Dean Jensen criticises ‘move to love’

05 October 2012

THE Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, the Very Revd Phillip Jensen, has attacked modern Anglican marriage liturgies for being primarily about love instead of procreation.

In an article posted on the Sydney diocesan website, Dean Jensen said that "sadly, Anglican liturgies have given up on the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer". The BCP marriage service listed procreation as the first reason for marriage, Dean Jensen said, whereas the services in the Australian prayer books of 1978 and 1995 gave love as the primary reason.

"The Bible teaches that God made humanity as male and female so that out of the unity of husband and wife would come children who would be raised to godliness as they filled and subdued the world," he said. Male and female "polarity" was God's "intention in creation and reproduction. . . Faithfulness rather than love lies at the basis of this union."

The BCP service emphasised the biblical teaching on the differing responsibilities of husband and wife - which had been completely lost, he said. "All this matches society's move away from marriage, away from lifelong monogamy, away from commitment and faithfulness, away from family life towards the romance called 'love', away from 'husbands and wives' or even 'spouses' to 'partners'."

Dean Jensen was writing in the context of the recent debate over a new marriage service, with differentiated vows for the husband and wife, devised by Sydney diocese. In the new service, which is set to come before the Sydney diocesan synod soon, the bride promises to "submit" to her husband, as well as to respect, honour, and help him; the husband promises to protect and provide for his wife.

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