Same Sex Marriage & the URC

The United Reformed Church is considering whether or not its local churches should have permission to conduct same-sex marriages. Changes in the law for England and Wales mean that, before a local church is able to register for such marriages, permission would need to be given by its national governing body. The URC is seeking feedback from its local churches before making a decision.

GEAR has compiled this catalogue of resources to help equip local churches who wish to have an informed discussion about the subject before submitting their responses to the URC.

The URC's John Bradbury and Paul Stokes presented two differing theological arguments about same sex relationships in the denomination's 2011 Human Sexuality Consultation. The full text of their presentations is available to download as .pdf

Toward a theology of same-sex relationships

Is God Anti-Gay? Written by an Anglican priest who experiences same-sex attraction but is committed to orthodox biblical teaching on the subject and thus celibate. Short, easy to read, accessible, straightforward thinking, clear.

Amazon - Paperback and Kindle versions of Is God Anti-Gay?

Biblical and pastoral responses to homosexuality Written for the Evangelical Alliance, its ten affirmations clearly set out the EA's position on the subject. And in explaining these affirmations it reviews biblical and scientific material and explores the pastoral outworking of an evangelical position.

Biblical and pastoral responses to homosexuality

Traditional Sexuality, Radical Community contends that one of the most serious callings of the church in our age is to create new, counter cultural plausibility structures that makes the life and demands of the gospel plausible, practical and attractive ...and asks what that might look like.

Visit the blog

In these two feature articles from Premier Christianity magazine, Steve Chalke calls for a new Christian understanding of homosexual relationships, while Greg Downes unpacks the traditional evangelical understanding of homosexuality.

Steve Chalke's new understanding
Greg Downes' traditional evangelical understanding

Living Out is a network of people who experience same-sex attraction and yet are committed to what the Bible clearly says, and what the church has always taught, about marriage and sex. They articulate a perspective that is not often heard – that of men and women who are honest and open about their same-sex attraction, but who have discovered that obedience to Jesus in this area of life is fulfilling, healthy and authentic. Their website is a treasure chest of articles, interviews and personal reflections.

Three clergy members of this network were interviewed in Premier Christianity in response to Steve Chalke's initial article (linked above).

Visit the Living Out website
Sam, Sean & Ed - different kind of coming out
If We Are on the Right Side of Jesus, We Will Be on the Right Side of History

Accepting Evangelicals Describe themselves as an open network of Evangelical Christians who believe the time has come to move towards the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships at every level of church life, and the development of a positive Christian ethic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Participants/patrons include: Steve Chalke, Vicky Beeching, Roy Clements, and their website provides insights into the theology that undergirds their views.

Visit the Accepting Evangelicals website

Want information from the URC website? Here is a set of links to some relevant pages, documents and papers.

The URC's own resource page for this discussion
One Plus One (2nd edition)
Church of Scotland theological briefing paper
The URC 'Manual' in all its glory

Faithful and Welcoming is a network for like-minded people within the UCC (United Church of Christ, USA), dismayed at their denomination's gay-affirming theology but convinced God was calling them to remain committed within it.

Visit the Faithful and Welcoming website

The Case for Idolatry is a different kind of reflection, exploring dominant themes in gay-affirming theology through the lens of idolatry, and using the literary genre of parody.

The Case for Idolatry: Why Evangelical Christians Can Worship Idols