The Best Hope for GAFCON

I have not always been a fan of Rev. Matt Kennedy. But, lately my estimation of him, a conservative Anglican cleric, has risen significantly. First, he changed his mind on WO and is now opposed. Second, he led his parish out of TEC. Both, are very good moves for this evangelical Anglican who has now written enough on Catholic theology at Stand Firm to make me wonder if he is edging toward becoming a crypto-Catholic.

Anyway, here is his very lucid explanation of what may come of GAFCON:

The brighter vision is that of a “Communion within a Communion.”

If we might leave here with at least the foundations laid for a new confessional and conciliar entity with its own leadership, its own “instruments of communion”, its own process of decision-making and discipline distinct from Canterbury then we will have created, or be well along the path to creating, a cohesive entity capable of gathering, growing, and empowering orthodox Anglicans that is not dependent upon the invitational decisions of one man.

A growing, united, disciplined entity, led by men and comprised of ecclesial bodies willing to act together independently of Lambeth Palace; willing, for example, to recognize provincial entities not in Communion with Canterbury that meet given confessional standards and unwilling to recognize provinces that are in Communion with Canterbury but that don’t, would make manifest a system of ecclesial order and discipline far more effective than that which presently under-girds the Communion itself.

As Greg insightfully points out, what Canterbury does or says is now largely irrelevant. He has made himself irrelevant by virtue of either his inability to uphold the commitments of the Communion or his passive aggressive decision not to. Whatever structure emerges from GAFCON (if in fact one does emerge) should maintain the Canterbury tie but should not let concerns about the mind Canterbury determine her course.

Such a Communion within a Communion, united in purpose, structure, and faith, would over time have the weight necessary to influence and, ultimately, reform the more disorganized and confused whole. Canterbury, the ACI, the ACO, Fulcrum, et all will not like it but there is not much they will be able to do about it either.

If the groundwork for something along those lines emerges from GAFCON then I think it will prove to be a most significant gathering, genuinely historic, the beginning of a reformed and renewed Anglicanism. If it does not then I think we may have come very nearly to the end of organized resistance.

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5 Responses to The Best Hope for GAFCON

  1. james g says:

    Fr. Jay,

    I have a lot of respect for Matt Kennedy but he’s way too Reformed to ever become crypto-Catholic.

    Such a Communion within a Communion, united in purpose, structure, and faith, would over time have the weight necessary to influence and, ultimately, reform the more disorganized and confused whole…

    Pipe dream. A “Communion within a Communion” will never reform the whole. Forward in Faith has done such a good job in influencing the Church of England against WO that it’s just one General Synod away from lady bishops. All that a “Communion within a Communion” will do is paper over the rift until it becomes completely impossible to deny that a schism does in fact exist; such as when Lambeth 2020 passes resolutions officially mandating the blessing of SSUnions.

    If the groundwork for something along those lines emerges from GAFCON then I think it will prove to be a most significant gathering, genuinely historic, the beginning of a reformed and renewed Anglicanism.

    Nothing is going to reform or renew Anglicanism. After all the dust finally settles there’ll be three “Anglican Communions” with the Protestants and Anglo-catholics both claiming to be the “real” or “true” Anglican Communion when in reality the pagan Anglo-apostate Communion is the true heir to the Erastian foundation of Anglicanism. By that time the whole matter will be moot anyway. The Anglo-catholics will have so shrunk in size as to rank behind Messianic Jews in influence; the Protestants will be sizable in the GS but morphed into a generic liturgical-Protestantism; and the Anglo-apostates will have dropped the charade that they’re a Christian group at all in preference for “a faith community in the Christian tradition.” Anglicanism in a form recognizable today will be dead – a fitting end to a failed experiment.

  2. Fr. J. says:

    james g. A rare thing has occurred. You have said the truth even more sharply than I. I always appreciate your more diplomatic style–but it is a time for the simple bald truths to be said about Anglicanism. Should it die as you say, and I believe it will, I for one will not be sad to see it go. I never found credible its claims at being the great pivotal institution at the center of a Christianity otherwise divided between extremes. It was always the fruit of a political compromise. And its purpose, which was to provide a common religious foundation for the Empire, is now far spent. So be it.

  3. diane says:

    Hi, James G! I received your e-mail and will respond tonight (I promise!)

    God bless you and many prayers!

  4. Rob says:

    Wow! james g said it all in his last paragraph. I could not have thought of it but I agree.

  5. I agree Ron, JG did hit it.

    Untennable now, always was…

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