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The Last Nail in the Church of England’s Coffin? CT

This article was first published in Christian Today here.

The last nail in the Church of England’s coffin?

The Church of England’s General Synod has backed services of blessing for same-sex couples.Church of England

Archbishop Justin Welby knows better than anyone what the decision by last week’s General Synod of the Church of England means. It’s why he was so concerned about his balancing act between the biblically faithful Global South Churches and his increasingly compromised own denomination.

In case he was in any doubt, Dr Laurent Mbanda, the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, made it clear in his press release after the decision was made to bless same-sex marriages.

“The Anglican Church of Rwanda is deeply saddened by the decision of the Church of England to bless same-sex unions. Our stand had already brought an impaired relationship with the Church of England, whose current move drives the last nail into the coffin.”

The importance of this statement is because in April this year the fourth Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) will be held in Kigali Rwanda. GAFCON was founded in 2008 when after the Jerusalem conference, the majority of Anglican Primates decided that the “moral compromise, doctrinal error and collapse of biblical witness” within some parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that a separate organisation was needed to maintain a faithful, biblical Anglican witness.

GAFCON and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), represent by far the majority of the world’s Anglicans, over 75 per cent of the 85 million adherents. Sydney Anglicans, by far the largest Anglican grouping in Australia, also issued a press release condemning the decision.

(In an ironic turn, one of the gay activists, who was most active in the Synod pushing for gay marriage, Jayne Ozanne is coming out to Sydney to speak as part of the WorldPride festivities in a Sydney Anglican church. This has been disowned by Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel.)

But perhaps all these Anglicans are on the ‘wrong side of history’? Perhaps the Scottish, US and New Zealand Anglican Churches are the future?

Given that these are in seemingly terminal decline, this would seem unlikely – unless the ‘right side of history’ is extinction! If the Church of England wants to know its future, as it now inevitably follows the trajectory towards same-sex marriage (and more), then they need only look over the border to the Church of Scotland.

In fact Rev Scott Rennie, whose gay partnership started the whole issue in the Church of Scotland some 15 years ago, was in Crown Court Church of Scotland in London this week and ‘helpfully’ tweeted: ‘meeting a gay couple today to arrange their wedding in church….proud to belong to an inclusive denomination – love is love. Equal marriage.” This ‘inclusive’ denomination is in such a state of free fall that it will be practically extinct within a decade.  Unless the Church of Scotland returns to the Gospel, it will die

Given that the bishops especially spoke of the importance of the unity of the Church, why did they go ahead and do something which has split it? Why is this issue so important to them?

Last week, several members of Synod warned of the “long term fracture between the Church and the society we seek to serve”. That society is the woke progressive cultural elites of middle class England. It is certainly not the wider Anglican Church throughout the world, nor is it the working class in England. This is church for the elites. There is a certainty and snobbery about those who are making the decisions – they are absolutely certain that they, and they alone, are right.

In the context of the wider world I think there is ultimately a sense of, if not racist, certainly imperialistic supremacy. Western progressives, especially religious ones, think that they are so on ‘the right side of history’, that eventually the more simple, backward nations will catch up with them.

Despite all their talk of ‘respecting’ others’ points of view, they tend to regard them with disdain. I have been in more than one church meeting where African brothers and sisters were treated with disdain as somewhat primitive and ignorant. The truth is that it is the Western progressives who have shown ignorance of Scripture and a disdain for the Church throughout the world, as they seek to bring the Church of Jesus into line with their own culture.

Archbishop Samy, the Primate of the Anglican Province of Alexandria, and other delegates to the Synod, warned that a decision to bless same-sex partnerships would result in hurt, pain and further division. But the progressive fundamentalists don’t really care about the bishops and archbishops of Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Chile, Brazil, Myanmar, South Sudan and the Seychelles. They are not the ‘right sort’ of ‘people of colour’. And so they can be dismissed and ignored.

It seems as though Archbishop Welby is aware of this. On Sunday, addressing Church leaders in Ghana, Archbishop Justin Welby, agreed with the Africans, Asians and Australians, and suggested that the Church of England was just following the fashionable cultural trends of the Western elites. This statement is astonishing:

“Modern European Global North morality is a morality for the wealthy, the powerful and the well-educated. It is a morality that does not believe in human sinfulness and failure. This is where the Church struggles.”

