Welby and GAFCON Archbishops Clash over Appointment of Homosexual C of E Bishop

CofE Theologian Shreds Arguments Defending appointment


By David W. Virtue DD
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, two GAFCON archbishops and a theologian clashed this week over the appointment of a homosexual bishop in the Church of England who claims to live celibately with his partner. Justin Welby approved of Nicholas Chamberlain’s appointment to be the next Bishop of Grantham knowing he was a homosexual while “shared conversations” were bring pushed as “good disagreement” to move the Church of England forward towards what CofE Evangelicals believe is a push ultimately for the full acceptance of homosexuality, inviting a backlash that could spell schism.

What is taking place in the CofE is right out of the play book of The Episcopal Church which used similar language, with words like “generous orthodoxy”, “inclusivity” and “diversity” to push the revisionist pansexual agenda. The Church of England is heading down the same path with a conflicted Archbishop of Canterbury who refuses to enforce biblical declarations on sexuality and an equally clear ontology that forbids any kind of sexual expression outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

It should come as no surprise then that the appointment of a self-acknowledged homosexual in Chamberlain (albeit celibate) should get pushback by the GAFCON archbishops and by a British theologian.

“We believe that this appointment is a major error,” the GAFCON leaders protested.

“In 2003, Jeffrey John’s candidacy for the post of Bishop of Reading caused deep divisions within the Diocese of Oxford and beyond, and this news about Nicholas Chamberlain will exacerbate the same divisions within the Church of England and throughout the wider Anglican Communion.

“In this case the element of secrecy in the appointment to the episcopacy of a man in a same sex relationship gives the impression that it has been arranged with the aim of presenting the church with a ‘fait accompli’, rather than engaging with possible opposition in the spirit of the ‘shared conversations’.

“We remain opposed to the guidelines for clergy and Bishops, permitting them to be in same sex relationships as long as they publicly declare that the relationship is not sexual. This creates confusion in terms of the church’s teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live, given the reality of our humanity, and temptation to sexual sin.”

The letter was signed by The Most Rev. Peter Jensen, General Secretary of GAFCON Global and the Rev Canon Andy Lines, Chairman of the GAFCON UK Task Force.

Of course we only have the word of Chamberlain that he is celibate and why should we believe him?

My brother-in-law died of AIDS at the age of 42 (his partner died three weeks later) and they had been together for over 12 years. He said it was impossible for homosexuals to be celibate. Even after bath houses were closed down in New York City men met in bars and had sex, most of it unprotected, he said. I also had a dear friend, a Baptist minister who died of AIDS in the 80s (he had been married with two daughters) and he likewise confirmed that celibacy was not on anyone’s mind in the homosexual community.

So if he is celibate why raise the issue of his being gay then? If sex is not part of the relationship why not say he is simply sharing a house with another man, why make an issue of his (sexual) identity?

The Rev. Dr. Gavin Ashenden takes it even further and says that in coming out as gay, he is to some extent repudiating his faith in Christ. Why so? Because he is choosing a new identity that is nothing to do with Christianity or the Gospels or the lived tradition, but is a social and political construct designed to dilute the Judaeo Christian ethics that underlie Christianized culture.

“To come out as gay is to adopt and promote an anthropology that is pagan and not Christian. It is to repudiate the paradigms of Scripture and overlay them with a model of human self-expression that the Bible tells us heads off in a different one than the one God intends for us. The Bible and the Christian tradition is very clear. We are made men or woman, and we come together in marriage where the gift of sexual attraction and expression is located with the intention of becoming co-creators with God and having children. The Bible knows nothing about sex as recreation, sex as self-fulfillment or sex outside marriage. It understands that these are options (known as temptations) and forbids them.

“This heading off in a different direction is something we all do (we call it ‘sin’), and the remedy is simple. Jesus has paid the price, so turn round, come back, stop and start again (we call it repentance.).

“By repudiating his identity in Christ and putting on a secular identity which is defined by erotic attraction outside the boundaries of marriage, a Christian would be repudiating his Christian identity and adopting a romanticized-erotic one instead.

“Why would a Christian repudiate their identity in Christ and adopt a secular erotic identity instead? Well, it might be to justify pursuing sexual intimacy with a person of the same sex.”

The bishop of Grantham has told the world three things.

The first is that he is adopting an erotic sub Christian anthropology as a way of describing his core identity as a human being. No longer primarily ‘in Christ’, but rather primarily ‘gay’.

The second is that he is not pursuing sexual intimacy with another man. That’s a good thing, because the House of bishops have passed ‘guidelines’ saying that is a requirement of bishops. (They could have referred to the Holy Scriptures, but House of Bishops guidelines seem to have more authority in the C of E.)

