Thinking Anglicans

SEC General Synod: statements in reaction to decision

A group named the Scottish Anglican Network has issued a statement Scottish Anglican Network statement on amendment of Scottish Episcopal Church’s marriage canon which is also copied in full below the fold.

The group’s website also has an About Us page which described how the group came into being in 2005 and how it has engaged in dialogue with SEC bishops more recently.

There is also a separate statement issued by Gafcon UK and signed by a number of retired bishops, “on behalf of the Panel of Bishops, Gafcon UK” offering to “provide alternative episcopal oversight, and thereby your recognition as faithful Anglicans by the worldwide Gafcon movement, which represents the majority of Anglicans worldwide.”

Scottish Anglican Network statement on amendment of Scottish Episcopal Church’s marriage canon
June 11, 2016

On 10 June 2016, at the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod, those Anglican followers of Jesus in Scotland who are biblically orthodox on marriage made the positive case for keeping Canon 31 as it is. This would have maintained marriage as “a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart, mind and will thereto, and is a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God.”

At last year’s Synod, we supported a costly compromise solution which would have provided opportunities to support same-sex couples, without changing the wording of the canon. Many of us could have lived with this. Sadly, Synod chose to reject this option, instead going for the most radical choice possible, and in the process, choosing to walk apart and damaging the unity of the Province and the Anglican Communion.

The new wording of the canon means that, for now, clergy consciences are protected and that no-one will have to conduct a same-sex marriage. We participated in the discussions which produced that wording to ensure that those with no other option but to submit to the new regime might have the maximum protection allowed. Graciously, this was accepted. However, it also means that we as a Church believe two different things about marriage and it will, over time lead to an attrition of those who hold to the view that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. This concern is summed up in the axiom of the late Father Richard Neuhaus, “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed”.

We know that many in our church will be rejoicing in this new direction. There are many others who are in deep pain, including those in our churches who are attracted to the same-sex but who hold an orthodox view of marriage. Some of us will need to consider what future can be had in a church which is abandoning its claim to being part of the one holy Catholic and apostolic church.

We are grateful for the theological, practical and prayer support which we have received from within Scotland and around the world. We now ask for the orthodox leaders of the Anglican Communion to stand with us and pray for us as we discern what the next steps should be.

The Lord sent prophets to call the people back from their disobedience. Their repeated call was to return to the one who loves them. Mercifully, he still makes that call to us today.

“‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

Joel 2:12-13, NIVUK

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Kelvin Holdsworth
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This is a rare case of Thinking Anglicans posting inaccurately and in a way that could be quite damaging.

The second page referred to above indicates people who signed as supporters after last year’s synod not this year’s synod.

Some of those listed spoke in the debate this year about how they appreciated very greatly the attempts made to secure them a place in the SEC.

Not a single person in the debate threatened to leave the church.

At least one of those listed as supporters actually voted in favour of the legislation this time around, maybe more.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Kelvin, thanks, I have amended the article to remove the misleading link.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Galatians 3:28 teaches their is no male or female in Jesus. We are better placed than any previous generation to understand this teaching now that sex reassignment surgery is commonplace. The body is only earthly clothing for an ungendered immortal soul. It is a little harder to change than a suit or dress, but still entirely mutable and absolutely mortal. References to gender don’t belong in the Canon. Removing them brings the Canon in line with Biblical teaching, not to flout it. The conservatives and GAFCON are quite simply wrong IMHO. They might win other, allied arguments on sodomy for… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

The ‘Scottish Anglican Network’ website does not appear to name any actual people as its members, but it links to the website livingout.org, which seems to sum up their view of gay and lesbian people: “Homosexual sin is serious. Paul says the active and unrepentant homosexual (as with all active, unrepentant sinners) will not enter God’s kingdom. Paul urges his readers not to be deceived on this point. He assumes there will be those who deny this teaching, and argue that some forms of homosexual conduct are acceptable to God. But Paul is clear: homosexual conduct leads people to destruction.… Read more »

Pam
Guest
Pam

Prayers for the Scottish Episcopal Church during this time of listening intently to each other and recognising the riches of diversity.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘The body is only earthly clothing for an ungendered immortal soul’.

Not quite sure how this fits in with the idea of the ‘resurrection of the body’. Also, Genesis says that the combination of the material (‘dust’) and the breath of God produced ‘a living soul’. Soul thus describes the whole person, not the non-physical part.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

The sentence with ‘gay’ and ‘destruction’ in, may not even be legal-p hateful ? inciting ….?

