Synod supports ban on ‘conversion therapy’ – what it means

Jul 9, 2017 by

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream.

On 8th July, General Synod of the Church of England voted to back a complete ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’, a term used by critics to describe ways in which people who want to reduce or be free of homosexual desire and practice access help in the form of therapy or counselling.

In what appears to be a misprint but looks like an unfortunate Freudian slip which reveals the true consequences of this ban, the C of E’s press report (first version) quotes Jayne Ozanne, the LGBT activist and proposer of the motion, as saying “…conversation [sic] therapy is harmful, dangerous and doesn’t work”. The Church of England’s governing body has effectively censored a whole area of conversation. If anyone comes to their vicar now and says “I have same sex attraction, I’m not happy about it and want to change – can we have a conversation about this?” the answer will from now on be “no I’m sorry we can’t discuss that, because it might cause you harm”.

It also means that if someone who is not a Christian wants to move away from a gay lifestyle and/or identity, they are being sent a message by the C of E that this is an area where Jesus doesn’t operate. They will find that the Church will not support their right to find a therapist to help them with their chosen aim (all such therapists are already unable to receive professional accreditation and supervision for their work).

Sean Doherty, a member of the Living Out group, proposed an amendment that was theologically based, sought to protect the LGBT community from coercion or manipulation, but also affirmed that ‘pastoral care, prayer ministry and professional counselling are legitimate means of supporting individuals who chose them freely’. This was rejected. The free choice of an individual to seek help, and the free discretion of a Christian minister to offer pastoral care has been restricted by Synod.

This vote at Synod 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 gay, and those who offer to help them, are not included. Those openly in same sex relationships have a leading influence in the Church’s governing body, but those who were in such relationships, have changed as a result of help from therapists and counsellors and are now happily single and celibate or married heterosexually, are silenced.

There is now an area of incoherence in the Church of England’s doctrine that even the most radical adherents of ‘plural truth’ philosophy will not tolerate for long. Those who have same sex attraction are told they cannot change, but they also can’t get married or have their relationships blessed in church. Is it now surely a matter of time before the Church of England decides that while it can’t deny LGBT orthodoxy (sexual orientation is innate and unchangeable, trying to alter it is harmful), it can and must deny and change bible based doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman and homosexual practice is sinful, because these teachings are ‘harmful’?

This decision on ‘conversion therapy’ was not made for reasons of Christian theology. It was made on the basis of fake science (as many of the articles here demonstrate), fear of the LGBT lobby and the dreaded “Tim Farron question”, and emotional manipulation by apostate activists within the church leadership. The governing body of the main church in the land has capitulated to powerful ideologies in secular culture, the ‘stoicheia’ of Colossians 2:8, providing no protection for those who wish to be obedient to God’s word and resist those ideologies, serving people in love and calling them to repentance and faith in Christ.

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 .

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