Can Someone Explain Episcopalian/Anglican reasoning behind homosexuality position?

I am NOT looking to bash anyone; I just want to know what the theological argument is in favor of allowing homosexuality. I mean, doesn’t Paul lay it out pretty clearly in the New Testament? I know some explain away Leviticus because it’s in the Old Testament, but what about Paul in the New Testament?


Hello, I’m not Episcopalian but I’ve taken the time to do some research over time to learn so I’m going to attempt to give a synopsis and explain based on what I have come to understand. I certainly though welcome an Episcopalian or any other Christian for that matter whose denomination may hold to similar beliefs to come and to add to my explanation. I believe the United Church of Christ is for instance another. And still others may be in a discernment process.

So with that, fermat, sit back and I hope you enjoy your popcorn in the process. Here I go…

Starting with Sodom, some believe it was not about homosexuality but about cruelty and rape with males raping males. They will go on to say the sins and abominations of Sodom are listed in Ezekiel 16:49 as pride, over abundance, idleness, and the lack of serving the poor.

Remaining in the OT for the moment, yes jinc1019, it can be said Christians are not under Levitical law and most don’t advocate putting homosexuals to death nowadays. In addition there are other things in Scripture not taken literally. Beyond things we find in the OT, the NT for instance teaches women should be quiet in churches.

Regarding NT verses such as 1 Cor 6:9, it can indeed depend on translation. Translations can take on a different meaning than were originally intended. Some of course use the word “homosexual” in verses. The RSV and NRSV however use words like sexual perverts, sodomites, fornicators, and male prostitutes.

Many with a different belief will also use Romans 1:21-31 as “gotcha clobber passages” to show homosexuality is wrong. However Christians of a more liberal faith tradition might say what is natural or unnatural to a person depends on the person. It would be just as unnatural for a born homosexual to have sexual relations with a heterosexual as it is for a heterosexual to have a sexual relationship with a homosexual.

I truly do hope this at least helps a little in your understabnding. And may we each walk our faith journeys in peace. God bless!

I greatly, greatly, greatly appreciate your response. It is something I have looked for and have had trouble finding, at least in a succint manner. I am very appreciative of your efforts here. I would, of course, still love to hear what others know on this topic, with CIVILITY of course.

Also, I would love to hear from an actual Episcopalian or Anglican on this issue, since it is such a big issue in the various churches within the Anglican Communion.

Thank you and I appreciate you not wanting to bash. I would love as well to hear from Episcopalians or others, especially those who do not have an issue with this. I know in my area I’ve been told by Episcopal clergy that there has been no dissension within their diocese nor any exodus of churches. And my area can’t be unique. So I know they’re out there. I’m just not sure how many participate on CAF. Peace.

I believe its more of a pastoral than a theological position. The Anglican Church is very broad and encompasses many theologies and ecclesiologies within its boundaries.

The Anglican Church strives to be relevant to all sections of society and especially the minorities, but in doing so fails to be relevant to the majority who lost interest in the Church decades ago.

The Anglican Church in England has been called the “Conservative Party at Prayer” but more and more it seems to represent whatever fringe group claims to be marginalized. Before it became known mainly as a repository for ‘with it’ trendy vicars, usually wedded to what was fashionable ten years previously, the Church of England was often referred to as ‘the Conservative Party at prayer’. Nobody would ever suggest that to be the case now, when ‘Guardian readers at prayer’ might be a more accurate description of many of the C of E’s clergy. Yet, when one examines just how hopelessly out of tune the Anglican Church is with its flock, it’s clear that, at least in that respect, it is very similar to Dave Cameron’s modern Conservative Party.

The latest daft story to emerge from the C of E has seen two members of a church choir in Yeovil - both in their eighties - summarily dismissed for refusing to undergo criminal record checks. It emerges that the local vicar who sacked the recalcitrant singers was also intent on introducing Taize meditative chanting, in place of the more traditional choral music preferred by the choir. Now, following the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) incident, he has taken the opportunity to disband the choir altogether.

This is only the latest in a whole series of stories which demonstrate that the C of E has completely lost touch with the bulk of its congregation, quite apart from the much larger group of people who have already been alienated by its inept leadership. Instead of trying to entice these millions of potential worshippers back into the fold, many in the Church seem intent on driving them away. The choral traditions of the Church of England are one of its great glories, celebrated the world over, but, of course, tradition is a dirty word in today’s trendy C of E.

Those few Anglican clergy who dare to stand up for traditional beliefs and practices are barred from the highest positions because of their views - rather as Conservative MPs who think that Britain would be better off out of the EU are barred from serving on the Government Front Bench. Only this morning I read that Jeremy Winston, the late Dean of Monmouth, had been described as ‘the best bishop the Church in Wales never had’, because his traditionalist views led to his being overlooked for a Bishopric.

Just like the modern Conservative Party, which appears obsessed with issues such as gay marriage, the C of E is out of touch and out of tune with its natural supporters. If these two venerable British institutions don’t start listening to the people they are supposed to represent, they’ll both be consigned to the dustbin of history, despite all their attempts to appear ‘with it’…

Interesting article; I appreciate you sharing it! However, even if it is just a pastoral issue, the pastors involved must have some theologial basis or argument for it…I doubt they are just saying they support homosexuality because they feel like it.

It’s the feminist movement which is behind the ordination of women clergy and then the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

The ELCA (Lutheran) went down this same road and it is in communion with The Eposcopal Church.

Maybe so, but I would still like to know their theological arguments.

