Monday, June 1, 2015

Response #4 Inclusivity #17: Church of England’s gay marriage split is as entrenched as ever


The church, including the Salvation Army, has every right to refuse to perform or acknowledge same sex marriages within its walls. Church leaders, including SA officers, can decide who is good enough to be baptized, enrolled as soldiers, appointed as local officers, ordained and elected to lead.  But in good conscience can they/we then turn around and say they're/we're not judging anyone when congregants in same sex relationships are excluded from full church fellowship?

We welcome your response- 
Sven Ljungholm, FSAOF

As the evangelical Reform group pulls out of talks after it was accused of homophobia, reconciliation seems far away.

John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, has been criticised for supporting sanctions against a gay priest who married his partner. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Hopes that the Church of England might be able to discuss its deep differences over gay people looked sillier yesterday after the conservative evangelical group Reform pulled out of conversations. It was upset over the failure to “admonish” a prominent liberal, while gay protestors led by Peter Tatchell heckled the archbishop of York over his backing for sanctions against a gay priest who has married his partner.

Reform's press release dropped in first. The group is upset by three things. The headline is that it wants the bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, to stop calling conservative evangelicals (that would be Reform) “homophobic”, and to renounce his public support for gay marriage. Then it wants a crackdown on those priests who have married their partners. This is extremely difficult legally, as Wilson points out in public and the house of bishops has been told in private.

The Rev Andrew Cain, the first gay practising vicar to marry his partner, talks about his wedding.


Two priests have so far married their partners, so far as we know. One, Andrew Foreshaw Cain, holds his job by freehold, which makes it difficult – probably impossible – to expel him. There is no sign that the diocese of London plans to make the attempt.

The other, Jeremy Pemberton, works as a hospital chaplain in Lincoln, and has just been prevented from taking up a new job in the NHS by the refusal of the relevant bishop to license him. That refusal, which seems to have been prompted by the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, was the reason for Tatchell’s protest. It will also be contested in the courts. 

Pemberton’s marriage was entirely legal. The NHS is bound by discrimination law, even if the Church of England is not. Since he has clearly been deprived of the job by the bishop’s actions because of his sexuality, his lawyers have an interesting case.

But the real sticking point for Reform was the hope expressed by the bishops at their most recent meeting, “for the Church of England to live together as a family who disagree with one another.” They are Calvinists. They don’t want to live together with people who disagree with them – to be “yoked with unbelievers”, as St Paul put it. You can laugh at their demand not to be called “homophobic”, although it would be a small thing to grant them.

You can laugh, too, at the gloriously unrealistic demand that the church spend millions in legal battles with the equality law.

What is non-negotiable, though, is the group’s demand that the church deal with disagreement on this matter by expelling its opponents. It’s certainly a popular demand – on both sides. But it is the one thing against which the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has set his face. What he wants is “good disagreement”. For Reform – and, to be fair, for its opponents – what’s good about disagreement is the moment when the enemy crumbles.

There is a sense, though, in which events are on the archbishop’s side. If 30 years of wrangling over gay priests has proved anything, it is that neither side can force the other out of the church, though both are certain that God wants them to. Now that gay marriage is legal, the tide has clearly turned in the direction of equality, but it still has a long way to go. The most recent Observer survey showed that 16% of British adults still want gay sex between consenting adults criminalised. Most Christians would be horrified by that, but a clear majority of churchgoing Anglicans are opposed to gay marriage, as are an even clearer majority of the elderly men who make up most of the General Synod. Any change in church law will take 10 or 15 years.


The argument will clearly continue for that long. It will probably continue until Christ returns. And whether or not Reform talks to its opponents, its members are certainly never going to shut up.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I think about what the term "religious" means these days, it is first of all anti-scientific. One is reminded of some young-earth creationists or of Pastor Camping with his two predictions of the end of the world.

Same-sex marriage is in that category. If you are going to use the word marriage, which is organically connected to family, children, offspring, reproduction, then you have just said something based in "religion"--a belief that has no scientific base. MF marriage does; we all came from one, or a MF relationship. That is scientific fact. There is no science supporting SS marriage. It is a "religious" position in the worst sense of the word.

Anything SS marriage does, therefore, to cement its position, to foist it on others, is religious. It's claim that its equality claim is just like the race equality issue is also religious.

I could speak on why centralized government wants SS marriage to be successfully accepted but that is a different topic.

US South

Anonymous said...

Give it another 20 to 30 years, especially if SCOTUS makes same sex marriage the law of the land and this is all going to look as silly as my corps officer in 1963, telling all of us kids in the corps van, on our way home from Holiness Meeting, that "negroes" (back then, it was negroes) were inferior to whites and cursed by God via the story of Ham in Genesis. His mis-use of the Bible in 1963 on race, was just as ignorant and evil as the supposed Bible based, anti-gay rights movement is today.

