On Wednesday, an official opinion was unveiled by a high-ranking group of Australian Anglicans in which they decided that it is OK for an Anglican church to conduct a service to bless a same-sex union.
This group, called the ‘Appellate Tribunal’, has the special role of providing a legal opinion to our national church, although it’s not binding until the formal parliament of the Australian Anglican church (called ‘General Synod’) meets next May to decide whether to adopt the opinion.
In making up its mind, the Appellate Tribunal asked the official opinion of a board of bishops of Australia, as well as another panel of theologians, and both groups came up with the same, united decision that a same-sex blessing was, in fact, contrary to the Bible and the doctrine of our church.
It is possible that some Anglican churches in Australia might decide not to wait till next year’s General Synod, but will ‘jump the gun’ and soon start to conduct blessings of couples that have already had a civil same-sex marriage ceremony.
If these liberal churches do this, then it will place enormous pressure on the unity of the Anglican Church of Australia, and may lead some churches and ministers to seek leadership from a different bishop than the one in their own diocese.
This is the very thing that happened recently in New Zealand, and which could easily happen in Australia.
Thankfully all of the leaders in our own Diocese of Sydney reject this liberal view, as do the majority of Australian Anglicans, as represented by General Synod.
At a time like this we are thankful for the fellowship of Gafcon, which stands alongside orthodox Anglicans as they seek to be faithful to God’s good word about life and salvation.
Let’s pray that those who have departed from God’s word might repent and turn back to him, and that those orthodox Anglicans who stand firm in these liberal dioceses might be able to continue to serve God and their congregations during these tough times of disobedience.
(Photo credit Kumon via Flickr)