The Church of England in the Western world is rapidly losing members in its bid to remain culturally relevant, according to several conservative Anglicans and former Anglicans who spoke to Fox News Digital.
“They reflect the culture,” Andrea Williams, chief executive of the London-based non-profit Christian Legal Center, told Fox News Digital. “So in order to be in tune with the culture, they’re looking to appease the culture instead of looking at what the Bible says and what the church should say.”
Several bishops in the Church of England publicly called last month for the institution to start organizing same-sex marriages, and the church is expected to vote on the issue at its general synod next year.
Williams’ nonprofit has defended many people, including clergy who have taken legal action against Church of England institutions for losing their jobs or facing other discrimination because of their Christian beliefs regarding sexuality and gender.
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Williams said that at the start of her legal career in the 1980s, she would have thought it was impossible for her to fight the kind of cases that came to her office every day. She said she has fought cases on behalf of people who have faced retaliation from the church for asserting that marriage is between a man and a woman, or that biological sex is real.
“If any of this had been said to me in the 1980s, it would be as if someone had been speaking to me from Mars,” she said. “It was foreign, but it would have been foreign to most people to think like that.”
“Huge crisis of confidence”
Gavin Ashenden, a former Church of England priest who served as Queen Elizabeth II’s chaplain from 2008 until his resignation in 2017, said the problem is that the Church of England and much of the Christianity have been infiltrated by cultural Marxism.
Recounting his experience smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union, Ashenden said the cultural storm raging in the Western world over sexuality and gender exhibits the same totalitarian impulse characteristic of that regime.
Ashenden, who left the Church of England for the Roman Catholic Church, thinks Anglicans and Protestants are generally experiencing a “huge crisis of confidence” since losing their faith in the authority of the Bible, which he says has been replaced by political correctness.
“Political correctness came just when Protestants were losing maximum confidence, so they seized on fairness, equality, inclusion,” he said. “It became for them a safety harness for all their utopian desire, which a generation before they would have put on heaven and hell.”
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“But now, being unable to talk about heaven and hell, what they had to do instead was jump on the secular left’s project to create heaven on Earth,” he added. “The problem is that when Marx and Lenin tried to create heaven on Earth, they created hell instead.”
“It’s pretty extraordinary that we can be here, but everyone is terrified of being charged with a thought crime,” Ashenden said. “Whether it’s racism, homophobia, transphobia, all kinds of pseudo-phobias that line up.”
Due to legislation such as the Equality Act 2010, which enshrines sexual orientation and gender identity against discrimination, Ashenden said, “no one is able to speak out unless to be seen as hateful and homophobic. That’s exactly what George Orwell described.”
“The Church is Dying”
Calvin Robinson, deacon of the breakaway Free Church of England, remains Anglican, but is sympathetic to figures such as Ashenden leaving.
“I think people should find orthodoxy where they can find it,” he said.
Robinson, who is also a commentator for British outlet GB News, told Fox News Digital he studied at Oxford after he and others discerned his call to the priesthood.
Robinson said his ordination in the Church of England had been “ripped off” because of his conservative theological views, which he said had become unpalatable in a church that had become “entirely liberal”.
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While expressing his pessimism for the Anglican Church in Western countries, Robinson noted that the Anglican Church in the world is in a different condition.
“The church tries so hard to be relevant to cultural norms, but wherever we see the church trying to be relevant, the church is dying,” Robinson said. “And if we look at places where the church remains Orthodox, like pretty much all of Africa, a lot of Asia and Eastern Europe, it’s growing.”
“The church is growing around the world, but it is only dying in places where we try to be relevant, because it’s just not the church’s job to be relevant,” he said. he continued.
“The job of the church is to be morally absolute and to remain rooted in the scriptures and to teach what Christ has told us in the gospel. So when we are distracted by secular matters, it disappears at rightly.”
“God Does Not Change”
Robinson’s claim was echoed by Samaritan’s Purse Evangelist and CEO Franklin Graham, whose father, Billy Graham, got on well with Queen Elizabeth II.
Ashenden and Robinson predicted that the deterioration of the Church of England will accelerate with the loss of the monarch who publicly acclaimed the Christian faith throughout his long reign.
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Graham told Fox News Digital that although he is not Anglican, he has “great respect and appreciation for the many Anglican bishops and vicars who continue to faithfully preach the Word of God.”
“God designed and created marriage between a man and a woman,” Graham added. “The Bible makes it clear, and we must continue to stand firm on the truth of God’s Word. There is no room for debate or compromise. God does not change, and His Word does not change. .”
“In sad condition”
RT Kendall, an American who held the pulpit of prominent Welsh minister Martin Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years, told Fox News Digital that the Church of England has increasingly more revealed apostate in recent decades.
“If they continue like they are doing, if they vote for same-sex marriage, it ceases to be a Christian church,” Kendall said. “They may call themselves that, but what more does it take to suggest apostasy?”
Kendall, who discussed Christianity with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2002 after being introduced to him by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Middle East envoy, said many believe the Church of england has been an apostate for at least half a century.
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He pointed to how his predecessor Lloyd-Jones and the famous Anglican cleric John Stott publicly argued over whether Christians should leave the Church of England in the 1960s.
Noting how sexuality, marriage and gender have torn churches around the world apart, Kendall believes these issues are proof that the world is in “the very last days.”
“Surely we are at the day when Paul’s word is fulfilled, that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but will pile up teachers, having itchy ears,” Kendall said, referring to the fourth chapter of 2 Timothy. “This is where we are.”
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“I would say they are in a sorry state,” Kendall added of Anglicans.