Conservative Anglicans in Open Revolt Against Church of England's 'Capitulation to Secular Values'

A priest wears a rainbow ribbon during a vigil against Anglican Homophobia, outside the General Synod of the Church of England in London, Britain, February 15, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

A group of conservative Anglicans have written a letter on the growing divide in the Church of England on LGBT issues, warning of a coming rebellion in the face of what they called the "capitulation to secular values."

"There are now effectively two expressions of Anglicanism in this country. One has capitulated to secular values, and one continues to hold the faith 'once delivered to the saints,'" read the letter published in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.

The Rev. Gavin Ashenden, the former chaplain to the Queen, and 22 other conservative Anglicans signed the letter, which speaks of the prospect of a "declaration of independence" from those in the Church who feel their traditional views on LGBT issues are being marginalized.

"There are times, particularly in the face of social disintegration, when it is the duty of the Church to be counter-cultural," the letter stated.

Although the Church of England remains officially opposed to gay marriage, its governing body rejected earlier this year a report that said only a man and a woman should be allowed to marry in church, Premier noted.

What is more, it passed a motion earlier in July affirming transgender people to the Church.

Other members of the Anglican Communion, such as the Episcopal Church in the U.S., alongside The Scottish Episcopal Church, have decided to change their definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

A spokesperson for the CofE said in response to the Scottish Church's decision that it's teachings on the sanctity of marriage "remains unchanged."

"However, this is a matter on which there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England," the statement added.

The conservative Anglicans declared that voices backing traditional marriage are not going to stand being pushed out, however.

"This is a warning that the Archbishop is under notice that unless he leads the Church in a way that remains consistent with the values and authority of the Bible as opposed to progressive secularism, he will risk some kind of revolt in the form of an independence movement," Ashenden said.

"We are saying if you don't draw a halt at this point the same thing will happen here and there will be a significant number who will secede and reconstitute an Anglican Church to keep faith with authentic Anglican Christianity," he added.

A Church of England spokesman said in response to the letter that there should be room for debate over controversial issues.

"As with any debating chamber, Synod often debates controversial issues and members can sometimes disagree strongly with each other. That is the nature of debate. If there is an issue the Chair will intervene," the spokesman said.

"The expectation is that Synod members are courteous at all times both to each other and invited guests," he added.

A British Social Attitudes survey, which was conducted last year but released in June, found that the majority of Anglicans in the U.K. no longer adhere to biblical beliefs on premarital sex and same-sex relationships, despite Church doctrine.

The Moral Issues section of the survey found that 55 percent of Anglicans within the Church of England said there was nothing wrong with same-sex relationships, with 62 percent of Catholics and 53 percent of those in the "other Christian" category also backing gay relationships.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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