Archbishop Wabukala’s Address, Part II

Archbishop Wabukala uses the “alones” in his definition of salvation, “Set against this dark backdrop, the gospel of grace alone through faith alone shines in all its glory.” It would be hard to imagine a more thoroughly Protestant statement then what Wabukala has offered. He goes on to praise the confessionalism of African missionaries versus the moralism that took over in England:

For many of us the writings of John Stott and J.I. Packer simply were normal Anglicanism and too many of us assumed that the rest of the Communion thought the same way! 

I must point out that the Keswick origins of the East African Revival involve a good deal of Semi-Pelagiansim and that element of theology is not missing from the current GAFCON churches. Having said that, Stott and Packer are in a completely different orbit and referencing them is encouraging to me.
Wabukala maintains his focus on sexual ethics when he says:

The root cause of our problems is that strand of Western Anglicanism which has never been able to shake off the moralistic tendencies of the seventeenth century. It has too often chosen to justify its existence by various forms of moralism, but the indifference to doctrine which goes with this mindset means that it has a persistent tendency to adopt the morality of the prevailing secular culture — and it is ironic that bishops who are called to be guardians of the faith are often the leaders and catalysts in this process.  

But it is here that I must fault him for not going far enough. Sexual ethics are not the only ethics the Bible talks about, and while he is correct on those matters, he does not mention the approval of murderers like Uhuru Kenyatta and Paul Kagame that Romans 1:32 says we are not to give. Many GAFCON bishops have said not a word against the murderous wickedness of their national, but have said a great deal about homosexuality. Unless this is corrected, GAFCON will lack credibility in its notional re-evangelization of the West.
Another unfortunate aspect of Wabukala’s presentation is his identification of women’s ordination as a second order issue:

Following the spirit of the Articles, we respect diversity on secondary matters and the GAFCON movement models this in the variety of traditions it embraces and the recognition of principled difference about the role of women in church leadership. However, on those matters which touch the central message of the Church’s mission we need to also follow the spirit of the Articles, reinforcing the great positives of the gospel by stating the necessary negatives, especially in an intellectual environment dominated by post modernist relativism where it is assumed that truth claims are merely preferences. 

Women’s ordination has not been a secondary matter at all. It has indeed been the leading edge of the attack on Scriptural authority from at least the 1960’s on in the West. As Patrick Reardon said:

I trust it will not be a matter of indifference to Torrance that our opposition to women’s ordination springs from a deeply held conviction that the practice itself is a grave act of disobedience and a first, but firm, step toward apostasy. In fact, this was the assessment explicitly asserted by C. S. Lewis several decades ago in a passage that is well known. Lewis argued that ordaining the male sex to minister at the Eucharist has to do with the “correct appearance” (“orthodoxy” in Greek), the proper iconography. Change that appearance, alter that icon, he reasoned, and in due time you are worshipping a different god. That is precisely what we are witnessing today in congregations that were still Christian back when C. S. Lewis spoke his mind. 

I see the matter to be every bit as serious as that tiny but notorious fourth-century iota that Athanasius would have died to keep out of the Creed. The adoption of female ordination is regarded by some of us as an implicit but definite challenge to the lordship of Christ and the finality of his word… 

As with many things related to GAFCON, we have a mixed bag. Wabukala’s helpful re-centering of doctrine on the Articles of Religion gives way to a capitulation on Biblical principles of ordination and a failure to confront the oppressive regimes of several GAFCON nations. 

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