This has not been a good week for the Church of England. But there is at least one bright spot – some evangelicals are speaking up and clearly.
JOINT PRESS RELEASE from Reform and Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship
Evangelicals call for the Church of England to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ
This week began with Katherine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (TEC) of the USA preaching in Westminster Abbey, it will end, we are told with Canon Michael Smith of York Minster blessing the York Gay Pride March. In between we have seen the Bishop of Buckingham describe doctrine that he swore to teach and pass on as ‘lousy’.
Nowhere in any of this has there been the clear message of the Gospel that despite our rejection of his ways we are all loved by God and can find forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not surprising then, that the majority of the world’s Anglicans now look to the Primates of Global Anglican Future Conference GAFCON for leadership – the only question is whether after weeks like this one, those in the Church of England who wish to proclaim this Gospel will be forced to follow the same path.
“Christianity is based on revealed doctrine, enabling individuals to live rightly before a Holy God as followers of Jesus Christ. He tells us how to live in all areas of life, including in areas of sexual behaviour. No denomination is at liberty to invent its own doctrine or to sacrifice revealed doctrine on the altars of contemporary fashion. We cannot be authentically Christian whilst simultaneously rejecting the teaching of the one we claim to follow.” Rev Simon Austen – Rector of St Leonard’s Church, Exeter Diocese
“York Minster’s leading the way in the Gay Pride march is symbolic of what the Church of England’s leadership is doing generally on this issue – leading people away from the clear teaching of the Bible and the Gospel. It exposes the sham of the consultation process for what it is – a means by which the church can validate homosexual activity. One would hope that the Archbishop of York would do his duty and speak clearly, upholding the Bible’s position.” Rev Melvin Tinker, St John’s Church, Newland, York Diocese
“I am deeply disappointed that Alan Wilson persists in undermining the teaching of the Church by his overt support of those who have gone against the clear rules governing clergy discipline. Describing the Church’s teaching and doctrine as “lousy” is quite breathtakingly arrogant and not language that one would expect from a senior leader in the Church. Were I in secular employment and so at odds with the leadership and core values of the company that employed me, I would resign forthwith as a matter of conscience.” Rev Will Pearson-‐Gee -‐ Rector of Buckingham, Oxford Diocese
“The Bishop of Buckingham courts publicity for his revisionist agenda and gets it. He has sadly become a figure of disunity in the Oxford Diocese and a cause of grief to many faithful Anglican Christians. The version of marriage he espouses is incompatible with Biblical Christianity.” Rev Will Stileman – Vicar of St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead and Chair of the Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship
“Sooner or later everyone in the Church of England will have to decide whether they have confidence in what God says about marriage and human sexuality in the Scriptures. If we are not willing to trust what God says is good for us and for our society then we lose the claim to be authentically Christian. And in the course of time God will make it plain that our claims to be Christian are hollow. Jeremiah 7:28 speaks of truth perishing and being cut off from the lips of God’s people, and the prophet is clear about the disastrous consequences of that”. Rev Mark Burkill –Vicar of Christ Church, Leyton, Chelmsford Diocese
“The Bishop of Buckingham is a runaway train, and has lost the confidence of many of the clergy in the Diocese of Oxford who would have him nowhere near their churches. There is now a crisis of leadership in Oxford Diocese, shown in the fact that the Diocese was unable to appoint a Diocesan Bishop who can work with Buckingham. The Bishop of Buckingham thinks he can make up doctrine on the hoof to suit his own revisionist agenda. That is not how the Church of England does things”. Rev James Paice, Vicar of St Luke’s Wimbledon Park, Southwark Diocese
That the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have chimed “Me, too!” on Climate Change does not make the week any better.