English evangelical bishop calls for tolerance

A leading voice in the evangelical wing of the Church of England, Bishop James Jones, speaking to his diocesan synod in Liverpool today says the battle of sexuality in the Church needs to end.

He argues that sexual orientation is a biological given, which represents a departure from the majority of evangelical voices. And he uses the lessons learned from the "Just War" controversy to point a way forward for the Anglican Communion.

Ruth Gledhill writes in the The Times:

"His speech is significant because it comes just weeks before the vote to confirm the lesbian Mary Glasspool as a bishop in the Los Angeles diocese in the US. Canon Glasspool is expected to be consecrated early this summer, a development likely to accentuate the splits in the Anglican Communion unless conservatives can be persuaded to agree to live with difference.

The address also signals a significant shift at the evangelical grass roots of the Church of England towards a more liberal stance on sexuality. It shows the message is at last getting through to Church leaders that the traditionalist stance on homosexuality is out-of-step with secular society to the point where it is seriously damaging the Church’s witness to the wider world.

Bishop James, himself from the evangelical wing of the Church and a one-time favourite to become Archbishop of Canterbury, says, ‘On a number of major moral issues the church allows a large space for a variety of nuances, interpretations, applications and disagreements.’"

Read Gledhill's article here.

According the report, Anglican Mainstream has already dismissed the remarks by Bishop James by saying that his is voice is not considered significant anymore.

Comments (2)

The tensions sorrounding questions of sexual orientation have been predominantly secular but they have also included a great deal of soul searching within the church. This isn't just a bow to overwhelming public opinion. It also expresses a desire to understand what may be God's greater purpose at work in us as a society. One thing that I see as sadly lacking in some of this strife is an acknowledgment of the possibility that God may be leading us beyond who we were to who God wants us to be. It would be best if we could unpack God's desire and dream for us together.

"His speech is significant because it comes just weeks before the vote to confirm the lesbian Mary Glasspool as a bishop in the Los Angeles diocese in the US."

What is it about the English inability to comprehend the way we handle our affairs? Even a professional Anglican journalist of religion doesn't grasp that we've had Standing Committees and bishops sending in approvals (or not) all along. It's not like there's one big vote that this could be timed to coincide with!

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