A commenter posted re my previous post this comment:
"My question to you here, Peter, is: does your obvious regard for this new emanation of separately-contrived 'Anglicanism' exceed your loyalty to the Provincial Church of which you are a part, and which is not connected to GAFCON - except through the tenuous links of one bishop and 13 other New Zealanders?
Do you think that the Gafcon church is the 'new face' of world-wide Anglicanism? And is it superior in some way to the Anglicanism of which you presently are a part? I am a little disturbed that you are promoting this revisionist view of how Anglicanism should present its mission to the world - obviously in competition with the Instruments of Unity in world-wide Anglicanism.
I understand that you are the education officer for our diocese of Christchurch in ACANZP. Is your promotion of the Gafcon crowd part of your educational remit? Or is it just your personal opinion. There is a difference"
Let me reply first with a general comment that GAFCON is a large global event involving Anglicans from many churches around the world, including many primates and bishops, of such significance that the ABC himself chose to rearrange his schedule in order to address the Primates beforehand. At the very least GAFCON is worthy of the attention of any and every Anglican whether or not those paying attention wish to promote or oppose the event or just watch idly from a neutral position.
Secondly, any such event as this has positive and negative aspects, that is points worth praising and commending and points worth examining and critiquing. Before GAFCON I criticised the Jerusalem Declaration which is the heart of the common theological accord binding participants together. During GAFCON I am drawing attention to things people are saying. Some of those things are more agreeable than others. For instance (but not to make it a subject of reflection here) I would like to raise the question whether Mike Ovey (in an address linked to in the post below) is too hard on the Western church as it engages in the many difficulties of the Western situation. Is the Western church worse or better or just the same at being faithful in its context as the church in (say) Uganda or Syria?
GAFCON is too big an event, and too wide an event in the life of the Anglican church to speak as the comment does above about 'separately contrived' or of our NZ connection as 'tenuous.' I take seriously our fellowship as Global Anglicans. If most African Anglican churches (and a number of others) are meeting in the GAFCON way with the GAFCON concerns then I am connected to this event: my brother and sister Anglicans are making claims and staking territory in the development of global Anglicanism. There is no 'tenuous' connection here - unless, of course, I wish to contrive a separatist Kiwi Anglicanism in which I pay no attention to what Anglicans elsewhere in the world are saying and doing.
'Loyalty': the charge brought here is fascinating. On the one hand I had not realised that our church had a view on GAFCON to which one must subscribe in order to demonstrate loyalty. On the other hand I am pretty loyal. Why I would even go so far as to say that I am at least as loyal as those Anglicans busily criticising various recent appointments made in our church. Or is it just people who draw attention to GAFCON and refuse to speak badly of it that are going to be accused of disloyalty at this time? (Actually I believe in free speech in our church and if people want to criticise that is fine, so long as people are also permitted to discuss GAFCON!) Anyway: to give a blunt answer specific to the question, as a member of God's universal church I am equally loyal to global and to local expressions of the church. Theologically I can do no other. And I am as committed to GAFCON as the Archbishop of Canterbury!
Is GAFCON the new face of global Anglicanism? I have no idea. But if it turns out that it is, it has gone about things in a Christ affirming, Scripture based, Anglicanophile manner. Where is the official Anglican Communion organised event of similar breadth in its vision?
Is GAFCON superior in some way to the Anglicanism of which I am presently a part? Of course not. GAFCON is part of the Anglicanism of which I am presently a part. It is colleagues who have gone to GAFCON, not enemies or opponents. Do I agree with everything my colleagues at GAFCON think and say? No. Which makes them rather like the colleagues who have stayed at home!
I do not see that GAFCON is promoting a mission at odds with other Anglican approaches to mission. There are many Anglican approaches to mission and this is one of them. It is certainly no more revisionist than, say, the approach that says it is better to distribute food to the hungry than to proclaim the gospel, or the approach which says if we put on great liturgy then people will be attracted into the life of the church.
Competition with the Instruments of Unity? There is no competition. The instruments are broken. A much better question (and one which needs to be asked) is whether GAFCON will turn out to be a contribution to Anglican unity or not.
My educational remit: I think it is to make people think. It seems that that happens here. Nevertheless the blog expresses my views and I am clear about that on the sidebar. I am not setting out to promote GAFCON as such but to promote discussion about what it means to be Anglican. That, I think, happens to be also part of my educational remit, as well as a personal hobby horse.
GAFCON is making a claim about what it means to be Anglican. It is grounded in the historic prayer book, articles of religion, and scriptural tradition of the Anglican Communion. It would be a pretty mean achievement to persuade people that GAFCON was not a reasonable, traditional experience within the diversity of being Anglican in the 21st century.
A final point. I take very seriously the international inclusion of all nations by God in God's church. A grave danger which I ask Kiwi Anglicans concerned about global Anglicanism's future to think very carefully about is that a Communion-minus-GAFCON will be a Caucasian-centric communion, at odds with the international inclusiveness of the true church of God.