In the midst of the maelstrom of the 14th Lambeth Conference Dr. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, has affirmed the classical Christian doctrine on sexual morality.Dr. Williams said last week, “I do not believe that sex outside marriage is as God purposes it.” He was quoted in the Times saying he remains “committed” to the Anglican Church’s official stance against “gay sex.”
Williams is being widely criticised for lack of leadership in the lead up to Lambeth, which nearly a third of the Anglican Communion’s bishops have declined to attend. Lambeth is dominated by discussion of the problem of liberal member Churches of the west pushing for greater acceptance of homosexuality. Reports from the conference show that the Communion is rapidly breaking up into factions and that any resolution of the crisis is unlikely.
Despite Dr. Williams’ one-line affirmation of Christian doctrine on sexuality, the head of the Anglican Church in Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer H. Anis, said this weekend, “I do not believe that there is hope of a solution from this Lambeth conference.”
“The North American churches believe that the truth was revealed to them and that the other churches in the Communion need to follow them,” Dr. Anis said.
Earlier this month, a bishop of the liberal faction in the US accused “demonic” conservatives of derailing the Church’s progress towards greater “inclusiveness” and leading the Church in a “dangerous” direction.
The Rt. Rev. John Chane, Episcopal bishop of Washington said, “I think it’s really very dangerous when someone stands up and says, ‘I have the way and I have the truth and I know how to interpret Holy Scripture and you are following what is the right way.’
“I think it’s really very, very dangerous and I think it’s demonic,” he said.
Dr. Williams’ statement came as a surprise to homosexual activists within the Anglican Church, who have been handing out copies of his 1989 essay “The Body’s Grace” at the conference. The essay is well known as the one in which he proposed a liberal outlook towards homosexual activity and argued that Bible did not necessarily legislate only for “reproductive sex.”
The turn around from Dr. Williams comes as the Times reports today that a poll of 517 Protestant Christians in Britain found that 81 percent continue to believe that homosexual activity is sinful. Only 3 percent of those polled believe homosexual activity is not a sin.