Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 8 October 2022

Martyn Percy Prospect With the Church of England dying, how much longer can we justify having bishops in the House of Lords?
“The Church of England could be extinct by the 2060s. That threatens to trigger a constitutional, as well as an existential, crisis”

Andrew Goddard Psephizo After Lambeth: what next for the Church of England?

Stephen H Surviving Church My Experience of Bullying in the Church

a first-time incumbent Church Times Do parishes really need thick-skinned priests?
“If the Church want responsive pastors, someone needs to warn them about bumps in the road”

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Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I do want to treat Andrew’s article seriously, so please bear with me for my detailed engagement (which runs to two posts). Andrew continues to yearn for the Anglican Covenant, now focussing on its Global South re-iteration. But the Covenant is unrealisable in England and frankly dead in the water. The Covenant itself, of course, was designed to centralise authority over provinces, so that each province’s autonomy was conditional on submission to the central doctrinal authority of the Communion. But again, that’s unreality and unrealisable here, because the Church of England is not going to revert to some sort of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

(…continuing…) Most people in parishes across the land focus not on sexuality but on many other areas of pastoral care: of the elderly, the sick, the lonely, the depressed, the poor, the marginalised. the bereaved, and on life together and alongside people in the communities beyond church walls. All those vast other areas of compassion. There are a huge number of acts of devotion we can do, in response to God’s Love, which give us commonality. ‘Unity in Diversity’ allows people with divergent views on sex to continue living according to their consciences, without throwing the baby (the wider pastoral… Read more »

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

Andrew Goddard’s article is essential reading. It is clear that there is much hope for a compromise early next year based around some form of pastoral acommodation/local discretion model in which bishops and clergy are free to do as they judge fit, but nobody is forced to do anything against their own conscience. (I think it is likely conservative evangelicals in the Church of England will want and need a different settlement involving two jurisdictions, but that is not immediately relevant to Goddard’s analysis) What is clear from Goddard’s commentary is that such a devolution of autonomy to the lowest… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

“Surely that has to be avoided.”

Why? We are axiomatically one church whatever some people think. We recognise that when we say the creed.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Goddard references the inevitability of degrees of communion/visible differentiation in the Anglican Communion

Insouciant insistance that historical doctrine can be ignored, the worldwide Communion can be ignored, conservative evangelicals can be ignored is not an option

Apart from anything else that is certainly not the stance the House of Bishops will take.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

There are no degrees of communion. Saying that there are may even be sinful. We are all in communion with Christ and therefore, automatically, in full communion with each other.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

If you prefer the term visible differentiation that is fine.

The substantive point is that the worldwide Anglican Communion will distance itself from the Church of England if LLF leads to the affirmation of same sex marriage.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

You may be correct but a) what does it matter and b) why should it stop the Church of England doing what is right?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Your ecclesiology is not Anglicanism. That does not mean it is wrong but what you’re saying is clearly not relevant to the Church of England

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

The “ecclesiology” of Anglicanism, as near as one can tell from the historic documents, includes the independence of national and provincial churches in matters of rite and ceremony. Marriage can well be considered to be just such a matter. It would be the people insisting otherwise who are confecting a new ecclesiology. “The Anglican Communion” may come to be seen as a failed attempt at an administrative exercise in international ecclesiastical cooperation. I realize there have been efforts to establish “facts on the ground” with “Instruments of Communion” (some of them created within living memory). But it appears to me… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
1 year ago

Kate’s position is that it does not matter if the Anglican Communion distances itself from the Church of England.

If that is any kind of Anglican ecclesiology at all then I am a Dutchman.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I agree with you on this one, Kate. It is not for us to say we are not in communion – with Baptists, with Pentecostalists, with Catholics, with Orthodox, with House Churches, with so-called ‘Liberals’, with so-called ‘Conservatives’, with a repentant convicted paedophile Christians, with Vladimir Putin if his Russian Orthodox faith is true and he finally repents, with the holiest person, with the worst sinner who repents, with the Christians who affirm gay intimacy, with the Christians who oppose gay intimacy. There is only one communion in God’s eyes, and that is those who are in union with Jesus… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I suppose the question then becomes can you be in union with Christ if you are not in aggreement with those who interpret the Scriptures differently, particularly those who insist that their interpretation is the only “right” one and that by holding to a different interpretation you are, by definition, not in union with Christ?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Unity is not the same thing as uniformity. People can have different views but may still be given to God. And God decides whether to be in union with us, not other people. God knows the heart. We’re advised to leave judgment to God. If someone says, “Susannah, you are a heretic, you are not a Christian’… I probably shrug… but both them and I may be in union in Christ. That’s entirely up to God. Our unity in Christ is not about all being identical in our views. It’s about the inner givenness of the heart, and the opening… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

But if your “heresy” means that other person will not permit you to enter their house of worship, can you truly be in union with him in Christ?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Yes, but I suspect woebetide he who keeps other believers out of the Lord’s Temple.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

But if your “heresy” means that other person will not permit you to enter their house of worship, can you truly be in union with him in Christ?”

