RICHMOND HILL, Ont. — A group of bishops within the Anglican Church of Canada have released a statement denouncing this month’s vote within the General Synod to give the green light to allow same-sex nuptials within the denomination.
As previously reported, the Anglican Church of Canada voted on July 12 to approve of same-sex “marriage” a day after a miscount resulted in reports that the measure had been struck down.
“A minister may only solemnize a marriage between persons of the same sex if authorized by the diocesan bishop,” the resolution, moved by minister Colin Johnson, read.
It also proposed to substitute the word “partners” for “husband and wife” in church canon, and to substitute “the parties to the marriage” for “a man and a woman.”
The resolution’s authors had also compiled a report about the matter, asserting, “The experience of same-sex committed partnerships in our midst, clearly manifesting God’s blessing and the fruit of the Spirit, are a powerful indication that God’s view of marriage may be more inclusive than ours.”
At first, it appeared that the resolution had failed by a single vote, but it was later discovered that one vote had been mistakenly counted in the lay order instead of the clergy order. For a resolution to pass, it must obtain a two-thirds majority in the lay, clergy and bishops orders.
While some cheered the move, a group of seven bishops have now signed a joint statement expressing deep concern over the development, which they call a “fundamental departure from the faith.”
“[T]he General Synod has taken a further step in ordaining something contrary to God’s Word written and imperils our full communion within the Anglican Church of Canada and with Anglicans throughout the world,” the statement reads. “We believe that our General Synod has erred grievously and we publicly dissent from this decision.”
“This would be a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of the Anglican Communion on the doctrine of marriage,” it says. “Sadly, this complicates relationships within the Anglican Church of Canada and as a Province with the Anglican Communion.”
At the same time, the bishops noted that they “absolutely condemn homophobic prejudice and violence wherever it occurs, offer pastoral care and loving service to all irrespective of sexual orientation, and reject criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”
The statement was signed by the bishops of Algoma, Caledonia, Athabasca, Saskatchewan and Yukon, as well as two from the Artic.
While the General Synod approved the resolution this month, it must be subjected to a second vote, which will occur in Vancouver in 2019.
As previously reported, earlier this year, the Anglican Communion voted to place a temporary suspension on the fellowship of the U.S. Episcopal “church” within its global body over the apostate denomination’s support for same-sex “marriage.”
“The primates who have taken this step have cited three reasons for doing so: the lack of reconciliation between the Episcopal Church and their provinces, obedience to Scripture, and the admonitions of the Book of Common Prayer,” said Jeff Walton of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in a statement. “For them it’s a question of faithfulness to Jesus Christ.”