Bishops issue confusing guidance on same-sex 'marriage'
The House of Bishops of the Church of England has issued new "pastoral guidance" permitting churches to offer special prayers to newly 'married' same-sex couples, prompting criticism that such prayers undermine Scripture by appearing to endorse same-sex ‘marriage’, Catholic News Agency.
The guidelines were set out in an appendix to a pastoral letter sent to clergy and the people of the Church of England by Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu. The letter stated that the Church would not “interfere with the clergy’s pastoral discretion” on how to mark same-sex ‘marriages’ informally.
“The guidance is confusing and although it claims that orthodox Biblical teaching on marriage (exclusively between one man and one woman) will not be changed, the practice of offering these special prayers will be seen universally as approval of same-sex ‘marriage’ and therefore a contradiction of the teaching,” says Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern.
She also criticises the Bishops’ guidance for failing to point out that homosexual practice is a sin in the eyes of God. “It is in fact an act of love to point out, compassionately, where people are sinning and to direct them towards salvation. So by failing to identify sin and leaving out repentance the guidance is merely offering people a cheap-grace Gospel.”