Not my business to decide, Pat. Not theirs either. And anyway, their loss… 😉

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

The view has been expressed in these columns that those who adopt a less than fully positive view of same-sex attraction and marriage are dangerous to other church members. That seems to argue that such people should be excluded from the church. Is that the case?

Last edited 1 year ago by Unreliable Narrator
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

It’s the case that some people have argued it. It’s not the case that the Church of England will (or could) implement such a view in the present divided opinion within the Church.

As I’m sure you’ve realised, I am opposed to the exclusion of socially conservative people from the Church of England. I echo the concept insinuated by Justin at the Lambeth Conference (Human Dignity session) that perhaps we should accommodate two different views on sexuality, and get on with much-needed pastoral focus on all the other pressing needs of communities, as one Church.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

The problem then becomes whether the hard-liners (on either side, though I suspect there are far more of them on the anti-same sex marriage side) will accept that “compromise” or insist on having their way.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Maybe there is a compromise: no teaching (either way) on sexual orientation or gender identity if there are minors present?

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Maybe there is, although it’s not up to me to say what it might be. A simple acceptance that people of all shades of opinion can and must work, and worship, together would be an advance. Another step forward would be a commitment to a degree of mutual understanding and toleration of those opinions.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

“going to going to be completely unacceptable for historic and theological reasons to the global Anglican Communion.” It is entirely open to the CofE to state, doctrinally and clearly, that it is homophobic and that compromise or forward development is rejected. Welby won’t do this — he isn’t brave enough to say that 2 + 2 = 4 without talking about the complexity of his journey — but it’s possible that Synod or the next ABC might do so. In which case, it is almost inevitable that the CofE will face one or both of massive collapse in numbers or… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

Thanks for this, IO, I think you are correct in your analysis that staying loyal to a largely homophobic global church community will do great damage internally to the Church of England. But also I wonder how easy it will be for the global church community to maintain a homophobic position. It is clear that there is strong pressure for change within the Roman Catholic church, not just on LGBTQ issues, but on married priests and women priests also. Pressure for change which Pope Francis’ global synod programme has only turbo-charged. And as for the Anglican Communion. It is important… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I note the implication of this position that Africans are somehow not capable of making up their own minds on these matters.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

They are entirely capable of making up their own minds, and are very welcome to do so. But when they do, we do not need to either pretend to, or actually, agree with them. They have agency, and if African Anglicans wish to be violent homophobes, it is perfectly with their rights. Just as it is without ours to say so, and not join them in it.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

Indeed, there are probably very few within the Church of England who call for the death penalty for homosexuality. But since we can agree that African Anglicans have agency, we can also agree not to simultaneously assign those views to colonialism.

Andrew Lightbown
1 year ago

I don’t think bishops being able to do what they wish is going to fly to be honest. It will make for, or further, embed a market in dioceses. If (and to my mind it is still a massive if) the notion that it is possible to hold, with theological integrity, different theologies in relation to sexuality, sex, relationships, and liturgical affirmation across provinces then this must be true within provinces and the individual bishops own view becomes, or should become, secondary.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Andrew Lightbown
1 year ago

I agree, Andrew. If bishops get to decide what can or cannot be done in their dioceses, then we will still be left with ‘inclusive’ parishes being banned from affirming or blessing LGBT people, even if that is the prayerful conscience-driven belief of the local Church, PCC, and priest. Therefore, if the Church of England is to accommodate different theologies on sexuality, it will need to be the local (parish-level) church that is empowered (through agreed process) to decide either to affirm gay sexuality, or not. What needs to end is the imposition of one group’s conscience on sexuality upon… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Lightbown
1 year ago

The Church of England is an episcopal church not a Congregationalist church. Bishops do decide what happens in their diocese.

There is a “year zero” feel to what is being claimed. Everything is to be discarded, and replaced only by the central dogma of what is essentially a new religion

Jenny Flect
Jenny Flect
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Remarriage in church after divorce is decided by the conscience of the local priest. Opting for alternative episcopal oversight is decided by the PCC. The diocesan bishop has no veto in these controversial areas. The same can be true for whether to affirm same sex relationships or not. The C of E has a lot of dispersed authority, and we are not there just to do the bidding of the whims of the local diocesan.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jenny Flect
1 year ago

Authority over doctrine and liturgy in the Church of England is reserved to the Bishops.

