The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Rev’d Rod Thomas, today responded to the decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change its canons of marriage. He said:
“The decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to change its canons of marriage in order to allow same-sex marriages in church is very serious. By its actions it is denying the goodness and authority of God’s Word to us in the Scriptures. As a result it is breaking communion with the majority of Anglicans worldwide. This leaves me with no choice but to recognise that the SEC has walked away from our communion, so I will no longer be able to accept invitations to Christian meetings where bishops of the SEC are actively participating, unless their broken communion is recognised in the arrangements. I pray that this declining church will understand that their position is not blessed by God, will repent of their action and turn back to Him.”
The Bishop of Maidstone has also announced that the number of evangelical churches in the Church of England which have passed resolutions under the 2014 House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests now exceed 100. The resolutions by individual church councils ask bishops to make special arrangements to honour their understanding of men’s and women’s ministries. Bishop Rod said that he knew of a further 50 churches which were moving towards passing resolutions.
The Bishop added “It is very heartening to see so many churches working hard to make a success of ‘mutual flourishing’ as commended in the Declaration. However, it is important to recognise that the compromises involved are only possible because most of us regard this as a matter of church order and therefore something on which we can agree to disagree. This is not possible with the issue of sexual relationships, which goes to the heart of what God has made us to be, and of His great design to free us from sin for eternal salvation. I therefore welcome the steps that GAFCON (the global fellowship of orthodox Anglicans) is taking to support those who are seeking to stand firm by the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual relationships, and wish to assure Canon Andy Lines of my prayers as he becomes a missionary bishop.”