Affinity, previously the British Evangelical Council, has issued a declaration opposing the Government’s proposed sexual orientation regulations (SORs).
The declaration states:
…For the first time in many generations, it will become unlawful for Christians to conduct their lives in a manner which is consistent with a biblical principle.
Christian organisations which provide services on behalf of the State will be penalised for refusing to endorse homosexual practice. Christian businesses will likewise suffer. Churches which provide facilities to the community may also encounter threats of litigation.
In a country which has an established Christian church, and which professes to respect religious freedom and liberty of conscience as core values, Bible-believing Christians will be outlawed by these regulations should they seek to exercise these freedoms.
The 1,300 churches linked with Affinity, and the members of those churches, therefore declare:
1. The Bible strongly and unequivocally asserts that the practice of homosexuality is sinful, displeasing to God and damaging to society.
2. The view which Bible-believing Christians have of homosexual practice is not personal, vindictive or based on homophobic prejudice. It arises solely from the teachings of the Bible, which identify a wide range of sinful practices in all areas of life, about which such Christians would hold similar convictions.
3. This same Bible has for hundreds of years been the greatest single influence upon British national culture – providing the foundations for its educational and legal institutions, as well as the major impetus for social compassion and welfare reform. By bringing in this legislation, the government has turned its back on the enlightened wisdom which has inspired and shaped a system of justice held in high esteem throughout the world.
4. A wise and far-sighted government should not only permit liberty of conscience, but should do everything within its power to protect, support and encourage it as a non-negotiable principle. These responsibilities are not reflected in the SORs.
5. Bible-believing Christians strongly support the rule of law and the right of government to establish and maintain order in society. However, this support is being severely and wilfully tested by the government’s failure in this legislation to take account of the nature and strength of the commitment to biblical authority by which many Christians plan and order their lives.
Obedience to God
6. For Bible-believing Christians, obedience to God must supersede obedience to the civil law whenever these demands conflict. While seeking constantly to minimise the extent to which their decisions and actions depart from the wishes of the State, they cannot compromise with God’s Word, and will not hesitate to act at all times in accordance with their consciences.
7. As a consequence of the unwarranted attack upon the legitimacy and acceptability of their faith, the churches, agencies and individuals comprising Affinity’s partners, associates and supporters will stand by one another prayerfully, financially, and in every possible expression of fellowship, as and when they are pursued and penalised under this legislation.
8. Affinity’s partners, associates and supporters will continue to pray for the government, and to address it on the issues of principle and practice bound up in this legislation, in the confidence that God is in control, and with the hope that better times may emerge, for the greater happiness and spiritual prosperity of our society.