The point is the idea that Bishops can be told that same sex marriage will happen in their diocese with or without their agreement is a fantasy. There is nobody or group with the authority to tell them that.

It’s not about fawning over Bishops. I can assure you that is not my perspective. If you play a game of football and decide during the game to start carrying the ball the game ends in chaos. You cannot just ignore the rules

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

When women priests were first authorised in the Church of England, there were several diocesan bishops who opposed this development. Yet in each of those dioceses provision was made for women priests.

Why is the case of same sex marriages different?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

Same sex marriage and the ordination of women are different

John N Wall
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Ah, yes, well. Some of us have evidence to support the idea that you can carry the ball in a game of football and the game ends decently and in good order after a specified period of time. Here, this happens just about every day of the week at one level of the game or another. It has even happened in England from time to time. My memory is that Elizabeth Windsor became Queen because her uncle was unable to remain king and marry a divorced woman. Now, King Charles III is a divorced man and has become king while… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  John N Wall
1 year ago

Nobody claims or has ever claimed remarriage after divorce is anything but a work of grace after a grievous failure.

The claim being made about same sex marriage is that it is a good thing.

The two matters are not the same

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

“Nobody claims or has ever claimed remarriage after divorce is anything but a work of grace”. Nobody except Jesus. You should read the bible Peter.  “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.” Mark 10v 10 

Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I was responding to a claim that we have “moved on” from a negative view of remarriage and divorce

Obviously I am not suggesting divorce and remarriage is ok.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

You said divorce and remarriage is a work of grace. You are making up your definition of marriage as you go along. That’s OK. It’s what secular society and the Church have always done .

Last edited 1 year ago by FrDavid H
Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I’m doing nothing of the sort. I was responding to a claim that divorce and remarriage exemplify the way thinking moves on over time. (The wider context obviously being the discussion about the permissibility of same sex marriage) Divorce is a biblical concession – if you prefer that term to a work of grace. Remarriage after divorce is therefore obviously not a good thing in the way that marriage is. Your are straining on a gnat in attempting to show I am biblically in error. The fundamental point is that the notion that divorce/remarriage and same sex marriage are in… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I suppose you are referring to the Matthean exception in your biblical support for divorce. Obviously this is assumed to be a later addition to Church moral teaching, which shows exactly how marriage adapts to changing circumstances. I cannot see how the Church can’t also develop its understanding of same-sex relationships. Your understanding of sexuality seems to have got stuck in the Iron Age.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Your understanding of sexuality seems to have got stuck in the Iron Age. Several fallacies packed up into a single sentence here — I suppose that’s the effect of Twitter. Let’s try to unpack it. Firstly, ad hominem: it’s addressed to the person,not to the argument. Secondly, unfounded: even as an irrelevancy there’s no actual evidence for it. Thirdly, neophilia: the fallacy that things that are recent are always better than things that are older. Fourthly, imprecision: “the Iron Age” covers many different people in many different places at many different times who thought many different things. Fifthly misdirection: the… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

All those who are ordained swear obedience to His Majesty and HM’s law. If the law was changed to bring in equal marriage than all those ordained would be oath-bound to support it – unless the law gave them an opt out. So your assertion “There is nobody or group with the authority to tell them that” is factually incorrect: MPs have the authority to tell bishops what to do. That’s an established church for you.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

It is the Sovereign who is the Governor of the Church of England and not MPs (or Parliament).

The Sovereign takes an oath to uphold the Protestant Faith.

It is entering the realm of total fantasy to start imagining the Sovereign is going wade into the dispute over same sex marriage

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Her late Majesty the Queen, who was more of a Christian than any of your bishops, approved same sex marriage. It exists according to the laws of England as approved by Her Majesty the Queen. The bishops ought not to counter her, nor her heir.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

The bishops are not doing anything unlawful.

There is no legislation requiring the Church of England to do something which it is not doing. As a matter of constitutional reality, the church is not subject to MPs.

I do sometimes wish the exchanges on this site were more grounded in fact and reality

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

The Church is subject to Parliament. Measures of the General Synod cannot pass without their approval, and Parliament can make laws that apply to the Church, including on the rights of parishioners.

