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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Church Of England Bishops And The Pilling Report

The Church Of England Bishops And The Pilling Report
by the Rev. Canon Phil Ashey

COO, American Anglican Council

December 3, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Pilling Report (PR) recently released in the Church of England, authorized by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, is no surprise. Despite assurances in advance from leading COFE SPOKESMEN THAT THE PR WOULD CONTAIN NO LITURGIES for blessing same sex civil partnerships, and that REPORTS LEAKED TO THE CONTRARY WERE SHEER SPECULATION, Recommendation 16 of the PR states clearly:

"Recommendation" 16. We believe that there can be circumstances where a priest, with the agreement of the relevant PCC, should be free to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship "IN A PUBLIC SERVICE (emphasis added) "but should be under no obligation to do so. Some of us do not believe that this can be extended to same sex marriage. (Paragraphs 120, 380-3) [PILLING REPORT PAGE 151]"

At GAFCON 2013, the 1358 delegates to this assembly adopted The Nairobi Communique which anticipated the direction of the PR when they wrote at Paragraph 5, page 2,

"We grieve that several national governments, aided by some church leaders, have claimed to redefine marriage and have turned same-sex marriage into a human rights issue. Human rights, we believe, are founded on a true understanding of human nature, which is that we are created in God's image, male and female such that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (Matthew 19:6; Ephesians 5:31). We want to make clear that any civil partnership of a sexual nature does not receive the blessing of God. We continue to pray for and offer pastoral support to Christians struggling with same-sex temptation who remain celibate in obedience to Christ and affirm them in their faithfulness."

The 31 Archbishops, 300 Bishops, 482 other clergy and 545 laity from 38 countries representing tens of millions of faithful Anglicans worldwide went on to make the following commitments, also in anticipation of the direction of the PR:

"4. We commit ourselves to defend essential truths of the biblical faith even when this defense threatens existing structures of human authority (Acts 5:29). For this reason, the bishops at GAFCON 2013 resolved 'to affirm and endorse the position of the Primates' Council in providing oversight in cases where provinces and dioceses compromise biblical faith, including the affirmation of a duly discerned call to ministry. This may involve ordination and consecration if the situation requires.

"5. We commit ourselves to the support and defense of those who in standing for apostolic truth are marginalized or excluded from formal communion with other Anglicans in their dioceses. We have therefore recognized the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England, and welcomed their intention to appoint a General Secretary of AMiE."... THE REST



...Concerning these matters, I am in complete agreement with the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Birkenhead, and a member of the Working Group, in his dissent from the Report. The Church must not waiver from its received teaching. Scripture and the catholic consensus must be treated as givens, the attitude of the signatories not withstanding. Those who would re-construct the received moral order in the 21st century to respond to a culture bent on self-actualization, rather than dying to self, will do no better than those who-quite unsuccessfully but with much damage-in the 20th century sought to re-define the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ...