*** DEBUG END ***

Conservatives set out gay-marriage options in Church Society article

16 December 2016


THE acceptance of same-sex rela­tion­ships in the Church of England is not a “foregone conclusion”, the director of the Church Society, the Revd Dr Lee Gatiss, has said, in an article intended to strengthen the resolve of conservatives as the General Synod prepares to consider the next steps on sexuality.

Church Society, formed in 1950, is a conservative Evangelical group that declines to give any mem­bership figures. In the article on its website last Friday, “Where next on same-sex marriage?”, Dr Gatiss sets out six options for the Church, now that the shared conversations on sexuality have been completed (News, 11 March). A “Bishops’ reflection group on sexuality” is preparing material to bring to the Synod in February for initial consideration (News, 23 September).

ll acceptance of gay marriage in church; and “pastoral accom­modation” for gay couples, pro­moted­ by some as “a model of ‘good disagreement’”. These would invol­ved “a full-scale change in the Church’s doctrine of sin, by stealth. It permits blessing for things which God does not bless.”

The adoption of the first two options are by no means “a foregone conclusion”, Dr Gatiss writes, since the number of “committed LGBT” activists on the Synod are “not as many as is often thought. . . There are many clearly opposed to their agenda, and a large number of potentially persuadable people in the middle, looking for . . . a positive way forward.”

Option three, “the status quo”, in which “lobbyists and activists . . . continue to push the boundaries”, is not “acceptable or stable as a solution”, Dr Gatiss says. Option four would mean that the Church’s doctrine of marriage would remain intact, but “proper discipline” enforced: it would be easier to remove clergy who have entered into same-sex marriages from their posts, and to bar people in same-sex marriages from ministry in the C of E. For consistency, discipline should also be exercised against “those who teach against canon law and the biblical doctrine of marriage”.

Option five takes option four a step further by including “the enforcement of proper discipline within the Anglican Communion as a whole”. This could include the “removal” of provinces that em­­brace same-sex marriage.

Option six adds to options four and five a “public call for the revisionists worldwide to repent”, securing their “ultimate salvation”.



Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available


Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)