From June 18 through June 22, 2018, more than 1900 evangelical Anglican leaders from 50+ countries met in Jerusalem to discuss the challenges facing their communion and working out biblical responses to those challenges. The organizational name under which these meetings occurred is GAFCON ("Global Anglican Future Conference").
Among the leaders of this event were WRF members and Anglican Archbishops Peter Jensen and Glenn Davies. Archbishop Jensen is the General Secretary of GAFCON and Archbishop Davies served as the Chairman of the Statement Working Group which was charged to create a statement which summarized the conclusions reached during these meetings.
Since this was one of the largest-ever gatherings of global Anglicans, since those participating in the event represent approximately 45 million evangelical Christians around the world, and since their decisions will shape the future of those Christians, it seems appropriate to call this meeting "Historic."
Attached to this item is the full text of the statement which was developed, reviewed by the participants, revised according to their input, and finalized on the last day of the event. We in the World Reformed Fellowship have received permission from Archbishop Davies to post this material and we commend it to our members and to all other evangelical Christians as well.
Below are just a few of the highlights of the statement. But we do strongly recommend a careful reading of the entire document.
Some highlights of the GAFCON statement:
For some time, our Communion has been under threat from leaders who deny the Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture. In the late 20th century, human sexuality became the presenting issue.
The 1998 Lambeth Conference by a huge majority (526 to 70) approved Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality, which affirmed the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 19 that there are only two expressions of faithful sexuality: lifelong marriage between a man and a woman or abstinence. The resolution rightly called for pastoral care for same sex attracted persons. At the same time, it described homosexual practice as “incompatible with Scripture” and rejected both the authorisation of same sex rites by the Church and the ordination of those in same sex unions.
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As the Gafcon movement matures, it has also seen the need for a more conciliar structure of governance. We endorse the formation of Gafcon Branches where necessary and of a Panel of Advisors, comprising bishops, clergy and lay representatives from each Gafcon Province and Branch, to provide counsel and advice to the Primates Council. Together with the Primates, the Panel of Advisors form a Synodical Council to bring recommendations to the Gafcon Assembly. The Synodical Council met for the first time at this Conference.
In light of the recommendations of the Synodical Council, we respectfully urge the Archbishop of Canterbury
* to invite as full members to Lambeth 2020 bishops of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America and the Province of the Anglican Church in Brazil and
* not to invite bishops of those Provinces which have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices which are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, unless they have repented of their actions and reversed their decisions.
In the event that this does not occur, we urge Gafcon members to decline the invitation to attend Lambeth 2020 and all other meetings of the Instruments of Communion.
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In order to expand our ability to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations in both word and deed, we launched nine strategic networks
* Theological Education: To promote effective theological training throughout the Anglican Communio
* Church Planting: To expand church planting as a global strategy for evangelization
* Global Mission Partnerships: To promote strategic cross-cultural mission partnerships in a globalized world
* Youth and Children’s Ministry: To be a catalyst for mission to young people and children of all nations so that they may become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ
* Mothers’ Union: To expand the potential of this global ministry to promote biblical patterns of marriage and family life
* Sustainable Development: To establish global partnerships which work with the local church to bring sustainable and transformative development
* Bishops Training Institute: To serve the formation of faithful and effective episcopal leadership throughout the Communion
* Lawyers Task Force: To address issues of religious freedom and matters of concern to Anglican lawyers and Chancellors and to further the aims of the Jerusalem Declaration
* Intercessors Fellowship: To inspire and develop globally connected regional and national intercessory prayer networks
In the world into which we go to proclaim the gospel, we shall encounter much which will need us to walk in paths of righteousness and mercy (Hosea 2:19; Micah 6:8). We commit to encouraging each other to give strength to the persecuted, a voice to the voiceless, advocacy for the oppressed, protection of the vulnerable, especially women and children, generosity to the poor, and continuing the task of providing excellent education and health care. As appropriate, we encourage the formation of other networks to assist in addressing these issues.