Gay Sex 'Offensive' And Contrary To God's Design, Say Anglican Leaders

Out of Egypt: Global South and Gafcon leaders issue unprecedented joint statement on same-sex unionsAndrew Gross/ACNA

Leaders of more than half of the world's Anglicans have issued an unprecedented joint statement condemning gay sex as "offensive" to God and "contrary to God's design".

They have also warned of "serious implications" should the Church of England decide to offer blessings to same-sex couples.

The statement was one of two documents condemning same-sex unions that came out of the sixth conference of Global South Anglican leaders meeting in Egypt.

The 24 Global South provinces that stretch across southern hemisphere include Asia and Africa and are understood to represent more than 40 million of the 80 million Anglicans worldwide. 

The Global South Anglican bishops, chaired by the Primate of Egypt, Archbishop Mouneer Anis, issued the joint statement with the Global Anglican Futures conference, or GAFCON, chaired by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria. The Global South bishops were meeting in Cairo at their sixth conference since 1994.

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The GAFCON primates said in their joint statement with the Global South Anglicans: "We contend that sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex is contrary to God's design, is offensive to him and reflects a disordering of God's purposes for complementarity in sexual relations.

"Like all other morally wrong behaviour, same-sex unions alienate us from God and are liable to incur God's judgment. We hold these convictions based on the clear teaching of Scripture. We hold them not in order to demean or victimise those who experience same-sex attractions, but in order to guard the sound doctrine of our faith, which also informs our pastoral approach for helping those who struggle with same-sex impulses, attractions and temptations.

"In this respect, the Church cannot condone same-sex unions as a form of behaviour acceptable to God. To do so would be tampering with the foundation of our faith once for all laid down by the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone."

They also condemned any moves to offer blessing for same-sex couples because this would "contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality. Such pastoral provisions, while superficially attractive in giving a more humane and socially acceptable face to the church, actually hide the contravention of doctrine involved."

In their own separate communiqué, the Global South Anglicans also said: "We are deeply saddened that the Provinces of Scotland, Canada and Wales have recently made moves to change their Canon, teaching and practice in relation to same-sex union."

They note that the Church of England, which at its next General Synod meeting will discuss how to move forward after two years of "shared conversations" on the issue, has a unique role in the life of the Communion.

Global South Anglican delegates at their conference in EgyptAndrew Gross/ACNA

This role means that decisions it makes on fundamental matters "impact the Communion more deeply than those made elsewhere," they say.

This is because both of its historical role and the particular role of Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equal among the Primates.

"We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards the acceptance of blessing of same-sex union by COE. This would have serious implications for us should it occur," they add.

Guests at the meeting included two of the five most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Bishops of Durham and Winchester. They were there with the knowledge of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. 

Archbishop Mouneer, second from right, processes with Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, right.Chris Sugden

Bishop of Durham Paul Butler was there with Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin and aso Bishop Julian Henderson of Blackburn, chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council and Bishop Keith Sinclair of Birkenhead who served on the Pilling Commission on Human Sexuality.

Bishop Butler said: "Please keep praying for the Church of England at a critical time. The Church of England is like an oil tanker which is slow and hard to turn; it does not make decisions in a hurry and sometimes that is a good thing."

Bishop Dakin said the bishops were present with the full knowledge of the Archbishop of Canterbury and added that not everyone has bowed the knee in the Church of England. "Many of us intend to remain faithful."

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