If the railways were performing as badly as the Church, Parliament would step in to improve the way they are run. They should do the same with the Church. Bishops cannot be trusted, which is why they were abolished in Scotland. The last bishop of Chester has revealed himself as a Roman Catholic.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

You misunderstand the Elizabethan settlement, the constitution of this Country and the authorities within the Church of England. National Legislation is initiated by His Majesty’s government. (There is an exception for private members Bills but even they require the de facto approval of HMG to become law). The Sovereign is also and quite separately the supreme governor of the Church of England. The government cannot impose legislation on the Church without creating a constitutional crisis. General Synod is nowhere near as important as is generally believed. It directs, in collaboration with the Church Commissioners, financial policy so it is certainly… Read more »

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

The late Queen signed the act bringing in equal marriage as is her constitutional duty. Whether she personally approved of it or not we do not know, which is also constitutionally proper. Given that is now the law of the land, the bishops cannot go against it without the law being changed by parliament. They would not, in any case, be ‘countering her, nor her heir’.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Exham
1 year ago

The legislation on equal marriage is qualified by a limitation which recognises the separate jurisdiction of the Church. You are mistaken in your analysis.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I don’t know what you mean by the ‘separate jurisdiction of the Church’. Please explain in what you think my analysis is mistaken.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Exham
1 year ago

I understood you to be saying the Bishops are subject to a law requiring the acceptance of equal marriage. Is that not your meaning ?

(For the avoidance of doubt, I am talking about them as Bishops – obviously as members of the public they are subject to the law, though I cannot think in what way equal marriage impacts on us in that general sense)

If GS passes legislation to the effect that Churches can conduct same sex marriages, that obviously changes the position. That is my point about jurisdiction.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

The oath is in two parts, firstly to the Sovereign but secondly, and crucially, to the law of England and it’s not fantasy to think that MPs won’t tolerate a homophobic Church of England much longer.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/04/church-of-england-welcome-gay-people-face-parliament-ben-bradshaw

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

The number of groups who responded to LLF over four years was measured in hundreds. There are thousands of churches in this country.

There is certainly a very small and intensely passionate group of people who think the LLF issues are more important than anything and everything else.

However, there is no where near the level of public concern needed to shape national politics or to introduce the sort of totalitarian legislation you think is ahead of us.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

That argument, if correct, would imply that the clergy were required to support the legislative programme of the elected government of the day, a position that most of them do not currently take.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Which is part of why I couldn’t myself take the ordination oaths

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

At ordination deacons and priests take two oaths. The first is the oath of allegiance to the Sovereign, to ‘be faithful and bear true allegiance to His/Her Majesty, his/her heirs and successors, according to law’. The second is the oath of canonical obedience to the diocesan bishop: “I, A B, do swear by Almighty God that I will pay true and canonical obedience to the Lord Bishop of C and his/her successors in all things lawful and honest.” They do not swear obedience to HM or to HM’s law. What either of these oaths actually mean in practice is beyond my… Read more »

american piskie
american piskie
Reply to  David Exham
1 year ago

The late Dr David Nicholls, on being offered the living of Littlemore, asked the diocesan registrar what new obligations the Oath of Allegiance would entail. He reported that he was told that there were none beyond those which already bind an English subject.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  american piskie
1 year ago

Fascinating American Piskie

It rather begs the question why on earth do clergy need to say the Oath of Allegiance?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Exham
1 year ago

In Canada, we only swear the oath of canonical obedience to the bishop, and to me it simply means that when my bishop puts his foot down, I do as I’m told!

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jenny Flect
1 year ago

Very good points, Jenny. It is entirely practical for a local church and PCC to take similar decisions on their approach to sexuality. If the Church of England decides to accommodate gay-affirming church communities, then it is not for individual bishops to prevent that overall Church decision (though of course they should have ‘right of conscience’ to hand oversight to somebody else in that event). Local Church communities, and the people they live alongside and serve, are not the slaves of bishops. They have conscience themselves, and duties to their parishioners, and once an over-arching decision is taken by the… Read more »

Andrew Kleissner
Andrew Kleissner
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

“It is entirely practical for a local church and PCC to take similar decisions on their approach to sexuality”. Which is what the URC has decided, and (somewhat reluctantly) the Baptist Union.

Charles Read
Reply to  Jenny Flect
1 year ago

The PCC can ask for extended episcopal oversight – we do not offer alternative oversight – and the diocesan remains the ordinary. I am not sure this arrangement will work with same-sex marriage.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jenny Flect
1 year ago

I am afraid you simply wrong. Extended episcopal oversight is at the discretion of the Diocesan and is exercised subject to the authority of the Diocesan.

