Comments: New publications in anticipation of tomorrow's debate on the bishops' report

The open letter to Evangelicals is terrific. I have to say it spot-on.

The authors and signatories are to be applauded and thanked.

We owe them so much.

(Pour moi 'same sex attracted' was the only phrase that jarred).

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Tuesday, 14 February 2017 at 4:14pm GMT

Strong letter from the EGGS members.

Although I continue to find the evangelical doctrine of biblical authority alien, unless liberal congregations experience unprecedented growth, change will only come to England -- and with it, the wider Communion -- when a majority of evangelicals are persuaded that homosexuality isn't a "salvation issue," a belief that currently causes them to reject even tolerance of gay relationships. That being so, affirming evangelicals are crucial, and regardless of theological differences, welcome allies.

To be fair, the letter takes a more nuanced view of biblical authority than many, particularly in its call to view the clobber verses in light of the overall message of scripture.

Biggest hurdle is persuading the heavy hitters of English open evangelicalism. So far, all -- Broadbent, Gumbel, Duncan, Kings, Paul, and especially Wright -- with the exception of Steve Chalke, have stood firm around the traditional position: and since coming out for equality, Chalke's been cast out the evangelical fold. Arguing for change while remaining in good standing with even open evangelicals is perhaps the trickiest thing right now.

Discussing this with evangelicals holding to the traditional position has taught me that the argument must be made in a very specific way: all appeals to justice, empathy or well-being will be made short work of; they're sympathetic, but unless they see a compelling scriptural argument for change, they feel obliged to object to it. That argument will only gain weight if it comes from within the evangelical fold, and is made in evangelical terms. People are rightly angry, but unless the demographics change, only the coolest exegetical logic will win this.

Posted by James Byron at Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 12:23am GMT

And yet the evangelical blind eye to divorce and remarriage is glaring.Traditional Anglican concepts of marriage were in fact abandoned here in 2001.

The Church of England actually does not believe that marriage is necessarily lifelong and "until death us do part" is obviously kept for poetic effect.

Posted by robert ian williams at Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 8:22am GMT

"unless liberal congregations experience unprecedented growth," you often speak as if liberalism were an autonomous strain within the CofE. Maybe it should, but is it not mainly composed of people (and their immediate children) who grow dissatisfied with fundamentalism, catholicism, evangelicalism and all the other isms? As long as conservative evangelicalism endures, so will its liberals. I'm not sure liberalism has a doctrine of its own, not even a set of doctrinal priorities, let alone hymns, liturgies, missionary strategies and whatnot. I guess a few less extreme theological colleges enable the above, but that's it. This was not the case when education was mostly done in secularly run universities, but now, if these colleges go...

Posted by Lorenzo at Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 9:04am GMT

If I was a member of the C of E I'd have no problem signing this letter.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 10:06am GMT

The serving Bishop of Buckingham is now asking what the Good News is for lesbian and gay members of the Church of England and says there is none in the bishops' report. Not sure if he has signed the letter

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 11:07am GMT
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