The first limitation is an inadequate concept of what in the past has been called heresy (a word not used here), that is, a denial of core doctrine that breaks the church’s prior unity in faith. The Report equates core doctrine with what is affirmed in Anglican foundation documents and argues that blessing same-sex unions, whatever else it is, is not a violation of core doctrine, but is an adiaphoron, a secondary matter, which does not warrant any breach of church communion. But the reasoning on which this conclusion is based is not the whole story, though it is indeed part of it. However, a sounder, profounder concept of what in the past has been called heresy is: any belief or practice that negates any part of the New Testament gospel of Jesus Christ, understood as the divinely revealed truth that shows our sinful race the way of salvation from sin and sin’s consequences. This concept covers not only doctrines of the Creeds and Anglican foundation documents, but also the practice of faith in Christ, repentance, obedience, life in the Spirit, and personal holiness, according to the Scriptures.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 6 lists behavioral habits that, if not repented of and forsaken, keep people out of God’s kingdom, and male homosexuality is explicitly included in the list (vss. 9-11). Paul goes on to celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit sanctifying persons at Corinth who had previously lived in the ways he has mentioned. It seems undeniable that he would have viewed blessing same-sex unions as sanctifying sin, and thus as a denial of an essential ingredient in the gospel, namely repentance of all one’s sins and forsaking of them. And the gospel as such is surely the church’s core doctrine.
The gravity of the homosexual lifestyle as Paul views it warrants the description of it when found in the church as practical heresy; which raises the question, whether the suspending of full communion pro tem is not warranted and indeed needed as a disciplinary measure, aimed at bringing offenders to repentance. The Report fails to face this issue of conscience and wisdom, which arises from straightforward biblical exegesis and for some is very real and pressing.