The Church of England has been all over the news this week because Synod – the governing body of the CofE – voted, after a lengthy process, to allow the blessing of same-sex relationships.
This has caused tidal waves in the wider Anglican Communion. The traditional Christian view is that marriage is between one man and one woman and that sex outside of marriage is sinful, therefore, unable to be blessed by God.
There are those of us who now see the Church of England as apostates because of what I would call, heretical teaching, and the Church of England is at serious risk of being renounced from the Anglican Communion.
Many publications are conflating Anglicanism with the CofE, so I’d like to take this opportunity to explain the difference:
Anglicanism, as the name would suggest, is the English expression of the Christian faith. When the English spread Christianity around the world, we shared the Anglican tradition post-Reformation.
Part of the one holy, catholic and apostolic faith, Anglicans are both Catholic and Reformed. After Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox, it is the third largest Communion in the world.
A group of Anglican leaders – known as Primates – met in 2008 at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) over concerns of what they called a rising ‘false gospel’.
They were concerned that the Episcopal Church of America – and now the Church of England – might be departing from biblical teaching.
Today, GAFCON represents over 35 million active Anglicans in the worldwide Communion. For perspective, there are just over 13 million Anglicans in the UK. GAFCON is the majority, representing over 75 per cent of Anglicans worldwide.
Last year, we interviewed the Chairman of Gafcon, the Most Rev’d Dr Foley Beach, on this show.
Why is any of this important?
In a statement released on Thursday, immediately after the announcement regarding same-sex blessings in the CofE, the Global South, the majority African arm of Anglicans, who will be attending GAFCON, said that the “Church of England has now joined those Provinces with which communion is impaired.”
“Church of England has now joined those Provinces with which communion is impaired.”
They made the point that “whatever the legal advice that the CofE’s Doctrine of Marriage has not changed, we hold the well-established view …
“Whatever the legal advice that the CofE’s Doctrine of Marriage has not changed, we hold the well-established view that Anglican liturgy expresses its doctrine.”
As a result, they “will be taking decisive steps towards re-setting the Anglican Communion”.
If the majority of Anglicans are rejecting what they call, the ‘false gospel’ of the Church of England, and choose to renounce the See of Canterbury, the question arises, can the Church of England survive on its own, or will it be forced to repent and re-join the fold?