On 15 November, the General Synod of the Church of England narrowly approved a motion to allow a trial for standalone services of blessing for same sex couples. The move follows a decision by Synod last February to push forward with full implementation of Prayers of Love and Faith, a resource designed for use with same sex couples seeking Christian recognition and blessing for their union (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/more.divided.than.the.conservative.party/141054.htm).
Predictably, the move has sparked major controversy. Although the services will not be formal weddings, they will include the exchange of rings, prayers, confetti, and a blessing by the officiating priest. In other words, a service of marriage in all but name. Mindful of dissent, however, Synod has been quick to reassure those not 100% on board that the new service will be introduced only ‘on a trial basis’, after which, in 2025, there will be further discussion as to whether or not the measure be formally adopted. A two thirds majority will then be required for full authorisation (https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/press-releases/synod-backs-trial-special-services-asking-gods-blessing-same-sex).
What sophistry is this! Under canon law, given time for presentation to Parliament and full debate, authorisation for such services would normally take around two years. By calling for a ‘trial period’ ahead of ratification, however, the delay becomes circumvented, allowing services to go ahead immediately. Telling us that this is to allow opportunity for assessment of their full impact and effect on the wider communion is misleading, and appears deliberately deceptive. It doesn’t need to be pointed out, for example, that once such services have been allowed to take place in supportive parishes, it will be well-nigh impossible at a later date to reverse the process.
But quite apart from any distaste felt for such underhand manipulation of canon law – designed, as it is, to safeguard the faith – infinitely worse is the harm being caused to the Church. A community that appears so casually to jettison doctrine can no longer be regarded as a fit custodian of the faith. It has, in fact, become salt that has lost its flavour, and is fit only to be thrown away.
We are all sinners, and thank the Lord He doesn’t require us to be perfect before we become part of His Church, but that does not mean that we can in any way, shape or form affirm what, according to the Bible, is sin. The cardinal point of Christianity is that Christ saves us from sin. It follows that, once we accept Him as Lord, it becomes the work of the Spirit to heal and transform us in our inmost parts, conforming us to the image of Christ – making us fit for heaven. It is a work that continues throughout our lives while we remain on earth.
Beyond that, scripture is clear that marriage between one man and one woman, in exclusive and monogamous union for the period of their natural lives, is the gift of God, given for our mutual support in a fallen world, and so that the couple together may raise and care for any children that result. It is equally clear that all sex outside marriage is prohibited, for the simple reason that it damages that bond – and which, it goes without saying, includes pre-marital sex, adultery, same sex relations, incest and bestiality.
But now wolves, who reject and attempt to redefine Scripture in their adoration of Self, have got in amongst the flock, and the shepherds are seemingly nowhere in sight. Indeed, it is wolves who have now taken on the mantle of the shepherds, and they are wreaking devastation, leading many astray by their unholy and perverse doctrines.
The question must surely be asked, on what basis can those who so casually deny the authority of Scripture presume to call themselves Christian? And on what basis can they presume to wield authority?
The new faith, so stridently defending ‘love’ in all its forms, makes mockery of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. And, in the process, it denies to sinners the chance of redemption, and of healing – of becoming fully what the Lord has made, and intends them, to be.
It is time for the true shepherds to stand up and defend the flock. The wolves must not just be thwarted in their attempt to assert power – for the protection and wellbeing of the sheep, they must be cast out.