Living in Love and Faith

Oct 30, 2020 by

by Lee Gatiss, Church Society:

Lee Gatiss explains what to expect and how to prepare for the publication of the Living in Love and Faith resources next week.

The Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith teaching and learning resources are going to be published on Monday 9th November. They will explore questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage. The resources have been commissioned by the House of Bishops, and will include a book, a series of films and podcasts, and a course which have been developed over the last three years by a group of more than 40 people from across the spectrum of opinion in the Church.

All this is intended to initiate yet another process of “learning and engagement”, such as we have had several times in the past. The intention is that this will contribute to the Bishops’ discernment of a way forward in relation to questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage. There have been several reports on these issues over the last 40 years. Each time, there has been a statement of the traditional, biblical, orthodox view of the subject, as well as a lot of space given to air opposing views. I have many of the official reports, from Homosexual Relationships in 1979, to Issues in Human Sexuality, and its sequel, Some Issues in Human Sexuality, to the Pilling Report just a few years ago, a Faith and Doctrine Commission report on Marriage recently, and so on.

While I think it is right to study contemporary questions like this thoroughly, and to be open to hearing all sides in a debate, the reason we open our minds has always been the same as the reason we open our mouths — in order to close them again on something solid. The problem here is that we are never allowed to come to a settled mind on this, and it is repeatedly said that clergy are free to preach and teach the opposite of what the church has always believed.

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