After the very expensive ‘holding operation’ of the Shared Conversations and the production of GS2055, the inevitable crisis in the C of E is now upon us; one that cannot be covered up by more platitudes about reconciliation and unity.
There is a better way. …”
Video from the Church of England General Synod debate on same sex marriage, 15th February 2017.
A very encouraging and sobering 3 minute speech.
“A report from the House of Bishops about marriage and same sex relationships has received a significant setback in a vote at the General Synod in London. It is an embarrassing symbolic rejection of the Bishops’ report which had stated that there should be no change in the church’s teaching while calling for a “fresh tone” on the issues. Speaking before the vote, the Archbishop of Canterbury said he believed passionately that the report that had been worked on and struggled with was a roadmap and he promised the church would find a new “inclusion.”
However many speakers in the debate said the report was not clear enough or did not go far enough. …
some evangelical members of Synod also expressed concern, fearing that the Bishops’ report was a softening of the guidelines on sexual morality.”
– This report from The Anglican Communion News Service. Photo credit: Lam Pal. ACNS.
See also: Church of England Bishops’ Report: More Questions than Answers – Canon Phil Ashey, American Anglican Council, 04 February 2017.
How can the church be a light in the darkness of the secular world?
Listen here, 62 minutes.
“Personally, I believe the most worrying element of the [Bishop’s Report on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships] is the way the bishops have reinterpreted the law of the C of E about where our doctrine can be found. They appear to sideline Scripture and the traditional formularies of the Church, in favour of finding the boundaries of freedom in Canon Law.”
– from an interview with Reform’s Susie Leafe, speaking about the Church of England’s General Synod, meeting tonight (Australian time).
Link via Anglican Mainstream.
“GAFCON UK welcomes the publication of the OneBodyOneFaith statement “A time to build”.
The statement is admirably clear in its wholesale abandonment of any pretence that OneBodyOneFaith has any respect for Biblical authority or any interest in the wellbeing of global Anglicanism. …”
– GAFCON UK responds with clarity to yet another call to ditch the authority of God’s word.
– Story from The Australian. (subscription only)
Student priests at Westcott House in Cambridge organised the evensong service on Tuesday in the college chapel. …”
– Story from The Guardian. Photo (not of the event described above) from Westcott House.
Westcott House History:
“Westcott House began its life in 1881 as the Cambridge Clergy Training School whose first president was the then Regius Professor of Divinity, Brooke Foss Westcott. A pioneering and respected New Testament scholar himself, the school was the product of Westcott’s own passionate concern to raise the standard of clergy education and so took the name of its founder after his death. … ”
“For the last week I have been digesting the ‘Report from the House of Bishops on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations,’ known by its shorthand as GS (General Synod) 2055.
This “Report” was a document prepared by the Church of England’s Bishops and presented to the Church’s General Synod last week. The perspective of LGBT pressure groups within the Church of England is that they were betrayed by the Bishops’ upholding the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage. Some are even hinting at going ahead with same sex marriage in defiance of the bishops.
The disappointment of the LGBT community has been matched by suspicion and criticism from Biblically orthodox Anglicans in the Church of England. To them, GS 2055 is a Trojan Horse. The Bishops’ failure to define boundaries in a clearly Biblical way ensures a theological incoherence that will permit ‘generous pastoral provision’ for LGBT couples to will quickly become facts on the ground (new liturgies and blessings) that make the Church’s teaching on marriage a mere shell.
I sympathize with those suspicions because of my experience with such ‘Trojan Horse’ reports in The Episcopal Church as it marched to gay marriage.
Despite my sympathies, I have tried to find an objective point between the hermeneutics of suspicion and the hermeneutics of hope. I’ve tried to read all 19 pages of GS 2055 inductively, asking what the text really says. All 19 pages are agonizing to read—rather like an essay which reads ‘on the one hand’ and ‘on the other hand’ with no resolution. Except of course for the resolve that ‘it is hubristic for anyone to propose that there is one definitive answer which solves all the moral, ethical and missiological problems we face.’ (para. 7) …
Barbara Gauthier goes on to make a telling observation, from paragraph 65 of the Report:
‘65. ….To maintain an unambiguous position on [the] doctrine [of marriage] while enabling a generous freedom for pastoral practice that does not directly and publicly undermine it is entirely consistent with our traditions and is a perfectly coherent approach to take. (emphasis added)
The implication would seem to be that whatever might ‘directly and publicly’ undermine the doctrine of marriage may be perfectly admissible if done ‘indirectly and privately.’ The progressive wing of the Episcopal Church used that ploy for years, surreptitiously establishing facts on the ground, until it couldn’t be ignored any longer.’…”
– From The American Anglican Council’s Canon Phil Ashey. Read it all here.
“Last week I had the privilege of giving evidence to the Australian Senate Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill. … The Committee was considering the terms of an Exposure Draft Bill which had been released last year by the Commonwealth Attorney-General, as the sort of legislation which might be introduced were Australians to support change of the law in this way in a plebiscite. …
While the proposal for a plebiscite on the issue was defeated in Parliament last year, the Senate obviously considers it worthwhile discussing the merits of the Exposure Draft, as it represents to some extent Government thinking on what the change might look like. …”
– at Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster argues that “balancing clauses protecting the religious freedom of those involved in solemnising and celebrating same sex marriages must be an important part of any legislation introducing same sex marriage into Australia”.
The Senate inquiry into the exposure draft of the legislation allowing same-sex marriage has been holding public hearings in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra this week. The government has vowed the issue must be put to a plebiscite first, although a bill to enable a public vote was defeated the first time it was introduced into the Senate.
However, the committee is still examining enabling legislation which would be introduced, if a plebiscite were to result in a vote in favour of same-sex marriage.
The Diocese of Sydney made a submission to the public inquiry [PDF download], and the Chair of the Religious Freedom Reference Group, the Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead, appeared at the inquiry. Bishop Stead was called alongside the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. …”
Update: The Australian Christian Lobby also has a report, with a copy of their submission.