Fifty Years of Anglican Liberalism

Updated September 10, 2015 (first published June 16, 2003) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,

The worldwide Anglican Communion is composed of some 80 million members * in 164 countries, including the “mother church,” the Church of England, and the Episcopal Church in America. (* A large percentage of Anglican members are “invisible” because they are church members due to the fact that they were baptized as infants and perhaps catechized, but they do not participate in the functional life of the churches.)

The Anglican Church is permeated with theological liberalism at every level.

Consider some examples:

In 1953, Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple, in his book
Nature and God, said, “... there is no such thing as revealed truth.”

In 1960, Episcopalian Bishop James Pike said the doctrine of the Trinity is “outdated, incomprehensible and nonessential” (
The Christian Century, Dec. 21, 1960). (Billy Graham was a guest at Pike’s ordination on May 15, 1958 and praised the liberal bishop in glowing terms. Nine days later, Graham invited Pike to sit on the platform during his evangelistic crusade in San Francisco and had him lead in prayer. On Dec. 4, 1960, Graham spoke in Pike’s pulpit at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.)

In 1961, Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey said, “... heaven is not a place for Christians only. ... I expect to see many present day atheists there” (
London Daily Mail, Oct. 2, 1961). That same year, Bishop James Pike called the virgin birth of Christ a “primitive myth” and said that Joseph was probably Jesus’ real father (Redbook magazine, August 1961). He also said that Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, heaven, and hell are myths. (Billy Graham invited Ramsey to the platform during his 1975 crusade in Brazil and allowed him to speak to the crowd (Fundamental Evangelistic Association News & Views, May-June 1975).

In 1963, Episcopal theologian Paul van Buren started the God-is-dead movement with the publication of his book
The Secular Meaning of the Gospel. That same year, Anglican Bishop John Robinson said in his book Honest to God, “The whole scheme of a supernatural being coming down from heaven to ‘save’ mankind from sin ... is frankly incredible to man ‘come of age.’”

In 1967, after heresy charges were brought against Bishop James Pike, the Episcopal Church in America adopted a resolution declaring that all heresy was out of date. That year, Canon Hugh Montifiore of Cambridge University’s main church said, “Jesus might have been a homosexual” (
Christianity Today, Aug. 18, 1967). (Montifiore was the advisor for the Cambridge Billy Graham Television Crusade.)

In 1968, the Church of England’s Lambeth Conference voted that Anglican clergy are no longer required to agree to the denomination’s 39 articles of faith.

In 1976, John Spong was ordained as the bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Newark, New Jersey, even though he denied practically every doctrine of the Christian faith.

In 1977, Bishop Paul Moore of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City ordained lesbian Ellen Barrett as a priest. Barrett told
Time magazine that her lesbian love affairs gave her the “strength to serve God.”

In 1978, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said the Holy Spirit shined through Mahatma Gandhi, who is a Hindu (St. Alban’s Cathedral, Pretoria, South Africa, Nov. 23, 1978).

In 1980, Tutu said, “It may be that Jesus was an illegitimate son” (
Cape Times, Oct. 24, 1980).

In 1982, Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie said he was an agnostic as to why Jesus suffered on the cross (
Sunday Times Weekly Review, London, April 11, 1982). That same year, Episcopal Bishop John Spong, writing in the Christian Century (Jan. 6-13, 1982), condemned traditional evangelistic and missionary endeavors and said that biblical absolutism is “a vice.” (Billy Graham was one of the honored guests at Runcie’s ordination in March 1980, and Graham spoke highly of the liberal archbishop during his evangelistic crusades in England in 1984 and 1989.)

In 1984, David Jenkins, Anglican Bishop of Durham, described Christ’s resurrection as “a conjuring trick with bones” (“English Bishop Calls Christ’s Resurrection Conjuring Trick,” AP,
St. Louis Post Dispatch, Oct. 28, 1984). Jenkins also said, “The Christian is not bound up with freak biology or corpses getting up and walking around” and “You don’t have to believe in the virgin birth.” (On July 9, 1984, three days after Jenkins was consecrated bishop, lightning struck his cathedral and caused extensive damage. A spokesman for the fire brigade said that though the roof was fully wired with lightning rods, none of them worked that morning; the smoke detectors in the ceiling did not go off, even though they were tested only a month before; and there was no thunder accompanying the lightning. EP News Service, Dec. 21, 1984).

