Thinking Anglicans

Same sex marriage: responses to the Bishop of Oxford

Updated again 15 and 17 November

See earlier post concerning his statement on same sex marriage.

Church of England Evangelical Council: Bishop of Oxford: A CEEC response to ‘Together in Love and Faith

Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship: Statement on the Bishop of Oxford’s “Together in Love and Faith”

Latimer Trust – Vaughan Roberts Together in Love and Faith?

PsephizoIan Paul What is the Bishop of Oxford thinking?

Bishops of Worcester and Dudley Living in Love and Faith – A letter from our bishops

Church Times news reports:

Updates 7, 8, 10, 15, 17 November

Martin Davie Why the bishops have an option

Archbishop Cranmer Same-sex marriage: should the Church of England affirm culture, or confront it?

LGBTQ Faith UK Living in Love and Faith and Fear

Andrew Lightbown Speaking of Together in Love and Faith; a short reflection.

Guardian The Guardian view on LGBT+ Anglicans: finally grounds for hope?

Fulcrum  Joshua Penduck A Letter in response to the Bishop of Oxford

Anglican Network in Europe A Safe Harbour for Faithful Anglicans

Premier Christianity Ian Paul The Bishop of Oxford’s surprising case for same-sex marriage is flawed

I will add further items to this list as I discover them.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

158 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Andrew Lightbown
Andrew Lightbown
1 year ago

The change in tone from the various Evangical respondents is interesting and how some of the arguments put forward a few years ago are no longer utilised. Their push back feels far less strident and increasingly resigned. We used to hear threats of split, the withholding of finance, and the devaluing of heterosexual marriage but not now. The preference does seem to be for some form of pragmatic institutional solution.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Andrew Lightbown
1 year ago

I agree. The Oxford Diocese Evangelical Fellowship statement is an example. ‘We encourage our members to engage with this debate with the same spirit of grace that Bishop Steven has himself exhibited.’ The same courtesy, while strongly disagreeing, is evident in Vaughan Roberts’ piece. And Bishop Steven has been seeking out and meeting with his conservative clergy and sharing his thinking with them. Meanwhile some other sites listed here do need approaching with a stiff drink in hand.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

with a stiff drink in hand”

possibly cask strength

Christopher
Christopher
Reply to  Andrew Lightbown
1 year ago

Somewhat disappointed that +Portsmouth is the only diocesan to have “come out” in support of Dr.Inge!

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Christopher
1 year ago

I wish his twitter affirmations were backed up on the ground in reality.. just saying.

Kate
Kate
1 year ago

I have skim-read a few of these. I’m not certain that a full reading would be healthy for me – I am not ruling it out but certainly it’s not right for me today. I have two immediate reactions, however. 1. There is a sense in these that heterosexual sex is normal and homosexuality abnormal. That inherent bias of thought – that homophobia – makes the arguments they present suspect. If they recognised homosexuality as entirely normal but unfortunately not allowed by the Bible, it would be easier to believe that their writing was in good faith and without bias.… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

homosexuality as entirely normal It’s not quite clear what you mean by “entirely normal” here. In the numerical sense, quite a small proportion of the population are sexually active with members of the same sex (ONS figures show about 3% identifying as LGB). So it’s hardly usual, typical or ordinary (OED definition 1)(*). The question of whether it’s a prescriptive course of action or way of living (OED definition number 2) is precisely the point at issue. There is of course no logical connection between something being unusual and being morally right. It depends on what that thing is, hence… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Do you think Kate will read what you say and immediately rush to read the perspective of conservative evangelicals ?

Do you think you are saying something new or original ?

Do you think the likelihood of a settlement is improved by telling people dictionary definitions to show them why you are right and they are wrong ?

What exactly is your purpose in jabbing at her her like this. ?

I am a conservative evangelical. You need to stop

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

I am concerned to try and improve the quality of debate in these columns by exposing the underlying confusions, whether deliberate or not, in the use of certain ambivalent terms, such as “normal” or “expected”. I have no particular target audience in mind, other than the generality of those reading and commenting here. I do others the courtesy of explaining my reasoning. I don’t suppose any of that to be new or original: it is sadly not universal.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

So when Kate says “I’m not certain that a full reading would be healthy for me” you thought what would do her good would be a lesson in the underlying confusion of her thinking.

Do you actually read and think about the things people say on this site. Have you noticed any level of hurt or anger or distress ?

Maybe something to think about. Just make sure the spirit which motivates you is the Spirit of grace and truth.

if its not truth and grace, something else is at work in your head

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

I wanted to reply to you because you referenced me personally.

I am afraid the tone of your comments is so hostile I am not willing to engage with what you are saying.

Being bellicose with anybody is reprehensible.

Rupert B
Rupert B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Surely ‘entirely normal’ refers to homosexuality being a natural state within the expected range of human sexual orientation. There’s a definite and clear distinction for me between [1] Sexual Orientation, as an essentially innate and fixed point (and something that is therefore morally neutral), and [2] Sexuality, as the manifestation of one’s sexual identity (something that’s shaped by experiences, context and (to variable extents) decision making, and subject, as a result, to societal mores and moral judgement). For example, if two people are in a relationship, in a given set if circumstances, and they kiss, the moral value of that… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rupert B
1 year ago

use of those characteristics to question their members very validity is rarely seen as legitimate As you will have noticed, I said almost exactly the same thing: “There is of course no logical connection between something being unusual and being morally right. It depends on what that thing is, hence the debate.”. So we are in agreement here. Surely ‘entirely normal’ refers to homosexuality being a natural state within the expected range of human sexual orientation. This simply repeats the confusion. “Expected” in this context can mean either what one might observe in some proportion of situations; or what one… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

What exactly do you think you are achieving by this relentless pedantry

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

A productive debate involving among other things rational argument based on respect for the meanings of words.

Rupert B
Rupert B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Unreliable Narrator, we are not in agreement. While preponderance doesn’t unequivocally determine rectitude, as you say, my point was that there can be no element of the discussion that ‘depends on what the thing is’, the second half of your point, when the thing in question (sexual orientation) can’t legitimately be judged in moral terms given that it is innate and not acquired. This innate quality contrasts directly with behaviour (i.e. sexuality) which can be judged in moral terms, just as any behaviour might be, though any such judgement could only be legitimate if it were made independently of any… Read more »

Rupert B
Rupert B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

There seem to be at least three lenses on ‘what is right’: the logical, the theological and the political.

