Susie Leafe, above, Director of the conservative Christian group Reform, has slammed the C of E’s latest General Synod meeting which voted to condemn gay conversion therapies.
Leafe, according to this report, said:
In the space of four days, the General Synod of the Church of England have, in effect, rejected the doctrines of creation, the fall, the incarnation, and our need for conversion and sanctification.
Instead we have said that we are ‘perfect’ as we are, or as we see ourselves, and that the Church should affirm us and call on God to validate our choices.
We have chosen to understand the world through secular reports, unconscious bias training, the teaching of other religions and the results of polls and media headlines, rather than the unchanging word of God.
In addition to the “gay cure” issue, what also got up Leafe’s nose was that the Synod voted to consider liturgical support for Christians who undergo sex changes.
She also expressed concern about the tone of the Synod:
More worryingly, perhaps, was the atmosphere of the chamber; God’s word was mocked openly and decisions were made lightly, with arrogant laughter. As one member put it: ‘God is not mocked. The laughter and lack of respect for those who bravely gave the alternate case was beyond words. Bruised, battered, bullied, betrayed, bewildered.’
Her response came after Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, leader of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, slammed the synod for “false teaching” and warned that it is in “grave spiritual danger”.
Leafe also warns that the future of the Church is imperilled.
Again and again, both the decisions made, and the manner in which they were made, showed scant regard for Scripture or the traditions of the Church. Instead, members were asked to base their decisions on emotional stories or the impact of secular headlines.
She also blasted the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, above left, for chairing the Synod “poorly”.
Jayne Ozanne, a member of General Synod who advocates for the LGBT community, retorted:
I don’t think the majority of Synod members will recognise Susie’s description of Synod at all. It seems she and others are set on depicting Synod’s considered decisions in a poor light in order to suit their own purposes. Saying we are not committed to scripture and mission is just ridiculous, as are their assertions that God’s word was mocked. I begin to wonder what their real objective is?’
Bishop Walker, meanwhile, praised the Synod:
In two debates, over consecutive days, attention was turned first to the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ and then to support for those who have transitioned. Both debates were characterised by the passion, courtesy and good humour … Beyond this, Synod showed an overarching desire to hear the voices of LGBT+ people, whether expressed directly or through their stories being shared by their friends.
And most important of all, we heard from a Synod that wanted decisive change and action now. Members listened to, but clearly rejected, demands that these matters required further study, be it theological or scientific, ahead of any decision.’
Synod has set its new tone, and begun to speak compassionately and clearly in the voice it has found. I look forward to hearing what it says next.