Philip de Grey-Warter
Anchor Anglican Church Fowey
CEEC have issued a press release in response to the publication of ‘Living in Love and Faith’ by the Church of England: “To all those in the Church of England who are unsettled by suggestions that the Church might decide, in the future, to depart from historic orthodoxy, we say: ‘We are here for you. You are not alone’. We will resource you, support you and lead you. We will contend unflaggingly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”
To which the Anglican Convocation in Europe echos “We are also here for you”, reflecting the agreed twin track approach of English evangelicals to both contend within the historic structures and to provide a necessary and valid alternative for those who cannot in conscience continue within a denomination that has in practice cut loose from its biblical moorings.
But in addition, under Gafcon, ACE is also able to say “You have a home.”
Sadly ‘Living in Love and Faith’ is designed by a cuckoo to slowly but surely squeeze the rightful children out of the nest. Many in the Church of England have been and are indeed “unsettled” precisely because their home is being stolen from them. Relentless challenge to the supremacy and sufficiency of scripture leaves them profoundly alienated at diocesan events as well as within church structures seemingly intent on marginalising them.
Whilst we applaud the determination to “contend unflaggingly”, CEEC’s claim to “resource, support… and lead” will be meaningless if, as has repeatedly been the case, there are only words and no action. Lead? Lead where? The open letter after the re-purposing of the baptism liturgies is but one recent example of much racket but no repercussions.
Others have rightly pointed out the LLF process is inherently flawed, biassed and stacked against the orthodox who risk failing “to appreciate the strategies being employed,” and “are attempting to play a game they do not really understand and which they will invariably lose.” (Melvin Tinker, Virtueonline, 11 Nov 20)
Still others recognise the inevitable eventual parting of the ways: “Can we live in ‘good disagreement’, agreeing to disagree on this issue? I feel very clear that we cannot… it is simply impossible… There really is no ‘middle’ way.” (Ian Paul, (How) should we engage with Living in Love and Faith?, 12 Nov 20)
In the face of which there will be many faithful brothers and sisters in the CoE who are desperately hoping CEEC will indeed be able to arrest the revisionist juggernaut because they see no viable, attractive or realistic alternative.
However ACE is a faithful and principled alternative. In fact, it is a better option to repeating the trajectory already travelled by the TEC which ends with godly, gospel men like Bishop Bill Love forced to resign.