At almost the same time, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) released statements on Lambeth Resolution 1.10. Both could not have been more different in tone.
Canterbury released a letter to those at Lambeth stating that the Anglican Communion did, in fact, affirm Resolution 1.10. He even writes that the fact that Lambeth Calls: Human Dignity quotes the resolution three times should be enough to show that this is true. What he doesn’t say is that the part of the resolution that affirms the traditional view of marriage and human sexuality was unceremoniously removed from the Call after causing liberal backlash. It is evident he is trying to appease Global South leaders and progressive leaders at the same time. Welby provides only a half-hearted endorsement, for he goes on to say, “other provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage, after careful theological reflection and a process of reception.” Does this mean that those who refuse to accept Lambeth 1.10 hold an equally plausible view supported by reasoned theology and careful consideration? Do those who affirm the orthodox view therefore have none of that?
Not surprisingly, Welby concludes his convoluted letter with a plea for further unity, writing, “What is also clear is that Lambeth 1.10 itself continues to be a source of pain, anxiety and contention among us…To be reconciled to one another across such divides is not something we can achieve by ourselves.” He then adds a plea for leaders to turn to Christ, who can heal our divisions, and yet, isn’t it precisely the nature of Christ and what He requires from us that is in contention? Each faction believes they are following Christ. Can this division really be healed through such superficial well-wishes but no real action?
In contrast, today’s GSFA resolution was an exercise in extreme clarity. Welby’s “will he or won’t he” approach to affirming Lambeth 1,10 is completely absent here. It is precise in its theological reasoning and earnest in its call to action. In contrast to the “pie in the sky” call for unity, the resolution says, “The only basis for our walking together is to submit ourselves again to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture in loyalty to the Anglican tradition and its formularies.” Only when this kind of concrete action occurs can real unity happen.
It also makes the basis of Anglican identity clear. It’s not connection to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“Anglican identity is first and foremost ‘grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer (1662), and The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, annexed to The Book of Common Prayer, and commonly known as the Ordinal’.”
In saying this, the resolution declares not a personality but a belief system as central to the Church’s identity. It’s not the same direction Welby seems to have been trying to pull the Church, towards an Anglo-papism that buries the root of Anglicanism at the See of Canterbury. Even the GSFA resolution makes it a point to say that they are not deriving these convictions from Lambeth 1998 but from the scriptures. After setting this firm foundation the Global South then reprints Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and asks for all provinces in the Anglican Communion to commit to upholding it and the faith as they have received it.
The two opposing statements released today show the two opposing faces of Anglicanism, two different ways, which all members are asked to choose between. They could not be more different in both their level of clarity and their theological foundations. The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks from his own authority, as if his view on the resolution is what really settles the matter. The Global South bishops speak from the authority of the Word of God. We must decide now who we will listen to.
Below is the text from the Global South resolution. The preamble to this call can be found here:
1.1 The prophet Jeremiah declares that the leaders of his day ‘have healed the wound of my people lightly’ (Jer. 6:14, 8:11). It is a warning for our day too. We stand at a crossroads, and must ‘ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it.’ (Jer. 6:16). The only basis for our walking together is to submit ourselves again to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture in loyalty to the Anglican tradition and its formularies.
1.2 In 1 Peter, the book chosen for the bible studies at Lambeth 2022, we are gripped by the emphasis that the power of God unto salvation is experienced through the living and unchanging word of God (see 1 Pet. 1:23; cf Jn. 17:17; Rom. 1:16-17; Jude 3).
“You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Pet. 1:23)
2.1 Anglican identity is first and foremost ‘grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer (1662), and The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, annexed to The Book of Common Prayer, and commonly known as the Ordinal’.
2.2 Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998 is a test of faithfulness to this doctrinal standard because it explicitly applies the clear and historic teaching of Scripture to matters of sexual morality. The Resolution does not take its authority from the Lambeth Conference, but from Holy Scripture.
3.1 We affirm our commitment as Anglicans to being part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of God, our confidence in the gospel as Anglicans have received it.
The Need to Reaffirm Lambeth I.10
4.1 We are living at a time of great spiritual confusion and moral flux. The Church of Jesus Christ cannot afford to lose its moorings in Holy Scripture and drift with the world. We believe the Lord is ‘strengthening the bars of the gates’ of the city/community of His 2 people (Ps. 147:13) by guarding the truth of His word so that His church will indeed be ‘a light to the nations.’ (Is. 42:6; Acts 13:47).
5.1 As bishops gathered at the Lambeth Conference 2022, we reaffirm Lambeth Resolution I.10 Based on the need to establish clear doctrine on Marriage and Sexuality at this defining moment for the Anglican Communion, this conference:
i. Reaffirms the biblical teaching of Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution I.10 as follows:
a. in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
b. recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
c. while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
d. cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
e. notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23 and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality.
ii. Urges that renewed steps be taken to ensure that all Provinces abide by this doctrine in their faith, order & practice.