Church of England OKs blessings for same-sex couples
The vote came at a meeting of the General Synod, the church’s governing body, where the compromise approach was described in a variety of ways: as a breakthrough, a flawed compromise, or an outright mistake.
For background, the Church of England is enormous, boasting 85 million members located in 165 countries. As you may have heard, they have been in the news recently for charting a course that can only be described as consciously divorcing themselves from the historic teachings of the Christian faith.
“I know that what we have proposed as a way forward does not go nearly far enough for many but too far for others,” said Bishop of London Sarah Mullally, who has overseen the development of the proposals. But, she added, “This is a moment of hope for the Church.”
The text of the adopted motion begins with a stark acknowledgment, as the synod’s members said they “lament and repent” the historic harm done to LGBTQI+ people by the Church of England, in its failure to welcome them.
The church’s leaders spoke about the years of work it has taken to reach Thursday’s vote. And as they celebrated the moment, they also sought unity.
“For the first time, the Church of England will publicly, unreservedly, and joyfully welcome same-sex couples in church,” Archbishops Welby and Cottrell said.
They called for a new beginning and a continuation of thoughtful debate. “Above all, we continue to pray, as Jesus himself prayed, for the unity of his church and that we would love one another,” the archbishops said.
To remove any doubt, this move wasn’t a clarification that the Church’s doors are open to everyone because we all fall short of the glory of God, but an assertion that same-sex couples attending their parishes can now “dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing.”
The vote was 250-181, and in many ways wasn’t that surprising, especially considering the Church of England ordains homosexual priests under the promise that they remain “celibate.”
Steven Croft, the bishop of Oxford, praised the “significant and historic step” because “same-sex couples will become much more visible and their relationships will be celebrated publicly,” which, he expects, “will continue to change attitudes within the life of the Church.”
For their part, archbishops Welby and Cottrell punctuated the “historic step” of the vote by declaring that, “above all, we continue to pray, as Jesus himself prayed, for the unity of his church and that we would love one another.”
It’s like they grabbed the Apostle Paul’s list of vices to avoid in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and are using portions of it as a roadmap for what conduct they ought to “bless” from the pulpit.
Paul writes, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians
Forget “homosexuality” for a moment. On what basis could the archbishop and his ensemble preach against greed, adultery, extortion, or any other unbiblical behavior mentioned above if they’ve already taken their white-out pen to the parts of Scripture that make them uncomfortable? If they’re being consistent, they couldn’t.
That inconsistency aside, however, what’s truly maddening about this entire ordeal is that these purported representatives of the “cloth” are openly deceiving their parishioners. And one day these parishioners will have to account for their actions before the Supreme Judge of the world.
“But my bishop told me I could do it” won’t cut it as a valid excuse before a Holy God.
Equally as troublesome, by obfuscating such direct biblical truths, these imposters are robbing those under their authority of experiencing genuine Christian “love.”
Recall that the Apostle Paul doesn’t end 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 by rattling off a condemnatory list of sins, and then leaving it at that. Nope. He offers the hope of the Gospel.
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11
That’s how the Bible delineates “love,” with God the Father sending Jesus Christ to endure the brutality of Calvary to rescue us from the “domain of darkness” and transfer us “to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
Instead of this powerful presentation of God’s “love,” we have the Church of England telling the people who populate their pews that they should embrace their sin, reject God’s gift of salvation, and continue to transgress His law with impunity.
Whatever “love” these bishops are uniting behind, it isn’t Christianity.
As J. Gresham Machen would say, they’ve started something “entirely different from Christianity as to belong in a distinct category.” That much is clear.