Thursday, January 3, 2008

Conservatives conflict over GAFCON

A huge fight between conservatives is emerging over GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference, June 2008 - see below). The fight can be 'watched' on sites such as Titus One Nine and Stand Firm. It seems unnecessary. Worse, it plays into the hands of 'liberals'; and it bodes ill for the future of conservatives within (or out of) the Anglican Communion. We simply have to handle disagreement and difference better. Ut unum sint (that they may be one). I think it is pretty simple. One, people are free in Christ to meet; so GAFCON should go ahead (albeit with a review as to timing and to place, given hesitancy by local Anglican leaders such as Archbishop Mouneer Anis). Two, Anglican bishops have a responsibility in Christ to forgive each other: if mistakes have been made re consistency of response and honouring commitments to statements and agreements made in the past few years, then these need addressing, acknowledging, and the possibility of a new start to episcopal relationships enabled. The place to do this is Lambeth 2008. What would Jesus do? I reckon he would be at Lambeth!

A number of conservatives - if comment on the blogosphere is anything to go by - think this a naive approach or a waste of time. I do not agree with such sentiments, especially since often they are linked to an announced desire to be able to get on with the mission of the church. What credibility does our mission have if percipient people ask, 'did you do EVERYTHING possible to overcome your divisions?' To not go to Lambeth is to fall short of 'everything' in this present context. At the core of our mission is the announcement of the gospel, and at the heart of the gospel is the message that God has done EVERYTHING to enable humanity to be reconciled to God. What would Jesus do? I reckon he would be at Lambeth!

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