Australian Anglican Primate rips GAFCON plans to form new diocese

Aug 1, 2021 by

by David Virtue, Virtueonline:

In a ‘Dear Episcopal Colleagues’ letter, the Anglican Primate of Australia, the Most Rev. Geoffrey Smith ripped plans by GAFCON Australia to form a new diocese.

Smith cited a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 4.1-16 on the unity of the Church and quoted John Stott’s commentary as one of the two classic passages on Christian unity. The primate said he was struck by the contradiction he saw between the Ephesians passage and GAFCON’S statement.

“Following the publication of the Appellate Tribunal’s opinion last year, I called for restraint to enable clear air for discussion at the next meeting of the General Synod which will be our first opportunity to discuss the change to the Marriage Act and the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal.

“I am grateful that very significant restraint has been shown by people who might want to see movement toward the blessing of same sex couples, and also by those who are still seeking clarity in their position. In my view, unfortunately, the GAFCON board has not shown similar restraint as we wait for that opportunity for discussion and decision making, with Monday’s announcement ramping up the tensions among us.

“We need to be clear that the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal has not changed the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia. The Appellate Tribunal can’t change the doctrine of anything. All the Appellate Tribunal can do in these matters is respond to questions concerning the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia and the Canons adopted by the General Synod.”

The primate said there was no legitimate claim that the Appellate Tribunal had changed in any way the doctrine of the church.

“I am unaware of any bishops of our church who have been found to have departed from the doctrine of the church by any properly constituted tribunal or process.”

Smith opined that there is no fair or reasonable basis for any member of the Anglican Church of Australia to believe that a bishop of this church has departed from the doctrine of our church.

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