In response to a letter signed by almost 100 Evangelical Anglicans to the College of Bishops reported in the Church Times on 14th October 2016, prior to their next meeting to decide what proposals to bring to General Synod in February following the Shared Conversations on Scripture, Mission and Human Sexuality in the Church of England, Modern Church has issued the following statement:
We do not consider it helpful to rehearse, yet again, the biblical and theological reasons for honouring the decisions taken by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in regard to their choice of a life partner. The subject is, as the writer of the letter says, merely a ‘presenting issue’. We would argue instead that it is what lies beneath this presenting issue which is of infinite importance to the life of the Church at this critical time.
What lies beneath our unconditional acceptance, or rejection, of LGBTI people informs ‘what it means to be human’ and, by implication, what the Church actually is. In times such as these, what matters, and what will convince others of the Gospel we wish to share, is how the Church is perceived in relation to a just and merciful God and, in equal measure, to all other human beings without exception. This is, presumably, what the writer of the letter implied by ‘the nature of biblical holiness in the 21st century’.
Apostolic tradition and Scripture itself constantly return us to these questions. If we are to talk about biblical holiness we must also think deeply about how our views on human relationships tally with holiness as we see it in Jesus Christ. Such holiness demands that we remain deeply faithful to Scripture and Tradition in order to ensure that not a single member of the Church of God feels less than worthy of God’s love.