” It is wholly unsatisfactory that non-believers and atheists should retain
titles such as bishop and archbishop in a Christian church”.
One of the distinct benefits of the LGBT rights movement is that it provides material which is likely to result in a christian church – one which believes the Bible to be the revealed Word of God – arising from a split with the present functionally atheist Church of England – or more correctly the Anglican Institution of Disbelief (AID )
Testifyingtotruth would actually prefer that AID’s functionally atheist leadership left and joined an atheist or secular community so they would not be confused with christians.
It is wholly unsatisfactory that non-believers and atheists should retain tittles such as bishop and archbishop in a supposedly Christian church.
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Church of England bishops: we agree on one thing – that we can’t agree on homosexuality
Special gathering of Church of England bishops to discuss landmark proposals on blessings for gay couples ends with admission that the best they can hope for is ‘good disagreement’
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
8:17PM GMT 27 Jan 2014
The Church of England’s bishops have finally reached agreement on homosexuality – by saying that they might never be able to agree.
They emerged from a frank, day-long meeting behind closed doors, discussing their response to radical proposals to offer wedding-style blessing services for gay couples, and admitted they are deeply divided over the issues and are likely to remain so for years to come.
In a joint statement on behalf of the 90 bishops who attended, they said that
the best they could hope for was “good disagreement”.
The announcement effectively kicks proposals trumpeted before Christmas as a solution to the Church’s wrangles over homosexuality into the long grass.
A long-awaited report by a commission chaired by the former Whitehall mandarin Sir Joseph Pilling in November concluded that while the Church should not marry same-sex couples, it should offer special services likely to amount to weddings in all but name.
The recommendation was hailed by liberals as a landmark moment for the Church but provoked anger from conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Anglo-Catholics.
Sir Joseph’s report recommended that the Church embark on a two-year process of “facilitated conversations” between the different sides with trained mediators on hand. It was the approach which led to a breakthrough on the issue of women bishops, which is now expected to be passed by the General Synod this year as a result.
But the divisions over the Church’s teaching on homosexuality go deeper than those over women bishops.
The issue has already triggered a rift within the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion and there are fears that any further steps by the Church of England could lead to African churches, representing tens of millions of Anglicans, severing the connection with Canterbury.
In principle the Church of England is still committed to the belief that any sex outside a traditional marriage between a man and a woman is a sin.
But in practice, its position has shifted dramatically in recent decades and even leading evangelicals have spoken of needing to accept massive social change.
The Church ruled just over a year ago that openly gay clerics who are in civil partnerships are now officially allowed to become bishops – as long as they claim to be celibate.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby – an evangelical who once opposed gay couples adopting children – objected to the Government’s introduction of same-sex marriage when it was debated in the Lords.
But only weeks later, he used his first presidential address to the Church’s General Synod, to warn Anglicans of a need to face up to a “revolution” in attitudes to sexuality. In a joint statement the College of Bishops, a body which includes the entire episcopate, said the Church must “repent” of its past homophobia and make a “loving, compassionate and respectful response to gay men and women”.
They spoke of recognising “the very significant change in social attitudes to sexuality in the United Kingdom in recent years”.
But the bishops added: “We recognise also the strongly held and divergent views reflected in the Pilling Report, across the Anglican Communion and in the Church of England. We acknowledge that these differences are reflected also within the College of Bishops and society as a whole.”
They announced plans to begin the mediated discussions about the Pilling recommendations but, significantly, put no time limit on how long they would take. They also acknowledged that the debates were likely to be stormy.
“We acknowledge that one of the challenges we face is to create safe space for all those involved to be honest about their own views and feelings, this has not always happened and it must do so in the future,” they said.
“We recognise that we will not all agree and that this process is in part committed to seeking good disagreement that testifies to our love for one another across the church in obedience to Christ.”
They also ruled out any change to the Church’s teaching or liturgy during the course of the discussions – meaning that gay blessings are postponed indefinitely.