Evangelical Anglicans in Oxford have expressed their grief at the Bishop of Oxford’s call for the Church of England to allow its clergy to marry a person of the same sex and conduct same-sex weddings.
The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft published his views in a 50-page booklet named ‘Together in Love and Faith’, after the College of Bishops met to discuss same-sex marriage before the Church’s General Synod decide on the issue in February.
Currently the law prevents CofE churches from performing same-sex weddings, due to the protections under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
The Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship said: “We are grieved by this publication, believing that it departs from the clear teaching of the Bible in relation to sex and marriage.”
Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s Church in Oxford, called it “naive” to believe society would be satisfied if the CofE just changed its teaching on homosexuality when increasing numbers define themselves “through terms such as omnisexual or polyamorous”.
Roberts said: “If we are to feel free to make changes in relation to same-sex unions, on what basis can we resist the calls, which will inevitably come, for further boundary changes”, or “speak with authority into our confused and hurting world about any other aspect of sexual morality? Do we really think that the proposed change will result in large numbers returning to church?”
He stated: “Surely what is needed in the face of the disjunction between Church and society is not accommodation, but rather a winsome, confident re-presentation of the riches of Christian teaching about sex and marriage.”
Last month, CofE Evangelicals urged those examining the issue of same-sex marriage within the church to learn from the mistakes made elsewhere.
In a video published by the Church of England Evangelical Council, leaders who have both remained within established churches and those who have left spoke of the immense difficulties that have arisen when their denomination has either approved the blessing of same-sex couples or approved the conducting of same-sex weddings.
It came in response to the ongoing discussions surrounding the Church’s highly controversial Living in Love and Faith resource.