The relative priority given by somebody to each seems to determine their stance on this particular subject.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Dear ‘Unreliable Narrator’ Now I understand the nomenclature you are using for your comments here. this comment demonstrates the aptness of your chosen identity. Perhaps you need to look at every aspect of God’s creation – each of which, being created by God, might be considered ‘entirely normal – according to the mind of its Creator. Homosexuality used once to be thought of – by scientists as well as religious leaders – to be ‘abnormal’, even repulsive and sinful. It has been discovered to be within the range of normal sexual response for people so affected (10% of the human… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

The Bible hints that left-handedness is sinister. The elect are on the right. I’m left-handed, and I consider it entirely normal… even though it’s < 10% of the population.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Richard
1 year ago

Me too, Richard. Fortunately, no one in my schooldays tried to ‘convert’ me to right-handedness. (At that time, they didn’t know about my ‘other point of difference’; though knowing it myself did cause some trauma. But, no, I didn’t have to submit to ‘Conversion Therapy’, thank God)

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Not sure… I’ve always thought left-handed people are a bit dodgy… maybe the first arrivals of an alien race from Andromeda. My son’s left-handed, and he likes Marmite… go figure.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

I loathe Marmite. You’re the first person in a long while to imply I’m normal……

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

I’m old enough that we used nib pen and ink when I was in grammar school. One day the principal came into our classroom and announced that all left-handed students must learn to write with their right hand. The reason? The schools didn’t have enough desks with inkwells that swung out from the left side of the individual desks! I had beautiful (flowery) penmanship (thanks, no doubt, to my other point of difference!); my parents and others revolted. I remain left-handed, although I do use my mouse with my right hand.

Heliogabalus
Heliogabalus
Reply to  Richard
1 year ago

It isn’t normal to be left handed, but it is entirely natural and completely fine. Much like homosexuality.

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

“I just can’t conceive of Jesus being more concerned …”

Jesus of Nazareth? No. “Come to me, all of you who are heavy-burdened …” No copy of the Gospels I have heard read from the lectern or read myself has ever had any disclaimers, disqualifiers, fine print, etc.
Many of those who preach in his name? You bet! In a heartbeat. With no qualms whatsoever. Anything to affirm their conservative, allegedly-God-fearing credentials and bring in like-minded believers, and (more importantly, the believers’ money) to the cause of attacking the queers for fame and fortune.

Christopher Townsend
Christopher Townsend
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

Yes, the invitation is to all but in the next verse Jesus explains the invitation with these words: ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.’ The only way in which one can come to Jesus is by accepting his ‘yoke’. So, coming to Jesus brings with it the need to walk in step with Jesus and, one may add, that one should expect discipleship to feel burdensome at times … but this pathway is the only one to the ‘rest’ which Jesus offers. How Jesus defines the ‘yoke’ is the… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Christopher Townsend
1 year ago

May I point out that nowhere in Genesis is it even suggested that Adam and Eve “married”? That is, that they swore before God to be faithful to each other and only to each other forever? Wouldn’t the point have been moot, as there were no others for them to unfaithful with (unless, of course, we figure out who Cain’s wife was–“And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.”)

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

It’s a bit silly basing an argument on the example of people who didn’t exist.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I agree…but those who use the argument of what marriage was “in the beginning” are doing exactly that.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Christopher Townsend
1 year ago

‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.’

It doesn’t say ‘place a yoke on others’.

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

Brava! and Thank you!

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Christopher Townsend
1 year ago

Christopher, you may not know that your words here are still a form of judgement about those who happen to be same-sex attracted. You are still assuming that this is outside of God’s plan for creation. And yet its ubiquity – in the natural order – should help you to ‘think again’! Jesus did separate out the three types of ‘eunuch’ in Matthew 19, verse 12; where he identifies each in this way: (1) from birth; (2) made so by men; (3) those who have made themselves eunuchs ‘for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven’. (1) intrinsically (s/s attracted?)… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Father Ron Smith
Cynthia
Cynthia
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I have a hard time reading through it too. Similarly, I also don’t understand their view of Christianity. Jesus regularly violated Jewish practice in order to heal, comfort, teach, etc., because relationships and suffering took priority. Jesus was concerned with issues of justice, which trumped practice. It’s in our Scripture, the Gospels, which surely take precedence for followers of Jesus.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Cynthia
1 year ago

Jesus said many hard things too. Firstly, he gave absolute priority to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”, not to your neighbour (Matt 22:37). Since marriage is under discussion, “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage” (Matt 22:30). He told us “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:38) He told the rich man “go and sell what you have… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Oh, brother! If all true Christians felt that way, the sexual orientation and marital status of same-sex couples wouldn’t matter. But it does matter to those who see themselves as more Anglican than thou, to the conservatives who believe they are theologically correct. To borrow a striking passage I read in a novel about Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII completely out of its original context, the morally assured of themselves have taken the cross, sharpened the end opposite the cross piece and have turned it into a sword. Too many people, theologically correct CofE clergy included, need… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Your theology is that of the Pharisee. You burden others more than they can bear and revel in your own deep spirituality.

Rupert B
Rupert B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Isn’t the relationship one has with oneself in some way synonymous with the relationship one has with God? If one prevents oneself from doing something ‘that comes naturally’, isn’t one also preventing oneself from fully engaging with God?

Given the centrality of love within the New Testament, why would God create people who are capable of love, in the same form as the majority, but then simultaneously insist that it was wrong? Are gay people born with extra sin, are they special?

Cynthia
Cynthia
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Dear most Unreliable Narrator: Jesus said to love the Lord your God AND to love your neighbor as yourself. Loving God surely means loving God’s Creation, which includes LGBTQ+ people. So if you don’t love LGBTQ+ people then you are most certainly on the wrong path, both because we are part of God’s Creation AND because we are your neighbors. The marriage bits that you quote have nothing to do with LGBTQ+ marriage here on earth. Nothing. The thing that I know most of all is that Jesus never asked YOU to judge others or our marriages. You have a… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

“…because both the witness of nature in terms of human biology, and the witness of Scripture, tell us that God created human beings to have sexual intercourse with the opposite sex…” – Martin Davie

Davie shows the point I am making very forcefully. Many opposed to same sex marriage believe that gay sex is unnatural irrespective of Scripture.