After Orlando it becomes even more distasteful, and concerning.

How much does speech like this world-wide lead to violence against us ?

Unqunatifiable, but we see ‘the destruction’ of lgbt all around us these days…

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

Whenever I see something like the “The Scottish Anglican Network” or Gafcon, or an African church aying they are not in communion with this or that diocese I think of the number of good people driven away from religion altogther by our pettiness. In the flood of discussion about today’s Orlando shooting, with the Christian-Muslim and conservative-liberal name-calling and finger pointing, I found this, and I believe it is something we all need to bear very close to the front of our minds: “Whenever I hear someone say “I’m a good Christian”, I know enough to run, don’t walk, as… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“The body is only earthly clothing for an ungendered immortal soul.”

Please take that statement in.

The resurrection body of Jesus was not an ungendered immortal soul and catholic Christians do not believe “the body is earthly clothing for an ungendered immortal soul.” That is the view of gnostics (who also have a negative view of women).

We are beginning to see the eccentric underpinnings of some progressive thinking.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“The resurrection body of Jesus was not an ungendered immortal soul and catholic Christians do not believe…” @cseltz So what is 2 Corinthians 5 about then? Or 1 Corinthians 15? And obviously I’d missed the Resurrection narrative where Thomas checks the genitals as well as the marks of the nails and spear. You also need to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (section 997 onwards). What Kate had to say was somewhat clumsily expressed (sorry Kate), but it’s not incompatible with Pauline notions of the resurrection nor a Catholic understanding of the relationship between soul/body. Throwing accusations of gnosticism… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Tim, can I refer you http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a11.htm where the Vatican explains in 997 that at death the soul is separated from the body. They are not one and the same. Christopher, you speak of the physical resurrection of Christ in the period between rising from the dead on the third day and later Ascension. That is a special case and I don’t think it is relevant. In Catholic beliefs as well, “body” anyway has a rather special meaning which is how transubstantiation has to be understood. All the references show Word/spirit/soul to be separate to body. Body seems to be simply… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Living Out is not anonymous, Susannah

http://www.livingout.org/who-we-are

That site is brimful with errors and inconsistency though.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I, as an overseas observer of the fallout from SEC’s brave decision to go forward with Same-Sex Marriage consideration at its next meeting of the General Synod in 2017, was most interested to note the identity of those who signed the Letter of Protest from “Gafcon UK’: “The Rt Rev John Ellison, The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, The Rt Rev Wallace Benn, and The Rt Rev Ken Barham, on behalf of the Panel of Bishops, Gafcon UK The Rev Paul Perkin, The Rev Michael Ovey, on behalf of the Exec Committee, Gafcon UK The Rev Canon Andy Lines, Mr. Dan… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“We are beginning to see the eccentric underpinnings of some progressive thinking.”

– cseitz –

Conversely, in the Orlando Massacre, we are seeing the underpinnings of outdated homophobic thinking

Kate
Guest
Kate

I would add that ACC-16 effectively reinforced the principle that rites effected in one province affect all provinces by recognising the ecclesiastical standing of women as priests and bishops. Indeed a woman celebrated communion in Lusaka Cathedral even though the Church in Zambia won’t ordain women itself. It is now up to Synod to either vote for same sex marriage or vote to reject it AND vote to declare impaired communion with any province which decides to perform same sex marriages. If the powers-that-be keep kicking the vote into the future, or don’t expressly vote on an impaired communion, then… Read more »

Dennis Roberts
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Dennis Roberts

Thanks for using one commenter’s post above to make such a sweeping statement about all progressive thought, Mr. Seitz. Sloppy logic. Perhaps in that same spirit we could point to a disturbing event over the weekend in Florida and say that we are starting to see the underpinnings of conservative religious thought? Argument from one example and such, after all. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Do you understand?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Regarding the rejoinders to Kate’s statement from Tim Chesterton, “Genesis says that the combination of the material (‘dust’) and the breath of God produced ‘a living soul’ “, and from cseitz, “The resurrection body of Jesus was not an engendered immortal soul …” While the body soul notion itself is reasonably subject to critique, the general direction that Kate’s comment takes i.e. the difficulties in tying our current biological state to eschatological destiny, is an interesting one. One notes that the body of The risen Lord is transcendent. Now there is a concept one is advised to take in. Even… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“The body is only earthly clothing for an ungendered immortal soul.”

