The Gay Marriage Issue - What do I believe?From hot topic Homosexuality.
It’s hard not to race to the defense of the Church of England today following reports that they have again declared to government and society that gay marriage would ‘dilute an institution “vastly” important to a healthy society’.
According to Robert Pigott’s article on the BBC website that outlines both sides of the argument, representatives from the Church of England have stated ‘opening marriage to gay couples, an institution defined for centuries to be exclusively between a man and a woman would have its meaning “hollowed out” and reduced to the level of a “content free”, “consumerist”, agreement.’
The statement from the Church of England comes after a proposal from government that says marriage should “be equal in the eyes of the state - whether it’s between a same-sex couple or a man and a woman.”
I initially wanted to pat the Church of England on the back for taking what could be seen as an evangelical stance.The reason being, that as a fully fledged evangelical, such a belief that the institution of marriage should be exclusively reserved for a hetrosexual couple is one that after discussions with other evangelical believers, I feel most comfortable with.
But that’s just the issue isn’t it? Have I taken the time to discuss the issue with friends who do not share my belief? both Christians and non-Christians? Have I taken the time to pray and to really get to grips with my bible? or have I simply inherited my belief? becoming comfortable with it because I don’t want to feel uncomfortable? Someone once said that good theology does one of two things: it either challenges and strengthens belief or it challenges and causes the need for belief to be reviewed.
The process of consultancy has, in it’s wisdom, I am sure, been undertaken by the Church of England. A process which is bound to have involved many hours listening and discussing the subject with people who maintain a variety of opinions and beliefs. But what about me? What do I believe? Just because someone else has researched and written many papers on the subject; is that enough for me to simply take the stance as being the correct one?
Just because I might find the evangelical interpretation to be the one that I feel to be consistently right, am I in danger of cocooning myself in an evangelical bubble, simply because it feels most comfortable?
I want my theology and doctrine to be formed within me because I have taken time to think it through, and by discussion with the widest spectrum of opinion, and through prayer and biblical research, to be able to take personal responsibility for what I believe.
How can our theology and doctrine be best formed within us?
Are we in danger of creating evangelical ghettoes?
How can we best present a faith that is inclusive and models equality, whilst maintaining doctrines and beliefs that appear to create exclusivity?