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Female bishops a salvation issue for ACNA diocese

Female bishops a salvation issue for ACNA diocese

One diocese in the Anglican Church in North America has taken issue with the claim that the issue of female bishops is not a salvation issue. That claim was recently made by ACNA’s archbishop, Foley Beach, who is also chairman Gafcon. Gafcon is an association of Anglican Communion provinces, and other groups like ACNA which are not in the Anglican Communion united by their common opposition to marriage equality, LGBT persons in the priesthood, and an agreement not to consecrate female bishops.

Consecration of female bishops reemerged recently when a woman was consecrated bishop in the Anglican of Kenya. Gafcon’s primates reaffirmed the moratorium on the consecration of women to the episcopate, and issued a resolution

[Gafcon’s] Jerusalem Declaration affirms that the Bible makes a distinction between salvation issues and other secondary issues. In our discussion, the Primates acknowledged that while there is disagreement and ongoing discussion on the issues of the ordination of women as deacons or priests, and the consecration of women as Bishops, we are agreed that these are not salvation issues and are not issues that will disrupt our mission: to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.

Emphasis added.

In response, the standing committee of ACNA’s Diocese of Fort Worth wrote

In a 2017 communique from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon), the Primates noted: “It is our prime recommendation that the provinces of GAFCon should retain the historic practice of the consecration only of men as bishops until and unless a strong consensus to change emerges after prayer, consultation and continued study of Scripture among the GAFCon fellowship.” … And yet, three women have been consecrated in the GAFCon provinces of Sudan and Kenya since the moratorium on such consecrations went into effect, despite the lack of consensus.

Anticipating Fort Worth’s reaction to the consecration, Beach issued a pastoral message to ACNA in which he wrote

The Anglican Church of Kenya recently consecrated a female diocesan bishop, and there has been speculation about how this development might affect our fellowship.  At our meeting, the Gafcon Primates agreed we have not come to a consensus on the issue of women in holy orders, and specifically women in the episcopate.  At its founding, Gafcon articulated in the Jerusalem Declaration the centrality of the Gospel message of salvation while acknowledging differences in secondary matters and pledging “to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.” Such matters will certainly stretch our fellowship, but our unity in Christ remains strong.

I recognize that this decision will come as a deep disappointment to some.

Emphasis added.

The standing committee of ACNA’s Diocese of Fort Worth was not appeased. It wrote

In an effort to strengthen and not to whither (sic) our bonds of affection, we also wish to record our strong objection to the recent consecrations of women in provinces of the Global Anglican Future Conference and to the classification of the action as a “secondary issue.” … Issues that touch upon the salvation of souls are always primary issues….

Emphasis added.


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Joel Morris

I am concerned about any strengthening of ties with the ACNA. We must remember that this a group which broke it’s ties with the Episcopal Church over the more liberal theology of our church. I have no problem with their leaving the Episcopal Church; I would do the same if I had serious concerns about our theology which could not be reconciled with my beliefs. However, in many cases this break was anything but amicable. In fact,the members in this ANCA diocese didn’t just leave the church, they took the churches with them which I believe is contrary to Canon law which states that churches are the property of the Diocese to which the church belongs(Someone correct me if I am wrong).. In this case, the courts sided in their favor. The loss of churches cost the Episcopal church around$120 million, I understand and Episcopalians without a physical home. In other cases like this, courts sided with the Church.

I belong to the Brotherhood of St. Andrew at our church. Apparently at some point, the Brotherhood merged with the ANCA. Since one of three pillars of the Brotherhood, is evangelism to young men, how can we work with a church who has such such significant theological differences? I have often worked withother churches with very different theologies on issues of social justice, and would gladly work with the ACNA on issues with which agree. But I can’t reconcile with them on such issues as this.

Vernon E Sheldon-Witter

Unfortunate, but not surprising. Considering the Theology of GAFCON why should this shock anyone?

Sergio Laurenti

Why recent Episcopal Cafe is mostly publishing news on ACNA and its related groups and does not focus on actual Anglican/Episcopal newsworthy contents? Is there any?🙄

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