An Advisory Group for Sin?
A few weeks ago the inevitable press release came to this office announcing that the Diocese of London is to start a LGBT+ Advisory Group. It should have been headed ‘Nothing New Under the Sun’. How strange to receive a glowing announcement of a group formed to advise on how to better incorporate sinful lifestyles into the fellowship of the Church.
Does the above paragraph seem too scathing? After all, the Church does have a responsibility to care for those within her ranks that struggle with sexual temptation. It has that same responsibility for members struggling with anything the Bible reveals as sinful. Indeed, the Church exists to call sinners to repentance and faith so that they may know God’s forgiveness. It also exists to make faithful disciples of Jesus which means leaving behind old ways of life as we grow in Christian maturity.
The Bishop of London was fulsome in praise of the new Advisory Group: “I warmly welcome the setting up of the new Advisory Group in making everyone feel as safe as possible and in bringing about the ‘radical new Christian inclusion . . . founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it’ for which the Archbishops have called. This initiative acknowledges the gratitude of the Diocese for the unique life and contribution of LGBT+ people to the church in London. The group will advise the Senior Staff as we seek to ensure safety, welcome and a transformed sense of belonging within all our churches.”
What does “radical new Christian inclusion” include? Presumably something that has not been included before, i.e. full acceptance of LGBT+ lifestyles and behaviours? If this is to be the destination, then despite talk of scripture and theology, the operative epistemology of the Advisory Group is based the question Satan asked Eve in the Garden, “Did God really say?”
Will “Safety” trump Scripture in the determining finally what is permitted in the doctrine and practice of the Church? If so, it will provide a charter for ‘cry-bullies’, those who proclaim their self-defined victimhood and unsafe feelings as mechanisms to silence other viewpoints.
Article XX sets out the standard: “it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.” Will radical new inclusivity end up excluding the Historic Formularies and their place in the Church?
The press release informs us that the LGBT+ Advisory Group was established by the Diocesan College of Bishops. It is very disheartening to think there is not one among their number willing to stand up and call for an end to further discussions. The Church has had discussion after discussion for years; even proponents of homosexual lifestyles concede that the Bible is not in their favour. The apparent purpose of perpetual discussion in the Church is to grind down orthodox opponents of the radical new inclusivity. As we have seen in North America, once browbeaten by the relentless discussions, there is no longer any place for orthodox doctrine and orthodox people. They have been ‘included’ out of the Church.
The time for discussion has surely ended.