Thinking Anglicans

CEEC: Why we are compelled to resist

The Church of England Evangelical Council has today published a lengthy statement which includes this declaration:

If the Church of England’s General Synod or House of Bishops:

  1. authorises or commends liturgical provision for the celebration, dedication, blessing or solemnisation of any sexual relationship other than marriage between one man and one woman, or liturgical provision for the blessing of those in such relationships; or
  2. removes the bar on clergy being in such relationships; or
  3. produces pastoral guidance that is indicative of a departure from the Church of England’s doctrine that marriage between one man and one woman is the proper context for sexual intimacy; or
  4. amends Canon B30 so the Church of England no longer affirms that “according to our Lord’s teaching marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side”;

we will declare that this action represents a departure from the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness.

Our desire is to keep faith with this inheritance as members of the Church of England and to remain in full communion with those Provinces of the Anglican Communion who also maintain the biblical and historic teaching of the church catholic.

We will therefore resist all attempts to introduce any of these changes or to marginalise those who, in their own teaching and practice, uphold the received doctrine of the Church of England and the teaching of Jesus on marriage.

We are compelled to resist.

More from the same statement page is copied below the fold.

More documentation from CEEC is here:

Why we are compelled to resist

The Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process and resources have enabled us, as the Church of England, to explore our different understandings of sex, marriage and relationships and, assisted by the Pastoral Principles, become better at the “good disagreement” that many have called for.

We’ve not always got it right

As those who hold to the historic position of the Church, we in CEEC have found ourselves challenged about our past attitudes, the hurt that we have sometimes caused to LGBTQI+ people, and how we might become more biblically inclusive. We therefore are grateful for much in the bishops’ pastoral letter. We agree the church must value LGBTQI+ people and be a place where everyone is welcome and we too apologise and repent for the times we have failed and continue to fail to love them as God loves them.

A denial of biblical teaching

Sadly, however, we cannot accept central features of the bishops’ proposed way forward. We believe these deny the authority of Scripture and, despite their stated desire not to do so, depart from the received historic understanding of the Church. Jesus offers not only welcome and inclusion but the transforming power of his Spirit experienced through responding to his call to repent, take up our cross, and follow him. Commitment to living in love and faith means that our love must always be shaped by and embedded in the faith we have received.

Keeping Faith

Having supported those participating in the LLF process, CEEC launched its Keeping Faith initiative to help the Church of England keep faith with its biblical inheritance and reaffirm its current teaching on marriage and sexuality that marriage is a lifelong exclusive commitment between one man and one woman, and that sex outside of that should be met with a call to repentance.

A departure from the Church of England’s biblical inheritance and Anglican doctrine

While we recognise and respect the desire of the bishops to find a way forward, which will hold the Church together, we believe that their proposed draft Prayers of Love and Faith cannot do this. This is because they – and further changes some are calling for in the bishops’ revised pastoral guidance to replace Issues in Human Sexuality – do not keep faith with our biblical inheritance and the doctrine of the Church of England on marriage shared with the wider Anglican Communion as expressed in Lambeth 1.10.

‘Compelled to resist’

At the end of January, the Bishop of London, who chairs the Next Steps Group (the group responsible for ‘steering’ the Living in Love and Faith project), wrote to her clergy inviting those “who find themselves compelled to resist the way forward offered by the House of Bishops” to meet with her (approximately 200 did so with others sending apologies).

The declaration that follows is our attempt, as part of our Keeping Faith initiative, to articulate why so many, both clergy and lay, find themselves compelled to resist. It sets out what we will do should the bishops or General Synod continue to press ahead with these proposals unchanged and ignore the serious theological concerns raised both here within the Church of England and across the Anglican Communion.

In support of the declaration

We invite you, if you are part of the Church of England and agree with the declaration below (whether or not you identify with CEEC or describe yourself as an evangelical), to signal your support by signing the declaration.

