CEEC responds to General Synod decision

Revd Canon John Dunnett, National Director, Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), said:

“CEEC is grieved and saddened that the General Synod passed a motion earlier this afternoon to continue with the implementation of the bishops’ proposals. These proposals depart from a biblical understanding of sex and marriage, in particular by enabling blessings for same sex couples in parish churches. This decision follows a process that has been widely observed as unduly hasty, incomplete and haphazard.

“This is, however, more than just a departure from the biblical understanding of sex and marriage. Sadly, today marks a ‘watershed’ moment, in that it appears that the Church of England no longer sees Scripture as our supreme authority. 

“If the bishops continue with the implementation of their proposals, we believe this will have a devastating impact on churches across the country and beyond. It will tear local parish congregations apart, damage the relationship between large numbers of clergy and their bishops and cause churches across the dioceses to feel as though their shepherds have abandoned them. It may also serve a final blow to the unity of the Anglican Communion. 

“CEEC longs for a resurgence of faithfulness to biblical teaching, which would deepen the unity for which Jesus prayed in John 17. 

“CEEC is committed to supporting the ministry of orthodox evangelical lay people and ministers across the dioceses. In the next few days CEEC will announce a series of provisions for orthodox evangelicals and work to do all it can to ensure evangelical life and witness in the Church of England continues for years to come.”

– Source: CEEC.

Anglican Futures account of the long debate in the C of E General Synod

Including this statement in the Synod from Church Society’s Dr Ros Clarke –

“… makes it clear just how divided the bishops are – not just on the subject of same-sex relationships but also on the legal advice and the motion before us. Synod, it is not progress to be presented with legal advice which most of us have not been allowed to see and which has divided those who have seen it.”

– Read the record of some key speeches and votes at Anglican Futures’ How many amendments?

C of E General Synod backs trial of special services asking for God’s blessing for same-sex couples

From The Church of England’s General Synod meeting (early this morning, Australian time):

“The motion passed, as amended, was:

The Bishop of London to move:

‘That this Synod, conscious that the Church is not of one mind on the issues raised by Living in Love and Faith, that we are in a period of uncertainty, and that many in the Church on all sides are being deeply hurt at this time, recognise the progress made by the House of Bishops towards implementing the motion on Living in Love and Faith passed by this Synod in February 2023, as reported in GS 2328, encourage the House to continue its work of implementation, and ask the House to consider whether some standalone services for same-sex couples could be made available for use, possibly on a trial basis, on the timescale envisaged by the motion passed by the Synod in February 2023.’

The voting on the final motion was: 

Press release from the Church of England here. Emphasis added.

Reaction to follow.

Image: The Bishop of London moves the motion in General Synod.

Keep contending!

“I’ve recently had my 5-year health check, and am waiting for a letter from the NHS promising all sorts of details: blood pressure, pulse rate, cholesterol level and so on. Who knows what it might say!

But as someone who loves eggs, chocolate and cheese, the temptation when it arrives will be to either not read, or totally ignore, the cholesterol part because I don’t want to be told to cut down on foods I like. In actual fact, of course, I shall not only read the whole thing but do that in company with Katie my wife, because I believe doctors know what they’re talking about, and I would need accountability and help with any parts of the letter requiring challenging changes.

Many of us know this same temptation with Scripture. …

This is why I found Lee Gatiss’s ‘Fight Valiantly’ so helpful. He examines all of God’s commands relating to contending, and thereby protects me from simply pursuing what is instinctive …”

– At Church Society’s blog, Andrew Towner commends the new expanded edition of Fight Valiantly.

The post includes a link to a free PDF of Chapter 8.

What do bishops actually have to believe?

“Mr Benjamin John, a lay member of General Synod is on a mission to find out what bishops in the Church of England are required to believe. And the answer is frightening.

Some readers of this blog may remember how Mr John bore the brunt of the Archbishop of York’s derision in February 2023 – when his perfectly reasonable question was met with a lecture about the development of doctrine and the suggestion that he might like to read the New Testament. …

This time, Mr John has addressed his question to the Chair of the House of Bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury – he has been very careful in his explanation of how current controversies seem to contradict a previous answer given by the Archbishop, and he ends by asking his question, ‘..what do Bishops actually have to believe?’…”

Anglican Futures reports the reply given by the Archbishop of Canterbury. (It’s not very deep.)

