Who is going to Lambeth? Where is Lambeth going?


Andrew Goddard writes: The Lambeth Conferences opens on July 26th, just over a month away. In recent days there has been quite a flurry of activity—including two announcements from the Archbishop of Canterbury—which has highlighted some of the challenges that it will face. 

The first communication was the text of a letter sent on 27th May by Archbishop Justin and Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon (Secretary General of the Anglican Communion) to the Primates of the three provinces which have so far refused to attend the Conference (Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda). This was in response to a statement from these Primates (who are members of GAFCON’s Primates’ Council, which includes 4 other Communion Primates and 2 other non-Communion Primates) following the Communique released after the March Primates’ Meeting that they had also not attended. In the course of writing this piece the Primates have replied with an even more robust letter. Worryingly, their response seems to deny the indisputable fact that Lambeth I.10 not only upholds traditional teaching but speaks against homophobia. Their letter also, as in earlier correspondence by the Archbishop of Nigeria, uses language which many will find offensive and in contravention of those parts of I.10 (warning against “irrational fear of homosexuals” and calling for “listening to the experience of homosexual persons and assuring them that they are loved by God”) as well as poor use of Scripture. Its reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, for example, fails to recognise that there is a significant consensus including among traditionalists that warns against simplistic appeals to this text in current disagreements (Richard Hays says it is “actually irrelevant to the topic” (Moral Vision of the New Testament, p. 381) and Robert Gagnon that “to the extent that the story does not deal directly with consensual homosexual relationships, it is not an ‘ideal’ text to guide contemporary Christian sexual ethics” (The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 71) and that it has historically been misused in damaging ways.

The second release was a short video in which Archbishop Justin announced that instead of issuing no statements (like the 2008 Conference) or issuing resolutions (as at all 13 Conferences from 1867 to 2008) the 2022 Conference will issue Calls, a development explained in more detail on the Conference website and in a short 5 page booklet.

The first of these interventions raises again the question of who will attend and not attend and, given their reasons, what can be done to persuade bishops to attend. The second provides some greater clarity in relation to the question of what outcomes are being sought from those who do attend but also raises and leaves unanswered some significant questions. Though obviously distinct, these two questions are also connected. This post addresses the first question; a second (next week) will address the question of outcomes.

Who will attend?

The letter from Archbishops Justin and Josiah was presented by the Anglican Communion News Service as emphasising that “Nigerian, Rwandan and Ugandan bishops’ invitation to Lambeth Conference remains open”. This is encouraging news given how close we are to the Conference and how much more difficult the conference could prove to be should bishops from these provinces attend. Together they comprise a large number of bishops leading a very significant proportion of the global Communion. The Anglican Communion Office lists Nigeria as having 160 dioceses, Rwanda twelve, and Uganda 37 (a total of 209 diocesan bishops) while the Primates claim their provinces “represent about 30 million of the estimated 70 million Anglicans worldwide”. Although care is needed in relation to such claims about membership, David Goodhew’s recent work has noted that the two largest of these three provinces when combined with Kenya (whose Primate is also on the GAFCON Primates’ Council but whose 37 dioceses are attending the Conference) “number 42 million (as of 2015), nearly half of Global Anglicanism”. 

Goodhew cites figures which show how over the last half century the composition of the Communion has changed dramatically with the number of Anglicans rising from nearly 8 million to nearly 57 million in Africa between 1970 and 2015. In the same period North American Anglicans have diminished from just over 4 million to just over 2.5 million. The diocese of Northern Michigan has only 21 congregations and 908 members and had average Sunday attendance across the whole diocese of just 233 in 2020 (down from 385 in 2019). Despite this shift, the number of North American bishops at the Lambeth Conference has basically remained unchanged. They still have 112 dioceses in the USA (with just 1.7 million members and average Sunday attendance across TEC of under 500,000) and 32 in Canada (where average diocesan Sunday attendance in 2017 was under 1,000 in 10 of these dioceses and under 100,000 across the whole church).

The composition of the Lambeth Conference is therefore currently massively unrepresentative and biased towards the Global North even if all Communion bishops attend. If these three provinces are not present the distortion is even more grotesque. 

Their attendance is also important because these provinces stayed away from the last Lambeth Conference in 2008. This means that they were last present in 1998. If they do not attend this year then by the time of the next Lambeth Conference it will be well over three decades since their voices were heard in this crucial Instrument of Communion. That date of 1998 is important for at least two reasons. It was the first (and therefore so far only) Lambeth Conference in which all 3 provinces were represented as autonomous provinces: Rwanda for the first time, Uganda and Nigeria for the second having first been represented as provinces only in 1988. It was also, famously, when the Conference overwhelmingly passed Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality. It is the consequences of that resolution and the handling of these consequences by consecutive Archbishops and the Instruments that underlies what the letter to the 3 Primates describes as their “boycotts”.

While the letter’s appeal to these provinces’ bishops to attend is very welcome, how it attempts to persuade towards attendance is disappointing. If such persuasion seeks to be effective it should be marked by at least two features: recognition of the problems these Primates and their provinces have and the perspective they hold and reassurance in relation to their concerns. There are, sadly, few signs of these in the letter.

A. Recognition of the Three Primates’ Problems and Perspective

The reality is that for these three provinces (and for many others in the wider Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, GSFA) the developments since 1998 have generated a conflict in relation to fundamentals of Christian faith and Anglican identity. This view was acknowledged in The Windsor Report of 2004 which was accepted by the Instruments of the Communion. It noted the effect of the then actions of the churches in the USA and Canada (relating to blessings of same-sex unions and consecration of only one bishop living in one, not yet directly touching on marriage):

The overwhelming response from other Christians both inside and outside the Anglican family has been to regard these developments as departures from genuine, apostolic Christian faith…Some eighteen of the thirty-eight provinces of the Anglican Communion, or their primates on their behalf, have issued statements which indicate, in a variety of ways, their basic belief that the developments in North America are “contrary to biblical teaching” and as such unacceptable (para 28).

The Jerusalem Statement from GAFCON in 2008 reiterates this in strong terms framing it in terms of Paul’s letter to the Galatians as a “false gospel”. The wider GSFA made clear in 2017 that it is in fellowship with those who have formed ACNA because of the seriousness of the situation. That followed their joint 2016 statement with GAFCON that included the statement (para 9) that

Any pastoral provision by a church for a same-sex couple (such as a liturgy or a service to bless their sexual union) that obviates the need for repentance and a commitment to pursue a change of conduct enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit, would contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality.

Faced with such an interpretation it is not sufficient to write, as Archbishops Justin and Josiah do in their letter, that “there have always been disagreements on matters that affect the faith and life of the church” and that the response is “prayerful discussion and listening to the views of those who differ”. This does not recognise the problems these Primates and their provinces have and the perspective they hold. Nor does it acknowledge the significance of the Lambeth Conference as a gathering of bishops seeking to take counsel together and speak as bishops together to and for the church. This means some in conscience will not be able even to gather together as they cannot recognise others as faithful bishops with whom they are in the depth of communion implied by the nature of the gathering.

Levels of Disagreement

In terms of the Church of England’s own proposed differentiation of levels of disagreement, as set out in Living and Love and Faith, these Primates see the problem as one of bishops “advocating something simply incompatible with the good news of Jesus…teaching something that amounts to a rejection of Jesus’ call on one’s life” (p. 231). Even at the next level of disagreement—those which “undermine our ability to live and work together as one church…make it hard to worship together, to share sacraments” (p. 231)—there would be grounds for staying away. Many from the Global South who are attending are likely to view the disagreements in these terms with a possible serious impact on the liturgical life of the Conference. The Archbishops’ letter seems to place the issue in the third category among those “that don’t prevent us working together as one church” (p. 231) and so “we should be able to respect one another’s opinions on the matter and carry on within the same church” (p. 232). They seem not to have heeded LLF’s warning that a situation where it is already “very difficult for those involved to hear and respond to one another” (p. 231) is “likely to be made much worse” if, in relation to this question of the nature of the disagreement, “the difference in perception is not acknowledged or reflected upon” (p. 232).

In situations of such deep and serious disagreement, there is an alternative approach to either absenting oneself or simply “listening to the views of those who differ”. This is found within the Galatians paradigm of interpreting our disagreements that these Primates are working with: “When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned…When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all….” (Gal 2:11, 14). Given that these provinces have not attended a Lambeth Conference since these events took place the best argument to put to them is that if they are to respond biblically then they need to attend in order to follow the pattern of Paul here. They will then be able to say, “When X,Y and Z came to Lambeth, I opposed them to their face, because they stood condemned…When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to them in front of all the bishops of the Communion….”. That is, surely, the strongest argument that can be made if there is a serious attempt to persuade these bishops to attend: “I do not agree with your interpretation of what has happened but if you hold to it sincerely as I believe you do then this is what you should do if you wish to be biblical”.

Ignoring the Issue?

This argument though needs, secondly, to recognise that these provinces—and many others—feel they have been trying for nearly two decades to follow this path but have been ignored, outmanoeuvred, or misled by others, including the Instruments. There is not time or space to trace the long sad history here but three key points are now clear. First, that the responses of the North American churches to the Windsor vision of life in Communion and its call to repent and effect a moratorium (which were seen as ambiguous but received by some in good faith as signalling willingness to engage) were at best misleading and at worst duplicitous. The leadership of those churches have continued further down the path of disregarding the wider mind of the Communion on the basis of their legal autonomy and convictions as to what the Spirit is saying to them. There is no evidence that—with the honourable and notable exception of the Communion Partners—they ever intended to do otherwise. Second, that the judgment of the Primates in October 2003 was right that these actions would “tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division”. Third, despite this—and the decisions of various Primates Meetings—there has been little or no significant change in how these churches relate to the rest of the Communion through the Instruments. 

Despite these arguments that there is really no point in attending, it is also the case that few bishops at this Conference have met together to consider this history and what is to be learned from it. The last Conference was while the Anglican Communion Covenant was still being developed. Those most upset by how this has been handled, especially since the last Conference, would arguably therefore serve their cause best by attending and making clear their concerns and the implications of continuing down this path.

Undermining Confidence

Thirdly, Archbishop Justin’s own actions have at times further undermined confidence in his leadership of the Communion as he has moved the Communion’s response into a more accommodating stance to those making changes in doctrine and practice than his predecessor. The most obvious example of this was highlighted in the Primates’ original letter in these stark words:

It is becoming more apparent that Canterbury, which ought to moderate, mitigate and ensure resolution of the crisis is becoming too tolerant and complicit in the arrogance and errors of the revisionist Anglican Churches in the West. There are indications that homosexual ‘Bishops’ and maybe their spouses have been invited to the forthcoming Lambeth Conference.

In his response there is, rightly, a denial that same-sex spouses have been invited. But there is no acknowledgment that—in contrast to the last Conference when Gene Robinson was not invited—bishops in same-sex marriages have indeed been invited as full participants in this conference. This as I explored at the time (here, here, and here) is unprecedented and a significant change which has never been adequately explained. It is quite understandable that there will be bishops who cannot in good conscience attend because such attendance will be understood by them or by those in their care as an act of ecclesial recognition that other attending are faithful bishops in God’s church. The truth remains that “very many people in the Anglican Communion could neither recognise nor receive the ministry of a bishop in the Church of God of a person in an openly acknowledged same gender union” (The Windsor Report, para 129) and that this decision by Archbishop Justin, in a break with past practice, is unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of Anglicans represented by bishops at the Conference.

B. Reassurances in Response to the Three Primates’ Concerns

Especially given this history and some of his own actions as Archbishop, there is a real need, where possible, for Justin to offer reassurances if there is a seriousness about wanting bishops from these three key provinces to attend next month. Here there are at least four areas that could have been helpfully addressed.

Firstly, alongside the more accommodating posture in relation to Lambeth invitations, there has also under Archbishop Justin been a willingness to speak about “consequences” in Communion life for the provinces which have ignored Communion teaching and appeals. This was one of the major outcomes of his first Primates Meeting as Archbishop back in 2016. There has however been little evidence of these being implemented in practice; moreover they were time-limited and have expired with no indication whether that limit has been extended. Were it to be made clear that these consequences remained in force and that the Lambeth Conference would have the opportunity to consider whether and how they might apply to their own proceedings and wider Communion life this would be a welcome sign for those currently determined or tempted to be absent.

Sadly, they appear to have been totally forgotten.

