Lambeth Perspective - Two Kuala Lumpur Statements

England: Thursday, 6 August 1998

This report was filed by Simon Sarmiento, on the scene in England.

Other Anglicans Online coverage, with links to many other articles, is on the web at


Lambeth Perspective - Two Kuala Lumpur Statements

This seems like as good a time as any to try and clarify the origins of the document commonly referred to as the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality. As I reported earlier, the official Notice Paper for yesterday's plenary session refers to it as follows

What follows is the text of the South to South meeting resolution, unanimously adopted by 80 delegates representing the Anglican Church of the South in Kuala Lumpur under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of Nigeria. The churches that delegates represented contain between 80 and 90 percent of the Anglicans in the world. This statement was unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed by the members of the EFAC TRN Consultation as well on Thursday, April 10, 1997.

I think this is a bit misleading. The formal document endorsed by the Second Anglican Encounter in the South (Kuala Lumpur, West Malaysia, 10-15 February 1997) is entitled the 'The Place of Scripture in the Life and Mission of the Church in the 21st Century'.

You can read this document in full on the web at:

and it does contain a rather briefer section (number six) on human sexuality.

Here is what it says:

6 Scripture, the Family and Human Sexuality

Reflection on our Encounter theme, has helped further deepen our resolve to uphold the authority of Scripture in every aspect life, including the family and human sexuality.

Therefore: we call on the Anglican Communion as a Church claiming to be rooted in the Apostolic and Reformed Tradition to remain true to Scripture as the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct;

we affirm that Scripture upholds marriage as a sacred relationship between a man and a woman, instituted in the creation ordinance;

we reaffirm that the only sexual expression, as taught by Scriptures which honours God and upholds human dignity is that between a man and a woman within the sacred ordinance of marriage;

we further believe that Scripture maintains that any other form of sexual expression is at once sinful, selfish, dishonouring to God and an abuse of human dignity;

we are aware of the scourge of sexual promiscuity, including homosexuality, rape and child abuse in our time. These are pastoral problems, and we call on the Churches to seek to find a pastoral and scriptural way to bring healing and restoration to those who are affected by any of these harrowing tragedies.

The document attached to the Lambeth Resolutions, which you can read in many places, including, appears to be the product of a working group on sexuality at that meeting and has come to be known as the 'Kuala Lumpur Statement'. It is much more detailed on this topic than the final document. Here is its full wording:

Statement on Human Sexuality

1. God's glory and loving purposes have been revealed in the creation of humankind. (Rom1:18, Gen 1:26, 27) Among the multiplicity of his gifts we are blessed with our sexuality.

2. Since the Fall (Gen 3), life has been impaired and God's purposes spoilt. Our fallen state has affected every sphere of our being, which includes our sexuality. Sexual deviation has existed in every time and in most cultures. Jesus teaching about lust in the Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5:27-30) makes it clear that sexual sin is a real danger and temptation to us all.

3. It is, therefore, with an awareness of our own vulnerability to sexual sin that we express our profound concern about recent developments relating to Church discipline and moral teaching in some provinces in the North - specifically, the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.

4. While acknowledging the complexities of our sexual nature and the strong drives they place within us, we are quite clear about God's will in this area as expressed in the Bible.

5. The Scripture bears witness to God's will regarding human sexuality which is to be expressed only within the life long union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony.

6. The Holy Scriptures are clear in teaching that all sexual promiscuity is sin. We are convinced that this includes homosexual practices, between men or women, as well as heterosexual relationships outside marriage.

7. We believe that the clear and unambiguous teaching of the Holy Scriptures about human sexuality is of great help to christians as it provides clear boundaries.

8. We find no conflict between clear biblical teaching and sensitive pastoral care. Repentance precedes forgiveness and is part of the healing process. To heal spiritual wounds in God's name we need his wisdom and truth. We see this in the ministry of Jesus, for example his response to the adulterous woman, "Éneither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more." (John 8:11)

9. We encourage the Church to care for all those who are trapped in their sexual brokenness and to become the channel of Christ's compassion and love towards them. We wish to stand alongside and welcome them into a process of healing within our communities of faith. We would also affirm and resource those who exercise a pastoral ministry in this area.

10. We are deeply concerned that the setting aside of biblical teaching in such actions as the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions, calls into question the authority of the Holy Scriptures. This is totally unacceptable to us.

11. This leads us to express concern about mutual accountability and interdependence within our Anglican Communion. As provinces and dioceses we need to learn how to seek each other's counsel and wisdom in a spirit of true unity, and to reach a common mind before embarking on radical changes to Church discipline and moral teaching.

12. We live in a global village and must be more aware that the way we act in one part of the world can radically affect the mission and witness of the Church in another.

We have written several times to Canon James Wong, the co-ordinating Secretary of South to South, and to many other people, to try to get more information about the names of the working group members, and indeed the names of the 80 people who attended the overall meeting, but we have not received any response.

It appears that the working group's document was released and circulated separately and, indeed, later affirmed at the conventions or synods of other Anglican provinces and dioceses in 1997. In particular, it was unanimously endorsed by the Standing Committee of the Province of South East Asia (held later in February 1997).

But it is not clear that it ever was an official signed statement of the Second Anglican Encounter in the South. This may not be important. Both documents were circulated to members of the Church of England General Synod earlier this year, so none of this information is new. But it is rather odd that, despite extensive searching, we have never been able to find any list of the "more than eighty" persons who unanimously adopted the official document.

Of course, if anybody out there knows better about this, do write and tell.

Copyright © 1998 Society of Archbishop Justus.
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