Interview: Revd Andrew Symes
The Western Anglican Church is “inclined to abandon God’s standard” on marriage.
That’s the view of Revd Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary of the internationally focussed ‘Anglican Mainstream’ organisation. We spoke following the recent Lambeth Conference, which every decade brings together bishops from around the world. The 25-year-long struggle against attempts by LGBT activists to change the meaning of marriage once again attracted media attention.
Anglican Mainstream began in 2004 out of a need “to gather together Bible-believing Anglicans, to recognise this threat” of unbiblical cultural influences. Marriage, Andrew says, is the area where we are most under attack.
Western provinces of the Anglican Church, he explains, are “more liberal”, which “undermines the idea of Scripture providing an eternal guide on these issues”. Meanwhile, large parts of Africa and Latin America are “wanting to stick to the Bible’s view of marriage”. “Those are the nations”, he goes on, “where the Church is growing fastest.”
Unity, Andrew tells us, would require relegating “marriage and the wider issue even of Scripture … to something like whether you like blue or green”. If people “overtly deny the clear teaching of Scripture”, then “fellowship is broken”. “We can help one another as human beings”, Andrew goes on, but “we are fundamentally disagreed on what the basis of our faith is”. “What does it mean, for example, to repent of sin?” he asks.
“We need to be personally pastorally caring”, he says, “while not getting rid of standards. We do that with our children every day”. However, he concludes, if we are going to be the Church, we have to base it on what the Bible says.
C4M supporters come from all faiths and none. We’re tied together by our understanding that real marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. This has been proven, beyond doubt, to produce the best foundation to raise the next generation. The CofE needs to heed the call of Anglicans in Africa and South America to remain faithful in its teaching on marriage.