The General Synod of the Church of England has been making headline news across the Christian world with its recent vote in favor of the Church affirming people’s gender transition.
The motion, passed overwhelmingly on Sunday by the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy, and the House of Laity, suggests certain religious ceremonies can be held for transgender people to mark their physical gender change, though clarified it would not be a second baptism.
The CofE also voted to support a ban on what critics have called “conversion therapy” or sexual orientation change efforts therapy, for people with unwanted same-sex attractions.
Although the Church continues to uphold the biblical definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, some prominent officials, such as the the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev. Paul Bayes, have said “LGBT orientation and identity is not a sickness and not a sin.” Last year,
Here are five reactions to the motions that further attest to the deep divide on sexual ethics the U.K.’s largest Christian denomination is experiencing.
- Ed Shaw
Ed Shaw, a same-sex attracted Christian from the Living Out group, which says it offers people with such attractions support to live faithfully according to biblical principles, revealed that he voted against the so-called conversion therapy ban and the transgender welcoming motion at the Synod.
Shaw, who is an associate pastor at Emmanuel Bristol, said in an article for Premier on Monday that although the conversion therapy ban attested to the “appalling practices” that have occurred in this field in the past, the motion did not guarantee that ministry to people with unwanted attractions would be protected.
“Ambiguity was allowed to develop about what we were trying to get rid of — would responsible prayer ministry and every day pastoral care of LGBT people be affected by the ban?” Shaw asked.
“We were told not, but given no guarantees, and without such clarity I couldn’t support a motion that could undermine the Church’s future loving care of people like me.”
Similarly, he said that the transgender affirming motion left it unclear what bishops were asked to do, given that “we (like many in society around us) have yet to get our minds around the incredibly complex experience of the growing number of people experiencing gender dysphoria.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post – Stoyan Zaimov