This is despite being the key that proved necessary to unlock the door of what is regularly still referenced as a decision to “walk together”. It is important to recall that phrase was a reference to a “desire” (aware that such a desire may require certain conditions to be fulfilled and could be frustrated). It was also in the context of recognising “significant distance between us” in acknowledgment of which the “consequences” were introduced. “Walking together but at a significant distance” would be a much more honest summary. By its reference to “significant distance” that description also acknowledges one sense of “walking apart” as The Windsor Report made clear would likely follow if, as happened, its recommendations were not accepted.

Secondly, related to this there could have been reassurances that the Communion has still to settle how its common life will have to adapt to this new situation. The Covenant which was the focus of this question at the last Conference in 2008 no longer appears to be a serious option. The GSFA is proceeding with its own covenantal response separate from the formal Instruments. There is, however, no clear sign that these matters, and the deep ecclesiological questions underlying them, are going to be seriously considered at the Conference. A reassurance that these are an important part of the Lambeth agenda and that GAFCON voices are part of the discernment process would have been a significant olive branch that would make it more difficult to justify staying away.

Thirdly, while it is welcome and right to state “The Church of England, has not in any way changed its teaching on marriage or the place of sexual relations”, the reality of the variable practice and discipline within the Church of England, the Living in Love and Faith process, its possible outcomes, and their consequences in the wider Communion, cannot be ignored. This doubtless lies behind concerns of the three Primates and many others in the Global South. Clearly the discernment process later this year cannot be prejudged. It could, however, be stated that this process will be mindful of the wider Communion and that it would greatly benefit Church of England bishops attending Lambeth if they could enter that process having met with the full range of views found among the Communion’s bishops including those from Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.

Fourthly, there is the question of the status of Lambeth I.10 which is clearly a major concern. The Archbishops’ letter to the Primates states that “Resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference in 1998 remains the latest expression of Anglican Communion teaching on the subject” and that “questions of human identity and sexuality will undoubtedly be discussed at the Lambeth Conference” but gives no more detail. There are many who suspect that—in part because of the Church of England LLF discernment process that follows the Conference—an attempt will be made to change the situation so that “the latest expression of Anglican Communion teaching on the subject” will be in some way different which is, of course, another reason why staying away is seen by many as an unwise response.

Conclusion

There are, it is clear, a number of significant questions still unanswered as the long-postponed Lambeth Conference draws near. The historically short duration of the Conference and the lack of information concerning the content of the proposed Calls (which I will address in the next article) will make for a pressured time together given the long-running unresolved tensions and disagreements. 

Whatever happens, but especially if many bishops do stay away, one of the challenges will be whether and how the Conference might yet open up new paths of reconciliation to be explored. These cannot avoid addressing the difficult areas explored here as only by doing this can trust be rebuilt on the basis of truth-telling about what has happened and about the deep differences about sexuality and the nature of our Communion.


Revd Dr Andrew Goddard is Assistant Minister, St James the Less, Pimlico, Tutor in Christian Ethics, Westminster Theological Centre (WTC) and Tutor in Ethics at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.  He is a member of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) and was a member of the Co-Ordinating Group of LLF.


DON'T MISS OUT!
Signup to get email updates of new posts
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

If you enjoyed this, do share it on social media (Facebook or Twitter) using the buttons on the left. Follow me on Twitter @psephizo. Like my page on Facebook.


Much of my work is done on a freelance basis. If you have valued this post, you can make a single or repeat donation through PayPal:

For other ways to support this ministry, visit my Support page.


Comments policy: Good comments that engage with the content of the post, and share in respectful debate, can add real value. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Make the most charitable construal of the views of others and seek to learn from their perspectives. Don't view debate as a conflict to win; address the argument rather than tackling the person.

207 thoughts on “Who is going to Lambeth? Where is Lambeth going?”

  1. Excellent summary of where we are, but will the conference resolve anything strong enough to ‘save’ the declining communion in the ‘west’?

    Reply
  2. It may be time for Gafcon to actually admit that, by it’s ‘Jerusalem Statement of Faith’, it has already declared its separate existence from the historical A.C.C., and is ready to declare itself as an independent religious organization. That would leave the Lambeth Father’s and Mother’s to lead a Communion free from homophobia, misogyny, sexism and patra4chalism.

    Reply
    • I am not convinced that GAFCON should stick in the Anglican communion. But I am certain that they should fight against expulsion by those who wish to go against scripture and 2000 years of tradition.

      Reply
      • The Gafcon/Acna sodality, Anton, surely doesn’t need to resist expulsion. They’ve already left, of their own volition.. It’s called ‘Intensional Schism’ – a horrid prospect for unity in Christ’s Body, The Church!

        Reply
        • Thar’s untrue. They were invited to Lambeth. So they are non-attending members.

          If you want unity, stick to biblical principles on sexuality.

          Reply
          • Exactly. Failing to do so is a ready-made eternal schism in one move.
            Just like making abortion legal was a ready-made eternal culture-war in one move.

    • Father Ron Smith

      My! All those ‘ias’ and ‘isms’ excluded – at a stroke! What luck!

      As nature abhors a vacuum, I’m sure the liberals will preach not to empty pews but to a new and joyous crowd of exultant worshippers:

      Adoptionists, Appollinarisists, Arabicists, Arianists, Collyridiamisits, Docetists, Monarchists, Monophysitists, Monothelitists and last but not least Nestorianists.

      Unity in Diversity!

      Eh, Father?

      Reply
  3. The enemy could not have dreamt up any strategy so perfectly fitted for fragmentation and
    disintegration.
    Wherever ‘the homosexual issue’ goes, two things follow it: demonic backbiting and shrinkage (draining of life).
    Thus anyone who supports prioritising this literally interminable issue supports prioritising fragmentation, disintegration, backbiting (interminable recrimination) and succubus-like draining of life.
    Wake up O sleepers and rise from the dead.

    Reply
  4. Primates of Nigeria, Rwanda, Nigeria – June 10th:
    “Hence, the current debate over Anglican orthodoxy, biblical ethics and human sexuality may not ultimately be decided by the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, despite his leadership position in the Communion.”

    What is ‘Anglican orthodoxy’?

    That seems to imply that the Anglican Communion is, in effect, ‘The Anglican Church’.

    It isn’t. It is a collection of (mostly) national, and self-governing Churches, who choose or choose not to gather together in Communion together.

    In short… there are Anglican “orthodoxies”.

    We all know that the ‘Covenant’ initiative was rejected in England – as in some other countries. That was an attempt to impose one single ‘orthodoxy’ on everyone, with insinuated sanctions for dissidents.

    That’s not how it works, I’m afraid.

    In England, the Church of England decides and determines what its ‘orthodoxy’ or ‘orthodoxies’ should be. For example there are dual orthodoxies on women’s priests. It looks fairly likely we are heading for dual orthodoxies on human sexuality too.

    That being the case, no, the Archbishop does not get to decide which orthodoxies are practiced in various Churches in different countries. That would be Papal.

    It would also be over-reach because there is NO ‘Worldwide Anglican Church’. There are simply multiple and distinct Churches in many countries that identify as Anglican.

    So it is not for the Primate of Nigeria to decide how the Church of England determines its orthodoxies. It is for the Church of England to determine its own orthodoxies.

    Meanwhile, there are bucketloads of ways we can interact and carry out a whole range of Christian initiatives to help the poor, the deprived, the sick. Not everything is about sex.

    Reply
    • It would also be over-reach because there is NO ‘Worldwide Anglican Church’. There are simply multiple and distinct Churches in many countries that identify as Anglican.

      Ah, so does this mean you’ve realised that I’m right that soon there will be multiple and distinct denominations in England that identify as Anglican?

      Reply
      • ‘Ah, so does this mean you’ve realised that I’m right that soon there will be multiple and distinct denominations in England that identify as Anglican?’

        For denominations, in Susannah’s eyes read ‘orthodoxies’. This raises the question as to whether post QEII, a future King will be head of all of them, just one, or maybe the CoE would have disestablished by then so this question won’t arise.

        Reply
        • For denominations, in Susannah’s eyes read ‘orthodoxies’.

          Well, obviously ‘Churches’ is wrong because there is only one Church-with-a-capital-C, the singular body of Christ. You can’t have more than one Church — it would be like there being more than one Christ.

          Reply
        • Chris,
          Maybe others could argue for retention, but I don’t recognise a present day need. The Lords Spiritual in the Upper Chamber in Parliament offer little more than labour or liberal voices, certainly nothing of overt Christianity, and hardly independent of thought. As such, there is no need for their privileges over and above any voluntary/charitable organisation, I’d suggest.

          Reply
          • But that is not what they do or intrinsically do, it is merely what they are doing at the moment. No-one is making them, nor do they have to.

      • In other countries maybe, but not in England where Establishment settles who is the CoE. With the title goes who gets the church buildings in every parish and the assets in land and investment funds.

        Reply
    • So why the pretense? Why LLF, why Lambeth? Why waste time, money?
      That comment, Susannah merely corroborates, evidences, the response to the ABoC correspondence. And the suspicions of the motives and predetermined trajectory. And is high handed in the extreme with no desire for communion, world wide.

      Reply
      • Geoff

        What if you and York are correct in your analyses?

        This long standing stand-off has provided the ABC with a tension he’s had to manage?

        This tension, it seems to me, has provided hope for the orthodox-evsngelical.

        What if this ‘tension’ snaps?

        Then the CofE will be dragged by the liberals further down into degradation.

        What becomes of the orthodox-evangelical?

        Will there just be a remnant church left in this country?

        Reply
        • It’s just another of the n-thousand instances of ‘You should have listened to the Christian angle all along rather than having to play catch up later.’.

          If you follow the culture, you’re following the lost.

          Reply
  5. Given that the Anglican churches of Rwanda, Nigeria and Uganda accept female priests – then sex must be irrelevant to the priesthood.

    As sex is irrelevant – then why should sexual orientation be relevant?

    Reply
  6. DS

    I do not support women vicars but there is a big difference between woman priests and practising homosexual priests (or members).

    Reply
    • I do not support women vicars but there is a big difference between woman priests

      There’s a big difference between vicars and priests and priests who aren’t Jesus — whether men or women — are anti-Christian.

      Reply
        • Well no, not really, all believers are priests.

          Really, there is only one priest in the Christian religion, and His name is Jesus, and He was born about two thousand years ago to a virgin named Mary, and He is the eternal God, only begotten Son of the Father.

          A priest acts as intermediary between humans and the gods. Christians need no such intermediary; we stand before Jesus of Nazareth, who is God, directly and in person.

          Hence: no such thing as a Christian priest, apart from Jesus of Nazareth.

          Reply
          • S

            Jesus is a great High Priest but all of his people are priests

            You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ … But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:5-9).

            A big insistence at the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers,

            Note the holy priest and the royal priest. The holy priest’s activities were godward offering up spiritual sacrifices in service to God. Royal priest’s appeared to be more evangelistic proclaiming God’s praises but rest assured all believers are priests I doubt if many will disagree with this.

          • You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood

            You sure that isn’t a metaphor? I mean we’re not literally living stones either.

    • Mr Thomson

      How will you know they are practising homosexuality?

      Are you thinking about turning the clock back and policing their bedrooms?

      Reply
  7. Whatever may be the virtue of including or excluding Gen 19 from debates about homosexuality it is the first mention of sodomy in the Bible and it is not an edifying sight. The first mention of something in the Bible often reveals its character – an old fashioned view I know but I think true.

    Reply
    • I don’t see why the first mention is more telling than the others. Indeed, it is a dangerous perspective because the first mention will be more opinion-forming than the others. First impressions are stronger than later impressions, but that is irrational.
      The idea that the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative does not portray homosexual behaviour in a bad light is laughable.

      Reply
      • I agree that there is a negative vibe to how the Bible (variously) presents man-man sex, but wasn’t this incident rape? The crime here was the non-consensual violence?

        When a heterosexual rapist rapes a woman, that does not make heterosexual sex wrong? Surely?

        Rape is primarily driven by violence and not sexuality. Many prisoners in the Ukraine War will have been violated by anal rape, even though the perpetrators are predominantly straight.

        Reply
        • I think there’s more than a negative ‘vibe’!

          And while this incident did clearly involve proposed rape, I dont think you can just dismiss the reality it was male-male rape as irrelevant.

          And whilst rape is indeed a violent crime, I think the sexual aspect is a key part of it, ie the rapist is turned on by the violent act. So violence, control and sex are all important aspects.

