Here is the video of my Oxford Union debate opposing the motion “This House Supports Same-Sex Marriage in Church”.
Following this debate, Synod voted in favour of passing the new prayers to bless same-sex relationships, “some of which may be sexual in nature”.
My message to the “liberal-progressive” bishops: Do not lead us astray. You do not have the authority to bless sin. The Church is imploding, do not accelerate its decline with heresy. Repent!
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May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD
Thank you for the invitation – it is a genuine pleasure to speak here tonight, and I am happy to see that the Oxford Union is still able to stand up for diversity of thought and opinion and defend free speech, even in the stifling atmosphere of 21st century academia. Well done!
I struggled with this one. I’ve not slept much all week. I don’t get stage fright. I don’t get nervous when I go on TV, and I am used to public speaking – I’ve already done the Cambridge Union and Durham Union in the past couple of months with no problems whatsoever. But there is something different about this one that has been causing me real anxiety.
Someone kindly sent me Luke 12:11-12, “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
But why the anxiety? We are up against the authorities – three bishops from the Established Church. That means either I am wrong – and Christians have been teaching incorrectly on marriage for 2,000 years – or we have Church leaders attempting to drag the Church into apostasy.
The consequences are severe. This debate is not just happening within this chamber. The house of bishops is debating this very topic as we speak. There is a growing number of vocal bishops who want to change the Church’s teaching on marriage, the result being the spiritual neglect of Anglicans up and down the country.
I may have trained at the last remaining sound Anglican seminary in the country – just up the road at St Stephen’s House – but I am only a newbie deacon. Perhaps I am wrong on this, so let’s consult people far wiser than me, starting with the Church Fathers.
St Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, quite clearly identifies Matrimony as being between one man and one woman, beneficial for “begetting of children” and for the good of offspring for both educational and developmental purposes, “necessary for the perfection of the community” and for the worship of God.
St Paul describes marriage as, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” in which he is mirroring the language of Genesis, where God tells man and wife to “Be fruitful and multiply”.
Both Aquinas and Paul refer to Matrimony as a Sacrament. A holy mystery in which one man and one woman are joined together in a conjugal union with the potential to be blessed by the grace of God with children, to start a family for the worship of God.
People will argue, “we know more about homosexuality now than we did then” maybe so. But are you then suggesting God knew less than we do now? For either all Scripture is God-breathed, or it isn’t. Either we believe Christ, or we don’t.
Let’s refer to another source, the Book of Common Prayer. One of the Anglican formularies, an authority of liturgy and catechism in the Anglican Church:
The Prayerbook lists three ordained reasons for Matrimony:
First, it was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nature of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name.
Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
If we look at the wider Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines matrimony as:
“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”
This is referred to as marriage in God’s plan.
Are we looking to alter the catechism of just the Anglican Church, or should the Catholic Church ‘get with the times’, too? 2,000 years of Christian doctrine and 4,000 years of Jewish doctrine cannot be altered at the whim of a few liberal bishops. What is God-ordained cannot be adjusted to suit our liberal progressive worldviews. Marriage is heterosexual and monogamous and should be open to the possibility of children.
The Bible backs all of this up, it is very clear throughout on this matter. Marriage is between one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation. Sex outside of marriage is a sin. That is the same for heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals. Although, the Bible is also very clear that same-sex sexual relations are abhorrent.
And before some smart aleck starts asking me if I’m wearing mixed fabrics – there is a difference between moral laws and ceremonial laws. Christ came to fulfil the Old Laws. Both the issues of marriage and homosexuality are addressed in the New Testament. In Paul’s epistles, but also in the Gospels. Jesus talks of marriage in Mark and Matthew, both in the context of heterosexual union.
So my question to the bishops would be, do we not believe in the authority of the Scriptures any more? Can we pick and choose which parts of the Gospel we adhere to?
The Church is Christ’s bride. Jesus is described as the bridegroom so that we may know how he relates to us. Two grooms would be pointless; Christ is already in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit; it is us he is inviting in. Two brides are what we’re looking at here; the Church is attempting to marry itself and leave Christ out of the picture.
We are directly talking about undermining God’s plan as he has revealed it to us. We are replacing his authority with our own.
If marriage is no longer between one man and one woman, are we open to the idea of polygamy? We disregard the heterosexual aspect. Why not the monogamous aspect, too? If love is love. Who is to say three men in a relationship is not more loving than two?
And I’m sure someone will echo those dreaded words tonight: love is love. This is about marriage. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Not directly about love. Too many people who utter those words have a confused understanding of love. Agape – love in a Biblical context – divine love is a sacrificial love. It is not lustful. People often conflate sex with love, that is very disingenuous.
Then, of course, atheists often parrot the words “God is love” again without any understanding. Yes, God is love, and he sets the terms, not us.
Another one we’ll hear plenty of is ‘inclusivity’. Shouldn’t the Church be more inclusive?
Again it’s a play on words people use to virtue signal. To appear good rather than being good.
The Church should absolutely be inclusive. Christ spent time with tax collectors and prostitutes, but it is they who went away changed, not he. We are all fallen, and therefore we are all sinners. The Church is open to sinners, that is its purpose, but it should not encourage people to continue sinning.
Our duty as clerics is to help lead people to Christ, to lead them away from sin, not to embrace and affirm sin.
I know many LGB people who live lives in Christ—abstaining from sexual gratification to be closer to God. It is not easy, and perhaps not fair, but it is right, and it is good. These people are being let down. I have had people crying, saying, “I could have got married. I did what the Church taught as right, and now the Church is saying it was wrong all along?”
As Christians, we are called to be in the world but not of the world. The trap we have fallen into with this debate is looking at the Church through the eyes of the world around us rather than through His Kingdom.
In the secular world, we all have equality in law. People can enter civil partnerships or even gay marriage outside of the Church, and that is their prerogative. However, the faith is inherently discriminatory. God is discriminatory. He set conditions on us entering his heavenly kingdom. It is not a free-for-all. Turn away from sin – repent – and follow Christ.
And I want to specify it is the sin that is the problem. Not the sinner. Every single person is loved by God. And God forgives us of our depravity. But we have to turn away from our sins and turn toward him. It seems the panel opposite me has forgotten to separate the sin from the sinner. One can denounce sin whilst welcoming the sinner.
So as I wrap up, my message to the proposing side is, do not lead people astray. Do not be the wolves in sheep’s clothing or the false teachers the Bible warns us about. Remember your obligation to defend the faith. Stop teaching about diversity, inclusion and equality. Get back to teaching about Redemption and Salvation!
This is spiritual neglect. Help people by telling them the truth. Be kind to them by supporting them through their struggles and reminding them Christ suffers with them, and be compassionate by leading them to Christ when the world tries to lead them away from him.
The Church is imploding. The faithful masses have stopped turning up on Sundays. We are seeing the most rapid decline of Christianity in this country that we may have ever seen. Do not accelerate this with heresy.
You do not have the authority to bless sin! When I hear the bishop of London on record saying these new prayers will mean priests can bless same-sex relationships, some of which will be sexual in nature, I hear the devil at work. Bishops are promoting the idea of sacramental sodomy. Let them be anathema! Repent!
And to the rest of you. I have no doubt some of you will consider me a bigot, a homophobe. But I am neither of those things. I am simply a follower of Christ. A Christian. We are naturally counter-cultural, and if the so-called liberals were truly diverse and tolerant, they would embrace us just as they embrace everyone else.
There is a growing Christophobic attitude around this public debate and an ugly level of hypocrisy. We rarely see people hold Moslems and people of other faiths to the expectations they hold us Christians to. Who is calling for Islam to embrace gay marriage? Who is calling for the Quran to be updated to modern norms? Yeah, I thought not. It is at the same time patronising to people of others faiths and intolerance toward Christians. Shame. But in the words of St Athanasius of Alexandria:
“If the world is against the truth, then I am against the world.”
The Reverend Calvin Robinson is a political adviser, TV/radio presenter, and conservative commentator. Fr Robinson is Minister-in-Charge,
Christ Church Harlesden. His regular writing on all things culture, Commonwealth & Kingdom is available at CalvinRobinson.com.
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