In 1984, the Associated Press reported that only 20 of 31 Church of England bishops polled insisted that Christians must accept Jesus as both God and man.

In 1985, the Jesus Seminar was founded with the help of Episcopalians, including Marcus Borg of Oregon State University. The Seminar claims that Jesus spoke only about 20% of the things attributed to him in the New Testament and that the Jesus described in the Bible is largely a fiction. They claim he wasn’t born of a virgin, didn’t walk on the water, didn’t rise bodily from the dead, and had no intention of starting a new Christian religion. They also claim that there was no Jewish trial of Jesus before the crucifixion, and the Jewish crowd did not participate in his condemnation.

In 1985 the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis ran an advertising campaign which included this slogan: “The Episcopal Church welcomes you. Regardless of race, creed, color or the number of times you’ve been born.” Twenty Episcopal churches in the Memphis, Tennessee, area ran an advertisement which stated, “In an atmosphere of absolute right and wrongs, here’s a little room to breathe. ... the Episcopal Church is totally committed to the preservation of open dialogue and undogmatic faith. We exist to tell the world about a God who loves us regardless of what we’ve done or what we believe. Even if we do not believe in Him, He believes in us. We do not suffocate with absolutes.” This, of course, is not biblical Christianity; it is gross apostasy.

When Edmond Lee Browning was elected “presiding bishop” of the Episcopal Church in September 1985, he “made it clear that he disagrees with the church’s official opposition to the ordination of practicing homosexuals” (Religious News Service, Sept. 11, 1985). He stated, “I would sincerely hope the Episcopal Church can say that there are no outcasts, but embrace all people and all cultures.” He was one of 20 bishops who signed a 1979 statement calling the church’s position on gays “a cruel denial of the sexual being of homosexual persons” and a “condemnatory judgment” that made them second-class citizens in the church.

In 1986, Anglican Bishop David Jenkins got a standing ovation from the general synod of the Church of England when he defended his doubts about the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Christ (Associated Press, July 7, 1986). Jenkins called the God of the Bible “a cultic idol” (Ecumenical Press Service, July 16-21, 1986).

In 1987, a panel of seven Episcopal bishops dismissed heresy charges against Bishop John Spong.

In 1988, Spong published his book
Living in Sin: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality. He said, “The time has surely come not just to tolerate, or even to accept, but to celebrate and welcome the presence among us of our gay and lesbian fellow human beings” (p. 199). That year Spong visited a Buddhist temple and said, “As the smell of incense filled the air, I knelt before three images of the Buddha, feeling that the smoke could carry my prayers heavenward. It was for me a holy moment for I was certain that I was kneeling on holy ground” (“A Dialogue in a Buddhist Temple,” John Spong, The Voice, Jan. 1989).

In January 1989, a committee composed of five Episcopal bishops unanimously dismissed a second set of heresy charges that had been brought against Bishop John Spong. Toward the end of that year, Spong ordained the first openly practicing homosexual to the Episcopal priesthood. The man, Robert Williams, was diagnosed with AIDS less than two years later.

According to Integrity, a pro-homosexual Episcopal group, at least 50 practicing homosexuals had been ordained to the priesthood by 1991.

In November 1991, John Spong conducted a seminar in Bangor, Pennsylvania, entitled “Exorcising Fundamentalism, Sexual Phobias and Other Demons.”

In 1993, a survey of nearly 20,000 Episcopalians showed that seventy percent believed “faithful Christians can be sexually active gays and lesbians” (
Christian News, Nov. 1, 1993). Seventy-five percent approved of living with someone of the opposite sex without marriage.

In 1994, it was reported by the
Sunday Times (July 31) in London that at least 100 Anglican priests are atheists who do not believe in “an external, supernatural God.”

