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Jesus, the bishops and civil partnerships

by David Baker, Christian Post

Another year – another disagreement: the Church of England has managed to kick off 2013 in spectacular fashion with new headline-hitting division.

Last year the General Synod’s decision on women bishops managed to leave both supporters and opponents of the move dissatisfied. Now the House of Bishops’ move to allow gay bishops in civil partnerships, so long as they are celibate, has also managed to dismay both liberals and conservatives.

There are many factors involved here. For one thing, let us not overlook the spiritual battle: the devil loves to discredit the gospel – and if nothing else, we can certainly recognise something of the satanic in the maelstrom that has unfolded over this issue. We should also note the role of the media in this frenzy. As the blogger Gillan Scott observed on his ‘Godandpolitics’ website: “Quite often Christians are accused of being obsessed with sex, but maybe that’s because the press loves to talk about Christianity and sexual matters especially when it involves gay relationships. As orthodox Christian teaching becomes increasingly counter-cultural it becomes even easier to point a finger and say, ‘Look at these funny Christians with their strange views!’”

But of course there are also issues of substantial theological importance here. The vast majority of global Christianity across all denominations maintains a fairly overwhelming consensus that the right place for sex is solely within heterosexual marriage, with the alternative to that being celibacy.

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