Questions Out of LFF, Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

I read the first article from Anglican Futures, regarding the document, Living In Love and Faith, [LLF] EC 8083. I found the article helpful, well presented and gives a clear overview of the document. 

However, I found myself seriously disquieted and I raise 3 interrelated comments out of a larger number: [1] There is a somewhat pervasive optimism that the document will act as a catalyst for a positive step forward in the discussions regarding sexuality in the Church. This optimism is also found in Evangelical circles: I checked out Church Society which has some helpful material on LLF and although some serious flaws in LLF are pointed out am I alone in seeing the direction of travel in the C of E? 

I want to ask, can anyone point to a substantial, Biblical gain that has emerged from Synod in recent years? Just what have the Evangelicals on Synod actually achieved in steering Synod into a more Biblical position on anything, either morally, or doctrinally or in worship? Do we seriously believe that an Evangelical voice will be distinctly sounded and accepted in this debate? Of course, I will apologise if I am mistaken but Francis Schaeffer was correct in his perceptive aphorism, “Nature eats up Grace.” Compromise compounds irrelevance. [2] The opening section on scripture presents 7 positions, and this fails to engender any confidence in what follows. The 1st view presented is an emaciated caricature of the Evangelical position on Scripture – I would reject this erroneous presentation. The 7th position is virtually atheism and thus rejected. 

The other 5 positions are presented as a range of possible answers as to the unity and authority of the Bible. But, what does the Bible say about itself? Where is there a statement of the 39 articles regarding Scripture – the position each and every clergyman and Bishop swore to uphold? Failure at this point is failure across the board. [3] I cannot help but think that the title of the document is purposely phrased, the ambiguity being, Living in Love [as we now define it] and [with a redefined] Faith, so that all positions can be fully accommodated and the unity of the C of E can be maintained. Love is to be as  understood and accepted with its variety of sexual practices – isn’t this the purpose of LLF? and Faith can be understood to reflect these changes – choose your view of Scripture to suit your taste. 

This is not a document for the Evangelical to accept or even debate.

John Dunn

Isle of Wight