Once again, I reiterate: Same sex attraction is about science and brain wiring, not about sin. The Bible is a book about Faith, a Judeo-Xian worldview and God's love for all of his creation, not about science. If gays are promiscuous then gays sin the same as heterosexuals sin if they're promiscuous. There is also grace and forgiveness for gays who promiscuously use people, the same as there is grace and forgiveness for promiscuous straights who use other people. Gay promiscuity is not the unforgiveable sin any more than past straight promiscuity is an unforgiveable sin, if someone truly asks for forgiveness and turns from their sin.

Gays do not sin for wanting to create a family unit, by marrying another gay person, anymore than heterosexuals sin for marrying an opposite sex partner. In fact, marriage should be encouraged to help curb promiscuity. The whole anti-same sex marriage argument for religious reasons is just plain ridiculous!

Daryl Lach
USA Central

"You Must Go Home By the Way of the Cross, To Stand With Jesus in the Morning!"

Anonymous said...

I laughter at those outraged Christians who continue to devalue and degrade Gays & Lesbians all the while their Hererosexual counterparts seem to get a free pass when it comes to their sin.

Whatever happened to that CO of yours? Promoted up the chain with great speed and increased responsibility? And that nonsense was uttered after Holiness meeting? Oh, I forgot about God's grace that seems to wipe away all Heterosexual sin with the exception of Gay & Lesbian people!

Keep up the good work FSAOF! You should be a regular feature in the National War Cry!

Anonymous said...

Well, there you have it - the gospel according to Lach. No disagreement or alternative views allowed. End of. No need for further discussion - opposing viewpoints are banned. So cancel any further articles on this subject.

Anonymous said...

To Poster @ 3: This topic IS about GLBT behaviour - why would people comment about heterosexual sin? But are your comments a hint that you believe GLBT behaviour to be a sin as well as all the hetero ones? Seems like it to me. And no-one 'gets awy' with sin in any form - it's God who will judge us each according to our sins, and He alone decides what sin is.

Anonymous said...

Commenter #3:

Actually he and his wife were dismissed 18 months later, called into the CS's office for the racially "superior" way in which they misappropriated funds. I can still remember 6 months before that, when they were transferred and a number of we young people waved good-bye to them as they drove off into the noonday sun, to Indiana, with a U-Haul trailer attached to the back of a brand spanking, new 1964 Oldsmobile! (We later found out that the corps was in deep debt for the first time ever.)

They wrote to a teen-age girl in the corps they liked, and claimed that they left TSA because the Army wasn't spiritual enough and was too concerned about money. They then joined a "Holy Spirit filled" Pentecostal church, where people supposedly weren't so worried about little inconsequential things like money (uh huh,). I can now tell this story because they were older then, had no children and are long gone dead, as is the CS. One more note to this weird story: Years later a former C.O. of mine, saw them hanging around a much larger corps in another state.(Maybe hoping to become corps treasurers? LOL!) Oh well, once again, the Jewish humorist Sam Levenson stated it rather succinctly. (I use to mistakenly think it was Leo Rosten but it turned out to be good old Sam.)"In the depths of the mind, in some dark corner, EVERYBODY's NUTS!" What a prophet!

COMMENTER # 4.

This is a site where people are suppose to give their opinions, is it not? Also, the subject has been covered so many times, that regular readers will eventually have to come to some personal conclusions, will they not? Well, things do some times get settled and I'm settled on the subject of H. and Same Sex Marriage. There's no reason for me to beat around the bush in my comments. I could be wrong but I don't think I am and I'll find out for sure in eternity. I'm not in the least bit worried that "God is going to condemn and ship me off to Hell" for holding beliefs connected to the best possible information I can attain here on Earth. You can believe as you will and comment as you wish. No one is keeping you from that and if you're wrong because of conclusions you've acquired over the years, there will be grace for you in eternity too.

Commenter # 5. Uh huh.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to give my name on the last comment--which I am not ashamed to do and in fact, ALWAYS do!

Daryl Lach
USA Central

"You Must Go Home By the Way of the Cross, To Stand With Jesus In the Morning!"

Anonymous said...

To give one's opinion is fine. To write so dogmatically and arrogantly with such gay abandon (no pun intended) is assimilating that opinion into an apparently incontrovertible fact - therefore rendering it null and void as an opinion. (in my humble opinion!)
And bully for you for giving your name every time. (Bully in this case means well done, or words to that effect - in case anyone should wonder in these days of language being robbed of its original meaning).

Anonymous said...

Once again I will state I do not understand why this site is so focused with the GLBT issue.
What about the sexual abuse committed on the youth within the Salvation Army world. What about what has happened in Australia?What about the reported cases in the news in the United States?
What do the formers have to say about that?
Daryl Lach what do you say should be done with a known child sexual molester (SA officer) when reported? Just move him/her or mandatory reporting to the legal authorities?

FORMER SALVATION ARMY OFFICERS FELLOWSHIP said...

ANONYMOUS JUNE 4, once again we will answer your questions - note that our response remains the same.

You wrote: " I do not understand why this site is so focused with the GLBT issue."
- BECAUSE IT IS THE NUMBER SUBJECT ON EVERY CARING CHRISTIAN'S HEART - INCLUSIVITY!