In 1996, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey lashed out at fundamentalists who place the Bible “above and beyond human inquiry” (
Christian News, Dec. 9, 1996). That same year, the doctrinal commission of the Church of England said hell is not a place of fire and eternal torment. And Episcopal Bishop John Spong wrote in his paper that the image of God in the Bible is “no longer operative” (ENI, Dec. 6, 1996).

In 1997, a survey found that 31% of Anglican vicars in England do not believe in the virgin birth (
Alliance Life, March 12, 1997). Actually that figure would probably have been much higher had the survey attempted to discover the number of vicars who believe in the virgin birth only in a figurative manner.

In his 1991 book
Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Episcopal Bishop John Spong said the apostle Paul was “a self hating, repressed homosexual.” That year, Spong ordained another homosexual priest, Barry Stopfel. Lesbian Episcopal priest Carter Heyward delivered the ordination sermon. When Stopfel’s male “lover” was introduced, the audience applauded.

In 1998 Episcopalian Bishop John Spong said, “I would choose to loathe rather than to worship a deity who required the sacrifice of his son” (
Christianity Today, June 15, 1998). That same year, retiring Episcopal Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning said, “It is time to move past using literalistic readings of the Bible to create prejudices against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters” (Calvary Contender, May 1, 1998).

In 2002, Richard Harries, Anglican Bishop of Oxford, said Christians should pray to “God the Mother”
(The Times, Nov. 3, 2002). That same year, retired Bishop Spong proposed a “new Christianity,” which must be able to “incorporate all of our reality. It must be able to allow God and Satan to come together in each of us. ... It must unite Christ with Antichrist, Jesus with Judas, male with female, heterosexual with homosexual” (World, July 8, 2002).

In April 2003, Episcopalian bishop Charles Bennison said that Jesus Christ was a sinner (
Worthy News, April 14, 2003).

On June 7, 2003, the Diocese of New Hampshire elected the first openly homosexual bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church USA. The election was confirmed on August 5 by the General Convention meeting in Minneapolis. Thirteen years ago the newly elected bishop, V. Gene Robinson, broke his marriage vows when he left his wife and two young daughters and moved in with his male partner, Mark Andrew. In a speech in April 29, 2000, the day before a homosexual march in Washington, D.C., Robinson said: “... we are worthy to hold our heads high as gay folk--NOT because we’ve merely decided we are worthy, but because God has proclaimed it so. That we are loved beyond our wildest imagining by a God who made us the way we are and proclaimed it good. We proclaim today that we too read our Bibles, and through the voices of its many witnesses, we hear God’s voice--NOT saying ‘You are an abomination,’ but rather, ‘You are my beloved.’ We lay an equal claim to a savior who loves us as we are and who died to save us from our ‘manifold sins and wickedness,’ which does NOT include our being gay. And we come here today, laying claim to our full membership--our FULL membership--in the Body of Christ.”

In June 2006, the national convention of the Episcopal Church in America voted overwhelmingly against a resolution stating “an unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved. More than seven tenths of the House of Deputies rejected the motion. One of those who voted against the resolution, a “Rev. McDowell” of North Carolina, told VirtueOnline that “how one lives his life is the more important issue than whether one affirms Jesus as Lord” and stated his conviction that all men are already children of God.

The 2006 Episcopal convention elected the ultra-liberal Katharine Jefferts Schori to be the presiding bishop for a nine-year term. In her first sermon in that capacity, she referred to “our mother Jesus,” claiming that he gave birth to a new creation on the cross and implying that all are his children. Later she told the
Washington Post that those who believe that the words of the Bible have only one possible interpretation are guilty of idolatry. She said, “I’m encouraging people to look beyond their favorite understandings” (Douglas LeBlanc, “Two Minds in One Episcopal Body,” Christian Research Journal, vol. 29, no. 5, 2006).

