CofE Bishop says scrap historic marriage doctrine

Nov 16, 2022

One of the Church of England’s most senior bishops has called for the Church to abandon its historic support for real marriage and embrace same-sex unions.

The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, claimed that the established Church’s refusal to go along with changing cultural norms on marriage and relationships “is leading to a radical dislocation between the Church of England and the culture and society we are attempting to serve”.

His message was endorsed by five other bishops, including the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, another senior bishop in charge of a diocese.

The intervention came as the Church’s bishops met in early November to debate how the issue of same-sex marriage should be decided by the General Synod when it next meets in February. Before the meeting, Dr Croft sent each of the bishops a copy of a new 50-page booklet setting out his views, which he has since published more widely.

In it, he apologises that the Church has been slow “to reach better decisions and practice”, and that his own views were “slow to change and that my actions, and lack of action, have caused genuine hurt, disagreement and pain”.

He suggests that those in the Church who disagree with same-sex marriage should be afforded “differentiation of provision and oversight” to allow them to distance themselves from any changes.

Critics have pointed out that at their ordination bishops vow to “teach the doctrine of Christ as the Church of England has received it” and “hand on entire the faith that is entrusted to you”. Why then are Dr Croft and other bishops trying to change the Church’s 2,000-year-old doctrine of marriage and set it at variance with the Bible’s clear definition of marriage as between a man and a woman?

It would be a tragedy if England’s national Church abandoned its ancient wisdom on marriage in order to try to keep up with a culture whose recent record on fostering stable family relationships is abysmal.

At C4M we call on the Church of England to discover afresh the immense benefits of real marriage – benefits which experience shows are undermined when the definition is changed. Marriage between one man and one woman for life is society’s solid bedrock. The Church should not be ashamed to stand out from the crowd and say this.