If Ruth Gledhill has it right today (in the final eight paragraphs of this story), the leaders of GAFCON now seem to have embraced a strategy aimed at creating “change from within.” This is a significant, encouraging, and, for them, no doubt galling development because Peter Akinola, Martyn Minns and Co., had previously scorned such a strategy, arguing that the sins of those who support the blessing of same-sex relationships were so great that true Christians could not keep company with them. (That, indeed, is the entire rationale for laying claim to parishes in other provinces and ordaining border crossing bishops.) They continue to speak in these terms—the rhetoric from Jerusalem is as vitriolic as ever—but their actions suggest a reluctant accommodation with reality.
GAFCON’s high profile leaders don’t have the strength to force the schism they yearn for. Too few provinces are on board, and not all of those provinces are united in their desire to leave the Communion. Indeed, the people I have spoken to at the conference suggest a wide range of opinion on the issue of schism, even among those devoted enough to fly to Jerusalem to talk about it.
So the leaders of GAFCON are attempting to dress up strategic failure as the dawning of a new phase of their march toward victory, hoping that the media will bite. After five years of schismatic maneuvering, they have said, in effect, that they will associate closely with some Anglicans while trying to make life miserable for others–a state of affairs in no way different today than it was last month, last year or last decade.
Akinola and company are making a great deal of noise to distract us from the fact that little is happening.