Read any funeral service.

Do people here really believe this?

Paul speaks of a soma pneumatikon.

Yes, the resurrection body of Jesus is critical and the Articles clearly speak of his taking this Body into the heavenlies at the Ascension.

He is ‘first fruits of them who sleep’.

This is the faith of the church.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ

Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.

Kate
Guest
Kate

My brother was stillborn but his body was apparently grossly deformed and, had he lived, he would have had terrible disabilities. Christopher, do you really believe people will be inflicted with terrible deformities for an eternity? Do you believe that someone terribly injured just before death will retain those injuries? Do you believe that the elderly, the halt, the lame and those with dementia will be afflicted forever? I don’t. I can’t. What compassionate, loving religion could ever do so. Our heavenly bodies must transcend the terrible indignities some suffer. As I have said before, part of the mystery of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@cseitz, “This is the faith of the church.” Good you resolved that for yourself; but that does not beget in others a conclusion to the matter under discussion here; nor does quoting article IV from the historically contextual 39 articles. “Read any funeral service.” As many other folks here have have done no doubt, I’ve taken hundreds of funerals and preached on just about any text relevant for a funeral liturgy. None of which addresses the particular point under discussion i.e. biology as eschatological destiny. Folks so interested may wish to take a look at, The End of the Word… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

oops, that title ought to be, The End of the World and the Ends of God. ( John Polkinghorne and Michael Welker, eds.Trinity Press International 2000)

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

The topic was not disability but a genderless immortal state.

The Risen Jesus was continuous with his earthly self but glorified, so same voice, hands, visage, body. The beloved disciple could say ‘It is the Lord.’

Paul was confronted by the same Jesus, not a genderless entity.

Yes, a soma pneumatikon. Yes, a glorified body. But not a genderless immortal soul.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I have sometimes – at funerals – tried to explain the phenomenon of the ‘resurrection body’, with the expressed hope that I will not be raised with my bald head and gout. But who (excepting Jesus) has ever come back to report on the matter?

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Funny how Gafcon missed the Welsh developments. Prayers for same sex marriages which are described as not being blessings, but in reality are. Reminds me of when I lived in South Africa, apartheid was called plural democracy.

Please note all these GAFCON signatories support divorce/ remarriage and contraception…all once unequivocally condemned in the C of E

