Biblical orthodoxy on marriage and sexuality must not be compromised for the sake of global unity among Anglicans, an African Archbishop has warned.
Archbishop Emeritus Mouneer Anis called on bishops attending this year’s Lambeth Conference to abide by official teaching on human sexuality and not follow the “moral ‘norms’” of Western societies.
The Anglican Communion’s stated position is that it “upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage”.
‘Essentials of faith’
In a briefing paper to colleagues in the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), Archbishop Mouneer committed to pray for the Conference.
He wrote: “I pray now so that the burning issues of the authority of Scripture, the uniqueness of Christ and human sexuality would be given the time and the priority to be discussed, and not to be left to the last days or swept under the carpet.
“These issues are essentials of faith and cannot be ignored. The Church cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken.”
Salt and light
Anis, the recently retired Bishop of Egypt and Archbishop of Alexandria, continued: “I pray also for courage to resist the pressures from our societies, particularly the Western ones.
“These societies are pushing their moral ‘norms’ on to the rest of the world. When the Church accepts these moral norms, she loses her distinctiveness as salt and light in our world.”
“I pray”, he added, “so that the Lord may give all those who are attending the Conference, the courage and the honesty” to “align ‘faith & practice’” with the Church’s official teaching on marriage and human sexuality.
The Archbishop concluded: “I pray for unity, but not unity at the expense of the truth.”
GSFA Chairman Archbishop Justin Badi also urged prayer for the Lambeth Conference.
The Archbishop of South Sudan, said: “Only the Spirit of God can reform the Anglican Church according to biblical lines”.
The fifteenth international gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion takes place from 26 July to 8 August in Canterbury, at the University of Kent.