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Welcome to Church Society online. We are a fellowship contending to reform and renew the Church of England in biblical faith. On this website, you will find details of our conferences, publications and other resources, as well as our regularly updated blog and weekly podcast.

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Posted by Kirsten Birkett, 15 Jan 2021

Kirsten Birkett examines the claim that Paul would not have known about loving and committed same-sex relationships.

There is an argument that the apostle Paul would not have known about loving, committed homosexual relationships such as those in modern same-sex marriages; rather that he only knew of (and therefore only prohibits) abusive relationships between unequals. I have heard this argument repeated verbally, many times. It does not appear in LLF, although it perhaps lurks in the background of the discussion of some of the NT passages. Perhaps no one actually holds it these days. It’s also something difficult to discuss at all adequately in a short blog, and these limitations are acknowledged.

What is the evidence?
A brief foray into the literature makes clear that this is not a strong argument, mainly because of the contested nature of the evidence. There are two main types of evidence that can be used to argue about relationships in the Greco-Roman world: texts and pictures. From studying these, scholars draw various conclusions about which relationships were known of but not common, known of and common, or accepted.

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Posted 12 Jan 2021

A new set of teaching resources from Church Society.

This set of resources has been produced by Church Society to help Christians learn about the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage, particularly as the Church of England engages with the Living in Love and Faith material on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

The seven topics in the series are designed to help Christians understand the Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage within a broader biblical context. The series begins with two sessions on meaning and identity, as we seek to understand who we are and what our purpose is in life. These are followed with sessions on sin and obedience, helping us to understand why we must be obedient to Christ rather than simply true to ourselves. Then we turn to the question of why God cares what we do with our bodies, and conclude with specific sessions on sex and marriage.

The resources include seven short videos, a printable discussion guide, and suggestions for sermon series.

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Posted by Eleanor Brindle, 8 Jan 2021

Eleanor Brindle shares some of her personal reasons for enthusiastically remaining in the Church of England, despite all the current challenges.

I affirm the 39 Articles, and I love them as a confession. I think they are perfectly pitched to be lowest common doctrinal denominator for a national church to unite around. I love having a confession to identify myself with. It does not supersede my identity in Christ, but rather places me in context within the church catholic (hereafter meaning universal and transcending time and space). I love that the confession is also enshrined in law, and I believe that to be the means by which God has preserved a faithful evangelical core in the CofE for 500 years, while so many who’ve left it have fallen into error and obscurity.

I love that the clergy vow to teach and uphold what they teach so far as they are agreeable with scripture. I love that the canons enable the dismissal of clergy that flout that, and that it does occasionally still happen.

I love the scriptural richness and the participatory nature of the liturgy; the gospel shape of the service; the importance given to the psalms that both reflect and instruct the soul of the worshipper; the thorough confessions at the beginning, that cut you to the quick and yet are followed with absolution to rebuild you and remind you that you have the right to approach the throne of grace with confidence; the collects of grace and peace so personal and universal; the way it teaches me to pray and think of and know God as revealed in His Word and to pray for the church and nations; the way it comforts the weary soul and points you to Christ, demands repentance and is inflexible in it’s condemnation of sin, yet shows the tender grace of Christ to the sinner.

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