This is by an Episcopal bishop, regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington state:

Unfortunately, this does not address theology or scriptures in any way.

Even still, I appreciate the reference! That is the closest thing I have seen from an actual EC source on the matter!

God has said the final word on this subject.

Never believe what you read in the Daily Mail - it is always full of trashy stories that turn out to be inaccurate and they always end up printing apologies to those who they have offended.

I don’t think the Anglican Church is out of touch with the majority. Britains - regardless of whether they are church goers or not - seems to have a more enlightended attitude towards minority groups. This is even found in the Catholic Church in London,for example which holds specific masses for gay people in Soho.

The charge from many people in England would not be that the CofE is too liberal but that it is too conservative - much, much, more so than the Episcopal Church in the USA and in Scotland and in both numbers have fallen much more dramatically than they have in the CofE. In fact since the CofE began ordaining women priests more people proprtionally have left the Catholic church (in England and Wales) than the CofE. So in short, I think some of the assumptions being made here are mistaken

It could just simply be another heresy introduced because they felt like it. :shrug:

I think @CMatt25 stated the position well. I’m not Episcopalian/Anglican and do not agree with the reasoning, but I would draw out one point that I’ve heard those who support homosexual relationships make. I have heard them say that all Bible references against homosexuality are talking only about non-consensual homosexual relationships. Along those same lines I believe some make a claim that modern homosexual relationships are not like ancient ones.

Feminism is a political movement:

Dr Williams said yesterday that “identity” has become a “slippery” word. He added, “Identity politics, whether it is the politics of feminism, whether it is the politics of ethnic minorities or the politics of sexual minorities, has been a very important part of the last ten or twenty years.”
He now thinks, “We are beginning to see the pendulum swinging back… and we have to have some way of putting it all back together and discovering what is good for all of us.”

Theology doesn’t seem to have much to do with it.

Well said, Archbishop, even if it is a bit late in the day. Identity politics has always been divisive. For example, by the way in which each minority ethnic and sexual group referred to itself as a “community.” So we would hear of the black community, the Asian community, the homosexual community and so on. Some years ago, The Independent newspaper, without a trace of irony, hilariously referred to “London’s sado-masochistic community.”

But this was to destroy society’s cohesiveness. For the truth is that there is only one community of which particular groups are members. “Community” used of ethnic and other minorities only served to create ghettos. And feminism, by definition, operated an inverted form of the very sexism it claimed to oppose. Similarly, “discrimination” was something we always aimed to abolish as we insisted that all minorities should have equal opportunities. But when this led to the invention of the concept of “positive discrimination,” it merely sanctified racial or sexual prejudice.

Some of us have spent years arguing against this Orwellian perversion of our language (and the consequent destruction of the common good) by campaigning special interest groups. It’s good to see that our cause seems to have been taken up by the

I’m not Episcopalian, but my meeting accepts and recongnizes those relationships between same sex couples.

As friend Matt has stated…

Our understanding of the complexity of human sexuality was unknown in ancient times. They had no idea of concepts of gender identity, sexual orientation or the psycho-social aspects of sexuality.

Sodom was not about homosexuality…it was about violence and rape of strangers…breaking the hospitality laws which governed desert societies…Eze lists the “sins of Sodom”…and homosexuality wasn’t one of them.

Those verses in the OT…especially in Leviticus deal with behaviors which Israel’s pagan neighbors engaged in…the whole reason of Leviticus was to separate Israel’s behaviors and practices from it’s pagan neighbors. Israel was not to engage in temple/religious prostitution as many of their pagan neighbors did…the “god or goddess” would be personified by a “temple prostitute”…the devotees would engage in sexual relations of one form or another to gain favor of that god or goddess.

Israel was not to sexually victimize their military and political prisoners…subjugating the male captives “as women”, there by showing the dominance of their captors…much like our prison systems today have sexual victimization of weaker inmates…these men are not homosexual…once released back into society, they are “straight”…however sex and victimization are used as weapons and power…same in ancient times.

Romans 1st chapter deals again with temple/ritual sexual practices…notice the verses preceeding the sexual ones speaks of not recognizing God…exchanging the image of God for birds and animals…people…pagan ritual practices.

In the other letters of Paul, pedastry…the sexual victimization of young boys by older men who acted as patrons of the young boys…“catamites”…boys who exchanged sexual favors for social status and gain.

Temple prostitution was not unknown in Rome…one could pay a temple prostitute…male or female to engage in sexual relations to gain favor of the god or goddess being invoked…sexual energy being used…a “sympathetic/sexual magic” of sorts.

The prohibitions of same sex couples was cultural to Israel…recongnizing the complexity of human sexuality, those faith communities that have come to accept gay and lesbian people into their communities do not beleive they are going against God or scripture…but applying a greater understanding of human sexuality that was unknown in ancient times.

Interesting points…thanks for sharing.

Very interesting…thanks for adding on to what Matt said. I think you made several very interesting points, but I am not sure any of it is true. I mean the passages by Paul seem to be pretty explicit, but I would love to see a source regarding these views.

I think the one thing I would keep in mind also is that regardless of whether this was a cultural aspect of Israel alone or not, Matt. 18 says that anything the apostles said in the name of Jesus is true…so based on that, anything Paul says is true regardless of whether it is a “cultural” issue. Further, the culture of Israel was, according to the Bible, God’s culture…God’s people…So in reality, just because it was unique to Israel doesn’t mean they were wrong.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit