Is GAFCON the “only game in town”?

David Virtue has a piece up at his site where Archbishop Gregory Venables, the Primate of South America, told the April launch of GAFCON Ireland that GAFCON is the only game in town for faithful Anglicans.

“At this launch we are saying we take God and his Word seriously… are you prepared to stand firm? Will you pay the price? I will take God seriously and take myself less seriously. It would not be right to say I am 90% faithful to my wife?”… I’ve been called to be 100% faithful to her, and she won’t accept anything else. And if I’m going to be 100% faithful to God, I’ve got only one thing to say to this present-day situation — ‘No’!”.

Venables said people may not like the word ‘GAFCON’ but it’s the only game in town for faithful Anglicans. “Believe me there is no other place to go if you are interested in the gospel. If you care about people’s eternal destiny, you have to make a church. There is only one way to be faithful – to have courage. That is what GAFCON is, he said.”

I applaud GAFCON’s commitment to a Scriptural faith, but I beg to differ because GAFCON is not the only game in town for faithful Anglicans.

We in the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican Patrimony are the final destination of true Anglican Christian orthodoxy because we are re-grafted into the Church that Christ founded and thus reconnected to the English Catholicism that preceded the “Reformation.” We are as passionately obedient to Scripture, but we have come to see that Sola Scriptura is not enough, because it lends itself to everyone being his or her own pope interpreting the Scriptures.   Also, for us the 39 Articles, well, we see them as an ambiguous political document

There’s a lot to like about GAFCON though.  This, for example:

Guest preacher, (the Rev.) Vaughan Edward Roberts, rector of St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, said the crisis in the Anglican Communion is because of a divorce between the gospel and Godliness. “Gospel godliness must be lived out by the church. Godliness is seen in action. We live distinct lives in a world that watches!”

Roberts outlined three foundations for faithful churches:
1.) The apostolic gospel
2.) Godly leaders
3.) Effective discipline.

“We cannot ‘agree to disagree’ on core convictions of the apostolic gospel, sexual sin is one of those.
How can I go back to sin when he (Jesus) died to set me free from it! The cross does not make sense if humans are not deeply sinful and under the wrath of God. Jesus came to our world as RESCUER, not to add frills to our basically good lives.

Amen!  I feel more kinship with these faithful GAFCON members and their Scriptural faith and commitment to Jesus Christ and to godliness than I do to progressive Catholics who are endeavoring to change Catholic teaching on marriage, divorce, and the sacraments.

Let us pray for them, and hope they will come to pray for us!


2 thoughts on “Is GAFCON the “only game in town”?

  1. “I applaud GAFCON’s commitment to a Scriptural faith …”

    Putting aside, of course, that little matter of women’s pretended ordination, which the GAFCON coterie (for the most part) either favor or regard with indifference as “no big deal.”


  2. This is a very interesting post, so I’ll chip in my $0.02.

    First, let me address the issue of GAFCON being the only game in town.

    >> 1. For some faithful Anglicans, including those in Ireland specifically mentioned in the comments, GAFCON may well be the only option right now. I have no doubt that the Vatican would allow Anglican congregations in Ireland who seek reconciliation with the Catholic Church to form extraterritorial communities of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, but I’m not aware of any such requests. There are also plenty of Anglican clergy who were previously ordained in the Catholic Church, and thus cannot be admitted to ministry in an ordinariate, and plenty of Anglicans who are in irregular marriage situations that they perceive to be barriers, albeit often out of misunderstanding of the criteria by which Catholic tribunals can declare a marriage to have been null.

    >> 2. There’s also the reality that at least some provinces of GAFCON do ordain women, whom the Catholic Church would not admit to equivalent sacramental orders. Congregations served by female clergy would need replacements, and female clergy would need to find other occupations or vocational callings.

    >> 3. And there also are some parts of the world where there simply are not enough Anglican communities seeking reconciliation with the Catholic Church to form any sort of ordinariate structure. Many of these congregations are too distant from all of the current ordinariates to make an extraterritorial option impracticable.

    >> 4. Finally, for those who feel a calling to remain within the umbrella of the Anglican Communion, perhaps in order to work for a healing of the larger schism from within, GAFCON really is the only option right now. Of course, this begs two questions: (1) how much longer GAFCON can continue to be part of the Anglican Communion while refusing to recognize the provinces that have broken from orthodox Christian (that is, biblical) theology and (2) what will happen to GAFCON when that rift becomes a formal schism. I had hoped that the present Archbishop of Canterbury would either find a way to reign in the renegade provinces or see to their expulsion from the communion, but the Church of England instead seems to be following them into the land of apostasy under his tenure.

    The Protestant adage of sola scriptura has two fundamental problems.

    >> 1. There is no listing of the canon of scripture anywhere in scripture. Thus, the identification of the canon depends upon tradition, or the church, or some other entity, self-referentially contradicting sola scriptura.

    >> 2. The scriptures actually contradict sola scriptura directly. The most obvious reference is II Thessalonians 2:15: “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” This passage clearly states that the scriptures do not contain all of the apostles’ instructions to the communities of faith, and nevertheless directs the community to hold fast to that which the apostles gave orally — in short, to sacred tradition. It could not be any clearer.

    We should keep GAFCON in prayer as the organization continues to discern its way forward. There may be an opportunity for reconciliation of GAFCON with the Catholic Church after GAFCON formally breaks from the provinces of the Anglican Communion that have fallen into apostasy or that are willing to tolerate it.



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