One of my great concerns for orthodox Anglicanism is that we may lose the Anglo-Catholics. Many have already been lost to Rome. And that stream could become a flash flood if the Church of England Synod this weekend approves women bishops without structural provision for objectors. Outside of England many A-Cs look askance at GAFCON and the evangelical flavor of its statement and don’t see a good home even among conservatives.
Now, there are some Anglo-Catholics who just can’t be pleased. They would rather the One Holy and Apostolic Church meet in their apartment than to join with churches that aren’t just so. And, of course, there are those uber-Protestants who can’t be pleased either, who are allergic to incense, break out in hives at the mention of Mary, and don’t want anything to do with anything remotely Cartholick. Yes, I do sometimes get frustrated with both varieties of nit-pickers.
With those Anglo-Catholics who aren’t very eager to join with other orthodox Anglicans and with those evangelicals who wouldn’t be very sad to see them go, there is the potential to lose many, even most orthodox Anglo-Catholics to Rome and Constantinople. I would hate to see that. It would greatly impoverish Anglicanism.
But all is not gloomy. I’m encouraged by some responses to GAFCON from both evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics.
From the evangelical wing come remarkably conciliatory comments from the Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen at All Souls, London. For example:
The last two weeks have been two of the most extraordinary in my life. What we are dealing with here is not a split, but a movement possibly as significant as the Evangelical Revival, or even the Anglo-Catholic movement if you prefer, and it may bring Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics together.
Coming from someone who *understatement alert* hasn’t exactly been a great friend to Anglo-Catholics, that is quite an olive branch and is encouraging.
On the Anglo-Catholic side, I’m encouraged by the enthusiastic support of GAFCON from the Diocese of Ft. Worth. Bishop Iker quickly endorsed GAFCON. And other positive responses may be sampled here and here. From Ft. Worth, I see a recognition that GAFCON isn’t perfect but that it is very good progress and worthy of support. I also see a recognition that orthodoxy includes the orthopraxy of flexing on the details of secondary matters for the sake of orthodox Anglican unity.
Would all those who believe in “the communion of the saints” and “one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” act like it and follow their good example.