Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The College of Bishops' Statement on the Pilling Report: a Response

By Andrew Symes
January 28, 2014

My initial response to this Statement was one of disappointment, but then after attempting to read between the lines I found some cause for encouragement. Here are some of the key phrases of the document, with my comments following:

1. We are united in welcoming and affirming the presence and ministry within the Church of gay and lesbian people, both lay and ordained. This re-states an important recommendation of the Pilling Report. Its major weakness is that "affirming the ministry of gay people" is not explained or qualified. It suggests that the church does not distinguish between welcoming someone's presence within the church, endorsement of their lifestyle, an assumption of Christian fellowship, and affirming their ministry.

This is very controversial when large numbers of Christians believe homosexual practice to be sinful and rebellious, against God's clear commands in Scripture. It is one thing to express welcome unconditionally to all people, including those who identify themselves as lesbian and gay, and another to prejudge what homosexuality is, and to what extent its active sexual expression is compatible with authentic Christian discipleship and ministry, which should be a matter for the facilitated conversations.

Read the full story at www.VirtueOnline.org

No comments: