ACC Secretary General’s Blast at GAFCON Clarifies Difference
Did Josiah Idowu-Fearon do orthodox Anglicans a favor?
By David W. Virtue, DD
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon may have inadvertently done the Anglican Communion a huge favor; by denouncing GAFCON in no uncertain terms, he has clarified forever that two communions now informally exist side by side and that no bridge can be built that will connect them.
His rip against former Sydney archbishop Peter Jensen and GAFCON general secretary was not only a betrayal of a friendship, but a repudiation of ‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints.’
Fearon not only betrayed what GAFCON stands for, but also what his one-time boss, Nigerian archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the chairman of GAFCON, stands for. Fearon tore down walls of faith and friendship that will not soon be healed, and he did it to appease his western paymasters who foot the bill for the Anglican Communion office in London.
He sold the faith down the pansexual river to satisfy U.S. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who will undoubtedly reward him for his faithfulness with a continued money flow into ACO coffers. Thirty pieces of silver with inflation is now $1.2 million.
Fearon has been at odds with not one but two archbishops of Nigeria. He first came up against Archbishop Peter Akinola when he was Archbishop of Kaduna and now, more importantly, against Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. His rant at Anglican churches in Africa as “despotic” and “ineffective”, is the final straw. He further burned bridges by saying that provinces in Africa are the cause of “disagreement even hatred” in the Communion.
He said much of the hatred came from the Southern hemisphere and pointed the finger at Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen and then went on to say GAFCON is not a movement of the Holy Spirit because it is divisive. Really.
If you believe it is possible to commit ecclesiastical and spiritual suicide in one interview, then Fearon proved it could be done. Not even his predecessors — Kenneth Kearon and John L. Peterson — who were liberal to the core, were that outspoken. They preferred to work more clandestinely, behind the scenes, to undermine the Global South. Kearon had the bad habit of taking away cell phones from the African archbishops so they could not communicate with each other when they met once at Kanuga.
The ACC leader took the gloves off and ripped GAFCON and Archbishop Okoh in no uncertain terms.
He did tell one truth however, he said he said there was “no way” of finding agreement. “It’s not possible,” he said. The alternative to finding a way to live together was to allow separate “splinter groups”.
Except it is the Western pansexualists who have caused the “splinter”, not GAFCON or the Global South. By its actions in ordaining a known sodomite to the episcopacy, it shattered the communion’s unity forever, and TEC’s refusal to repent makes it totally impossible for GAFCON ever to do business again with both TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. In time, it might well be the Church of England.
Fearon said he had come across “hatred, vilification and character assassination” by African leaders. Really. Then what about the vilification by Episcopal Church leaders like bishops John Chane, John Shelby Spong, Frank Griswold and Jefferts-Schori in their repeated scornfulness of Africans as being “primitive” in their theology. These Western Anglican leaders loathed and despised African, and any other Global South leaders who refused to get on board with their theological worldview that they propound and force feed with money on vulnerable African leaders. And they do this even though their own provinces are slowly withering and dying and will, within two decades, no longer be around.
It is the height of hubris and stupidity for Fearon to hitch his star to the West, and one can only imagine he is doing it for the money and his own pension because he knows the truth as he has been on both sides of the equation
Fearon said that not all African Christians were against same sex. “We need to hear from those who subscribe to same sex and those who don’t. Not everybody is against same sex.”
The truth is not even the most liberal Anglican province in Africa — the Anglican Church of Southern Africa — has come out in favor of same-sex blessings. On Sept. 30, 2016, they rejected a proposal to allow “prayers of blessing” to be offered for people in same-sex civil unions under South African law. The vote was taken by the church’s Provincial Synod, its top legislative body, on a proposal by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, which stretches from the northern suburbs of Cape Town to the Namibian border.
There is no doubt in my mind that some African leaders have been bought by TEC money to roll over, but they are a small minority and they do not speak for the vast majority of Anglicans in Africa who are solid on marriage and homosexual practice.
That has not stopped Fearon wanting his cake and eating it. He said he was wholly committed to Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference which sets a traditional line on sexuality. He described it as a “benchmark” of Anglican teaching. He said the next Lambeth Conference will take place in 2020.
“I am conservative – I’ve always been conservative”, he opined, and said he wanted to address the issue from the perspective of Jesus Himself; “What is the Lord doing in his Church?”
In light of his present statements, that is a flat out lie. The Law of Non-Contradiction makes it impossible for him to say this and hold contrary views at the same time. A first year philosophy student could tear this apart.
Fearon ripped GAFCON of being a breakaway movement, even though it bills itself as a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.
There is nothing remotely “breakaway” about GAFCON. Nothing. It is a movement to retain the faith against its theological and cultural despisers like Curry and now, Fearon himself.
Is it any wonder that GAFCON chairman, Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, warned in his recent Advent pastoral letter that the Anglican Church is at risk of “sleepwalking into fatal compromise.” That’s strong language and Fearon should heed it.
Doubling down on this, Okoh says that GAFCON is among several groups supporting the orthodox Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as well as GAFCON — UK. Now that should be a wake-up call both to Fearon and ABC Justin Welby.
Idowu-Fearon is playing fictional games with himself when he says he a “messenger” and “ambassador”. He’s neither. What he has done is clarify, perhaps forever, that two communions now exist side by side; one will grow and the other over time will shrink and die. TEC, the ACoC and C of E all have less than one million practicing members. That’s no bigger than some dioceses in Nigeria.
Archbishop Okoh has said he has no intention of pulling out of the Anglican Communion, and the reason is now obvious — he doesn’t have to. He and GAFCON own the communion. It is theirs. More than 80 percent of Anglicans are orthodox in faith and morals and most either belong to GAFCON or are sympathetic to it. There is no reason for them to leave when their patience will ultimately prevail. When GAFCON gathers in Jerusalem in 2018, it will be hard for Welby to ignore the elephant standing inside Lambeth Palace gates waiting to shoot him a trunk full of water. Hot ecclesiastical air it won’t be.
The bigger question now is what the Archbishop of Canterbury will do. We wait with bated breath.