Same-Sex Relationships: Sorry Bishop, But The Meaning Of Holiness Does Not Change From Generation To Generation

Feb 7, 2019 by

by John Stevens:

One of the notable features of the debate raging in the Church of England over issues of human sexuality is the poor theological arguments used by those in favour of revising the historic position of the church, which reflects the clear Biblical teaching that sex is only appropriate for heterosexual marriage and that sex is determined by biology at birth.

I heard a recent example of woefully inadequate argumentation on the Sunday programme. Paul Bayes, the supposedly evangelical Bishop of Liverpool, was responding to criticism from over 1800 clergy of new pastoral guidance issued by the House of Bishops, permitting the use of a liturgy for transsexuals who have changed their gender. You can listen to his interview in full here,(between 18.40 mins and 22.40 mins).

The essence of his argument was that the Church of England should revise its attitude and accept LBGTI people because, whilst God is unchanging, the meaning of holiness changes from generation to generation. He compared the current desire to revise the church’s understanding of sexuality with the way the church had changed its teaching on divorce and remarriage.

Superficially this argument might seem compelling, but it is deeply flawed and self-contradictory. God is indeed unchanging, but this is exactly the reason why the church cannot change its teaching on human sexuality. Holiness is an eternal and unchanging characteristic of God. He is, as Isaiah heard, the “thrice Holy” Lord. His holiness refers to his moral character and is the root of his judicial hatred of sin and his just wrath against sinners. In the Bible it is a quality that is at least as basic to God, if not more so, than love. God is love, but he is also “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

God’s immutability, the fact that he does not and cannot change, means that what he regards as holy cannot change from generation to generation. Holiness is an objective and eternal quality defined by God’s unchanging moral character. He cannot regard the same behaviour to be unholy in one era or culture, but holy in another.

Read here

Read also: Welsh bishop finds Biblical support for church gay marriages, Anglican Ink

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