The Church of England has issued new guidance from its House of Bishops to its parishes when planning services to help transgender people mark their transition to a different sex.
The new advice published Tuesday recommends clergy be "creative and sensitive" in using liturgy to enable people to mark a major transition in their lives. The church also recommends placing baptism into services which mark gender transition. The services can include sprinkling with holy water as well as anointment with oil.
Christian Concern's Chief Executive Andrea Minichiello Williams, who is a lay member of the Church of England's General Synod, says the Church of England is continuing its "devastating trajectory towards an outright denial of God and his word" by turning its back on what God has said in the Bible.
"There is no need for Christians to sacrifice truth in a misguided attempt to be loving," she said in a press release. "It is not loving to mislead people - and wider society - into the falsehoods and myths of transgender ideology.
The point of baptism is to identify a person with Jesus as they begin a life of following him. Using an affirmation of baptism to celebrate a gender transition turns this upside down by encouraging people to follow their own feelings and live in identities contrary to how God created them," Williams added.
"Very sadly, the guidance colludes with the unproven and untrue notion that a person can be 'born in the wrong body', rejecting the truth that God saw His own creation of humans as male and female as 'very good'. As God is eternally the God of truth - not lies - Christians cannot and must not fall over themselves to accommodate transgender ideology.
There is no need for Christians to sacrifice truth in a misguided attempt to be loving. It is not loving to mislead people - and wider society - into the falsehoods and myths of transgender ideology," she continued.
"The Bible, God's revealed and perfect word, does not recognize postmodern gender theory. Neither does the official doctrine of the Church of England. It is time for bishops to teach faithfully on this issue and for the clergy to speak with love, compassion, and truth," Williams concluded.
The guidance was approved by the church's House of Bishops and follows a motion welcoming transgender people into the church that was passed by the General Synod in 2017.
The new direction also includes the statement: "The Church of England welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people, equally with all people, within the body of Christ, and rejoices in the diversity of that body into which all Christians have been baptized by one Spirit."