Comments: Opinion - 6 September 2017

I'd not seen the Think Progress article before: excellent overview, w/ context. Thanks.

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 4:05am BST

Evangelicals are inventing one about homosexuality/ transgender..not divorce, contraception or even masturbation..all quietly accepted over the years.

Posted by robert ian williams at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 7:49am BST

If I want Christians discussing sex and not much else then TA is usually my first port of call.

As for the Victorian Society, they sent us a letter through their lawyer objecting to plans to refit the church as a community space. They hadn't checked the plans, the letter was full of errors, and thankfully we persevered and our refurbished church building is opened up and used far more than it was when it was full of Victorian pews and cracked purple tiles. The idea that they are champions of community use of churches is laughable.

Posted by David Keen at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 1:03pm BST

To be fair, the Victorian Society were very supportive when we wanted to remove the pews from the Victorian church I serve, move the organ and create new rooms. No objections at any point.

Posted by andy gr at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 7:31pm BST

David Keens experience is exactly mine. They oppose moves to make a building more socially useful. There us little evidence they want them actually used rather than museum pieces.

Posted by Ian at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 8:38pm BST

It is not Christians on TA who are obsessed with sex, as David Keen suggests. Evangelicals are totally obsessed with gay sex in particular, and believe it is the most important subject in the Bible.

Posted by FrDavidH at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 10:23pm BST

'Evangelicals are totally obsessed with gay sex in particular, and believe it is the most important subject in the Bible'.

That's a totally outrageous generalization, FrDavidH. David Keen and I are both evangelicals and both bloggers. I think if you will examine our blogs (mine goes back ten years), you will find that both of us have had very little to say about gay sex. In fact, I venture to suggest that if you compare the portion of space on our blogs taken up with sex to that on TA, you will find able evidence to support David's statement.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Friday, 8 September 2017 at 3:07am BST

There is an interesting report of attending a Sunday service at St Sepulchre's at

Posted by peter kettle at Friday, 8 September 2017 at 8:37am BST

Most of the discussions about sex on TA are in response to the bigotry, prejudice and hatred shown by evangelicals to LGBT people. If this horrible obsession by evangelicals were to cease, so would such discussions on TA. (I accept Messrs Keen and Chesterton are exceptions).

Posted by FrDavidH at Friday, 8 September 2017 at 1:05pm BST

Thank you for the observations of the pew observer on a Sunday service at ST Sepulchre's.
My suspiciens were well founded, his view that it was more non conformist than Anglican. The church has historic and living connections not only to the musicians, and their chapel. But also the Royal Fusiliers Regiments, and their colors hung in their chapel. For both reasons this church means much to me. As a lover of classical music, and my families connection to the City of London Royal Fusiliers Regiment. My father Norman Richard fought with his brother in the First World War with the City of London Royal Fusiliers. My Uncle Basil was killed. My father taken prisoner, and after many escapes eventually made it back to Leith, Scotland from Denmark.
Our churches look to the future, but hold the treasures of the past which is very much part of our identity.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by Fr John E Harris-White at Friday, 8 September 2017 at 3:13pm BST

"Most of the discussions about sex on TA are in response to the bigotry, prejudice and hatred shown by evangelicals to LGBT people"

Make a sweeping statement why don't you? I visit TA always sounds like a shrill echo chamber. So many contributions use anything to tar evangelicals or charismatics. Its quite disturbing rather than merely sad.

Posted by Ian H at Friday, 8 September 2017 at 10:35pm BST

"Most of the discussions about sex on TA are in response to the bigotry, prejudice and hatred shown by evangelicals to LGBT people"

It boggles my mind that this observation could be seen as "sweeping" "shrill" or even controversial. Are all Evangelicals bigoted? No. FrDavidH allows as much (so do I). Are all anti-LGBT bigots Evangelical? Not true either (sadly, there are still too many Anglo-Catholics in that camp, also).

But the observation remains what it is: a straight-forward FACT. Those who don't like this fact, should work harder on changing it---not "shooting the messenger"!