For obvious reasons the Diocesan is unlikely to throw his or her weight about, but believe me nobody tells the Diocesan what they can and cannot do

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

That’s your opinion. Some of us believe that Jesus was probably gay.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/apr/20/was-jesus-gay-probably

If the Disciples accepted Jesus and John, why should the church today be less accepting? Whether it was a sexual relationship is pretty irrelevant, the affection was sufficiently open and public to be noted by others – and obviously accepted by the Disciples. That calm acceptance, not the prudery of Paul, is the true Gospel tradition.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

The New Testament could not be clearer that celibacy or life long monogamous faithful marriage to a person of the opposite sex are the two options available to Christians.

Nothing in the life or words of Jesus is inconsistent with the New Testament

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

That’s your opinion but it’s at odds with what Jesus said in Matthew: 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. The law of Moses states in Leviticus 18: 22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Unless,… Read more »

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Careful, Bob. Christianity is fine with ignoring lots of stuff in the “law of Moses.” Why is this different? Jesus himself seemed rather casual about it too. Besides, why do we assume that everything in the law of Moses is the same as God’s law?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

So when Paul said the dietary laws and the requirement of circumcision did not apply to non-Jewish Christians?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

If that was truly the case then Christians, like Jews, would only eat kosher food. Women would be forbidden from entering a church during their periods, as would their husbands if they slept in the marital bed. We would all be Messianic Jews. That not being the case, relying on Leviticus 18:22 only is clearly problematic: why is that verse of Leviticus absolute if other verses are optional?

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I am commenting on your view that Jesus was gay. If that were true He would be a sinner like the rest of us, unable to save us from our sins, and there would be no church, no thinking anglicans. My comment is to do with the logic of your argument, not a discussion of kosher food, etc etc.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

So you pick and choose from Leviticus, like every other Christian or Jewish believer. (I’m Jewish but I have often attended TEC (USA) services. That’s how I came across this forum.) Even Orthodox Jews admit they cannot follow all of the Leviticus commandments partly because a) there is no longer an official Temple in Jerusalem where animal sacrifices are made daily (and a hearty Deo Gratias! to that), and b) we are all imperfect and prone to error. And believe me, to Orthodox Jews Leviticus 18:22 carries the same weight as all other proscriptions. So, because you believe that Christian… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Bob, we need to be really careful in our language here. Temptation is not sin. To live with same sex attraction is not itself sinful.

To be gay is not sinful.

Sin is to engage in sexual activity outside of a true marriage. There are a lot of ways of engaging in non-marital sex and they all belong in the same category.

The fundamental issue is the definition of marriage not same sex attraction.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Bob, it is entirely possible to be both gay and celibate.

I would argue that homosexuality is defined by who you love, not who you have sex with.

If Jesus had a homosexual orientation but remained in a celibate but loving relationship with another disciple would that make him a sinner?

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Yes, Leviticus 18:22 does say that.

But you’re ignoring Leviticus 19:19:

“’Keep my decrees. “’Do not mate different kinds of animals. “’Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. “’Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

So why aren’t Christians out there campaigning against cotton-nylon mixes? Why aren’t Christians out there campaigning against Labradoodles? What about crop rotation?

Or are you selectively reading your Bible such that the very next chapter isn’t one you’re bothered by, just because homophobia is more important to you than reading the Bible?

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

Please read my reply to Kate. I am commenting on the logic of her view, not on the Law of Moses. But if you wish to believe that Christ would say one thing and do another, then He clearly is no sinless Saviour.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Isn’t it the case that anything Jesus did cannot be sin?

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

Thank you, IO
An astounding number of people make a point of selectively reading the Bible so that the very next chapter (after Leviticus 18:22) isn’t one they’re bothered by, just because homophobia is more important to them than reading the whole of the Bible. Many people in positions of power delight in strict enforcement of 18:22, to the delight of their followers, and to the misery of those that harsh decrees and laws fall upon.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

Martyn Percy makes a very persuasive, and in my view correct plea to remove Church of England bishops from the Westminster Parliament. The case he cites of abortion legislation in Northern Ireland and the interference of English bishops in this is symbolic of the unjust and undemocratic position of the bishops of the Church of England. To be clear only Church of England bishops as religious representatives sit in the House of Lords. No similar representatives from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland sit there. That in itself is unjust and unacceptable in a modern democracy. Sadly it seems many bishops… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

It seems that the senior leadership of the church takes the view that a parish priest can reasonably be expected to look after ten or so parishes. Presumably, therefore, the same applies to bishops. The Church of England can make do with one archbishop and four bishops. The Archbishop of York can govern the church as Primate, and the honorary title of Archbishop of Canterbury can be given to whoever is elected as head of the Anglican Communion from among the primates. Apart from the four working bishops, other titles can become ceremonial, honorary or attached to executive functions such… Read more »

