The Church of England, the Anglican Church, has struggled with many issues, including ordaining women and most recently the question of sodomite unions. The question of whether to allow and conduct same sex marriage finally came to a head this week, when Anglican leaders placed sanctions on their more liberal leaning counterparts, the Episcopalian Church in America– over the issue of homosexuality.
Fox News reports:
Anglican leaders on Thursday temporarily restricted the role of the U.S. Episcopal Church in their global fellowship as a sanction over the American church’s acceptance of gay marriage.
Episcopalians have been barred for three years from any policy-setting positions in the Anglican Communion while a task force is formed that will try to reconcile conflicting views over sexuality in the 85-million-member family of churches. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States.
This decision prevents the American church from having a voice in the Anglican Church’s decision making process. In other words, the Anglicans are attempting to silence the liberal faction within the liberal-leaning Episcopalian denomination. A decision that was all but demanded by the theologically conservative group in the Anglican Church. Fox News continues:
The Global Anglican Future Conference, which represents theologically conservative Anglican leaders worldwide, had sought sanctions against the U.S. church, and some members said they would walk out of this week’s meeting unless some penalty was applied.
One leader, Ugandan Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, did so. In a statement Thursday, the conference known as GAFCON said their leaders were pleased by the outcome of the meeting, but “this action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning.”
The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) saw this as good news, but also knew more needed to be done and seem to have the influence to push the denomination away from the brink. The Anglican Church has long leaned to the left, and some have even denied the inerrancy of Scripture. This is less true in Africa, where the Anglican Church is growing the fastest. Fox News reports:
The most vocal protests to the Episcopal embrace of gay rights came from Africa, home to some of the fastest-growing churches in the Anglican communion and the deepest opposition to gay relationships as a violation of Scripture. Many African countries have criminalized gay relationships.
It seems while Americans embrace apostasy and sexual perversion, Africans are embracing orthodoxy, and scripture. And this is without controversy and without struggle. GAFCON is still facing an uphill battle, if the Episcopal response is any indication. Fox News continues:
Robinson, in response, posted on his Twitter account, “God’s judgment against those who include too many will be less harsh than the judgment against those who include too few.”
While the U.S. Episcopal Church is alone among Anglican provinces in approving gay marriage, other Anglican national churches, in Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand and Scotland, have taken steps toward accepting same-sex relationships. The top body of the Anglican Church of Canada is scheduled to vote in July on a proposal that would authorize gay marriage. A spokeswoman for the Canadian church said its leader, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, would comment after the news conference Friday.
There were also those who had tried to sway the council before it met. The BBC reports:
More than 100 senior Anglicans had urged the Church of England to repent for “discriminating” against lesbian and gay Christians in an open letter.
However, the Anglican leaders in Canterbury said the Episcopal Church’s approval of gay marriage was “a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching” of the majority of Anglicans.
Though this is a brave and necessary step in reclaiming truth in the Church, evidence exists that this kind of action is needed in other countries– and GAFCON will need continued strength to stand firm.