U.K. Anglicans Opt for Biblical Reform Over Split

Conservatives Anglicans in the United Kingdom aren't going anywhere despite their objections to the liberal direction some churches within their national church have taken.

And to help them continue to stay in the Church of England without compromising their orthodox views on Scripture, they launched a fellowship in London on Monday that is meant to serve as a spiritual movement grounded in Christian orthodoxy and Anglican tradition.

Called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, the new movement exists "to keep orthodox, biblical Anglicanism inside the fold at the highest level possible," said Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, according to VirtueOnline.

The movement comes out of an invitation by conservative Anglican bishops from mainly the Global South. Last summer, leaders at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) who believe some in the Anglican Communion are preaching a "false gospel" affirmed Christian orthodoxy and invited like-minded Anglicans to establish a separate fellowship.

In North America, conservatives heeded the call as they saw little hope in The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism – and the Anglican Church of Canada turning back from their liberal ways. Last month, they established a new province called the Anglican Church in North America, uniting around 700 parishes that left the national churches. Several Anglican leaders from across the Communion have recognized the new province as authentically Anglican.

In the United Kingdom, however, conservative Anglicans are taking a different approach – promoting biblical truth from within.

The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, said the FCA is intended to stop the church from being divided by moving the global body back to the historic Christian faith.

The FCA is hoping not to go "the American way" and instead see a renewed and reformed church in their land.

"We are a movement for the renewal and reformation and renewed mission focus of our church," Benn said. "We love our church ... we're not going anywhere."

Noting that some churches in the U.K. are "moving away" from Christian orthodoxy, Benn said they are trying to "pull back together people whose Anglican identity has been made difficult or who find that it is threatened."

"We want to stand with people and support them and say you don't have to go away. We will support you and stand with you," he stressed.

Also offering encouraging words to those at the launch, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey said, "You are already facing suspicion and hostility from various quarters because of the launch of FCA in England. Nevertheless, attempt to build the strongest bonds of communion with the rest of the Anglican family."

The FCA's launch brought together more than 1,600 Anglicans from 320 parishes. The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop of the newly established Anglican Church in North America, was among the guests.

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