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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The collegiality of the House often signals a lack of openness and honesty about where the Church of England really is on many of the debates of the day. Bishops who sign up to official statements and then do everything they can in their dioceses to undermine Church teaching are far more damaging than gadflies on the edge of orthodoxy.
Nevertheless, Bishop James Jones is wrong on the blessing of civil partnerships for two main reasons.
Firstly, though the bishops may have discussed civil partnerships in closed session on many occasions, there has been no wider theological debate in the Church of England on how these relationships reflect church teaching on marriage. I have always maintained that civil partnerships were a step to same-sex marriage and like many others I have been proved right.
Just as importantly, most of those in a civil partnership will convert that form of relationship to marriage the moment the Bill is enacted.
Civil Partnerships will continue to be entered into by a minority but activists will now be urging the Church of England to provide blessings for gay marriage. And in fact, unofficial blessings will undoubtedly take place. Furthermore, clergy in civil partnerships will themselves convert their licences to marriage. There will be many more facts on the ground for the Church of England to deal with.
This is where the trajectory of the debate on human sexuality is headed. It will leave us with a much more balkanised Church of England. The emphasis on reconciliation from our new Archbishop will not be enough to contain the dividing lines and the inevitable fragmentation of the Church of England will continue apace.
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