Explainer: Why Has the “Anglican Church Split”?

By: Michael Crooks

On August 14, the Diocese of the Southern Cross officially launched in Canberra as a breakaway Anglican church.

It is led is by former Sydney archbishop Glenn Davies.

At the heart of the split, is the issue of same-sex marriage.

The new Diocese has come about through the support of Gafcon, the Global Anglican Future Conference.

Gafcon, which is based in the UK, arose in 2008 “to guard and proclaim biblical truth globally and provide fellowship for orthodox Anglicans,” according to a statement on its website.

“We are at an important moment in the history of the Anglican Church in Australia,” Bishop Richard Condie, Chair of Gafcon Australia, said in a statement.

Gafcon Australia is part of a “worldwide movement of Anglicans promoting reform of the Anglican church by the biblical gospel, and providing fellowship for those committed to it,” the group said in a statement.

Gafcon opposes the “revisionist” interpretation of the Bible that has allowed the ordination of women, and the blessing of same-sex marriages.

First Parish

Queensland Reverend Peter Palmer does not agree with such progressive moves.

At the Gafcon Australasia Conference on August 14 in Canberra, Reverend Palmer explained why he left his parish and joined Gafcon to create the first Southern Cross parish.

The Minister was the former parish priest of St George’s Anglican Church in Beenleigh, Brisbane.

“I cannot go along with same-sex blessings, I will not allow that to happen – I’ve got to stand up to this,” he said in an interview at the conference, repeating what he told an Anglican envoy.

His departure left his Beenleigh parishioners heartbroken.

“Many of them were shocked that this could actually happen, and they actually asked me, ‘What do we do?’” he said in the interview, which was conducted by Sydney Anglican minister Dominic Steele.

“So I thought about it, and I prayed about it, and I decided that there was only one way to do it – stand up against it. And call it out for what it is: God says that it’s a sin to be in a same-sex relationship.”

Bishop Condie, who is the Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, said that the issue stems from the “authority of the Bible.”

“The Diocese of the Southern Cross provides an Anglican home for those who feel they need to leave their current Dioceses,” Bishop Condie said.

This is a “Split”

Progressive Anglicans dispute the claim that same-sex marriage is not in line with Christian teachings.

“They’re basically saying, ‘Maybe your bishop is not a true Christian – you shouldn’t trust him or her, we’ve got the truth, we’re right,’” South Australian Anglican theologian Matthew Anstey told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“They’re strongly implying that a lot of the rest of us aren’t even Christians. That’s what we find offensive. This is fundamentalism writ large. This is a split.”

“Orthodox” Faith

But Bishop Davies, who retired as Sydney archbishop last year, said that while the Diocese of the Southern Cross is new, it is drawing on the “old faith”.

“We’re trying to restore and renew Anglicanism, especially in those parts of Australia where it has been corroded because of revisionist teaching,” he said.

The new church will be aligned with Gafcon, and not come under the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The new church will be aligned with Gafcon, and not come under the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“It’s orthodox Anglican faith,” explained Bishop Davies.

“For those who cannot live under the liberal regime of a bishop, they can come and be thoroughly Anglican under a bishop.”

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: Photo by Jonny Gios, Unsplash

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