Article 6 of the 39 Articles of Religion on the “The sufficiency of Holy Scripture for our salvation” says,
Holy Scripture sets forth everything that is necessary for our salvation. Consequently, nobody should be required to believe as an article of the Christian faith, or to regard as necessary for salvation, anything that is not found in Scripture or that cannot be proved from Scripture…
Therefore, Scripture is to be our highest authority, not tradition, experience or reason.
We, in the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa, are not necessarily against tradition, experience or reason; they are simply not our highest authority.
On Sunday I led our church through some set prayers in our REACH SA Prayer Book. Non-conformists, more independent types might want to deride me as being too clinical and stayed, not allowing “the Spirit to move”. “We need to be led by the Spirit in our church services!”, they cry.
I understand the concern, but let me explain why we use the Prayer Book to help us with our liturgy.
Public perceptions of homosexuality have changed over the years. In the Greco-Roman culture during which the New Testament was written, homosexuality was an accepted practice. Over the centuries that changed. By 1800’s in England homosexuality was a crime. The well-known playwright Oscar Wilde was jailed for two years for homosexual practices. Homosexuality was later seen as an evil that needed to be dealt with by exorcism or shock treatment.
Still later, homosexuality was considered not as evil, but as a psychological disorder that needed therapy or sexual experimentation with the opposite sex. Now homosexuality is viewed as a viable, healthy, valid, alternate lifestyle, perceived to be a foundational human right. Public perceptions have radically changed.