Response to Con/Evo Letter to Bishops

IN RESPONSE to a letter signed by almost 100 Evangelical Anglicans to the College of Bishops reported in the Church Times on 14th October 2016, prior to their next meeting to decide what proposals to bring to General Synod in February following the Shared Conversations on Scripture, Mission and Human Sexuality in the Church of England, Modern Church has issued the following statement:

We do not consider it helpful to rehearse, yet again, the biblical and theological reasons for honouring the decisions taken by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in regard to their choice of a life partner. The subject is, as the writer of the letter says, merely a ‘presenting issue’. We would argue instead that it is what lies beneath this presenting issue which is of infinite importance to the life of the Church at this critical time.

What lies beneath our unconditional acceptance, or rejection, of LGBTI people informs ‘what it means to be human’ and, by implication, what the Church actually is. In times such as these, what matters, and what will convince others of the Gospel we wish to share, is how the Church is perceived in relation to a just and merciful God and, in equal measure, to all other human beings without exception. This is, presumably, what the writer of the letter implied by ‘the nature of biblical holiness in the 21st century’.

Apostolic tradition and Scripture itself constantly return us to these questions. If we are to talk about biblical holiness we must also think deeply about how our views on human relationships tally with holiness as we see it in Jesus Christ. Such holiness demands that we remain deeply faithful to Scripture and Tradition in order to ensure that not a single member of the Church of God feels less than worthy of God’s love.

Revd Dr Lorraine Cavanagh
Acting General Secretary
Modern Church

For further information please email Kieran Bohan, Communications Officer for Modern Church: comms@modernchurch.org.uk.

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This week’s prize for a statement that honours both God and all God’s human children – from the ‘Modern Church’ response to the Letter of 100 Conservative Evangelicals to the Bishops of the Church of England on the subject of Same-Sex Partnerships – is for this:

” If we are to talk about biblical holiness we must also think deeply about how our views on human relationships tally with holiness as we see it in Jesus Christ. Such holiness demands that we remain deeply faithful to Scripture and Tradition in order to ensure that not a single member of the Church of God feels less than worthy of God’s love.

Considering the indisputable fact that faithful, monogamous, sexual relationships are good for, and encouraged by the Church in,  heterosexual couples (in the face of the modern tendency towards the societal and familial problems of infidelity); those who have no other resource but to suffer enforced celibacy or to seek the security of same-sex partnership must surely be allowed to love another person, and encouraged to do so. That may be the highest code of ‘holiness’ for them, in their situation.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

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About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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