Reform Chairman Prebendary Rod Thomas said today that he was “deeply ashamed” that the Pilling Report was opening up divisive discussions about the church’s stance on human sexuality.
He said: “Anglican evangelicals want to encourage the best possible provision of pastoral care for everyone involved in parish life. The calling of Christians is to a transformed life. True pastoral care in the case of those experiencing same-sex attraction will be to help them live Christianly. The report does not do this in its recommendations for “pastoral accommodation”. Reform profoundly regrets this insensitivity to real pastoral need.
Speaking at the close of the pan-evangelical ReNew conference, attended by over 250 senior Anglican leaders, Rod Thomas said that the report’s proposals were “very divisive and distressing”. He warmly endorsed the Bishop of Birkenhead’s dissenting statement with its understanding that the trajectory of the report “…undermined the discipleship and pastoral care of many faithful Christians”.
The Reform Council gave initial consideration to the report today. It concluded that the inevitable result of the report’s recommendations would be that pressure will increase for changes to the church’s understanding of marriage and of God’s purposes for human flourishing as outlined in the Bible. The Council reiterated its belief that the Anglican approach to doctrine and ethics can only be based on Scripture and therefore was not open to negotiation in facilitated conversations.