Bishops endorsing same-sex marriage should be 'removed from ministry'

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Christian Concern CEO Andrea Williams is calling on the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to defend the Church of England's core teaching on marriage and sexuality after the Bishop of Oxford's essay in support of a change in position.

Bishop Steven Croft's said that the Church of England should embrace same-sex marriage and allow clergy to marry a same-sex partner if they wish. 

On Friday, the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Dudley, Martin Gorick, the Bishop of Reading, Olivia Graham, and the Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, all came out in support of his essay. 

The show of support for same-sex marriage by senior figures in the Church of England has dismayed evangelicals, who are calling for the historic position to be upheld.

In a strongly worded response, Ms Williams, a former General Synod member, warned that revising the Church's historic position would cause "open rupture" in the Anglican Communion and be "devastating" for faithful Christians by making it easier to dismiss them as "hateful extremists".

She said that bishops endorsing same-sex relations should be disciplined and removed from ministry.

"These bishops swore that they believed 'the doctrine of the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it' and promised to 'expound and teach it'," she said. 

"Core to the received doctrine of the Church is the doctrine of marriage. Since these bishops are now in open violation of their ordination oaths they ought to be disciplined and removed from ministry.

"If they had any integrity they would resign as bishops of the Church of England and leave to minister in another context."

Ms Williams called on faithful bishops around the world to defend the historic doctrine of marriage as a union between one woman and one man for life.

She added, "The Archbishops now need to make clear that core teaching of the church on marriage and sexual morality is not up for debate or change. Bishops cannot be allowed to openly pronounce rank heresy." 

The Church of England Evangelical Council, the Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship, and The Latimer Trust have all rejected the position set out in the Bishop of Oxford's essay.