          Peter

          Reply
      • The fact that you say ‘the crime’ means that you are forcing people to agree that there was only one crime, and precisely one. But where is the evidence for that? It is just an invented idea.
        Moreover, Sodom was proverbial for vice. So you certainly agree with me that it had more than one vice.
        Thirdly, it is precisely in the city proverbial for vice – rather than in the other biblical cities – that we find homosexual desire and behaviour. There are 2 possibilities – this is a coincidence, or it is not. Given the way that desires and behaviour operate, it can’t be a coincidence, for the reason that sins breed other sins.
        Fourthly, you say homosexual sex is equivalent to the normal sort. In that case, why is one in accord with biological design over millions of years and the other not? What we should be told is: Where is the *equivalence* within that aspect?

        Reply
        • Christopher

          I think you are right. I think a culture of sexual license not only means a proliferation of promiscuity but it breeds different varieties of sin. The once unthinkable becomes desirable and attainable.

          I think the sexual dynamic also breeds all kinds of other malaise. Obsession with self image and its illnesses; personal guilt and hedonism to escape it; shallow relationships; broken homes and all the devastation that brings; not to mention STDs.

          When we break the Maker’s instructions things don’t work.

          Romans 1 says homosexual sin

          Reply
      • Nonsense. It portrays male/male rape (not homosexual behaviour) in a bad light.
        Male/female rape on the other hand is OK ish. Not a cigarette paper between the men of Sodom and Lot in moral terms. Both were abusers.

        Reply
        • So male/male rape is not homosexual behaviour? Can you explain that, because everyone thought it was.
          You did not address the fact that Sodom certainly had more than one sin.
          Nor, thirdly, the fact that there is a coincidence between the city most full of vice and the one that manifests homosexual behaviour.
          Nor, fourthly, that homosexual behaviour would in this context and culture have been classified as sinful or abomination.

          Reply
          • Is male/female rape ‘heterosexual behaviour’?
            No. It’s about abuse, power, domination, humiliation.
            Nothing to do with sexuality.
            Everything to do with exploitation and cruelty.

          • Having worked with a lot of rapists on one of the country’s sex offender units (for over 100 inmates at a time), my impression is that in most cases rape should be seen as an act of violence and a power trip. It is less about sexual desire, than twisted desire for power, and sheer violence.

            I revert (with distaste) to the Ukrainian War, and wars generally, where straight male soldiers rape captive opponents. It has nothing to do with them being gay/homosexual etc. It is to do with power, violence, and humiliation.

            Surely the same would apply in the narrative about Sodom and Gomorrah?

            That being the case, how do you conflate that to a supposed biblical lesson against (loving, tender, committed) gay sexuality?

            The reported episode has NOTHING to do with loving, tender, committed sexuality. It is to do with VIOLENCE.

            Even as something who believes the surface text of the Bible seems not okay with man-man sex, I don’t think this particular passage is any kind of convincing proof.

          • Is male/female rape ‘heterosexual behaviour’?

            Yes. Obviously.

            No. It’s about abuse, power, domination, humiliation.

            It is about all those things. It is also, again, obviously, heterosexual behaviour under any reasonable definition of the term.

            I mean, what definition of ‘heterosexual behaviour’ could you possibly come up with that excludes male/female rape?

            In your answer you should bear in mind that a lot of heterosexual behaviour that occurs in the animal kingdom would, if it happened in humans, be considered rape — but that doesn’t stop it being heterosexual behaviour.

          • That being the case, how do you conflate that to a supposed biblical lesson against (loving, tender, committed) gay sexuality?

            The point, I believe, is that once one departs from God’s law in one (seemingly small, seemingly justifiable, seemingly compassionate, even) way, it has a corrosive effect and leads one into departing from God’s law in bigger and bigger ways.

            Like someone who starts off by stealing small items from shops, justifying it to themselves by saying it’s a victimless crime because the shops are insured and can afford it, might well then find it easier to take the next steps onto bigger and bigger crimes, such as lying and violence.

          • I do think Penelope is seriously wrong here. But what makes that worse is that she merely asserts.
            In war zones, people fulfil their desires because they CAN. Sexual desire is a very strong desire. So that would be high on the list in a situation where these soldiers CAN.
            As civilisation breaks down in war contexts, people can just simply act selfish in desire fulfilment as the taboos imposed by civilisation lessen.
            Very much about desire, therefore. I’m quite sure other things come into it too.

          • It is also telling that the points about Sodom having more than one sin; and about the correlation between quintessential sinful town and very disproportionate homosexual behaviour (which towns have every man behaving like that?? More likely Romans 1 is right in attributing this to hypersexuality, and we have ourselves seen how a hypersexual society becomes more homosexual than before) – these 2 have STILL not been addressed. Is that because they are too strong, as points, to be addressed?

          • Yes, of course male/male rape is homosexual behaviour, just as male/female rape is heterosexual behaviour. The attempted homosexual gang rape of God’s messengers on the last night of that city’s existence is the only homosexual behaviour recounted in the original Sodom narrative (Genesis 18-19). That is as relevant to the great majority of ordinary homosexual people as Lot’s drunken incest with his daughters in a cave, or the consummated heterosexual gang rape of the Levite’s concubine (Judges 19), are to the great majority of ordinary heterosexual people.

          • Indeed William. Christopher tends to get a bit emotional about the matter and doesn’t make a great deal of sense I fear. It’s pure homophobia.

          • Anything you want to understand I will explain – that has always been my promise.
            What I say may be opaque for various reasons – my lack of a clear grasp, my unclear style, readers not being at the point when they can digest it…all are possibilities. But at least I can pledge to be both as clear as possible and as obliging as possible in explaining.

            It’s pure homophobia, I tell you etc etc – Andrew, if you don’t (by your own admission) understand what I am saying, then it follows (as you will agree) that you do not know whether it is homophobia (illiterate hybrid word) or not. However, your eagerness to assert that it is even *prior* to understanding shows that you are keen to maximise the negative judgment, with or without evidence.

          • Nice try Christopher. But be sure I understand quite enough of your garbled emotionally driven outburst to see your irrational fear of homosexuality. Just as William does. The point about irrational fears is that you can’t make them any clearer.
            Andrew Goddard helpfully points out that the Primates who wish to boycott Lambeth only want to abide by half of the Lambeth 1.10 resolution. You are in the same position.

          • How many of the papers I have quoted in evidence can you name?
            How many of them have you interacted with in the last 5 years?
            How many have you quoted?

          • Oh yes I’ve read and interacted with quite a lot over the last 5 years Christopher. But you seem to miss the point of what I am saying. You have an irrational fear of homosexual people, as do those Primates who intend to boycott Lambeth. That is the subject of this post.

          • I’ve read quite a few of the papers too. And many conservative scholars. But since the aetiology of sexual identity is nothing to do with morality, they are mere red herrings.

          • But since the aetiology of sexual identity is nothing to do with morality

            You presumably have a good logical argument to back up that massive, controversial, and apparently baseless assertion?

      • Christopher

        I wonder if the first mention often acts as a kind of proto-type that will later be developed.

        Apart form Gen 1-3 we have Babylon and Nimrod the apparent head of Babylon. Babylon is a prototype of end-time Babylon. It is the city of man. Justification by faith comes with Abraham. I think it may be the first mention of faith. Then there is blood sacrifice that averts wrath (Gen 9). Or Melchesidek and Jerusalem and the blessing of Abraham.

        I wouldn’t want to make too much of this but I think there is in the Pentateuch in particular themes that arise only to be developed in later books. It’s really only Biblical theology.

        Reply
  8. Andrew

    I speak out of ignorance, but could it be that those primates who refuse to come have made their case often only to have it fall on deaf ears. Perhaps they see no profit in further confrontation.

    I trust the conservative Bible believing voices will see a way forward in the coming years.

    Reply
  9. ‘but could it be that those primates who refuse to come have made their case often only to have it fall on deaf ears’.

    I think it is deeper than that.

    If the Roman historian Livy were alive today, the views of the bishops of the Church of England over homosexuality would be characterised as decadent:

    ‘We can endure neither our vices nor the remedies for them.’

    Reply
  10. Can anyone explain to me why it is those who wish things to stay as they were who have to consider leaving, while those who want things to change get to stay?

    Reply
    • Mr Wilson

      The ‘same’ situation has arisen in the United Methodist Church in the US.

      The conservatives have been and are in full control.

      It is the conservatives who are leaving because they are exhausted and they accept that they’ll be fighting against the same thing, over and over again.

      Tragic.

      Reply
    • For the same reason that
      (1) Only certain issues are permitted to come back to Parliament again and again,
      (2) Once the vote finally goes their way, there will at that point be an abrupt stop to voting on the issue,
      (3) People promulgate the view that there is a right side of history.
      I.e. some cannot tolerate not to get their way. And their way, by definition, is often a selfish way.
      People were banned from the QEII Conference Centre 10 years ago for upholding the law whereas those who wished to change it were feted.

      Reply
  11. I get the sense from reading the robust response from the Abp’s of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda who according to Andrew Goddard represent 3/7 of all Anglicans world wide, that there is an undercurrent of unspoken racism from northern Anglican provinces in the response (or rather lack of) to their concerns.

    ABC appears to be applying the Theresa May principle in so far as replying to or addressing a concern that wasn’t asked to issues that he finds embarrassing or would rather not answer. Perhaps many of the northern provinces think that the ABp’s from the developing world are a bit backward or too simplistic in their beliefs? A product of their primitive and developing culture compared to ours perhaps? Not quite so progressive and ‘with it’ maybe?’

    Yet their response is forthright, orthodox and well articulated. They are not fools and know when they are being deliberately ignored. However, I think Andrew Goddard is right in that they are making the wrong decision not to come. If they do come, since they represent such a large body of Anglicans, then they should insist that their concerns are heard and debated, not stage -managed away, and get this from the ABC in writing.

    Doubtful if this will happen though.

    Reply
    • I believe that Lambeth Conferences are very carefully stage managed and they would not manage to provoke the all-out debate that Welby is so carefully avoiding while he speaks about listening while assiduously promoting LGBT in the church via his appointments. Evidently he has no fear of God.

      Reply
  12. Andrew Goddard:

    “The leadership of those churches” [North American] “have continued further down the path of disregarding the wider mind of the Communion on the basis of their legal autonomy and convictions as to what the Spirit is saying to them.”

    Correct.

    Because that is the nature of each country’s Anglican Church.

    It is not for the Primates of other countries to tell them what to believe.

    “The Anglican Communion” is a network of national church organisations, each of which determines how they open to the Spirit.

    The Anglican Communion is not one unified worldwide Church which can impose doctrine on any individual national Church.

    Lambeth Conference is a ‘get together’ of individual national Churches with diverse views. It shouldn’t “get above itself”.

    Even previous Lambeth Conference resolutions like 1998 1:10 are provisional in the sense that any individual national Church may evolve or feel led to new understanding about human sexuality. They can do so because they are autonomous.

    Lambeth Conference is simply a construct. It has no power to impose uniformity against the consciences of individual national Churches.

    We have seen this already in North America, and we are seeing it played out in Scotland, Wales, and England.

    Prelates try to “big up” the Conference. It is a get together really. People come if they want to. Goodness knows, we have more than sex to talk about (thank goodness).

    Reply
  13. One observation about the photograph at the top of the article:

    Sooooooooo many men!

    Terrible optics.

    What signal does a photo like that send out to (for example) female teens wondering about the Church?

    What signal does it send out about the male domination that operates at Lambeth?

    The photograph is embarrassing.

    Reply
    • Well, I have no problem with the men but I find the garb ridiculous. I want to preserve the faith but not the vestments.

      Reply
          • And to pre-empt your next logical question, yes, I realise that knowing ‘some’ people’s gender identity does not mean I know *all* their gender identities.

            If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but I put it to readers that if they look at that photo, the overwhelming likelihood is that the vast majority of them identify and understand themselves as male.

          • if they look at that photo, the overwhelming likelihood is that the vast majority of them identify and understand themselves as male.

            Are you saying that gender identity is linked to appearance? In what way? What are the signs I should look for in order to tell someone’s gender identity from a picture of them?

            You clearly know what the signs are, so teach us.

          • It’s a matter of statistics.

            Only a small percentage of people who ‘appear’ male are actually transgender.

            And it’s also a matter of commonsense, which you realise perfectly well yourself (though you love being argumentative – and I quite enjoy your intelligence)… that leaders of largely socially conservative churches are more likely than average to eschew the validity of gender transition, as a possibility, either for themselves or others.

            To our other readers: look at the photo!! Do they look like they are mostly guys or not?

            This line of logical argument, S, has gone off the tracks and de-rails my point: which is not about whether one of two bishops may secretly be trans or genderqueer, but about whether it is good for the Churches that most of their top leaders are men.

            What’s your view on that, S?

