EFAC Australia – Hugh Palmer on the State of Play in the Church of England

By David Ould, Stand Firm

Hugh Palmer painted a picture of difficult times ahead, but great confidence in God that they would strive to remain faithful, no matter what the outcome. What came across clearly was a continuing sense of Anglican identity and a great sadness that it was being more and more eroded by those in the Church of England who pursued increasingly unBiblical and therefore ungodly ends. In the face of all this was a gentle and humble reliance on the God “who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24). These faithful men and women need our consistent prayer and public support.

[…]  The second issue was the far more well-known one of women bishops. There was a lot of concern amongst conservatives of various stripes – if General Synod could so readily agree to sweep away guaranteed legal provision (from the 92/93 Acts for the ordination of women to the priesthood), then they could hardly be surprised if a proposed voluntary Code of Practice was not really trusted by conservatives! And yet this was the current position.

More than this, how could the issue move forward and not be one that was considered “non-primary”? This conundrum was likely to be worked out in the issue of ordination. Would new ordinands be required to accept the principle of women bishops or would they be allowed to openly believe and teach the “old orthodoxy”? Even now evangelicals were encouraging their prospective ordinands to make clear to their bishops where they stood and ask that no action would be taken against them for holding a view that currently was (at least officially) regarded as having legitimacy in the Church.

The final issue was that of sexuality. The decade-old “Some Issues in Human Sexuality” was regularly (and perhaps deliberately) misunderstood – particularly by the media – as approving of homosexual relationships among the laity, despite the clear statements otherwise of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey [wiki]. More than this, there was now a growing regular tide of clergy (and even bishops) who were at best turning a blind eye to blessings and, at times, possibly acting with deceit in their “ignorance”. Despite some public showdowns it was the case that teaching in stark contrast to the official and Biblical position was continuing to rise without any discipline.

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