A statement from the evangelical group within the Church of England, Reform, on reports over the weekend of a homosexual 'wedding' between two gay Anglican clergymen......
News of the service of blessing for the union of two male clergy at St Bartholomew’s church in the City Of London last month has brought to a head the issue of whether or not the Church of England intends to remain faithful to the Bible’s revelation.
The Church of England now faces the same sort of division as the Episcopal Church of the USA. Our only hope of preventing this is for bishops to exercise swift and clear discipline. Unless this happens, the floodgates of indiscipline will open. There is no longer any room for carefully constructed statements designed to hold everyone together in an uneasy truce. Schism in the church is being caused not by orthodox believers but by clergy pursuing a liberal agenda.
The issue is clear: will a church which is formally committed to the Bible’s teaching on marriage now exert discipline in order to support its belief on what mainstream credal and apostolic Christianity holds to be a fundamental of the faith? This “service of blessing” has brought the issue to a head on the eve of the departure of many orthodox church leaders in England for the Global Anglican Future Conference and Pilgrimage (GAFCON).
Faithful Anglican leaders both at GAFCON and Lambeth will now be looking to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London to take decisive action. We urge them to do this before GAFCON convenes in order to prevent a further loss of confidence in the Archbishop’s willingness to tackle the issue and to demonstrate their communion with the Global South.
The choice they must make is whether or not they want to keep true to the doctrine of the Church of England (as defined in the Worship and Doctrine Measure 1974 (Sections 5.1 and Canon A5)) and secure discipline. A failure to secure such doctrinal discipline will lead globally to a ghettoisation of a declining revisionist “Canterbury Communion”.
Those seeking to be true to the doctrine of the Church of England will necessarily have to realign themselves with those Anglicans, at home or abroad, who can affirm with integrity Canon A5.
For the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London the choice, therefore, is between being faithful to the Bible’s teaching or acquiescing in the promotion of the liberal sexual agenda. They cannot do both. Words are no longer enough. It is only clear action that will now speak to the worldwide Anglican Communion as well as to orthodox Anglican and other church leaders in this country.