            Otherwise, kindly go and exercise your not inconsiderable powers of intelligence and logic in another playground 🙂

            PS have a great weekend

          • Only a small percentage of people who ‘appear’ male are actually transgender.

            What does it mean to ‘appear male’, if a male is someone who considers themselves to be male, regardless of how they appear?

            Does it mean, ‘wears trousers’? ‘Wears a suit’? ‘Doesn’t wear make-up’? Are those things which make someone ‘appear male’, and therefore on which it’s okay to base an assumption to a gender identity?

            That seems to be what you’re saying, I just want to check that I have your official permission to assume that anyone I see wearing a suit and not wearing make-up has a gender identity of male and act accordingly, and if anyone tells me I shouldn’t do that I can say to them, ‘But Susannah Clark (you know, the one who’s besties with all the bishops) told me it’s okay’.

            That’s fine with you, right?

          • Dear Susannah

            You wrote to S: “This line of logical argument… de-rails my point… about whether it is good for the Churches that most of their top leaders are men.

            God certainly thinks so, for his Holy Spirit inspired St Paul to write that the episkopos should be a man of one woman (1 Timothy 3:3-4). And Paul was using the definitions of man and woman prevailing at the time.

          • You might appreciate Jordan Peterson’s article in the Telegraph today about this issue:

            I don’t know. I once tried to read something by Peterson (to see what the fuss was about) and I found it impenetrably waffly and full of meaningless jargon.

            Before he gained his high media profile he was – and remains – a practising psychologist.

            Well, that would explain the waffle and the meaningless jargon, I suppose.

          • Thank you for addressing my point, Anton.

            Yes, I agree that a theological point can be made for male leadership and a male-only priesthood.

            It’s not my personal theological view. I think the vastly male presence in the photo is a really bad signal to send out to women, and especially young women.

            However, I respect that Christians can believe in an all-male priesthood in good faith and conscience and theological integrity. I just don’t share their views.

          • ‘*Personal* theological view’?
            You actually think that the reality about God is bespoke or tailor made to each individual person? In our own image? If that were so, that would not only be incorrect, it would be a 100% reversal of ‘in His own image’.
            Or that the word ”view” (which encompasses everything from research conclusions at the top end to asserted preferences at the bottom end) is somehow coherent?
            I am trying to make it clear that the oft repeated cliches are often not coherent. Being oft-repeated, they sometimes therefore lack thought behind them.

          • Or that the word ”view” (which encompasses everything from research conclusions at the top end to asserted preferences at the bottom end) is somehow coherent?

            Well, it is coherent. Famously for example it was Fred Hoyle’s personal cosmological view that the universe was infinite in time, and George Gamow’s personal cosmological view that the universe was of finite age.

            Of course just like Gamow’s view was correct and Hoyle’s was wrong, so it must be with the opposing personal theological views: they can’t both be right and we must endeavour to figure out which is wrong.

          • ”View” is not coherent, certainly not in its usage. People have a preference or ideal scenario, and they call it a view. People have a researched conclusion, and they call it a view. These 2 then get lumped together. Which is the number one reason why so many are in the mess they are in when it comes to debate. You certainly do not support demoting research conclusions to the level of congenial assertions. Nor support elevating the latter to the level of the former with not a stroke of research behind them. Tell me you don’t.

          • People have a preference or ideal scenario, and they call it a view. People have a researched conclusion, and they call it a view.

            And they are right to do so. They are indeed both views.

            One is an uniformed view very likely to be wrong; the other is a considered, reasoned view backed up by evidence (though it might still be wrong, as Hoyle’s was).

            But they are both ‘views’. The word ‘view’ itself contains no value judgement.

            I think your problem is that you seem to think that calling them both ‘views’ implies that they are necessarily both equally well-informed or likely to be correct. But it does not imply that at all.

          • Well I’m glad we’ve settled that! Thank you, S.

            I have views, you have views, Christopher.

            You may disagree with my views, but the word ‘view’ is itself coherent.

            As to everyone having the same view… nah!

            I hate marmite, you love marmite.

            I love custard, you hate custard.

            I support Arsenal, you support Spurs.

            These are views. Whether the views are equivalent in value is for anyone to decide.

            But the views remain views.

            I was expressing mine, which is why I specifically called it ‘personal’.

            Have a nice day.

          • I have views, you have views, Christopher

            But what matters is whose views are correct. Incorrect views are worthless.

          • No, Susannah. You know that the reason I said ‘view’ is incoherent is that you cannot lump together unresearched selfish preferences (at one extreme) with research findings that may have taken years to attain (at the other extreme).
            You know that this was the point I made, not for the first time. Nothing to do with the points you have just made.
            Could you address it? Do you think that it is perfectly fine to have a category called ‘view’ that treats selfish preferences on the same level as hard won research findings? Or not? Thank you. We are at the nub of the issue here.

          • And as for the marmite thing, I give up. If you are saying that, in a world where only one theory is correct on any one matter, your regard for truth and the means of attaining truth is so absent that you see it as a trivial matter like whether people like marmite or not, then that triviality is the level at which to rank that perspective. I would identify that very perspective – that you have your view and she has hers and that is all that there is to be said – as clearly so utterly inadequate and rendering everything else invalid that is said on its basis. You are far too intelligent for that. People sweat blood to be accurate in their theories, and it seems like you don’t care – one theory is as good as another. How on earth *can* one theory be as good as another? My theories on astrophysics are as good as a professor’s? What mark would you get if you spoke thus in a GCSE paper? The utter absence of truth or criteria/tests for truth or concern for truth – it just seems so unChristian.

            So the people we listen to and respect and trust will always be the ones who know that there is a real way the world is, and that study gets us closer to that, and we do quite obviously do not value the fruit of lack-of-study equally to the fruit of study. And we do not come to conclusions after 5 minutes and never continue to test or refine them critically, like people who really care about accuracy do.

          • My theories on astrophysics are as good as a professor’s?

            Again can I point out that what matters is not who holds a theory, but whether it is correct. Fred Hoyle was an eminent astrophysicist, a professor. His steady-state theory was still incorrect.

            What matters is the truth. Not an argument from job title.

          • That’s entirely true, but not relevant. I am a complete ignoramus on astrophysics, and anyone who has managed to get through the hoops to become an astrophysics professor clearly has a far better understanding than mine. That is my one and only point.

          • Susannah writes as though everything in life were a matter of preference. There are some things in life that are. She also knows that many things are not – some are instead a matter of accuracy. All of these she ignores. Which once again is the child’s way of looking at things – the child only thinks about what they want, and as they get educated they become able also to think about what is true and the ways we use evidence to find out what is and is not true.

          • the child only thinks about what they want, and as they get educated they become able also to think about what is true and the ways we use evidence to find out what is and is not true.

            Yes: one of the most snoring annoying things I’ve encountered from non-Christians is the attitude, often implicit, that we are all engaged in some big game of role-play where we know perfectly well that God doesn’t exist, but we all agree to pretend that He did and act as if we believe that because we get something out of it — comfort in hard times, a sense of community, or whatnot.

            They then get very confused as to why we can’t just change the rules of our hand to be more accommodating of modern sensibilities — whether that be ordering women, changing doctrine on marriage, or whatever. Because to them it’s no more of an issue that a golf club, say, voting to allow women to be members. It’s just about agreeing to have the ‘let’s pretend’ world of faith work slightly differently. They don’t get why there’s all this discussion about what God really intended for humanity: after all, we made God up, and we pretend He’s real, so if we want God to be different we all just have to agree to pretend differently, right?

            (‘I envy your faith’, someone once said to me, as if ‘faith’ were a trait like good hair out a sense of humour that one either has or doesn’t)

            It’s bad enough when it comes from non-Christians but very dispiriting indeed when it comes from those who claim to be Christians, like Andrew Godsall when he says people ‘choose’ to believe things, which is exactly the same erroneous attitude that we can choose what we think God is like.

            I think a good thing to do is to think about God and the ways in which you do not like how God is and wish He was different. I know that there are several ways in which I dislike God and wish He were different. But if you can’t find any — if the God you believe in is exactly the same as the God you would like to exist — then there seems a good chance that the reason for that is that you made that god up out of your own desires.

            This isn’t a new thing, of course, C.S. Lewis was writing about it:

            ‘The great difficulty is to get modern audiences to realize that you are preaching Christianity solely and simply because you happen to think it true; they always suppose you are preaching it because you like it or think it good for society or something of that sort. Now a clearly maintained distinction between what the Faith actually says and what you would like it to have said or what you understand or what you personally find helpful or think probable, forces your audience to realize that you are tied to your data just as the scientist is tied by the results of the experiments; that you are not just saying what you like. This immediately helps them realize that what is being discussed is a question about objective fact — not gas about ideals and points of view.’

  14. Andrew Goddard makes much of the Windsor report and following process. The truth is that the report was hurried, unrepresentative of the whole of the Communion, and that the following Covenant process failed.

    The opportunity to address the issues raised by the ordination of Gene Robinson was missed for several reasons. Firstly Windsor focussed almost entirely on the presenting issue of homosexuality and didn’t take enough time to explore the underlying issues concerning Anglican method, especially approach to Scripture. Secondly, the following Covenant was rushed out and didn’t find enough acceptance by anyone. The fact that it failed in the C of E was a considerable shock to the House of Bishops here in England, but the paper they presented to GS in Feb 2017 suggests that they did not learn from the failure of the Covenant. Thirdly, Windsor failed to acknowledge that their had been bishops in same sex partnerships well before Gene Robinson. He was made a scapegoat. ECUSA was blamed for being open about matters, when other Anglican Provinces had simply got on with ordaining bishops and Priests in same sex partnerships in a much more private way.

    I think that until those three matters – and perhaps there are more – are addressed, we shall go on being in a muddle.

    Reply
    • I think Lambeth 1998 1:10 and the Windsor Report are now outdated. We live in a different country – in Scotland, in England – and we live in different churches. The idea of imposing a socially conservative position on sexuality upon the whole of the Church of England is a thing of the past. We’ve moved on as a collective Church here in England (and in Scotland too).

      Far from ‘being in a muddle’ I believe we will move on to a position of ‘diverse consciences’ within the Church of England (as Scotland already has). Unity in diversity.

      At that stage, those who cannot stomach that, will have a choice to leave, or may be offered some provincial provision. But 1998 Lambeth 1:10 will not hold. Or if it does, under sway of some large African Churches (and others) it will no longer have traction in England.

      That’s because, fundamentally, the ‘Anglican Communion’ cannot impose rules on individual national Churches.

      Scotland will be Scotland (I’m happy to say).

      It increasingly looks like England will be England.

      Most people in England (and in the Church of England) do not agree that gay and lesbian people should remain celibate all their lives, are evil sinners, have perverted sex etc.

      In terms of Church membership, the Church of England does not believe that. It just needs to amend the teaching to accommodate the reality, which is two different views on human sexuality. It has to, because the present pastoral situation is untenable, and because it’s what’s going to be done.

      I respect much more of Ian’s gifting than he probably believes (or cares)… but on this issue of human sexuality in the Church of England, it is very clear that Ian is fighting a rearguard action to try to stop the Church adopting the range of views its membership hold, and respect for diverse consciences. I don’t think it’s an action that will prevail.

      We all know the arguments (50 years + of them). But, the Church of England in all probability is going to follow a similar path to Scotland (both Episcopal Church and Church of Scotland) and respect diverse conscience… at which point it diverges from 1998 Lambeth 1:10… while still holding to many of the principles in both that resolution and the Windsor report about challenging homophobia.

      Such a course of action will simply be an expression of the autonomy the Church of England has, in the construct of the ‘Anglican Communion’. It will happen because it can.

      I believe the argument that gay people should remain celibate for life here in England, because otherwise the Anglican communion will crumble, is not going to hold back the changes. I’m trying to honest about the realpolitik of the situation that looks like emerging. The Prelate of Nigeria cannot ‘blackmail’ the Church of England (or tell them what to do, a la Covenant), through threats to split if we don’t impose gay celibacy etc in the Church of England.

      The idea that his ongoing threats have traction, in the real and urgent pastoral situation in England, Wales or Scotland is… unreality.

      There may be ‘mess’ in the aftermath of the coming changes (though I doubt it will be as widespread and grandiose as spokespeople in these articles may think)… but the ‘muddle’ will be clarified, and then it becomes take it or leave it.

      I’ve made clear that I sincerely hope people will stay in the Church of England, because I believe the socially conservative views have their own theological integrity, and I can respect them (while like many or most now, disagreeing).