Alastair living in Scotland
Alastair living in Scotland
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

I agree with the thoughts behind this proposition. However keep in view that in Scotland there is no second chamber or sadly any effective form of scrutiny.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

However much one may sympathise with Martyn Percy over his appalling treatment by the Church of England, and especially by the Diocese of Oxford, his views are inevitably coloured by these events. This is a very complex subject and, personally, I see no connection between the presence of the Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords and the decline in the Church of England. It seems to me an almost spurious argument which diverts discussion away from the real issues and causes of that decline and what steps will be required to reverse it. Other religions and denominations are represented… Read more »

Maud Colthwaite
Maud Colthwaite
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Yes, it’s a specious argument. In any case, the Parliament Act limits the power of the upper house. Aside from the bishops and hereditary peers, all others are appointees. They may scrutinize legislation and send bills back to the Commons that require amendment, often because MPs don’t have the time or inclination to do so properly. But the Lords can’t veto bills which were proposed in the governing party’s election manifesto. The claim that the House of Lords is undemocratic is therefore groundless. In my view there’s no reason why a bishop can’t express his or her contentedness, or otherwise,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Maud Colthwaite
Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Maud Colthwaite
1 year ago

Sadly, it has become very hard to defend the Lords in its present bloated state. I say ‘sadly’ because I believe a second, revising chamber to be a good thing. But a Lords likely to number nearly 800 after Boris Johnson’s placemen and women are added lacks all credibility – I’m surprised any bishop would want to be part of it.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Maud Colthwaite
1 year ago

“Aside from the bishops and hereditary peers, all others are appointees.” How are bishops not appointees?

Maud Colthwaite
Maud Colthwaite
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

Because 26 of them have an automatic right to sit in the House of Lords until they retire, unlike the life peers.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Maud Colthwaite
1 year ago

But they are appointed, in the first place, as bishops. Their position comes from being appointed.

Maud Colthwaite
Maud Colthwaite
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

If, as you say, the Scottish system has much to teach us, and that the presence of bishops in the House of Lords is anachronistic, then, by the same token, you could argue that the bishops of the Church of England should be removed, and we adopt the Presbyterian model!

Last edited 1 year ago by Maud Colthwaite
Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Maud Colthwaite
1 year ago

I don’t think that the second half of your sentence is a logical consequence of the first. But what is the Scottish system? I assume that you are referring to the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches. You are overlooking the Scottish Episcopal Church which elects its Bishops, who do not sit in the House of Lords and where the Archbishop of Canterbury’s writ does not run. An Episcopal system is not dependent on membership of the House of Lords. Despite Dr Percy’s forecast of our early demise, we are doing quite well, thank you.

Maud Colthwaite
Maud Colthwaite
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
1 year ago

Yes, an episcopal church is, by definition, one that has bishops, who may be appointed or elected. But an established church does not have to be episcopal, as in the Scottish example. If the presence of bishops in the legislature is an anachronism, then, for many reformers, so is a church led by bishops.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Maud Colthwaite
1 year ago

I’m not sure you grasp the argument completely Maud Colthwaite. I can see no justification for a group of Church of ENGLAND bishops being appointed to be in the UK (note United Kingdom) parliament. How can that ever be justified in the modern day and age? In Scotland the Church of Scotland is established, yes, but the monarch is seen as a member not as a ‘supreme governor’ (an important reformation principle). Why not apply that then also to the Church of England? This would also remove the necessity of the Monarch appointing bishops, surely also a welcome step in… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

The Monarch approves the appointment of bishops (and that is announced by 10 Downing Street on the Monarch’s behalf), but plays absolutely no part in their selection process. The Lords Spiritual have sat in Parliament almost since time immemorial; they are the residue of our original legislators. Their number has been reduced by statute, as Maud Colthwaite explains. Bishops of the Church of Ireland and the Church in Wales formerly sat in the House of Lords but ceased to do so when those churches were voluntarily disestablished. Also, the Lords Spiritual and their role in Parliament long pre-date the respective… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

But if there is no need for bishops in the HoL why do we need them at all? In a modern democracy why should there be bishops in the church at all? If there are to still be bishops in the church why should they not be elected?

Maud Colthwaite
Maud Colthwaite
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

The existence of the Lords Spiritual may be idiosyncratic, but the status of one Christian denomination isn’t the only bone of contention for ardent secularists. They object to any preferential treatment given to organised religion in the public square in a society that generally doesn’t do God. In contrast, representatives of other faiths or Christian denominations say they are happy with the arrangement because it guarantees religious pluralism. And it means that there is always a place for overtly religious expression on the red benches, when in this day and age it can seem that any faith leader is swimming… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Maud Colthwaite
Peter
Peter
1 year ago

Conservative Evangelicals are not going to agree to an arrangement on the basis that they are bound by precedents established in relation to divorce or the ordination of women.

