Category : Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Martin Davie–‘Transgender, reality and pastoral care’

The fact that ‘I’ am a unity of body and soul means that it makes no sense to suggest, as we have seen Judith does in the Church of Scotland report, that ‘I was born in the wrong body.’ There is no ‘I’ separable from the body we possess. What ‘I’ means is the person who exists in this particular combination of body and soul. The suggestion that I should have been born in a different body really means that I should have been a different person, but in that case I would not exist, so the suggestion is asking for the impossible.

What is also impossible is for someone to change their body from male to female or vice versa. It is possible through the use of hormones and plastic surgery to change to a certain extent the way our bodies function and their outward appearance, but we cannot change the fundamental character of our bodies as male or female. We can produce what Paul McHugh calls ‘feminized men or masculinized women, ‘ [13] but we cannot make a man into a woman or a woman into a man.

The evidence of Scripture agrees that human beings are bodily creatures that are male and female and are able to reproduce as such, but it supplements the witness of natural reason in this regard in two key ways.

First, it teaches in the creation narratives in Genesis 1 and 2 and also in the words of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:6) that we are not a dimorphic species by accident, but because God in his goodness and wisdom created us as such so that men and women together can rule over and care for the world on God’s behalf and together can produce offspring who can continue this vocation in their turn.[14] Scripture as a whole further teaches that the dimorphic structure of the human species is also the basis for marriage (Genesis 2:23-24) through which human beings are called to bear witness to the marital relationship between God and his people, which has begun in this world, but will be finally consummated in the world to come (see Ephesians 5: 21-33 and Revelation 19:6-9, 21:2-4).

Secondly, it teaches that our bodies are an eternal part of who we are.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s March 2018 letter

That is why it is so important that we, as disciples of Jesus, maintain the integrity and disciplines of the household of God. The Gafcon movement came into being nearly ten years ago because godly leaders recognised that the Anglican Communion was being divided by leaders who rejected the authority of the Bible, denied the uniqueness of Jesus and promoted patterns of life which defy Scripture and reject the pattern of creation.

These divisions are deepening and will not be healed by the techniques of the corporate world. They are spiritual problems which need spiritual solutions and the first step is repentance, which requires that the unchanging truth of God’s Word is clearly taught and acted upon. This is what we have sought to do in Gafcon and where there is no repentance, there must be realignment. This involves new jurisdictions coming into being where necessary, such as the Anglican Church of North America, and changing patterns of relationship, both within and beyond the Gafcon movement.

For example, I commend the recent decision of the Provincial Synod of South East Asia to both declare itself in broken fellowship with the Scottish Episcopal Church in the light of its adoption of same sex ‘marriage’ and to recognise the Anglican Church of North America as a full Anglican Province.

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Posted in Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NZ Herald) Anglican Church’s Christchurch branch votes for acceptance of same-sex marriages

The Christchurch arm of the Anglican Church has voted to push national leadership to pass a blessing of same-sex marriages.

A special meeting was convened at St Christopher’s church at Avonhead on Saturday, attended by about 250 people.

The purpose was to discuss and vote on what the synod’s position was on same-sex marriage, ahead of a general synod vote in May.

The general vote will be participated in by regional synods including the Christchurch diocese following a 2016 report prepared to pave the way for same-sex marriage within the church.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Stuff) New Zealand Anglicans to debate marriage blessings for same sex couples

Same sex couples may be able to have their marriages blessed in New Zealand Anglican churches under a divisive new proposal being debated by Canterbury diocese members.

Christchurch Anglicans are meeting on Saturday to discuss whether to allow same sex blessings in a debate that could split the church. A final decision on whether to adopt the proposal will be voted on by the national Anglican Synod, the church’s governing body, at a meeting in New Plymouth in May.

The proposal would allow each Anglican bishop to decide if same sex blessings were allowed in their diocese. In 2014, the New Zealand Anglican church defined marriage as being “between a man and a woman.” The decision meant same sex couples could not marry in Anglican churches. The new proposal would allow only for blessing ceremonies for same sex couples who were married elsewhere.

