The Anglican Communion stands at a crossroads

The Most Rev Dr Mouneer Anis, Adviser to the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), is a much-respected Anglican leader. When he speaks, people listen.

Two weeks ago, he published an open letter, setting forth his prayers for the forthcoming Lambeth Conference and urging the bishops to take their responsibilities seriously.

He painted three pictures: a crossroads, a carpet and a church that is broken.

Taking the first of these, the Anglican Communion is at a crossroads, he wrote:

"... at this Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Communion stands at a crossroads. One road leads to healing the current divisions and another road makes the situation worse and irreparable between the traditional and the revisionist Anglicans. There is no doubt that the Conference represents a great opportunity to resolve the Communion divisions if the Bishops are determined, have the good will, and are given the opportunity to do so."

It is time to make decisions – not sweep the big issues under the carpet:

"I pray now so that the burning issues of the authority of Scripture, the uniqueness of Christ and human sexuality would be given the time and the priority to be discussed, and not to be left to the last days or swept under the carpet."

Because the world needs a church that is not divided:

"The Church cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken. Anglicans cannot say the Creed "we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church "when the churches of the Communion are not of one mind in regard to the authority of Scripture or even the uniqueness of Christ as the way, the truth and the life."

Millions of orthodox Anglicans around the world are praying with him that the next two weeks will bring healing and life. The events of the past few days suggest it will be a challenge but as Dr Anis says at the end of his letter,

"Finally, I pray for unity, but not unity at the expense of the truth."

And that is the challenge for the 650 or so bishops gathered for the Lambeth Conference. What kind of unity are they looking for? An institutional unity that has no place for teaching truth or driving away error?

Or the kind of unity Jesus spoke of the night before he died, that is found only in our submission to the apostolic teaching?

The Anglican Communion does indeed stand at a crossroads.

Jesus prayed then, and the faithful should pray now, that his people would be protected from the evil one, who from the beginning of time has always asked, "Did God really say?"