The Episcopal Church, TEC, is eliminating the words husband and wife from its marriage service in order to appeal to the LGBTQ community.
Lesbian and gay Episcopalian couples have protested that the wording of the current marriage liturgy both excludes and offends them. The words so familiar to the American vocabulary will be replaced with gender-neutral terms like spouse or two people. In addition to husband and wife, TEC is also removing the word “procreation” for its marriage liturgy.
A task force initiated multiple resolutions concerning same-sex unions and asked church leaders to provide commentary on the subject. The task force’s inquiry to the churches was, “From your perspective and specific setting, what has been the impact of the Episcopal Church’s authorization and use of liturgical rites for same-sex marriage and the blessing of the same-sex unions on “the-Church?”
After learning about TEC’s plans, the Secretary General of the Church of England, CofE, William Nye, penned a letter expressing his distress with the situation.
“Whilst I have made some overall observations in response to your specific question, the way in which TEC resolves these questions of implementation will have implications in terms of relationship as churches,” Nye said. “Despite the careful wording of the preface to the Celebration and Blessing of a marriage 2, in which the ‘gift of children’ is cited as one of God’s purposes for the union of two people ‘when it is God’s will’, it remains that the purposes of a marriage as understood through the ages have been substantially altered in this new rite.”
Regarding the elimination of the word procreation in the marriage liturgy, Nye stated, “in the new rite, the procreative function of sexual intercourse, and the role of procreation as a central purpose of marriage, has been erased.”
The choice to confiscate the word procreation stems from a desire to assuage LGBTQ couples who may want to adopt children in the future.
Unlike Nye, Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and 30 of the 483 members of the CofE’s ruling assembly voiced affirmation for TEC’s altered marriage service. One Body One Faith, an Anglican LGBTQ organization, wrote a letter criticizing Nye for his personal conviction that the institution of marriage should consist of one man and one woman. The missive contended that the CofE’s firm stance on the definition of marriage embodies a “refusal to listen.”
One Body One Faith also maintained that Nye’s position signifies “the single biggest missional disaster of our generation.” The LGBTQ advocate group definitively stated, “no one is attracted to a group of Christians who profess the love of Christ but seem incapable of recognizing it in the loving, committed relationships of two people. These matters are not disconnected.”
Despite the existence of Biblical doctrine to the contrary, TEC has drew sharp criticism for decades due to its attempt to become a profoundly inclusive congregation. TEC consecrated its first openly gay bishop 15 years ago. Nine years ago, TEC’s General Convention determined God’s call is open to everyone. In 2012, discriminating against transgender people during ordination protocol was banned. This year also ushered in a provisional rite of blessing for gay and lesbian couples. In 2015, TEC edited its canons to allow the rite of marriage to be available to everyone without regard to gender.
The Bible’s position on marriage is clear. Mark 10:6-9 states, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
I Corinthians 6:9 says, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.”
Leviticus 18:22 reads, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”
Pray that TEC and places of worship all over the world will boldly, lovingly, and compassionately uphold Scriptural views about marriage.
~ 1776 Christian