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-Latest: The Church and Same-Sex Marriage

by Dr. D ~ January 22nd, 2016

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In the last two weeks there has been several major news stories about Christian denominations and same-sex marriage.

First story is about the Episcopal Church in America, The Anglican Convention voted to suspend the American denomination because of their support and acceptance of same-sex marriage. Here’s the story from the Christian Post:

Leaders representing 88 million Anglicans have decided to suspend the U.S.-based, theologically liberal Episcopal Church for its pro-gay marriage position.

At a meeting of Anglican Primates hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, leaders representing the worldwide body announced Thursday that they were suspending The Episcopal Church.

"The traditional doctrine of the Church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching," stated the Primates.

<Read the whole article>

The second story is the response of the leaders of the Episcopal Church, also from the Christian Post:

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has declared that the denomination will not cease its support for gay marriage despite its three-year suspension by the Anglican Communion last week.

"They heard from me directly that that’s not something that we’re considering," Bishop Michael Curry told The Associated Press on Friday, talking about the sanctions imposed on the denomination after its leaders refused support the biblical definition of marriage. "They basically understand we made our decision, and this is who we are, and we’re committed to being a house of prayer for all."

At the same time, however, Curry said he wants to continue working toward Anglican unity despite the different points of view on the divisive issue.

<Read the whole article>

The third story is about the second largest denomination in Germany. From Christianity Today:

A leading evangelical Church in West Germany which has 2.6 million members has voted to allow same-sex marriage.

The Rheinische Evangelische Kirche voted overwhelmingly to allow future gay marriage and to legitimise as marriages the blessing ceremonies that have already taken place. Priests who oppose the move will be allowed to refuse, and couples will be offered an alternative pastor.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The interesting thing about the vote of the Anglican bishops suspending the American church is that it was the African leaders, who are far more conservative, that led the way and demanded the vote. The sheer number of Anglican members in Africa has shifted the power center of the Anglican Convention away from the western nations including the original Anglican Church of England. We noted the shifting center of Christianity in general in an earlier post. This vote demonstrates the on-going change.

In the future, the Canadian Church could be suspended for the same reason. However the real elephant that in the midst of the Convention that nobody wants to speculate on is what would happen if (and probably when) the Church of England itself was forced by the British Parliament to accept same-sex marriage. That would be a real test of Anglican unity.

Meanwhile, the third story about the evangelical denomination in Germany accepting same-sex marriage is already causing problems and a back lash within that denomination among the more conservative members and leaders who want to continue to follow traditional Biblical teaching on marriage. The one saving grace of that decision was to allow dissenting ministers the option of refusing to participate in same-sex ceremonies.                 *Top

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