Having failed to gain entry to Jordan, Peter Akinola unveils GAFCON’s new book, bearing an essay under his name, that the Church Times demonstrated last August was actually written by Martyn Minns. The Telegraph, meanwhile, has decided, presumptuously, that schism has been declared. But they seem to be the only ones declaring it.
Whether there will actually be schism is an open question, but at least one factor mitigates against it: as soon as schism is declared, the media will loose interest in the Anglican Churches of Nigeria and Uganda, and their small, but influential group of followers in the United States. (How much had you read about these Churches before the consecration of Gene Robinson?) At that point, these churches will no longer be useful to the donors who have made GAFCON possible, and the money will be reallocated to other fronts in the culture wars. It is in the interest of Akinola, Orombi, Minns, Sugden, etc. to sustain the Communion is a state of near-schism for as long as possible, and then, at some point, find a way short of schism to declare victory.
Had they been able to pull off a genuine Communion-splitting schism, they might have done so, but that hope died at the last meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa when the overwhelming majority of African bishops spurned Akinola’s call for a continent-wide boycott of Lambeth and defeated hardline Rwandan Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini’s bid to become president of the organization. The influential province of Southeast Asia has also distanced itself from Akinola and his faction. GAFCON’s narrowing sphere of influence is evident in the composition of the theology committee that produced their recent book. It is overwhelmingly Nigerian, as, reporters in Israel tell me, is the turnout at the conference.
The New York Times story is here.