Church of England Issues Proposal to Uphold Biblical Marriage but Bless Gay Couples

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for | Thursday, January 19, 2023
Church of England Issues Proposal to Uphold Biblical Marriage but Bless Gay Couples

Church of England Issues Proposal to Uphold Biblical Marriage but Bless Gay Couples

The Church of England announced a proposal that will allow for the blessing of same-sex couples while still upholding the biblical position on marriage.

As explained in a statement, Bishops within the denomination will propose "prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and for God's blessing for same-sex couples" and "urge all congregations in their care to welcome same-sex couples unreservedly and joyfully."

According to The Christian Post, the proposal will be provided to the CofE's General Synod in London next month. It is a part of church's Living in Love and Faith initiative.

"I am under no illusions that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, but it is my hope that what we have agreed will be received in a spirit of generosity, seeking the common good," The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said.

While "fullest possible pastoral provision" for same-sex couples will be offered, the Church's doctrine of Holy Matrimony, which stressed that marriage is between a man and a woman, will remain unchanged.

Although gay marriage in the CofE Church is still prohibited, same-sex couples will be allowed to "have a service in which there would be prayers of dedication, thanksgiving or for God's blessing on the couple in church following a civil marriage or partnership."

Bishops would also be able to "voluntarily" use prayers called Prayers of Love and Faith to sanction same-sex couples "who have marked a significant stage of their relationship such as a civil marriage or civil partnership."

The statement notes that the prayers are meant to reflect the denomination's "theological diversity." After the debate at Synod, the House of Bishops will then revise the prayers before encouraging them for use.

Clergy will be able to use the prayers voluntarily and in different combinations to reflect the CofE's "theological diversity."

"For the first time, under historic plans outlined today, same-sex couples will be able to come to church to give thanks for their civil marriage or civil partnership and receive God's blessing," the statement reads.

CofE bishops will also issue an apology letter to LGBT people, in which they will "speak honestly about their ongoing disagreements over the possibility of changing the Church's teaching on marriage itself."

At the same time, the letter will also "[emphasize] a clear and strong desire to continue to 'walk together' amid their differences."

Details on the proposal are expected to be released in full this Friday. The Synod is expected to take up the debate on February 8.

Photo courtesy: Drahomir Posteby Mach/Unsplash

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.