Several bishops of the Church of England have publicly called for the institution to start conducting same-sex marriages last week.
The Rev. Dr. Steven Croft, who serves as Bishop of Oxford, became the first senior bishop serving in the Church of England to affirm same-sex unions last week, according to the Sunday Times.
Croft’s claim was echoed by the Rev. Dr. John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, and the Rev. Martin Gorick, Bishop of Dudley, both of whom were high-ranking prelates.
Croft, who sits in the House of Lords, said he once had an “orthodox” Christian view of sex and marriage, but has since “slowly but surely experienced a change of heart and mind.”
The bishop said it is “unfair” that the Church of England continues to refuse to marry gay couples, arguing that the historical Christian position has generated “manifest injustice, anger and alienation among an entire generation”.
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Croft also called for a change in church law that would allow “the solemnization of same-sex marriage in the Church of England” and advocated a move to provide laity and clergy the “freedom to marry same-sex partners. [and] freedom to be sexually active “.
In a 52-page essay titled “Together in Love and Faith,” Croft compared homosexuality to being left-handed, writing: “It is not clear to me what harm is allegedly derived from the blessing of same-sex unions or marriage. . “
“The current position of the Church of England on same-sex relationships no longer seems appropriate. Change is needed,” he wrote.
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Inge and Gorick supported Croft’s position in a joint letter, writing in part: “We believe that the time has come for the church to honor and celebrate same-sex relationships. Our preferred option would be for same-sex couples to marry in church.”
The bishops urged the Church of England to start blessing same-sex unions and urged church leaders to stop “whispering privately” about their support for the Church’s changing stance on homosexuality.
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Bishops of the Church of England are expected to make recommendations at the February General Synod on revising the millennial standard that marriage should be between a man and a woman, which could open the door to an unprecedented vote on the issue.
“We finally have a senior diocesan bishop who is willing to break the self-imposed collegial silence of the English bishops and demand an end to the multiple injustices in the way the Church of England treats LGBT + people,” said Jayne Ozanne, a gay activist for the rights that sits at the General Synod, according to the Sunday Times.
“Bishop Steven is to be applauded for making clear what he believes in and being one of the few diocesan bishops on duty to risk the wrath of conservatives by saying in public what so many whisper in private. I hope this bold step will encourage others. to be open about their opinions “.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the London-based nonprofit Christian Concern, criticized Croft, Dudley and Gorick as “revisionist bishops” in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.
Williams’ nonprofit has supported multiple people who have taken legal action against Church of England institutions for what they claim is discrimination against their Christian beliefs about sexuality and gender.
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Williams said the bishops’ position poses “a radical change” that threatens to wrench “a rupture in Anglican communion” around the world.
“The official position of the Church corresponds to the clear teaching of Scripture that sex belongs to the marriage of a man and a woman,” Williams said. “However, bishops and clergy have been allowed to sow endless doubts about what Christians throughout history and around the world have recognized as God’s model for sexuality.”
“Their theological arguments have been debunked from time to time by true scholars,” he continued. “Jesus himself clearly upheld the sexual ethics of the Old Testament as he showed grace and offered forgiveness to all who sought it.”
Williams went on to say that such positions of church leaders are guided by “an unceasing desire to reflect the values of society” and that they exhibit views that are “heresy of rank” and “no less than apostasy”.
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“The apostolic gospel calls all people, everywhere, to repent – to turn away from their sins and to Christ,” he added. “Such a radical change in the nature of repentance, in the doctrine of marriage, alters the gospel itself.”
“This alternative gospel that approves of sexual chaos fails to love or serve both God and society,” he added.
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“Any move by the Church of England to revise the doctrine of marriage will cause an open break in Anglican communion, not just in the UK but around the world,” Williams warned. “The faithful bishops of the whole world must now stand up and defend the historical and biblical doctrine of marriage as between a woman and a man for life”.