Sunday, 19 February 2012

When the House of Bishops said no to ‘benign tolerance’ on sexuality issues

Perhaps worth pondering in the present situation is the following from Some Issues in Human Sexuality: A Guide to the Debate (London: Church House, 2003), produced by the House of Bishops’ Group on Issues in Human Sexuality. If taken seriously today, it would mean that the Church of England must in the end break decisively one way or the other on same-sex relationships.

9.6.30  [...] The will of God for his people is that they should be holy as he is holy, and this means walking in obedience to his commandments [...]. This means that it is vital that God’s people should know what he requires of his people, obey it, and teach others to do likewise. To this end there needs to be agreement concerning Christian ethics. Furthermore, as we have seen, in the case of the disagreement about sexual ethics, the disagreement is about matters that go to the heart of people’s relationship with God, and which cannot therefore be treaed as subjects on which we can simply learn to live with diversity.
9.6.31  Therefore we have to say with Michael Doe:
... we cannot as Christians just give way to a ‘you believe this, I believe that’ approach to being together, or moving apart, in the Church. Nor can we be content with the rather cheap model of ‘reconciled diversity,’ meaning benign tolerance, which many Christians find an easier option to the costlier pursuit of real, ‘visible’, unity. We need to continue to struggle together for the truth, to find the right and godly balance between the call to solidarity and the recognition of difference. Nowhere is this more important – especially in the Anglican Communion – than in the area of sexuality. (Endnote 32: Seeking the Truth in Love [DLT, 2000] 111-112)
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  1. John, that's all very sensible stuff, and my views on this subject are orthodox. Where I think the problem lies is that many people (including clergy and bishops) in the CofE do not have orthodox views on this subject and are actively seeking to make their position the official one. There's also external pressure from the various sources. So it strikes me that some sort of split is inevitable.

    1. Great post, what you said is really helpful to me. I can't agree with you anymore. I have been talking with my friend about, he though it is really interesting as well.