Conservative voices in the Church of England are warning that the Anglican branch is moving toward a “denial of God” through its new guidance on transgender people.
The new pastoral guidance, released on Tuesday, says that it encourages clergy to be “creative and sensitive” in the use of liturgy when acknowledging so-called “gender transition” for those suffering from gender dysphoria, the belief that their gender doesn’t match their biology.
“The Church of England welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people, equally with all people, within the body of Christ, and rejoices in the diversity of that body into which all Christians have been baptized by one Spirit,” the new guidance declares.
The document advises clergy to respect transgender people’s chosen name and gendered pronouns, and says that the existing rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, a ceremony used for those who have already been baptized, can be used at church services to mark a person’s gender transition.
“The emphasis is placed not on the past or future of the candidate alone, but on their faith in Jesus Christ,” the text adds.
“The Affirmation therefore gives priority to the original and authentic baptism of the individual as the sacramental beginning of the Christian life, allowing someone who has undergone a serious and lasting change to re-dedicate their life and identity to Christ. The image of God, in which we are all made, transcends gender, race, and any other characteristic.”
Christian Concern’s chief executive Andrea Minichiello Williams, who is a lay member of the Church of England’s General Synod, slammed the new guidance, however. Williams warned that the Church of England is continuing its “devastating trajectory towards an outright denial of God and His word.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov