An interview with the Rev. Zac Neubauer, President of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC-USA)

By David W. Virtue, DD
September 8, 2021

VOL: Anglo-Catholicism has been all but wiped out in TEC. Only the Diocese of Springfield might be considered AC, but they recently let go their bishop early and it is unlikely he will be replaced by an Anglo-Catholic. PB Michael Curry would never approve of a bishop who did not accept homosexual marriage. TEC still has a couple of evangelical dioceses – Central Florida and Dallas – but what hope do you hold that evangelicals can affect the direction of TEC?

ZAC: The first thing one has to understand is that EFAC-USA is a pan-Anglican organization, it’s part of our DNA. We have members from TEC, ACNA, AMiA, REC, and the UECNA. Secondly, today’s EFAC-USA is not a political organization (as it might have been seen in the 1990s and early 2000s,) though individual members may hope to directly influence the direction of their diocese or jurisdiction. But as an organization we are more concerned about encouraging and equipping clergy and laity at the grass-root level. For instance, most of our TEC members are not in evangelical or Communion Partner dioceses.

VOL: Evangelicals have been steadily declining in TEC, most have left and joined the ACNA. What makes you think that at this late stage, EFAC – USA evangelicals can make a difference?

ZAC: Again, EFAC-USA is not trying to “save TEC” or force theological consistency on ACNA. Evangelicals can always make a difference in whatever situation God puts them, because they alone are willing to sound a clear note from the simple, unadorned trumpet of God’s Word. As the late Mark Ashton, long-time rector of St. Andrews the Great in Cambridge used to always say, “The word of God does the work of God in the people of God through the Spirit of God.” Any “difference” that Evangelicals may make within Anglicanism here in the U.S. will be a direct result of our willingness to preach Christ and Him crucified, (folly to those who do not believe) and see where God leads.

VOL: What sort of persuasive powers does EFAC-USA have at a legislative level in TEC that you think you can move the needle in your direction?

ZAC: None, except the power of the gospel.

VOL: Do you think it is possible that evangelicalism can make an impact in TEC? Granted that Michael Curry is no Jack Spong or the Affirming Catholic Frank Griswold, and his theology is more semi Pelagian than orthodox, can he be persuaded that a clear understanding of the gospel would be to his benefit and that of TEC?

ZAC: Yes, Evangelical Anglicanism can make an impact in TEC, the ACNA, the REC, AMiA, the UECNA and any other Anglican body in the U.S. What will an “impact” in any of those jurisdictions look like? It’s not quite clear, but it will become increasingly clear thanks to the faithful proclamation of the Gospel from EFAC-USA members and others who embrace the Gospel of Grace as seen in Scripture and given shape in our historic Anglican formularies. Our present ecclesiastical situations are murky at best, no matter what U.S. jurisdiction you may find yourself in, but the same held true in the days of the English Reformers, in Charles Simeon’s day, and in J.C. Ryle’s day, and God blessed their clear proclamations of the Gospel and the church received new vitality because of them.

VOL: What would you do if you could rally evangelicals in both TEC and ACNA? Where would that go?

ZAC: We are rallying Evangelicals in both TEC and ACNA (and the REC, the AMiA, and the UECNA). One of my go-to images is that the wake of Anglican realignment in North America was similar to a nuclear holocaust. As Evangelicals, we had all retreated to our various fallout shelters, and just in the past five or six years have started to peek our heads out to see what remains, to see if anyone else survived. Many clergy and laity in the U.S. are being pleasantly surprised to find that there are others like them that have survived and who are ready to preach the gospel of Christ in a religious landscape that has changed, not just for those of us in the Anglican Tradition, but in any Christian tradition. We are assisting clergy in finding churches that want to hire Evangelical clergy. We are meeting together yearly to encourage and equip each other for ministry. In short, we are getting along with the business of proclaiming the Gospel and raising up believers in the faith.

VOL: What is the long-term goal of EFAC – USA?

ZAC: To encourage and provide training for Biblical preaching and teaching in the Episcopal and Anglican churches.

To foster fellowship among Evangelicals in the Anglican and Episcopal churches, and to promote cooperation among all who recognize the final authority of Scripture in matters of faith and practice. To teach and practice evangelism as a Biblical priority. To foster liturgy and worship consistent with the Gospel. To encourage committed, gifted Evangelicals to enter full-time ministry and to support and encourage them during their training and first placement.

VOL: Thank you Rev. Zac.

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