      Whether we’ll be ‘kicked’ from the Anglican Communion is a different matter. I’m not indifferent to that prospect, but I don’t believe the Church of England is collectively willing to sacrifice the integrity of gay and lesbian sexual relationships which we affirm and support in England (and in large numbers in the Church of England).

      Pretty obviously there has been a ‘holding position’ (and arguably deliberate stalling and delay) until after Lambeth. But Lambeth itself does not get to determine what we in the Church of England or the Scottish Episcopal Church resolve to practice and believe. It simply doesn’t. Power to determine the future of the Church of England rests with the Church of England.

      Change is coming.

      Reply
      • Change is always coming, it’s a truism.

        Some change is good change and some change is bad change. Obviously.

        If anyone looks forward to change coming, then that is an incoherent thing to look forward to. All they are hoping for is that the particular change that they like will come. Not change per se.

        Reply
        • From the relentless decline in numbers, I think the change that is coming may not be the one that the CofE is expecting..

          Reply
          • Well, I think Ian, from many of the articles and comments that have appeared on your blog and elsewhere in recent times about declining church numbers, financial provision and aging demographics, the CoE will soon reach an inflection point where it will undergo a very rapid decline in the space of just a few years. I think in other articles you have made the case convincingly for this strongly yourself.

            It will face an existential crisis that will force change in unexpected ways, leaving a fragmented Anglican landscape where some individual congregations will thrive and grow, asserting increased autonomy from the centre in doctrine and practice, and others simply fade away and the building is closed.

            The pressure to disestablish after the passing of QEII will increase and the CofE in this country will simply become a marginal player in an increasing secularised society if it isn’t the case already. This will have implications for the relevance of current episcopal structures and authorities both in a national and international context.

            As has been pointed out elsewhere here, it is the churches that hold to traditional, orthodox evangelical traditions that have been growing. and may actually buck the trend, although their form and organisation within a remnant Cof E may be different from what it is now.

            Thinking Anglicans has an interesting article by Annika Mathews
            https://viamedia.news/2022/06/10/young-adults-the-missing-generation/
            but it the somewhat prescient comments by Froghole (who has commented here in the past ) on this article, about sustainability in congregations up and down the country (I really don’t know how he manages to do so much travelling), which is worth reading that caught my attention.

            But change there will be, and not what might be expected from those in authority in the CoE. Things will not continue as they are.

          • The pressure to disestablish after the passing of QEII will increase

            Does anyone really not think that the Prince of Wales will push for his coronation to involve representatives of religions other than Christianity, at least in some role? Does anyone think that the current Archbishop will be able to resist such pressure?

            At that point disestablishment has effectively happened.

          • The battle between the theological liberals and evangelicals, the former congregations dying and the latter growing, will not be fought in a vacuum. I believe that the liberals, who dominate the House of Bishops, will someday inform the government that the CoE exemption on conducting gay marriage ceremonies is no longer necessary. At that point a gay couple in every parish will demand to be married in church and faithful evangelicals will have to quit. The liberals will see this as a great victory. The evangelicals will, painfully, have their eyes opened to the fact that Christ’s primacy means Establishment and an ordained hierarchy are not to be seen in scripture (all Christians are priests). Those believers who already understand these things will hopefully have the sensitivity to comfort rather than to gloat.

          • I believe that the liberals, who dominate the House of Bishops, will someday inform the government that the CoE exemption on conducting gay marriage ceremonies is no longer necessary. At that point a gay couple in every parish will demand to be married in church and faithful evangelicals will have to quit.

            That’s the aim of this ‘Living in Love and Faith’ thing, isn’t it? First get it through your synod that parishes should be free to decide for themselves whether to marry same-sex couples; that then requires the removal of the exemption.

            They’ll say they respect both opinions, that it’ll be optional, that nobody will have to act against their conscience. It’ll be a lie. Nobody will have to act against their conscience — if they are prepared to get out of the church.

            They will find a parish with either a liberal vicar and a conservative congregation, or vice versa, because it’s always easier to take a stronghold when you have a Lundy. Send in a media-friendly same-sex couple who attend for a while and then ask to get married. When they are refused, launch a lawsuit and associated media blitz. Portray whichever is the conservative side as ogres, a minority holding the other one to ransom. Make an example of the parish so other parishes fall into line for fear of being the next one in the crosshairs.

            It’s what was done to Ashers. Same strategy. And yes, Ashers eventually won their case; but they were put through Hell for years. The process is the punishment.

            That’s the plan. Can’t myself see anything that will stop it.

          • Anton: “Bishops… will someday inform the government that the CoE exemption on conducting gay marriage ceremonies is no longer necessary.”

            I believe that analysis will probably prove true, and is the most likely direction of travel, Anton.

            However, respectfully, I believe the rest of your post, and posts that follow, is alarmism.

            There is no intention for a minority to dominate a majority in a local church.

            The whole point of ‘Unity in Diversity’ – as with the 5 Guiding Principles over male priests – is that a church community decides for itself which of two conscientious views it wants to follow.

            Now, if a gay couple ask to be married at a parish church where the congregation has voted not to affirm gay sexuality… that doesn’t mean the entire parish community has to leave the Church of England… that’s ludicrous and alarmist.

            They would simple respond to the couple, “I’m sorry friends, but our minister will not marry you. You will have to find a minister or priest who does.”

            Then the couple will ask an affirming priest to marry them. Yes, they will have the right to be married in their own parish church, because that’s their right in a National Church. But *none* of the regular congregation will be forced to attend. The next day, Sunday, they can come and carry on their worship as usual – the minister can re-iterate in a sermon why he disagrees with same-sex marriage – and life carries on.

            That’s the most probable direction of travel that the Church of England will take. No need to leave. Just a recognition that the Church is divided on the issue, and live and let live.

            Now if a person is so adamant that they decide to leave the whole Church of England, then that’s a decision anyone can take. I hope they won’t. I like diversity. But some people may decide they’ve had enough and quit. The majority of people in the majority of parishes won’t, and life will carry on.

            When there’s an argument… in a home… in a family… at work… sometimes the most grown up thing is to agree to disagree on a particular issue, but then carry on.

            Don’t blame me for pointing this out. I don’t get to make the decisions in the Church of England, but I think you’ll find I’m right – in fact I’m affirming your own analysis, quoted above.

            I totally ‘get’ that your view on sexuality can be held with total theological integrity. I have many times made myself unpopular in discussions with (so-called) liberals, for saying that I believe at the literal level of the text, I don’t think the Bible is okay with man-man sex. I genuinely do ‘get’ the case for disagreeing with gay sex.

            But I also ‘get’ (and support) the case in favour of gay sex. The Church of England is completely divided on this issue. That’s why the only way forward is the moderate compromise route of agreeing to disagree, and that’s what the Nigerian, Ugandan and Rwandan prelates seem not willing to do… but they don’t get to tell the Church of England what to do. I know Ian here doesn’t agree either (much as I admire his principles, for example on women priests or the Rwandan renditions). But he too, may have a decision to take in the future.

            Stay in the Church of England, and work with Christians of a different view (just as has happened over male-only priesthood)… in my opinion, the mature and grown up thing to do… focus on loving and praying for fellow Christians with different views… or… leave.

            But to return to my ‘gay couple asking to be married in your local church’.

            Why does that mean your whole congregation has to leave? Life would just carry on for you all, in your church community. But like I say, your choice, if this is what is coming in the Church of England, which I think you quite rightly point out that it is.

            Why can’t we just love one another, even with our differences? We can’t dominate each other. But we can seek grace and pray for each other. And get on with our parish life.

          • Yes, they will have the right to be married in their own parish church, because that’s their right in a National Church. But *none* of the regular congregation will be forced to attend.

            So you mean that it will be made quite clear to the local congregation that their local church building, which they donate their money to pay for the upkeep of, which they give of their time to maintain, week after week, year after year, does not actually belong to them in any sense? That they are merely unpaid caretakers, tending an asset for a National Church which cares not a jot for their opinions and will brush them aside and impose its will over their objections whenever it wishes?

            The next day, Sunday, they can come and carry on their worship as usual – the minister can re-iterate in a sermon why he disagrees with same-sex marriage – and life carries on.

            You know, this ‘we only want to live and let live, opposing views will be respected’ mendacity would be easier to believe — I mean still hard to believe, but maybe a little less hard — if people like Penelope Cowell Doe weren’t on record as saying that they think that preaching against same-sex relationships from the pulpit should be illegal (cf https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/where-is-discontent-in-the-church-of-england/#comment-405842 ), or that they think that preaching the traditional view on sexuality is ‘abuse’.

            Couple that with the fact that they can see with their own eyes the shabby way in which those who disagreed with the decision to ordain women have been treated, and I’m not surprised that the prevailing attitude seems to be one of ‘fool me one, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’.

          • Why can’t we love each other in spite of our differences? Because they are not differences. They would be differences if there were 2 different cases that could be argued, but in the present case one side thinks they have the right not to argue, and certainly does not argue but seeks a walkover with no discussion. That gives no evidence that they actually believe (as opposed to want or wish for) what they say they do.
            Likewise there are no differences in terms of wants. Humans typically want to indulge their desires, so there is agreement on that; but Christians know that life is not about indulging desires.

            Basically Susannah
            (a) wants to decree that all discussion should stop (in other words has no concern for truth and wants to bring to an end the influence of those who do); and
            (b) thinks that desires and conclusions always coincide (very unlikely indeed – more likely that desires are being mistaken for conclusions).

            She speaks about ‘the case in favour of gay sex’.
            Gay sex (male/male) has been centrally implicated in one of the largest recent pandemics, HIV/AIDS, and is extremely disproportionately found in correlation with gonorrhea, syphilis, monkeypox, anal cancer and numerous other diseases. It takes an absolutely enormous book to set out the extent of evidence for this. Wherever it is celebrated, there is promiscuity in that same society. This being the case, now is no time to speak of a case ‘in favour’. The favour seemed to increase as the pandemic and diseases increased! Which can be put down to propaganda only. And the intelligent never fall for propaganda. So who is it that does?
            All of which could be avoided by the extremely simple course of living as nature intended: in harmony with biology, just as it is good to live in harmony with the animal and plant worlds, with healthy diet, and so on.

          • “That they are merely unpaid caretakers, tending an asset for a National Church which cares not a jot for their opinions and will brush them aside and impose its will over their objections whenever it wishes?”

            An unusually subjective response, S.

            Yes, people who attend a parish church are caretakers. No, they do not ‘own’ the building (in most cases).

            Secondly, it is totally irrational, (I’ll hold back from hysterical, but it is at least overstatement)… to say the National Church (you mean the leaders?) “do not care a jot for their opinions”. Sorry, but that is hyperbole. It demeans people’s prayers and efforts to listen to people of all views on issues. It’s simply not true that they “do not care a jot”.

            As for “impose its will on their objections”… (a) the whole point of Unity in Diversity is that church communities would decide what they conscientiously believed about… male-only priesthood… human sexuality etc. (b) the present status quo “imposes” on the lives of gay and lesbian people, but you don’t seem to object to that. The whole point of Unity in Diversity is NOT to impose will on people, but to let different church communities decide on these issues.

            Your comment about Penelope is your business and hers. So, no comment.

            With regard to your final comment about how churches that believe in male priesthood have been treated, you make a more cogent point. There have been failures in both directions. Undoubtedly women priests have sometimes been treated with disdain and rudeness on occasions. But yes, I’m with you, that it is deplorable if the Church does not uphold its undertakings, including the 5 guiding principles. For example, I do not believe that Phillip North should have been hounded from Sheffield.

            What you’re suggesting, by making the comparison, is a kind of “thin end of the wedge” theory, that the Church will begin by promising respect for both consciences, but later renege, once the principle of allowing gay sex (or gay marriage) has been accepted as one option.

            That point, at least, is an understandable concern.

            However, what other option do we have than a continuation of the very “imposing its will” that you claim to object to. Gay people must be celibate all their lives. Sexually active gay people can’t be ordained. You seem to want it both ways.

            You want fairness, but only for the half of the Church that opposes gay sex. Unity in Diversity implies respect for the views of BOTH halves of the Church.

            If, as seems quite likely, that argument prevails and is adopted in the Church of England, speaking personally I will support priests like Ian, and socially conservative church communities in their right to continue practising (AND preaching) their views against gay sex… in the same way as I try to affirm the theological integrity of communities who believe in male-only leadership, even though that’s not my own view.

            I don’t decide these outcomes. The Church does. For my part, I believe that Unity in Diversity requires conscientious protection and respect BOTH ways.

            The “thin end of the wedge” approach is not acceptable. People need to be up front from the outset. I will grant you, I hope and believe that more and more church communities will accept gay sex (and in some cases, marriage) once such things are allowed as an option. I just think people will go with that flow in increasing numbers, and I’d be glad if they do.

            But for people like yourself, or Ian, who oppose gay sex… I believe your communities (if you’re in the C of E, S, I don’t recall) must be protected to live out your conscientious beliefs.

            You just don’t get to impose those beliefs on everyone else.

          • As for “impose its will on their objections”… (a) the whole point of Unity in Diversity is that church communities would decide what they conscientiously believed about… male-only priesthood… human sexuality etc.

            But under your proposed scheme, they can only decide one way and have their choice respected. If they decide the ‘wrong’ way then they would simply get shunted to the side while someone else came in and performed the thing they had decided that they could not in conscience consent to.

            You want fairness,

            No, I don’t I don’t want fairness at all. I want truth. I want the Church, and all the denominations that make it up, to do their best to figure out the truth of God’s law and put that into practice.

            Because truth is what matters. It is the only thing that matters.

            I have no interest in being ‘fair’, when it comes to truth. The truth must win; lies must lose. Fairness doesn’t come into it.

          • Christopher: “Basically Susannah
            (a) wants to decree that all discussion should stop”

            No Christopher, but you must not assume a right to demand I engage one-to-one with you all the time. Our life on earth is short, and we all select who we choose to engage with. To be honest, I haven’t always found it productive to engage with you, and that may be me, or that may be you.

            In all honesty, my work limits my time and energy for engaging in endless debates, so I select some but not all. You may have noticed that my pattern of engagement tends to peak on Saturday (or reluctantly, Sunday) then I often (as a discipline) don’t log back on until later on Wednesday (to check in with the site) then tend to log off until Saturday again… unless I’m on holiday or something.

            Anyway, I don’t want “all discussion to stop”. At the same time, the Church of England is nearing a time for decision on these issues of human sexuality.

            “Basically Susannah
            (b) thinks that desires and conclusions always coincide.”

            No I don’t.

            At various times in my life I have had to say ‘Not my way, but Yours, be done.”

            When I was near to ordination, and people expected me to be ordained, I heard very clearly indeed God say to me (against my own expectations and hopes):

            “NO. I WANT YOU TO GROW IN ME.”

            It was so clear I realised I had to obey God’s Will. That was just between me and God, but looking back it was so, so right.

            It wasn’t my vocation.

            Of course, all Christian life has little day to day sacrifices where we’d like to do something, but God calls us to do something else.

            So no, “desires and conclusions” don’t “ALWAYS coincide.”

            “She speaks about ‘the case in favour of gay sex’.”

            Yes, I do:

            Tenderness, commitment, care, love, sacrifice, sharing, support, fidelity, kindness, companionship, laughter, sorrow shared, sense of well-being, joy, peace, expanded lives, giving to one another, psychological ease, greater sense of wholeness… and yes, the intimate expression of that relationship.

            I’m speaking in the context and experience of lesbian relationship. I have no experience of man-man sexual love or its expression. It’s not my thing.

            “…living as nature intended…”

            Women who are sexually attracted to women… that IS their nature. It just comes naturally. And as I set out above, it enriches their lives.

            I guess it’s the same with men who love men.

            There’s a very simple solution for you, Christopher, if you don’t like gay sexuality.

            Find a woman.

            Nobody’s stopping you.

          • At the same time, the Church of England is nearing a time for decision on these issues of human sexuality.

            But AS PEOPLE KEEP TRYING TO POINT OUT TO YOU, it’s not about human sexuality.

            It’s about whether the Bible is the Word of God. Or not.

            That’s rather more important than sexuality, isn’t it?

            And given that you agree that the Bible says that homosexual activity is contrary to God’s law, then you must see that if the Church of England adopts a policy of conducting same-sex marriages, then it MUST be also adopting a position that the Bible is not the Word of God; it’s just the writings of some fallible human beings trying to figure stuff out.

            And you must see that that is a huge change to doctrine, to ontology, to the whole nature of the religion that the Church of England claims to profess.

            Basically it;s such a big change that it is impossible for people who think that the Bible is the Word of God to stay in a Church which has adopted as official policy that the Bible is not the Word of God.

            That’s what it comes down to. That’s why you can’t have your ‘unity in diversity’. Because you simply can’t have a denomination in which some people thing that the Bible is the Word of God, and some people think it isn’t. That’s such a fundamental thing that if you don’t agree about that, then you can’t agree about anything. It’s not something you can brush under the carpet. It’s not something you can agree to disagree about while you get on with other things.

            It’s a fundamental, foundational, utterly basic disagreement about what the Christian religion is.

          • (Andrew Godsall will be along in a minute to claim that nobody in the Church of England has ever really thought that the Bible is the Word of God anyway)

          • Sadly S you have shown time and time again that you have No interest in understanding what the bible is, and think that those who study it in some detail have no more idea of what you call ‘truth’ than those who invent peculiar ideas about cats and wind and spilled ink on papyrus. So I don’t want any part in a discussion with you about what the C of E thinks the bible is. Especially as you have no part in the C of E.
            Best to ask Ian, who as am member of the Archbishops’ Council represents the publishers of LLF, why they made the statements about scripture that I have already referred you to. And no, I will not reference them again. They are easily found. And I fully subscribe those statements and find that they represent quite clearly what the C of E does think about the scriptures as the word of God.

          • Anton: At that point a gay couple in every parish will demand to be married in church and faithful evangelicals will have to quit.

            I think a lot of people underestimate how willing evangelicals under the age of 40 are to switch to a more ‘inclusive’ perspective. They don’t speak up because of the more controlling culture of conservative churches – rather than sharing some deep conviction that same-sex sexual relationships are sinful.

          • Joe: I think your analysis is absolutely correct. Most of the growth is with more open Evangelicals and for those under 40, the issue of human sexuality is not the issue it is for the current leadership.

          • I think a lot of people underestimate how willing evangelicals under the age of 40 are to switch to a more ‘inclusive’ perspective.

            How do they reconcile that with the Bible? Do they adopt the Andrew Godsall ‘the Bible was just written by a bunch of fallible humans who got loads of stuff about God wrong’ view, or something else?

          • Susannah thinks that sex is likely to be accepted before marriage is accepted. This is obviously the wrong way round. Christianity like the other religions sees ‘sex’ apart from marriage as irregular, normally referred to by Christians as fornication.

            ‘Sex’ is not even a category for Christians since it is within marriage and those within marriage would not talk about something so sacred nor normally need to either.

            Peter J Williams showed that (doubtless for the reasons above) the word was scarcely used before the sexual revolution but ubiquitous after.

          • I think Susannah’s latest response should be kept as proof of shallowness.

            (1) She asks a 20-year married man to ‘find a woman – no-one’s stopping you.’. That is beyond shallow and beyond offensive. She does not seem to understand the holy and sacred nature of that which she trivialuises. Proper people don’t find women, they find wives and the wives find them.

            (2) ‘Women who are sexually attracted to women – that IS their nature.’ What is the difference between that and ‘People who are sexually attracted to animals/minors/lampposts – that IS their nature.’? Where to start?
            ‘Nature’ is amoral.
            Natural behaviour at a point in time can exhibit immaturity or pathology.
            ‘Nature’ is to some extent an ambiguous word.
            Humans can rise above impulsiveness.
            Human nature is precisely the problem, the enemy, in NT theology.
            Etc etc.

            (3) Men who love men’ is obviously an unChristian angle, since love for Christians is primarily agape, and you are making it primarily eros (your first mistake) and eliding the two (your second). This is the same as making 6 year olds who love their best friend think they must be gay. Which of course is sickening and grooming. Christians are called to ‘love’ everybody, to ‘love’ their enemies and so on. Your use of the word ‘love’ here is obviously unChristian. And lust is of course not only not love, but very far from love.

            As all your presuppositions above are pagan and secular, is that where you locate yourself? (Not in theory but in practice.)

          • And then on top of that,

            (4) She still after all this time thinks we are talking about what we ‘like’ and ‘don’t like’ (quote: ‘if you don’t like gay sexuality’) – i.e. a child’s perspective – rather than about what can and cannot be justified morally and coherently by use of argumentation in debate – i.e. an adult’s perspective.

          • Susannah: I do not believe the the LGBT Christian movement, if it gets the CoE to the point where each parish can decide for itself, will long tolerate freedom of conscience for evangelical vicars who wish to decline to conduct gay marriages. Why should I trust people who call themselves Christian and who wish to kick over scripture and 2000 years of tradition?

          • It’s not just Scripture and tradition, otherwise homosexual behaviour would potentially have been fine before Scripture was written, which would be an odd position to take. Scripture scarcely made it not-fine simply by virtue of being written! No, Scripture attests to already existing realities, just like realities always precede the words that describe them.
            Over and above Scripture and tradition there is the real world nature of biology, and the real world statistical evidence of the extreme increased in different kinds of harm correlated on average with male homosexual behaviour. And of course the massive evidence that advocates almost totally refuse to take the relevant data and analyse it. They refuse over periods of years and over stretches of thousands of comments. Which refusal is extremely telling.

          • And to cap it all:
            (5) Susannah, you assert that if we sort things out for ourselves (Number One, as the saying goes) we therefore sort everything out for the whole world. Implication: only Number One matters. (Sorted?!).
            You advise an individual to ‘find a woman’ at an individual level and thereby to solve a global issue.
            This can only imply that you think individual wants and needs are all there is. But that is how a child thinks. When people grow up, they understand that there is also truth and accurate theory.

          • S: How do they reconcile that with the Bible? Do they adopt the Andrew Godsall ‘the Bible was just written by a bunch of fallible humans who got loads of stuff about God wrong’ view, or something else?

            They overlook it. They file it under “avoid divisive issues” because the gay guy in church is a lovely person. Evangelical churches do not attract trendsetters, free-thinkers or avant-garde types. Evangelicals tend to be social conservatives. They want to be super normal but now find themselves at odds with normality. Everyone else outside the church now views waving rainbow flags and being a LGBTQ ally as a civic virtue. The older generation says “be counter-cultural on this issue” but counter-cultural personality types are rare in conservative churches. This tension is masked by the top-down controlling nature of evangelical culture. The leadership will eventually be replaced by those under-40s who didn’t sign-up to be social outcasts.

          • Evangelical churches do not attract trendsetters, free-thinkers or avant-garde types. Evangelicals tend to be social conservatives. […] The leadership will eventually be replaced by those under-40s who didn’t sign-up to be social outcasts.

            Okay I can sort of see that, but I’m still so not quite sure why such a go-with-the-flow type would be in a church in the first place, in a culture which views church-going as at best deviant and at worst actively suspicious. Is it not more likely that those who feel this tension you identify most keenly would be leaving the churches, than that they are — as you posit — operating in a sort of stealth mode, enduring the constant opprobrium of the secular world and just waiting secretly until they are in leadership positions and can reverse course?

          • S: Okay I can sort of see that, but I’m still so not quite sure why such a go-with-the-flow type would be in a church in the first place, in a culture which views church-going as at best deviant and at worst actively suspicious.

            There’s a subtle difference between being a go-with-the-flow type and not wanting to pay a social penalty for holding controversial views – being dismissed as a bigot. Evangelicals are somewhat under seige for their Christian faith as well but that can be explained away as ‘odd’ (whatever makes you happy) rather than ‘wicked’. In the few churches I’ve belonged to I haven’t seen any effort to resolve this tension with the secular majority – except by encouraging even stricter forms of in-house control (cult like responses).

          • There’s a subtle difference between being a go-with-the-flow type and not wanting to pay a social penalty for holding controversial views – being dismissed as a bigot.

            Oh, you’re taking about the seeds that fell on rocky ground. Got you.

          • S: Oh, you’re taking about the seeds that fell on rocky ground. Got you.

            That explains some part of it. The critical question is “How much?” The majority of self-identified evangelicals are not going to own up to being seeds on rocky ground over this matter. They will concoct a more flattering explanation for any break with a straightforward reading of scripture.

            I don’t think there is any mechanism (argument anyone could make) to prevent a capitulation. 21st century evangelicals aren’t social visionaries by nature. They will cave in eventually.

          • I don’t think there is any mechanism (argument anyone could make) to prevent a capitulation. 21st century evangelicals aren’t social visionaries by nature. They will cave in eventually.

