The Church of England’s decision against ‘taking note’ of a report on sexuality will result in ‘increasing division’, according to two bishops.
The Bishops of Maidstone and Blackburn have called for a ‘rediscovery and reintroduction of the Bible’ after the General Synod voted against the report which both backed the biblical definition of marriage and called for “maximum freedom” for homosexual people.
Following the vote, The Archbishops of Canterbury and York released a joint letter which called for “radical new Christian inclusion in the Church” and “a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual”.
The Rt Revd Rod Thomas and the Rt Revd Julian Henderson have responded to Archbishops’ letter by saying they are “completely unpersuaded that there is any Biblical warrant for the Church to change its doctrine of marriage”.
In a letter to the Church of England Newspaper, the two bishops expressed their concerns that “the recent General Synod debate will generate the development of pastoral practice that is completely at odds with Scripture and we plead with the proponents of change not to impair their communion with those who support the Church’s current teaching”.
Their letter also said: “In this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we do well to recall the rediscovery and reintroduction of the Bible in the sixteenth century to the beliefs and practices of the Church, re-forming the people of God according to His Word.”
Completely unpersuaded that there is any Biblical warrant for the Church to change its doctrine of marriage.
Bishop Thomas has previously highlighted that a number of bishops have called for the C of E “to be more affirming” of same-sex relationships following the General Synod.
He said that these bishops view the Church “as being on a trajectory towards change.” But Bishop Thomas believes that: “Evangelicals in the Church of England are on a different trajectory.”
He went on to say that “loving friendships between people of the same sex are given great value” in scripture, but added that “sexual intimacy is only ever commended in the context of marriage between a man and a woman”.
Bishop Thomas warned that the Church cannot “sit loose to what the Bible teaches and then expect its mission to thrive”.
The C of E’s stance has also been criticised by a group of conservative Anglicans who said it was “very distressing to see such confusion” within the Church.
GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) warned that there is a “great gulf between the morality of the Bible and the neo-pagan sexual morality that is now dominant in the West”.
GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said in a statement: “We need to be as clear today as the apostles were to the churches of the New Testament that new life in Christ means a radical break with the practices and lifestyle of the world.”