GAFCON Chairman blasts Church of England over appointment of TEC Bishop as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool

GAFCON Chairman blasts Church of England over appointment of TEC Bishop as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool
Nigerian Primate says GAFCON will now focus on actions of Church of England, now that ACNA is established in US
Okoh says false teaching of TEC now normalized in Church of England

By David W. Virtue DD

The new chairman of GAFCON, Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, took the gloves off in his first inaugural chairman’s letter and blasted the Church of England over its decision to appoint an American Episcopal Bishop as the Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.

The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh set his eyes on the Church of England and said a line had been crossed by the Church of England with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an assisting Bishop of Liverpool.

“The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalized in England and this divisive act has meant that the Church of Nigeria’s Akure Diocese has had no alternative but to end its partnership link with Liverpool Diocese,” he wrote.

The Province of Nigeria, the largest and staunchest evangelical branch of the Anglican Communion, has been at odds with TEC since it ordained an openly non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy in the person of Gene Robinson in March 2003.

The Anglican Church in Nigeria formally severed relations with the Episcopal Church at that time when its Primate Peter Akinola formally broke all relations with the North American Church.

“By this unfortunate incident, they have departed from the faith, order and unity of the Anglican Church. They have impaired the communion,” said Akinola.

In this June statement, Archbishop Okoh thanked God for raising up the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) “as a new wineskin on that continent. Now our concern is increasingly with the British Isles. A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff, of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.”

In every age, the devil is at work to destroy the Church, but we stand firm in the confidence that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, he said.

“At our recent Primates Council meeting in Nairobi we reaffirmed our solidarity with the leaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and the Anglican Mission in England at this testing time.”

This action further strains relations not only with the Liverpool Diocese but with the Archbishop of Canterbury who is viewed as less than supportive of GAFCON, and who recently turned up in Lusaka at ACC-16, a gathering that was boycotted by GAFCON primates and archbishops.

Okoh said he is convinced that this is a movement called into being and sustained by the Lord of the Church himself. “The Apostle Paul tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We therefore preach the gospel, make disciples and commit ourselves to prevailing prayer, knowing that the most dangerous attack on the Church today is not persecution from the outside, terrible though that can be, but a globalized secular ideology which has established itself inside the Church.”

Okoh said GAFCON must devote itself to the task of restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion and this is the way to true unity. “The divisions which have been so destructive in recent years have come about because some have chosen to abandon biblical doctrine and it has become increasingly clear since the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka last month that those traditionally entrusted with leadership in the Communion will do nothing to call them to repentance.

“GAFCON is evidence that despite this deep failure, God has not given up on the Anglican Communion. Indeed, in his mercy and grace, he is renewing it and we look forward with great anticipation to GAFCON 2018 as a gathering of the nations for the nations as we magnify the one true God who has rescued us from futile ways and brought us into the Kingdom of his Son.”

GAFCON remains a rescue mission for the Anglican Communion, he said.

The full statement can be read here:

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