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Archbishop Beach urges caution on taking the marriage pledge: The Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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Two leading American clergy, the Rev. Prof. Ephraim Radner and the Rev. Prof. Christopher Seitz have released a manifesto published on the website of First Things magazine, urging clergy to refuse to perform civil marriages in light of the changing definitions of marriage made by the federal and state government. The Marriage Pledge states: “The new definition of marriage no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and woman. Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.” It encourages clergy to sign the pledge and “commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.” The call for clergy to stand aside as agents of the state has not received universal support from conservatives. The Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach, urged restraint, writing: “It would be best for us to take counsel together before taking further action. Therefore I ask that you do not sign this pledge until as bishops, clergy, and lay leaders we have had more opportunities to pray about and discuss the legal, theological, and sociological ramifications of signing such a statement.”

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