We recognise that it is not always easy to take a stand but we assure you of the prayers and support of CEEC and the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship in your diocese.

In due course we will publicly issue the names of supporters and offer the declaration to our bishops in order to impress upon them the widespread and strongly held opposition to their proposals.

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Jenny P
Jenny P
1 year ago

Some of us feel compelled to exist. Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
1 year ago

I am not gay and I am not a priest but I feel passionately about this. I would live in a big Church of England tent with people who take a traditional view of marriage and sexuality because I think it is better to talk to fellow Anglicans than to go to war. I challenge those of you who take a traditional view to watch this https://www.youtube.com/live/hWgVXQXRSgI?feature=share&t=3795 This is a sermon from Cherry Vann a Lesbian Woman in a loving relationship. I find this sermon deeply moving and it is deeply moving because of her gender and sexuality not in… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by David Hawkins
Nuno Torre
Nuno Torre
1 year ago

My way or the highway, no surprise! They didn’t even bother to await King Charles Coronation ceremonies to go in peace and by threatening CofE this way, they’re also threatening the Crown itself, far more than King Charles himself once he’s just the occasional incumbent, but the time frame was optimal for perfect general public perception of Crown’s challenge, once, at least in theory, the Crown is seen as the Supreme Head of the Church. Gay issues are such a minor subject concerning some 1-5% of the general population. Nobody of the England’s tax payers, other than practicing conevos will… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

The normal advice when in a hole is to stop digging. The ConEvos seem to have worked out ‘differentiation’ but will move heaven and earth (literally) before they have to concede this is the way forward, and even then it is not in their gift. Their behaviour is insulting to the mission of the Church of England and this will not be lost on MPs when debating Ben Bradshaw’s leave to bring a Bill under SO No 23 (ten minute rule motion) on Tuesday 21 March (details to be provided). It remains to be seen whether an MP opposing this… Read more »

Shamus
Shamus
1 year ago

Bibliolatry

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 year ago

It is not a surprise that a group which has narrowed and consolidated around this agenda has produced a manifesto based on it. There has been systematic exclusion of representatives on various bodies who disagree, but no real testing of whether this really does land with the support base which is claimed. This is the time of testing, and it is unclear what will emerge from that. There is a classic Dave Walker cartoon to the effect – “we and all the people (a visible handful) behind that curtain …” Is that wishful thinking, or pastoral reality? The conservative evangelical… Read more »

RogerB
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 year ago

I am afraid that simple repeated repetition of asserted doctrinal positions does not meet the actual case for me.
Exactly. It’s not as if we don’t all know the positions and the ‘proof texts’ behind them. What could be interesting is to know why they adopt these positions, rather than others. Why is divorce OK? How was Jesus able to say on the cross ‘today you will be with me in paradise’?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  RogerB
1 year ago

I was brought up conservative evangelical, was a member of Church Society for some years, and it wasn’t until 1998 that I first heard of a stance on LGBT issues being regarded as a test of orthodoxy. I was shocked at the time. On reflection, this is what I think is going on: 1) there is a persistent tendency among conevos to use shibboleths to decide who is ‘sound’ and who is not. As a prominent con evo leader once said to me, ‘We have to have law so we know who is in and who is out.’ I think… Read more »

Kieran
Kieran
1 year ago

This kind of “resistance” ultimately places CEEC outside of the structures of the Church of England. This is the kind of declaration that spoils any discussion of “settlement” other than the payment of pensions to departing clergy.

The whole thing smacks of “see what you made me do.”

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

we in CEEC have found ourselves challenged about our past attitudes, the hurt that we have sometimes caused to LGBTQI+ people, and how we might become more biblically inclusive. We therefore are grateful for much in the bishops’ pastoral letter. We agree the church must value LGBTQI+ people and be a place where everyone is welcome and we too apologise and repent for the times we have failed and continue to fail to love them as God loves them. Short version: God loves LGBTQI+ (I’m surprised CEEC even acknowledges the initials, as religious conservatives usually spell the initials “HOMOSEXUAL” in… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
1 year ago

So all those fine promises that a new day had dawned and the CoE would never again see this kinda talk … didn’t even last until the next session of its General Synod.