Image: Ben John at the Church of England’s General Synod in February 2023.

What is an ‘inclusive evangelical’?

“There was a small social media storm last week when the newish group ‘Inclusive Evangelicals’ issued a letter, with 600 signatories, supporting progress in authorising prayers of blessing for same-sex couples, rooted in the conviction that ‘prayerful reading of scripture has led us to an inclusive position on same-sex relationships.’ …”

– At Psephizo, Ian Paul asks, “What is an ‘inclusive evangelical’?”

Do you want me to resign over same-sex blessings, Archbishop Welby asks conservatives

“Accounts have emerged this week of two fractious meetings between the Archbishop of Canterbury and representatives  groups engaged with Living in Love and Faith (LLF).

The meetings, held last Friday, were billed in the invitation as a ‘further engagement opportunity ahead of the meeting of General Synod in November, so that we are able to share with you the intentions of the bishops and so you are able to share your thoughts and concerns with us’. …”

Anglican Mainstream, has this link to an article in Church Times.

As you may have read earlier, when the evangelical and Anglo-Catholic leaders were asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if he should resign, Church Society’s Dr Lee Gatiss answered for many around the world – Yes.

Related, from February 20, 2023

“The GSFA is no longer able to recognise the present Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Hon & Most Revd Justin Welby, as the ‘first among equals’ Leader of the global Communion.  …”

Lee Gatiss reports on Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic leaders’ meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace on LLF

“I was at a meeting on Friday with about 25 evangelical and Anglo-Catholic leaders, who met with Archbishop Justin Welby and his staff at Lambeth Palace Library in London, to discuss the proposed blessings for same-sex couples.

Asked what we thought about some clergy teaching a view which we considered to be a threat to people’s salvation, I said …”

– Read Lee Gatiss’ brief report at Anglican.ink – and give thanks for his uncompromising responses. The Archbishop of Canterbury had a busy day on Friday.

Archbishop of Canterbury invites representatives of “progressive organisations and networks” to Lambeth Palace

Justin Welby Credit: Jacqui J. Sze

“On Friday afternoon, forty one people gathered forming a huge rectangle in the room on the top floor of the Lambeth Palace library. Thirty four were representatives of progressive organisations and networks seeking the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the Church of England.

I think the meeting represents a turning point in the decades-long movement in the Church of England towards achieving the full and equal inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church – but although progress may now be made, the future is still very uncertain. …

Archbishop Justin said he was totally and unequivocally committed to the goal of a radical new Christian inclusion that embraced LBTQIA+ people and he was surprised and shocked that we ever doubted that. A number of people said they had never heard him say that before. If only he had said this loud and clear before now, it would have made a huge difference. Indeed it would, but it has until now clearly been too difficult to say. He was surprised that people didn’t know this is his position. He compared himself with all other bishops saying he was making the most diverse appointments.…”

– This article by Colin Coward, long-time campaigner for ‘LGBTQIA+ rights’ in the Church of England, gives an insight into what is happening behind the scenes with regards to LLF.

Link via Anglican.ink. Photo: Jacqui J. Sze, archbishopofcanterbury.org.

Unpacking the CofE’s plan to bless same sex couples

From Christian Concern:

“The Church of England will shortly continue its muddle on marriage as the bishops intend to ‘commend’ prayers of blessing for same-sex couples.

Today’s Round the Table saw Tim, Andrea and Ben joined by Rev Dr Ian Paul to clear up the confusion and explain why this matters to Christians who go to other churches in England and beyond.

The Church of England has a disproportionate witness in our culture as the leaders speak – or fail to speak – of Jesus’ teaching to the wider culture.

And its orthodox doctrine on marriage also gives some legal protection to other Christians – if the Church of England gives in to the sexual revolution it will make things harder for all Christians.

Please pray, particularly ahead of the upcoming General Synod, that the faithful Christians would influence the church for good, so that the church would speak boldly of the goodness of God’s call for our lives as his redeemed, sanctified people.”

– With thanks to Anglican Mainstream for the link to the video.

