Saturday, 10 November 2007

" The Great Evangelical Sell-Out": from 12 years ago, Tony Higton looks at the Church of England's stance on homosexuality

[...] Why has homosexuality become the Achilles heel of the Church of England? It is a fulfilment of the warning in Romans 1. In judgment, God is giving over an institution which has upheld rejection of basic beliefs by some bishops and clergy (e.g. about the virgin birth and the empty tomb), to the justification of depravity.

In May the Archbishop of Canterbury [Dr George Carey] addressed the Anglican Evangelical Assembly on the subject of homosexuality. He said, ‘Let me make it quite clear that Issues in Human Sexuality recognises only two options as being in full accord both with the Bible and the church’s tradition, namely heterosexual marriage and celibacy...

‘The House of Bishops will reflect thoughtfully and prayerfully on the responses to the Statement. But we will not be stampeded into changing either its theological position or its pastoral practice. It suits some groups to “talk up” the story that the bishops are preparing to accept parity between marriage and long-term, same-sex relationships or allow ordination of practising homosexuals. That is not so. Such speculation is misleading and causes unwarranted suspicions and anxieties.’

I am sure that many delegates to the assembly went home encouraged, thinking that Dr Carey had ruled out acceptance by the House of Bishops of practising homosexual clergy, but ten years in General Synod has taught me that such statements by bishops are very carefully worded. The archbishop has several speech-writers, all but one of whom are liberals. One has to note what they do not say as well as what they do. It is also important to recognise the evangelical make-up of the audience mentioned above.

IN HIS SPEECH Dr Carey said only that the bishops are not currently ‘preparing to accept parity between marriage and long-term, same-sex relationships or allow ordination of practising homosexuals.’ In other words, they are not planning to authorise a service of blessing for homosexual couples. Nor are they planning to enquire of ordinands’ possible homosexuality; in this way they may avoid giving the impression that they approve of homosexual practice when they ordain homosexuals, thus the statement gives no reassurance whatsoever for the future.

God is merciful and longs to restore the penitent. The problem is that I see no evidence of penitence on the part of the House of Bishops. As a result, there have been scandals, grave financial crises, and division. The writing is on the wall. It is being ignored. Read more
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