The proposal would also give each diocese’s bishop and clergy immunity from complaint if they refused to conduct blessings of same sex couples.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

(Gafcon) Archbp Peter Jensen–Slipping into the slumber of the spirit

Whenever the Bible mentions the matter of same sex activity, it is to warn against it. The boundaries within which sexual relations may occur are clearly delineated. We should not have sex with a person married to another (adultery), or with a person to whom we are not married whether of the same or the opposite sex (fornication), or with a person to whom we are closely related (incest), or to any other than another human (bestiality).

We ought not to think that these boundaries are given to oppress us. God is in favour of sex in the right place, and he gives joy in its expression. The boundaries protect us; they give us wisdom as to what is best for our humanity. They are immensely important in an age where sex has become a divinity and those who do not have sex are regarded as deprived and eccentric. The return to paganism brought in by the sexual revolution of the 1960s, is not a return to the good. The harm it has done, from abortion to sexually transmitted diseases and relational hurt is horrendous. In many ways, the debts incurred are yet to be paid.

All you need is love? Is this the truth?

Love is, of course, the greatest of all virtues. But Christian love is not undiscriminating. Its wisdom is the law of God. Without love, the law becomes rigid and cruel. Without the law, love becomes mere sentiment. Even great misdeeds may be adorned with virtues such as courage, integrity, honesty, self-sacrifice and, yes, love itself. Thus an army bent on illegal destruction can be marked by love between the troops; an adulterous affair can be the scene of a deep and powerful love; love can commit suicide in order to be with a loved one at the end.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s February 2018 letter

God’s words are powerful words. They are never empty. At the beginning of creation ‘God said, “Let there be light” and there was light’ (Genesis 1:3) and when God’s word is proclaimed faithfully today there is new creation. It was this conviction that drew us to Jerusalem in 2008 and our Jerusalem Statement and Declaration began by affirming that we had gathered as ‘a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it’.

We cannot truly promote the gospel if we are not also careful to preserve it from distortion or dilution and I therefore commend the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) for their recent document ‘Gospel, Church & Marriage: Preserving Apostolic Faith and Life’. At a time when the Church of England’s senior leadership seems unable to resist the pressure to compromise with a highly secular culture, it is a sign of hope that evangelical leaders are able to come together in this way.

They affirm that biblical and apostolic teaching on marriage and sexuality is not a secondary matter over which we can agree to disagree, but is essential to the integrity of the Church’s witness and to Christian discipleship. As the New Testament shows, ‘the apostles had to guard the Church’s distinctive boundaries on matters of both doctrine and ethics, including sexual morality’.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Martin Davie–A failure to take sex seriously: A response to GS Misc 1178

In the case of transgender people the questions currently under debate are whether it is right for them to:

  • live as members of the sex that is opposite to the sex of their bodies;
  • claim that the their true sex is male even though they are biologically female, or female even though they are biologically male;
  • claim that their true identity is neither male nor female, but is something else such as androgene, intergender, or pangender.[2]

From an orthodox Christian viewpoint these are not things that should be affirmed.

Scripture, reason and the Christian tradition teach us that in his goodness and wisdom God made human beings as a unity of body and soul. Rocks are purely material, angels are purely spiritual, but human beings are a unity of a material body and an immaterial soul. This unity means that we are our bodies and our bodies are us, which is why it makes sense to say I got up in the morning, I ate and drank, and I went to bed at night. All these are actions of the single self who is both body and soul.

It is as this unity of body and soul that we are either male or female. To be male or female is to have certain bodily characteristics that are designed to enable us to fulfil God’s command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28) by playing a particular role in the procreation and nurture of children.

Although death leads to a separation of the body and the soul, so fundamental are our bodies to who we are that God will resurrect our bodies at the end of time so that we will exist for all eternity as the male and female human beings God created us to be (see 1 Corinthians 15)….

At the root of the problems with the paper is a failure to take sex seriously. The bishops fail to recognise that a person’s sex, given by God and determined by their biology, is a fundamental part of who people are. We cannot escape our sex and, because it is a gift given to us by God, we should not wish to escape from it, however psychologically troubling it may be for us. Developing rites that suggest that people can escape their sex, and that it is right for them to do so, is thus completely the wrong direction for the Church of England to go in.

