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SYDNEY: Anglican Archbishop tells same-sex marriage supporters to leave the Anglican Church

SYDNEY: Anglican Archbishop tells same-sex marriage supporters to leave the Anglican Church
Diocese of Perth approves of sex outside of marriage
Newcastle Bishop set to discuss same sex marriage

By David W. Virtue in New Zealand
October 15, 2019

Dr. Glenn Davies, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney bluntly told Anglican supporters of same-sex marriage, that they should leave the church rather than "betray God's word".

Addressing the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, in his final address to the Anglican church's parliament, Davies delivered a scathing denunciation of progressive elements within the church that they had "entered treacherous waters" and called on those who supported same-sex marriage to leave.

"I fear for the stability of the Anglican Church of Australia. These developments have the potential to fracture our fellowship and impair our communion. I have stated this on numerous occasions at the annual National Bishops' Conference, but sadly to little effect," said Davies, who is the Synod president.

"My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views - but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture. Please leave us.

"We have far too much work to do in evangelizing Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world."

Davies directed his strongest criticism at church branches that had moved to bless same-sex unions, such as the Wangaratta diocese in Victoria. That decision has now been referred to the church's internal appeals tribunal.

Davies said to bless same-sex unions would be to "betray God's word". He conceded "our view of marriage is not a popular one in Australia" and was also now contrary to the law.

"Nonetheless, God's intention for marriage has not changed. We honor him when we abide by his instruction. We cannot bless same-sex marriages for the simple reason that we cannot bless sin," Davies said.

The church's General Synod will meet next year in Maroochydore for a special session on the question of same-sex unions. Davies said it was imperative decisions were made given the acts of rebellion in some church branches, and the conference "must make a clear statement about the teaching of the Bible on the sanctity of sex within the marriage bond of a man and a woman, so that marriage is held in honor among all and the marriage bed is not defiled".

During the 2017 postal survey on marriage equality, the Sydney Anglicans under Davies donated $1 million to the "No" campaign.

Davies also discussed gender identity, noting the church was experiencing an increase in the occurrence of gender dysphoria issues.

"A doctrinal position that expresses the doctrine, tenets, beliefs and teachings will be necessary for the protection of our religious freedom, as well as providing protection from future charges of discrimination that may well be brought against the church or its organizations and schools," he said.

Davies called on Anglicans to "pray for our politicians, especially Christians on both sides of politics" as they worked towards a final version of the Religious Discrimination Bill.

Davies will step down as archbishop in July of 2020 before he turns 70.

IN OTHER NEWS the Diocese of Perth at its annual synod approved changes to Faithfulness in Service (the Anglican Church of Australia's national code of conduct) approving extra-marital sex for clergy and church workers thus removing the expectation for clergy and church workers to refrain from sex outside marriage. The amended text provided to synod, showing the effect of the change, was as follows;

In an explanatory memorandum, the Diocese's legislative committee provides only the following commentary on this significant change,

The form of Faithfulness in Service being presented for adoption here is a slightly modified form of the most up-to-date revision of the code and is the form of Faithfulness in Service used in the Diocese of Adelaide. The modification comes in clause 7.4 where the clause is amended so that it reads, "You are to be chaste and not engage in disgraceful conduct of a sexual nature". It is hoped that it would commend itself to the members of Synod as a desirable set of standards and guidelines for those who lead and set an example in the life of our churches.

The revised standard now means that sexual activity outside marriage is considered appropriate for clergy and church workers. It was adopted on voice vote by synod.

In the Diocese of Newcastle Anglican Bishop Peter Stuart is bringing on a vote on whether to allow official blessings of same-sex marriages in his diocese.

The Newcastle bill would allow clergy to bless "persons married according to the Marriage Act" if they wish to.

A separate bill to go before the Synod would remove any disciplinary processes for clergy who bless a same-sex marriage.

"There is no doubt that these Private Members' Bills will cause anguish to some in the diocesan community, as well as being a cause of celebration for others," Bishop of Newcastle Dr Peter Stuart wrote to the diocese.

The Anglican Church does not permit same-sex marriages.

However the Synod of the Diocese of Wangaratta voted 67-18 to allow blessings of married same-sex couples.

If the Newcastle bill passes, Bishop Stuart said he would expect and welcome their referral to the Appellate Tribunal for a final decision, as in Wangaratta.

Last July, the Uniting Church in Australia voted to endorse same-sex marriage. The church allows individual ministers to choose whether or not to officiate same-sex marriages.

Read the full presidential address here: https://www.gafcon.org/news/presidential-address-to-the-synod-of-the-diocese-of-sydney

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