            I think you’re worrying too much about these here-today-gone-tomorrow types. Without roots, they won’t stick around when the trials and tribulations come. There’s a winnowing on the way, when the cold winds of secular wrath get turned properly on the conservative churches, and these ones you describe with their shallow faith with no intellectual grounding will be blown away like chaff, either to liberal churches or out of the Church altogether.

          • I think you’re worrying too much about these here-today-gone-tomorrow types.

            I hope so. But in my own church, which did everything ‘right’ to welcome everyone but stick to the orthodox teaching, I see the shift happening already.

          • But in my own church, which did everything ‘right’ to welcome everyone but stick to the orthodox teaching, I see the shift happening already.

            And what do they say when you ask them whether they are okay with ditching the idea of the Bible as the authoritative Word of God in order to be accepted by the world?

            If you haven’t asked them then that may be your problem.

          • And what do they say when you ask them whether they are okay with ditching the idea of the Bible as the authoritative Word of God in order to be accepted by the world?

            As you can see from all the regulars here – they come up with various “Does the Bible really say that?” answers. Bringing everyone back to the orthodox position without appearing to be ‘judgemental’ is perhaps too difficult in the short term.

          • As you can see from all the regulars here – they come up with various “Does the Bible really say that?” answers.

            But I mean… yes. Yes it does. It obviously does. And it doesn’t take very much to demolish any of the arguments that it doesn’t. That’s why ‘all the regulars here’ are very quickly forced back to ‘the Bible does say that but it’s wrong’ (Susannah Clarke, Andrew Godsall) or ‘the Bible can mean whatever I want it to mean because I read it queerly’ (Penelope Cowell Doe).

            So what happens when you pint that out to them?

            Bringing everyone back to the orthodox position without appearing to be ‘judgemental’ is perhaps too difficult in the short term.

            Why are you worried about appearing ‘judgemental’? Because you’re afraid they will leave? They should leave. You want them to leave, if they cannot be logically consistent. You must separate the wheat from the chaff, and it sounds like they are chaff.

          • It was the CoE which insisted on the quadruple lock, not the government.

            Are you sure about that? I though that David Cameron put the quadruple lock in his bill in order to ease its passage through Parliament, and reduce the size of the Tory backbench rebellion against it, which would have been much bigger if they hadn’t been reassured that there was absolutely no chance of the Church of England being forced to perform same-sex marriages.

      • What do you mean by ‘we’ve moved on.’ You are surely more intelligent than to think that every movement that ever happens is in a positive direction. Least of all to think you can impose such a unilateral viewpoint on everyone else without any discussion? Why does that not seem high handed to you?

        Don’t you agree that change is sometimes positive, sometimes negative, and sometimes neutral? Because in the real world that is what change is, you’ll certainly agree?

        Reply
  15. “Yet friendship begins with a discovery. We must find persons with common loves and vision.
    “CS Lewis wrote,’Where the truthful answer to the question, ‘Do you see the same truth?’ would be. ‘I see nothing and I don’t care about the truth; I only want a friend’, no friendship can arise… There would be nothing for the friendship to be about… Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow travelers.”
    From, The Way of Wisdom, by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller, citing Lewis, from his Four Loves.

    Reply
  16. The Anglican Communion is an imperfect but remarkable by-product of the Church of England. It is a missional success. The provinces are coming of age in their own way. The four instruments of communion, each based on consent rather than compulsion, no longer override convictions at a provincial level. I don’t think this reflects badly on the four instruments of communion. It just exposes their in built limits. It reflects badly on those whose choices have forced the Anglican Communion to be something it was never designed to be, either a worldwide church governed by strict doctrinal and liturgical standards, or a very loosely tied network of national churches with differing levels of communion. It is painful to watch the redesign in progress. I would like to see the four instruments of communion remain in place for such a time as they might serve a more unified Anglican Communion. In the meantime what the majority of Anglicans want those instruments to be has been created by GAFCON. I can see why some provinces want to put their energies solely into alternative networks that provide what they want/need, others like a best of both worlds approach, others feel the Lambeth network is all they need. For me the stumbling block is now the word Communion, which implies a greater unity than is currently possible. Perhaps a new name, The Anglican International Network (?) would provide a framework within which the nature of communion can ebb or flow as provinces continue their journeys. At ebb tides Lambeth would be a tea party for acquaintances, at full tides it wold be able to unify the Anglican provinces around doctrine, mission and ministry.

    Reply
    • “The provinces are coming of age in their own way.”

      “…in their own way…”

      Precisely.

      There is no worldwide Anglican Church.

      The idea that one national Church (or group of national Churches) can impose doctrine on another national Church, is fallacy.

      That, frankly, was the idiocy of ‘The Covenant’.

      There is huge scope for Churches of different nations to work together, even if they develop in their own way, because the poor still need support, the hungry still need feeding, the sick still need medical aid. There is no end to the number of ways we can work together.

      In some areas, at the same time, we may hold different views.

      My daughter is a missionary in an African country – has ben, for seven years. Doing inspirational and devoted work at ground level, alongside the local community, and as part of local community. No ‘white saviour’ mentality. Just compassion.

      So I would like to see the bonds of love hold different national Churches together. There are millions of ways we can help one another. It’s not just about sex.

      Reply
      • That is little more than international social work, medical relief, which could be done under the sign of the moon.
        Who said anything about imposition of doctrine, but signing up, agreement to truth of doctrines, scripture, vision, and honesty. See CS Lewis above.

        Reply
      • My daughter is a missionary in an African country – has ben, for seven years. Doing inspirational and devoted work at ground level, alongside the local community, and as part of local community

        And what gospel is she teaching them? How many have converted? That, after all, being what makes her a missionary rather than an aid worker, right?

        Reply
        • Correct.

          The mission work addresses people’s desperate human needs but also operates in a context of conversions, prayer, worship.

          It is not only aid work, but the aid work is hugely important.

          It is part of being a Christian.

          She is not a ‘teacher’. She practises her faith by (fallible) example. She *does* Christianity, rather than just *talking* about it. Her gospel is faith in Jesus Christ as saviour. She does not have a detailed or carefully nuanced theology. Her faith is pretty simple. She’s there because it’s where she thinks God wants her to serve, among the dirt, the malnourished children, the deaths, the domestic violence, of a marginalised slum community.

          They are a worshipping community. They have grown in numbers. They have built a children’s centre. They also strive to reach out to men with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

          I love her. I am grateful for her love. I miss her, and I worry about her safety sometimes. But I am immensely proud of the person she has become, and she is a Christian example to me. I have grown because of her.

          I won’t say any more at this time about her, because I don’t know if she would welcome it. I also have another son and daughter. All three of my children are committed, worshipping Christians.

          Reply
          • They are a worshipping community. They have grown in numbers. They have built a children’s centre. They also strive to reach out to men with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

            Well, that sounds excellent. They are saving souls. There can hardly be a higher calling.

          • Susannah

            You know that for a number of us here what she believes is as important as what she does. I am glad to hear she is active in helping others. I feel my own failure only too much in this area.

            Definitions are important here. Beliefs and behaviour are important. And in these important areas we are worlds apart.

  17. The re was never a teaching that homosexuality is caused by an absent father. There was and is a recognition that people’s psychosexual development can typically and unsurprisingly be closely interlinked with the parents and the upbringing that give them their sense of self. If the former is damaged in some way the child will compensate for that in an ‘equal and opposite’ reaction. That is just common sense.
    Thus inadequate or absent parents are bound to have an effect, probably and understandably a large one. But it is just wrong to say ‘homosexuality is caused by’ that since there can be other causes too, and this is just one of them.

    Reply
    • Still weird that you think homosexuality is a sense of damaged self. It’s the egregious theological anthropology of Issues.

      Reply
      • It’s the egregious theological anthropology of Issues.

        You presumably have a good logical argument for why that theology is wrong, then?

        Reply
        • You asked about the egregious theological anthropology of Issues.

          I asked whether you had a good logical argument that the theological anthropology in question, that you describe as egregious, is incorrect. Do you?

          Reply
        • No. But you regard them as Holy Writ on sexuality. Which is odd, since they might tell us some interesting facts about rates of promiscuity or STIs, but nothing about Christian ethics.
          It’s simply a way of pathologising homosexuality to make it appear unpleasant and dangerous.
          Pure ideology.

          Reply
        • Yes, I can phrase my argument that the theology of Issues is crap with my customary elegance and erudition. But there’s not much point if you cannot be bothered to read the original text.
          I try not to cast my pearls before swine.

          Reply
        • Yes, I can phrase my argument that the theology of Issues is crap with my customary elegance and erudition.

          I don’t believe you can. Prove me wrong.

          Reply
      • “Still weird that you think homosexuality is a sense of damaged self.”

        Thank you, Penelope.

        It’s absolutely weird. Some people are attracted to men. Some people are attracted to women. They’re not damaged. It’s simply their nature, and can be a real blessing and cause of flourishing.

        I find it so sad that (as Origen Adam says) the ‘curtain twitchers’ are so obsessed with policing other people’s private lives and attraction.

        Most young people today find this really weird and sad.

        As I said to one person here (and I’ll slightly re-word as they took offence) if you’re a guy and you don’t approve of gay sex, then just enjoy your relationship with a woman.

        Beyond that, other people’s privacies, loving relationships, sexual orientation are simply not your business. You have a right to your own sexual orientation. You don’t have the right to impose your orientation on somebody else’s.

        Gay and lesbian people can have loving, devoted, undamaged relationships just as much as straight people.

        The problem is people who are obsessed with who other people are attracted to. Yes, that really is the curtain-twitching fogeys across the road, watching and gossiping, instead of just trying to lead better lives themselves.

        Countless millions of people in the UK today can’t take that mentality seriously, and with good cause.

        Reply
        • If it were their nature, they would not impregnate and be impregnated at levels above the average.
          If it was their nature, there would be different evidence from identical twins than there is,
          And from those brought up by lesbian parents,
          And from the urban/rural ratio for men,
          And from the uni/non-uni ratio for women,
          And for the percentages of those who self style as gay at 16 (when they are still growing up) and don’t at 25,
          And for differing rates in sexual revolution societies, and depending on cultural norms.
          And so on.

          We cannot possibly regard seriously anything so simplistic as ‘some people are [born] gay and some straight’. This goes straight to the bottom of the pile. For this is claiming that not one of the above dimensions exists. Yet you will find no-one who denies that every one of them exists, and therefore they need taking into account one by one.

          Reply
        • Susannah, when you said that to ‘one guy here’, ‘one guy here’ gave 5 numbered replies each of which showed deficiencies in the logic of what you said. How did you respond to those 5?

          Reply
        • They’re not damaged. It’s simply their nature

          Um, you do know that there is no part of human nature that isn’t damaged, right? That’s what total depravity means. So if ‘it’s their nature’ then that means it is damaged.

          Reply
        • S: “Um, you do know that there is no part of human nature that isn’t damaged, right? That’s what total depravity means. So if ‘it’s their nature’ then that means it is damaged.”

          Speak for yourself, S. Imperfect, perhaps. Totally depraved – no way do I believe that. But that wasn’t the point.

          The depraved comment was trying to diffentiate between gay sexuality which is allegedly depraved… in contrast to straight sexuality. It was obvious what was intended.

          If you’re saying that straight sexuality is depraved as well, then go tell that to Christopher!

          Personally I think neither straight nor gay sexuality are. I think they are lovely (in the context of love, devotion, commitment, tender care).

          You do have a very dark view of human beings, don’t you, S?

          Humans are born with capacity for selfishness. They are also born with emerging capacity for beauty, kindness, love, self-sacrifice. And that includes non-Christians.

          There is much beauty in this world. And in a lot of people too. People can be amazing.

          Reply
        • Speak for yourself, S. Imperfect, perhaps. Totally depraved – no way do I believe that.

          You don’t seem to understand the doctrine of total depravity; I suggest you look it up.

          If you’re saying that straight sexuality is depraved as well, then go tell that to Christopher!

          What I am saying is that ‘that is their nature’ is no argument that something is not sinful, because human nature is inherently sinful in all its parts.

          Perhaps an example will make it clearer:

          ‘Some people are proud. They’re not damaged. It’s just part of their nature.’

          Yes, it is part of their nature. And pride is a deadly sin — the worst of sins. The fact that it’s part of someone’s nature — their corrupt, sinful human nature — doesn’t mean it isn’t damage and isn’t sinful.

          You do have a very dark view of human beings, don’t you, S?

          It’s just the Christian view.

          Reply
        • Well some people thought Jesus was too hedonistic, eat and drinking with sinners. I don’t think Jesus saw everything in people as depraved. I think he loved people and saw through to their beauty and potential. He could be sociable and enjoy people.