Susannah Clark
Guest

Body and Soul. Isn’t the truth that we really cannot fully conceive or understand what God has prepared for us in the deeper reality and eternity? We understand in part, and God may disclose different things to different people, but even that disclosure by the Spirit will be in part. “Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor mind conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” Personally, I believe that the sovereign realm of God and those who dwell in it are *more* physical, not *less* physical than the world we presently live in and the bodies… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ cseitz, “Yes, a soma pneumatikon. Yes, a glorified body.” But is it a biological body of which gender is a characteristic? How could it be? How could a biological body which is a dynamic state be “immortal” or incorruptible? How may it correspond, for example, to the language used by Paul? How could a biological body live except within a biosphere? So despite the attempted shift in ground to resurrection in general, the questions raised in Kate’s posts remain unanswered. Michael Welker is on to something that may have relevance to the topic at hand. Certainly, in terms of… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Most recently, the Catechism of the Catholic Church reiterated this long-defined teaching, stating, “‘We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess’ (Council of Lyons II). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a ‘spiritual body’ (cf. 1 Cor 15:42–44)” (CCC 1017). Augustine simply reiterates the constant teaching of the Church Fathers: “Perish the thought that the omnipotence of the Creator is unable, for the raising of our bodies and for the restoring of them to life, to recall all [their] parts, which were consumed by beasts or… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“But is it a biological body of which gender is a characteristic?” The question is awkwardly phrased. The ‘biological body’ is what is sown corruptible, to quote Paul. So a glorified body is not a corruptible body. Gender is characteristic of Jesus Risen body in that *he is himself*. He is not an immortal soul. He asks Thomas to put his hand in his side and to probe his nail wounds. His voice is recognized. Mary seeks to hold on to him. His is a glorified Body not a genderless immortal soul. He gives commands consistent with his prior self:… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Christopher, your quote from St Augustine, while both apt and appealing, actually leaves unanswered more than it answers. Consider a boy born with micro penis. As so often happens, doctors intervene, decide the pens is inadequate and reassign the baby as female legally, surgically and medically. Is the resurrection body going to be male according to the state at birth, or female as the individual has lived, loved and married? (Remember gender identity is strong in some people but weaker in others.) Unless the resurrection body was to be one of an infant, an adult male resurrection body could only… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ cseitz, Fascinating controversy.”The common thread is ‘genderless-ness.’ ” More tightly focused, the common thread is sexual differentiation. Does a resurrected body have the sexual differentiation of the biological body? Only then can we proceed to further questions about gender, congruent or not, and the resurrected “body”. For those so interested, there is very interesting article, Bodily Resurrection in Catholic Perspectives, by Bernard P Prusak (Theological Studies 61, 2000). From his lengthy survey and analysis of modern Catholic systematic theologians Prusak writes: “Contemporary theology does not understand the resurrection of the body in the manner of Aquinas who said that… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“His is a glorified Body not a genderless immortal soul.” @cseltz But surely he has a soul? Can we break this down: 1) Do humans have immortal souls? 2) Are those souls gendered? 3) Do resurrection bodies have genitals? 4) If ‘yes’ to 3), why? (as you point, Matt 22) 5) If ‘no’ what then is it that makes the resurrected Jesus gendered? This argument, as far as I can see, rests on precision in language / theology. There’s not a hidden agenda to introduce genderless-ness everywhere. The original argument was not that we are *only* an immortal soul; we… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Is this the same Catholic Catechism that states that gay sex acts are acts of grave depravity and can never be approved?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Fr. Andrew, “we are, pre and post resurrection, a psychosomatic unity, but as far as we can tell, only the earthly body part of that has gender.” You may be interested in this section of another article by Bernard Prusak, ” With Karl Rahner, we say that the body is the symbol, or self-expression, of the self/person/soul. As Joseph Ratzinger has noted, “the body gets its identity not from matter but from the person, the soul. The physiology becomes truly ‘body’ through the heart of the personality. Bodiliness is something other than a summation of corpuscles.” There is an… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Part of the difficulty with the somewhat materialistic view of the resurrection espoused in earlier times (i.e., Origen and Augustine), to wit, that the resurrection is in “the same body” assembled from all of its bits that might have been dispersed through natural processes, lies in the fact that the human being is not made up of a fixed lump of matter, but of a constantly changing ensemble of material particles which are exchanged with the wider environment (including other living things) on a moment-to-moment basis, “with every breath you take.” Some of the atoms that will be part of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Some other thoughts on sex, gender, and God. We are talking about states of deeper reality than the realms we are inhabiting, here, in time. Much is likely to be conjecture when we try to imagine or understand that deeper reality. I certainly hope I won’t be genderless in eternity. I hope I will be me. Sex and gender were part of the ‘image’ we inherited from God. Part of the blessing. Part of the physicality and the spirituality of the deeper reality outside of time. I don’t anticipate neutering at all, because I think God is actually very ‘sexy’… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Robert Ian Williams, re the Catechism (CCC) on moral theology, your observation is noteworthy.

Catechisms tend to be conservative documents that “freeze frame” doctrine. Such was one of the criticisms raised when the current Catechism of the Catholic Church was first published. Across the broad spectrum of R.C. theology, the Catechism gets something of an eye roll from some theologians.

However, that same broad theological spectrum in the R.C. church includes some very interesting theologians who are working on theological problems as they relate to both culture and science.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I can see now why someone suggested my earlier contribution was clumsy. It was. My thanks for the contributions people have made. Some observations, with advance apologies for my clumsiness. We all agree, I think, that bodies have gender, but not necessarily that gender is either binary with no intervening states between male and female, nor that it is immutable. If Ratzinger is correct that the body gets its identity from the soul, then it is likely that a soul has a gender identity IE is predisposed to expression as a particular gender when embodied. The Prusak article was very… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Incidentally, I don’t think this discussion is abstract without practical import. I was reading back over an earlier TA post http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003915.html It seems to me that if we are all of one body when we (priest and congregation) share communion and might then at some level all be the same gender (the gender of the “one body”) then the gender of the celebrant is irrelevant because it is irrelevant in the context of the gender of the one body sharing bread together. I would be interested what others think. Although firmly on the side of same sex marriage I have… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Fr Andrew. Matthew 22. An absurd example meant to trap Jesus. Jesus affirms the resurrection but insists that marriage, which involves procreation, does not occur in heaven. Angels do not procreate. We are like them in heaven because we live forever and need not procreate. He isn’t saying we become angels while once we were not. The resurrection of the dead is a confession rooted in scripture, as Jesus indicates in this exchange. It involves the rising to life eternal of our bodies. There is no genderless immortal soul conception in scripture. Jesus inaugurates the final resurrection, in the middle… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“The risen body is not made of dust, but of spirit.” No one is saying otherwise. It is a spiritual body. It is not a body corruptible. “Some of the atoms that will be part of my body when I die will go on to be part of someone else’s body when he or she dies.” I don’t know what this means exactly, and less still how you can declare it as fact, but leaving that aside. The sterner stuff of eternal life with God is not genderless in character. CS Lewis spoke of grass that could cut our feet.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Replying to Father Andrew: 1. Do humans have immortal souls? I believe yes. But what are souls? What form if any do they take? And if they dwell in eternity, outside of time, are they immortal and existent only after we die here on earth, or are we, in a sense, existent forever, not only ‘after’ our lives but ‘before’ our lives? Perhaps we had original beauty long before we ever had original sin. 2. Are those souls gendered? Well first, you say ‘gendered’ not ‘sexed’ and there is a distinction. Gender identity and physical sex are not always congruent.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

