Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Church of England House of Bishops has issued a statement affirming Lambeth 1.10 and restricting clergy from blessing same sex unions and/or ‘marriages’. This is good. But these good restrictions should not obscure the destructive permissions formally provided in paragraphs 20-21. I believe these will be seen, in the future, as the camel’s nose, the beginning of the end for the church of England:
“The House did not wish, however, to interfere with the clergy’s pastoral discretion about when more informal kind of prayer, at the request of the [same-sex] couple, might be appropriate in the light of the circumstances…[21] [with] the assumption that any prayer will be accompanied by pastoral discussion of the church’s teaching and their reasons for departing from it.”
Note the neutrality of the language. The prayers “informally” offered might be prayers of affirmation or exhortive prayers for repentance. Either sort of prayer would fit. A conversation about why one departs from church teaching could easily go like this:
“Why are you not abiding church teaching on this matter?”
“We are in love and we think God has joined us together”
“How wonderful! Let me pray for you…”
The core problem is this: the New Testament teaches that unrepentant indulgence in homosexual behavior will lead to damnation (1 cor 6:9). The Church of England now formally allows clergy to pray affirmatively for such relationships. She is, therefore, on record professing that there are a variety of responses to same sex relationships beyond the New Testament call to repent of a sin that will keep people from the Kingdom of God. This formal step is also a formal step away from Christianity. Truly Christian bishops do not leave clergy free to affirm sins that lead to hell. Christian bishops instruct clergy to admonish and exhort couples living in damnable sin to live lives of repentance and celibacy for the sake of their souls.

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