          I see humanity as imperfect, not least myself. But I don’t see all people as depraved. I see beauty in people. Love. care. Devotion. Courage. I see a world that has beauty.

          I’m not one of those fundamentalists that think the world is so dark (aka they feel alienated from it) that they wish they could hasten the last days and the apocalypse. I think that bunker mentality is sad.

          Often we encounter Christ in the person outside the Church. God can work that way. When people open their hearts to kindness, compassion, and love… they begin to live in the image of God. The world can be terribly hard, but it is not all dark, and neither are people.

          Reply
        • I don’t think Jesus saw everything in people as depraved.

          I beg you, look up the doctrine of total depravity before you humiliate yourself further, because it’s obvious you have no idea what it is.

          None of the rest of what you’ve written is in any way relevant to the point, which is, I repeat:

          What I am saying is that ‘that is their nature’ is no argument that something is not sinful, because human nature is inherently sinful in all its parts.

          Perhaps an example will make it clearer:

          ‘Some people are proud. They’re not damaged. It’s just part of their nature.’

          Yes, it is part of their nature. And pride is a deadly sin — the worst of sins. The fact that it’s part of someone’s nature — their corrupt, sinful human nature — doesn’t mean it isn’t damage and isn’t sinful.

          Reply
        • Certainly an odd comment.
          What you call ‘straight sexuality’ can certainly be depraved – it depends on context. The main context is marriage and that is why it is not something that people would talk about.

          Reply
        • Well some people thought Jesus was too hedonistic

          Can you back this up? I don’t think there is any record of Jesus being called hedonistic. The Pharisees did complain that He assorted with sinners, but they aren’t recorded as saying that He was ‘hedonistic’ with them; and Jesus himself was clear that He spent time with sinners not to have hedonistic fun but in order to call them to repentance (Mark 2:17)

          Reply
        • Of course they do, to each other (and even to others if they are vulgar; but the hoop of marriage weeds out most of the more vulgar).

          Reply
        • Christopher

          How very very sad that you regard conversation about sex and sexuality as taboo. People talk about sex, as they talk about politics, or faith, or theology, or food, or football. It’s part of life. Or it’s not, for many people, but it should never be taboo. People should be able to say they like it, want it, hate it, miss it, are indifferent to it, hope for it, look back on it …

          Reply
        • No. Where to begin? The only people who talk about sex publicly are those without a sense of awe. Second, there is no such thing as sex in a sensible society since family-destabilising couplings are not a thing (as they are not now among the more sensible communities, and have never been among the main international communities) and married love is intimate so would not be talked about in the first place. Who exactly would it be shared with? It is quintessentially between him and her.

          Anyone who does not understand that sex is awe inspiring and beyond words is the only person who would disagree with that. But what would cause that collapse in awe in the first place? We are not exactly living in a drab boring universe.

          Reply
        • Christopher

          I’m sorry but that’s just romantic claptrap. Of course sex is awe inspiring. It’s also silly, funny, embarrassing, intimate, casual, abusive, violent, caring, loving, unloving etc. etc. People talk about it sometimes because it’s all of those things and they need/want to share them. Couples talk about sex, if they are open to each other, because it brings them closer together.
          I don’t understand what you mean by it being better if no one in families talks about sex. Surely, that’s a rapist’s/abuser’s charter.

          Reply
      • I don’t think that Penny. I think that that is one typical scenario among others. To quote what I have already said. But it is not me that thinks it (I have no opinions at all, beyond those demanded by the science) but the largest scale studies of all. Frisch & Hviid, Archives of Sexual Behavior 2006, in their national study which is at the top of the range for scale, find prior disruption in families to be a factor of unparalleled significance, which is not surprising and is what we have always said.
        But we have often quoted that before, and will continue to do so if no response is forthcoming.
        Are you saying that when people’s psychosexual development is through no fault of their own below par they will develop equally well to those whose development is par or above?
        Everyone with kids knows that they react and react mercilessly to any deficiency in their foundations. Even if a few do not, they will most certainly do so on average.
        People have begun to treat this as a normal variant precisely in the time that broken homes have become normal. Because there is an obvious connection there.

        Reply
        • To misquote Amos: I despise your statistical studies; they show nothing of the heart orientated towards God. And that includes queer hearts

          Reply
        • I despise your statistical studies; they show nothing of the heart orientated towards God

          I presume you have a solid logical argument for why the statistical studies don’t show what is claimed then?

          Reply
        • No. But you regard them as Holy Writ on sexuality. Which is odd, since they might tell us some interesting facts about rates of promiscuity or STIs, but nothing about Christian ethics.
          It’s simply a way of pathologising homosexuality to make it appear unpleasant and dangerous.
          Pure ideology.

          Reply
        • Which is odd, since they might tell us some interesting facts about rates of promiscuity or STIs, but nothing about Christian ethics.

          While you’re correct to point out that you can’t derive and ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ and therefore no amount of statements about empirical facts can make a moral case, aren’t you accusing Christopher Shell of something that you do yourself? After all, ism’t your argument exactly the same as his, ie you try to derive and ‘ought’ from an ‘is’? Because isn’t your argument ‘some people are naturally homosexual [the ‘is’] therefore homosexuality is morally neutral [the ‘ought’]’?

          So in, rightly, pointing out the shortcomings of this form of argument when Christopher Shell uses it, aren’t you also fatally undermining your own argument because it’s based on exactly the same fallacy?

          It’s simply a way of pathologising homosexuality to make it appear unpleasant and dangerous.

          Question begging! Whether homosexuality is pathological is the whole point of contention!

          Reply
        • That is right. You are trying to claim the right to prevent people even asking whether something is pathological or not, and also to preempt their answer. This is overweening and suspiciously against free enquiry.

          If people act against their biology then that is something needing a diagnosis. Why would it not be? You are saying that failure (or zero attempt) to understand it would be preferable to taking steps to understand. Did I hear that aright?

          Reply
        • No. I simply want to understand why you persist in pathologising homosexuality and never pathologise heterosexuality. The latter, for you, is the unmarked category. Which is a view. And one which many in the CoE seem to share. I don’t. It’s pure ideology.

          Reply
        • I simply want to understand why you persist in pathologising homosexuality and never pathologise heterosexuality.

          Is this not rather like saying, ‘I simply want to understand why you persist in pathologising cancer and never pathologise normal cell division’?

          One is a purposeful, indeed essential, function for the continuation of life. The other isn’t.

          Reply
        • So S straight sexuality is simply about procreation or it is pathological?
          Oh bless, that’ll be news to lots of straight couples who enjoy all sorts of sexual activities which aren’t open to conception.
          P.S just check your assertions about marriage in the next blog.

          Reply
        • So S straight sexuality is simply about procreation or it is pathological?

          This will be you pretending not to understand the difference between ‘X is an essential part of Y’ and’Y is simply about X’, isn’t it?

          You’re clearly intelligent enough to realise those are not the same thing, so kindly stop acting looker you don’t. It’s dishonest.

          Reply
        • Which of the 3 words do you not understand? But in fact you understand them all.

          The main differentiating features of males and females are sexual differentiating features.

          Childbearing is a massive reality, and is fundamental to the male/female difference.

          Reproductive potential is intricate in the extreme and has evolved over millions of years. A lot of biology (specifically the more intricate parts) is geared to reproduction.

          These are primary realities of male and female humans.

          And other things that every 5 year old knows.

          Reply
        • No, sorry Christopher ‘against their biology’ is still nonsensical. I have no children. Has all my sexual activity been against my biolog?. Is every sex act, apart from PIV sex between fertile couples ‘against biology’? Are you suggesting that all sexual activity which is not ‘open to life’ is ‘against biology’?
          If so, I think you ought to join the Roman Catholic Church; there are a few hard-line traditionalists there who believe such stuff.

          Reply
        • I have no children. Has all my sexual activity been against my biolog[y]?

          If you have deliberately avoided having children, yes. If you have been open to the possibility of children but for some reason outside your control it has sadly never happened for you, no.

          Is every sex act, apart from PIV sex between fertile couples ‘against biology’? Are you suggesting that all sexual activity which is not ‘open to life’ is ‘against biology’?

          Look, you’re going to make us join you in the gutter to spell it out, aren’t you?

          There is nothing pathological about a married couple as part of their sexual relationship that includes procreative sex acts, also performing acts which are not procreative.

          But a couple whose sexual relationship consists solely of non-procreative sex acts (where by nature non-procreative or made so by contraception) is pathological.

          It’s not the mechanics of an act which makes it pathological, it’s the attitude behind it, and whether that attitude is consonant with God’s design for us or whether the attitude follows our fallen, corrupt nature.

          And of course any sexual relationship not in the context of a lifelong faithful monogamous marriage is pathological, but that we’ll come as news to you given that you are on record as saying you think that a one-night-stand can in some circumstance be morally acceptable.

          Reply
        • But I didn’t say anything like that, as you can see by checking. What I said was that the primary design of men and women is geared one way. Chief features of that design are for no other purpose. And you are trying to equalise that with something that produces no design features whatsoever! That is not going to work, is it? The design inherent in the whole animal kingdom, with its intricate development over millions of years, is obviously against your position.

          Reply
        • S
          Hugely informative that you believe detailed discussions on sex and sexuality belong ‘in the gutter’. Thank you for that insight.
          No, I don’t believe that couples who (customarily)eschew sex acts which are open to procreation as pathological, or disordered. Nor do I believe that couples who enjoy contracepted PIV sex with the intention of never having children are pathological or disordered. You will find little scriptural warrant for your view beyond Gen.1 and it has long been the tradition that procreation is only necessary because of death.
          It’s high time people, especially people who are squeamish about sex in an unhelpfully prurient way, stopped policing adults’ sex lives.
          Your man-made rules about what and what is not acceptable between adult partners is risible and does nothing to advance the Gospel.

          Reply
        • Ok, since you’re so keen on design, what is the telos of the clitoris?
          I’ve asked before. I never get a satisfactory answer.

          Reply
        • No, I don’t believe that couples who (customarily)eschew sex acts which are open to procreation as pathological, or disordered

          We know. But you have no arguments, just assertions and whataboutery.

          since you’re so keen on design, what is the telos of the clitoris?

          What is the telos of the appendix?

          Reply
        • S
          I have no idea. But I’ve never had an orgasm through my appendix.
          So that’s another daft non sequitur.

          Reply
        • I have no idea. But I’ve never had an orgasm through my appendix.

          You’ll have to explain the relevance to me because it looks like once again you are just spouting random gibberish because you have no arguments.

          Reply
        • I suggest you state, in clear and plain language, your thesis, your premises, and the logical arguments that connect the two.

          If you have any, that is.

          Reply
        • S

          May I suggest that you stop now. You are making a bit of a fool of yourself.
          If you don’t understand the teleological difference between the clitoris and the appendix I suggest you read something like ‘The Joy of Sex’. It’s probably somewhat dated, if it’s still in print.

          Reply
        • If you don’t understand the teleological difference between the clitoris and the appendix

          What I don’t understand is what point you think you’re making with this. As I’m obviously too stupid to get it, could you please just lay out simply, in terms a fool like me can follow, what exactly it is you think the clitoris proves and why you think it proves it.

          Just fill in the blanks in the sentence ‘I think the existence of the clitoris proves […] because […]’.

          Go on. Help out someone too dumb to work it out for themselves.

          Reply
    • Of course there was such a theory.

      And there still is.

      And there is evidence for it. Some fathers absent, some forced to be absent against their will, some inadequate.

      But it was and is for some cases not all.

      So to generalise and say ‘homosexuality is caused by one thing only’ is very inadequate indeed.

      Reply
  18. Surely evangelicals (CEEC in particular) should seize the opportunity presented by the upcoming fracas re LLF to openly challenge and rebuke (a la Paul in Galatians) the Anglican Ministers who do not preach both the wrath to come and other terrible warnings alongside the wonderful invitations and promises – ‘The Thing that Matters Most’, it’s eternity stupid. There will never be a better moment to do this. And I suggest that the challenge and rebuke should take place openly at the various levels of Synod, especially the final General Synod. CEEC could co-ordinate that.
    Phil Almond

    Reply
      • All of us, including the poor, face the wrath and condemnation of God from birth onwards, because of the Fall and Original Sin. All of us, including the poor, need to repent and submit to Christ in his atoning death and life-giving resurrection, to submit in repentance, faith, love and obedience.
        Phil Almond

        Reply
  19. Still weird that you think homosexuality is a sense of damaged self. It’s the egregious theological anthropology of Issues.

    Reply

Leave a comment