Conservative churches and renewal associations in mainline bodies, particularly Anglicanism, are increasingly pressing not just for evangelical doctrine, but also the right to plant their own congregations unfettered by denominational control.
This trend can be seen in The First Promise movement, where evangelical activists seek alternative means of leadership from that of their liberal bishops as well as the freedom to plant conservative churches in liberal dioceses. The Sidney Morning Herald (Oct. 16) reports that a “quiet revolution” of evangelical Anglican churches being established by ministers outside the normal diocese and parish system is taking root in Australia.
The churches, now being established mainly on Australia’s central Coast as well as in such cities as Brisbane and Canberra, have their origins in the evangelical Sydney Diocese. These new parishes are usually fast growing as they adopt a “form of worship that strips away the liturgical trappings of middle and high church Anglicanism and [focuses] attention on the biblical text,” writes Malcolm Brown.
The dioceses in which such churches have been planted are “not favorably disposed toward them, but they cannot eject them and at best they try to coexist.” The fear is that these new churches as well as other conservatives in the Diocese of Sydney are destroying the unity of the Anglican Church in Australia, leading to a schism within the church.