Thinking Anglicans

Bishops call for Church to change on gays

Updated Friday morning

A new book of essays, Journeys in Grace and Truth, edited by Jayne Ozanne, is launched this weekend. From the publicity:

Is it possible to hold a positive view of same-sex relationships while being a biblically rooted evangelical? These twelve senior Anglican Evangelicals believe so.

Journeys in Grace and Truth sets out the path each contributor has travelled to reach this point, involving moving encounters, scriptural exegesis and personal revelations. It is offered as a contribution to aid the discussion, and to broker deeper understanding between evangelicals and the wider Church.

Contributors include the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, and the Bishop of Dorchester, Colin Fletcher, who have both been talking to the press.

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Leading evangelical bishops call for Church to change on gays

… Bishop Fletcher criticises the “immense” damage to “far too many good Christian people” by the Church’s attitude to gay people. Bishop Bayes says: “We need to change the Church – to make room and to extend the table.”…

This article includes a video of an interview with the Bishop of Liverpool, which can also be viewed on YouTube.

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Senior bishop calls for change in C of E attitudes to gay people

A senior bishop associated with the Church of England’s evangelical wing has called for far-reaching change in the church’s attitudes to lesbian and gay people and a meaningful welcome to Christians in same-sex relationships.

Acknowledging that he has been “profoundly changed” by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians, including within his own family, Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, has said: “I have come to believe that we need to change the church.”

LGBT people have been bruised and broken by the church, he said…

Update

John Bingham The Telegraph Two bishops urge clerics to rethink ‘interpretations’ of the Bible which condemn homosexuality

The Diocese of Liverpool has published this article on its webpage: Church ‘must give a hearing to Evangelical Journeys of Acceptance for same-sex relationships’.

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Pat O'Neillrobert ian williamsMary ClaraMarkBrunsonSusannah Clark Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
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Gordon Allport’s classic work ‘The Nature of Prejudice’ (1954) stressed the way actual encounter with people regarded as ‘other’ was the most powerful way in which people’s views were changed. When people are encountered and got to know they become more 3-dimensional, they have life stories, they have humanity… they become harder to demonise and ‘keep over there’… it becomes easier to see the whole of who they are: their work, their service, their ordinary lives. I’ve personally seen the way evangelical priests have experienced this through close colleagues or family members being lesbian or gay. And I am moved… Read more »

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

It seems to me that “Is it possible to hold a positive view of same-sex relationships while being a biblically rooted evangelical?” is a foolish question. Of course it is. There are many biblically-rooted arguments underlying why we should, which seem to be too often ignored. But that’s another issue. A sad fact is that bible-based theology can prove almost anything, and has been used to justify half the horrors of history. The real question, I will submit, is whether anything other than Jesus’ commandment to love one another is not all we need in the radical welcome which is… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Attitudes are best changed by changing teaching.

Do the bishops unequivocally support: the repeal of the Higton motion and disavowal of ‘Issues …’; financial compensation for all clergy and other ministers and employees fired as a result; a formal and unequivocal apology for ever having passed it; and equal marriage?

In short, do they support equality? If yes, I warmly welcome their change of heart, best shown by suspending “discipline” in their jurisdictions; if no, it’s yet more two-faced fence sitting, far more insulting than honest traditionalists.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

And at the same time we read that the Bishop of Birmingham is investigating a Vicar who participated in a same sex celebration. Why should we think that this is anything but yet more words. Do Bishops wonder why we don’t trust them?

Kate
Guest
Kate

I see this as a potentially important step. It puts the Bible back into the debate. Without reading the essays, it is hard to say more. Certainly the public support of two evangelical bishops is welcome, although it is unclear whether they support same sex marriage and I fear the evangelical wing might unite behind a policy of being “welcoming” while still denying any meaningful changes. Suppose a Disciple had asked Jesus, “Master, is it wrong for a man to lie with another man?” We can very strongly predict that Jesus would have answered with a parable rather than simply… Read more »

Jayne Ozanne
Guest

Thinking Anglicans can get an online discount for this book by using Coupon Code “TA2016” at the checkout on http://www.ViaMediaPublications.com

Kate
Guest
Kate

“The real question, I will submit, is whether anything other than Jesus’ commandment to love one another is not all we need in the radical welcome which is the job of all Christians.”

Yes but we mustn’t confuse erotic love with platonic love. The commandment exhorts the platonic love and it would be a perversion to use it to justify erotic love. So while the commandment can form part of an argument for same sex marriage it shouldn’t be used, I submit, to support same sex sex.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Thanks for the coupon code, Jayne. Book purchased and I look forward to reading it. Interesting set of contributors, several of whom participate here at Thinking Anglicans.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Whatever the subject matter, I profoundly wish we wouldn’t play the “We can very strongly predict that Jesus would have answered…” game.

Jesus told us the Holy Spirit was being sent to lead *us* into all Truth. We need to take responsibility for what WE discern the Spirit is telling us, and not set up (inevitably competing) Magic 8 Ball Jesuses. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_8-Ball

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Whatever the subject matter, I profoundly wish we wouldn’t play the “We can very strongly predict that Jesus would have answered…” game.”

