The decade's most triggering comedy
The Church of England’s General Synod approved a motion earlier this year to “publicly, unreservedly, and joyfully” welcome same-sex couples into their congregations, where they can “receive God’s blessing” after a civil marriage or civil partnership, even as ministers remain unable to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. Members of the General Synod also voted to “lament and repent” the Anglican Communion’s failure to “welcome LGBTQI+ people.”
Bishops and clergy members from the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, an alliance of conservative Anglican churches also known as GAFCON, assembled in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali this week and released a statement against the decision. They rejected Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the “first among equals” for bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion, a body rooted in the traditions of the English Reformation, which spread across the globe amid the spread of the British Empire.
“Since the Lord does not bless same-sex unions, it is pastorally deceptive and blasphemous to craft prayers that invoke blessing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” the document said. “Refusal to follow the biblical teaching that the only appropriate context for sexual activity is the exclusive lifelong union of a man and a woman in marriage violates the created order.”
GAFCON attendees also endorsed a previous statement from the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, also known as the GSFA, which said that the Church of England has “disqualified herself” from serving as the Anglican Communion’s mother church.
“The Church of England has chosen to break communion with those provinces who remain faithful to the historic biblical faith expressed in the Anglican formularies,” the statement read. “Our calling to be ‘a holy remnant’ does not allow us to be ‘in communion’ with those provinces that have departed from the historic faith and taken the path of false teaching.”
Christian self-identification in the United Kingdom and other European nations has declined over the past several decades as more residents profess agnostic or atheistic beliefs. Bishops who align with GAFCON and the GSFA now represent 85% of Anglicans across the world.
The secularization of the West has forced ministers in various denominations to clarify their stances on biblical sexual ethics. Pastors in the conservative evangelical Presbyterian Church in America, also known as the PCA, narrowly approved a measure last summer affirming that “identification as a ‘homosexual’ is sinful and against nature itself, is something God detests, and is not fitting for an officer of the Church of Christ” after some contended that one could self-identify as a homosexual and serve as a pastor while remaining celibate.
Christians in some Western nations have meanwhile faced increasing backlash from government officials over their stances on homosexuality and transgenderism. Officials in Canada enacted a statute at the beginning of last year which called teaching on sexual ethics a “myth” and threatened pastors with up to five years of prison time if they called others to leave sexual lifestyle choices which conflict with biblical principles.