Thursday, 18 October 2007

Motions passed at the 2007 Reform Conference

1. Reform Conference 2007 proposal on Future Ministry in the Church of England

This conference believes that the Church of England can provide a uniquely effective framework for the exercise of full-time Bible-teaching ministries. In the light of growing divisions within the Anglican Communion, it requests the [Reform] Council to explore ways of fostering these ministries in a new climate, in particular by developing the work of the panel of reference, and by considering what further steps might be necessary to provide financial and episcopal support for ministers who have to consider irregular action to defend biblical truth and promote the gospel.

2. Reform Conference 2007 proposal on Women Bishops

This conference notes that proposals are being developed by the Manchester Commission for those who cannot in conscience accept the episcopal oversight of a woman and resolves that the only oversight that will be acceptable will be alternative (not extended) oversight with clear and fully independent jurisdictional powers.

3. Reform Conference 2007 proposal on Lambeth 2008

This conference notes that a significant number of bishops will not be attending Lambeth 2008 and that without them the event will lack credibility and be a failure. It believes that firm action in relation to TEC, to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to convene a meeting of Primates is the only way of preventing fractures in the Anglican Communion from becoming permanent. It therefore calls on the Primates of the Anglican Communion:

a) to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to meet the request for a meeting of Primates as a matter of urgency.

b) to declare that TEC has placed herself outside the bonds of that Communion; and

c) to encourage the provision of alternative episcopal oversight for orthodox parishes in the USA and in other countries where a need has been demonstrated.

4. Reform Conference 2007 proposal on reforming the Church

This conference asks the council to consider further the proposals made at its session on Tuesday 16th October 2007 for reforming the Church of England by action both within the ‘existing structures’ and ‘from the edge’.

5. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill

Reform recognizes

1) that at the heart not only of Christian ethics but Western Civilization has been Jesus Christ’s endorsement of the Old Testament commandment from Leviticus 19:18,

“to love your neighbour as yourself”;

2) that the understanding of biblical love as evidenced from the previous verse, requires love for the sinner but discrimination against sinful behaviour, Leviticus 19:17,

“do not hate our brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbour frankly so you will not share in his guilt.”

3) that the New Testament apostolic commandment is clear:

“love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Rom 12:9)

so Christians are called to hate the sin but love the sinner;

4) that the bishops of the Church of England have summarized the biblical teaching on homosexuality as follows:

“there is ... in Scripture an evolving convergence ... Sexual activity of any kind outside marriage comes to be seen as sinful, and homosexual practice as especially dishonourable” (Issues in Human Sexuality).

Reform, therefore, asks the House of Commons Committee on the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill

1) to ensure that there is no amendment to the Bill that fails to distinguish homosexual orientation from homosexual behaviour which Christians must vigorously oppose;

2) to realize that Christians, following Jesus Christ who forgave an adulterous woman but also said, “go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11), also have to love the sinner but hate the sin;

3) to understand that as the biblical understanding of sin includes all sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage it must include all “homosexual practice”.

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