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'We have to make a choice about discipline', Andrea Williams tells General Synod

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Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern and a member of General Synod, gave the following address during the Synod debate on the House of Bishops' report, on 15 February 2017:

"From what we have heard this afternoon, the two positions are irreconcilable. The Bishops’ report has sought to straddle the two positions but they cannot be straddled. And this is where we as a group of people and the wider church cry out to the bishops to make a stand and to make the position clear.

Jayne Ozanne, Simon Butler, Andrew Foreshew-Cain and Robert Hammond: you have all spoken movingly this afternoon. The Lord Jesus, He loves you, He died for you, He died for each one of us. We are all broken sinners, we all fall short of the glory of God. And it’s on the cross that He took away our sin.

We are all beggars, as Andrew Foreshew-Cain described us, in need of a Saviour. But that requires repentance from what (Jesus) says is sinful. And clearly, Genesis 2 and Matthew 19 demonstrate that all sexual expression outside the lifelong and permanent union of one man and one woman is sinful. It’s contrary to God’s purposes.

We have the picture of Christ who will come for His beautiful bride clean. He died for her. We rob society of that picture when we seek to destroy the truth of what marriage is.

God’s people are called to be set apart and clergy are to be examples to their people, to model holiness, chastity, purity, to model the way of the cross.

If sexual immorality were simply a secondary issue as opposed to a first order salvation issue then the Bible would not link it specifically with salvation (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). And that is why it is so important to speak clearly with regard to sexual sin, because, actually heaven and hell depends upon it. Our very eternity depends upon it. That’s why it’s loving to hold firm to it. And it’s also beautiful and freeing for all that hear this message.

When (the apostle) Paul heard of the specific case of persistent sexual immorality in Corinth involving a person who claimed to be a Christian believer he acted decisively urging that that person be immediately excommunicated (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

We have to make a choice about discipline. Paragraph 64 of the Bishops’ report states that there needs to be a fundamental trust in the clergy to know and be faithful to the teaching of the church in their own lives and in their ministry to others. We are looking to the bishops to lead in this."

Related Links: 
Sam Allberry explains how the message of Jesus on marriage is life-giving