The leading evangelical umbrella group in the Church of England has given the thumbs down to the recent statement from the US House of Bishops, and they have invited English dioceses to consider boycotting next year’s Lambeth Conference.
The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) emphasised that they are committed both to the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. However they judged that the recent statement from the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans fell short of the demands made on it by the Primates.
In a statement they said: “We believe TEC’s response does not meet the requests of the Primates from Dar es Salaam, not merely for clarification but for repentance and turning back from their clear intention to affirm same-sex blessings and the consecration of practicing homosexuals to the episcopate.”
They said that the American bishops had ”˜continued to widen a gap of their own making’. As a result the fabric of the Communion is torn ”˜almost beyond repair’.
While they supported the proposed Anglican Covenant, they said that the reaction from the American bishops showed that ”˜this covenant may not hold’. And they went further. The contents of their statement showed, they claimed, that the US Church ”˜has placed itself outside the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the Catholic Creeds’.
In an appeal to English dioceses, they said that those dioceses that are linked with dioceses overseas should consult with their companion dioceses about whether to attend the Lambeth Conference.
A number of dioceses, largely in Africa, have said that they may not attend the 10-yearly meeting of the Anglican bishops. And last week the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali (pictured) revealed that if current arrangements stand, he might not be able to attend himself.
Sources have told The Church of England Newspaper that representatives from almost all the African Provinces have responded positively to their invitations to Lambeth, with the one exception being Uganda.
In their statement the CEEC said: “We prayerfully counsel Church of England bishops to consider whether in the light of TEC’s response they may wish to absent themselves.”
They added that the inclusive Gospel preached by Jesus was based on repentance, faith and the gift of the Spirit. “In effect TEC’s approach to inclusiveness excludes the majority of Anglicans from other provinces who are faithful to Biblical teaching. We affirm as the will of God the biblical teaching that we are called either to heterosexual marriage or celibacy.”
–This article appeared in the Church of England Newspaper daily edition of October 15, 2007