At the same convention, Louie Crew and some other voting representatives (called deputies) referred to the Holy Spirit as “she.” The homosexual bishop Gene Robinson said the Holy Spirit “is that part of God that refuses to be confined and contained in the little boxes we have for God” (“Two Minds in One Episcopal Body,”
Christian Research Journal, vol. 29, no. 5, 2006). He said, further, “We don’t worship a God who is all locked up in the Scripture of 2,000 years ago.” He quoted John Fortunato, a homosexual author who claims that God visited him and confirmed that homosexuality is fine if it is “loving.” He said, “God smiled and said quietly, ‘How can loving be wrong? All love comes from me.’”

On September 14, 2008, the Church of England officially apologized to Charles Darwin for rejecting his theory of evolution. It said: “Charles Darwin, 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still” (“Church Makes ‘Ludicrous’ Apology,”
The Daily Mail, Sept. 13, 2008). The statement was written by Malcolm Brown, who sits on the Archbishops’ Council, the Church of England’s managing body, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Rowan Williams). Its argument that the theory of evolution is not incompatible with Christian teaching is patently ridiculous. The Bible plainly says that the world was created by God in six days, that the plant and animal life was made to reproduce after its own kind, that man was made in God’s image, that he sinned against God, and that the world was cast into fallen chaos. This fits perfectly with the condition that we see in the world today as well as the archaeological and geological records. If there was no divine creation, if man is a product of evolution, then Genesis is a myth, the fall is a fable, there is no purpose to life, no afterlife, and no salvation. If the account of Adam is a legend, then Jesus Christ’s apostles were deceived and the gospel they preached a delusion, because they mentioned Adam seven times in their writings, describing him always as a historical figure.

On May 16, 2009, the bells of the Anglican Cathedral of Liverpool pealed out John Lennon’s atheistic song “Imagine” three times. A spokesperson for the cathedral said, “We feel this performance has inspired many people to think about their relationship with God in their lives” (“Imagine That,”
The Daily Mail, May 17, 2009). Indeed, as we have seen, many members of the Anglican Church have no problem imagining with Lennon that there is no heaven or hell. John Lennon was anti-christ. His book A Spaniard in the Works portrayed Jesus as El Pifico, a “garlic eating, stinking little yellow, greasy fascist ****** Catholic Spaniard.” In this wicked book, Lennon further blasphemed the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the song “I Found Out,” Lennon sang, “There ain’t no Jesus gonna come from the sky,” and in his song “God,” he said, “I don’t believe in Bible. I don’t believe in Jesus. I just believe in me.” In an interview with a British newspaper Lennon defined God in these words: “All the energy is God. Your own energy and their energy, whether doing god-like things or ungodly things” (The Daily Sketch, Oct. 9, 1967). Lennon and Yoko Ono were heavily involved in occultism. The books Hellhounds on Their Trail by Gary Patterson, Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon by Robert Rosen, and Lennon in America by Geoffrey Giuliano describe how the Lennons purchased entire sections of occult literature in bookstores; consulted tarot cards, astrologers, and psychics;’ learned how to cast spells; sought magical power from Egyptian artifacts; and believed in reincarnation.

Following a vote in May 2009 by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to approve the appointment of a homosexual pastor, Desmond Tutu, Anglican Bishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, voiced his approval saying that churches should not be discussing “who goes to bed with whom” (“Desmond Tutu Endorses Homosexual Ministers,”, May 29, 2009). The homosexual pastor, Scott Rennie, was ordained the pastor of Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen in 2008, but his appointment was protested and brought before the denomination’s ruling body. Like Vickie Gene Robinson, who was ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church of America in 2003, Rennie divorced his wife to live carnally with a man. This is a double sin. First, there is the sin of breaking one’s solemn marriage vows before Almighty God. Second, there is the sin of sodomy. Yet these men are so spiritually blind that they claim to hold the moral high ground! (The Church of Scotland is not part of the Anglican communion, but Tutu is.)

At its annual convention in 2012, the Episcopal Church in America endorsed the blessing of “same-sex unions” and voted in favor of “transgender clergy” (Rob Kerby, “Why Is the Episcopal Church Near Collapse?”, July 13, 2012). Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called God the “Big Man.”

