‘Jesus Christ is King – not the zeitgeist or our feelings’

14 January 2022

General Synod Member Ben John responds to a Guardian editorial calling on the Church of England to allow same-sex marriages,


Your call for the Church of England to change the doctrine of marriage is misguided. If the zeitgeist is moving, now is the time for the Church to be bold in proclaiming the goodness of marriage between one man and one woman, which God instituted at creation (Genesis 2:24) and which is a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). The Church of England might be able to change its teaching on marriage, but God’s truth cannot and does not change.

In fact, we are warned in the Bible explicitly against what you are advocating. 2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV) states “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Sadly, many of the Bishops of the Church of England are part of that great number.

It is simply not true that the “stance on same-sex relationships is undermining its outreach efforts, particularly in relation to the young”. All the denominations which have gone down this path, such as the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, and the Episcopal Church in the USA, are in collapse, whilst orthodox churches continue to grow on average. If all the Church can offer is a mirroring of the world, a tickling of the ears, it simply becomes another social club and ceases to be a church.

As a recently elected, younger, member of General Synod, my hope is that we would recommit to proclaiming the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. That he is King, not the zeitgeist or our feelings. But the Lord Jesus Christ. The one who loved the world so much that he died for us so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life. Certainly, we proclaim the ‘loving inclusivity’ of the gospel – we are saved not by what we do but by faith – therefore no one is too far from the grace or forgiveness of Jesus Christ. But we must also teach the cost of discipleship: that we turn away from our sin daily, that we take up our cross and follow Christ, that the world may hate us, but all of it completely worth it because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord (Philippians 3:8).

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