Backwards Christian Soldiers

Glenn Davies

The cause for biblical Christianity took a backward step in the General Synod of the Church of England this past week, or rather exposed itself as having already departed from biblical truth and practice. The General Synod passed a motion awarding pensions to civil partners of deceased clergy.

At first glance this sounds like a common sense decision as there is a prima facie case of justice for people who are in “civil partnerships” in a society whose laws should not penalise those whose lifestyle is not unlawful. I have long advocated that the law should recognise what I call “domestic partnerships” where two people, for example, two unmarried sisters, or a brother and a sister, or two friends, choose to live under the same roof and live in such a way that they are a support to each other. Laws which allow certain financial and other privileges to married persons ought not to be denied those who choose not to be married but seek the support of a companion in life.  Such domestic relationships are not sexual by nature. However, I also recognise that homosexuals could take advantage of such a law, on the basis that it is not the province of society to interfere in people’s bedrooms.

However, clergy are different and the clergy superannuation fund ought to be different. While society may approve of homosexual relationships, the Christian Church ought not to approve what God disapproves, especially for its clergy. Everyone knows that civil partnerships in the UK are not for the sake of establishing justice among the kind of domestic partnerships I have described above. They are an avenue for recognising homosexual partnerships. Now while we may accept society’s condoning of such relationships, we are bound by a higher principle, namely God’s Word which clearly condemns such practices. Thus for the Church of England to get to the stage of offering pension support to homosexual persons whose clerical lover has deceased only highlights the fact that Church of England has condoned homosexual partnerships among the clergy in the first place!

The irony is that if a church condones civil (read “homosexual”) partnerships among the clergy, then of course it is unjust to disallow pensions to the surviving partner. But how is it that the Church of England has travelled so far beyond the bounds of biblical truth that it condones such behaviour among its clergy, let alone its congregational members?

Has the Anglican Church of Australia begun to travel the same pathway? I sincerely hope not.