This is the truth that the members of Synod needed to hear from the Archbishop. They also need to listen to the prophetic words of H. Richard Niebuhr: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

The churches of the Global South will continue to proclaim Christ crucified. The Church of England is at a crossroads. It’s not too late to repent and return to the cross of Christ. We can only pray that the Church of England will listen to its African, Asia and Australian brothers and sisters.

Letter from Scotland 1 – The Church of Scotland – the Final Nail?

Why the King’s Christmas speech concerns me – CT



  1. Sad, but interesting reading. Who would have believed we are actually witnessing this sad state of affairs. As I write this, church goers are deserting the C of S like rats in a sinking ship. C of S buildings closing, and being put up for sale. In the north west Highlands, plans are afoot to close and sell Kinlochbervie C of S, and what’s left of the congregation are expected to travel to Tongue to worship. Check your map and discover how ridiculous that proposal is.. Thankfully there are one or two C of S congregations in the Highlands who haven’t taken the woke path to oblivion. On a more hopeful note, the F. C of S is actually growing in numbers – partly due to the fact that many C of S people are now attending the F.C. I speak for my area of the Highlands, and do not know the overall position in Scotland.

    1. The first church I can remember attending was cofs church. Even then it was mostly very elderly people so the decline is no surprise to me, especially after covid hastened the decline

      Almost every denomination in the western world is in decline. Those that arent are buoyed by having large numbers of immigrants or are attracting defectors from other denominations.

  2. Why are you Anglicans who follow Jesus and fear God, continuing to associate with those whose god is the world, and who flagrantly disobey the Lord. The New Testment Christians didn’t mess about with such people. They were ejected from the Church. Or the real Church left them.

    Consider the example of the apostles. And how they handled this sort of issue, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. No messing about !!!

      1. Then leave. The differences between you are far too great, on fundamental issues such as marriage. The CofE seems to value unity and staying together above everything, including the truth. Time to separate, otherwise you stand for nothing.

        Feels a bit like the church at Thyatira.

      2. Who should leave what and why?

        Theres a small majority for allowing gay people to marry, but a large majority of bishops oppose it.

        The bishops have now put out this ridiculous fudge, which has just made everyone angry.

  3. The Anglican congregations of the global north who preach Christ will also continue to do so. End of world not imminent.
    Would be interested to know source of your pronouncements about the working class of England. My limited experience is that by and large they are as progressive and kind (the old word for
    Woke before extremists weaponised the phrase ) as anyone. And even if they are not, why should that influence anything?
    As for your accusing the ‘decision makers’ of thinking *they* are the only ones who are right – hypocrisy much?
    I could go on – but what’s the point.
    You are a great writer, but some of this is tosh.

    1. Your prejudices are reflected in your comments. You assume that woke = kind (and no this was never the old meaning of the word!)…The decision makers are not thinking about what God is…and no, it is not hypocritical for a teacher of the Word to actually teach the Word – rather than the zeitgeist of the middle class elites!

      You could go on…but there is no point – until you start dealing with the actual points made – and speaking of tosh – I am not a great writer!

    2. It is apparent from your statement that you may not fully comprehend the perspective of the working class on the matter. They are fundamentally at odds with “wokism” and hold a strong aversion towards it. Their inclination is towards traditionalism, and they tend to reject intersectionality, finding the entire dialectic concept out of touch with their reality. Even those on the far-left side of the spectrum (such as Morning Star) have published numerous articles highlighting the adverse impact of identity ideology, leading to the erosion of the “red wall” by alienating the working class.

      The most recent election was a significant demonstration of anti-“wokism” sentiment.

      As an individual belonging to the working class who has undertaken significant community work and listened to their views, the issue of “woke” seems to be a concern that only concerns the left-wing and upper-middle-class, and is often used as a tool to control language, shape the narrative and silence opposing viewpoints.

      I should add that I am an atheist and I find this trend of self-destruction astonishing. I do not welcome it, as the “long march through the culture” is well underway, and I am genuinely more apprehensive about the new “woke” ideology than I ever was about religion.

