Evangelicals within the Church of England have repeated calls for the Church to “remain true to the gospel as entrusted to us”.
Revd John Dunnett, National Director of the Church of England Evangelical Council, thanked eleven bishops for publicly dissenting from the House of Bishop’s decision to commend prayers for those in same-sex partnerships without final agreement from General Synod.
In a letter, the eleven bishops warned that this prevented Synod from considering “the full significance of the prayers”, or allowing them to test whether they are ‘indicative of a departure’ from Church doctrine.
Writing in Christian Today, Revd Dunnett said: “There must be proper and fit use of power, not misuse and abuse of power. I wonder if there’s a hint here that good process in respect of the use of power has not always been at the top of the agenda.
I share with the signatories the deep desire that we remain true to the gospel as entrusted to us.
“I share with the signatories the deep desire that we remain true to the gospel as entrusted to us.”
In a separate statement, bishops of the Anglican Network in Europe, the Anglican Convocation in Europe and the Anglican Mission in England urged the House of Bishops to repent from laying aside “the clear teaching of Scripture on matters of sexual conduct”.
“This action is offensive to the God of love. It replaces his wonderful gospel of grace with a distorted message, blessing what God calls sin. This is heart-breaking, wicked and outrageously arrogant.”
Next month, the House of Bishops will present “special standalone services” to the Synod which will provide liturgy for blessing those in same-sex partnerships.
It replaces his wonderful gospel of grace with a distorted message
These ‘special services’ will require a two-thirds majority in each of the three Houses – Bishops, Clergy and Laity – to receive final approval.
In February, the Synod voted to welcome proposals for the ‘Prayers of Love and Faith’, provided they were not “contrary to or indicative of a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England”.
The Church’s legal office previously defended the legality of the proposed prayers, claiming the blessings were for same-sex couples, rather than for the civil partnerships themselves.