A number of evangelical and Catholic bishops in the Church of England have released a statement announcing their commitment to the biblical view of marriage, understood to be between one man and one woman.
It follows the House of Bishops' decision to allow services of blessing and thanksgiving for couples in same-sex marriages or civil partnerships as a result of the Living in Love and Faith process.
This is a long-awaited document for traditionalist Anglicans unhappy with the result of the internal debate on sexuality and gender identity.
As part of the decision taken by the House of Bishops, it was decided that same-sex marriage would not be allowed in the Church of England, and therefore, the doctrine of Holy Matrimony would not be changed.
In a seven-page paper, the bishops of Fulham, Horsham, Coventry, Woolwich, Lancaster, Rochester, Hereford, Carlisle, Leicester, Islington, Chichester, Guildford, Sheffield and Southwell & Nottingham share their view on the doctrine of marriage.
Offered to clergy and congregations, the paper seeks to build on what they “sincerely believe” the Scriptures teach about marriage.
They hope the document will add value to the ongoing discussions on the issue as the proposals are due to be discussed next week in the General Synod.
“Without seeking to diminish the value of many committed same-sex relationships, for which there is much to give thanks, we find ourselves constrained by what we sincerely believe the Scriptures teach which cannot be set aside. We pray this will be a constructive contribution to the life and ministry of the Church while the work of discernment continues in General Synod and elsewhere,” the paper reads.
The document focuses on the biblical view of marriage rather than on the prayers proposed by the House of Bishops.
It also acknowledges the need for the church to improve the “welcome and radical inclusion” of LGBTQI+ Christians and to “find appropriate ways to affirm the goods of same-sex relationships”.
Premier understands that there are more bishops within the wider College of Bishops who share the views of the 14 signatories to the paper.
You can read the paper in full here.