Father David
Father David
1 year ago

Quite a surprise to see the Bishop of Oxford resurrecting the concept of the Third Province. Last time the issue was raised as a possibility was in response to the ordination of women but it came to nought. What are the chances of it becoming a reality in response to the possibility of the Church of England offeting same sex marriages?

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

I could write a fifty two page booklet on why Croft is wrong. To borrow fair comment about me from struggling Anglican, I could indulge my weakness for pedagogic grandeur to the full. I might even settle a few scores and do some nitpicking pedantry about the OED and the ONS. My non existent public audience will be spared such an essay. It would achieve nothing. Those of us who do not want change want us to walk apart as good neighbours. We want to share resources with a generosity of spirit. We want to wound nobody through reckless speech.… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

“We cannot agree with those who want change. We are determined to agree on everything else.” – Judaisers (circumcision party) v. Followers of Jesus!

‘Semper Eadem’ – the motto of Pope John XXIII at Vatican II – Still being resisted by opponents of Pope Francis’ embrace of the Council’s liberating decisions.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Ron, that is a bit ungenerous of you. I am attempting to extend the hand of peace.

Peter

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Dear Peter: – “Pax et Bonum” (Francis d’Assisi) to all Peacemakers!

Ezlxq
Ezlxq
1 year ago
Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Vaughan Robert’s response to Steven Croft’s essay is gracious and courteous, and in a debate often marred by rudeness and dismissiveness, I appreciate that. I have quite a few views on what he writes in it, but I’ll spread them out. I know I go on! From the outset he shows respect. As he says to his Bishop: “There is much we disagree about, but we are united in recognising the integrity of the other, as one who is seeking to be faithful to Christ. That’s lovely! An early interesting point he makes (p.3) is that he seems to view… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

(continuing thoughts on Vaughan Roberts’ response to the Bishop of Oxford…) Vaughan Roberts acknowledges: “There are many, and increasing, examples of long-term same-sex relationships, which exhibit admirable qualities” … which is honest… but he goes on to suggest they would still be admirable, if the sexual element was removed from their lives. I find this very hard to receive as an argument, even though he has lived this out for himself. It has worked for him, and I acknowledge it also works for others. But the argument that straight people may have all the joys and intimacy and tenderness of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

(continuing thoughts on Vaughan Roberts’ response to the Bishop of Oxford… last observations today…) I believe Vaughan Roberts’ prescription of celibacy for *all* gay and lesbian people… lifelong celibacy, bear in mind…does seem problematic when applied to all, not some. If gay and lesbian people have to endure “the furnace of suffering” as V.R. puts it with reference to the cost of general Christian calling on page 12, when it also comes to repressing their sexuality… That is one thing in words but, unlike heterosexual people who may enjoy their innate sexuality, gay and lesbian people are being asked to… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

The haughty Ian Paul (What is the Bishop of Oxford thinking?) must realise that the Church of England is in the last chance saloon, not simply because of the same-sex marriage issue of course.  There are myriad reasons why the church has failed to engage with all generations since Generation X, and especially Millennials and Gen Z. Hardly any of the diocesan bishops, who quite properly say they are creedally orthodox and subscribe to the doctrines of the Church of England, believe that the status quo on this issue can prevail for much longer, in my opinion. There are a lot of… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

You misrepresent conservative evangelicals. The general consensus in their public statements does object to Croft’s essay – are you saying they should not do so ?? – but places clear focus on Croft’s reference to differentiation.

CEEC are reaching out to GS to find people to talk to. You are on GS. I assume from your comments your are ready and willing to reciprocate.

If not, don’t imply conservatives are slow to focus on negotiation

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I’m simply saying that objecting to the Bishop of Oxford’s essay (which I don’t deny must be happening, not just in Oxford) is simply perpetuating the futile binary debate, about there will not be any further revelation. The Oxford DEF are grieved, poor souls. More mature is the statement from the CEEC. Differentiation is the way forward, and the essay helpfully addresses that, although I don’t happen to think that a Third Province will result. I am no longer a member of General Synod, having failed to get re-elected in 2021, who knows for what reason, but one was my… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

I think it’s unfortunate you were not elected back into GS A settlement will be achieved by reasoned analysis between people who fundamentally disapprove of each other’s position I think you understand the position almost exactly as I and a good many other conservatives do. It is self evident we disapprove of each other’s theology. If I was going to split hairs, I think you overstate the prospect of PCCs taking the opposite view to their clergy. Finding new clergy is hard work at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. That is a detail… Read more »

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

As a conservative of spiritual practice and prayer (16th Century Spain) and a social liberal (as you know, Peter) and an admirer of the evangelical tradition, and a catholic in other ways… I share your call for settlement. It’s the only way of resolving the reality on the ground in our divided Church. Divided as we are on this issue, we are Church… each of us… and we need to try to protect one another as far as possible, and pray for one another, because there’s a lot of pain. I particularly admire Anthony (and respect) because he has been… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

It would depend how widely any ‘vote’ is advertised: those parishioners in disagreement with the clergy aren’t as likely to attend so may not hear about any vote

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Fair point.

I think the constitutional reality is that the PCC view will have to be a proxy for the parish view.

A general public poll would be impossible. Who is eligible ? Who would conduct the poll ? Who would supervise any “campaign”.
What authority would the result have ? What would the question be and who would decide it ???

The questions go on and on

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Churchwarden elections involve a general public poll so why not on this? As to the question, that difficult seems the same whether a PCC decides it ofr the parishioners do so. Why not a nationally set resolution?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  T Pott
1 year ago

Church wardens are not elected by a general poll across a parish. They are elected by the people on the church electoral roll at the APCM. The church electoral roll is not any member of the public

american piskie
american piskie
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Surely “The Meeting of Parishioners includes anyone on the Electoral Roll, plus anyone resident in the parish whose name is on the register of local government electors, whether or not such a person attends the parish church.” is still the law of the land?

