Bishop threatens to quit if Church of England stops being so homophobic
The Bishop of Blackburn has threatened to quit the Church of England if it stops opposing LGBT+ relationships and same-sex marriages.
The church announced earlier this month that it is beginning a formal decision-making process to determine “a way forward” regarding LGBT+ matters.
Church leaders won’t reach a conclusion until 2022, but it’s expected they’ll be taking a slightly more inclusive view after the publication of a landmark project called Living in Love and Faith, in which the Archbishop of Canterbury personally apologised for the “huge damage and hurt” inflicted on the LGBT+ community.
It seems this didn’t sit well with the reverend Julian Henderson, who said he wants to “fight” against the more progressive direction the church seems to be taking.
Speaking in a video for the Church of England Evangelical Council, the bishop suggested that such a move would be “a moment for people to have to reconsider their allegiance to the church”.
“At the moment, I want to be in the Church of England, I want to fight for the traditional teaching of the church on these matters,” he insisted.
“But the time may come when it’s going to be essential for those who hold to scriptural teaching on marriage and same-sex relationships to say, ‘We cannot operate under this particular system and support this kind of doctrine and practice within the life of our church.’
“And that may then lead to having to look for alternative solutions.”
It is highly unusual for a serving bishop – of whom there are 42 in the Church of England – to threaten to quit.
The Bishop of Blackburn, who took up his seat as one of the ‘Lords Spiritual’ in the House of Lords in February, is the most senior figure to suggest there could be a big split in the Church over teachings on sexuality.
It’s not the first time the bishop’s raised issue with the Church’s few pro-LGBT+ policies. Last year he formally opposed guidance on adapting baptismal sermons to reflect a person’s gender transition, which was developed in coordination with transgender priests.