(Anglican Ink) Bishop Jonathan Baker given permission to remarry after divorce

In its report to Synod on divorce, the bishops noted the issue was controversial and that the church was not of one mind. “The Church of England’s teaching is that it can be said of two living people that they were married and are no longer married. The Church of England recognises the sincerely held convictions of those who do not believe this because, on theological grounds, they hold that marriage is indissoluble. It also respects the convictions of those who, while not holding an indissolubilist view, believe that further marriage after divorce is not an option for those in ordained ministry.”

The national secretary of Forward in Faith at that time, the Rev. Geoffrey Kirk said its members believed that Scripture was clear in stating that divorce and remarriage were not permissible for Christians. He told the Sunday Telegraph: “The doctrine of matrimony is closely associated with ecclesiology and so it would seem utterly unacceptable that divorce and remarriage be part of the regimen of those who are called to represent and effect the unity of the Church.”

“Promoting divorced bishops is a far more serious matter than homosexual bishops because it is undermining one of the fundamental teachings of scripture.”

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6 comments on “(Anglican Ink) Bishop Jonathan Baker given permission to remarry after divorce

  1. driver8 says:

    I merely note that that some progressives have already used this decision to argue in favor of same sex marriage. “If he can…

    It’s done folks, it’s been done for a long time.

  2. Jim the Puritan says:

    The problem is that divorce is a much more complicated scenario than homosexual, mainly in situations where one spouse did not cause or want the divorce. I don’t read the scriptures as saying the innocent spouse in those situations should be punished by not being able to remarry.

  3. driver8 says:

    Anglo Catholics in the CofE have traditionally supported the indissolubility of Christian marriage (as per the historic Western christian view of Christ’s teaching). Indeed, understanding Christian marriages to be indissoluble was a common Anglican view until well into the 20th century.

    If one takes such a view, as non modernist Anglo Catholics have often, to remarry is to commit a serious sin and to have a bishop living openly in serious sin is, well…awkward.

  4. Katherine says:

    Yes, #1, and at least the second marriage, between a man and a woman, maintains the Scriptural model as to who may marry. A “gay marriage” is scripturally an impossibility. We went way, way wrong when we began simply ratifying “no fault” civil divorces. I don’t know anything about Bishop Baker’s divorce, his first wife, or whom he is marrying. ECUSA consecrated a bishop who was twice divorced and thrice married, so that institution has been broken on the issue for a while now.

  5. driver8 says:

    I should say, to my knowledge, the CofE though it opposed many of the alterations to civil marriage legislation over the last 150 years it has proved repeatedly incapable of sustaining such opposition. Eventually it has always come to claim as it own that which at its origin it often said it opposed.

    The longest lasting relics of such opposition were:

    1. The practical prohibition on remarriage after divorce in church – which by the 90s was commonly ignored in parishes and was formally overturned by Synod in the early part of this century.

    2. The standards for clergy concerning marriage – which were a residue of the former teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. I think of the general rule that those divorced ought not to be be ordained (which was done away with in the 80s) and the similar understanding that those divorced could not be consecrated bishop (which has been done away with in the last few years).

    I’m afraid, it does not bode well for the CofE’s capacity to sustain any opposition to recent alterations to civil marriage legislation.

  6. Jeremy Bonner says:

    With regard to Jim’s point (#2) is this not a case where “hard cases make bad law.” Bishop Baker may well have been the innocent party in his divorce, but as a bishop (and a member of Forward in Faith) is he not called to offer a model of how such a breakdown should be handled by the innocent party?

    Susan Howatch had as one of the characters in her Starbridge novels, an eccentric Anglo Catholic priest, who, after his divorce, felt obliged to live a celibate and chaste existence while his ex-wife still lived. That seems to me a good counter-cultural stance.