The Church of England has struggled with many issues over the last decade. They have fractured over ordaining women and other such matters. But, nothing has been more divisive than the question of sodomite unions. The question of whether to allow and conduct such things has caused the Episcopal Church to be at odds with much of the rest of the Anglican Fellowship.
There has been for many years a call by some to do something about the American’s Church’s stance on the issue. Finally, there has been action taken.
Anglican leaders on Thursday temporarily restricted the role of the U.S. Episcopal Church in their global fellowship as a sanction over the American church’s acceptance of gay marriage.
Episcopalians have been barred for three years from any policy-setting positions in the Anglican Communion while a task force is formed that will try to reconcile conflicting views over sexuality in the 85-million-member family of churches. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States.
What this does is stops the U.S. church from having a voice in the decisions that the Church makes. This is an attempt to silence the liberal faction within the liberal-leaning denomination. This was all but demanded by the theologically conservative group in the church.
The Global Anglican Future Conference, which represents theologically conservative Anglican leaders worldwide, had sought sanctions against the U.S. church, and some members said they would walk out of this week’s meeting unless some penalty was applied. One leader, Ugandan Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, did so. In a statement Thursday, the conference known as GAFCON said their leaders were pleased by the outcome of the meeting, but “this action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning.”
GAFCON saw this as good news, but they knew that there was more that needed to be done. And they seem to have the influence to push the denomination away from the brink. The Anglican Church has long leaned to the left, and some have even denied the inerrancy of Scripture. This is less true in the area of the fastest growing Anglican Churches in the world.
The most vocal protests to the Episcopal embrace of gay rights came from Africa, home to some of the fastest-growing churches in the Anglican communion and the deepest opposition to gay relationships as a violation of Scripture. Many African countries have criminalized gay relationships.
It seems while America embraces apostasy and sexual perversion, our African brothers embrace orthodoxy, and scripture. But, it appears that there is still an uphill climb for the GAFCON if the Episcopal response is any indication.
Robinson, in response, posted on his Twitter account, “God’s judgment against those who include too many will be less harsh than the judgment against those who include too few.”
While the U.S. Episcopal Church is alone among Anglican provinces in approving gay marriage, other Anglican national churches, in Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand and Scotland, have taken steps toward accepting same-sex relationships. The top body of the Anglican Church of Canada is scheduled to vote in July on a proposal that would authorize gay marriage. A spokeswoman for the Canadian church said its leader, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, would comment after the news conference Friday.
There were also those who had tried to sway the council before it met.
the BBC reports
More than 100 senior Anglicans had urged the Church of England to repent for “discriminating” against lesbian and gay Christians in an open letter.
However, the Anglican leaders in Canterbury said the Episcopal Church’s approval of gay marriage was “a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching” of the majority of Anglicans.
Though this is a brave and necessary step in reclaiming truth in the Church, there is a possibility that this kind of action will be needed in other countries.
May God grant GAFCON the strength to continue to stand.