive or schismatic and we have not acted precipitously or without consultation. Please do not listen to gossip and slander. And do not believe all that the secular newspapers print either.
The Global Anglican Context
The future of the Anglican Communion is but a piece of the wider scenario of opportunities and challenges for the gospel in 21st century global culture. We rejoice in the way God has opened doors for gospel mission among many peoples, but we grieve for the spiritual decline in the most economically developed nations, where the forces of militant secularism and pluralism are eating away the fabric of society and churches are compromised and enfeebled in their witness. The vacuum left by them is readily filled by other faiths and deceptive cults. To meet these challenges will require Christians to work together to understand and oppose these forces and to liberate those under their sway. It will entail the planting of new churches among unreached peoples and also committed action to restore authentic Christianity to compromised churches.
The Anglican Communion, present in six continents, is well positioned to address this challenge, but currently it is divided and distracted. The Global Anglican Future Conference emerged in response to a crisis within the Anglican Communion, a crisis involving three undeniable facts concerning world Anglicanism.
The first fact is the acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-10)
This false gospel undermines the authority of God’s Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgement. Many of its proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.
The second fact is the declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote this false gospel.
“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.” (2 John 1:9-11)
These declarations have resulted in a realignment whereby faithful Anglican Christians have left existing territorial parishes, dioceses and provinces in certain Western churches and become members of other dioceses and provinces, all within the Anglican Communion. These actions have also led to the appointment of new Anglican bishops set over geographic areas already occupied by other Anglican bishops. A major realignment has occurred and will continue to unfold.
The third fact is the manifest failure of the Communion Instruments to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy.
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11 You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11)
“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” (Romans 16:17-18)
The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, in proclaiming this false gospel, have not only consistently defied the Scriptures but also the official position of the Church of England. The 1998 Lambeth statement on Human Sexuality is contained in Resolution 1.10.
· in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
· recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
· while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
· cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
Despite numerous meetings and reports to and from the ‘Instruments of Unity,’ no effective action has been taken, and the bishops of these unrepentant churches are welcomed to Lambeth 2008. To make matters worse, there has been a failure to honour promises of discipline, the authority of the Primates’ Meeting has been undermined and the Lambeth Conference has been structured so as to avoid any hard decisions. We can only come to the devastating conclusion that ‘we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’.
Sadly, this crisis has torn the fabric of the Communion in such a way that it cannot simply be patched back together. At the same time, it has brought together many Anglicans across the globe into personal and pastoral relationships in a fellowship which is faithful to biblical teaching, more representative of the demographic distribution of global Anglicanism today and stronger as an instrument of effective mission, ministry and social involvement.
A Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, are a fellowship of confessing Anglicans for the benefit of the Church and the furtherance of its mission. We are a fellowship of people united in the communion (koinonia) of the one Spirit and committed to work and pray together in the common mission of Christ. It is a confessing fellowship in that its members confess the faith of Christ crucified, stand firm for the gospel in the global and Anglican context, and affirm a contemporary rule, the Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the movement for the future. We are a fellowship of Anglicans, including provinces, dioceses, churches, missionary jurisdictions, para-church organisations and individual Anglican Christians whose goal is to reform, heal and revitalise the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world.
Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words:
The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. (Canon A5)
In particular Article 20 says:
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation. (Article 20)
We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Building on the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship.
The Jerusalem Declaration
In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.
1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.
7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.
The Road Ahead
We believe the Holy Spirit has led us during this week in Jerusalem to begin a new work. There are many important decisions for the development of this fellowship which will take more time, prayer and deliberation. Among other matters, we shall seek to expand participation in this fellowship beyond those who have come to Jerusalem, including cooperation with the Global South and the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa. We can, however, discern certain milestones on the road ahead.
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, do hereby acknowledge the participating Primates of GAFCON who have called us together, and encourage them to form the initial Council of the GAFCON movement. We look forward to the enlargement of the Council and entreat the Primates to organise and expand the fellowship of confessing Anglicans.
We urge the Primates’ Council to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.
We recognise the desirability of territorial jurisdiction for provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion, except in those areas where churches and leaders are denying the orthodox faith or are preventing its spread, and in a few areas for which overlapping jurisdictions are beneficial for historical or cultural reasons.
We thank God for the courageous actions of those Primates and provinces who have offered orthodox oversight to churches under false leadership, especially in North and South America. The actions of these Primates have been a positive response to pastoral necessities and mission opportunities. We believe that such actions will continue to be necessary and we support them in offering help around the world.
We believe this is a critical moment when the Primates’ Council will need to put in place structures to lead and support the church. In particular, we believe the time is now ripe for the formation of a province in North America for the federation currently known as Common Cause Partnership to be recognised by the Primates’ Council.
Conclusion: Message from Jerusalem
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, were summoned by the Primates’ leadership team to Jerusalem in June 2008 to deliberate on the crisis that has divided the Anglican Communion for the past decade and to seek direction for the future. The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency that a false gospel has so paralysed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ. It is our hope that this Statement on the Global Anglican Future will be received with comfort and joy by many Anglicans around the world who have been distressed about the direction of the Communion.
By the grace of God, GAFCON and the new Primates Council of orthodox and godly Archbishops, I believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations.
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served …or the gods … in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)