CARE share about the current issue of marriage in the Church of England.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he’d rather see the Church of England (CofE) disestablished than a split over the issue of marriage.
Justin Welby reportedly made the comments in a meeting with MPs, several of whom were critical of a recent decision not to allow gay weddings in churches.
This month, bishops reaffirmed biblical marriage but proposed unbiblical “blessings” of same-sex couples. The idea will be debated at the next General Synod in February.
The news comes after fourteen bishops published a defence of biblical marriage, nine of whom are diocesans, from both Catholic and Evangelical traditions.
The nine-page document, setting out the theological basis for man woman marriage, states:
“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.”
It adds: “Holy Matrimony, in Christian understanding, is more than a contract, a private arrangement between two individuals that helps build social cohesion. It is theologically much more significant.
“Every time a man and woman are joined together in the promise of lifelong fidelity, the goodness of creation is affirmed, the interdependence of humanity is celebrated, the story of salvation is depicted, and life is (potentially) generated.
“Marriage is thus a sacramental sign of something bigger than itself and that signification depends to a significant degree on sexual difference. Every marriage is thus a proclamation of the gospel. It bears witness to God our Creator and Redeemer; to God’s nature, purposes and love.
“This is a picture of reality that matters for Christians, and the framework within which the Christian doctrine of marriage sits and from which the Church’s sexual ethics properly flow.
“For here is an icon of what salvation looks like, in contrast to the more abstract concepts of community, freedom or justice developed by the philosophers of the Enlightenment.
“From Genesis to Revelation, and in the proclamation of Jesus, the biblical story is about the coming together of heaven and earth (Eph 1.10; Rev 21.1, etc.), of the true God and his bride. The marriage of a man and a woman symbolises and proclaims this story.
“It is no accident, as the Book of Common Prayer recognises, that the first ‘sign’ Jesus performed in John’s gospel was to rescue a wedding party.”
Pray for Archbishop Justin Welby and the Church of England Synod meeting this week (6th Feb 2023) for truth and wisdom in making decisions affecting the Church of England.