jQuery Slider

You are here


Wallace Benn, a former Bishop of Lewes, writes: I was privileged to be part of the group at the Lambeth Conference of world-wide Anglican bishops in 1998 which produced the statement overwhelmingly supported by the Conference, which included:

By Wallace Benn
December 15, 2023

'... while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all ...'

'... cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those in same gender unions' (Lambeth 1.10).

I was also part of the group that wrote the excellent Jerusalem Declaration in 2008 (which became the basis for GAFCON -- the global movement of orthodox Anglicans) and which states (Clause 8, and Clause 13):

'We acknowledge God's creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.'

'We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.'

The Bible is our supreme authority on all matters of faith and conduct. These two statements, which express the teaching of the Bible on these matters, continue to be the position held by more than 80% of the Anglican Communion worldwide. The recent decision of the Church of England's General Synod which goes against these statements by proposing prayers and stand-alone services to bless what God does not bless, therefore is a tragic denial of Biblical authority. It marks a rubicon moment when the denomination has officially abandoned Apostolic teaching on a salvation-related issue (1 Cor. 6:9-11), and this has caused serious division in the church.

What are Bible-believing Christians to do? Well, first of all protest graciously but in the strongest way possible, by refusing the spiritual oversight of those bishops who would lead us in a liberal and heretical direction, and withdraw our financial support from dioceses that go the same way.

Evangelicals need to act together and fully support CEEC (Church of England Evangelical Council), as it seeks a negotiated provision that will provide orthodox oversight long term, safety for the selection and training of our ordinands, and security for our parishes and the clergy appointed to them. What is really needed in Anglican polity is an orthodox Province with our own bishops and appointment system. In the end nothing less will do. Hopefully, adequate provision can be granted within the CofE, which would prevent so much division and heartache, but if not, it will need to be created with the help of GAFCON and the Global South leaders outside. We need to earnestly pray and wait and see what will happen.

But let us be clear, orthodox oversight is a must, and the issue is so serious that we cannot and must not compromise on what faithful Anglican gospel churches need. Loyalty to the living Word, Jesus Christ the Son of God, demands that we remain faithful to the teaching of the written word of God.

Hard decisions will have to be made, as the toleration of immorality and false teaching on a first-order gospel-related issue in the church, brings the prospect of the Lord's judgment (Rev. 2:20ff; Jude).

However we must not lose heart. The Lord who reigns will build His church, but there is no guarantee that that will be in the Church of England in the future!


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top