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Wabukala: Pilling will divide us

13 December 2013

ANDREW GROSS/ACNA

Smiles: the Archbishop of Canterbury with Archbishop Wabukala, on the eve of the GAFCON meeting in October

Smiles: the Archbishop of Canterbury with Archbishop Wabukala, on the eve of the GAFCON meeting in October

THE Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Eliud Wabukala, has criticised the Pilling report on same-sex relations (News, 6 December) as "very flawed". It would lead the Church of England into "heartbreak and division".

Archbishop Wabukala, who hosted the recent GAFCON meeting (News, 25 October), wrote to members of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) on Saturday that allowing churches to mark same-sex relationships would undermine biblical authority and church tradition.

This was a central recommendation of the House of Bishops working group on human sexuality, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling. The House of Bishops discussed the report earlier this week, but it has made no public statement about it.

Archbishop Wabukala wrote of the report: "Against the principle of Anglican teaching, right up to and beyond the Lambeth Conference of 1998, it questions the possibility that the Church can speak confidently on the basis of biblical authority and sees its teaching as essentially provisional."

He said that the proposals in the Pilling report made the assumption that the Bible was not clear on such issues. "This amounts to a rejection of the conviction expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles that the Bible as 'God's word written' is a clear and effective standard for faith and conduct," he said.

The dissenting statement of the Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair, was endorsed strongly by Archbishop Wabukala as an "alternative way forward which honours the authority of scripture and expresses a deep pastoral concern for the transforming power of the gospel in a society that is moving into ever greater confusion about sexual morality and identity."

Archbishop Wabukala wrote in his letter that the GFCA was integral to upholding the integrity of the Anglican Communion in a time of great division. Quoting the closing statement of the GAFCON conference, held in Nairobi in October, he wrote that the GFCA was becoming "an important and effective instrument of communion during a period in which other instruments of communion have failed both to uphold gospel priorities in the Church, and to heal the divisions among us".

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