Houghton and Kingmoor PCC Statement
Christians love and trust Jesus, and he is truly wonderful! As a Parish our calling is ‘to love Christ and make him known’. We love Jesus Christ because of who he is, the glorious fully-divine fully-human God-made-man who was born in Bethlehem, taught about the Kingdom demonstrating his power and love with amazing miracles, giving himself to death on a Roman cross for the sins of the world out of sheer love for sinners like us, and rising again on the third day to newness of eternal life. This Jesus calls everyone to know and trust and follow him, and we his people are committed to joyfully speaking of his love and making that news known.
Amidst the current confusion within the Church of England around marriage, sex, gender, sexuality, singleness and the very many personal and ethical issues involved, we are united about two things, both focussed on Jesus:
1 – that absolutely anyone and everyone is welcome to our gatherings, regardless of who they are or what they think, believe or have done – Jesus welcomed everyone and so do we.
2 – that Jesus’ teaching on sex and marriage is correct, full of grace and truth (Matt 19:4-6, John 1:14), and we will stick with his wisdom because we cannot know better than him.
We believe these things because of who Jesus is. We don’t think we are perfect, but we know he is – and we certainly don’t believe any human can improve on the gorgeous perfection of Jesus’ life and teaching, so we humbly stick with his infinitely gracious truth and truthful grace.
In any church many struggle or have struggled with unwanted attraction, to people we’re not married to, whether same-sex or opposite-sex attracted, and the church community remains a safe place as we point one another to Jesus’ wonderful forgiving and transforming grace. In the context of the Bible’s clarity that the only right place for sexual intimacy is life-long heterosexual marriage, we remain committed to spurring one another on as sisters and brothers, to resisting the world’s falsehoods and pursuing God’s life-giving, joy-sustaining, hope-enhancing vision for us as those created in his image.
The church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners and strugglers. We are sorry for the times we’ve failed to welcome in Jesus’ name or failed to express Jesus’ perfect teaching with his loving grace. We remain fully committed to helping and caring for anyone and everyone who wants to live for Jesus. Our commitment to him and his truth is simply the best way to love absolutely anyone and everyone – and we do not repent for saying that he knows better than us, however powerful the current cultural voices, and however little confidence many within the national Church of England leadership seem to have in his wisdom and love, grace and truth.
Our desire is to trust wholeheartedly in Jesus and to stick with his Word. Should other churches or leaders move away from him and his Word we will, with sadness, have to express that distinction – not because we have moved, but because they have – and it is unsafe both now and in eternity to ever move away from Jesus Christ the only Saviour and Lord.