That’s not how settlement works. Maybe the agreement of conservative evangelicals is not being sought.

I sense the belief is that the House of Bishops are going to deliver an outcome that is based on those precedents and which will have to be adopted and implemented.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

The House of Bishops, and we, can propose and speculate over whatever we like. Unless General Synod gives a two thirds majority in all Houses for a doctrinal change in the definition of marriage, new liturgies are approved, and the present legal locks are lifted, the CofE cannot offer much more than it already does. Or is there another route to change?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

Liturgy cannot be changed without the approval of the House of Bishops acting as a separate chamber

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Many evangelical parishes have abolished liturgy altogether so your assertion is incorrect.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

For the avoidance of doubt I was referring to authorised liturgy which – I am certain you know – has to be authorised by the House of Bishops

You are obviously making a point about evangelicals and liturgy. As it happens it might surprise to learn I share your disapproval of the casual lack of respect for liturgy in some evangelical churches.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

The Bishops could declare a standard but wholly trivial discipline for priests blessing same sex marriages etc.

It’s ugly but it can be implemented without Synod.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

The bishops don’t even have to discipline at all. They may ‘allow’ the blessing, as an expression of conscience and serious theological integrity, effectively allowing an additional ‘de facto’ practice and view in the Church… without cancelling the more conservative position if they can’t raise the 66% vote in Synod. By ‘allowing’ conduct without discipline, they would be reflecting the reality that half or more members in the Church hold a more liberal view, and they could let inclusive churches ‘get on’ with blessings, and let Synod make up its mind to fully incorporate doctrinal change later. The other option… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I think you would find that conservative evangelicals would work with a separate jurisdiction of the kind needed for your second option.

We see the impossibility of continuing with the current strife. I’m afraid we would not be able to spiritually affirm you but we would want to do everything short of that to bring about such a settlement

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

No, they don’t have to but one could see the risk of challenge if they declare that they won’t. They would be safe, however, if they impose a trivial discipline because that clearly falls within their discretion – maybe a fine of one peppercorn.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Quite a cute idea. However, we need a Church where there are no sanctions at all for a church community that believes in conscience and theology that it’s good to bless gay and lesbian relationships. We’re talking about a serious theological belief (which Justin has already acknowledged). If you take the Church of England as being made up by its members, you can’t really say these days that “the Church believes in Lambeth 1998 I:10”. It may still be a recognised position, which some may accept. But it’s not the belief of the members of the Church, taken collectively. In… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

Mr. Percy’s article makes for excellent reading. I was thoroughly absorbed by it. Two thoughts: “Imagine some parallel universe, in which a Roman Catholic bishop was always entitled to sit as one of the nine justices on the US Supreme Court and vote on abortion rights, including Roe v Wade. The absurdity of the situation becomes clear.” Roman Catholic bishop? No. By right? No. But conservative Republican presidents (or those presidents pretending to be Republican and conservative) have chosen exclusively Roman Catholic nominees to be confirmed by the US Senate to the US Supreme Court so that those presidents can be… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 year ago

Being in the House of Lords I imagine gives the bishops a sense importance and purpose amidst the entropy in the CofE. They get to dress up and hob nob with the elder statesmen and women who turn up on any given day to collect their £300 tax free cash. The surroundings are congenial and there is heavily subsidised refreshments available. No wonder they find it difficult to avoid being busybodies in other peoples business and bodies not least the women of Northern Ireland. The whole thing must be so seductive that they are very unlikely to suggest that their… Read more »

Dr John Wallace
Dr John Wallace
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

As you say, Dean, bishops change when they get into HoL. I’m sure we could both give names.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

Indeed Fr Dean. It is interesting that unlike in the past no bishop today in the House of Lords is speaking up for HoL reform and the removal of the unelected bishops of England in the UK parliament.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

Anyone who actually watches House of Lords debates must be surprised by these comments. Admittedly the debates are mostly televised late at night after coverage of the House of Commons and probably don’t have a very wide audience. Two very striking facts are the far higher quality of debate in the HL and the extraordinary range of expertise within its membership. As far as the bishops are concerned, there is a daily duty bishop for prayers. He or she does not stay in the Chamber for the duration. During debates, it is not uncommon to see just one bishop, sometimes… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

In that case why are they needed at all?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

Maud Colthwaite helpfully quotes an example above in her most recent reply to Dave. Equally, I would like to think that my latest reply to him was a balanced and unbiased one. There’s not much more one can say when people have simply closed their minds to the pros and only state the perceived cons. Incidentally in all this discussion has anyone taken on board that numerically the 26 Lords Spiritual only number 3.4% of the total 767 members of the House of Lords?