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  american piskie
1 year ago

Indeed it does, American Piskie. Any citizen of a Commonwealth country who lives in the parish should be on the local governement register, and is thereby entitled to attend the Meeting of Parishioners and vote for churchwardens. This, of course, includes people of all religions or none. Peter is talking about APCM – Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which is a different thing. That is restricted to church electoral roll members. APCMs have no role in electing churchwardens, who are the representativess of the parishioners as a whole, not the churchgoers in particular. I suspect same sex marriage is simply the… Read more »

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Financial action looks like it is looming. And I hear not just in this one parish.

https://anglican.ink/2022/11/05/parish-responses-to-oxford-call-for-gay-marriage-st-pauls-banbury-will-divert-its-parish-share/

Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Rich
1 year ago

Banbury is in the Diocese of Oxford. The same diocese where Evangelicals successfully thwarted Jeffrey John’s appointment as Bishop of Reading using similar financial threats.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Michael H
1 year ago

That is true but I am not sure what point you are making going back 20 years? Oxford Diocese today has an evangelical bishop who is taking a significant lead toward full inclusion and marriage – and local churches that reflect the fuller width of the evangelical tradition.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Michael H
1 year ago

I’m not sure what your point is I am in the Diocese of Oxford. We have four bishops who all believe in SSM.

The days of Jeffrey John are past

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Dave
Dave
Reply to  Rich
1 year ago

I find the comment in the St Paul’s Banbury statement rather amusing!

‘as Christians, we object to sex outside marriage in any form, not because we don’t like the idea of it, but because the Bible (which is our authority/rule) is clear in its rejection of it.’

It comes across as we nice people who really like the thought of sex outside marriage but unfortunately our God’s a bit of a tyrant on this one…

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Dave
1 year ago

Though I have no way of knowing, of all the couples that I happily joined together in holy matrimony I doubt if any of them were virgins on their wedding night.

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

One can’t help feeling a wee bit sorry for Ian Paul, and other Con/Evos who used to accept +Steven, Bishop of Oxford as one of their heroes, sharing their unreconstructed (mis)understanding of gender/sexuality identification in the modern world. Unfortunately for Ian, and his friends in the GAFCON/AMiE fraternity; Bishop Steven Croft – together with other Evangelical bishops who have now ‘seen the Light’, on the pastoral necessity of dealing with the reality of state recognition of same-sex committed relationships (in its provision of Civil Partnership and Same Sex Civil marriage) – are publicly regretting their former stance against a social… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Trying to be balanced, Ian Paul has a really good teaching gift and knowledge of the Bible. I do actually feel saddened for the distress people on all sides feel about this debate and our divisions. I don’t share Ian’s views on this topic, and approach the Bible in a different way to him, but we are all Christians, and brothers and sisters in Christ, and need to pray for one another. If Ian left the Church of England, it would be a loss. Same with Vaughan Roberts. We are (and have pretty much always) been a ‘broad church’ and… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I echo what Susannah says here. On so much else I have long valued Ian Paul as a creative and gifted theologian and I am grateful. It is very painful therefore that his only contribution to the debate at this point is to urge that folk like Bishop Steven and those of us who agree with him, book provincial ecclesiastical versions of chartered flights to Rwanda.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

A little harsh, David.

I thought Ian said less than I was expecting about what we should all do next.

I assume you are referencing the differentiation issue. We are going to end up walking apart as neighbours and there will be a row over who gets into the new province. Those for or against change

It is hardly a flight to Rwanda

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I believe Ian is on record as saying the affirming Anglicans in the C of E should join the Church in Wales. I think that’s what David is referring to.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

You’re right. I had not heard about his letter

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter. In a letter in the current Church Times Ian repeats what he has already suggested to Susannah on his blog discussion thread. ‘An obvious solution to our current impasse: invite those who want to change to accept oversight from … the Scottish Episcopal Church or … the Church of Wales.’

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Apologies. I had missed that. I think Ian is making a mistake with that one. It might actually be an option but clearly conservatives are not the right people to suggest it

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

And my response was: “No thanks. I’ve been a member of the Church of England all my life. My children are too. We’re not going anywhere. Nor should you. But if you can’t stomach that arrangement of us all co-existing together (I am willing to, are you?)… then it’s obvious that the opponent of co-existence and ‘accommodation of one another’ will be the person who needs some kind of alternative set up. Far better we all just co-exist and love each other. And get on with life in our parishes, helping the sick, visiting the elderly, comforting the bereaved. “I… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Once again, our Con/Evo friend. Ian Paul, demonstrates his fixed animosity against the prospect of change within the hearts and minds of Church of England bishops who – unlike himself and the pushy supporters of GAFCON – have discovered that society may be ahead of the Church on matters of social justice, and the degree of pastoral care that ought to be offered to people ‘on the margins’. Here, he questions the article by +Steven, Bishop of Oxford, who admits his former prejudice against the Church’s acceptance of committed, monogamous Same-Sex relationships.Bishop Steven says:“We now have a profound dislocation between… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Ian Paul needs to be careful about proclaiming “the historical reality of the early church”. Just as we are re-examining the history of colonialism and finding to be not as moral and good as we would like to believe, scholars are examining the history of the early church, and finding its growth to have a dark side, and to be based partly on mob-violence and political power. The church has a long history of forcibly imposing its doctrine on others. https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/killing-hypatia Those who proclaim freedom of religious conscience are often unwilling to offer such freedom to others. Even the sainted… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I think many in the “early church” would be very surprised at some of the things being taught about marriage since about 1950 on. Students of the history of the church’s engagement with marriage (n.b., the church didn’t invent it!) know just how variable marriage rules and customs have been; from “early” prohibitions of marriage outside the faith (still in effect in many churches), or second marriages in widowhood (sometimes tolerated with disdain), to “spiritual” marriages that were never “consummated” — the list goes on. Now, of course, it is true that all of these marriages were mixed-sex arrangements; but… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
1 year ago

Agreed Tobias. It is amazing how few Christians take a long view of history.

But according to James Boswell some of your “spiritual” marriages were same sex, and I would argue that one needs to loose one’s naivety, and wonder if absolutely all of these spiritual marriages (gay or straight) were celibate behind closed doors.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Dawson
Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

Just so. Human life is much more complicated than many are willing to accept. All those “roommates,” “just good friends,” “confirmed bachelors,” and “female companions” of yore were able to use social conventions as so much camouflage. And society (church and secular) was generally polite enough not to poke into their bedrooms. But now things that “dare not speak their name” are shouting from the rooftops (one might say, in fulfillment of prophecy). Will the church be able to adapt in this as it has so comfortably with all of the other changes? I have seen it happen here in… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I’ve got to say… Cranmer’s article is very well written, with acute observations and reflections. Countering his realistic fears – which are well-grounded – I personally hope that the fall out of change would be relatively limited to activists at either end of the debate who demand ‘absolute’ outcomes in their favour. My belief is that most people in the Church of England just want to carry on with parish life, and may be content with a policy of ‘accommodation’. I think there is this large central group who are content to co-exist in their parishes with fellow Christians with… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I totally agree, and just wish it could be so.