The third thing he has told the world is that he is ‘in a relationship’ that has no sexual or erotic expression. I find this very confusing. Many men are in a relationship with another man (though married to a woman) to whom they are deeply committed in an affectionate, and non-erotic way. We call it friendship. We could even call it ‘best friends.’ But what is its relevance to anyone else?

Unless of course the bishop means to tell the world that he is sexually aroused by this (and other men), but claims special virtue for not acting on it.

You can read Dr. Ashenden’s full take here: Gay in Grantham? The eroticizing of the Church of England http://www.virtueonline.org/gay-grantham-eroticising-church-england

Dr. Ashenden’s views contrast sharply with those of Dr. Idowu-Fearon, general secretary of the London-based Anglican Communion Office who said: “It is clear that Bishop Nicholas has abided by the guidelines set down by the Church. In fact, his lifestyle would make him acceptable to serve the church at any time in its history. I reject the suggestion that his appointment is an ‘error’.

“I do recognize that this is a sensitive area for many people whatever their convictions. It is also a difficult time for Bishop Nicholas with revelations about his private life being made public in such a dramatic way, against his will, by anonymous sources that seem to be out to make trouble.”

Out to make to make trouble? The Anglican Consultative Council has been making trouble for as long as I can remember, appeasing its main paymaster, the American Episcopal Church by doing everything in its power to keep the communion together while isolating the orthodox Global South at the expense of the liberal West. Witness the recent Task Force set up by Welby to keep the communion together. There is only one seriously orthodox archbishop — Ian Ernest — on the panel.

One can sense a coming battle between Fearon and Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh is not far hence. If there isn’t one it is because Okoh has already left the ACC far behind and is busy pulling together the AMiE and other evangelical Anglican groups in England to start another ACNA type church in the British Isles.

One need only witness the recent 72 members of General Synod writing an Open Letter to the College and House of Bishops saying please don’t change church teaching on sexuality, it could lead to fracture of CofE and Anglican Communion. A few days later fourteen homosexual clergy who had married their partners in defiance of Church of England rules called for “full inclusion” of LGBT clergy.

In a letter the clergy wrote: “It is time to respect that a diversity of theology within the Church now exists and that there is more than one understanding of what a faithful Christian may believe on these issues.”

Then it emerged that a group of parishes led by the Rev. Dr. Peter Sanlon, an evangelical is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.

Representatives of almost a dozen congregations in the Home Counties met in a church hall in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, for the first session of what they say could eventually develop into an alternative Anglican Church in England.

While organizers, drawn from the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism, say they have no immediate plans to break away – but are setting up the “embryonic” structures that could be used to do so if the established church moves further in what they see as a liberal direction.

The new alliance will be viewed as a “church within a church”, but founders have not ruled out full separation if, for example, the Church of England offers blessing-style services for same-sex unions – a move expected to be considered by bishops in the next few months.

I have no doubt whatsoever, that the Church of England will follow the lead of TEC and the ACoC. Western Anglicanism is in the grip of the dominant principalities and powers of our age and its submission to the rulers of the darkness of this world has been willing, defiant and full of pride.

When I asked where was the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), I was told that the AMiE didn’t plan or direct this group, but they may come in to offer oversight if some of the folk decide to leave the C of E. There are many people who feel the same way but have not done anything about it yet, I was told.

“Archbishop Justin knows that the ‘Rubicon’ is the blessings of same sex relationships, so he is, I think, trying to find a way to enable that without all the conservatives leaving, and GAFCON/Global South treating the C of E like TEC.”

Welby thinks that he can keep using a carrot and stick on conservatives – if you don’t make trouble, we might promote you, but if you do make trouble, no-one will speak to you

We are already there, said one blogger. The diocese of Rochester appeared unperturbed, but so was Frank Griswold for a while but he finally smelled the roses and dashed across to London to confront Archbishop George Carey and told him not to recognize the AMiA. He was successful then but it didn’t last. The ACNA was formed and the rest is history.

The deeper truth is that the Church of England is no longer the center of Anglican unity. Those colonial days are over. Archbishop Okoh moves freely across ecclesiastical borders as rivers cross countries. He can go in and out of England and the US (as he did recently) and promote a new orthodox Anglicanism and Welby can do nothing about it. Nothing.

Sooner or later schism is coming to the Church of England. The AMiE (like the ACNA) is coming to England and the jig will be up.

Welby will learn that ancient Biblical truth that you cannot serve two masters. One hopes he learns it before it is too late.


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