More than 100 clergy from the Diocese of Oxford have written to their bishops to express serious concerns about guidance affirming LGBT lifestyles.
Written by four bishops in the diocese, the advice said nobody should be discouraged from taking holy communion, regardless of sexual orientation or ‘gender identity’.
It also said that “LGBT+ people can be called to roles of leadership and service in the local church”.
Formally known as an ad clerum, the guidance entitled “Clothe yourself with love” was heavily criticised by the clergy, who said they were “disturbed” by its contents.
“We cannot see how it is right to accept as Christian leaders those who advocate lifestyles that are not consistent with New Testament teaching.”
The clergy said they were concerned by “the references to LGBTI+ ‘identity’, when as Christians we want to urge that our identity is to be found ‘in Christ’”.
The bishops were accused of bowing to the demands of LGBT activists, while ignoring “same-sex attracted people who advocate celibacy in faithfulness to scripture”.
They also said the bishops had failed to articulate any of “the current teaching of the Church of England on marriage and sexual relationships, based as it is on the words of scripture”.
And challenging the push for “new expressions of ‘inclusion'”, they said that advocating same-sex sexual activity “is either an expression of the love of God or it creates an obstacle to people entering the kingdom of God. It cannot be both.”
“our identity is to be found ‘in Christ’”
Concluding, the clergy warned that if the ad clerum remained unaddressed, they would struggle to support the bishops’ leadership.
The letter was also signed by retired clergy and laity who are members of the General Synod.