an Open Letter
Church of England is currently being torn apart by division caused
by departure from Biblical teaching and historic Christian practice.
In July the General Synod will vote on whether to call for legislation
to permit the consecration of women as bishops. This change will
further divide the Church since many believe it to be contrary
to Scripture. However, in the letter we have sought to get back
behind this one issue and address how the Church of England now
permits changes in doctrine and practice. Obviously more could
be said but we have tried to keep the letter reasonably brief
and to the point.
Dear Archbishop/Bishop ……,
are addressing this letter to you out of a double concern, both
about the growing separation between Church and nation in our
country, and also about the increasing degree of division and
conflict in the Church. These two ills have developed alongside
each other, and the second has disabled the Church from doing
all that is necessary to remedy the first.
Archbishops and Bishops have such a high profile in the nation,
we would ask you, in your public utterances and actions, to display
an unmistakable loyalty to the Scriptures, the Creeds, and the
Historic Formularies of our Church, and to make the preaching
of the gospel your chief priority.
been set aside for oversight in the Church, we would ask you
to exercise your influence in the following ways:
in mind the priorities highlighted in ‘Mission-shaped
Church’, to set a new priority for the Church not of
internal reorganization, but of evangelism and recovery of
the lost laity;
hinder premature change and further division by recommending
that a three-quarters majority overall should in future
be required on highly controversial issues, like women bishops,
in the same way as it was on the highly-controversial Anglican-Methodist
scheme 36 years ago; and
recommend also the abandonment, in regard to future decisions,
of the modern idea that ‘reception’ by the Church
at large can follow controversial action, instead of preceding
believe that a decision at this stage to consecrate women as
bishops will further rend the Church and we do not believe
that any of the provisions for opponents set out in the Rochester
Report will be for the benefit of gospel witness in this land.
note the lead given by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the
February Primates’ Meeting and ask every English Bishop
to give his loyal support in upholding publicly the Lambeth
1998 resolution on human sexuality and in refraining from action
or teaching which will further damage the unity of the Communion.
May the God of
peace equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may
he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.
The letter was signed by some 1100
clergy and laity.