Interim statement from Fulcrum on the House of Bishops’ report Some Issues in Human Sexuality

Headline Summary

  • Bishops are leading the Church in a direction that is both orthodox and realistic
  • Emphasis on the importance of Scripture is welcome: report takes the scholarly reading of Scripture seriously
  • Affirms listening in a framework that is the fruit of earlier work

Full Statement

In the quagmire of current discussions on human sexuality, the House of
Bishops has taken a welcome lead in steering the Church in an orthodox but
realistic direction. Fulcrum is grateful to the bishops for their leadership
in restating and defending both their existing policy and traditional
Christian teaching while offering guidance to the Church in its ongoing

Fulcrum is particularly encouraged that the report emphasises the importance
of Scriptural teaching, properly interpreted, as the norm for Christian
teaching and pastoral care. We welcome the guidance it offers for serious,
humble, charitable and provisional biblical interpretation and the biblical
and Trinitarian theology of sexuality that it develops.

The bishops' own careful and fair discussion of the relevant biblical texts
in relation to homosexuality clearly show that traditional Christian
teaching is not based on naïve fundamentalist approaches to Scripture.
Indeed, it concludes that revisionist readings lack 'an adequate basis for a
Church that takes the scholarly reading of Scripture seriously to alter
either its traditional teaching about homosexuality or its traditional
practice' (4.4.35).

An important boundary in the ongoing debate is the warning that to let
contemporary moral intuitions be the judge of Scripture appears incompatible
'with the affirmations of the authority of the Bible that have been a
consistent feature of the Anglican tradition and the Anglican formularies
... it would mean that the Church of England had departed in this respect
from the orthodox Christian tradition' (4.4.71). Fulcrum welcomes this
recognition and is committed to full participation in the Church's
continuing discussion, engaging respectfully with different views and
recognising the need to welcome and listen to the experiences and insights
of all Christians irrespective of their sexual identity. At the same time,
we are pleased that this will now take place within the framework of the
1987 General Synod motion and 1991 Issues in Human Sexuality and that this
latest report provides a strong critique of the proposal that the church
should bless same-sex unions.

We look forward to ongoing debate and welcome contributions for
consideration on the Fulcrum website. A fuller review of Some Issues in
Human Sexuality will appear on the site shortly.

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