GAFCON Chairman Blasts Church of England’s Failure to Uphold Apostolic Teaching on Sexuality
1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10 has now been downgraded to something provisional and secondary
GAFCON-UK says no faithful Anglicans will be left behind or abandoned
By David W. Virtue, DD
March 8, 2017
GAFCON chairman and Nigerian Archbishop, Nicholas Okoh, says the Church of England’s recent vote on marriage and sexuality was “very distressing”, creating such “confusion” it now puts the Anglican Communion at greater risk of being spread through the rest of the Communion.
The Evangelical Archbishop said the Synod report tried to face two ways. “While it recommended that there should be no change to the doctrine of marriage, it held out the possibility that could change in the future and that for the present, in line with present practice, there should be ‘maximum freedom’ pastorally within the existing legal framework.”
Okoh said that following this rebuke to the House of Bishops, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a letter which seemed to entrench the contradiction. “They call for ‘a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church’ which not only draws on the traditional sources of Anglican authority, but also on what they describe as a ‘21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.’
“But the inclusion the gospel offers has always been radical. All are included in fallen human nature and yet all may be included in the Kingdom of God through repentance and faith in Christ crucified. While we are included in the Kingdom solely through God’s grace, this is not cheap grace and there is a great gulf between the morality of the Bible and the neo-pagan sexual morality that is now dominant in the West. We need to be as clear today as the apostles were to the churches of the New Testament that new life in Christ means a radical break with the practices and lifestyle of the world.”
The Nigerian Primate said some Bishops were quick to seize the initiative with their own interpretation of ‘a radical new Christian inclusion’. He cited the Bishop of Manchester, who called for “much more than the maximum freedom” recommended by the House of Bishops report, while the Bishop of Selby (a suffragan of York Diocese) claimed "The majority view of the Synod therefore is that we need to explore a more creative way ahead for faithful human relationships rather than remaining where we are".
Okoh said the effect of the vote in General Synod depended upon how it is interpreted. “It could have been an opportunity to reaffirm apostolic teaching on marriage and sexuality, but the Archbishops’ talk of radical inclusion and a 21st century understanding has given great encouragement to those who want to bring the Church of England into line with the values of secular society.
“The result is that the historic and biblical mind of the Church, as expressed by the bishops of the Anglican Communion in Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, has now been downgraded to something provisional and secondary.”
Okoh said the only hope lay in the emergence of GAFCON-UK. “The confusion created by the General Synod vote on 15th February makes it abundantly clear that a new vision is now needed of what Anglican Christianity in England can and should be.’ GAFCON exists to provide a new vision of vibrant biblical partnership in mission for the Anglican Communion as a whole. No faithful Anglicans will be left behind or abandoned.
“In these troubled times it is good to recover the biblical perspective that ‘here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come’ (Hebrews 13:14). Our defining center is not a place, but a person, the Lord Jesus Christ and our ultimate authority is not a human institution, but the Word of God. We gathered in Jerusalem in 2008 in the place that witnessed the mighty acts of God in the death and resurrection of his Son and from where the Apostles were sent out to all the world. We shall return next year with great thankfulness to God for his continued favor, but our eyes will be upon the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God, of which we are members by grace and we eagerly look forward to its full revealing when Jesus returns.”
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