Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, provocatively but convincingly calls “neo-pagan Anglicanism”—Anglican in style but not substance.
Speaking with a prophetic mantle, Beach observes that “liberal innovations in theology and sexual ethics” are hidden within an orthodox façade, comparable, I would say, to the Trojan horse: This so-called gift to Anglicans in North America and Great Britain signals ruin. He bemoans:
“Neo-pagan Anglicanism is beautifully packaged in some of the most elegant liturgy, music, and tradition in Christianity. But it has become liturgy for the sake of liturgy, music for the sake of music, and tradition for the sake of tradition. As the apostle Paul wrote, they are “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). And as Athanasius argued against Arius’s heresy, the Jesus whom they promote is not the Jesus of which the Bible speaks.“
As a result of this tragic accommodation to culture, Beach eschews the flaccid slogans of Canterbury and New York City about “communion across difference,” “mutual flourishing,” and “walking together” because there can be no truce with heretics and schismatics who advance a counterfeit gospel (Romans 16:17–18). Estranged Anglicans in the Global North, he argues, can address their “ecclesial deficit” by joining forces with Anglican leaders from the Global South, who, beginning in 2008, formed the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which has continued to serve as a vital reform movement: “As colonial and aging wineskins continue to promote neo-pagan beliefs and practices, the new wine of Christ’s continuing redemptive work will burst out to transform lives and renew our churches among the nations.”
I would like to think that Beach is right that GAFCON “will burst out to transform lives and renew our churches” but I do not believe the institutional church is capable of doing it.
C. S. Lewis envisioned Christianity as a house with “a hall out of which doors open into several rooms.” The rooms are ecclesial traditions that offer disciples a fire for warmth, a chair for rest, and a meal for nourishment and fellowship, whereas the hall is “mere” Christianity, a place where disciples greet and gift each other with riches from their respective rooms.
The Book of Acts describes the early church meeting in homes and the church in various cities, like the church in Antioch or the church in Caesarea were a collection of house churches but one church and the leaders of those house churches would often meet to deal with issues that sought to divide the church in that city. The “end times” persecuted church will be like the church in the Book of Acts and like we are now seeing in places where the church is already under intense persecution like in Africa, China, Middle East. Moreover, we are hearing amazing stories of the tremendous growth of the church in Iran.