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

But still Rowland and Maud fail to justify why only ENGLAND should be represented in the way which they support.

If I was in Northern Ireland I would look askance at an English bishop speaking about and voting on legislation which affected only my country.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 year ago

I see that AiME has 21 churches and note that 11 are pastored by men ordained originally in the C of E. I wonder how many conservative evangelical clergy have left the C of E in (say) the last ten years, and whether potential ordinands are being put off. Following the Hull consecrations I gather AiME are holding a day for “unhappy” evangelical C of E clergy.
As a former DDO I noticed that two of “mine” have left parish ministry for independent evangelical churches in the last few years. (Another became a RC priest.)

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

10 or 20 clergy is not very much, out of 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England. There are at least 500 inclusive and gay-affirming churches in the Church of England, as I know to my knowledge because I compile lists and check people out. In reality probably many more who more cautiously stay quiet. I doubt we shall see a mass exodus if ‘accommodation of gay-affirming theology’ becomes a reality. On the contrary, once the principle is accepted, what is likely is that many less vocal churches will observe that the world does not come crashing down, and… Read more »

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
1 year ago

I think those who rely on Leviticus for their opposition to same-sex marriage should be very wary. Leviticus 20:13 say, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.” If you’re going to rely on the first half of the verse, you just can’t ignore the second half — if men have sex with each other, they must die. Now, I’ve heard opponents of same-sex marriage argue that the second half isn’t applicable anymore in light of the Christian Gospel.… Read more »

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

It is possible to establish some issues of fact. Neither General Synod nor PCCs have the power to determine that same sex marriage services can be conducted in parishes across the country. Nor does General Synod have authority over every church building in the country. The notion that the House of Bishops are going to bring about such new powers is a work of fantasy. Even if they wanted to – an open question, to say the least – they would be visiting years of litigation on the church if they tried to introduce such a new order. The bishops… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

This discussion about the Old Testament seems a little off-beam to me. I understood it to be well established that Christians were not subject to the Mosaic law. That doesn’t mean that law has been completely abrogated, it means that we look to the New Testament to find which parts of it are still in force. Those arguing for the continued authority of, say, Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13 for Christians would presumably rely on Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9 or I Timothy 1:9-10.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

I would note that none of the NT passages you cite are from the Gospels and all of them are attributed to a single individual, Paul. Are we a Christian church, or a Paulist church?

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

One cannot assume that these Bible verses support the view against same-sex marriage. The literature about these verses is huge. In Romans 1, Paul is condemning homosexuality resulting from idolatry. Paul says that the “wicked,” although they knew God, did not honor or give thanks to God, and “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animal or reptiles.” (vv. 21-23, NRSV). “Therefore” (“Dio” in Greek), “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (v. 24) because (again) they worshiped a creature rather than the Creator… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Article XX of the CofE’s 39 Articles helps avoid playing off the words of Christ against the words of Paul. They belong together. The CofE is Christian and Paulist.

Adrian
Adrian
1 year ago

The jump from assistant curate to incumbent in the C of E is huge, and yes, clergy do need hides like a rhinoceros.

Valerie Aston
Valerie Aston
1 year ago

http://www.dur.ac.uk/StChads/radical-anglicanism.pdf I’ve been following TA for some eight months now. I was baptised and confirmed an Anglican, and attended an Anglican girls’ school in the late ’50s – mid-60s. So I have some understanding and sympathy for the CofE, although I confess I am not a regular churchgoer in person. I am disabled, and appreciate on-line services, having discovered the former Dean of Canterbury’s “Garden Congregation”, when lonely and despairing in the spring of 2020. Although most correspondents / posters make an effort to be civil even when being patronising (I’m sure you know who you are), there are a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Valerie Aston
1 year ago

I’m afraid that link doesn’t resolve, but the article can be viewed here, via the Wayback Machine. As for the article – thank you! I appreciate the hope that Anglicanism might adopt an ‘ecumenical model’, not trying to ‘get back’ to some purported unity (in what has historically always been a mixture of traditions and views)… but to look forwards, to a future where diversity of many views can be accommodated ‘without excommunications’. To look forward to a “goal as ‘a form of unity that respects, indeed that expects, diversity.’ ” Indeed, if only be could find grace to love… Read more »

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