Can we please just go our separate ways and maintain what fellowship we can before there’s nothing left to save?

Bob
Bob
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

A good suggestion. Why don’t those who cannot accept the Church of England’s teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman leave the Church of England and establish their own inclusive church?

John T
John T
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

If the grounds for staying within the C of E are a literal adherence to the Canon B30 definition of marriage then the majority of the church would have left in 2002. Marriage is also defined, in church teaching, as lifelong and permanent. And yet we allow people to marry even when their original lifelong and permanent marriage has legally ended through divorce. The biblical case here is even more cut and dried than the much argued over texts for same sex relationships. The only difference is that remarriage after divorce is about straight people, so conservative churches are not… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

Although I accept entirely what you say, I wonder why it is necessary to suggest changes in Church teaching are a result of “the Spirit leading us”. Translated, that usually means “catching up with the law as enacted by a liberal, secular democracy”. Instead of the Church leading society, we are usually pulled kicking and screaming to change unjust rules by secular legislators. Evangelicals are making a lot of noise. Eventually they’ll be ignored by the rest of us. Perhaps secular authorities and “the Spirit” are one and the same thing.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Is it not possible that the Spirit, having encountered resistance and recalcitrance from the Church in its call for justice for all peoples, turned to secular society instead?

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Indeed. “Those who love are born of God and know God”. Recall that many early gay rights activists weren’t interested in marriage, but as love worked in them (and as HIV/AIDS taught bitter and painful lessons about love and the secular law) the desire to be able to marry became overwhelming. It’s hard not to see God at work in that – that faithfulness, commitment and mutual self-giving should come to the fore in a movement that was long smeared as hedonistic and self-centred.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Bob by what arrogance do you think you have the right to tell committed, loving Christians to leave their Church of England ? For the whole of its history the Church of England has been a big tent containing people with widely differing theological opinions. That is precisely what a “national church” meant under Elizabeth I and what she meant by saying that she didn’t want windows into men’s souls. She might well have thought that she also didn’t want windows into men’s beds. And the Church of England evolves. Once only men could be ministers and now our third… Read more »

Andrew Kleissner
Andrew Kleissner
1 year ago

This reminds me very much of the statements put out by Church of Scotland evangelicals about ten years ago, which led to the formation of the “Confessing Church” movement. A few congregations, notably the Tron in Glasgow, did secede; however the movement seems to have fizzled out quite quickly with other ‘big’ evangelical congregations such as Sandyford-Henderson, Glasgow disagreeing with but remaining within the CofS. Interestingly there is a strong connection between the Confessing Church and the Anglican ConEvos via the Cornhill Training course, chaired in Scotland by William Philip who is the Tron’s Minister.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Andrew Kleissner
1 year ago

The appropriation of “Confessing” by homophobes is particularly distasteful, with the implied allusion to the resistance to the Nazis, as if these folk (not sure if I should spell that with a ‘v’ in this instance) wouldn’t have been right alongside the Nazi persecution of LGBT people.

Peter S
Peter S
1 year ago

Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone

Kate
Kate
1 year ago

For me this goes beyond personal conscience and is homophobic. They are making this huge fuss about one man and one woman but ignoring the lifelong part ie remarriage after divorce. With the King married to a divorcee that’s somewhere presumably they fear to tread, but the emphasis only on same sex marriages really devalues their position.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

To be clear, it’s that disparity of treatment which for me reeks of homophobia

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Some folk, like the late David Pawson still do forbid remarriage for divorced Christians – or, I expect, anybody else. Rev Pawson’s ‘New Year Message to the church’ one year was, quite baldly, “Will this be the year the church accepts that the Bible forbids remarriage after divorce?” He also, in another, similar article on homosexuality, demanded that ‘we put these people from us’ although he didn’t elaborate on how to go about it. (Indeed, our King is also a divorcee, married to a divorcee. Does that compound the offence?) Inspired by the Spirit of God, Paul told us to… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  John Davies
9 months ago

The King is not a divorcee and hasn’t been since 1997. He has no previous wife living.

