In stark contrast to the national General Synod held earlier this month in Maroochydore, the synod of the diocese of Brisbane (“Southern Queensland”) has refused to uphold the biblical doctrine of marriage.
The original motion (#5 on the business paper [pdf]) was a very simple:
“That in the view of the impending plebiscite regarding possible significant changes to the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), that this Synod reaffirm and uphold the traditional and biblical dynamic of marriage as exclusively of that between a man and woman, consecrated by God.”
A lay member moved an amendment to replace the wording with a verbatim duplication of the marriage motion passed at the General Synod:
That this Synod:
- recognises that the doctrine of our church, in line with traditional Christian teaching, is that marriage is an exclusive and lifelong union of a man and a woman, and further,
- recognises that this has been the subject of several General Synod resolutions over the past fifteen years, and also
- recognises that the nature of marriage is the subject of ongoing conversation within the church and wider community and that we need to listen to each other with care and respect, and therefore
- awaits the collection of essays, written and compiled by the Doctrine Commission of the General Synod, on marriage and same-sex relationships that explores Scriptural and theological issues relating to:
- The doctrine of marriage expressed in the formularies of the Anglican Church of Australia
- Our current Australian context, exploring the relationship between the State’s definition of marriage and the church’s doctrine of marriage
- Key Old Testament and New Testament texts on sex, marriage and friendship
- Scripture and hermeneutics
- A theology of blessing
- A theology of desire
- Godly disagreement on this issue
- The case for and against same-sex marriage and/or the blessing of same-sex unions;
Synod considered the amendment clause by clause and rejected the first 3 clauses in turn leaving a motion that simply awaited the completion of the General Synod Doctrine Commission’s work. Synod then chose not to put the motion.
So we’re now at the situation where the synod of Brisbane could not bring itself to affirm what the national church had already affirmed. This refusal to agree to the Biblical definition of marriage follows on from a controversial sermon given by Assistant Bishop Jeremy Greaves at the “Pride Evensong” held in Brisbane Cathedral on Sunday September 17. Readers will be aware that Bishop Greaves was appointed recently amid controversy over his claims that he was “happy to abandon the creeds”.
The text of the sermon is available here and replicated below:
In his sermon, Greaves refers to God as “she”, claims that God affirms it’s ok to be whoever we are (our cry of “I am”) and states that Jesus did not give his disciples assurance of salvation. davidould.net has to admit to having read the sermon through many times and still not having an idea which part of the Bible bishop Greaves was expositing. We understand the sermon has caused some concern amongst traditionalists and the events of synod over the weekend will not have helped.