The church is precious to Jesus.  He loves the church as the perfect husband, giving Himself to purify us (Ephesians 5).   His blood makes peace not only between God & the believer, his blood unites believers as one body (Ephesians 2).  The value God places on the church makes its fractures & faithfulness a matter that every Christian cares about – even if we aren’t immediately impacted.  It’s why we should care about the new ‘Diocese of the Southern Cross’. 

At last month’s Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the Diocese of the Southern Cross was formed.  It was formed in response to the spiritual infidelity of some Australian bishops – who refuse to uphold Biblical teaching.  The presenting issue is marriage & sexuality.  The underlying & true cause is the authority of God’s Word over our thinking & practise.  Glenn Davies is the first Bishop of this new diocese, offering faithful oversight & support for committed Anglicans who cannot, in good conscience, remain in fellowship with church authorities who deny the church’s foundation in truth.   At present, one clergyman & a few dozen members of his former congregation have left the Diocese of Queensland.  Their new congregation are the only church that belongs to the Diocese of the Southern Cross

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel made this public statement:

‘The Diocese of Sydney is an integral part of the Anglican Church of Australia and we have no intention of leaving.

Parishes, schools and organisations in the Diocese of Sydney are not affected by this development and there will be no change to our structures. We are committed to the reform of the Anglican Church of Australia from within our existing ecclesial structures including the General Synod.

The Diocese of the Southern Cross has been established for those elsewhere who have left their diocese because they cannot in good conscience accept the authority of those who have departed from the teaching of Christ.

It is a sadness that this new Diocese has become necessary but I extend the hand of fellowship to the Diocese of the Southern Cross and may God bless Bishop Davies and his work.’

Knowing that the church is precious to Jesus, here are three ways we should respond:

  1. Grieve. It’s right to be saddened that Jesus’ Word has been so devalued by those who claim to know Him, that faithful Christians are forced to leave
  2. Give thanks, that we are part of a Diocese that delights in the gospel & submits to the goodness of God’s ways
  3. Pray, for all believers to be united in truth.  If you don’t know exactly how to pray, re-word the following:

Thank you for firm Biblical foundation our denomination has.  In your mercy, help us stand firm in the gospel & resist the temptation to change truth to win people’s favour.  Be gracious to those who carry the name ‘Anglican’ who’ve lost confidence in your Word – Grant them repentance & joy in Christ.  Give wisdom & godliness to our Archbishop, Kanishka, & all who defend truth in the public sphere.  Thank you for the establishment of ‘the diocese of the Southern Cross’.  May it provide fellowship & encouragement to all faithful believers who don’t have it in their diocese.  Protect your church from schism – unite us in Christ, make us one in truth & love.

In Him,

Mark Smith