SCHISM: 85% of Anglican Leaders Reject Archbishop, Church of England Over Same-Sex Unions
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Conservative Anglican leaders from 52 nations have officially rejected the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Church of England as the issue of same-sex marriage continues to divide the Anglican Communion.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, which is a global fellowship of 42 Anglican churches.
The archbishop has no formal power. Instead, he has moral authority and is seen as the "first among equals," the BBC explains.
The chair of St Augustine is now empty, as far as leaders representing an estimated 85 percent of the Anglican Communion, the world's third-largest Christian denomination, are concerned, according to Christianity Today.
The conservative group of primates (a term for the chief archbishop or bishop of a province in the Anglican Episcopal family of churches) met in Kigali, Rwanda April 17-21 for their fourth annual Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).
In all, more than 1,300 delegates from 52 countries attended the conference.
On the last day of the event, the GAFCON delegates signed and issued a statement also known as The Kigali Commitment. It reaffirmed the authority of God's Word and recalled 25 years of warnings from Anglican primates about the departure of the Church of England from scripture.
"The Bible is God's Word written, breathed out by God as it was written by his faithful messengers (2 Timothy 3:16). It carries God's own authority, is its own interpreter, and it does not need to be supplemented, nor can it ever be overturned by human wisdom. God's good Word is the rule of our lives as disciples of Jesus and is the final authority in the church," the statement said.
"It grieves the Holy Spirit and us that the leadership of the Church of England is determined to bless sin. Since the Lord does not bless same-sex unions, it is pastorally deceptive and blasphemous to craft prayers that invoke blessing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," the statement said.
"Any refusal to follow the biblical teaching that the only appropriate context for sexual activity is the exclusive lifelong union of a man and a woman in marriage violates the created order (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6) and endangers salvation (1 Corinthians 6:9)," the GAFCON statement noted.
"The current divisions in the Anglican Communion have been caused by radical departures from the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some within the Communion have been taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies of this world (Colossians 2:8). Such a failure to hear and heed God's Word undermines the mission of the church as a whole," the statement said.
"Public statements by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other leaders of the Church of England in support of same-sex blessings are a betrayal of their ordination and consecration vows to banish error and to uphold and defend the truth taught in Scripture," the statement continued.
"We have no confidence that the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the other Instruments of Communion led by him (the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates' Meetings) are able to provide a godly way forward that will be acceptable to those who are committed to the truthfulness, clarity, sufficiency and authority of Scripture. The Instruments of Communion have failed to maintain true communion based on the Word of God and shared faith in Christ," the statement said.
The GAFCON delegates also committed themselves to "working with orthodox Primates and other leaders to reset the Communion on its biblical foundations."
The statement also noted that the GAFCON delegates were also joined by the leaders of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) and together they represent an estimated 85% of Anglicans worldwide.
As CBN News reported in February, the conservative GSFA already signed a resolution stating they will no longer recognize the Archbishop of Canterbury as the head of the Anglican Communion following the Church of England's decision to allow the blessing of same-sex unions by its priests.
Over the years the Church of England has made doctrinal changes pitting the escalating global LGBT sexual agenda against the teachings of Biblical morality. It has led to friction between the church's leaders and members.
Lambeth Palace Responds
Responding to GAFCON's statement, a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury said: "We note that The Kigali Commitment issued by GAFCON IV today makes many of the same points that have previously been made about the structures of the Anglican Communion. As the Archbishop of Canterbury has previously said, those structures are always able to change with the times – and have done so in the past."
"The Archbishop said at the recent Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Ghana (ACC-18) that no changes to the formal structures of the Anglican Communion can be made unless they are agreed upon by the Instruments of Communion," the spokesperson said.
"The Archbishop continues to be in regular contact with his fellow Primates and looks forward to discussing this and many other matters with them over the coming period," the Archbishop's spokesperson said.
"Continuing to walk together as Anglicans is not just the best way to share Christ's love with a world in great need: it is also how the world will know that Jesus Christ is sent from the Father who calls us to love one another, even as we disagree," the spokesperson concluded.
In an op-ed published by The Daily Signal, the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation on April 26, Tyler O'Neil, the outlet's managing editor noted, "The Kigali Commitment also cites other Church of England departures from Christian orthodoxy, such as 'the uniqueness and divinity of Christ, his bodily Resurrection, his promised return, the summons to faith and repentance, and the final judgment'."
"Many Christian leaders have shied away from these central Christian doctrines to declare a more nebulous gospel of love and acceptance unmoored from the clear teaching of the Bible that if Jesus was not bodily raised from the dead, 'our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain' (1 Corinthians 15:14). Christianity can only offer hope of ultimate joy, reconciliation with God, and salvation from sin in the context of doctrines such as the need for repentance, the historical truth of the Gospels, and the promised resurrection of the church," O'Neil wrote.
"A Christianity that does not preach the Resurrection is not Christianity, and a Christianity that rejects the clear witness of Scripture about sexual morality is also not Christianity," he continued.
"Christians must love and sympathize with those who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender confusion, and a keen awareness of our own sin must restrain us from thinking ourselves superior to them. However, sympathy and Christlike charity do not excuse those who bless sin in the name of God," O'Neil pointed out.
"Thank God for church leaders who are not afraid to speak these truths," he said.
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