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Nicholas Okoh, Chairman of Gafcon, urges to handle disagreement between Anglicans with “theological integrity” that “minimises the hurt and distress that has been all too evident”.
Nicholas Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman of Gafcon (Global Anglican Future Conference) said in his monthly letter that the group “is proposing a way of handling disagreement which has theological integrity, but minimises the hurt and distress that has been all too evident”.
He recalled that they authorised the creation of Anglican Church of North America as a new province, because many in that region “had been outcast from the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) simply because they refused to compromise with a false gospel”.
“THE REALIGNMENT OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION WILL CONTINUE”
Okoh denounced that TEC has spent more than $60 million in lawsuits against conservatives “since 2000 and that pattern of behaviour continues to this day”.
This has not only happened in North America; recently, “persecuted Anglicans in Brazil formed the Anglican Church of Brazil in May this year with the endorsement of the Gafcon Primates Council”, the Gafcon Chairman pointed out.
“This realignment of the Anglican Communion will undoubtedly continue”, that is why “Gafcon is proposing a fresh approach in order to minimise conflict”, Okoh said.
When the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ACANZP) decided in May to allow same-sex relationships, “a number of parishes in New Zealand have announced that they can no longer in conscience remain part of the Province”.
After that, the Archbishop of Sydney and Gafcon’s Deputy General Secretary for Asia and Oceania, Glenn Davies, met with leading bishops of ACANZP and put forward the idea of ‘Distinctive Co-existence’.
“This is a proposal for structural separation which acknowledges the reality of irreconcilable differences about the nature of the bible and the gospel, but calls for it to be done peacefully”, Okoh explained.
The Gafcon Chairman believes that the proposal “is biblical and in line with what the Apostle Paul teaches about the true nature of our warfare, that ‘though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war accord to the flesh’”.
“ACCOMODATING FALSE TEACHING”
“Those whose first resort is to litigation betray a love of power and money”, he warned.
Additionally, “‘good disagreement’ has been a way of accommodating false teaching by treating primary issues as if they were secondary and presenting those who hold to a good conscience as schismatic”.
“It is for ACANZP as an autonomous province to decide if it will accept this proposal, but in practice much will depend on the attitude of the Archbishop of Canterbury”, Okoh said.
“Whatever happens, faithful Anglicans in New Zealand can be confident that through Gafcon they will not be cast out and will continue to be recognised as brothers and sisters by Anglicans around the world”, the letter concluded.