CI Director: ‘Pollsters don’t determine doctrine’

The Christian Institute’s Director has rejected the notion that Christian doctrine should ever be determined by public opinion.

Colin Hart was responding to a survey for the pro-LGBT Ozanne Foundation claiming nearly half of Anglicans support same-sex marriage.

In February, YouGov questioned 1,171 adults in England who described themselves as Church of England, Anglican or Episcopal.

Uncompromising

In an uncompromising response, Mr Hart said: “You can’t abandon Christian teaching because some people don’t like it.

“The faith once delivered to all the saints didn’t emerge as a result of polling or focus groups. Neither will it emerge from following secular trends.

“The Bible’s message is clear. Marriage can only ever be between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others, for life.”

No conclusions

Mr Hart went on to question the robustness of the YouGov figures.

He said: “The YouGov pollsters didn’t ask people whether they actually attend a Church of England church.

“We cannot draw any conclusions from the poll about the beliefs of communicant members of the CofE.”

Under pressure

The survey was commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation, led by prominent LGBT campaigner Jayne Ozanne.

She used the survey to put pressure on the Church of England to abandon its doctrinal opposition to same-sex marriage.

Ozanne told The Daily Telegraph that the CofE should “agree a way forward so that those who wish to embrace and celebrate same sex marriages can do so.”

Scripture first

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “By learning from and listening to one another, guided by Holy Spirit, the Church will find ways forward rooted in scripture and the Christian faith.”

But Mr Hart said this was “the wrong way round”.

“It is by learning from and listening to the voice of God in Scripture, guided by the Holy Spirit, that the Church will find the way forward intended by God.”

‘God’s purposes’

In January, the CofE reaffirmed that sex should only take place within a heterosexual marriage.

The House of Bishops said marriage between one man and one woman has always been regarded as “central to the stability and health of human society”.

It added: “Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings”.

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