The Bishop of Liverpool is calling on the Church of England to permit the blessing of same-sex unions by calling for a "gender-neutral marriage canon."
On Saturday, Bishop Paul Bayes spoke to a national conference for revisionists activists in the Church of England, saying: "I want to see a gender-neutral marriage canon, such as they have in the Episcopal Church (in the U.S.) or in the Scottish Episcopal Church."
"And as a necessary but not sufficient first step, I want to see conscientious freedom for the Church's ministers and local leaders to honor, recognize and, yes indeed, to bless same-sex unions whether civil partnerships or civil marriages," he contended.
According to The Christian Post, the group Bayes addressed was the Movement of Supporting Anglicans for an Inclusive Church (MoSAIC), which was created in February.
"The movement aims to have a presence in each diocese of the Church of England, where it will work with local clergy and laity on projects that promote inclusion for all those who are currently marginalized by the Church of England — whether that be due to race, ability, sexuality, gender or gender identity," the group said in a press release.
"I want to see an abolition of the foolishness that sees the call to ordained ministry as a call to a state morally higher than that of the baptized, as though baptism called us to a lesser holiness," Bayes said at the national conference.
He asserted: "I want to see an end to LGBTQ+ people hiding who they are for fear of being exposed to conversion therapy or to being forbidden to minister in churches. I want to see an end to the inquisition of ordinands about their private lives."
Bishop Bayes' controversial call for the gender-neutral canon comes ahead of elections for the Church of England's governing body, the General Synod, where evangelicals are seeking to increase evangelical representation in order to protect the church's "orthodox beliefs and practices."
"If you believe that it is important to maintain the historic, orthodox beliefs and practices of the Church, then the General Synod is very relevant to you and your parish," the group noted at the time. "It is vital that this voice is clearly heard in the forthcoming elections in 2021, as the future of our Church might well be decided in the five years after 2021."
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.