The Diocese of Singapore restates her stand on human sexuality issues

Diocese of Singapore

A Pastoral Response to ST Article “Anglican leader on gays and marriage”, published on 8th August 2008
Some of you may have read the article, “Anglican leader on gays and marriage” published in the Straits Times (ST, Singapore) on 8th August 2008. It is necessary that the following clarifications be made to address any possible concerns, confusion or misperception.

The ST article was a report on the news by The Times (UK) on 7th August 2008, which was released almost immediately after the conclusion of the Lambeth Conference on 3rd August. It is regrettable that these letters, written in private correspondence some eight years ago, gives the impression that it is a fresh statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s views. His theological viewpoints on this issue were not totally unknown in the public arena then.

Whatever his personal views may be on the subject, the Archbishop has since made a press statement on 8th August which states, “I wish to make it plain that, as I have consistently said, I accept Resolution 1.10 (which views homosexual practice as incompatible with Scriptures) of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics and this as providing the authoritative basis on which I as Archbishop speak on such questions.” As the ST article rightly reported, the Archbishop of Canterbury “recommitted the Anglican Communion to its orthodox position” at the recent 2008 Lambeth Conference.

The Diocese of Singapore, in its teaching on biblical faith and order, is firmly committed to this orthodox position on sexual ethics. I need to express as clearly as I possibly can; that what the church here believes (in essential beliefs and moral ethics) needs to be taught and upheld personally and publicly by all our clergy, lay leaders and members of the Diocese. While we can continue to discuss the pastoral challenges on the ground, we need to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church by virtue of the trust committed to us by the Lord and our love for our fellow human being

We believe and hold that the Bible is clear and authoritative in bearing witness to God’s will regarding human sexuality; namely that sexual relations are to be expressed only within the life-long union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony. All forms of sexual promiscuity, including homosexual practices, between men or women, as well as heterosexual relationships outside marriage are incompatible with the divine vision and design of human life. The Bible describes them as sinful practices that are contrary to God’s good purposes. They dehumanise God’s image in humanity and need to be repented of. At the same time, we hold that there is divine grace of forgiveness, healing and transformation for all who repent of homosexual or other illicit forms of sexual practice. We do not condone inhuman and unsocial acts against homosexuals nor do we discriminate against them. Rather, we extend to them God’s love, compassionate ministry and true freedom through Jesus Christ.

As part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, we have consistently registered our commitment to the Church’s historic and orthodox teaching on human sexuality, as contained in the Kuala Lumpur’s Statement on Human Sexuality (1997) and Resolution I.10 of Lambeth Conference (1998).  Consequently, we together with our fellow-Dioceses in the Province of Southeast Asia have declared that our communion with The Episcopal Church (TEC) of USA is impaired, following TEC’s ordination of a man in active gay relationship as a bishop in 2003. To date, he is not recognised as a bishop by either our Church or the Communion. Also, our Diocesan stand on human sexuality is fully consonant with the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) Statement on Homosexuality published in July 2003.

The Anglican Church of Singapore as part of the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” church believes that it is duty bound to discharge a divine trust and to express life-authenticating love for our fellow-man and woman by holding to the pattern of life (including matters of sexual ethics) as prescribed in the Bible and ministering to all who are broken and marred by sin with the grace of Jesus Christ. We remain fully committed to the well-being of our society which has been built on time-tested values, including the sanctity of marriage and the holistic bonds of the family institution, both of which are greatly at risk today.

The Most Revd Dr John Chew
The Bishop of Singapore
The Diocese of Singapore (Anglican)
15 August, 2008

2 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Ephraim Radner Says:

    A clear and articulate statement of conviction that eloquently presents the commitments of our common Christian faith.  Thank you, Bishop Chew and the Diocese of Singapore.

  2. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    “We remain fully committed to the well-being of our society which has been built on time-tested values, including the sanctity of marriage and the holistic bonds of the family institution, both of which are greatly at risk today.”

    Excellent statement. I’d add that the integrity of the priesthood is also under attack. You may wish to read “The Messianic Priesthood of Jesus” here: