Lambeth speaks plainly (that was then)

Posted on June 10, 2018 
Filed under Anglican Communion

“The year 1998 was the last time the Lambeth Conference spoke plainly. That it did so was something of a miracle.

The Communion Establishment had carefully prepared an agenda whereby the innovations of homosexual ordinations and same-sex ‘blessings’ in the Episcopal Church would be received with ‘good disagreement’ from those in the Global South who were, frankly, unaware of the ‘development’” of doctrine and practice in the West. These plans were foiled by an alliance of Western conservatives who had seen where the sexuality agenda was leading and courageous Global South leaders who stood up and said No.

I was present at Lambeth 1998 and wrote this evaluation of its key Resolution I.10 shortly thereafter. …”

– At his new blog, Contending Anglican, Dr. Stephen Noll takes us back to Lambeth 1998.
Update – Dr Stephen Noll’s website has moved – here’s the new link.


Dr. Paul Barnett, then Bishop of North Sydney, was also a participant at Lambeth 1998. He  shared his personal reflections of Lambeth at the ACL Synod Dinner that October, and made the text available for our website.

His contemporary account of the Lambeth meeting makes fascinating and sober reading –

“…the Third World is now where most of the world’s Anglicans are. By a country mile. And it is certainly where most of the Bible-loving, creed-believing Anglicans are. Many of the Europeans did not seem to know what they believed, while quite a few were radical liberals. One eloquent African chided us Europeans at the tension-filled plenary on sexuality: ‘You sent us missionaries, but you no longer believe yourselves what your missionaries taught us.’

Compared with the contingent from Britain, the US, Canada and Australia-NZ, how impressive those Africans were. … I want to say, they shone like stars in the night. … But they see the essentials of the faith with a crystal clarity which few in the west have. …

When we came to the Plenary Session in the last few days, which was brilliantly chaired by Robin Eames [Bishop of Armagh], our resolution was pointedly and cleverly amended by a number of African bishops. Harry Goodhew made an excellent speech, pointing to sinners like Zacchaeus and the woman taken in adultery who were shown mercy by Jesus, but who changed their behaviour. George Carey was on the platform, but not as chairman. He very visibly raised his hand at all the critical amendments, which I believe he had helped draft. Before the final vote was taken on the amended resolution he rose and made a strong speech. The now-amended resolution passed with a 7 to 1 landslide majority. I am glad that the final statement expressed the need for loving and compassionate ministry to those caught in the homosexual web. …

We give glory to God for answered prayer in the Lambeth decision which could not have been predicted during the conference. But what were the human factors? …”

Read it all here. (in the older section of our website)

Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10.

The Kuala Lumpur Statement, 1997. (in the older section of our website)