Recently, a gathering of Anglicans from the Pacific region began their conference in Canberra by announcing the establishment of a new Anglican Southern Cross diocese with former Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies as bishop.
The split comes after the events of the General Synod of the Church of England in May, where the majority of Australian bishops refused to recognize the biblical teaching that Christian marriage is a union between a man and a woman.
Davies, who has been tasked with leading the fledgling movement, said the new diocese would “stay true to the Bible’s teachings on sexuality” and reject the “revisionist theology” propagated by the progressive archbishops of Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
The new diocese is not part of the Anglican Church of Australia, but will be aligned with the majority of Anglicans around the world through the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), a group of conservative churches split from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the principal ruler. of the Church of England. This network held its first gathering in 2008 in response to the consecration of a same-sex partner bishop in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in Canada.
The split was supported by those in the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church, who oppose the Church’s continued adoption of the “progressive” ethical and moral values of the secular world, and shape the interpretation of scripture. Consequently.
The 3 groupings of the Anglican Church
This split has been happening for a while, and it’s not the first occurrence of its kind. Indeed, since the Reformation, three distinct factions, if you will, have developed within the Church.
As the Australian priest, Monsignor Harry Entwhistle, pointed out in the Catholic Weekly, the first faction is made up of those who have retained their Catholic heritage as best they can. The second includes Calvinist/evangelical followers for whom Scripture is the sole authority in faith, and the third is what he calls “broad church” followers who are liberal and open to changing dogma.
More recently, Broad Church “progressives” have been the main influence in the Western Anglican world, while Evangelicals have maintained their influence in Africa, South America and Asia. This latter group represents the majority of Anglicans worldwide.
The dominance of the “Broad Church” led to the 1990s decision to ordain women into ministries, prompting members of the Catholic wing of the Anglican Church to seek reunification with Rome. This was formally achieved under Pope Benedict XVI with the creation of Personal Ordinariates in England, North America and Australia.
This structure allows complete union with the Catholic Church while preserving Anglican heritage and traditions of worship. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross was erected in Australia in 2012.
Thus the Catholic-minded Anglicans and now the Evangelical Anglicans separated from the Anglican Church. As Entwhistle notes, the reason for these two splits is the belief that the Anglican Church has abandoned the truth of God as revealed in Jesus, Scripture and Tradition.
Why do people turn away from the Church?
This therefore raises the question of the broader reasons for the decline in membership in the mainline Christian churches. The release of the 2021 Australian Census results showed a sharp drop in the number of those who profess Christianity as a religion, several commentators have pondered the reasons for this.
However, they view the issue from a secular – and sometimes antagonistic – perspective, advancing the idea that Christianity is old-fashioned, quaint, and a relic of the past unsuited to the modern world.
This view overlooks the fundamental mission of Christianity as being counter-cultural or beyond ordinary society.
Indeed, according to Saint John 15: 18-20: “If you belonged to the world, the world would know you for itself and would love you; it is because you do not belong to the world, because I distinguished you from the middle of the world, that the world hates you.
However, the leadership of the Anglican Church forgot this fundamental mission and decided that it had to “keep up with the times”. The reaction to the split in Australia’s senior Anglican clergy is telling, comparing the new diocese to a “sect”.
In particular, the retired Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, George Browning, said he had no place in the Anglican Church. “A cult is generally understood to mean a group attached to a particular or singular personality, ideology or goal; one that distinguishes them from the prevailing practice or belief.
“The recently announced ‘Southern Cross Diocese’ sadly fits that description, despite their cries to the contrary,” Bishop Browning said in a blog post. “If it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”
Traditional churches continue to thrive
Aside from the fact that one would have thought that a tenet of mainstream Christianity is the biblical teaching that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, which those like Bishop Browning fail to realize, c It is that the rush to mingle with the culture that the Global offers – in the hope that the faithful remain with the Church – has actually failed to keep the faithful.
In fact, has had the opposite effect except in places that are true to doctrine and traditional precepts and practices.
As I have written before in these pages, the same thing is happening within the Catholic Church. Churches, monasteries, and seminaries that want to assimilate into the world, that is, “wake up,” are empty. Those who are doctrinally orthodox and adhere to the teachings of the Church thrive, and especially with young people.
So there are lessons for the Catholic Church in the Anglican split, because she too risks being destroyed from within by those who believe she should conform to the values that are the norm in society and forget her counter-cultural mission.
The words of GK Chesterton come to mind: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. This was found difficult and has not been tried.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.