Synod members urge Church of England to remain faithful to Scripture

12 August 2016

72 members of the Church of England’s General Synod have signed an open letter to bishops urging them to be faithful to Scripture on the issue of human sexuality.

The letter urges them “not to consider any proposals that fly in the face of the historic understanding of the church as expressed in ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ (1991) and Lambeth Resolution 1.10.”

To do so, the letter continues, would “leave the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance.”

This is the second letter to bishops emphasising the need for the Church to remain faithful to God’s Word.

‘Much more biblical study is needed’

The letter states that the consideration given to Scripture during July’s General Synod gathering in York was of “an initial nature only” and that “much more biblical study is needed before we will be able as a Synod to make theologically informed decisions about human anthropology and sexuality.”

It goes on to say that it is “essential to clarify what it means to ‘honour God with our bodies’ (1 Corinthians 6 v 20) in order that we do not find ourselves praying for God’s blessing on that which is contrary to His will.”

‘Consistent with Scripture’

Synod members also state in the letter that they are “committed to building a church that is genuinely welcoming to all people, irrespective of the pattern of sexual attraction which they experience.”

They emphasise that they would support initiatives to help local churches do this “in a way that is affirming of and consistent with Scripture”.

The letter concludes by noting that “wisdom is to be found in seeking God (James 1 v 5).”

‘Lack of confidence’

Last month, a similar letter was sent to bishops expressing a “lack of confidence” in the ‘shared conversations’ process.

Andrea Williams, a member of Synod for the Chichester diocese, joined 31 other members in a letter to the College of Bishops on 17 July.

That letter read:

“Since the beginning of the regional conversations people from all traditions in the church have bemoaned the lack of serious engagement with the Scriptures. Sadly, despite promises to correct this matter, these concerns remain at the end of the process. We hope that the Bishops will ensure that our varied experience does not outweigh the uniting power of a commitment to truth and holiness as described in God’s word.
“We, the undersigned members of the General Synod, wish to express our lack of confidence in the process of the Shared Conversations. Whatever their stated purposes, the outcome has not led to a greater confidence that the Church will be guided by the authoritative voice of the Scriptures, and its decisive shaping of traditional Anglican teaching, in any forthcoming discussions.”

It follows a separate statement issued by Andrea Williams and the Director of the Wilberforce Academy, Dr Joe Boot, which described the ‘listening’ agenda as “divisive, with the sole aim of softening opposition to revisionism and change.”

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