What the Church of England needs to do instead is (a) to produce clear teaching explaining the nature of our sexual identity and why this is a good gift from God and (b) to develop the resources which are at the moment sadly lacking to help clergy and others provide transgender people with effective pastoral care that will help them to live as the people God created them to be.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Archbishop Peter Jensen–How important is Sex?

To say that we need to stop talking about sex and start talking about Jesus makes two big errors.

First, it undervalues the power of sexual transgression to damage us as human beings and to damage our relationship with God. Our sexual instincts are so powerful and so central to our lives that they are integral to our personal identity. When we misuse our body by abandoning God’s instructions, it helps corrupt our self-understanding. It is actually cruel.

Furthermore, when we turn away from the living God, we replace him by the worship of idols. Again, this worship is often expressed and accompanied by sexual licence. Indeed we are living at a time when sexual permissiveness is the norm and there is no fear of God.

Second, it means that we cannot adequately summons people to repentance. Without the call to repentance there is no gospel. The great sin from which we need to repent is pride – lives directed by ourselves. But this great sin exhibits itself in idolatry, and idolatry often expresses itself in sexual sin as well as the horrors of greed and injustice and lack of love.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

Stephen Noll–Fisking Bishop Fearon: The Lambeth Establishment Takes on the Global South

Bishop Fearon continues: The See of Canterbury is one of the unique features which binds us together. At the Primates’ Meeting in October it was clear just how much Canterbury meant to those who came. For Anglicans, communion with the See of Canterbury – and with its Archbishop – is the visible expression of our communion with one another.

A deep respect for the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury has existed among global Anglicans, who have been grateful for rather than resentful of the colonial heritage. This deference is in no small part because they received the gospel of salvation thereby; but in recent decades, this deference has been wearing thin. Fearon’s roseate picture of the recent Primates’ meeting is delusional, especially considering that three Primates from the largest African Provinces had refused to attend and seven others have now signed the Global South Network letter, which contradicts the (unsigned) Canterbury Primates’ Communiqué.

Bishop Fearon now comes to the point concerning Anglican identity. Contrary to Archbishop Okoh, he asserts: the relationship with the See of Canterbury is essential for Anglicans. You cannot be in the Anglican Communion without it.

This assertion represents an extreme interpretation of “primacy,” edging toward papalism. In fact, it suggests that Canterbury is not just a unique feature of Anglicanism but the unique feature. Note the use here of the word essential. Being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury is not only required for formal recognition as a Province of the Anglican Communion, but it is required to call oneself an Anglican, a point I shall return to later.

Bishop Fearon supports his claim by reference to the Lambeth Conference: The fundamental character of this relationship was spelled out by the 1930 Lambeth Conference which refers to the Anglican Communion as “a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury…

Resolution 49 from the Lambeth Conference in 1930 is indeed an important statement concerning member churches of the Anglican Communion. The Resolution goes on to say of those churches:

  • they uphold and propagate the Catholic and Apostolic faith and order as they are generally set forth in the Book of Common Prayer as authorized in their several Churches;
  • they are particular or national Churches, and, as such, promote within each of their territories a national expression of Christian faith, life and worship; and
  • they are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the Bishops in conference.

The standard definition of the Anglican Communion certainly calls for respect and received it uniformly until 1998. Following the 1998 Lambeth Conference, however, the adequacy of this arrangement was tested when one member church chose to violate what others consider a breach of “Catholic and Apostolic faith and order” by ordaining a practicing homosexual as bishop.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Herald) After Change in Theology of Marriage, Two Scottish Episcopal Priests Become Roman Catholics Under Ordinariate

Two former Anglican ministers are to be ordained as priests after joining the Catholic Church when Scottish Anglicans voted to embrace gay marriage.

The Rev Simon Beveridge, who lives in Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway and Rev Cameron Macdonald, who lives in Nairn, were made deacons in June just days after the Scottish Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to allow same sex couples to marry in church.

They joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, set up in 2011 by Pope Benedict to provide a home for disaffected former members of the…[Episcopal] and Anglican clergy within the Catholic Church.

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Posted in --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Christian Today) St Helen’s Bishopgate in split with local Anglican churches over sexuality

One of the largest evangelical churches in the country is withdrawing itself from relations with neighbouring Anglican churches over irreconcilable differences on their teaching on sexuality.

St Helen’s Bishopgate, which attracts nearly 2,000 worshippers across its four services each week, declared it was in ‘impaired relationship’ with fellow Church of England parishes in its deanery in central London.

William Taylor, rector of St Helen’s, cited ‘the widely publicised views held by certain members of the deanery chapter’ as reasons for the split.

‘We (the clergy, wardens and PCC of St Helen’s) no longer consider these church leaders who have ceased to ‘believe and uphold the Christian faith Church of England has received it’ to be ‘walking together’ with us in any meaningful partnership’, he told the area dean Rev Oliver Ross.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(The Age) Some Australian Anglican bishops break ranks to support Dean Smith’s same-sex marriage bill

A group of Anglican bishops has split with some of the church’s top leaders to declare support for the current version of the same-sex marriage bill before Parliament, publicly calling on lower house MPs to resist the conservative push to insert stronger religious protections.

The House of Representatives will begin debating the bill drafted by Liberal senator Dean Smith on Monday and is expected to pass it by the end of the week. If it passes unchanged it will then be signed into law, and same-sex weddings will occur within weeks.

However Coalition conservatives are set on amending the bill, which passed the Senate 43 votes to 12 last week, without change. If they manage to get enough support for their changes around freedom of religion and conscience the bill will have to return to the Senate.

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed he would support some of those changes in a bid to guard against any “unintended consequences”, seven Anglican bishops wrote to all lower house MPs to show not all religious leaders believe amendments are necessary.

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Posted in Anthropology, Australia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in New Zealand finalises its response to Motion 29 Working Group Interim Report

You can download a printable version of this response here, however you can read the highlights below.
FCANZ has submitted its formal response to the Motion 29 Working Group Interim Report. The final document builds on the previously published draft response and was informed by feedback, discussions, and ongoing prayer. We remain thankful for the Group’s willingness to receive further submissions, and hear from the members of the Anglican Church in these islands.
Whilst we are thankful for the contribution of the Working Group, we continue to be concerned that the desire of General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui is to change church practice prior to settling the ongoing debate over theological position. To be clear, FCANZ is not advocating for a change to the church’s position, however it considers to be flawed any process that advances a practical change before finalising debate about a founding principle.

Read it all as well as the full report.

Posted in Anthropology, Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(SAN) Christ Church, Harris, In Scotland Accepts Oversight From Bishop Andy Lines

The people of Christ Church, Harris, announced today that they can no longer remain under the oversight of the bishop of Argyll and the Isles, the Right Reverend Kevin Pearson. This follows his decision to support the change to the canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) which introduced the innovation of same-sex marriage.

At a meeting with Bishop Pearson, they explained their decision and asked if the Scottish Episcopal Church would keep the church they have built and the money they have given. The bishop insisted that the SEC would retain all assets. In response the congregation made it clear that they would walk away rather than submit to a decision which departs from scripture, tradition and the teaching of Jesus Christ,

The people of Christ Church will maintain a faithful Anglican witness on Harris under the oversight of the Right Reverend Andy Lines, who was consecrated as a missionary bishop for Europe in June and who will act under the authority of the GAFCON primates.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) Church of England to debate services for same-sex couples after bishop of Hereford backs diocese’s call

The Church of England will debate blessings for same-sex couples after a motion was passed by one diocese, with the support of the local bishop, calling for a formal liturgy.

The Bishop of Hereford, who spoke in favour of the change and voted for the motion, said he thinks clergy should be helped to carry out a more formal service with recently married gay couples.

Hereford’s diocesan synod has voted to support a motion calling on the House of Bishops to “commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage”.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology