Welby told 'we cannot agree to disagree' on sexuality

The Archbishop of Canterbury is being warned a compromise on church teaching on sexuality is not possible as bishops prepare a draft new teaching document for discussion.

Justin Welby rebuked conservatives for planting a 'missionary' bishop after Scottish Anglicans changed their teaching on marriage to remove the understanding it is 'between one man and one woman'.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has admitted resolving the Church's disagreement over sexuality is what keeps him awake at night.Reuters

The alteration says instead there are differing views on marriage and says no clergy could be forced to officiate in a wedding against their conscience.

But Lee Gatiss, director of the traditionalist Church Society, warned 'we cannot agree to disagree on these issues'.

He wrote in a blog post: 'This is not a matter on which there is room for friendly disagreement and continued fellowship, but one which involves obedience to clear biblical teaching, and which concerns the salvation of people's souls.

'We pray earnestly for Dr Welby to see this more clearly and to give us a better, more biblical, lead.'

At the same time LGBTI Mission have published a paper from leading academics on the questions and issues bishops need to address as they prepare a new teaching document on sexuality promised in February.

Backed by Dr Susannah Cornwall of the University and Exeter and Rev Dr Andrew Davison from the University of Cambridge among others, they argue the opposite of Gatiss and 'hope that the [teaching] document will promote the sense that it is possible to disagree over these matters in good faith, and that it will encourage those who differ to recognise one another as fellow Christians, created and redeemed by God.'

They add: 'In particular, it strikes us as important for the future health and stability of the Church of England for our church to accept that there are principled differences among us about ways of interpreting the Bible.'

LGBTI Mission Chair, Simon Sarmiento said: 'We are not telling the group what to write. But we are saying that if the Teaching Document is to serve the Archbishops' purpose and have credibility in the Church of England and beyond, then it must address the questions and themes these scholars have identified.'

The Chair of the Human Sexuality Group of General Synod, Canon Giles Goddard, added: 'The Teaching Document is a significant part of the Archbishops' plan for the way forward for our church. It is vital that the Document covers the breadth and depth of the questions raised in this preparatory paper if it is to command the support of General Synod.'