Theologian critiques Bishop of Bangor’s call for same sex marriage in church

Feb 12, 2019 by

A response to the letter from the Bishop of Bangor, By Martin Davie, Reflections of an Anglican Theologian.

A new letter from the Bishop of Bangor

In his new episcopal letter to the Diocese of Bangor on 2 February 2019, Bishop Andy John does three things.

  • First, he sets out the result of the voting on the issue of same-sex relationships that took place in the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in September 2018 and September 2015.
  • Secondly, he notes the divisions over the issue of same-sex unions within the Anglican Communion and the Christian Church as a whole, the persecution of LGBTI+ people and the way in which for many LGBTI+ people ‘the attitudes and assumptions of the Church today makes a hostile environment in which to survive let alone participate and thrive.’
  • Thirdly, he sets out his own thinking on the issue of same-sex relationships and way forward for the Church in Wales on this matter.

In this response I shall focus on what he say about his own thinking, but I shall also return at the end to the important point about the way in which attitudes and assumptions within the Church create difficulties for people with same-sex attraction.

A critical analysis of his argument

The bishop begins his account of his own thinking by noting what is said in the Old and New Testaments about marriage being between a man and a woman and about the prohibition of same sex sexual activity as a consequence of this…

…What the Bishop does not then do is explain how the biblical texts to which he has just referred can be understood if his preferred approach of supporting same-sex unions is adopted. He notes that these texts exist, but subsequently ignores them. This is highly problematic because if, as the Church has always held, these texts are part of God’s revelation of his will to the human race, then the bishop needs to offer some account of what they mean for us today. How are we to understand and apply the biblical rejection of all forms of sexual relationship outside marriage (same-sex relationships included)? The Bishop simply does not say.

Read here

See also: [On Paul Bayes] Same-sex relationships: sorry Bishop, but the meaning of holiness does not change from generation to generation, by John Stevens



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