Friday 18 May 2012

New Church of England Evangelical Council statement on marriage explodes popular modern heresy

The Church of England Evangelical Council has published a statement on marriage which is well worthy of study.

The St Matthias Day Statement (14 May 2012) is an update of the 1995 St Andrew’s Day Statement on homosexuality and seeks to help Anglicans understand their church’s teaching in the area of marriage and sexual relationships and its relevance today.

It does so by providing a five-fold summary of that teaching based in Scripture and Anglican tradition under the following headings:

1 – God’s love and call to love
2 – God’s Word and Church
3 – God’s gift of marriage
4 – God’s grace and call to holiness
5 – God’s people united in and by God’s word

As would be expected the statement takes a very high view of Scripture and is unambiguous about taking the whole of Scripture seriously.

I was particularly struck by the principles in section 2 which need far wider promulgation, especially 2b which addresses a major heresy in the church today.

The essential flaw of this heresy is that it tries to affirm ‘God is Love’ (I John 4:8) whilst ignoring ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments’ (I John 5:3).

The commandment to love our neighbours (Exodus 19:18) cannot be used to justify sexual sin.

But this notion, popularised by Joseph Fletcher the founder of situation ethics in the 1960s, is now endemic in sections of the church and is doing tremendous damage.

In fact President Obama fell into a similar trap last week when he attempted to use Jesus' golden rule to justify same sex marriage.

Like most heresies it emphasises one biblical truth to the exclusion of another. This is how the St Matthias Statement handles it:

2a. The authority of the Church to decide its own actions is limited by the word of God in Holy Scripture.

2b. The Church is not free to use certain parts of the Bible, such as the commandment to love our neighbours, as a justification for setting aside teaching contained in other parts of the Bible, such as the rejection of same-sex sexual activity.

2c. The Church therefore does not have the authority to introduce any form of marriage that differs from the form of marriage authorised and commended in Holy Scripture or to commend sexual behaviour forbidden by Holy Scripture.

But don't stop here. Take time to read the whole St Matthias Statement for yourself. It is eminently worthy of study by evangelicals and non-evangelicals alike.


  1. The problem is that many Christians and non Christians misunderstand Agape Love, the Love of God. Indeed, only the Holy Spirit can bestow some insight and understanding into this awe inspiring form of love. The best example is of course the love displayed by Yeshua - continously.

  2. I think the kind of love we are called to is for everyone, BOth MALE AND FEMALE. In the act of married love both genders' biology is loved and appreciated, and as we are biological creatures this is important. This mirrors God's love for the whole of creation, and the affirmation that it is good.

    Homosexual acts must therefore always fall short. The other gender's biology is left out, unappreciated, sometimes unsuccessfully and clumsily aped, almost to the point of sending up. This falls way short of affirmation of a good creation and love and appreciation of both sexes.

    No way can it be temed marriage, which is all about the complementariness of male-female love, and the potential nurture of offspring within this.

  3. Brilliant post. It upsets me when Christians try and rebuke criticism of the Gay life style and SSM. They say we must love all. To me, the best way to love a sinner is to tell them of their sin so that they may repent and turn from it.


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