Same-sex spouses of Bishops will not be invited to Lambeth – but the Bishops in those same-sex marriages will

“I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend.

But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies. …”

– ‘Secretary General of the Anglican Communion’, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon speaks of “the global excitement about the Lambeth Conference”. (Link added.)

Pictured:

Bishop of Toronto Kevin Robertson (left) who is in a same-sex ‘marriage’, is being invited to the 2020 Lambeth Conference, as is Bishop Susan Bell of the Diocese of Niagara (centre), who officiated at the marriage ceremony in St. James’ Cathedral, Toronto.

Mohan Sharma (right), as spouse of Bishop Robertson, has not been invited. (Thanks to Anglican Samizdat.)

Religious ‘vilification’ not unlawful in NSW

“In an important decision on religion and free speech in NSW, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled today in Ekermawi v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2019] NSWCATAD 29 (15 Feb 2019) that it is not a breach of the law in NSW to make offensive comments about a religion.

However, the case involved some difficult issues of law, and while the outcome seems correct, it may foreshadow a restrictive approach to free speech in other cases in the future…”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Senate committee report on “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill

“The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has now (Feb 14, 2019) tabled its Report on the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018, a Private Senator’s Bill introduced last year by Senator Wong with the support of the ALP. (The background to the Bill can be found in previous posts on this blog, starting here, the most recent of which was here.)

The recommendation of the majority is that the Bill not be approved, and instead that the Bill and related issues “be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission for full and proper consideration” (para 3.86). …

However, in the current Parliamentary situation in Australia at the moment … it is worth noting the dissenting ALP senators’ report.”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster provides an update on the Senate committee report on the proposed “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill.

From two murder victims to one

“The horror of abortion seems to appear daily and in ever deadlier form in the nation’s headlines as states across the country pledge their support for late-term abortion laws. …

Before the ink could dry on New York’s ‘Reproductive Health Act,’ a story appeared in the New York Times that reported,

‘As Democrats in New York last month celebrated Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s signing of a law expanding abortion rights in the state, anti-abortion campaigners predicted it would eliminate criminal penalties for violence that ends women’s pregnancies. The debate resurfaced over the weekend after the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, cited the new law… as the reason for dropping an abortion charge against a man who the police say fatally stabbed his former girlfriend when she was 14 weeks pregnant.‘…”

– Albert Mohler has been busy this week, commenting on the latest fallout from the push for greater freedom in abortion.

The Power of the Gospel and the Meltdown of Identity Politics

“American politics increasingly resembles a soap opera and, at least for now, Virginia has taken center stage. The drama in the state continues to unfold as the Commonwealth’s top three Democrats face pressure to resign. …

Virginia serves as a prime example of the self-destructive nature of identity politics – a political philosophy that expansively designates identity by race, social background, or gender at the expense of other identities.”

– Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler argues that “the biblical worldview is the only antidote to identity politics” in his latest column.

Glorify God in Your Body – new book from Martin Davie

The latest Podcast from Church Society discusses an important new publication by Martin Davie – Glorify God in your Body. The book’s subtitle is Human identity and flourishing in marriage, singleness and friendship.

Clear biblical teaching on these topics is much in need in today’s church.

From the cover of the book:

“This study, written by Dr Martin Davie in collaboration with a representative group of other Evangelical theologians, is commended by the Church of England Evangelical Council as a resource in the discussions taking place in the Church of England in relation to the House of Bishops’ ‘Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human identity, sexuality and marriage’ project.

It explores a Christian approach to human identity, marriage, singleness, friendship, sex and family life in the light of the worldview that is laid out for us in Scripture and the classical Christian tradition. It considers the current challenges to this approach arising from the sexual revolution and from technological developments in the fields of birth control and infertility treatment and looks at how Christians should respond to them in ways that will enable them to fulfil St. Paul’s injunction to ‘glorify God in your body’. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

From the Church of England Evangelical Council website, you can download the complete 324 page book as a PDF file, or in Kindle and ePub versions. There’s also a link to purchase printed copies from the Latimer Trust.

Read the Press Release accompanying the publication of the book (PDF file).

Two current stories highlight the need to not only understand God’s word, but also to live by it.

The Reality of Sexual Abuse Hits Home: What Happened? What Do We Do Now? – Albert Mohler.

