Sex only belongs in heterosexual marriage, a new statement from the Church of England’s House of Bishops has declared.
Somewhat surprisingly, given its history in recent years and decades, the House of Bishops of the Church of England – the “Mother Church” of all Anglican Christians – has affirmed that
“For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.”
This is the traditional teaching, albeit phrased somewhat cautiously. They go on to say that
“In its approach to civil partnerships the Church seeks to uphold that standard, to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships and to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently,”
which is a legitimate call to pastoral sensitivity: as a dear, excellent, and godly Anglican priest of my acquaintance put it, the duty of the Church is to “uphold the standard, and deal pastorally with the exceptions.” They go on to affirm that
“Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings. The introduction of same sex marriage… has not changed the church’s teaching on marriage or same sex relationships.”
The Church of England and its HOB has itself fallen what seems to be short of God’s purposes for human beings in a number of regards over, as I say, the last several decades, and they do waffle a bit on practical application. But I am a believer in giving credit where it’s due!