A step towards underground churches

The Church of England has procrastinated and has tried to come to an accommodation with those within its fraternity who not only condone same-sex marriage but are now openly celebrating it.  At last, Bible-believing clergy are seriously considering what they will do when their stance is completely unacceptable, and are taking steps to implement an alternative.

The alternative has been referred to as a ‘shadow synod’, the ‘alternative Anglican church in England’, ‘embryonic structures’ and ‘church within a church’.  The protagonists refuse to leave the Church of England but are equally determined not to water down the Bible’s teaching on sexuality.  To leave would be convenient for the liberal-progressive wing, but that is not an option for Rev Dr Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St Marks in Tunbridge Wells and those who share his conviction.

A split in the Anglican community nearly occurred over the issue of women priests; same sex marriage may cause a split now.  Regardless of how the scenario pans out, it’s obvious that there is great internal conflict in the Anglican institution which is not going to go away. In an address to churches from three dioceses in the Church of England gathered in Tonbridge in June 2016, Dr Gavin Ashenden remarks that the Church of England has liturgically stopped its ears (by removing from the liturgy biblical references to God’s judgement on sin) – so that it does not hear the words of judgement from the Lord.

Ashenden believes the current situation is a structural flaw of fatal proportions.  It’s the rewriting of the DNA of the church with a theology of both gender and sexual practice which is in direct contradiction with what the Bible teaches us is God’s intention for us.  He remarks that we cannot bless what God says is un-blessed.

It remains to be seen what happens as a consequence of the ‘shadow synod’ taking a stand within the Anglican church.  Sparks will fly, no doubt, and the conversation may end in divorce sooner or later.

Anyone determined to stay true to the message of the whole of scripture must heed the warning.  A truly biblical agenda is no longer acceptable in the established church, and is increasingly being quashed outside of it.  Those brave souls who choose to remain within the Anglican community today will one day be ousted from it.  Their stance is unpalatable and intolerable in today’s ‘tolerant’ society.

Equally, Bible believing Christians in any kind of church need to be thinking ahead.  How will we function authentically and passionately when our beliefs are actively being outlawed?  One day every true believer will be forced underground and we do well to be prepared and equipped for that day.

To read the full article in ‘Archbishop Cranmer’, see the article: ‘Same-sex marriage/blessing confronts Church of England with ‘a structural flaw of fatal proportions’ 30 August 2016 at www.archbishopcranmer.com


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