“A massive investigative report appeared in the Sunday editions of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. The headline was direct — ‘20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms.’…”

Thomas Brown elected 10th bishop of Maine in historic vote – Episcopal News Service.

“Brown will become The Episcopal Church’s only openly gay and married bishop currently leading a diocese. … The church currently has one other openly gay bishop. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009…”

Infanticide becomes Justifiable

“Infanticide was once ‘unthinkable.’ But over the last few decades, some of the world’s foremost bioethicists have considered baby killing worthy of respectable debate.

Princeton University’s Peter Singer is the most famous such advocate. A crass utilitarian, he argues that ‘being human’ doesn’t have any moral import. …

How is it that infanticide has become justifiable when it was unthinkable in the years following World War II (German doctors were hanged at Nuremberg for killing disabled babies)?”

– Wesley J. Smith writes at First Things.

See also: “The Unthinkable Sin” – by Joseph Randall, at Reformation21.…

And related posts.

Knowing where we stand

“Sometimes, in just one public argument, all the worst winds gather together as a perfect storm. Perhaps no article in recent months fits that mould more than an opinion piece that ran just days ago in The Washington Post by veteran columnist Richard Cohen. The headline of the article reads, ‘It’s Not Just Northam. Republicans Must Confront the Bigotry of the Pences Too.’ …

Cohen makes a now familiar argument – he creates a moral parallel between the question of racism and anyone who believes that LGBTQ behaviors and relationships are sinful. He equates discrimination based on skin color with the moral agenda of gay rights.”

– Once again, Albert Mohler reminds Bible-believing Christians of the challenges coming.

Dr Gavin Ashenden — Conversations with John Anderson

Dr Gavin Ashenden is the latest guest on Conversations with John Anderson, former Australian Deputy Prime Minister. They speak about the current threats to freedom in Europe and elsewhere.

Watch here.

Bigoted Quackery?

“Let me be the first to engage in some bigoted quackery and talk conversion.

That is to quote Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who has announced plans to ban so-called ‘LGBT conversion therapy.’

Speaking on Sunday at Melbourne’s Midsumma Pride March, Andrews vigorously criticised the idea that someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed, calling it ‘a most personal form of torture, a cruel practice that perpetuates the idea that LGBTI people are in some way broken.’

‘We will drag these practices out of the dark ages and into the brightest of lights.’

Then he called it ‘bigoted quackery’ – see my opening remark.

This is at first bewildering for the average Christian reader if only because few have ever heard of something called ‘LGBT conversion therapy.’ It’s a term invented by them, not us.

So, we are left to ask what it means. …

The Human Rights Law Centre and La Trobe University … report condemns the ‘insidious practice’ of churches having a ‘welcoming but not affirming’ policy akin to the adage, ‘love the sinner but not the sin.’…

– The Australian Christian Lobby’s Martyn Iles unpacks some of the challenges facing Christians in Victoria, and across Australia.

Better than Inclusion: Welcome! Response to Church of England Guidance on Gender Transition Services

Glen Scrivener from Speak Life speaks with Dr Ian Paul about the open letter released this week, ‘A Response to the House of Bishops guidance on Transgender Welcome’, and the whole issue of gender dysphoria.

Ian Paul reaffirms that everyone is welcome at church, and explains why.

Watch the conversation.

Read the Letter and see the signatories which includes more than a thousand Church of England clergy.

“Transgender Baptism” – How should we Respond? — GAFCON UK

Gafcon UK has published a briefing for Parochial Church Councils in the Church of England –

“Just before Christmas, the House of Bishops published pastoral guidance which ‘welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people’ – and encourages clergy to use existing liturgy (of Baptism, Confirmation or the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith) if a transgender adult wishes to reaffirm their Christian faith and mark their transition.

This has caused considerable concern amongst lay and ordained members of the Church of England for a variety of theological and pastoral reasons. This briefing seeks to summarise some of those concerns and suggest ideas for further reading.”

Read the briefing, and related documents, here.

See also:

2,000 clergy sign letter saying new Church of England service for trans people may ‘harm’ childrenTelegraph.

“Some 2,155 bishops, priests and lay members of the church have added their names to the letter which condemns new guidance released last month on gender transition.”

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