“Who do they think they are?” Church Society responds to the CofE House of Bishops Proposals for Same-Sex Blessings

Posted on January 20, 2023 
Filed under Church of England, Culture wars

Church Society’s Lee Gatiss responds to the ‘unworkable compromise’ that is the Church of England’s House of Bishops proposal for Same-Sex Blessings:

“The bishops of the Church of England have finally announced what it is they want to do at the end of the Living in Love and Faith process. …

They will be issuing an apology to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer, Intersex, and other people (LGBTQI+) for the ‘rejection, exclusion, and hostility’ they have faced in churches. After what they describe as a 6 year period of listening and learning, they have decided they will ‘offer the fullest possible pastoral provision without changing the Church’s doctrine of Holy Matrimony for same-sex couples through a range of draft prayers, known as Prayers of Love and Faith, which could be used voluntarily in churches for couples who have marked a significant stage of their relationship such as a civil marriage or civil partnership.’

They will also be replacing Issues in Human Sexuality, which binds clergy to celibacy outside of heterosexual marriage, with new pastoral guidance. The basis for this is given in large bold letters as ‘God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.’ (1 John 4:16). …”

He argues that, despite claims to the contrary, it is a change of doctrine. Of the Bishops behind this, he writes,

“Who do they think they are? Bishops are asked at their consecrations: ‘Will you teach the doctrine of Christ as the Church of England has received it, will you refute error, and will you hand on entire the faith that is entrusted to you?’ Were they serious when they replied ‘With the help of God, I will’? What are we to conclude about God’s help, if they no longer will? It would be a fearsome thing to be led by those whom God had abandoned.”

Further, he writes,

“There has been no convincing argument made for us to change our doctrine and practice. Living in Love and Faith and its associated survey, provided no warrant for change, no biblical justifications for a shift of this magnitude, as I have already stated elsewhere.

The Bishop of Oxford made no real attempt to argue from the Bible in his case for change, so ably countered by Vaughan Roberts.

The Bishop of Worcester delved so deeply into the Bible that he was able to make a puerile point about Solomon having hundreds of wives, which apparently proves there is no biblical doctrine of marriage. Teenagers would hoot at such impudence in a sixth form debating society, but it is hardly biblical scholarship. Again, Martin Davie easily takes his argument apart piece by rusting piece.”

Read it all at Church Society’s blog.