The new unity and strength among conservative Third World Anglican bishops is likely to have repercussions on churches in the U.S. and other Western countries, according to the Christian Challenge (September/October), a traditional Anglican magazine.
The growth and influence of conservative Anglicanism in the Third World has been taking place for a number of years (with the number of bishops outside Europe and the U.S. predominating in Anglicanism), but their emerging leadership was most strongly felt at last summer’s Lambeth Conference, a worldwide Anglican gathering, as they passed a measure that opposing gay rights in the church.
The magazine notes that conservative laity and clergy in the West have “swiftly allied themselves with the global South’s moral leadership.” Before the gathering, conservative Anglicans had been forming new relationships with Third World bishops as a way of circumventing their own liberal bishops in the U.S. [see June RW]. During Lambeth, conservative caucuses, such as First Promise, organized pre-conference meetings for non-Western bishops.
British and American orthodox Anglican theologians also served as consultants and advisors for these bishops on the sexuality debate. The decisions of Lambeth have no binding authority on Anglicans throughout the world, such as the Episcopal Church in the U.S. But the magazine says the conference has given “Episcopal conservatives a major edge,” as liberals in the U.S. church are likely to feel increasing challenge from the new Third World power bloc.
(Christian Challenge, 1215 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003)