Church of England bishops have been warned not to change their teaching on same-sex relationships in a letter from other Anglican leaders.
The letter, signed by 88 evangelicals, comes ahead of a likely debate at the next General Synod in February over whether blessings for gay couples should be introduced.
The signatories include leaders of major churches and theological colleges.
The letter states that “the Bible is clear” that God has given marriage between a man and a woman as “the only context” for a sexual relationship – a truth which cannot be considered of “secondary importance”.
It goes on to say that any change in teaching or practice, such as blessing same-sex relationships, would represent “a significant departure from our apostolic inheritance and the authority of the Bible in matters of faith and doctrine”.
a significant departure from our apostolic inheritance and the authority of the Bible
It continued: “It would also, inevitably, be a further step on a trajectory towards the full acceptance of same-sex sexual partnerships as equivalent to male-female marriage.”
The Church of England’s deliberations are causing concerns among Anglicans across the globe.
Two weeks ago, leaders of GAFCON and Global South, organisations which say they represent the majority of the world’s Anglicans, released a statement which said that “the Church cannot condone same-sex unions as a form of behaviour acceptable to God”.
To do so, the statement reads, would “contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality”.
They also spoke out against “the vilification or demeaning of those who do not follow God’s ways”, and said the Church should offer “sensitive and compassionate ministry to those who are sexually broken”.
sensitive and compassionate ministry
The influential groups committed themselves to the pastoral care of Christians who are attracted to members of the same sex.