On August 21, 2010, it was reported that a gay priest of the homosexual church of England announced plans to ‘marry’ his Nigerian male model boyfriend.
In less than a month from now, the two are expected to come in union. Reverend Colin Coward, 64, a priest of St. John the Baptist Church in Devizes, Wilts, is to enter into connubial agreement with Bobby Egbele, a Nigerian, who is 25.
Perhaps what makes this a bit interesting is the fact that the union would be solemnised because the couple is making arrangements for a carefully-worded blessing service in church after the ceremony.
The above declaration, however, received an opposition from the African Anglican bishops when they condemned homosexuality and the blessing of same-sex unions at a conference held in Uganda last month.
It was equally reported that the Head of the Anglican Church worldwide, Archbishop Rowan Williams was struggling to keep the communion together amid disagreements over the ordination of female bishops in Britain and the ordination of openly gay bishops in United States of America.
It was still at the forum that the Head of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa submitted that he had severed all ties with the Episcopalian churches in Canada and the United States that have accommodated gays in the clergy.
Blessing of same-sex unions received media hysteria in 2003, when it was reported that Bishop Michael Ingham of the diocese of New Westminster announced that he had given priests in some parishes the authority to bless gay and lesbian unions.
According to Ingham, “I insist only that those on all sides of the issue respect one another and that everyone should maintain the order of the church.
Our goal in the Anglican Church in the Greater Vancouver area is to be a church that accommodates differences.” While the Christian religion has a central Bible to address central issues that concern the Christian faith, it is apparent that there are innumerable grounds of differences both in doctrinal and procedural dealings.
Before now, one of the fundamental areas that seemed to have united all sects of the Christian faith was the area of marriage—a union that was expected to be between a man and woman.
The painful reality however was the interrogation of the expected norm that should characterise the Christian unions.
First came the tearing apart of such orthodoxy when some groups began to clamour for the recognition of the rights of gays and lesbians not just in the civil societies but in the church.
Perhaps the apostles of such move received the support of other human rights activists and expected an easy inroad into the church. This, no doubt, was initially opposed.
Orthodox churches and some Pentecostal assemblies reacted claiming that it was anti-Christian and satanic. However, before long, some churches began to cave in.
Marriage is one of the cardinal doctrines of the Christian religion which metaphor is recognised in the interaction of Christ and his church.
The union, according to the Christian faith, was inaugurated in the Garden of Eden when God gave Eve to Adam, conducting the first marriage union between man and woman.
The discourse on whether or not to solemnise same-sex unions has continued to topple and tear the fabric holding Christendom the world over.
Natural law tradition
Theological differences on the issue of gay marriages and lesbianism or what is generally referred to as same-sex marriages abound so much. For those who decry the practice, they appeal to the reasoning of the natural law tradition.
The natural law tradition stipulates that the natural order of human sexuality should be channelled toward the opposite sex. It valorises the complementarity of the sexes.
Procreation which is a fundamental aspect of marriage, initiated and recognised in the Bible, is one of the major reasons for marriage between the opposite sexes.
Same-sex marriages de-emphasise this. They further argue that the solemnisation of same-sex unions does not find scriptural backing as it is repeatedly condemned both in the Old and New Testaments: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1: 26 and 27).
For the proponents of the solemnisation of the same-sex marriages in churches, they contend that the scripture in the original language of Hebrew and Greek did not record God’s condemnation of homosexuality. One of them stated that “To tell a homosexual that the Bible is Good News, (but that) it says that their ability to love on a one on one basis (mate level) means they are sinful and perverted in God’s eyes is a gross contradiction in terms.
What’s more, God is not saying this to gay people. God’s Word is this: For god so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. And that is the Good News for modern gays.” Reacting on the issue, Pastor Daniel Olaoluwa of Fountain Church, Ibadan stated that “Same-sex marriages are absurd. It is unclean and indecent.
No one should support such an idea. The human race should not support this except for a few people who are not morally conscious. If human beings would not support this kind of a thing, why would God? God is a clean and holy God, such things should not happen in his house.” Speaking on the same issue, Pastor E. Ezekiel of the Evangelical Missions in Ibadan argued that “It is contrary to what the Bible says.
It goes against a lot of citations in the scriptures. In the beginning, God ordained a man for a woman not a man for a man. If there is a church that does it, then it is not a church of God.” For Pastor (Mrs) S. Adeniyi of Christ Life Church, Ibadan, “It is not the will of God. Anyone that does it is working towards hell. It happens frequently in orthodox churches.
The Bible encourages us to be fruitful and multiply. How can two people who are the same sex married together produce children? Same-sex marriages cannot produce children. Even if they adopt children, one day there would be none.” Attraction to same sex has been confirmed to both biological and psychological interplays.
Groups and individuals have argued that homosexuality could be attributed to both developmental defects and spiritual failings. They therefore recommend deliberate abstinence and engagement in spiritual or religious efforts to subdue the urge.
Some orthodox churches who promote abstinence from marriage among their clergy do not condemn homosexual attractions but homosexual intercourse. Biologically speaking, proponents of same-sex unions clearly point that the individual who is attracted to his kind should not be criticised since such configuration would be outside of his making.
Gradually, the blessing of same-sex unions, since the debate is still on, especially among Christian circles, would receive a boost. The fear on many lips is: should this happen, what would be the future of the church? Pastor Christopher Agulana of the Deeper Life Bible Church offered an answer: “With blessing of same-sex unions, the church would go into oblivion.
Most of these things emanated from America in particular where such things have taken over the social spectrum. Christians have been couched over a long time. When I was in Sweden, you find those who are homosexuals in the church.”
The debate keeps raging as one of the most fundamentals of Christian theology is at the slaughter slab. Indeed, all that makes Christianity distinct is being opened to interrogation.