Leading British Baptists have joined together to issue a statement aimed at achieving denominational unity on the issue of same-sex marriage.
ChristianToday.com reports that the statement, entitled The Courage to be Baptist: A Statement on Baptist Ecclesiology and Human Sexuality, aims to rally Baptists around their common faith rather than allow differences to cause division.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain prevents Baptist ministers from entering into same-sex marriages and discourages them from performing ceremonies for same-sex couples, although it does not actually forbid them from doing the latter.
Most Baptist churches tend to take a conservative stance on issues of same-sex marriage, but the issue has still been a controversial one in recent years.
"This Baptist way of being church allows us to maintain unity even when we disagree about certain issues. We believe this is a gift of God, allowing us to witness to our true unity in Christ even when we disagree about serious matters,” says The Courage to be Baptist website.
The statement calls for deeper understanding and more open-ended conversations within Baptist churches.
"We call for shared trust and good faith, a commitment to believe that those churches with whom we disagree take their positions out of a desire to shape life according to the gospel, and to follow faithfully the laws of Christ disclosed in Scripture."
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Publication date: December 5, 2016