10 June 2013

CHRISTIAN CONCERN-Church of England gives up fight over marriage:

Archbishop of Canterbury,
Justin Welby
Bishop of Leicester, Timothy
The Church of England has announced that it will no longer fight the same sex 'marriage' Bill.

Statement from the Bishop of Leicester

The statement was made by the Bishop of Leicester, who is the Convenor of the Lords Spiritual. He said:

“Both Houses of Parliament have now expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales.
“It is now the duty and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to recognise the implications of this decision and to join with other members in the task of considering how this legislation can be put into better shape...
“If this bill is to become law, it is crucial that marriage as newly defined is equipped to carry within it as many as possible of the virtues of the understanding of marriage it will replace.
“Our focus during committee and report stages in the coming weeks and months will be to address those points in a spirit of constructive engagement."

You can read the full statement here >
or the report in the Telegraph here >

This effectively signals the end of the Church of England's official opposition to the Bill.

Archbishop of Canterbury's speech

Despite voting against the Bill (by voting for Lord Dear's "fatal motion") the Archbishop's position was unclear until he made his speech in the House of Lords. However, in his speech the Archbishop referred to "the strong and welcome contribution by the Bishop of Salisbury." This is a reference to the Bishop of Salisbury's letter to Lord Alli, in which he explains why he is sympathetic to "equal marriage." (See the letter here.)

It is extremely disappointing that Archbishop Welby commended him for this contribution rather than rebuking him for advocating a position contrary to Scripture and the Church's teaching.

The Archbishop also approved of the idea of same sex relationships in his speech, contrary to the Bible's teaching on homosexuality. He said: "It is clearly essential that stable and faithful same sex relationships should, where those involved want it, be recognised and supported with as much dignity and the same legal effect as marriage".

A full transcript of the Archbishop's speech is available here >

Please contact the Bishops

Although ministers of the Church England, Bishops are uniquely placed to speak on behalf of all Christians.

The Bible is clear that the Church does not exist to exercise the will of the State but the will of God. If there is a discrepancy between the two, the Church must follow the teaching of the Bible (Acts 5:29). At its best, the Church holds the State to account and promotes just laws in accordance with God's Word.

Please contact the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Bishop of Leicester (Convenor of the Bishops in the House of Lords) to express your disappointment. Please call, write and email (contact details below).

Here are a few of the points you can make:
  • The Church does not exist to exercise the will of the State but the will of God. Where the two are at odds, the Church must follow the teaching of the Bible. (Acts 5:29)
  • The Bible and the Church of England's own canons are clear in their position on marriage. This teaching should be preserved and protected by the Church's ministers.
  • Many Christians look to the Bishops of the Church of England for guidance and direction. The lack of clarity and leadership on this issue from the Church of England has been very disappointing.
  • The Church's engagement with the secular world should never become a capitulation to it. This is what appears to be happening with the Church of England's new position on this Bill. 
Contact details
Archbishop of Canterbury
(The Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby)

Telephone: Address: email:
020 7898 1200 Lambeth Palace,

Bishop of Leicester
(The Rt Rev Timothy Stevens)

Telephone: Address: email:
011 6270 8985 Bishop's Lodge,
10 Springfield Road,

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