"Will Christ rule our life and witness through His word, or will our life and witness be conformed to the global ambitions of a secular culture?"
The above is a foundational question posed by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya in preparation for a critical meeting in January 2016. His December 17/2015 letter to the Gafcon [an Anglican grouping] clergy about the forthcoming Primates gathering can be found here.
It would appear that the upcoming deliberations at Synod 2016 more than ever have that question in the background.
A second news release from South Sudan on December 11/2015 features a decision to break ecclesiastical ties with Episcopal Church of the USA due to the fact that the Bishops recognized that: "In our view such innovations [i.e. the blessing of same-sex marriages] are not in conformity with the Scriptures.” As one who has worshipped with the Anglican Church in the region for three years, I know that this decision did not come easily as Anglicans are some of the most peace-loving and welcoming of differences people that we know.
Yet the South Sudan Anglican Church drew a line in the sand, and said, enough is enough. This came at great social, economic and "peace in the church family" costs.
Note the response to the Sudanese of another Anglican clergyman:
“Despite the ravages of war and the suffering of their people, they are courageously committed to standing on the historic teachings of the Bible and Anglican Church. I look forward to deepening our partnership for the cause of Jesus Christ.”
Both instances show a desire to stand "on the historic teachings of the Bible" and to avoid "innovations" in the face of the temptation to do otherwise either due to the global culture, or due to local circumstances.
Will Synod 2016 in its deliberations consider the wisdom of the Global Church? Will it have the humility to recognize that these decisions and questions being asked in Africa are made in the crucible of suffering and come at great costs? Will it have the humility to recognize that the Global South, and not the minority North is becoming the center of influence of the Global Church?