|The bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC). Source: SEC|
"Today the Scottish Episcopal Church, meeting in its General Synod in Edinburgh, takes the first step in a process which may lead to same sex couples being able to marry in our churches and to our clergy being able to enter into same sex marriages [SSM]. It is a two-year process. In 2016, the voting needs to produce a simple majority in each of the three 'houses' – laity, clergy and bishops. The second and final stage in the process will be reached in 2017 when two-thirds majorities will be needed in each house". - The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews,Dunkled & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Full report here.
Bishop Chillingworth writes: "Within churches, human sexuality issues have the capacity to expose deep fault lines in our understanding of faith. Some see the full inclusion of LGBT people as a matter of justice. Jesus was a person always open to those excluded by others – the lepers, the adulterous woman, tax collector and sinners. Would he not have been also open to LGBT people? Others point to the authority of scripture which in some places warns against same sex relationships. They call us to an understanding of God's law and life as it has been understood from the creation. So this is an important moment for our church. "
The problem with the 'full inclusion' argument is that Christ healed the sick and told the sinner to sin no more. In what category does LGBT fall? LGBT people can hardly claim to be excluded when they are driving the agenda. The legal effects of a civil partnership are almost identical to marriage. To agitate for SSM is counterproductive.
The bishop concludes: "It is not just about whether we can find agreement, it is about whether what we do is within our understanding of our faith."
Unfortunately for Anglicanism, faith has become too malleable. Ultimately will there be anything left if SSM in church is adopted?
GAFCON offers alternative oversight to Scottish Anglicans