Archbishop Melter Tais receiving his primatial cross from Archbishop Ng Moon Hing

The word of God, not the passing fancies of men, must guide the Anglican Communion, the Primate of the Anglican Church of South East Asia, the Most Rev. Datuk Melter Tais, Bishop of Sabah, told Anglican.Ink today before the start of the 2022 Lambeth Conference plenary on Human Dignity.

Archbishop Tais serves on the leadership team of the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, which has sought to reorder the fractured Anglican world around four themes at the 2022 Lambeth Conference: uniting the orthodox, proclaiming and maintaining fidelity to Scripture, remaining an active part of the Anglican Communion as a “holy remnant”, and affirming the great commission of mission and evangelism to the the world.

“We are not merely talking about sexuality” by asking the bishops at the conference to reaffirm their fidelity to the 1998 Lambeth Conference’s Resolution 1.10 on human sexuality, the upbeat and optimistic archbishop said on 2 Aug 2022, but seek to affirm the centrality of Scripture in moral decision making.  

“For me, the true teaching of Scripture is that marriage is between husband and wife, man and woman,” he observed. When the church departs from its Scriptural foundations and pursues the spirit of the age, it is no longer faithful to the faith once given to the saints.

Reaffirming Lambeth 1.10 “also respects what we decided in 1998,” Archbishop Tais added.

At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Bishop Tais’ predecessor as Bishop of Sabah and later Primate of South East Asia, the Most Rev. Datuk Yong Ping Chung, played a key part in articulating the global south’s vision of a renewed and vibrant Anglicanism – a faith freed from the dead hand of colonialism and liberal theology. 

“I am in full agreement with my predecessor [Archbishop Yong]”, he said, reiterating that what the GSFA was seeking was not new, but a restatement of the faith. He encouraged Anglicans around the world to be a “holy remnant, and stand upon the truth” of the Lord, and not succumb to the fancies and fads of the moment.

Archbishop Tais was elected the sixth Archbishop of South East Asia at an extraordinary meeting of the provincial synod on 24 Sept 2019. He had served for over 25 years in the Diocese of Sabah as a parish priest, archdeacon, assistant bishop, and vicar-general before being elected bishop in May 2015. He is the first indigenous bishop of the diocese located on the northern coast of Borneo. He is married to Angeline Wong and they have five children.

Archbishop Tais told AI preparation on today’s resolution reaffirming Lambeth 1.10 has been in process for over three months. Though he was not on the drafting committee that worked on the document that was brought to Lambeth 2022, it has his full support. He encouraged the approximately 275 Global South bishops present at Lambeth to support the document this week, and looked forward to discussing the importance of a clear and unmistakable stand on Biblical principles during the remainder of the conference.