CROSSING THE RUBICON: Lambeth Resolution I.10, the Church of England, and the Anglican Communion

This precise risk of divergence arose after Lambeth 1998 when the Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson in 2003 as Bishop of New Hampshire. The churches did meet in a series of Primates’ meetings and made clear the incompatibility of Robinson’s consecration with Lambeth Resolution I.10; however, the failure of the Archbishop of Canterbury to carry out the disciplinary measures of the Primates led ultimately to the formation of the GAFCON movement, which has made Lambeth I.10 a touchstone of identity.

Mr. Nye’s position about the absence of formal discipline is legally correct but spiritually dangerous in that it appears to be clearing the way for the Church of England to work around Lambeth Resolution I.10. Mr. Nye goes on to cite a number of other actions and documents of the Church of England, which I leave to my English colleagues to handle. It certainly seems as if the end-point of these actions and the so-called “Listening Process” is the approval and blessing of same-sex civil partnerships. If this indeed is where the Church of England is heading, it is, in my opinion, crossing the Rubicon, or if I may adapt a North American metaphor, barreling over Niagara Falls.

I say this for three reasons. First, blessing homosexual practice in any form is contrary to Scripture and the Christian church’s continuous moral tradition, as expressed in Lambeth Resolution I.10. Secondly, the Church of England will be unable to hold the line at same-sex civil partnerships. The Episcopal Church USA and Anglican Church of Canada are bellwethers in this regard; both having begun with same-sex partnerships have moved on to mandate same-sex marriage. The UK Government will push this process along, as is seen in the number of legal same-sex marriages of clergy in the Church of England, as pointed out in the GAFCON briefing paper.

Thirdly, approval of same-sex civil partnerships will render irreparable what the Windsor Report called the tear in the fabric of the Communion.

Read it all from Stephen Noll.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

3 comments on “CROSSING THE RUBICON: Lambeth Resolution I.10, the Church of England, and the Anglican Communion

  1. Tory says:

    I agree with Steve Noll, Special Advisor to GAFCON, on most of his contextual analysis of Lambeth 1.10 and more importantly, I absolutely agree that there is no scriptural or theological warrant for sanctioning sexual relations outside of marriage, which is the life long Union of husband and wife. However, I disagree with the parallel he constructs between the CofE and TEC. They are culturally and historically very different churches in the Communion and their approach to their same-sex attracted members is also very different. The deliberative and open way they have discussed the theological and pastoral issues surrounding same sex relations is miles apart from what happened in TEC.
    My deeper disagreement is that somehow GAFCON is the guardian of AC orthodoxy in Faith and morals, especially on same sex matters. It cannot guard that which is does not actually posses within itself. As I have discussed with Steve (and other GAFCON leaders) in other contexts, GAFCON’s leadership is too spiritually and morally compromised in this area to be an effective bulwark against the sexual nihilism sweeping over the West. Ironically, as a group (though not as individuals) it lacks the most essential attribute of holy love for the marginal that Archbishop Welby and his colleagues at HTB actually possess and demonstrate abundantly: They have a Wesley-Whitfield size track record of redemptive ministry to the lost and sexually broken, symptomatic of the multiple alienations currently crippling our culture in the Western hemisphere. They posses a proven missional strategy, memorably encapsulated in Pope Francis’ concept of “accompaniment” demonstrated, in part, in the beautiful domestic church movement known as “Mistero Grande.” This is one reason, among many, that the RCC has joined Archbishop Welby and HTB in mission in the re-evangelization of the West. This cannot be said for GAFCON.

    There is much more of relevance to this crisis than Mr. Nye’s letter, and its context in our current struggle, than my friend Steve Noll’s essay presents. Archbishop Welby and the CofE may make mistakes, even grievous ones, but they are not the ones in danger of barreling over the Niagara.

  2. Fr. Dale says:

    “They have a Wesley-Whitfield size track record of redemptive ministry to the lost and sexually broken…” Do you have supporting evidence of this?

  3. MichaelA says:

    “Ironically, as a group (though not as individuals) [Gafcon] lacks the most essential attribute of holy love for the marginal…”

    Since this accusation was made without a shred of reasoning or fact to support it, nothing more need be said.