Many Church of England Clergy Reject Biblical Teaching on Marriage, Sexuality

Many Church of England Clergy Reject Biblical Teaching on Marriage, Sexuality

According to a survey by The Times, many of the clergy in the Church of England no longer hold a Biblical view of marriage and sexuality.

More than half (53.4%) of the clergy agreed that priests should be permitted to conduct same-sex weddings. However, slightly less than half (49%) of the clergy said they’d be willing to officiate the ceremony of same-sex couples.

After randomly selecting 5,000 priests from Crockford’s Clerical Directory of Anglican clergy, around 6% of England’s total active clergy participated in the landmark survey—the first poll among Church of England clerics in nearly a decade.

Out of the survey’s 1,185 responses from serving Anglican priests, 62.6% believed the church shouldn’t be opposed to premarital sex. Only slightly more than 1 in 3 (34.6%) thought the Church of England’s Biblical teaching on premarital sex should stay the same.

As for homosexuality, over half (64.5%) of the clergy said the church should alter its teaching that homosexuality is “incompatible” with Scripture. Most priests (63.3%) also wanted to end the ban on gay priests, enabling them to have civil weddings.

“Blessings for same-sex partnerships would be wrong in principle, but it could well hasten the church’s decline in practice. Faithful churches and ministers with vibrant and growing congregations might reconsider their relationship to the Church of England,said Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern.

“And those preaching the same message as the world, with no sin, no need for repentance and therefore no need for Christ, will find themselves with no congregation to pay the bills. God does not bless sin, and He does not bless those who bless sin.”

With many priests’ views conforming to secular culture, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that only around 1 in 4 priests consider England to still be a Christian country.

“To survive and thrive the Church of England needs leadership that believes the Bible and puts it into practice,” Williams said. “The Christian Gospel has always offered a radically distinct, challenging, and life-giving vision to society. Simply aping the current values of the culture around us is the road to extinction for the Church of England. Church leaders that have lost confidence in the Bible and the beauty of God’s ethical teaching should resign or be removed.

“What the Church of England needs is an influx of leaders that believe that the Gospel of Jesus remains the best news for society and who are able to present it and practice it in today’s world. Research shows that the churches that are growing are the ones that are doing exactly that.”

Above: Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Photo: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

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