  4. The Lambeth 1:10 Statement has offered a positive way forward for a very long time. But Woke Liberals, and hardline fundamentalists, too, sought to mock Lambeth 1:10 and cynically amend its interpretation, or just jettison it entirely. In a sinister manner, devoid of respect for agreed doctrine, were people ordained who wilfully disregarded Lambeth 1:10, in terms of openly admitting (boasting) how they were participating in same-sex activity? The stable doctrinal position, if properly and fairly applied, allowed everyone space to breathe, by providing clear standards for laity and ordained Anglicans. It preserved a Christian vision of marriage in the Church , so that ordination students in particular were expected to be genuinely celibate singles, or else married to a person of the opposite sex in a Church rite. At one level it is very sad and infuriating, but maybe we just need far fewer buildings and bishops, with people meeting more informally in smaller midweek home groups? The judgement of God will fall in a range of ways, but might evangelicals do well to shift their church tithing and giving to fund other relief or evangelism activity?

    1. Ultimately Lambeth 1.10 doesn’t work.

      It acknowledges gay people exist – that is that some people are naturally attracted to the same sex and not attracted to the opposite sex, which is unacceptable theology for most Anglican evangelicals and is pastoral inconsistent with the idea that only straight relationships are permitted.

      Most of the churches in GAFCON and GSFA have never really accepted Lambeth 1.10, some of them have even encouraged tough laws against homosexuality

      1. Lambeth 1:10 was excellent: pastorally sensitive, humane, biblically sound and transparent to all. Everyone was treated equally and the status of traditional marriage was protected. Radical revisers on the liberal end of the spectrum treated it with contempt. Fundamentalists sometimes cynically disregarded Lambeth 1:10, so that celibate people (gay or straight) were exploited, bullied and harassed. Was kangaroo court justice sometimes used to evict celibate single people from training programmes, even after they had completed full ordination training?

    2. Disillusioned

      If you acknowledge that gay people exist, but same sex relationships are prohibited then it’s not pastorally sound in a context where marriage is praised, singleness rejected and not really supported – although I will concede that it has allowed some celibate gay people into ministry, it simply hasn’t worked more broadly. Gay people have not been and are not accepted in all of the CofE churches which oppose SSRs. In practice for Laity the only churches which put Lambeth 1.10 into practice are the ones that have no problem with SSRs anyway.

      It doesn’t work because Conservatives have always not treated the acceptance clauses seriously from Justin Welby down and for Liberals the whole thing was a compromise. Neither can really defend it theologically. Conservative theology treats homosexuality as a sinful choice or delusion (so then why would you support it) and liberal theology says that you should treat one another as equals, which Lambeth 1.10 prohibits

      Ultimately it falls foul of “it’s not good for man to be alone”

  5. I have recently been called to a new aspect of my prophetic ministry that will likely turn out to be even less acclaimed and well-heeded than its older aspects have always been. That new calling of mine is looking on the bright side. I look for the silver lining behind every cloud God sends, even though we have asked him nicely in our prayers for nice beach weather that we, His children, can enjoy.

    I was poised to look on the bright side myself of these recent C of E shenanigans, which have you and the Rwandan bishop lamenting. But then I noticed that somebody cleverer than I, and perhaps than you, and certainly more mainstream (and acclaimed and heeded) than I, had already looked on the bright side. He’d even taken a snapshot of the entire silver lining of this latest cloud, as it appears from heaven. So to speak.

    I commend to you (and to the upset Rwandan bishop) and all other Moaning Minnies and Chicken Lickens whose reports of the demise of the C of E may be greatly exaggerated, an alternative take on this anticlimax, penned by this other blogger, Martin, who blogs on Reflections of an Anglican Theologian.


    The gist is that the devil is in the detail. The resolution creates, in the mind of the careless reader, the impression of the abomination of the desolation that we all prayed against, some of us with little faith that we’d be spared it. But, on the closer examination that Martin gives it, the resolution isn’t fit for that blasphemous purpose. Like Balaam, who was hired to curse Israel but found himself unable to speak other than to bless, anybody who tries to draft set prayers that bless “unions” that God abominates, will find that the small print of the resolution frustrates them. Hallelujah!