Adrian
Adrian
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

I do not claim to be an expert on this topic, though I fear much of the C of E is going to spend an absolutely huge amount of time on it in the near future. It is of course a really important issue which needs urgent attention, but I fear that may end up being to the exclusion of other important urgent issues too. This is not an argument for ignoring it or delaying it even further, quite the contrary, but merely a request that the C of E increases its capacity so that it can address multiple urgent… Read more »

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 year ago

I fear Cranmer is right. it will not be two integrities. It will be like the Vichy government, ever more squeezed. Better to separate entirely. Can there really not be a province of TEC (The Episcopal Church) set up in the UK ? And parishes depart with buildings, clergy, assets? And continue to be paid centrally. Good separation is better than this mess.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Jimmy
1 year ago

Why would TEC want to adopt the rump of conservatives who can’t accommodate the idea of priests being able to obey their conscience in this matter? Surely GAFCON’s new vanity exercise in Europe would be a better fit?

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

There seems to be some confusion here. My understanding, particularly from Ian Paul’s letter in the current CT, is that Con-Evos see their preferred solution as being that the liberals leave the CofE and seek consolation in the arms of TEC, not the conservatives. If it were to be the conservatives who left, you are quite right that Gafcon’s offshoots would suit them better.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

I think Jo was pointing out in a whimsical way that those who affirm gay sexuality would be staying in the Church of England, in the event that the bishops chose to accommodate both theological positions in the Church. So then if anyone isn’t willing to stay in the Church because they absolutely insist there must only be their view, that’s their decision. It hasn’t mainly been ‘liberal’ voices who have refused to co-exist, though some may. That was my understanding anyway. We are going nowhere. Nor should ‘conservatives’, I hope.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

I refer to my post on the other active thread about the need to take the established status of the Church of England into account.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when the Archbishop of Canterbury briefs King Charles, the Prime Minister, the press, and other assorted establishment figures that the preferred solution is for the church to split, the non-gay affirming part will remain as the established church, and all the SSM affirming churches will be disconnected from the main body.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

That is nobody’s idea of a settlement.

A new province is not a split. Nobody becomes disestablished

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I think I would reserve judgement about whether or not a new province is a split until I see whether ordained clergy from the two solitudes are welcome to preside and preach in each other’s churches. If they aren’t, sorry, but that’s a split—no different at all from the relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Network in Canada.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

And, Tim; it is precisely what the GAFCON/ACNA sodality is hoping will happen in the U.K. and Europe. With Ian Paul’s so obvious approval of the 3 new bishops being ordained in Hull, recently, for the expansion of GAFCON; this will surely encourage dissidents like himself to move to that sodality. This seems to me to be the only answer for principled anti-gay people (like Ian) currently in the C. of E., to continue to propagate their institutional homophobia and sexism. This will leave the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion free to preach the Good News of the Gospel… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

It’s is none of the above. Nobody wants anybody to end up in the arms of a foreign party (forgive my old fashioned vernacular)

There surely will be a new UK province.

Who goes in it will be the argument.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter, a slight correction. I think you mean a new English province, not a new UK province. There is no call for any such thing in the Anglican/Episcopal churches of Wales, Scotland, or Ireland.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Sorry ! You are of course right

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Thank you, Peter (and Susannah, Simon and Tim) for your posts in response to mine. I stick to my view that there is much confusion and uncertainty. You (Peter) seem very certain that you know what the outcome will be but Ian Paul seems equally certain that the Con-Evos have the numbers to block change or to drive the liberals out. I agree with Anthony Archer that a new province is unlikely to fly. It didn’t fly 20 years ago for women priests, and later bishops, and I don’t think the case is any stronger now over SSM. If there… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

Malcolm, I do not know why you think I am certain what the outcome will be. Nothing could be further from the truth. The difference between the issue with the ordination of women situation and now can be summarised in two words. Philip North. The fiasco surrounding him made it clear people will never follow through on good faith settlements. A few front people said what was needed to get out of the negotiating room 20 years ago and everybody in favour of the ordination of women immediately disowned the settlement. They did so on the grounds it was immoral… Read more »

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

You are right in the relevance of the event to the present topic but not, I think, when you suggest bad faith. Rather the problem was clericalism. The bishops think that they can tell the church what to do. Some clergy suffer from the same arrogance – you can see it in some of the reactions to the Bishop of Oxford. On many issues, they are right because the herd is apathetic. This though is another issue in which the herd isn’t apathetic. I think +Oxford has recognised that. Ultimately the herd – which includes all those who think of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter is (I believe) right on this. The Philip North debacle was disastrous for trust. Thereafter, people being offered settlements will bring it to mind, and wonder whether arrangements will be honoured. They will recall Philip North, and be very very wary of the ‘slippery slope’ phenomenon. Compromise chipped away, as other party asks for more and more. (And I say that as a strong supporter of women’s ordination.)

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I was going to reply to Peter on this but, since he has withdrawn, I will reply to you. I disagree that the Philip North matter was a breach of trust or is relevant to the subject of this thread. As the Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, said in his report, the fundamental problem was that no-one in the Sheffield CNC ever considered if a male bishop who would not ordain women, and did not recognise women as priests, would be acceptable in the diocese. It quickly became apparent that it would not be acceptable, when the many women priests… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

Mawer said no such thing because it would be an egregious example of rejecting the settlement.

A bishop of North’s convictions being rejected because of those convictions. That is precisely the point !

Women priests who have had enough of bishops who did not agree with them. In what possible sense is that anything other than rejecting the terms of the settlement.

Reject a settlement in principle if you wish but take responsibility for your decision.

