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English Anglicans—hit the lifeboats

The Church of England’s approval of same-sex blessings means it’s time to leave


Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stands at the entrance of Westminster Abbey in London on May 6. Associated Press/Photo by Andrew Milligan

English Anglicans—hit the lifeboats
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Well, it’s happened. The Church of England has voted to approve trial same-sex blessings, with a slim majority of laity and clergy and nearly two-thirds of the bishops in favor. This has been a long time coming. The protestations of the majority of Anglicans around the globe have fallen on deaf ears. The mother church of the Anglican Way has decided that she has the power and authority to condone sin and bless disordered, immoral relationships.

The distinction between same-sex blessings and redefining matrimony is facile, and it masks the taste of the lethal spiritual poison. The sort-of conservative and semi-biblically-conscious can supposedly find momentary comfort in the category of matrimony remaining sacrosanct—for a little while. As someone else quite rightly quipped, “You bless it, you bought it.” Indeed, the unfaithful leaders of the Church of England have spiritually prostituted themselves and the institution under their care to the spirit of the age.

It will only be a matter of time before church activists and bureaucrats alike will ensure that their rebellion is consummated in a wholesale desecration of that most “honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church.” It’s a revocation of the Anglican patrimony, historic Christian doctrine, and the Holy Scriptures.

What’s so sad is that we’ve seen this play out before in different contexts: forsaking the faith once delivered to the saints, with false teaching giving theological coverage and legitimacy to sin against God Almighty—and all while suppressing the message of the gospel of salvation in Christ alone.

If I could tell faithful English Anglicans one thing, it would be this: Hit the lifeboats. Run for your spiritual lives, preferably in an orderly fashion. Rally around faithful voices in the Church of England that are formulating their response even as we speak, or otherwise join the current breakaway groups. Much of this depends on what the local situation looks like for you. Plug into a parish that forthrightly champions the faith and Christian holiness, that doesn’t play around with spiritual newspeak, and that militates against departure from the Holy Scriptures and the historic Anglican Formularies.

Much like what we saw in the United States, a rag-tag ecclesiastical flotilla is forming.

The laity must wake up to this. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Do not be the kind of somnolent pew-sitter who, upon seeing yet another display of detestable enormities, says to himself, “If they take this just one step farther, I’m out of here.” This is how the frog is boiled in the pot. Get out, for the sake of your soul and the souls of your children. The Church of England has crashed into the iceberg of heresy and apostasy and the cancerous rot has aggressively exerted itself.

To the clerics, I say this: It is not enough to be free of the tyranny of unfaithful hirelings. The much harder task is to prove ourselves good under-shepherds, fulfilling all those duties laid out so clearly in St. Paul’s pastoral epistles and reiterated in the Ordinal. You may face lawsuits. You may pull your hair out trying to teach, feed, and guide sheep that suffer immense spiritual malformation. You will surely face social opposition and ostracism. Dig deeply and hew closely to the good deposit you’ve received. Plant and revitalize churches. Establish schools. Evangelize the lost. Catechize God’s children. Preach the gospel. Be vigilant in prayer. Suffer like a good soldier. Pour yourself out as a living sacrifice, as your fathers in the faith before you, and as your brethren in foreign lands do even now. Quit yourselves like men. Stand fast, and, having done all, to stand. Obtain an incorruptible crown.

Much like what we saw in the United States, a rag-tag ecclesiastical flotilla is forming. Many faithful Anglicans are still on the mothership, sabotaged as it’s been by captain and crew. These orthodox folks are discerning what to do next. Newer groups committed to biblical orthodoxy have hit the water, running alongside craft of older vintage. If you desire perseverance in faithfulness, hop into the queue. Don’t flop into a deck chair, basking in the afterglow of a departed glory.

And know that you are not alone. A confederation of confessing Anglicans has formed, and we extend an open hand of fellowship to you. We are all of us, in some form or fashion, the daughters of the Church of England. Our aim and destination is the same: home, our mother city, the heavenly Jerusalem. We are imperfect and flawed, but we have committed ourselves to orthodox Christianity in its Anglican expression. We exhort you to be faithful. And we will do what we can to support one another in fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But as for now, make haste to the lifeboats.


Barton J. Gingerich

The Rev. Barton J. Gingerich is the rector of St. Jude’s Anglican Church (REC) in Richmond, Va. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Patrick Henry College and a Master of Divinity with a concentration in historical theology from Reformed Episcopal Seminary.


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