It is not homophobic for the Anglican church to hold traditional Christian views on homosexuality
A letter from Rev Timothy Anderson, the chair of Gafcon Ireland:
A Church of Ireland minister has recently resigned his post claiming that the church is ‘structurally, culturally and socially homophobic’.
On what grounds is this charge made? I expect it is because the church hat he has left continues to hold the traditional Christian position towards homosexuality, namely that homosexual practice is sinful and contrary to the Word of God.
This is a position that I, along with many other members of the Church of Ireland and the worldwide Anglican Communion hold with conviction.
I suggest however, that it does not follow that I and others are therefore intrinsically homophobic.
Holding this position has not stopped me in my 35 years of ministry pastoring and supporting Christians who are homosexual.
Quite the opposite. Yet, because I ascribe to a traditional and biblical understanding of marriage and sex, people such as I are considered by some, especially the gay rights lobby, as homophobic.
Yes. Homophobia can exist within the church and where this is the case it ought to be challenged.
There have always been examples of unkind attitudes, bullying and discrimination towards homosexuals and this should grieve us and cause us to search our hearts.
But to simply dismiss those within the church who disagree with a cultural consensus by using a ‘shut-down’ word like ‘homophobic’ is itself abusive and intolerant.
The traditional Christian belief towards homosexual practice, marriage, and sex is not irrational, nor unloving, nor ignorant.
Instead it takes us back to creation and affirms the preciousness of every single human being.
It refers to universal sin and rebellion against the God who has made us.
It moves us towards redemption, talking about the hope we may all have through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Christian position affirms that we all sin, that God loves, that the Bible is His word and that he summons us both to belief and repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
This is not homophobic.
This is a message of hope, grace and newness of life and a message that the Church of Ireland continues to publicly affirm in its Constitution and Canons.
Timothy Anderson, Chair of Gafcon Ireland
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