Don’t “depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted”
Leaders of the Evangelical wing of the Church of England have written to the College of Bishops urging them to hold fast to the church’s historic teachings on marriage. On 12 Oct 2016 the letter signed by 83 clergy and lay leaders urged the bishops not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted”, while affirming one-man, one-woman marriage as “the only context in which physical expression is to be given to our sexuality”.
“Any change in the Church’s teaching or practice – such as the introduction of provisions that celebrate or bless sexual relationships outside of a marriage between one man and one woman – would represent a significant departure from our apostolic inheritance and the authority of the Bible in matters of faith and doctrine. It would also, inevitably, be a further step on a trajectory towards the full acceptance of same-sex sexual partnerships as equivalent to male-female marriage.”
Last August 27 members of General Synod wrote to the College of Bishops urging them not to consider “any proposals that fly in the face of the historic understanding of the church as expressed in ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ (1991) and Lambeth Resolution 1.10.”
From the left, 131 members of Synod wrote an open letter to the bishops in September calling for “greater clarity and consistency” in the debate over normalizing homosexual conduct and asked the bishops to address the question with a “sense of urgency and sensitivity”, and to devise a “relational approach” to resolving the dispute. Another letter, signed by eight members of the clergy who are married to their same-sex partners, and eight lay people in same-sex marriages was published in the Sunday Times in September calling for “greater inclusion that will enable those parishes that wish to do so to celebrate the love that we have found in our wives and husbands”.
In a forum at the University of Worcester on 8 October 2016 the Archbishop of Canterbury declined to respond to direct questions about what the bishops would do. He told BBC Radio 2 interviewer Jeremy Vine “We are struggling forward inch by inch to find a way to express the unwavering love of God to all people, whatever their opinions. The Church is not a club, we’re a family and we have to keep working out how we relate to each other.”