GAFCON chair slams CofE transgender guidance as 'false teaching'

The chairman of GAFCON, the global conservative Anglican grouping, has hit out at the Church of England over guidance for services to mark transitions for transgender people.

In a message for Epiphany, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria, contrasted the 'revealed wisdom of God' and 'the wisdom claimed by secular ideologies'. He said calls for 'dialogue' masked the continuing spread of 'false teaching'.

The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Nicholas OkohGafcon

Guidance issued by the House of Bishops commends the rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith as a template for recognising a person's gender transition. Okoh said: 'A form of service which is intended to mark a renewed commitment to Christ and the new life we receive through him is instead used to celebrate an identity which contradicts our God-given identity as male and female (as affirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:4) and is still controversial even in secular society.'

The CofE, he said, was 'rejecting biblical authority' in line with the US Episcopal Church and other 'revisionist' provinces.

He said: 'So, much as we thank God for the rich history represented by the See of Canterbury, we cannot avoid the sad truth that insistence on full communion with Canterbury as an essential mark of belonging to the Anglican Communion now risks jeopardising the apostolic faith itself. Let us pray that there will be repentance and that God will give courage and boldness to those who remain faithful.'

GAFCON argues that the Church of England has become too theologically liberal to act as a unifying force in global Anglicanism, and seeks to provide an alternative framework for what it describes as 'biblically faithful' Anglicans to relate together.