I am, as you say, done but this was too much to leave unchallenged

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Reluctant as I am to prolong a largely irrelevant diversion from the subject of this thread, you too have said things which cannot be left unchallenged. I doubt that we will ever be able to agree on this matter, but please let me point out some factual corrections. You accuse me of misrepresenting what Mawer said in his report. Let me offer in evidence the first para from a CT report from 15th Sept 2017:- THE botched nomination of the Rt Revd Philip North to the see of Sheffield in January this year stemmed from one simple omission, a review… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

I am closer to your position on the Sheffield debacle than that of Peter or Susannah. I have re-read the Mawer report. I not sure what Peter is challenging in your summary. I would only say it was more complicated on all sides. In particular I think there were real failings on all sides and appalling insensitivity particularly to women priests and in a city with a long honourable history in progressive pioneering views on the place of women in society. It was a very strange appointment and as Mawer notes it caught everyone by surprise – including Bishop North… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Mawer’s conclusion was that there had been a failure to explain to the diocese that the settlement included the scope for a diocesan to be appointed who was not a supporter of the ordination of women. It was never any part of the settlement that clergy could veto the choice of a bishop. It is simply impossible to claim that North’s treatment was consistent with the principle of mutual flourishing. I am not ignoring the arguments that are being made against his appointment. I am just pointing out you cannot have your cake and eat it. You cannot say his… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

‘You cannot say…’ I did not. It was a mess in all sorts of ways. But I do find it one-sided to only focus on the supposed injustice and breach of trust done to Bishop Philip in this story. I am fully committed to keeping a hospitable place in the church for those who cannot accept the ordination of women. But it is a strange idea of mutual flourishing that allows one side, that does not believe in the validity of the existence of the other, to practice legal discrimination against them in employment practice, on the basis of gender.… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Thank you David, for your wise and helpful posts above, with which I entirely agree. Your last point is particularly important. ‘Mutual flourishing’ is one of many terms in the flawed settlement which were left deliberately vague so that they could be taken to mean different things by the two sides. Without this deliberate vagueness the settlement would probably not have gone through, but it has left us with different understandings which will go on causing disputes from time to time . As you say, but in different words, no flourishing can be mutual if, in order for one side… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
Reply to  Jimmy
1 year ago

I have a humble, out-of-the-box suggestion. Why don’t the non-affirming priests and parishioners worship at the 8 am service and affirming priests and parishioners worship at the 10:30 am service?

Just self-separate and don’t worry about the buildings! Just share them, in the spirit of Christ. There were actually a couple of TEC/schismatic congregations that actually did that.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 year ago

Prejudice is still prejudice even when given so-called theological justification. It is possible to promote the most outlandish beliefs backed up by theological gibberish. Witness the evangelical Trump supporters who promote lies based on biblical quotes. Or Patriarch Kirill’s justification for Putin’s ghastly war. Theology is useless as an empirical guide to what is true. Ian Paul’s opinions are no more “true” than any contrary view. Using religion to argue against gay marriage is a waste of time. Gay people should ignore conservative evangelicals and get on with their lives.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Conservative evangelicals are too often actually Pharisees and much of the supposed conservative comment on this site is from Pharisees

SSM is wrong. When you encounter somebody who enjoys the cost that is to you, they are a Pharisee

Ignore them and get on with your life

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

“SSM is wrong”. That is simply your opinion. Giving a theological reason doesn’t make you right. It’s still just an opinion.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

My conviction is that it is wrong was my meaning. My shorthand was too haughty.

I have actually altered my understand over recent weeks. Not in the sense that I believe something different about marriage.

What I have come to see is that there is a school “conservative theology” that enjoys slapping people around and telling them they do not know what they are talking about. You see them on this site. They do enormous harm and are of course, biblically illiterate.

They need to shut up, though of course that will not happen.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Can I just say, Peter, that I sincerely admire your courage in acknowledging the Pharisaic tendencies within conservatism? It is a hard thing to identify the sins which our own “side” is prone to. For those of us who believe equal marriage is right and good, we have to acknowledge that there are some who agree with us who simply see it as “moving with the times”, as if that were ever a good in itself.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

It is a hard thing to identify the sins which our own “side” is prone to.

Quite so. Each extreme is prone to congratulate itself and correspondingly denigrate the other, in equally unpalatable ways. Luke 18:9-14.

Harry
Harry
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter, I really appreciate your irenic comments here. I do wonder, however, if you might think about your use of the word ‘Pharisee’. It’s long been shorthand in Christianity for ‘religious bigot’, but from what we know of the actual Pharisees in second-temple Judaism they were anything but, and Jesus’s occasional swipes at them have to be read in the context of intra-Jewish debate on types of Law and the keeping thereof. (In fact the Pharisees were the progressive party, and were we to transplant them to today, I wonder if they’d be the ones arguing for SSM against the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

More on Vaughan Roberts’ courteous and gracious response to Steven Croft: I have a bit of a problem with the way V.R. positions devoted gay relationships within the context of hedonistic individualism, the sexual revolution, and its ‘bad fruit’. He shares Steven Croft’s opinion that the issue of sexuality has contributed to a ‘significant dislocation between Church and Society’ (page 13) creating challenges in communicating the gospel. Full credit for acknowledging that. However, V.R. does not mainly blame the Church for the fact that its rules on sex are ‘now often regarded as harmful and even immoral’ but instead, points… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Susannah Clark
Peter
Peter
1 year ago

I am going to take a break from Thinking Anglicans, which will be a relief to the moderators and probably others. I thought as I leave I would a say a few things about myself. I became a christian through a christian person who lived with same sex attraction. I saw them suffer and struggle as consequence. I was last in touch with them thirty five years ago. I owe everything I have in this world that I hold dear to that person’s fragile and broken faith in Christ. Of course, I also owe her everything I have in the… Read more »

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

Peter, while I am sorry to lose such a gracious fellow-contributor, I do wish you well. You have helped me (and I suspect helped others here) aspire to more kindness and grace in the way we speak to one another across the divide of contrasting theological views. Thank you sincerely.

Should you ever like a phone chat with me, I’m sure you can track me down via my whisperedlove.com website. God bless you and God bless your wife, brother-in-Christ and child of God.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I think I might join you… more pointless, vacuous, embittered and embattled statements from very silly and disillusioned rather than thinking Anglicans. Enjoy fiddling whilst Rome burns. Death seems more attractive.

