Conservative Bishops Reaffirm Church’s Teaching on Marriage
Fourteen Bishops of the Church of England have published “a relatively short theological summary of the doctrine of marriage as the Church of England has received it, and how it relates particularly to changes in society around same-sex partnerships.”
In the document, the Bishops set out the teaching of the marriage service:
“The BCP goes on describe the goods of Christian marriage in Anglican teaching as threefold:
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
“Common Worship re-orders (and re-words) these into a) companionship, b) the gift of sex, and c) the bearing of children.”
They expand upon the benefit of marriage as being an institution where the goodness of creation is affirmed, the interdependence of humanity is celebrated, the story of salvation is depicted and life is generated.
The paper looks at what this means for society today and how the Church has treated homosexual people. In a footnote the question is raised “whether the draft prayers of Love and Faith, with their sample service, meet that requirement [of Canon B5] and we recognise there is proper concern from many that they do not.”
The bishops conclude, “There is still work to be done on how the church can best provide a better welcome and radical inclusion for LGBTQI+ Christians and others, and to find appropriate ways to affirm the goods of same-sex relationships. Yet the theological framework outlined above explains why, for many, a move towards same-sex marriage in church is not the way to do this, and why the witness of Holy Matrimony to the gospel in the ways outlined above needs to be preserved.”
The paper was issued in the names of the following Bishops: Jonathan Baker (Fulham), Ruth Bushyager (Horsham), Christopher Cocksworth (Coventry),Karowei Dorgu (Woolwich), Jill Duff (Lancaster), Jonathan Gibbs (Rochester), Richard Jackson (Hereford), James Newcombe (Carlisle), Martyn Snow (Leicester), Ric Thorpe (Islington), Martin Warner (Chichester), Andrew Watson (Guildford), Pete Wilcox (Sheffield), Paul Williams (Southwell & Nottingham).