The Church of England in the Western world is rapidly losing members in its attempt to remain culturally relevant, according to multiple Conservative Anglicans and former Anglicans who spoke to Fox News Digital.
“They reflect the culture,” said Andrea Williams, CEO of the London-based non-profit organization Christian Legal Centretold Fox News Digital. “So to keep up with the culture, they try to appease the culture instead of looking at what the Bible says and what the church should be saying.”
Several bishops inside the Church of England last month publicly called for same-sex marriages to be held, and the church plans to vote on the issue at their general synod next year.
Williams’ non-profit has advocated for many people, including clergy who have taken legal action against Church of England institutions for losing their jobs or other forms of discrimination because of their Christian beliefs regarding sexuality and gender.
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Williams said that when she began her legal career in the 1980s, she never thought she would be able to challenge the kinds of cases that now come to her desk every day. She said she has fought cases on behalf of people who have faced church reprisals for claiming that marriage is between one man and one woman, or that biological sex is real.
“If something like that had been said to me in the 1980s, it would be like someone from Mars speaking to me,” she said. “It was strange, but most people would have been strange to think that way.”
‘Major crisis of confidence’
Gavin Ashenden, a former Church of England priest who served as Queen Elizabeth II’s chaplain from 2008 until his abdication in 2017, said the problem is that the Church of England and much of Christendom have been infiltrated by cultural Marxism.
Ashenden recounted his experience smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union and said that the cultural storm raging in the Western world over sexuality and gender shows the same totalitarian impulse that characterizes that regime.
Ashenden, who left the Church of England for the Roman Catholic Church, believes Anglicans and Protestants in general have experienced a “massive crisis of confidence” since they lost faith in the authority of the Bible, which he says has been replaced by political correctness.
“Political correctness came just as the Protestants lost maximum confidence, so they reached for fairness, equality, inclusion,” he said. “This became for them a safety harness for all their utopian desires, which they would have put in heaven and hell a generation earlier.”
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“But now that they were unable to talk about heaven and hell, they had to jump instead into the secular left project of making a heaven on earth,” he added. “The problem is that when Marx and Lenin tried to make heaven on earth, they made hell instead.”
“It’s quite exceptional that we can actually be here, but everyone is terrified of being accused of thought crimes,” Ashenden said. “Whether it’s racism, homophobia, transphobia, all kinds of pseudophobias lined up.”
Due to legislation such as the Equality Act 2010, which enshrines sexual orientation and gender identity against discrimination, Ashenden said: “No one can speak out to avoid being seen as hateful and homophobic. It’s exactly what George Orwell described.”
“The Church Is Dying”
Calvin Robinson, a deacon in the separatist Free Church of England, remains an Anglican, but he is sympathetic to figures like Ashenden leaving.
“I think people should find orthodoxy where they can find it,” he said.
Robinson, who also acts as a commentator for British outlet GB News, told Fox News Digital that he studied at Oxford after he and others recognized his calling to the priesthood.
Robinson said his ordination in the Church of England was “snatched” because of his conservative theological views, which he said had become unpalatable in a church that has become “completely liberal”.
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While expressing pessimism for the Anglican Church in Western countries, Robinson noted that the Anglican Church is in a different state worldwide.
“The church tries so hard to be relevant to cultural norms, but everywhere 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, much of Asia and Eastern Europe, it’s growing.”
“The church is growing all over the world, but it’s only dying out in the places where we’re trying to be relevant, because it’s just not the church’s job to be relevant,” he continued.
“The task of the church to be morally absolute and to remain rooted in Scripture and to teach what Christ has told us to the Gospel. So when we get distracted by secular issues, it justifiably dies out.”
‘God Doesn’t Change’
Robinson’s claim was echoed by evangelist and Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham, whose father Billy Graham famously got along with Queen Elizabeth II.
Both Ashenden and Robinson predicted that the decline of the Church of England will accelerate with the loss of the monarch who has publicly espoused the Christian faith during her long reign.
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Graham told Fox News Digital that while he is not an Anglican, he has “great respect and appreciation for the many Anglican bishops and pastors who continue to faithfully preach God’s Word.”
“God designed and created marriage to be between one man and one woman,” Graham added. “The Bible makes that clear, and we must stand firm for the truth of God’s Word. There is no room for argument or compromise. God does not change and His Word does not change.”
‘In sad shape’
RT Kendall, an American who held the pulpit of prominent Welsh clergyman Martin Lloyd-Jones in London’s Westminster Chapel for 25 years, told Fox News Digital that the Church of England has increasingly proven apostate in recent decades.
“If they continue on this path, if they vote for same-sex marriage, it’s not a Christian church anymore,” said Kendall. “They may call themselves that, but what more do you need to suggest apostasy?”
Kendall, who spoke to former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat about Christianity in 2002 after being introduced to him by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy to the Middle East, said many believe the Church of England has been around for at least half a century. is apostate.
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He pointed out how his predecessor Lloyd-Jones and the famous Anglican clergyman John Stott argued publicly in the 1960s over whether Christians should leave the Church of England.
Kendall notes how sexuality, marriage and gender have ripped churches apart worldwide and believes such issues are evidence that the world is in “the very last days.”
“We are sure in the day when the word of Paul is fulfilled, the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but will heap teachers, with itchy ears,” said Kendall, referring to the fourth chapter of 2 Timothy. “That’s where we are.”
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“I would say they are in a sad state,” Kendall added of the Anglicans.