Next month, at its provincial synod, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) is considering a proposal about LGBTI clergy and same-sex civil unions. The proposal states that, “clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions should be licensed to minister in our parishes”.
It also suggests that “prayers of blessing” should be able to be offered for those in same-sex civil unions. However, it also specifically rules out the possibility of marriage under church law.
The proposal, “also accepts that any cleric unwilling to take part in providing pastoral care to people who identify as LGBTI shall not be obliged to do so.”
Here are seven reasons why this is a terribly bad proposal:
1. The proposers are terribly unloving
We are called to love and care for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. One of the best ways of loving someone is speaking truthfully to them about what honours God. By calling sin “not sin” and indeed blessing it, they are placing the eternal souls of many in mortal danger. Just like the false prophets, they are not exposing sin. (Lamentations 2.14) We are called to speak “the truth in love” to others. Speaking falsehoods, seemingly in love, is neither “the truth”, nor loving.
2. The proposers are terribly hypocritical
Why would you “bless” a civil union, but not then marry a same sex-couple? You can’t have your cake and eat it.
3. The proposers are terribly wrong
It is right that the proposal seeks to provide for “pastoral care” to LGBTI people, but they are going about it in the wrong way. The Bible lists homosexuality as a sin, like any other, that can exclude one from the Kingdom of God.
4. The proposers are terribly arrogant
Do they think they know better than God or that their synods carry more authority than the Bible? The Bible is very clear on the subject and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that.
5. The proposers are terribly foolish
As the ACSA seek to accommodate contemporary, cultural trends regarding sexuality, they will find that their churches will be even emptier, not fuller. Why would you come to church if the minister says exactly what you would read in the Cosmopolitan magazine? Rather than helping people, you would be hindering people. Less people, less gospel growth, less spiritual maturity.
6. The proposers are terribly divisive
A resolution from the Lambeth Conference 1998 (an assembly of bishops of the Anglican Communion convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury) says that the Anglican communion rejects,
“homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and “calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex”, it “cannot advise the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.” (Lambeth I.10)
A recent meeting of the Primates (the leaders of Anglican denominations) in January 2016 reaffirmed this position and stated,
“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.”
The Primates further added,
“Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.”
This proposal by some in ACSA is a good example of those who have fundamentally departed “from the faith and teaching held by the majority”and will only “further exacerbate this situation”.
7. The proposal is terribly dangerous
By licensing clergy who identify themselves as LGBTI the synod and clergy would be setting an example of sin for the men, women and children in their congregations. As bad as the earthly consequences are, they are inviting the upon themselves the judgment of God.
“whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me (Christians) to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Those people who identify themselves as LGBTI must, like all sinners, repent and believe the gospel. God’s grace is sufficient for all and available to all.
You can read more on what the Bible says here.
Post Script: The Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s synod rejected the proposal.