Valerie Aston
Valerie Aston
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Thank you for your honesty. However, with at least one other contributor I do wish and fervently pray that the CofE would stop picking bits out of its navel and focus on the poverty, distress and despair that stalk this country, and endeavour to support those who labour to relieve these blights.
pace e bene

Paul Kennington
Paul Kennington
1 year ago

Vaughan’s article is gently and personally written, but I’m amazed anyone really pushes the binary interpretations of Genesis 1,2 &3 as unquestioned or unquestionable or that Jesus’s comments about putting away /divorce are about complementarianism rather than women’s rights is in any way evident from the text. The argument about ‘male and female’ being a continuum in each human (Adam) – as it is in God creating light and darkness, sea and dry land, (rather than ‘night or day’ male or female’ is so well established as an alternative by now. It’s all a bit old hat

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Paul Kennington
1 year ago

Whilst I agree with you about Vaughan’s interpretation of scriptural sexual ethics, I think the important issue at hand actually has little to do with sexuality, and everything to do with ecclesiology, and how one manages difference, both within a church and with the world. Again a long view of history can help. Since Constantine the Christian church, through becoming a state religion, has had the ability to forcibly impose it’s sexual ethics on others, even non Christians, using all available means. (It started torturing and castrating pagan homosexuals about the sixth century). It carried that power through the colonial… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Dawson
Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

It’s worth noting that the “long view” of history presented here is selective to the point of distortion. The persecution of homosexuals, grouped together with pagans, was indeed driven by the church, and lasted for about 20 years before the final collapse of the Western Empire. It was the emperor Justinian, not the Eastern church, who revived the extreme penalties. The laws against homosexuality faded away in the West during the Dark Ages. The “imperial epoch” covers half a millennium and several different empires. The Spanish Empire, for one, went hand in hand with an expansion of the Catholic church:… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

As always, Unreliable Narrator, we will have to agree to differ.

Best wishes.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I do agree with Paul Kennington that Vaughan Roberts’ article is gently and personally written. It is like a voice of calm amid the more raucous arguments in these debates. However, I will omit commentary on the scripture section of his article, because frankly these points have been hammered back and forth for 60 years, and been done to death. I will leave his points about scripture to him and the bishop. Vaughan Roberts does write with integrity, but at certain points I am left unconvinced. There is, for example, the frequent claim that ‘churches that are full of young… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
1 year ago

Meanwhile… the entire country is engulfed in a social crisis. And the church is side-tracked again in an angry discussion about who can marry who (or to whom can we be married)!? I would love some posts on here about the rise in prices, the work of churches and foodbanks in local communities, and of how – or whether – we have shifted from Temple’s vision of the Welfare State and does it exist any more, and should the church be part of that partnership with state, local government and tertiary bodies? So many questions we need to think about… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Quite astonishing (but predictable) threat to the House of Bishops from its former Theological Adviser. Do other than restate the church’s doctrine on marriage and God will hold you accountable. The ‘or else’ argument; change has consequences. This is theological sword fighting at its most acrimonious. The game’s up for these ConEvos. The sensible ones among them (as the CEEC press statement makes clear) are moving on. Differentiation and settlement are perfectly possible, rather then red lines in the sand until the tide sweeps you away.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

I think the biggest problems face those on either so-called ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ wings who insist their view must be imposed on everyone else. It simply denies the reality that, like it or not, the Church of England has deeply divided views and consciences on sexuality. The extreme ‘absolutist’ seems to refuse to countenance any kind of ‘accommodation’ of both views, and yet that is the de facto reality on the ground. And then the ‘absolutist’ is backing him/her/themselves into a corner, and threatening division, schism, the need for one side to go elsewhere. That’s been the story of Christian… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

The Roman Catholic church accepted married Church of England priests and bishops. They fudged it by adding a new structure – the Ordinariate. I am no expert but I understand that the Catholic church has a grand history of pragmatic fudges. There is growing realisation on both sides that a similar structural fudge ought to be possible in the Church of England.

John Holding
John Holding
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Kate — the RC church has been accepting married Anglican priests outside (and I dare say inside) the CofE for several decades without a structure such as the ordinariate. But the acceptance is on an individual basis and does not include the various corporate accommodations to CofE liturgy that the ordinariate (in England) allows.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Sorry Anthony but you’ve lost me. This is now a very long thread, but I can’t see anywhere in it to what you are referring. To which theological adviser are you referring – Isabelle Hamley or Jeremy Worthen or another? And what have they said and where?

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

Malcolm AA is referring to the piece by Martin Davie. A layman, he was theological advisor to the H of B having previously been a lecturer at Oak Hill. He has written a lot esp a commentary on the 39 Articles, the BCP Catechism etc. He sets great store by confessional documents including the Jerusalem Declaration. He has his own blog “An Anglican Theologian”

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

Martin Davie!

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

Thank you, Anthony and Perry for enlightening me. I will confess to never having heard of Martin Davie, and having read what he has said in the linked piece, I rather wish I still hadn’t heard of him! If he was advising the HoB for 13 years, no wonder we are in the mess we are in. Who on earth appointed him? Carey, I suppose. I can’t imagine the blessed Rowan having anything to do with him.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

I couldn’t possibly comment!

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

I was tickled pink to find that Mr Davie’s publisher is called Gilead. Readers or viewers of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ will know all the connotations of that title. If the ConEvos get their way and the established Church of England is spiritually cleansed and populated only by sola scriptura heterosexuals or repressed gays, with liberals and even moderates being expelled into other churches, we’ll be well on the way to forming Gliead England. Blessed Day!

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

Ugh… ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I much prefer ‘Gilead’ by Marilynne Robinson, which is a really sensitive, beautiful novel.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

To get to the nitty-gritty of possible solutions and settlements… Vaughan Roberts suggests that gay-affirming Christians could be shunted into a new Province, while the geographical diocesan core of the Church of England would remain ‘conservative’ and retain the teaching that gay sex is sinful.

I report this in detail in my following post, and why it is completely unacceptable, and could not fly.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

In his conciliatory and well-mannered article, Vaughan Roberts agrees with Steven Croft that “the current situation is unsustainable”. And yet he still urges bishops to “resist calls for change and instead re-affirm and uphold our current teaching and liturgy” (p.37). He is entitled to his view, but that will take the ‘unsustainable’ situation precisely nowhere. The compensation he offers: ‘conservatives’ will “apply this teaching with integrity, grace and sensitivity”. But it is continuing to insist on the teaching that is no longer “sustainable”… not the nice way it might be carried out. To V.R.’s credit he shares Steven Croft’s desire… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Vaughan Roberts has to hold to the position he does, else all those who identify themselves as ‘same sex attracted’ and espouse a celibate lifestyle will be cast adrift from the doctrinal moorings they crave. I sympathise, but also cannot accept that what they think is right for them must be right for others. As clearly it isn’t. As to the notion that revisionists should go off to TEC or some other church and leave the ConEvos as the traditional Church of England, that would be as fatuous as having suggested the same in the context of women bishops!