That is directed at me, I presume. I said we could predict the type of reply He would give, not the reply. And there is a big difference. Predicting what He would say is a mugs game, predicting a response in parable is entirely different and very likely.

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

“Yes but we mustn’t confuse erotic love with platonic love.” I don’t think we do. No one is advocating for promiscuous sex. But sex within a marriage is part of the joy and fullness of life. To tell two persons of the same sex that they may love each other but “mustn’t touch” is to deny the depth full dimension of love. My love for my partner – this was before we had marriage – transformed my life, taught me what unconditional love was, and brought me back to the church in gratitude. To deny the full dimensionality of that… Read more »

Flora Alexander
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Flora Alexander

I’m tempted to ask what took them so long. Still, let’s be grateful for signs of progress.

David Runcorn
Guest

Kate – what is ‘platonic love’ exactly? Are you sure the Commandments teach it? Where exactly? The word did not exist then. Nor does ‘eros’ appear in the bible either. Isn’t there danger of importing modern concepts back at this this point?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Richard Ashby,
why should I not believe the Bishop of Liverpool just because the Bishop of Birmingham thinks something different?

There’s a very counter-productive tendency in lgbt-campaigning circles to call for change, and then, when someone shows signs of beginning to change, come down on them like a ton of bricks for not having changed sooner, not having changed comprehensively enough, not having single-handedly changed the whole church yet etc.

I welcome all change, however small, as a step in the right direction.

Helen King
Guest
Helen King

Following your point about importing modern concepts, David, I recently wrote https://sharedconversations.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/the-greeks-didnt-have-a-word-for-it/

It may be of interest, especially as the Greeks are getting a mention!

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

The Valentine’s Day statement in 2015 purported to be the unanimous teaching of the House of Bishops, threatening consequences to those clerics who broke its rules. Now we have one bishop commending a book advocating acceptance by evangelicals of same sex relationships, though not marriage, and as far as I know, no relaxation of the rules for clergy in same sex relationships, while at exactly the same time another bishop is reported to be investigating a cleric who in some way facilitated a same sex celebration. As far as I can see, nothing has changed. The Valentine’s Day statement is… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Richard – which is the flaw in the GS Shared Conversation process. Individuals in favour of same sex marriage are inhibited in speaking up. On the meaning of words, while I accept that Aramaic didn’t have the variety of words for love present in Classical Greek, the Bible does differentiate between love and lust which is why I believe it is reasonable to exclude eros / lust from the commandment to love one another. In terms of sex, we equally need to be aware that similarly there was no differentiation, of course, between protected and unprotected sex. It is therefore… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

Kate – ‘eros’ is not simply another word for ‘lust’. Where do you get that from? Nor is the discussion about Aramaic. For what it is worth I tend to speak of eros as agape in action. Agape without eros will lack the energy it needs – it will be bland, tame, benign. There is in holiness an energy that only eros provides. But eros without agape will probably be lust in the sense you use it. It is unsustainable, destructive and burns out everything it touches. So you can see I am starting from a completely different place from… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

David, I agree that eros and agape are not mutually exclusive, and I believe we can find both in the person and nature of God. I don’t think God just has a kind of sterilised agape love in isolation. I think God might well be passionate, dynamic in love, even longing and yearning for relationship with us. In short, ‘eros’ is good. It is lovely. Like all good things it can be spoiled or misdirected. But to me God may well be wild and impulsive in feeling, and it is the fact that in perfection different aspects of love can… Read more »

robert ian wiliams
Guest
robert ian wiliams

“Is it possible to hold a positive view of same-sex relationships while being a biblically rooted evangelical?”

Of course as evangelicalism and Protestantism are private judgement, and subject to changes in human thought and perception of ” sola scriptura.” That is why you need a divinely commissioned infallible Church.

Susannah Clark
Guest

I have just read Anthony Archer’s chapter in ‘Journeys in Grace and Truth’. Anthony is a regular contributor here at Thinking Anglicans, and we have both been members of a lovely evangelical church in Hertfordshire. I was moved by Anthony’s honest account, by the way he moved from implicit disagreement with gay sex, to an affirming position. That is a journey I have shared, as I was once (on biblical grounds) very opposed to gay sexuality. It is interesting to speculate what changes people’s minds, and ways God touches us, and gives us grace to open to other possibilities. Clearly… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

There is no infallible church. That would be to elevate humans to the level of God, and there’s no changing that fact by elaborate theological contortions.

It’s ridiculous.

Mary Clara
Guest
Mary Clara

Mr. Williams, even the Vatican does not claim that there is, or can be, an “infallible Church”. Nor are we in need of such a thing. The damage protected under the umbrella of “papal infallibility” is more than enough.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Universal catechism..with my addition

69 The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf. Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.

870 …….. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines”(LG 8).

(But sadly they are so often mixed with serious error…my addendum)

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

RIW:

So how do you explain the Roman Catholic Church’s turnarounds on Copernican cosmology and Darwinian evolution? Was it “infallible” when it said they were wrong and, in fact, blasphemous…or is it wrong now when it says they are not?