World News and Trends: Church controversy over same-sex relationships

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Church controversy over same-sex relationships

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The Anglican Church is experiencing its most serious crisis since the controversy over ordaining women into the priesthood. In the United States, where the church is known as Episcopalian, a gay man—who left his wife and two young daughters for a man—has been elected as bishop of New Hampshire.

Conservative evangelicals in England have urgently called on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, to intervene. Commented The Times: "He has publicly expressed his sadness at the authorisation of same-sex blessings in a diocese in Canada . . ." Yet according to a major cover story in The Times, in the past Dr. Williams "supported the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM)" and "his perceived liberalism on homosexuality dated from the late 1970s."

"The Bible," Dr. Williams had argued, "condemns heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts for gratification, but does not distinguish between gay practice and gay identity. It is therefore unjust to consign to celibacy those who have never known sexual attraction towards the opposite sex since the Old Testament, especially, lays so much emphasis on the role of physical love, not just breeding."

In nearly 2,000 years of church history few biblical scholars and theologians have ever understood or argued the Scriptures in this particular manner.

Western society is not traveling down the same road as the plain scriptural teaching of God's Word. Instead one British family law judge called for "legislation to guarantee the rights of live-in couples, homosexual partners and transsexuals." Apparently this proposal has enormous parliamentary backing.

The general direction of our Western way of life recalls to mind a prophecy of the apostle Paul (who condemned homosexual practice in any form in Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10): "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up
for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned to fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). (Sources: The Times, Daily Mail [both London].)