On the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, with Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, Anglicans nailed (or tacked) a similar protesting document to the doors of five Church of England cathedrals. Leaders in the movement told PJ Media they intend to push the Church of England back to the Bible and against a “secular” form of “soft socialism.”
“These postings of the Southwark Declaration represent a grassroots protest amongst both the orthodox laity and the clergy against the complacent selling-out of the Church of England to the current secular zeitgeist in the name of progressive Christianity,” Gavin Ashenden, a missionary bishop to England who rejected his ordination in the Church of England (and his position as special bishop to Queen Elizabeth II) this year, told PJ Media.
Each of the protesting Anglicans posted both the Southwark Declaration — a document standing by traditional biblical sexuality similar to the Nashville Statement — and a document explicitly citing Luther.
“The leaders of the Church of England are so scared of losing their privileged and protected platform in this increasingly secular society, that they have been prepared to deny all the teaching on sexual purity and heterosexual marital configuration found from the beginning and running through to the end of the Bible,” the missionary bishop declared.
Ashenden insisted that the protest was broader than just sexuality and LGBT issues, however.
“This is not just a pragmatic political betrayal of Jesus and the Gospel He founded the Church to follow, but a spiritual rebellion that involves changing sides from light to darkness,” he said.
Ashenden connected the corruption in 21st century Anglicanism to the 16th century corruption of Roman Catholicism protested by Luther. “In our generation, the spiritual struggle has morphed from buying souls out of purgatory to buying public approbation to protect a national Church from national rejection by a skeptical hedonistic culture,” he argued.
He cited the principle “semper reformanda,” that the church should always reform itself, returning to the testimony of scripture and staying vigilant for the corruptions of the world.
“These ‘Wittenberg’ protests warn these progressive heterodox Anglican leaders that there is a core of faithful Anglicans who will repudiate their leadership and their claims to represent the Church unless there is a change of heart and a change of direction,” Ashenden declared.
The missionary bishop explained why Anglicans targeted cathedrals. A cathedral isn’t just a large church — it is the bishop’s seat where he is duty-bound to “teach and defend the orthodox Christian faith and call people to respond to the Gospel.”