The Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, has written to his clergy in response to the Appellate Tribunal opinion and a meeting of the House of Bishops.
In a letter published on the Sydney Anglicans website Davies describes the opinion as
hard to fathom, as it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible
At their meeting the Bishops agreed to “publicly acknowledge areas of … disagreement” and it seems that Davies has taken the opportunity to do just that, making his ad clerum publicly available. The letter makes Davies’ position absolutely clear:
In my opinion the effect of the majority opinion’s legal interpretation undermines the clear teaching of Scripture and thereby dishonours God.
Davies’ letter is accompanied by a longer piece from Bishop Michael Stead which explains the opinion in more detail and offers some substantive critique.
It is clear now what the conservative/orthodox response to the Appellate Tribunal will be. In line with the Primate’s comment that the opinion is “an important contribution to the ongoing conversation” rather than a binding ruling and that “a meeting of the General Synod is due to be held in 2021 where the Tribunal’s opinion is likely to be considered”, the rapidly emerging argument from conservatives is:
- The majority opinion clearly has a number of serious flaws and inconsistencies.
- The right place to come to a firm position as a national body is the General Synod (due to be held in 2021).
- There ought to therefore be a commitment to restraint until General Synod has met, not least for the sake of seeking to preserve unity (just as the Primate has asked).
Whether that unity can be preserved will now depend largely on the decisions and actions of a number of diocesan bishops. Will they ask their dioceses to wait until General Synod? Will they give assent to any potential motions or resolutions of their own synods and diocesan councils? Ultimately, when their own recent statement closes with these words,
We call upon all members of the Anglican Church of Australia to join us in prayer that we might be sustained by the Holy Spirit in unity, truth and holiness for the glory of God and the wellbeing of the world Christ calls us to serve.
are they personally committed to it?
Archbishop Davies’ letter:
Bishop Stead’s analysis: