(LifeSiteNews) — Anglican bishops throughout the world have declared their communion with the Anglican Church of England to be “broken” over the latter’s support of same-sex “marriage” and its official approval of a liturgical rite of blessing for same-sex unions.
The declaration came in an April 21 statement issued by the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’ fourth Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) held in Rwanda. A total of 1,300 delegates attended the conference, representing an estimated 85% of the world’s Anglicans.
“The current divisions in the Anglican Communion have been caused by radical departures from the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some within the Communion have been taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies of this world (Colossians 2:8). Such a failure to hear and heed God’s Word undermines the mission of the church as a whole,” the GAFCON IV statement said.
“Despite 25 years of persistent warnings by most Anglican Primates, repeated departures from the authority of God’s Word have torn the fabric of the Communion. These warnings were blatantly and deliberately disregarded and now without repentance this tear cannot be mended.”
Directly addressing the decision of the Church of England to approve the liturgical blessing of same-sex unions, the bishops called such rites a “deceptive and blasphemous” blessing of sin and a grievance to the Holy Spirit.
“The latest of these departures is the majority vote by the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2023 to welcome proposals by the bishops to enable same-sex couples to receive God’s blessing. It grieves the Holy Spirit and us that the leadership of the Church of England is determined to bless sin. 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 bishops reiterated the teaching of Scripture that marriage is a lifelong union of a man and woman, condemning any departure from that teaching as contrary to both the order of nature and what is required for salvation. “Any 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 (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6) and endangers salvation (1 Corinthians 6:9),” they declared.
The bishops doubled down on their previous condemnations of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Church of England for their departure from the teaching of Scripture, declaring their support of same-sex blessings “a betrayal of their ordination and consecration vows to banish error and to uphold and defend the truth taught in Scripture.”
They also pointed out that the February approval runs contrary to the Church of England’s own resolution in the 1998 Lambeth Conference, which Welby affirmed is still valid, “which declared that ‘homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture’ and advised against the ‘legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions.’”
Denouncing the attempt of the Church of England to both bless same-sex unions and declare them “incompatible with Scripture,” the bishops refused to accept “contradictory positions” within their communion “in matters affecting salvation.”
“We reject the claim that two contradictory positions can both be valid in matters affecting salvation,” they declared. “We cannot ‘walk together’ in good disagreement with those who have deliberately chosen to walk away from the ‘faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3). The people of God ‘walk in his ways,’ ‘walk in the truth,’ and ‘walk in the light,’ all of which require that we do not walk in Christian fellowship with those in darkness (Deuteronomy 8:6; 2 John 4; 1 John 1:7).”
The bishops then called on the Church of England to repent, enumerating other points of Christian doctrine that have also come under attack within the Anglican communion, declaring that until such repentance occurs, their communion with the Church of England “remains broken.”
Since those who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1), we call upon those provinces, dioceses and leaders who have departed from biblical orthodoxy to repent of their failure to uphold the Bible’s teaching. This includes matters such as human sexuality and marriage, the uniqueness and divinity of Christ, his bodily resurrection, his promised return, the summons to faith and repentance and the final judgment.
We long for this repentance but until they repent, our communion with them remains broken.
We consider that those who refuse to repent have abdicated their right to leadership within the Anglican Communion, and we commit ourselves to working with orthodox Primates and other leaders to reset the Communion on its biblical foundations.
The Catholic bishops of Africa have also stood up recently in defense of Christian marriage, with Catholic bishops and priests throughout Uganda urging the faithful at the beginning of Lent to repent from grave sins like homosexuality and fight the Western-backed spread of pro-LGBT propaganda. Bishop Joseph Mwongela of the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya, affirmed that Keyan Catholics would defend the truth about marriage “even if it means martyrdom.”
In 2021, the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (now Dicastery) was asked whether the Church has the “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.” In response, the CDF, with the assent of the Pope, called such unions “illicit,” explaining that the Church cannot “impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”
God “does not and cannot bless sin,” the congregation affirmed.