The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches has reaffirmed a landmark agreement on marriage and sexuality, calling for a “resetting” of the Anglican Communion back to its biblical roots.
The statement came at the end of a meeting in Lambeth called by the English Archbishop Justin Welby. The Archbishop of Canterbury has traditionally called a meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world every 10 years.
However, the last full meeting of bishops was in 1998, when the Lambeth Conference passed what is known as Resolution 1.10. The resolution made clear that “in view of the teaching of Scripture”, Christian – therefore Anglican – doctrine is “faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union”, and “abstinence is right for those not called to marriage”. Soon after that meeting, North American provinces, including the US Episcopal Church, flouted the agreement.
Since then, biblically orthodox bishops and leaders representing the majority of Anglicans in the world have joined the Global Anglican Future movement (GAFCON) and the Global South (GSFA). They attended the Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008 in Jerusalem instead of the gathering in Lambeth that year. A biblically orthodox province, the Anglican Church in North America, was established to serve the US and Canada.
The 2022 Lambeth Conference, delayed by COVID, was only a partial meeting as a number of key leaders did not attend, including 10 Australian archbishops and bishops and the Primates of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda. Global South leaders who did attend made it clear they were attending to call the Anglican Communion to biblical faithfulness.
Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, Primate of South Sudan and chairman of the GSFA, declared that one of the aims of the group was to “spur on the faithful in the Communion to get the gospel out into the world”.
The Anglican Communion cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken - Archbishop Mouneer Anis
During the conference, Archbishop Welby wrote to delegates to “to affirm that the validity of the resolution passed at the Lambeth Conference 1998, 1:10 is not in doubt and that whole resolution is still in existence”. However, he said there would be no disciplinary action against provinces which had disregarded the agreement.
The chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference, Archbishop Foley Beach, said that Lambeth 2022 had been like recent Anglican events, which "routinely mixed heresy and orthodoxy; treating both positions as equally valid. The clear teaching of Scripture is treated as one of many valid options with no accountability for those Provinces who depart from the Bible. I wish I could be writing to you and sharing that the recent Lambeth Conference was different, but it was not".
Archbishop Beach pointed to retired Archbishop Mouneer Anis who, he said, eloquently pinpointed the problem: “The Anglican Communion cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken”.
In his regular GAFCON Chairman's letter, Archbishop Beach commended Archbishop Justin Badi Arama as well as Archbishop James Wong, Primate of the Indian Ocean, (pictured above) who “admirably led the orthodox cause for biblical theology and morality in the midst of a situation in which the balance of institutional power was stacked heavily against them. It was also helpful that they reminded the Conference that we have not agreed to walk together no matter how many times the Archbishop of Canterbury says otherwise”.
The GSFA said 125 bishops from 21 provinces, representing more than 7 million Anglicans at the Conference, had signed up to reaffirm the original Lambeth resolution on Biblical teaching. The provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda – whose primates and bishops did not attend the Conference – account for up to 30 million Anglicans in the Communion.