Same-Sex Attracted Persons in the Church: Orthodoxy and Pastoral Responses

Anglican Mainstream Marriage, Sex & Culture Group Briefing Paper

This briefing paper was prepared as part of the process of putting together Anglican Mainstream’s submission to the House of Bishops’ Consultation on Human Sexuality. It was written by R. S. Harris, to whom we express our deep gratitude.


1. Preliminary Considerations: Terminology p4
• ‘Human Sexuality’
• “Anti-gay” and “Pro-gay

2. Objectives p9

3. Challenges Facing the Church p11
• A Broad Church
• Non-Judgmentalism vs Exercising Moral Judgments
• The Role of Scripture and the Practice of Listening
• General Pastoral Concerns of People with SSA

4. Identity and Self-Labelling p21
• Questions concerning ‘Sexual Orientation’
• The ‘Homosexual’ Label
• The ‘Gay’ Label and its Associations

5. The Question of Christian Identity p27
• General Issues
• The Biblical Concept of Identity

6. The Needs of Laity and Questions of Pastoral Support p33
• Lambeth Resolution 1.10, 1998
• Accountability
• Broad Pastoral Concerns

7. The Place of Scripture, Tradition and Reason in Matters of Sexuality p39
• Heterosexual Marriage as the Biblical Model for Expressions of Sexual Activity
• The Jewish Historical Context
• Aspects of Church Tradition
• Antinomian in Jude: The Question of Moral Authority
• The Church Fathers
• Reason

8. The Witness of Testimony p54

9. Questions of Celibacy and Change p60
• Celibacy
• Beyond Celibacy
• Robert Spitzer’s Study
• Jones and Yarhouse
• Questions of Harm
• The Question of Predisposition and Moral Agency

10. Ministries Already Offering Support p79
• True Freedom Trust
• Core Issues Trust
• Living Waters
• Courage

11. Summary and Conclusions p81

12. Recommendations p83

13. Bibliography

Read or download the full paper as a PDF:Download Full Report as PDF

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