    1. Yes – that sure sounds like the prophets of the OT and NT – ‘always look on the bright side of life’! Or was that Monty Python?! It is wishful thinking in the extreme (and foolish) to see this as some kind of victory for biblical doctrine…it is the very opposite of that. But I guess clutching at straws might be part of the new ‘prophetic’ ministry!

      1. Did you read Martin’s blog post? If so, how do you refute his argument?

        If you didn’t bother to read Martin’s argument, for whatever reason, that is that, I suppose.

        Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us that there we should be wary of saying “always”. There is a time for every purpose, including for looking on the bright side. I spent years warning of what was to come, only to find myself ignored. God has shown me another way. Maybe you still have something to learn about the bad news, before the Lord has you to look for the good news, as I’ve started to do.

      2. I will allow this comment – but if you post further accusations then no. I don’t comment on articles I have not read. The article is pie in the sky, wishful thinking. It plays with words and uses sophistry to claim that black is white and a circle is square. Of course you COULD interpret the text in the way Martin does – that’s the point of it – to give plausible deniability. But it is not what the framers meant. How do we know that? Because they have told us.

        I have no doubt that the Lord did not tell you to look for the good news by just shutting your eyes and making things up! The good news is the Gospel – not trying to take non-existent gold out of muck!

  6. It’s still totally unclear what the CofE has decided may be permitted.

    The press office say that its blessings for same sex marriages

    Justin Welby says its blessings for gay individuals

    Sarah Mulally, the bishop of London, says its prayers by the couple. Personally I doubt theres a denomination in the west that would ban gay people from praying so I’m really unclear what would have changed if her interpretation is correct!

    As usual gays are painted as the villains for these blessings they didn’t ask for and dont want and somehow lying isnt a sin if you’re a Bishop lying about gay people

    BTW Lots of working class people are gay.

    1. The question is not whether ‘lots’ of working class people are gay – the question is whether the middle class bourgeois ideology which promotes the new sexual philosophy is working class….it isn’t… Justin Welby does not say it is a blessing for gay individuals – he’s not that stupid…it’s about partnerships.

      1. People are not an ideology so I don’t really understand what you mean. I know English working class gay people

        Justin Welby has said in multiple TV interviews that the blessings are for individuals not for their relationships. I may even be able to rustle you up a link to one if you dont believe me. Hes also made it very clear that he opposes the blessings.

        Its ridiculous to have dishonesty from senior church leaders while they condemn gay people for being sinners.

      2. David

        I didn’t say that relationships can be blessed for individuals

        If you read what I actually wrote then I am accusing someone of lying because the bishops have claimed three totally contradictory things about these new blessings.

        I said that Justin Welby has been claiming that these are prayers for individuals, not for the relationship.

        The press office say they are blessings for same sex relationships

        The bishop of London says they are prayers that (only?) the couple themselves say, suggesting that they are not endorsed by the leader or congregation

        These are contradictory statements

      3. David

        The particular press release you pointed to does not define if these are by or for gay people *or* if they are for the individual people or their relationship.

        This is the dishonest fudge I am talking about!

  7. I think that all churches are at a crossroads. They have to decide whether to follow Biblical teaching or man’s ideas. We all know Who wins in the end, but man seems determined to steer his own destiny straight to hell.

    1. Its different interpretation of scripture, scripture versus not scripture.

      One thing I don’t understand is why Conservatives see this issue as so important it should split the church, but not remarriage after divorce or women in leadership. Scripture to my reading seems far clearer on these other two

      1. It is the totality of scripture, taken together as a whole, with the character and attributes of out thrice Holy Tribune God that is opposed to sss, as in his judgement gives any unholy desires over to.
        To argue otherwise is erroneously conflate categories in opposition to the clarity and plain meaning of scripture, and God good intentions for humanity.
        It is there in creation, m+f, there in generation after generation, only possible through m+f: it is there in salvation through the decreation, judgement of the flood, m+f humans, m+f living creatures; it is there in the Holiness of sexuality in Leviticus, for God’s people and more.
        And to answer in some detail the question: Did Paul prohibit all forms of same sex sexual relations? check out this link:

