Evangelicals have spoken out against a report that recommends Church of England churches mark gay unions, saying it shows evidence of ‘deep and serious’ flaws.
Responding to the report, which claimed the services would not be “blessings” or part of “liturgy”, the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) called on evangelicals to “renew their commitment to biblical teaching”.
CEEC also called on Christians to “pray that the Church of England as a whole will do the same”.
They did recognise that the C of E said the report was “not a new policy statement”, and commented that more time would be needed to consider the 224-page report.
But they said recommendations for permitting public services to “mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship” were a “surface sign that there are deeper and more serious flaws in the report as a whole”.
CEEC said they stood with the Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair, who was involved in the report but decided against signing it.
“We believe that Scripture offers us a clear vision for our flourishing, personally and socially, as human beings made in God’s image, including how we live best as sexual creatures”, CEEC commented.
“As evangelicals in the Church of England we are committed to bearing witness to this in word and deed and to offering it as good news to our nation in the face of what the Archbishop of Canterbury has described as a ‘sexual revolution’.
“We are concerned that the recommendations for public services and the need for a dissenting statement signal that this Report seeks to move us away from that vision”, they added.
The report, which was chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, warns against “attempting to pronounce definitively on the implications of Scripture for homosexual people”.
It also calls for the Church to repent for its failure to tackle “homophobia”, but warns against using the word to label people who disagree with homosexual conduct.
It will not become official Church of England policy unless approved by the General Synod and House of Bishops.