Controversial motions ‘should not have been debated’

Jul 20, 2017 by

CEN 20 July 2017

THE TWO motions at this month’s General Synod on gay ‘conversion therapy’ and welcoming transgender Christians should never have been debated.

That was the view of the Rev Dr Ian Paul, Synod member for Nottingham and Southwell. He claimed that they ‘consumed disproportionate amounts of emotional energy’ and have ‘tested the competence of Synod’.

Dr Paul said the two motions should ‘never have been debated’, arguing that the motions are trying to ‘short-circuit a wider discussion’ of issues to be addressed in the forthcoming teaching document on sexuality.

The senior evangelical leader also said that they presented Synod with ‘false binaries’ with the proposers presenting a two-sided argument of ‘Do you agree with me– or do you hate gay and transgender people?’

“No matter how faulty the wording, failing to pass either motion would not have looked like good PR, and there would have been howls of protest from various quarters,”he claimed.

“In the voting, it was evident that the bishops were acutely aware of this, and taking both motions by a vote of houses (so that they had to pass separately in each of the bishops, clergy and laity) which would normally make it harder for a motion to pass, in fact made it easier, since the bishops could not afford to be seen to be the ones who were blocking,” he added.

The Rev Andrew Symes from Anglican Mainstream said that the vote on conversion therapy ‘clearly shows the outworking of the “radical inclusion” agenda’.

“LGBT people are now fully included in the church, but those who want to move away from a gay lifestyle, and those who offer to help them, are not included,” he added.

He claims that ‘there is now an area of incoherence in the Church of England’s doctrine’.

He also claims that ‘the decision on ‘conversion therapy’ was not made for reasons of Christian theology but was made on ‘the basis of fake science’, ‘fear of the LGBT lobby’ and ‘emotional manipulation by apostate activists within the church leadership’.

“The consecration of a ‘missionary Bishop’, ministering to faithful Anglicans outside the official structures, has surely come at the right time. We will need several more,” he added.

Director of Reformand General Synod member, Susie Leafe, said that Synod members ‘were asked to base their decisions on emotional stories and the impact of secular headlines’.

“But God does not abandon his people. In his mercy, just a week before this Synod, Andy Lines was consecrated by ACNA [Anglican Church of North America], as a missionary bishop to Europe.

“Don’t fear -‐ we are not alone -‐but decisions will need to be made,” she writes.

General Synod member for Chester diocese, the Rev Rob Munro has written for Church Society under the headline ‘Radical Christian Inclusion…?’

He wrote that ‘the new norm for synodical debate on controversial matters has become the telling of stories’ rather than theological reflection on the issues.

He also refers to the ‘Shifted Middle’ described as ‘the roughly one-third of synod who don’t self-identify as either conservative or radical’ as ‘usually to be relied on to be socially conservative’.

“No longer! It was clear that an unqualified inclusion agenda is now seen as the mainstream. Ten years ago, the LGBTI lobbyists were clearly only a vocal minority,” he added.

Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, the Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, said in his July newsletter that ‘Although the Church of England’s legal position on marriage has not changed, its understanding of sexual morality has.’

Controversial motions ‘should not have been debated’

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