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Church of England to Debate Same-Sex Marriage; Evangelicals Draw a Red Line: 'This Is About Following Christ'

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The Church of England has announced that it will focus on a formal "decision-making" process in regard to the church doctrine towards sex, sexuality, marriage, and gender.

The Times of London reports the church could approve same-sex marriage by 2022 after its bishops promised to make a "decision" about arguments over sexuality. The bishops agreed to bring their ideas to the church's General Synod, which makes all final decisions concerning doctrine.

After three years of behind-closed-doors discussions on the issue of same-sex marriage, Church of England archbishops have publicly apologized to the LGBT community, according to The Daily Mail

Church officials have launched their "Living in Love and Faith" section on the church's website.  It includes a 480-page book, videos, podcasts, and education courses to examine the issue. 

However, evangelicals in the Church of England say the "key test" for them will be whether what is set out is consistent with the teaching of the Bible. 

The Rt. Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, and president of the Church of England Evangelical Council said, "To those who have been involved in 'Living in Love and Faith,' we offer our thanks for their time, energy, commitment, and hard work. We will look closely at the materials now published and respond fully in due course. For us, this is about following Christ by submitting to what Scripture says, just as He did. So we will need to discern which of the materials in LLF do that by evaluating all of the various resources in the light of Scripture. While discussions about these issues are always welcome, the key question is not one of church procedure but whether we think that the teaching of Scripture is right. So we will engage, but this is actually about obedience to Scripture."

"To all those in the Church of England who are unsettled by suggestions that the Church might decide, in the future, to depart from historic orthodoxy, we say: 'We are here for you. You are not alone'. We will resource you, support you, and lead you. We will contend unflaggingly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints," he added. "We will uphold what Christians have always believed through history and what the overwhelming majority of Christians globally still believe. These are not matters on which we can simply agree to differ, for reasons the New Testament makes clear."

As CBN News has reported, over the years the Church of England has made several doctrinal changes pitting the current cancel culture beliefs about sexual morality against the teachings of the Bible. This has led to friction between the church's leaders and members. 

In July of 2019, the church announced it would recognize the marriages of those who choose to transition in the time following their heterosexual weddings. 

Later in December, incoming Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said he believed biblical teaching on sexuality should come second to 21st-century Western cultural beliefs.

In December of 2018, the Church of England issued new guidance from its House of Bishops to its parishes when planning services to help transgender people mark their transition to a different sex.

Christian Concern's Chief Executive Andrea Minichiello Williams, who is a lay member of the Church of England's General Synod, said at the time that the Church of England is continuing its "devastating trajectory towards an outright denial of God and his word" by turning its back on what God has said in the Bible.

"There is no need for Christians to sacrifice truth in a misguided attempt to be loving," she said in a press release. "It is not loving to mislead people - and wider society - into the falsehoods and myths of transgender ideology."

One month after the guidance was issued, an open letter signed by more than 2,200 members of the church's clergy called on the House of Bishops to "revise, postpone, or withdraw" the guidance. 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of