For the first time in five years, the national body of the Anglican Church of Australia met this week to discuss many matters, including its teaching about marriage.
In this first gathering since the marriage plebiscite in 2017, the members of this so-called ‘General Synod’ were asked to agree to a statement that simply reaffirmed what it had always declared, namely that marriage is between one man and one woman, exclusively, for life.
In the end, the decision was made to separate the vote into three ballots, and whilst the lay and clergy votes were firmly in support of the orthodox statement, the majority of bishops in charge of dioceses around Australia did not vote in favour, with 12 against and 10 for.
Because the statement was not passed, the Synod simply maintains the previous, orthodox position from 2017, although relationships within our national church continue to deteriorate.
For us in Jamberoo, this has very little impact, because our own Diocese of Sydney strongly affirms the Bible’s teaching on marriage, and is not required to adopt the theology of the national church.
Yet, for Anglican churches in dioceses where their bishops reject the Bible’s teaching on marriage, it becomes increasingly difficult for orthodox ministers to submit to the leadership of their progressive bishops.
That is why Gafcon is so important, as it provides support and encouragement to those who are seeking to faithfully teach the word of God in a hostile environment.
Furthermore, recent developments in Gafcon Australia have begun to provide a pathway for individual churches to leave the Anglican Church of Australia and join a new diocese, in fellowship with over 70% of orthodox Anglicans around the world.
Let us pray that those who have strayed from the orthodox position will repent and believe the clear teachings in the Bible, and resist the temptation to conform to the world.
Let’s also pray that through these challenging times that the Lord will give us fresh energy to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations!
(Photo credit: 19melissa68 via Flickr.com)