This past Wednesday, January 18, 2023, “The Church of England has announced its support for a proposal that will allow congregations to bless same-sex unions but maintain a traditional definition of marriage.” A suggested compromise between those within the church who wish to accommodate same-sex couples and those who oppose same-sex sin.
The statement released by the denomination said there are plans for bishops to propose “prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and for God’s blessing for same-sex couples” and to “urge all congregations in their care to welcome same-sex couples unreservedly and joyfully.”
The announcement came after six years of “listening” by the denomination’s Living in Love and Faith Initiative whose proposals have yet to be ratified by the Church of England’s General Synod which will take up the matter this February.
Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, apologized for the Church of England’s treatment of LGBT people. “Both personally and on behalf of my fellow bishops I would like to express our deep sorrow and grief at the way [LGBT] people and those they love have been treated by the Church which, most of all, ought to recognize everyone as precious and created in the image of God,” he continued, “We are deeply sorry and ashamed and want to take this opportunity to begin again in the spirit of repentance which our faith teaches us.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is probably destined to go down in Church of England history as Justin the Compromiser. He said, “I am under no illusions that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, but it is my hope that what we have agreed will be received in a spirit of generosity, seeking the common good.” Having starting down the slippery slope of compromise, I think the Church of England will not recover intact.
Chief executive of Christian Concern and a former lay member of the General Synod, Andrea Williams said the apology and the proposals will prove to be a “turning point” signaling the decline of the Church of England. “Christianity teaches that sexual expression is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman. Any other form of sexual relationships are sexually immoral,” Williams said.
Williams further stated, “The Bible calls it sin. The Church of England is now encouraging the celebration of sexual immorality. Let’s be clear this is a critical moment … unless these proposals can be decisively resisted by the faithful in Synod.”
In 2001 the Presbyterian Church (USA) established a Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity to consider the authority of Scripture and its bearing on the issues of homosexuality. The liberals wanted peace, the moderates wanted unity, and the conservatives wanted purity. The Task Force utterly failed to bring any agreement on peace, unity or purity.
What is happening in the Church of England, in the United Methodist Church here in America, and has happened in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and is stirring in other denominations is a rejection of the authority of the Scriptures to give place to what they clearly decry as sin. Those denominations and churches that have done so have hemorrhaged churches and memberships.
But the chief concern here is not the loss of those churches and church members who have no respect for biblical morality, whose allegiance to God and His word are in question. It is the influence they may have on those new to the faith and who are lost.
When the nation of Israel turned a deaf ear to God’s Word and pursued the worship of Baal, Elijah confronted the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel, and asked the people, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him,” First Kings 18:21.
How long will the Church hesitate between truth and sin?