Reaffirmation of traditional stance on marriage and sexuality dropped from Lambeth Call

(Photo: Sandy Millar)

The organisers of the Lambeth Conference have dropped sections of a draft 'Call' that sought to uphold marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and reject homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.

The Lambeth Conference is bringing together 650 Anglican bishops from across the globe to discuss and agree upon a series of 'Calls'. 

The Call on Human Dignity had included "the reaffirmation of Lambeth 1:10 that upholds marriage as between a man and a woman and requires deeper work to uphold the dignity and witness of LGBTQ Anglicans".

The wording prompted a backlash from liberal bishops who vowed to work towards securing revisions. 

Bishop Tim Thornton, Chair of the Lambeth Calls Subgroup, confirmed on Monday that revisions would be made to the document. 

The new draft has now been published and omits any reference to a reaffirmation of Lambeth 1.10.

Bishop Thornton said, "We have listened carefully and prayerfully to what bishops and many others have said in response to the draft Calls, especially that on Human Dignity.

"Archbishop [of Canterbury] Justin [Welby] has invited the bishops of the Anglican Communion to come together as a family to listen, pray and discern – sometimes across deeply-held differences.

"It is our prayer that these Calls can offer a basis for those conversations – and that all of our discussions will be marked by the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

"Please continue to pray for us that we may continue to listen, walk and witness together."

The revised document makes significant alterations to other parts of the Call on Human Dignity. 

Section 2.3 originally stated that "it is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same gender marriage is not permissable", and "to uphold 'faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union' (1.10, 1998)".

This has been changed to state, "It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that 'all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ' and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect (I.10, 1998).

"Many Provinces continue to affirm that same gender marriage is not permissible. 

"Lambeth Resolution I.10 (1998) states that the 'legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions' cannot be advised. Other Provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage after careful theological reflection and a process of reception.

"As Bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues." 

The revisions have prompted a letter by lay Synod member Sam Margrave to the Archbishop of Canterbury threatening to table a motion of no confidence asking for his resignation if the original reaffirmation of Lambeth 1.10 is not reinstated. 

"In removing the opportunity to affirm or vote against resolution 1.10, you have damaged the Church, failed to Witness Christ and turned your back on God's word," he writes.

"You and all those Bishops who can't even affirm the Biblical definition of marriage should be ashamed.

"You should be admonishing and rebuking your brother and sister Bishops, not facilitating false prophets and teachers.

"Those who won't assent to God's word should resign from God's Church!

"You have chosen to submit to culture over Christ. You've chosen the World over witness."