Rico Tice, the well-known evangelist, has said he has a ‘different religion’ to the bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, after the bishop affirmed same-sex couples.
Tice, a senior minister at the influential evangelical Anglican church All Souls, said he felt forced to step down from the archbishop of Canterbury’s task group on evangelism because it meant coming under Bayes’ leadership.
‘It is a different religion,’ he said. ‘Bishop Paul Bayes and I have a different religion.’
‘It is around whether scripture is authoritative in terms of human sexuality.
‘I think it is a great wickedness to tell people who are on the road to destruction that they are not. To tell them that they are safe when it comes to God’s wrath when they are not.’
Tice was speaking from a meeting hosted by GAFCON — a group of conservative Anglicans from around the world — in Jerusalem. GAFCON has been heavily critical of Anglican provinces that have either allowed same-sex marriages in church or it says have not taken a tough enough stance against it.
Tice went on: ‘If we have church leaders that are putting people on that road to destruction it is a salvation issue. That is why we have to distance ourselves. That is why I stepped down from the archbishop’s commission on evangelism, which I may say was grievous. I wept about it. I was longing to serve and found it a great honour that archbishop Welby had appointed me to that body.
‘Then I was having to submit to the leadership of a man who was contrary to scripture. So it was agony.
‘In a way I come to GAFCON partly grieving but also delighted to find a family that is Anglican and that I can trust to submit to the Lord Jesus in scripture.’
GAFCON has sought to redefine the power structures within the worldwide Anglican Communion away from the Church of England and the archbishop of Canterbury, who is traditionally seen as the ‘first among equals’. GAFCON leaders view him as soft on punishing other Anglican churches such as the Episcopal Church in the US and the Scottish Episcopal Church that permit gay marriages.
Tice warned that unless the Anglican Communion changed it would lose its authority.
‘I got ordained into the Anglican church and yet I have had this profound disappointment,’ he said.
‘It will be like Wesley. The Lord will take his power and spirit and his gospel outside the institution elsewhere.
‘I think the message here [from Jerusalem] with the vast numbers that are here and the leaders that here is “listen guys, the spirit will depart the traditional Anglican church unless we submit to scripture and repent of our sin and call people to do that”.
‘I think it is a great warning to be heeded.’