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Anglicans debate a motion to confirm male-female marriage

by ervte

“Jesus taught that marriage is a lifelong exclusive relationship between a man and a woman,” Sydney Archbishop Kaniska Raffel told the Anglican General Synod (GS) meeting on the Gold Coast today.

He opened the debate between conservative and progressive forces, saying, “For Christians, the words of Jesus are trustworthy and good.”

Commenting on Matthew 19:4-6, he said: “Marriage is a complementary union between a man and a woman. Marriage is the first example of charity.”Anglicans debate a motion to confirm male-female marriage

The GS will vote on the statement tomorrow at 11 a.m. as the debate has run out of time. The outcome will determine whether an increasingly conservative presence in the Anglican Church can win the General Synod.

Statement One declares that same-sex Marriage is contrary to the teachings of Christ and the Church’s blessing of same-sex civil Marriage.

Speaking of same-sex Marriage, Raffel added, “We cannot bless what is contrary to God’s word on marriage.”

“We say to our gay friends and neighbors what we say to ourselves… ‘take his yoke and find rest for your soul.'”

“We cannot bless what is contrary to God’s word about marriage.” – Kanishka Raffel.

Natalie Rosner of Melbourne supported the motion and spoke about bringing humility to complicated questions with humility. After struggling with the Scriptures, she had come to the same conclusions as Raffel.

She pointed out that exemptions under the Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) require churches to set out doctrines and principles to apply for the exemption. The Appellate Body of the Anglican Church limited the use of “doctrine” to matters of salvation. This ruling clouded the use of the SDA waivers. Declaration, one in support of traditional Marriage, is required to ensure that the SDA waiver applies.

Bishop Jonathan Holland of Brisbane rose to challenge the idea that same-sex Marriage violates the teachings of Jesus. He pointed out that the passage in Matthew 19 is about divorce. He suggested we support all nurturing, permanent love because God is love. “Who are we to say they don’t fulfill the teachings of Jesus?” he asked.

He proposed an amendment to the motion that same-sex Marriage is illegal in the Church, but same-sex blessings are not.

(The Wangaratta Diocese’s move to bless same-sex civil Marriage is the issue that has sparked this debate in the Anglican Church. The appeals court’s decision did not violate the Church’s Constitution.)

Ninety-one votes lost the amendment to 152. Other edits seeking to qualify the Church’s doctrine from Marriage with the words “current” or “traditional”—meaning that change could come”—were also lost.

A strong forward-thinker, Matthew Anstey, spoke against the statement, opposing a reading of 1 Corinthians 6 that makes same-sex Marriage a matter of salvation (contrary to what an evangelical would say). He said Marriage is not a creed – making a statement about Marriage was not essential.

“We can proclaim the gospel of love by not passing this motion.” – Jeremy Greaves.

Dorothy Lee opposed the statement, saying biblical scholars and faithful Christians disagreed. She objected to Statement One because it stated there was only one way to read certain scriptures. She argued in favor of continuing the dialogue. “We are unclear about the Greek words in 1 Cor 6:9,” she said.

Brisbane Bishop Jeremy Greaves opposed the statement for fear of harming LGBT youth. “We can proclaim the gospel of love by not passing this motion,” he said.

Reuben Scott from North Queensland said they all wanted the flourishing of LGBTI people and that we want to enter the kingdom of God. Yet, reading the Scriptures, he could not conclude other than that sex is intended within male-female Marriage. “We must rely on God’s wisdom when we go against the opinions of our community,” he said.

Fiona Mclean from Melbourne said it wasn’t just a statement from Sydney. In response to Matthew Anstey, she said that although the creeds do not mention Marriage, the scriptures are clear. “If you love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said.

At this stage, the statement appears to have strong general support. This sentiment is likely to result in a vote for traditional Marriage and against the blessing of same-sex civil Marriage in the Houses of Laity (unordered) and Clergy (ministry). However, the House of Bishop’s result will be close, possibly narrowly beating Statement One.

The reactions to this vote will be shown tomorrow.

In calmer waters, the GS made calls • Against betting ads on TV during sports programs earlier in the day. • lamented the Church’s lack of focus on evangelism and preaching.

The results of a study of intimate partner violence (IPV) – which found that the incidence of IPV was the same or higher among Anglicans compared to the general community – were presented to the GS. (The previous GS funded the report, released in 2021 — and reported by Eternity.

The Anglicans are the first denomination in Australia to research IPV in their churches. The Synod called on the dioceses to respond with preventive strategies and pastoral responses to gender-based violence.

“It’s outrageous that some of our clergy have reduced the violence — ‘he didn’t leave a bruise,'” Tracey Lauersen, the chair of the Violence Working Group, told the GS.

The Synod adopted a list of ten pledges to change church cultures and engage in community discussions on the topic. They have been developed in consultation with survivors/victims. The GS established a Committee on Families and Culture “to anchor the ten commitments in the church”.

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