Primates’ Meeting: Archbishop Greg Venables speaks to Anglican Unscripted

Oct 9, 2017 by

Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of South America, was one of the founding Gafcon Primates and attended every Primates Meeting between 2002 and 2011 when he stepped down as Primate.  He was re-elected as Primate in 2017 for another term, succeeding Archbishop Tito Zavala (Chile).  In this episode of Anglican Unscripted, Archbishop Venables shares his experience of the recent Primates Meeting in Canterbury.

During the interview he offers pointed comments about Gafcon, the disunity among the orthodox in England, and the failures of leadership and discipline in the Anglican Communion.

About Gafcon:

for some reason communication hasn’t been working, the relationships haven’t been working, and somehow people for various reasons have begun to question the whole nature maybe of Gafcon. They haven’t said it to me, but I certainly sense it among some people, there’s a little bit of uncertainty. And certainly Gafcon for those of my friends who aren’t members, Gafcon, the word is toxic. It’s something which it’s not good to be associated with. Maybe that’s influenced people.

Venables went on to express his strong desire for Gafcon to improve the communication amongst the movement’s members, be robust enough to attract new members, and to hold together in the face of powerful challenges to the word of God.

About the orthodox in England:

In England there’s a fragmentation and animosity. The attitudes between the various groups are not at all good, and they do not reflect Christian values. People who might say at the end of the day that they’re orthodox, are showing very unpleasant attitudes towards people who aren’t exactly like them, and that worries me… The problem is that people aren’t talking to each other. They are talking badly about other people, but they’re not talking to each other. It is a fragmentation that is very unhealthy.

About the Primates’ Meeting:

What was identified clearly in the meeting is that some aren’t walking together, some are walking together but at a distance, and some are walking together. But even those three ways of grouping that situation don’t deal with the issue. The issue is, why aren’t people walking together?

I believe that The Anglican Communion has lost touch with the plain truth as revealed in Scripture, and that’s a tragedy, but we’ve got to keep on being there proclaiming it and speaking it. Not walking away, but not pretending either that we are walking together with people who are ignoring the plain truth of scripture, even though they might appear to be orthodox.

The problem is part of the role of church leadership is discipline. If we cannot exercise discipline when people wander away from the truth, then the church cannot function as the church, and that’s where the wheels have dropped off.

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