Podcast: The Doctrine of the Church of England

The latest from Church Society:

“The podcast miniseries on the Church of England continues with an exploration of the Church of England’s doctrine. Ros Clarke, Kirsten Birkett and Lee Gatiss explain what doctrine is, how Anglican doctrine was established, what constitutes heresy, and how false teaching is supposed to be dealt with in the church.

Previous episodes in this series examine what the Church of England is, what the current crisis entails, and how the church can change.”

Listen here.

Rolling out the Global Anglican rescue – with Archbishop Justin Badi Arama

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Slowly, carefully, but quite deliberately, a new locus of leadership is emerging within the global Anglican Communion, a locus that significantly is intentionally focussed on Christ and biblical authority and not focussed on London, England or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

An important meeting of the Primates of the Global South and other leader of the Anglican Community has just wrapped up in Cairo.

Significantly and surprisingly the 13 orthodox Primates were joined at their meeting by Nicky Gumbel, the pioneer of the Alpha Course and London’s Holy Trinity Brompton’s massive UK church planting network.”

Watch or listen here.

Young clergy and ordinands push back against gay blessings proposals

“Over one hundred men and women training for ordination in the Church of England have written a public letter warning the church was set to ‘fracture’ should the House of Bishops’ Living in Love and Faith (LLF) proposals on same-sex blessings be adopted.…”

– George Conger writes at Anglican.ink.

The letter begins:

“Dear Bishops and Archbishops,

We write to you from a broad coalition of those who share a call to ordained ministry in the Church of England. We include people within the discernment process, in training, and those in their diaconate year. At the time of writing we span ten training institutions and twenty-six dioceses. This group draws men and women from varied backgrounds including the HTB and New Wine networks, conservative evangelicals and traditional Anglicans, all of whom care deeply for and are heavily invested in the Church of England.

As those in whom you have invested, who you are preparing for decades of ministry, we need to convey our grief in seeing the current direction of travel concerning the Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF). …”

Read it all here. (PDF file)

Also in the Church of England:

Racial justice pilgrims [from London] visit Anglican Communion Office during tour of London – Anglican Communion News Service.

Who is Noticing?

Posted last week at the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches website, Bishop Keith Sinclair reflects on Ephesians 6 and asks who is noticing what is happening in the churches –

“It turns out that the ones who are noticing what is happening in the church are not disinterested observers, but those opposed to all that God has established in the gospel and made manifest in the life of the church.

What happens in the church matters not only to those in the church, but also in the cosmic struggle with the rulers of darkness and the powers of evil.”

A very timely reminder.

Photo: Bishop Keith Sinclair at GAFCON IV in Kigali in April 2023.
(See his remarks here.)

Bishop of Rochester and Bishop of Ebbsfleet speak about the House of Bishops meeting and press statement

Two Bishops in the Church of England have issued their own statements in addition to the joint statement of dissenting bishops of 12 October 2023.

Statement from Bishop Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop of Rochester:

“I have always prayed that God would surprise us and open avenues that we have never conceived, in ways that would honour and affirm people with a wide diversity of views on these hugely important and sensitive issues, while remaining faithful to our inheritance of faith.

It is therefore with great sadness and reluctance that I have felt compelled to join with others in indicating that I cannot endorse the decisions taken at the meeting of the House of Bishops on Monday 9 October, or the press statement issued afterwards, which I believe does not adequately reflect the decisions made or the depth of disagreement within the House. …”

Read his full statement.

See also this statement from Bishop Rob Munro, Bishop of Ebbsfleet:

“The press release does not make clear the depth of disagreement within the House about these proposals. …

I am deeply concerned that the approach that is being proposed will ultimately harm our unity, sanctity, catholicity and apostolicity as a Church, and seriously impact our mission. I believe it is necessary, in commitment to my consecration vows- to uphold God’s Word, to teach the doctrine of Christ and refute error- to publicly raise these concerns, that I have been expressing in the House.

When the fuller details of the proposals are published, I hope to address specific concerns in more detail. I continue to be supportive of the approach of the CEEC and encourage you to keep in step with their collective response.”

Read his full statement – via Anglican.ink.

Image: Bishop Jonathan Gibbs (left) and Bishop Rob Munro.

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