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Same-sex marriage

January 2014

Christian Concern has slammed a report from the House of Bishops that fails to set a clear, biblical standpoint over same-sex marriage for the Church of England.

      The 221-page Pilling report, entitled ‘Working group on human sexuality’, had been considered by CofE leaders to present political guidance from the House of Bishops – part of the House of Lords – as to how to deal with marriages and blessings between people of the same sex.

      After a sermon written about the holiness of relationships, written by a female reverend, the report goes on to state key findings, on which the working group based its recommendations.

      Key findings included: ‘opposition to gay and lesbian relationships was a

generational matter. It simply was not an issue for most young people’.

      It also claimed, ‘The CofE’s current teaching and practice were deeply off-putting to those outside the Church and therefore a serious impediment to mission.

      ‘A key issue was the different ways in which Scripture was read and the harm done to people by some ways of reading it.’

      The report also suggested that, ‘The church needed to live with diversity over sexual practice and theological understandings of sexuality’.

      The report also stated that it contained a ‘paucity’ of Scripture and justified this by referencing other books written from a ‘scriptural’ basis backing a view of homosexuality that suggested it was not incompatible with Christian belief.

      While the report did not suggest the CofE needed to change its official teaching position, it did suggest that clergy could continue to carry out blessings.

      Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said, ‘The Pilling Report does not recommend any change to the Church’s official teaching and we welcome that.

      ‘However, that conclusion is largely undermined by the proposal that local clergy should be able to consider blessing same-sex partnerships.

      ‘This double speak is as destructive as it is deceitful. It promotes yet greater division and acrimony within the CofE rather than offering the courageous leadership that was required’.