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 10 September 2017 at 1:49am BST

I think a certain strand in Christianity has always been obsessed with controlling sex.I attended a Christian youth group in my teens and there were several "sex ed" classes a year. Boys and girls were separated, girls harangued about the importance of virginity and the boys one was apparently all about the evils of masturbation. Strangely there was nothing in the boys class about the importance of keeping their virginity and nothing in the girls class about avoiding masturbation- I think the assumption was we wouldn't. That was over 30 years ago, so it is nothing new is it? It is more common in evangelical (and maybe RC contexts) and it is depressing to find it still alive and kicking but now focused on LGBT people. I just think a lot of churches aren't very good at dealing with sexual matters even for straight people- in fact I don't think they are good at dealing with relationships, I don't think they are good with people full stop.

Posted by sue at Sunday, 10 September 2017 at 8:43am BST

These threads can feel like sitting at a dinner table hosted by a neighbouring community. The conversation strays not infrequently into angry dismissal and disparaging of your own community (which is not without faults as you yourself know well, anguish over and wrestle with). Then someone remembers you are sitting there - 'of course not you Tim/David Keen/xxxx .... '.
And if folk here really do not know the present ferment within this tradition and how hard some are working within it - why not ask? - or at least, please, pray for us.

Posted by David Runcorn at Sunday, 10 September 2017 at 11:35am BST

Can I ask Mr Runcorn how hard Gafcon, ACNA. Anglican Mainstream, Reform and the Christian Institute etc. are working to show an inclusive love toward LGBT people?

Posted by FrDavidH at Sunday, 10 September 2017 at 5:25pm BST

FrDavidH Thank you for your question. I do not belong to any of these groups. But they all claim to be offering nothing less that the love and welcome of Christ to all. And I am in no doubt how seriously many in those groups work at this. But on the basis of their understanding of what scripture teaches they cannot accept gay people in committed same-sex relationships. As I hope you know, I do not agree with them on this. (but can I note, contra to your claim, that their websites reveal active concern with a whole range of other topics besides sex).
But your response to me has been to focus on those at the most conservative end of the Evangelical spectrum. That is not where I, and many others, sit – so I am a bit puzzled why you do.
Do you know the tireless campaigning work of evangelicals like Jayne Ozanne and others like her? Did you notice how many evangelical individuals and groups were quick to distance themselves from the recent Nashville Statement and produce alternative statements – even some conservatives actually? Only two CofE clergy actually signed it. Do you know the work ‘Accepting Evangelicals’ or other such groups and blog sites who have been campaigning for years on this one (see their website)? Have you read ‘Journeys in Grace and Truth’ in which a number of Evangelicals traced their journeys in relation to the full supporting and welcome of gay folk in church? It was published last year and sent free to every Bishop and General Synod member and included contributions from two bishops and the Dean of St Pauls among others … Or my own piece offering the basis for an including theology among evangelicals published as an appendix in the Pilling report? Do you know how many groups are regularly meeting across the CofE – initiated by individuals or bishops to discuss across differing views? There are many. Are you aware of the significant proportion of students and faculty in today’s evangelicals theological colleges who hold an including/welcoming position – and the quality of debate within those communities on this subject?

JCF, my concern here is not to shoot the messenger so much as to ensure the message has some basis in fact – however much hard work still needs to be done.

Posted by David Runcorn at Monday, 11 September 2017 at 10:24am BST

According to this Church Times report, four CofE clerics have signed the Nashville statement.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 11 September 2017 at 8:43pm BST

I should have made clear I meant 'serving' clergy Simon.

Posted by David Runcorn at Monday, 11 September 2017 at 9:04pm BST

Simon, J.I. Packer is not a Church of England cleric. He has lived in Vancouver since the 1990s (he moved there to become professor of theology at Regent College), was licensed in the Diocese of New Westminster until St. John's Shaughnessy (where he was an honorary assistant) left the Diocese, and is now licensed in the ACNA.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Monday, 11 September 2017 at 9:20pm BST

Allberry, Roberts, Taylor, Lucas are the four CofE names mentioned.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 12 September 2017 at 9:06am BST

Simon I stand corrected - it is three not two serving clergy. But Dick Lucas though a legend in the conservative evangelical world and for good reason, is now in his 90's (like Jim Packer) and not actively part of the current debate.

Posted by David Runcorn at Tuesday, 12 September 2017 at 10:31am BST
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