John Richardson, the Ugley Vicar, is live blogging from All Souls Langham Place, in London, where a day conference is in session with some of the leaders who were recently at the GAFCON conference, also with J.I. Packer. John has already posted summaries of talks by Archbishop Hebry Orombi of Uganda and Archbishop Greg Venables of the Southern Cone, followed by a summary of an interview with Rev Dr Packer. This summary ends as follows:
Interviewer: What would be your wisdom about carrying on the GAFCON process in England?
JP: At the heart of the Statement is the Jerusalem Declaration. I would like to see PCCs and, where possible, Diocesan Synod, or even central bodies, committing themselves to this as their own guiding star. I would like to see the Primates who were leaders at GAFCON meeting in a public way in January 2009, casting the Jerusalem Statement into the form of a covenantal commitment, publicly subscribing to it on the part of their provinces, and also seeing diocesans subscribe to it. I would like to see it presented to new bishops appointed in the Church of England to subscribe to it, and I would like to see it established as a basis for orthodoxy and missionary action.
The goal of the Covenant Process begun in the Windsor Report would thus be achieved in essence. Anglican provinces who didn’t come along with this would be in the outer circle of limited communion for not identifying with Anglican orthodoxy.
This would be a first step in getting Anglicanism back into proper shape.
Interviewer: Thank you for letting us look into your ‘crystal ball’.
(A standing ovation was given to Dr Packer, who also stood to acknowledge it.)
It is an interesting idea to get PCCs and Synods to endorse the Jerusalem Declaration. Most of it is uncontroversial among conservative Anglicans. But the likely sticking point is this clause:
13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
Before the statement can be generally accepted there needs to be some clarification, as I discussed earlier today, about how this clause is not Donatism and not in conflict with Article XXVI.
UPDATE: John Richardson has added a summary of a panel discussion, which touches on many interesting issues. Peter Jensen confirmed that ordination of women was considered a secondary issue on which opinions could differ. Greg Venables noted that he is going to Lambeth, but said:
I have very little hope for Lambeth. It is not going to be a place where we can sit people down and see what we are going to do.
The discussion summary ends as follows:
Q: Could the panel comment about how people in the CofE may most helpfully respond to GAFCON and the Jerusalem Declaration?
Peter Jensen: This affects everyone in the UK. Os Guinness compared it to a nuclear explosion where the fallout will happen around the world. Your presence here suggests you are deeply concerned about that fallout. GAFCON is a spiritual movement. Many of you will want to be part of it and to apply it to your local situation. There will be no vote here, but if you are convinced of this you signal so by writing in to the GAFCON website, indicating you support for the GAFCON movement.
FURTHER UPDATE: John RIchardson is blogging almost as fast as I can keep up with him! He has now blogged on the session with Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney. In this Jensen takes further the point he started on at the end of the panel discussion. He explains why he considers it important for orthodox Anglicans to make a stand on this issue, not just to keep their heads down in their parishes. He answers Rowan Williams’ criticism that GAFCON is self-appointed:
GAFCON is a very Anglican answer — a new set of instruments of unity! They were not ‘self-appointed’, they were God-appointed, from looking at the Word of God and seeing what they needed to do. …
The last two weeks have been two of the most extraordinary in my life. What we are dealing with here is not a split, but a movement possibly as significant as the Evangelical Revival, or even the Anglo-Catholic movement if you prefer, and it may bring Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics together [applause].
The day conference apparently ended with these words from Jensen:
Henry Orombi, Greg Venables, Jim Packer have all spoken about the situation. It is not for me to tell you what you must do here, apart from saying you must stand for the gospel and the Bible. We are looking to you. We need you to be strong and brave and true. We will help you. And together we will resist the forces of evil and secularism which seek to extinguish the gospel and are using the Church to do that. Stand firm.