      2. Any time the Bible is twisted to mean what man wants him to mean is when I get upset. I don’t like anything that takes God’s Word out of context and then changes the wording or even omits verses that are not “convenient.” Homosexuality is a sin, period. Abortion is murder, period. God says divorce is wrong but allowed it because of man’s hardness of heart but he had a right way and a wrong way of doing things. I, personally, do not believe it is okay to remarry after divorce because the Bible says not to. As far as women in leadership, they have to be under the authority of a man (covered, as it were) but there were many great female leaders in both the Old and New Testament. Deborah and Esther come to mind as do Lydia and Mary. God uses females to fulfill His purposes just as He uses males. We have to have a willing heart and a listening ear.

      3. Geoff

        And yet some people are gay and real life church leaders have to be able to minister to real life people, not insist they dont exist

  8. There seems to be a lot of confusion over this issue as if blessing SSM is a matter of adjusting policy, doctrine or traditional practice. Here’s the thing, sin nailed the Saviour to the cross and now ‘churches’ are planning to bless sin at the altar of God in the sanctuary of His house. Is anybody still confused?

    1. Will

      But since the 1990s the Anglican Communion has officially taught that it isnt sin to be gay. If you accept that premise then its really difficult to make scripture ban gays from relationships, especially when theres no history of support for celibacy in the CofE and a great deal of abuse of (younger) gay people

  9. Dear me. We all know the direction of travel and where this is going to end up. Gay marriage will be fully approved and anyone who doesn’t agree will not be welcome. The CofE will be fully apostate.

    Next it will be relationships with animals. “But they are so happy together and it isn’t doing any harm etc etc ………”

    At which point will the CofE take a stand and say no more? I think at no point. The leadership values its comforts too much

    1. Zacchaeus

      Given that the CofE blesses pets at regular pet services these prayers merely raise gay people to the level of dogs.

      Nobody is talking about banning straight people from church or marrying humans to animals (good luck finding an example of someone who has a relationship with an animal!)

  10. Last week I had a very heavy heart, thinking I would need to leave the c of e, as I love the church I am part of. However, I am now waiting to see what happens. It’s worth reading Ian Paul (writing in his blog “ Psephizo”). He is a member of synod and not happy about the vote, but plans to keep fighting it seems. I’m also very interested in the one amendment that the bishops were happy to support … since it ties their hands considerably.

    1. *Ties their hands considerably*
      I think the evidence from the Bishops, is against that.
      As a former lawyer, it is set up for legal argumentation, up for a judicial review, that is, if evangelicals will stand firm.
      I think Davie, while reasoning well is not demonstrating an awareness of tactical nouse of activist Bishops, some of whom admit that their minds have been changed by culture, that the Bible needs to be reinterpreted, revised in accomodation to it.
      But as Gresham J Machen puts it Christians and liberals follow a different religion, a different God. And I can understand why those who have moved away from the faith once delivered should move away and out. The reality however, is that they will not. N America, bears witness, as does the CoS, Methodism, URC.
      The CoE has gone rogue; rogue Anglican.

  11. Not the Church of Cranmer any more. Where thousands would go to the stake to defend the Lord

    Just exactly what does the CofE have to do for members to decide to leave. Where is the red line ? Or will the followers of the Lord just keep in with the followers of the world ? And so the frog will be boiled.

    1. To be upset enough by this issue that you want to leave you would either have to hold a very nuanced view of homosexuality *and* see whatever this actually is as a red line


      have already tolerated years in a church whose official teaching on gays you disagree with.

      I know some people have already left because they were, frankly, lied to and told full equality was on the cards. But that’s a tiny number.

  12. This news is disheartening. The CofE is just one of many Western Churches to fall under the spell of the gods of this world. I believe this is through willful ignorance. But for all of us who believe in the Word of God we must pray that those in the CofE and in other denominations who have rejected his Word and therefore him, but particularly for the leader. We should pray that their hearts will be softened, that they will hear and believe and finally repent. That the glory of God will once more shine brightly in these churches.

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