I got ordained in the Anglican church yet I’ve had this profound disappointment. It was very interesting yesterday to hear the New Zealand delegate Rev Behan talk about weeping and grieving over his church. I could really relate to that - I weep over the people who have turned their backs on the authority of scripture.
So to come here and see the largest collection of Anglicans for the last 50 years meet together, to have a Nigerian bishop rebuke us about our sin was so refreshing. As we sat there and were told around the world "these are the different issues you’re facing in terms of your idolatry". And to know that every [bishop] I meet will be affirming the authority of scripture – you suddenly start feeling secure. That’s what it is to be a family and be at home.
If the Anglican communion won’t [submit to scripture], the Lord will take his power, his spirit and his gospel outside of the institution and go elsewhere. I think the message here, with the vast numbers that are here is "listen guys, the spirit will depart the traditional Anglican church unless we submit to scripture and repent of our sin and call people to do that." It’s a great warning to be heeded.
I’m speaking as an evangelist, someone who has spent the last 30 years trying to win the lost. I’m here because I know there’s no power in evangelism unless you’re submitted to scripture.
While I was on the Archbishop Task Group’s for Evangelism – and I’ve been to see him in person on this – the Rev Bishop Paul Bayes of Liverpool was affirming same sex relationships, which is putting people on the road to destruction. I don’t know how you could submit to his leadership? I had to leave that committee.
It’s a different religion. Bishop Paul Bayes and I have a different religion and it’s around whether scripture is authoritative in terms of human sexuality.
I think it’s a great wickedness to tell people who are on the road to destruction that they’re not - to tell them they’re safe when it comes to God’s wrath when they’re not.
The road to destruction in Britain is defined by two things. Tolerance and permissiveness - you can do what you please, and you can think what you please. If we have church leaders who are putting people on that road to destruction it’s a salvation issue. That’s why we have to distance ourselves. And that’s why I stepped down from the Archbishops' commission, which was grievous. I wept about it. I was longing to serve and found it a great honour that Archbishop Welby appointed me to that. Then I was having to submit to the leadership of a man who is contrary to scripture. It was agony.
In a way I come to GAFCON partly grieving but also delighted to find a family that is Anglican and that I can trust to submit to the Lord Jesus and to Scripture.
There’s a loss of nerve in the Church because the culture is getting more and more intolerant of people who hold onto the uniqueness of Jesus and his high and holy standards. So what’s happening is clergy are going with congregations, all of whom have a same sex attracted nephew or grandson – suddenly these relationships are there where people emotionally want to try and change position on those things because they have someone they love who is same sex attracted.
This is where the leadership of the Living Out Christians, people like Vaughan Roberts and Sam Allberry has been so magnificent because they’re saying "we are same sex attracted and we’re saying please, celibacy is the way because this is an eternal issue". They are in the midst of that battle saying "we’re celibate because that’s the way of Christ". We’ve got the people in place and the arguments in place. The question is whether church leaders will say to their people "let’s hold the line on scripture".
Rico Tice is an Anglican evangelist and co-author of Christianity Explored. He was speaking on the GAFCON official Live Stream