Evangelical Anglicans have used the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation to issuean ultimatum to the Church’s leadership. Bishops have until February to restore biblical teaching on marriage or risk ‘rupturing’ the Church.
Mimicking Martin Luther’s posting of 95 Theses on the doors of Wittenberg Castle Church, that sparked the Reformation, today’s protesters anonymously attached complaints to the doors of five British cathedrals. Respectfully, they used blu-tack rather than nails, but their message was still an ultimatum. Reissuing the Southwark Declaration from 2015, they added another notice written anonymously by one priest but signed by 60 others.
In the week of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, they warned: “The Church of England… clergy are adopting lifestyles which are not biblical and teaching that such lifestyles are holy in the sight of God….When the Church redefines sin and eliminates repentance, it can no longer offer the good news of eternal salvation from sin in Jesus; the Church no longer remains distinctly Christian.”
Bishops have “a narrow window” until the next General Synod in February, it says, to “regain the confidence of Bible believing Anglicans” and avoid “rupturing” the Anglican Communion.
“Where leaders refuse to repent and submit themselves to the Word of God, the Lord raises up new leadership for his church and new structures: just as he did through Martin Luther 500 years ago.”
Declarations were posted on the doors of St Paul’s, Rochester, Southwark, Hereford and
Canterbury cathedrals from 31 October to 2 November.
Only one vicar was not coy about coming out as a blu-tacking reformer: Rev Stephen Rae of St James’ Church, Westgate-on-Sea, near Margate, admitted he had pinned up the complaint at Canterbury Cathedral. In a statement he said that the building had become “synonymous with abdication and dereliction of duty” and “stands accused as a distractedand negligent parent that has abandoned its children…God never calls his people to innovate in matters of first importance. If a leader of the Church does this, he has misunderstood his calling. We are to hold to a radically inclusive Gospel that leads to repentance and faith.”
The reformers have a wittily named new Twitter account: @Turbulentparson