Bishops Behind Blocked Sexuality Report: No Biblical Mandate For Gay Marriage

Bishops behind the Church's recent report on sexuality are warning against expecting a change in its teaching on sexuality.

The Bishops of Blackburn and Maidstone, both strong conservatives, say they are 'completely unpersuaded' the Bible supports same-sex marriage or any change to Church doctrine or practice.

An impassioned debate by the Church of England's General Synod ended with the synod declining to 'take note' of the bishops' report recommending no change to its policy on gay marriage.

'This is not a matter of being divisive or unwelcoming. It is about preserving the place and authority of God's Word in his Church,' they write in a letter to the Church of England Newspaper.

Rod Thomas is the Bishop of Maidstone.St Matthew's Church Elburton

Calling for a 'rediscovery and reintroduction of the Bible' in the Church, Rod Thomas and Julian Henderson say they are 'very concerned' about the prospect of softening the CofE's stance on gay couples.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York responded to the report's defeat at the Church's general synod by calling for a 'radical new Christian inclusion'.

Many saw it as the strongest hint yet of a shift in Church attitudes and could signal the introduction of gay blessings or official prayers for LGBT couples.

But the two conservative bishops warn this would be 'completely at odds with Scripture'.

They say: 'We plead with the proponents of change not to impair their communion with those who support the Church's current teaching. The result will be increasing division among us.'

The pair say they are looking forward to a promised new teaching document on marriage 'not least because the promotion of marriage as the church understands it, is such an urgent need in society'.

They add: 'In the meantime, we encourage parishes to continue to have confidence in Scripture as the accepted Anglican basis for godly unity, to uphold the Church's doctrine on marriage and relationships, to express fellowship with like-minded Anglicans worldwide, to continue in fruitful evangelistic work, and to pray that the Church will be an increasingly effective witness to Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all.'