In the Church of England, there is to be a review of the church’s response to the establishment of civil partnerships which will include consideration of whether priests in civil partnerships can become bishops. There will also be a “wider look at the Church of England’s approach to same-sex relationships more generally”. The reviews will lead to ‘consultation documents’ in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Andrew Goddard, Tutor in Christian Ethics at Trinity College, Bristol, has written an article on how Evangelicals in the C of E can witness to the Scriptural position on these issues. His recommendations include:

Resist the temptation to stay out of the discussion or ‘engage in a defensive manner’.

‘Regain intellectual and spiritual confidence in the biblical rootedness, theological coherence and significance and psycho-social validity of traditional Christian teaching compared to a revisionist position’.

‘Enter constructive theological dialogue with those seeking to revise Christian teaching in order both to correct and be corrected by those with whom we disagree’.

‘Engage more seriously with the experience and insights of those who experience same-sex attraction, especially with those who do so and share their understanding of the Christian sexual ethic’.

‘Develop credible pastoral responses to enable Christians in civil partnerships to live faithful, chaste lives with the support of the church’.

‘Acknowledge those areas where there are differences in emphases among Evangelicals and consider how to avoid partisan and campaigning stances that risk making these into fracture points’.

‘Consider how we articulate—in word and deed—our alternative biblical sexual revolution in a way that provides good news to our society, including those within it who experience same-sex attraction whom the church has so often failed in the past’.

Goddard’s piece can be read in full here, along with reactions from Evangelicals and others in the C of E.

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