"What about the sexual abuse committed on the youth within the Salvation Army world. What about what has happened in Australia?"
- WAS THE FSAOF DAY TO DAY COVERAGE OF THE AUSTRALIAN ABUSE HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT HEARING, THAT SPANNED THREE WEEKS, NOT ENOUGH COVERAGE?

AND DID YOU ALSO MISS OUR REPORT ABOUT SA ABUSE IN NEW ZEALAND?

No knowledgable blogger or web site has done more in sharing every conceivable logical insight on the LGBT issues. And no blogger with SA links has covered even 10% of the scores of balanced debates we've posted, in this world or beyond...

Sven Ljungholm
Exec Director FSAOF

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I, too, share the concerns of poster@9 - I consider myself to be a caring Christian, but this subject isn't on my heart at all - I'm fed up of having it rammed down my throat at every opportunity. Unlike those who support it, both my head and my heart remain unmoved by these people's plight. But like those who support it, I, too, believe my convictions are spiritually based, so we have an impasse. I believe the GLBT way of life is not what God planned for His people, I believe that what is written in scripture about it is true and not open to interpretation, and with the rampant, aggressive march to silence people who share the same mindset as I do, I find the whole issue to be spiritually divisive. Its (admitted) regular focus on this website magnifies it over every other 'sin'.
For example, there is the 'hot potato' sin of remarriage when previous marriages break down for reasons other than adultery. Jesus forbade these unions. Matthew 5 verse 32 says: 'But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery'. Interesting. How many people who fall into this group squirm with guilt when they read these words, and how many make excuses about their own personal circumstances to exempt them from Jesus' teaching on divorce? I'm not writing as one unaffected by this issue - I am affected by a previous spouse, but is Jesus' teaching on this subject largely ignored because it is too close to home?
The 'debates' on LGBT issues have in the past largely shown a balance of views, but I'm not sure that's the case any more - there does seem to be a rush to 'convert' everyone to accept full LGBT inclusivity. It won't be done without dividing the church.

Anonymous said...

Dear Commenter # 8 (whom I believe is probably also Commenter # 9),

My mind is also made up that the world is round and not flat. Does that make me dogmatic and arrogant, because I don't waste my time arguing with people from the Flat Earth Society? I dunno. Maybe it would help if I phrased all of my sentences with open ended questions, so I won't come across to you as too confident in my beliefs?

Dear Commenter # 9 (whom I believe is probably also Commenter # 8),

The answer is a no-brainer: Of course I think that pedophilia is a civil crime and should be reported to the civil legal authorities. How or why would anyone ever get the impression, from my writing, that I would think pedophile officers (clergy), whether straight or gay, should just be quietly shipped off to another appointment to continue molesting? I certainly don't see it anywhere in what I've written. Why even ask such a ding-a-ling question?

Daryl Lach
USA Central

Anonymous said...

Categorically commenters 8 and 9 are not one and the same. Need some more training at detective school - lol!

Anonymous said...

Commenter # 13,

Thanks for the leg up! I'll be sure to sign up for a refresher course at detective school ASAP. lol! (You gave me my chuckle for the day. Thanks kiddo!)

Much love,

Daryl Lach
USA Central

"You Must Go Home By the Way of the Cross, To Stand With Jesus In the Morning?"

Anonymous said...

Daryl Lach
USA Central

My question was not ding-a-ling
You misunderstood
My question directed to you was completely for the opposite reason.
I only have respect for you after reading all your writings
I was hoping to bring about discussion revolving around an ongoing issue in the Salvaion Army as well as other churches.
I commentor 9 am not 8
As evident by your very strong response I was correct in my thinking
As I am sure you are aware of it is not mandatory SA leadership report sexual abuse to the legal authorities
How wrong is that


Anonymous said...

Oops! I'm sorry. I misread your intentions. Please forgive me.

Btw, with everything that has happened, though it may be true that in the past when people did not understand pedophilia, thought of it as a one time sin that could be overcome with counseling and prayer, instead of a crime---and did not know that it is a crime with almost always more than one victim but rather a whole slew of them---the Army like most corporate institutions tried to deal with it, in house and hush everything up and transfer the offender. However, I don't think that is any longer the case. In the U.S. and most other countries that I've heard about, there's a program called Safe From Harm which has been instituted across the board with very strict guidelines given for anyone who works with children or teens.

In fact, I've been surprised how there seems to now be zero tolerance for any sexual misbehavior in recent years, including sexual harassment and adultery, no matter what types political connections within the Army the offender may have. Unlike years ago, no one gets transferred any more to some far flung place, where no one is aware of it. They're all thrown out on their butts--from the General down to me, as the old song goes. Amen! It took the internet to do it. Thank God for the internet.

Daryl Lach
USA Central

"You Must Go Home By the Way of the Cross, To Stand With Jesus in the Morning!"

Anonymous said...

They're all thrown out on their butts - really? I heard of an officer lately who was reported for sexually harassing someone in the corps, and he has been sent to another appointment, so I don't think we've reached utopia yet - sadly there is still some crony activity going on.