In 2013, the Church of England “dropped its ban on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops” and a study group proposed that the Church “be able to recognize and celebrate same-sex marriages and partnerships in church services” (“Church of England Proposes Celebrating Gay Marriage,”, Nov. 28, 2013).

In 2014, V. Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual bishop in the Anglican church, announced that he is divorcing his “partner,” Mark Andrew. The two “married” in 2010 when same-sex marriage was legalized in New Hampshire (“First Openly Homosexual Episcopal Bishop Divorces,”
OneNewsNow, May 4, 2014). In 1990, Robinson broke his marriage vows when he left his wife and two young daughters and moved in with Andrew.

A YouGov poll conducted in August-September 2014 found that 17% of Anglican clergy in England do not believe in a personal God. Only 24% describe themselves as conservative in theology. Only 28% say that Christianity is the only path to God. When asked “what you most rely on for guidance,” only 12% said the Bible, while 33% said conscience or reason. Retired Church of England clergyman David Paterson said, “I preach using God’s terminology, but never with the suggestion that God actually exists” (“Anglican Clergy Don’t Believe,” Breitbart, Oct. 28, 2014).

In a July 2014 interview, Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, said that he practices a combination of Buddhist/Catholic/Orthodox meditation practices. Each morning he repeats the same prayer while performing breathing exercises. Called the “Jesus Prayer,” it consists of the vain repetition of the words, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” He said that “exposure to and engagement with the Buddhist world in particular has made me aware of practices not unlike the ‘Jesus Prayer’ and introduced me to disciplines that further enforce the stillness and physical focus that the prayer entails” (“Rowan Williams: How Buddhism Helps Me Pray,”
The Telegraph, London, July 2, 2014). He says the practice helps him detach himself from “distracted, wandering images and thoughts.” Practicing mental imagining techniques, he pictures the human body as a cave through which his breath passes. He says that practitioners of these techniques can achieve “advanced states” and become aware of an “unbroken inner light.”

Unscriptural contemplative practices such as the Jesus Prayer, visualizing prayer, breath prayer, and centering prayer are exceedingly dangerous. Many who practice these things end up believing in a pagan concept of God such as pantheism (God is everything) and panentheism (God is in everything). Through these practices people typically become increasingly ecumenical and interfaith in thinking. Contemplative prayer is a major building block of the end-time, one-world “church.” For more on this see the book
Contemplative Mysticism, which is available in print and eBook editions from Way of Life Literature.

On November 14, 2014, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., which is part of the Episcopal Church, hosted a full-fledged Islamic service. It was co-sponsored by Muslim groups with links to terrorism such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Muslims were kept out of view of crosses, since they are not allowed to pray “in view of sacred symbols alien to their faith” (“National Cathedral Holds Friday Muslim Prayers,” Voice of America, Nov. 14, 2014).

The liberal Episcopal Church has demonstrated that it views Muslims more favorably than traditional Episcopal congregations that hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. Larry Provost reported the following: “In Binghamton, New York the Church of the Good Shepherd broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York over the issues of Biblical inerrancy. The Church of the Good Shepherd continued to thrive despite not being able to keep the church property they had once worshiped on. After some time the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York put the church property in question up for sale. The Church of the Good Shepherd was interested in buying their old property and offered the Diocese of New York $150,000 dollars for the property. The Episcopal Church refused to sell the property to the Church of the Good Shepherd. Instead they sold it to a Muslim group. The Muslim group offered only $50,000 dollars for the property; $100,000 less than the Church of the Good Shepherd offered. The Episcopal Church was not done; a clause was added that the property could not be sold to the Church of the Good Shepherd in the future. Apparently the Bible believing Church of the Good Shepherd is more offensive to the Episcopal Church than Islam. Congregations that choose to remain with the Episcopal Church, often tied to our national soul, tend to shun the whole Bible yet have a particular fondness for accommodating Islam” (“Islamic Services in National Cathedral,”, Nov. 14, 2014).

David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,

Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc.’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service, an e-mail listing for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY IS NOT DEVOTIONAL BUT IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.

Way of Life Literature -
copyright 2013 - Way of Life Literature

Bookmark and Share print
Send to Kindle