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Synod votes expose difficulties within Anglican Church as it fails to make a clear stand for Biblical Truth

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5th March 2007

Summary


Thank you to all the churches that opened their doors for prayer for the General Synod (as they debated important motions relating to marriage and Civil Partnerships) on Wednesday 28th February. Thank you as well to all those who contacted members of the General Synod to highlight support for Paul Perkin’s motion and concern about Mary Gilbert’s motion.


Although Mary Gilbert’s motion was thankfully not adopted, an amended version of her motion was passed with a form of wording which introduces more confusion about the Church’s stance on homosexuality (for the full text of the adopted motions, see below). From Mary Gilbert’s briefing paper to Synod members it was clear the result was the adoption of very concerning and unhelpful wording that practising gay and lesbians should be welcomed without reservation as ‘full members of the church’.


Paul Perkin presented an excellent paper highlighting the flaws in the Bishops’ Guidelines on Civil Partnerships, but disappointingly his motion was amended in a way that weakened the clarity of the Church’s support for the Bible’s teaching. Paul spoke well and exposed the flaws in the Guidelines and even the amendment to his motion acknowledged that many members of the Synod opposed the Civil Partnerships Act.


One of the most concerning aspects about the debate that took place on Wednesday, was that whilst those who stood up in defence of the importance of the family and marriage rightly used arguments based squarely on the Bible, those who opposed them used emotional appeals and ‘personal’ stories about practising homosexual couples love for each other making them no different from married couples.


By way of example, the first speaker in the debate was Marilyn McCord Adams, from the United States, who said “We need to learn what gay and lesbian partnerships can teach us about intimacy”. 


Thankfully other speakers also stated the obvious point that what the Church actually needs to learn is what the Bible can teach us about sexual morality – a subject on which it is perfectly clear.


The ‘orthodox’ speeches focused on the teaching of scripture, the proper understanding of the compassion of Jesus, the lack of any scientific evidence for same-sex attraction being a genetic predisposition that you are born with. (Please also see scientific evidence of Dr Dean Byrd given in the case of the Christian Magistrate Andrew McClintock regarding same sex parenting.)



www.lawcf.org/index.asp?page=Case+of+Andrew+McClintock%2DWitness+ Statement+of+Dr+Byrd



The Synod had an important opportunity to stand for biblical Truth on the meaning of marriage and family. It is vital in these times that the Church points out to society ‘how to live’ rather than simply reflecting society. It is also vital that such a stand is a clear and public one. The result of the Synod’s debates fell short of that clear public stand – many Christians from all denominations had been waiting and hoping for a much firmer statement of intent. In a time when the orthodox Christian view on the importance of family and marriage is being legislated against through the Sexual Orientation Regulations, it has never been more important for the Church to speak boldly and truthfully into a society crying out for moral anchors and guidelines. God’s Truths in this area work for the good of the whole of the society.


Link


Full wording of the motions passed by the General Synod


The Bishop of Gloucester’s amendment to Mary Gilbert’s motion (as amended by Mr John Ward):


That this synod (a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion; (b) recognises that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference resolutions (1978:10; 1988:64; 1998:1.10); (c) welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth resolutions, including for the church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality; and (d) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the church and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the church.”


The Bishop of Liverpool’s amendment of Paul Perkin’s motion


That this Synod,
a. acknowledges the diversity of views within the Church of England on whether Parliament might better have addressed the injustices affecting persons of the same sex wishing to share a common life had it done so in a way that avoided creating a legal framework with many similarities to marriage;
b. notes the intention of the House to keep the matter under review.”


Reminder of Religious freedom seminar


Tonight, Monday 5th March (6:30-8:00pm) at the offices of Herbert Smith, Exchange House, Primrose Street, EC2 (nearest tube, Liverpool Street), Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship / Christian Concern for our Nation will be holding a unique seminar which brings together Christians who have put their livelihoods and reputations on the line in order to defend Christian freedoms in the British legal system. Everyone is welcome.


We urge all who want to find out the truth about law, politics and Christianity in 21st century Britain to come and hear their testimonies, as well as the input of a leading lawyer on religious liberty in general, in our seminar: “When the truth is silenced – freedom of religion and the Christian response to 21st Century discourse”.


Hear from the leading Christian litigation barrister, Paul Diamond, from Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship Public Policy Officer, Andrea Williams, from Gosia Shannon (organiser of a Christian Family centre who was told to ‘stop singing songs about Jesus or have your funding cut’), from Andrew McClintock (who brought a legal action after having to resign as a Magistrate on the family panel when he was told he was not allowed to hold to the view that adopting children into same-sex ‘families’ was not in the best interests of the child) and from Ben Martin (a student from Exeter University Christian Union who is bringing a High Court case to assert the right of the CU to meet freely without interference and to have a constitution which requires committee members to be Christians). For more details, see below.


LCF / CCFON invite you to join our UK Litigation Academy on Thursday and Friday, 17th and 18th of May, 2007. This ground-breaking conference brings together the world leaders on Christian litigation to share and equip delegates in their understanding and legal practice within this increasingly important field.


The Academy, being held in Quadrant House on Fleet Street in London, offers a fantastic opportunity for delegates to have their questions about this developing area of law answered. Christian litigation has been a misunderstood notion for many years, but the Academy will address the theological, jurisprudential, pragmatic and principled issues which underpin it. Please see full details, below.


To book your place, please use the links (below) to download the conference programme and booking form.



Links



Christian Freedoms seminar


(Continued from above). The seminar will look at the fundamental principles on law on religious freedom and their present day impact. It will then explore how several individuals and Christian Unions across the country have faced attempts to silence their proclamation of Biblical truth. It will examine how they responded, and how we as Christians should approach the concept of freedom of religion.


One of the key speakers is Paul Diamond, a barrister who specialises in religious liberties cases. His cases include: the ‘Keep Sunday Special Campaign’, Harry Hammond (convicted of a public order offence for displaying a sign condemning sexual immorality), BA employee Nadia Eweida (suspended for displaying a cross at work), Family JP Andrew McLintock (constructively dismissed from a family panel assessing the eligibility of prospective parents for adoption on account of his views on homosexuality) and the current University Christian Union cases (refused funding and facilities by student unions/guilds, because they insist on their committee members sharing their Biblical basis of faith).



UK Litigation Academy



The Academy is privileged to have the world leaders on Christian litigation from the United States giving the keynote addresses on both days of the Academy. Jeffrey J Ventrella, Benjamin W Bull and Jordan Lorence (brief biographies are contained in the Litigation Academy programme, see link above) will all be sharing their unparalleled knowledge about strategic Christian litigation from their various senior positions with the American organisation the Alliance Defense Fund.



Bringing the UK input to the Academy will be barristers Peter Duckworth (family and matrimonial property specialist), Paul Diamond (human rights and public law specialist) and Mark Mullins (immigration specialist) as well as solicitor Mark Jones (employment law specialist).



CPD points are available and the price of £200 for the two-day Academy includes breakfast, lunch and tea. As an optional addition, we are making available places at the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship Annual Dinner (held at London’s Savoy Hotel on the evening of Friday 18th) at a discounted rate for delegates. The cost of the Savoy dinner will be £55 (original price, £75).



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