The Church of England, human sexuality and the current cultural crisis

Aug 14, 2017 by

By J. Andrew Kirk, Anglican Mainstream.

During the meetings of the Church of England’s Synod this year (in February and July) some significant motions were carried on themes related to the Church’s continuing debate about its stance on controversial issues to do with human sexuality…

…The major question for the church is not so much over the legitimacy of homosexual acts or approval of the LGBT agenda, nor even just disagreement over God’s pattern of sexuality for his creation, but whether to accept or exclude the normative authority of God’s word. Changing the church’s long understanding of what God’s word demands in this case seems to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in a number of other instances in which the clear, core elements of apostolic teaching, as revealed by the Holy Spirit, are either consistently misinterpreted or repudiated.

These recent decisions by the Church of England Synod witness to a serious departure from foundational Anglican formularies, built on a careful and faithful interpretation of the text of Scripture. Followers of Jesus within the universal church are not free, therefore, to pick and choose what they are prepared to believe and do with respect to whatever God’s word declares unequivocally is His will.

Dependable theological interpretation and application of God’s word is intimately related to how the church intends to respond to key challenges to its message posed by contemporary culture. Human sexuality, because it penetrates deeply into the problem of what it means to be human, and how one perceives oneself, is one of the most pressing and critical existential questions of our time.

Read the article in full here [PDF]

Andrew Kirk has spent much of his life teaching theological subjects in tertiary educational institutions in Argentina and England. He is the author of many books, of which the most recent include Mission under Scrutiny: Confronting Current Challenges;  Civilisations in Conflict? Islam, the West and Christian Faith, and The Church and the World: Understanding the Relevance of Mission. In the early 1990’s he was a member of the Faith and Order Advisory Group and Mission Theology Advisory Group for General Synod.

Read also:

The lesson of Anglicanism: liberalism will tear you apart, by Fr Ed Tomlinson, Catholic Herald

Conversion therapy. Peter May writes in Evangelicals Now about the main debate at July’s General Synod

Anglican Unscripted: Doctrine vs Practice. Gavin Ashenden comments on the service of Holy Communion followed by a party at Southwark Cathedral, at which the civil partnership of two senior clergywomen was honoured and celebrated:


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