To my evangelical brothers and sisters,
I wanted to write to you, as a wider family of evangelicals, in this incredibly important moment that we find ourselves in. Like many of us, the Church of England has had a tremendous influence on my discipleship. It has the potential to shape and model to people well beyond its communion what it means to follow Jesus.
Therefore, like thousands of others in the UK and around the world, I find myself saddened, pained and a little shocked at the proposals being made by the House of Bishops. After a long process of listening and discussion, proposals are being brought to General Synod that, while claiming not to change their doctrine of marriage, do appear to dramatically compromise the church’s teaching and practice on relationships and sexual ethics.
We are part of a global Christian community. There are millions of evangelicals around the world, united, across expression, ethnicity and language, in our desire to follow Jesus, stand firm on the words of scripture and share the gospel with those around us. Marriage, between one man and one woman, is a part of our community. It is the only sacred, covenanted relationship for sexual union. And yet the bishops’ proposals seem to be drastically departing from that orthodox Christian teaching, practice and doctrine.
I AM ESPECIALLY PRAYING FOR COURAGE AND CONVICTION FOR THOSE INVOLVED, THAT THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND WOULD REAFFIRM ITS LONG-HELD COMMITMENT TO MARRIAGE
The Evangelical Alliance is a relational organisation and we know how important it is to get around the table and listen to different sides of the conversation. This week, we have done just that, as we’ve met representatives of the CEEC (Church of England Evangelical Council) and Lambeth Palace. As we have listened, it has been abundantly clear that there is a wide range of views and opinions held and that navigating a way forward is fraught with challenges. This is not an easy conversation, there is real pain and hurt to be acknowledged and repented of. But, it is also profoundly clear that the attempted compromise being suggested is entirely inadequate for all sides of the debate. The proposals being suggested are an unsustainable way forward.
Please join me in praying for the Church of England and all the members of Synod in the key weeks ahead. I am especially praying for courage and conviction for those involved, that the Church of England would reaffirm its long-held commitment to marriage as a faithful, committed relationship between one man and one woman, and not undermine its teaching on discipleship and sexual ethics for all of us.
Evangelicals have always been at the heart of communities, serving those around us and making Jesus known. In these challenging times, as we face the reality of a cost of living crisis, our nation needs the gospel more than ever. Let’s not lose sight of what we are here for. Together we can stay true to what we believe theologically, and go for it wholeheartedly in mission.
Gavin Calver is the CEO of the Evangelical Alliance.