Professor Stephen Noll: The Pilling Report and the Anglican Communion

The Pilling Report has one goal: to legitimize an ongoing dialogue about normalizing homosexual relationships in the church’s life. In my opinion, this goal is incompatible with Lambeth Resolution I.10 and the position of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

Nearly eighteen years ago, the Episcopal Church USA initiated a process called “Continuing the Dialogue” on sexuality that sounds very much like the PR’s idea of “facilitated conversation.” The end result of that “dialogue” was never in doubt – approval of the gay rights agenda – nor were conservatives ever more than token participants. I would ask conservatives in the Church of England one simple question: can you imagine any circumstance in which the traditional teaching of the Church on the exclusive character of Holy Matrimony will be reaffirmed as a result of this dialogue?

Although the PR is primarily addressing the Church of England, it also calls for Communion-wide dialogue – as if we had not already experienced the “Windsor process” from 2004 and the “Lambeth Indaba” in 2008. For global Anglicans to return to such a fruitless endeavor would be to deter their mission and divert attention from ongoing social issues that really do affect them. Finally, many Global South churches over the past decade provided refuge to orthodox churches and clergy in North America. They may well need to do the same for English churches and clergy as well, if the recommended listening process is adopted and has the same divisive result in the Church of England that the parallel “dialogue” has had in North America.

For these reasons, I would urge GFCA churches to leave the PR alone, to pray for brothers and sisters in the Church of England who will be affected by it, and to move forward with the ambitious agenda set forth in Nairobi. For those churches and leaders that may view the PR optimistically as a way out of the divisions facing the Anglican Communion, I can only suggest they attend the wisdom of the old limerick:

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

7 comments on “Professor Stephen Noll: The Pilling Report and the Anglican Communion

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Dr. Noll is absolutely right. Although I think he has actually understated how bad the Pilling Report is. Maybe all that time teaching in Uganda has caused him to absorb some of the British tendency toward understatement.

    It is now abundantly clear that GAFCON II’s endorsement of the AMiE and the call in Nairobi to raise significant funds to underwrite an aggressive campaign to support the planting of new churches and the training of new clergy who will be faithful to the authentic gospel even if they must function outside the structures of the CoE was a very timely move. Indeed, the need is now urgent. There is clearly a need fror haste in amassing the funds and personnel needed to make the AMiE a large and powerful force in England.

    David Handy+

  2. Undergroundpewster says:

    We pray the bishops reject the PR, but the fact that it got this far is a positive predictor for the eventual approval of same sex blessings in the CofE. For the progressive agenda does not stop even when rejected.

  3. Jill Woodliff says:

    Prayers for the Church of England may be found [url=]here[/url].

  4. MichaelA says:

    As Prof. Noll observes, one should perhaps be grateful that the Pilling Report saw fit to mention the Jerusalem Declaration at all, or the Nairobi conference!

    But his point is well made – the insidious nature of the Pilling Report lies in its call for ongoing dialogue with all sections of the Communion. The liberals don’t just want to force through their changes in CofE – they want to talk the rest of the Anglican Communion around to the same views.

    Hence Prof Noll’s call for Gafcon churches to avoid this dialogue is spot-on – they should rather concentrate on strengthening their existing churches and planting new ones.

  5. David Keller says:

    #4–One minor point. The liberals DO want to force their changes on the CofE. But they truly they think their arguments are so correct/perfect you only need to hear them and you will immediately agree. When you don’t immedaitely agree, they will kick you out if they can and marginalize you if you if won’t leave.

  6. Publius says:

    The leadership of the CofE must realize now that if it adopts the Pilling Report, the Communion will be irrevocably sundered, and that there will be an AMiE in the UK. In the run up to GAFCON I and in the aftermath to 2003, it was not clear whether the orthodox would respond with anything besides rhetoric. I think I recall Williams telling people that he did not expect that ACNA would even get off the ground. The point is: since 2003, GAFCON has met twice, the FCA is up and running, as is ACNA (for all of its internal faults). The orthodox resistance is real, not hypothetical. That must change the leadership’s calculations.

  7. SC blu cat lady says:

    This just shows the time is here for faithful Anglicans to leave heresy behind even when it is the Mother Church of Anglicanism. We must keep Anglicanism alive even while heretics want it to die!

    Publius, Heretical leaders don’t even bother with pretending to listen to faithful Anglicans any more. So don’t get excited that anything from GAFCON is going to make them change their minds. It won’t. Call me cynical and you would be correct. Lets just say that listening to this since the mid-1970s is long enough! Enough is enough, I say- pull the plug and let them die!