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I find it encouraging and inspiring that on my side of the Atlantic Karen Keen, who is an affirming evangelical and in a same-sex marriage (and the author of some excellent books, by the way), is very good friends with Wesley Hill (also an author), who is a ‘Side B’ gay evangelical committed to celibacy. I don’t get why VR thinks that can’t happen.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

This is the thing. We should stop trying to distance each other, and should co-exist with goodwill, while still holding our own views. The suggestion that supporters of marriage for all should be put in a lifeboat (their own non-geographical province) while the main C of E ship sails on, condemning gay sex… is non-viable. We live, serve and worship in our geographical dioceses and parishes, and will continue to do so. We are all ‘Church’.

Cheryl Collins
Cheryl Collins
1 year ago

it may seem trivial, but as I clicked onto the site I noticed the archive and wondered when Thinking Anglicans had come into existence-2003. I clicked a month at random which happened to be September and what was the topic of discussion? You guessed it- homosexuality and the church. I find that profoundly depressing…

Valerie Aston
Valerie Aston
Reply to  Cheryl Collins
1 year ago

Me too.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Cheryl Collins
1 year ago

Yep SOS!

James Byron
James Byron
1 year ago

For years, I’ve been calling for diocesans to speak out, so full credit where it’s due. Thank you +Oxford, +Portsmouth, +Worcester, and the brave suffragans. You’ve made my heart glad.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

Such an intense debate with such strong feelings.
There is so much of potentially cataclysmic significance going on with global warming, poverty and the Ukraine etc etc.
Why is it that good Christian folk get so energised by what other good Christian people do with their dangly bits in committed relationships…and in private?

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Joshua Penduck’s article is ‘conservative’ but very intelligently developed. This site is called ‘Thinking Anglicans’. Joshua’s article is a very challenging critique of the ‘liberal’ position on sexuality. His defence of ‘conservative’ opinion is less the ‘sound-bite’ and the attrition of trench warfare over proof texts… more thematic and radical (in the root sense), unfolding along an almost symphonic deployment of reason and logic. It is worth reading, as a ‘liberal’ Christian, to confront one’s own suppositions, and try to see if/how they hold up. I think this is one of the most convincing presentations of the ‘conservative’ case, which… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

It is certainly a far more thoughtful take than any I have seen previously. The bit that seems shaky to me is the insistence that (when it comes down to it) tab A slot B compatibility is of overriding importance. I don’t think that one can so easily separate the “will” from the “body” and consider one fallen and the other not. More generally, I would suggest that just because God intended a particular purpose in creating something does not mean other uses of them are indicative of the fall. God, by this argument, designed legs for walking; but surely… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

‘God, by this argument, designed legs for walking; but surely no-one would argue that cycling is indicative of the fall?’
But then if God intended us to walk upright why did he give us two front legs?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Thank you, Jo. I’m going to use your observations as useful input when I have time to re-read Joshua’s article with a fine tooth-comb. Right now I am immersed in a key chapter of my own book (unrelated to these things), so I will need to clear a weekend to read and reflect in detail.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

It further occurs to me: can one reasonably have recognition of same-sex romantic pairings without first recognising marriage as a partnership of equals? In fact the failure of the early church to recognise same-sex couples is not merely of a piece with the lack of recognition of women but an almost inevitable consequence of it, given the classical attitudes in terms “giving” and “receiving” partners in male-male relationships.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Susannah, I will have to agree with Jo on this. His whole argument is based on principles that are themselves far from evident. Reliance on arguments from nature (his insistence that the sexual body in itself somehow proves a divine purpose) fall short when they reduce that body in the way he does. It is a principle he would never apply to any other part of the anatomy. And modern science has revealed things about human anatomy that few conservatives would want to attribute to a divine mandate (e.g., the clitoris exists for pleasure; the shape of the penis is… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
1 year ago

Thanks for your reading of the text, Tobias. I agree that the clitoris does seem to serve a different function than the actual mechanics of reproduction, but I think Joshua suggests (I’ll need to check when I have more time) that while reproduction is demonstrably the evolutionary (and divinely-created?) reason for sperm, ovaries etc… pleasure is not ruled out as part of the reproductive function (because, I am supposing, if sex is made pleasurable, that makes reproduction more likely in evolutionary terms). Of course, my own view is that the clitoris is perfectly fine itself, for pleasure, let alone reproduction.… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Thanks, Susannah. This raises the larger problem of the fact that the pleasure is (by choice and by nature) divisible from the procreative function. If one wants to argue about “design” (whether evolutionary or divine!) it is true that human beings, unlike many creatures, are capable of, and indulge in, sexual intercourse when procreation is impossible; and that entirely naturally, i.e., after menopause, or during the “infertile period.” So a central plank of the argument fails, and we are left with the circular reasoning that only mixed-sex couples are capable of mixed-sex sexual acts.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
1 year ago

And modern science has revealed things about human anatomy that few conservatives would want to attribute to a divine mandate (e.g., the clitoris exists for pleasure; the shape of the penis is designed for polygamy, etc.) Modern science has revealed nothing of the kind, of course, since it does not claim to make statements about intention or design. What science might reasonably claim to say is that a certain anatomical feature has a certain physical or biological effect or function, and then to hypothesise is that the effect has a certain evolutionary advantage — and even that is hard to substantiate… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

My point, U.N., is that attribution of divine intent or design is part of Penduck’s approach, and that his reading does not cover the evidence at hand. He doesn’t prove anything unless you accept his underlying proposition that the form of the sexual organs in exercise of procreative function limits them to that function by divine intent. Of course, science doesn’t argue for design in advance by intent, but design in practice, as a result of evolutionary forces shaping things. In this case, the shape of the penis is explained by just the process you describe (or so some scientists… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Tobias Stanislas Haller
11 months ago

Thankfully I’m completely ignorant of all of this anatomical debate! The vulgar poem about the item concerned, in the film ‘Aces High’ is about as far as I would wish to understand, and much of the above debate is completely lost on me. Having said that, having read Vaughan Roberts’ remarks, like Susannah, I liked what he had to say very much and agreed with him. I did read Bishop Steven’s pamphlet on line, and was left bewildered by it – in all honesty would not have seen him as a charismatic evangelical from what he said. Before reading through… Read more »

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

There’s a Twitter thread by Charlie Bell which has some responses:

https://twitter.com/charliebelllive/status/1590675302753382402?s=20&t=FGMPiZeyp2RWvxgIAlnxKQ

158
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x