Ronald Collinson
Ronald Collinson
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Conservative evangelicals absolutely do believe that marriage is for life, and would refuse to remarry anybody who had not been divorced on biblical grounds. That would certainly be the position of anybody you might ask in the CEEC leadership.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Ronald Collinson
1 year ago

I think the point is not whether or not they would consent to marry divorcees (though I suspect that the position among those CEEC purport to represent is far less clear cut than you suggest) but that they seem to be able to “live with” other people doing it without the sky falling in, rivers running upstream, cats and dogs living together or whatever else it is they think justifies their demand for “separate structures” (i.e. a schism where they get to have all the perks of establishment and all the perks of being a gathered sect at the same… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Ronald Collinson
1 year ago

It is attitudes like this as to why I am homeless Anglican!

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Ronald Collinson
1 year ago

So why aren’t they as vocal in saying that the Archbishop of Canterbury shouldn’t bless the King and Queen at the coronation as they are about blessing same sex couples? Sorry, but what you say isn’t supported by the facts.

Ronald Collinson
Ronald Collinson
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

Because the Archbishop of Canterbury blessing them as monarch and consort is not the same as blessing their marriage. I don’t think conservative evangelicals would be especially concerned if the Archbishop had done exactly the same thing, and the King were legally married to another man. (Of course, it is also true that most Anglican clergy are unlikely to be called to lead a coronation service, so the issue may seem rather less practical).

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

As ever I refer to my position being that one shibboleth is the same as all shibboleths hence I am opposed to SSM. Yet there is some irony on TA that people who hold to one shibboleth but not another are consistently attacked with the only explanation being they must be homphobes. Surely we can all accept there are legitimate theological disagreements that mean you may be in favour or hold one belief and not another, without your whole theology being completely wrong? Our former vicar was enthusiastically in favour of the ordination of women (against a majority of the… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

If the comparison is between same sex marriage and working on the Sabbath then you have a fair point. Apples and pears. Even between same sex marriage and divorce you may have a point if someone is saying that the interplay is complex and nuanced but they come down marginally on opposite sides of the two issues but respect those who see it differently to act accordingly. It’s none of those though. The comparison is between silence on remarriage after divorce despite it being a live topic with the Supreme Governor of the Church of England on one hand and… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate
Paul
Paul
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

If your point then is the document is homophobic I am open to that having not especially studied it, if your point is to not accept SSM or blessings is homophobic than LLF has rejected that as do I. I am the first person you describe, like with other things I accept people can hold a different opinion but we all need to accept the CofE is an absolute pot mess where there is no coherent theology, discipline or “catholicity”. Therefore no one can be chucked out or forced to leave whatever their theology or even implied motives.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

“Therefore no one can be chucked out or forced to leave whatever their theology or even implied motives.”

Really? We cannot “chuck out” someone who professes that non-white peoples are of lesser value than white ones, if he bases it on theological grounds?

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

No. You absolutely cannot “chuck out” as you put it, anybody, anybody at all, from a national Church.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

Depends what you mean by “chuck out”, I suppose. Clergy or church employees could well be removed from office for racism. Theoretically lay people could be excommunicated.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

Justifying homophobia with theology doesn’t stop it being homophobia.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Folk will sign this declaration at their peril. It will remain on the record. Few parishes will secede, and certainly few if any will withhold all parish share. It’s sabre rattling, so they can tell the ‘tribe’ they are on the case, compelled to resist. Trouble is the ‘tribe’ is not invariably where its leadership is. They won’t survey that for fear of getting the wrong answer. The definition of ‘sound’ is narrowing. This is a remnant in the making.

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