African-led traditionalist group rejects proposed Anglican dialogue on welcoming gays
An African-led traditionalist group opposed to growing acceptance of homosexuality in the worldwide Anglican Communion has rejected a Church of England plea to review its Bible-based condemnation of gays.
Kenyan Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, chairman of the group, said it was “deeply troubling” that Anglicanism’s mother church was trying to project a British debate about “that which God calls sin” onto world Anglicanism.
Church of England bishops agreed in London on Monday to hold a mediated dialogue throughout the 80-million member Communion to reflect on Biblical passages about gays in a way that could make Anglican churches more welcoming to them.
The Communion, which links Anglicans across and beyond the English-speaking world, has been split for years over gay rights and Biblical authority, especially since its U.S. branch – the Episcopal Church – ordained a gay bishop in 2003.
Several of its large African member churches have put up determined opposition to any reform and helped unite traditionalists in a large faction that at times has seemed ready to break away from the more liberal churches in Britain and North America.
“We cannot … allow our time and energy to be sapped by debating that which God has already clearly revealed in Scripture,” said Wabukala, chairman of the primates’ council of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).
“Such dialogue only spreads confusion and opens the door to a false gospel,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Church of England bishops debating ways to accommodate same-sex marriage could not agree on allowing church ceremonies to bless such unions, which it has opposed until now.
Parliament legalized gay nuptials in England and Wales last year and the first are to take place in late March.