Synod round up: Church of England to proceed with same-sex blessings

17 November 2023

This week, the Church of England’s General Synod met in London, deciding to move ahead with plans to introduce blessings for same-sex couples on a “trial basis.”

We’ve selected key moments from members of Synod who unveiled the discrepancies between these blasphemous blessings and the time-honoured doctrine of marriage, the bishopslegal obligations, and most importantly, what the Word of the Lord says. 

“These blessings are curses”

Christian Concern’s Benjamin John delivered a truthful, convicting speech on God’s glorious pattern for marriage, and the Church of England’s rebellious undermining of the authoritative word of God. He also appealed to the testimonies of X-Out-Loud members who were in attendance at Synod, and the transforming work of God in their lives.

Bishops must provide legal advice on same-sex blessings

Christian Legal Centre’s Rebecca Bensted raised vital points about the lack of basic transparency and legal process in proposing to commend prayers for same-sex couples. Legal advice on the legality of proposed blessings was not shared with the houses of clergy and laity.

“We know it’s not really about same-sex marriage. It’s instead about the authority of scripture”

“It is no easy thing to stand against the tide of Western culture, with the pressures of social media and political correctness waging against the ancient, abiding text of God’s Word.”

Rather than “loving, well-intentioned sophistry” to have “unity at all costs” and “live in our differences,” Rev. William Pearson Gee turned our eyes to John 17 where Jesus prayed that the church down the centuries would believe the “same truths, obey the same teaching, and look forward in the same hope as the apostolic church.”

We disagree about what is sinful; that is the pain we are caught in” 

Although the motion suggests that CofE doctrine on marriage and sex is not changing, Charlie Skrine stated it “proposes a pastoral step that is simply at odds with it.”

“To say that a practice is sinful is not opposed to a Saviour who came to save us from sin, is all of our discovery that we are sinful – and that it is pastoral to be told how, and to be called to change.” 

“The LLF proposals threaten unity of the Anglican church around the world” 

Neil Barber rightfully pointed out that “the watching world sees that the Church of England is dumping its doctrine, even though we assert that legally, we are not. But they know that we are not doing nothing. They see that we are changing doctrine.” 

“Jesus our Great Shepherd never separated his pastoral care and love for people from his teaching” 

Ian Paul observed that this proposal brings to light the need to integrate pastoral advice with legal and theological thinking. If we love God, we will keep his commandments.

“What the world actually wants to see from us is things like transparency, honesty, integrity. They don’t admire an organisation that makes powerful decisions amongst the powerful behind closed doors.”

Good governance is being sacrificed in bypassing Synod for the sake of forcing through a seemingly predetermined outcome”

As a minister to children and young people, Anna De Castro from Sheffield expressed a desire for “consistency between the Church’s confessed and lived doctrines.” 

Anna wondered why doctrine had not been debated under Canon B2 if bishops are “saying that God’s Word is not clear on these matters, and that the Church Catholic has been remarkably united in its misunderstanding in what scripture says for all these years.” 

“The proposition does not make sense. It is not intelligible in a form where all of us can be confident as to what it actually says and means”

Daniel Matovu raised concerns that there was no timescale indicated for the motion passed by Synod in February 2023, except for “monitoring and reporting back in five years.” His gracious request for clarification by the chair was spurned. 

Synod votes in favour of amended notion

The three houses of Synod voted on blessing same-sex couples, in the following way:

Bishops: For – 23; Against – 10 against; Abstentions – 4

Clergy: For – 100; Against – 93 against; Abstentions – 1

Laity: For – 104; Against – 100; Abstentions – 0

God’s teaching on marriage and the place of sexual intimacy is absolutely clear. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul warned the Church of those who claim to be God’s own but reject him: 

“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.  

“They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 

“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 

Please pray for leaders in the Church of England to exercise wisdom and keep the faith, as they now respond in their own churches. Pray for the liberals who have departed from sound doctrine, who walk the broad path to acceptance from culture and damnation from God. 

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?
Matthew 5:13

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