The Inside Column 20/5

Posted in: The Inside Column- May 21, 2018 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke. If you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s almighty grace for you and loving presence as you join us in worship. Please feel free to chat with us afterwards over a coffee and meet some of our people.

Well we are in the heart of 1 Corinthians and some of the harder parts of what Paul has to say to this Church and its people. At the heart of what Paul is saying is his love for the Church that he had
planted, his heart is to see them become mature in Christ, that they will not be shaped by the culture of the day, but they will have the mind of Christ, be filled with the Spirit and their actions will show they are children of God.

This message is one that is not lost on the church down through the ages and for us to day. As Luke was saying last week we are called to keep each other in the faith that we have been planted and are growing, and we do this with truth and grace and great love for each other.

With this in mind an update on Motion 29…
Andrew Burgess, Dean of Bishopdale College shared his thoughts on the motion:

I want to offer my thoughts as someone who just ‘represented’ Nelson at the General Synod. The General Synod of the Anglican Church in these islands just voted to adopt the recommendations of what we have been calling Motion 29 report. I don’t want to try and go into detail on the report – for many people reading this the key issue is straightforward, and that is the acceptance of blessings for same-sex couples in a civil union or marriage. The church, as a whole, agreed to allow Bishops to choose to have some sort of service or part of a service written, and for those Bishops to allow a minister to use that material for a blessing of a civil union or civil marriage, regardless of the gender of the couple, and so on.In doing that, the outcome includes these things:

  • No Bishop has to offer this in their Diocese.
  • No Anglican minister has to use this (ever even if their Bishop allows it.
  • Anglican ministers remain free to teach for and against these blessings – a minister who does not agree with this decision is free to teach that disagreement in the Church.

While I am very grateful for these points, I voted against the motion. The reason is simple: I don’t agree, because Holy Scripture is clear that same-sex sexual relationships are outside of God’s purpose and call for humans. I do not agree at all with the claim that the relevant passages are about something else. In addition to those individual passages I see the whole picture of human creation and redemption toward our final fulfilment in union with Christ, and I see an emphasis on female and male together, even though some of us are called to be unmarried now and all of us will be unmarried in the resurrection.

The gospel is for every person and welcome, love and compassion are key – I want to bless every person, because God is like that. More than that, I am very well aware that I am a sinner, and that God blesses me. Within that, Holy Scripture also speaks directly about the importance of sexual behavior and obedience, with great importance placed on what the Church holds up as fitting. So, I cannot bless same-sex sexual relationships.

What about Nelson Diocese and BTC? Our stance remains and is clear: these blessings will not happen here and cannot while we hold to our policy on human sexuality. Equally the call to love and share Christ with everyone remains absolute, regardless of every circumstance.

Please keep praying for our church, if you would like to talk more about this please give me a call

Yours in Christ

Phil

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