The Church of England’s Doctrine of Marriage

Mar 19, 2023 by

Statement from the Bishops of The Society:

Since the publication of the Bishops’ LLF Proposal for the consideration of General Synod, a range
of lay and ordained people from across the church have asked for some guidance in understanding
why many Christians in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, together with
Christians from across the churches of world Christianity, continue to believe that marriage is given
by God for the union of a man and woman and that it cannot be extended to those who are of the
same sex.

We felt, therefore, that it would be constructive to make available a relatively short theological
summary of the doctrine of marriage as the Church of England has received it, and how it relates
particularly to changes in society around same-sex partnerships. This paper does not seek to repeat
what is set out more comprehensively in chapter 3 of the LLF Book but rather to build upon it.
This paper emerged from study and conversations in recent months among a number of bishops,
evangelical and catholic. It was helpful not only to us but also to other bishops of the same mind, in
clarifying some of our own thinking and prayerful discernment on these important matters as we
contributed to the LLF deliberations in the College of Bishops. We now offer the paper below to
clergy and congregations at this important time in the life of the Church to inform their understanding,
recognising that for some it will be welcome support while for others it may clarify points of
disagreement. In offering this paper we are committed to continue to listen and learn from those with
whom we disagree.

Few readers of this paper will feel neutral about it. Some will be instinctively grateful for it, while for
others it may compound their sense of disappointment. Without seeking to diminish the value of
many committed same-sex relationships, for which there is much to give thanks, we find ourselves
constrained by what we sincerely believe the Scriptures teach which cannot be set aside. We pray
this will be a constructive contribution to the life and ministry of the Church while the work of
discernment continues in General Synod and elsewhere.

Read here

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