“I think it is fairly clear that removing ‘male’ and ‘female’ from a marriage service spills now into a genderless essentialism.” Christopher, removing the *necessity* that it must be ‘male’ and ‘female’ does not equate to genderless essentialism. As part of a lesbian couple, I assure you there is still plenty of gender in our relationship (and in our marriage to come). The idea that removing discrimination from marriage makes marriage genderless seems really strange to me. Just because we are both female, that does not mean that we are neutered or our future marriage genderless. It is full of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@cseitz, “The sterner stuff of eternal life with God is not genderless in character.” But then again, as you note, “Saying it is so is not making it so. And there is the division.” So it goes with all speculation on both sides, especially issues like this one where a question not anticipated in the tradition hitherto fore takes on a life of its own grounded in current cultural and politcal differences. @Kate, “I thought the biological manifestation of gender was complex and confusing enough, but the theological issues seem even more complex.” Tks for the feedback on Prusak. Indeed… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

CSeitz, my comment about my atoms that will some day be someone else’s is a scientific fact. I recall it from grade school, as it struck me as particularly interesting. I don’t recall the title of the physics book, but it stated that every time you take a breath, you are inhaling a number of oxygen atoms once exhaled by Leonardo da Vinci. (The same is true of Jesus, of course.) A more recent citation of this fact (with a great deal of explanation) is in the article at this link: http://www.wired.com/2014/12/your-atomic-self-how-your-breath-connects-you-to-universe/ This renders the crude materialism of, for instance,… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

There are no plans to change the marriage liturgy of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“I view NT stories about empty tombs, clinging to Jesus, his eating and drinking, even his talking in terms of voice production, as legendary accretions retained alongside conflicting material in the service of a valid point.” I know you do. And because of this the ability to speak logically about a mystery the Gospels have carefully preserved in their narrative depictions will in the nature of the case go nowhere. If the descriptions are legendary, then we have no revelatory material even to disagree about. “For similar reasons, I remain agnostic on the topic of gender in the resurrection. Gender… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“my comment about my atoms that will some day be someone else’s is a scientific fact. I recall it from grade school, as it struck me as particularly interesting. I don’t recall the title of the physics book, but it stated that every time you take a breath, you are inhaling a number of oxygen atoms once exhaled by Leonardo da Vinci.”

Talk about materialism being directly transferred into the realm of eternity! Some things one really doesn’t need to know only to reject them as accounts of the resurrected life! Halitosis indeed.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ cseitz, “…because of this the ability to speak logically about a mystery the Gospels have carefully preserved in their narrative depictions will in the nature of the case go nowhere.” In terms of the nature of the particular case at hand, I tend to concur. There is nothing in NT narratives, however understood, that speaks to a current understanding regarding sexual differentiation in relationship to the continuum of human sexual response, gender roles, congruency of gender roles, and so forth. Of course, if resurrection is not genderless then one must concede that transsexual and transgender states are to be… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

CSeitz: surely the Household Codes (such as that in Colossians) have no relevance in the life of the world to come, where there is (per Matt 22) no marriage or giving in marriage (apart from that of the Lamb), no children but the children of God, no more slaves or masters other than the One Lord and all his servants, and no more division of Jew from Greek but one plebs sancta Dei. If all become one as the Father and Son are one, then all such differences must pass into insignificance, if they can be said to “exist” at… Read more »