Unsafe Churches Team


A group calling itself the ‘LGBTQ+ Society’s Safe Churches Team’ connected to Oxford University has compiled a list of churches in Oxford which it proceeds to categorise and score based on their views on all things LGBTetc. This, it claims, will help keep non-heterosexuals ‘safe’ when choosing to attend a place of worship. It begins with a ‘Trigger Warning’ about references to ‘Homophobia and transphobia in the context of religious teaching and practice’. In other words, the people for whom this report is designed are likely to read things that they might not agree with. Yes, people who attend Oxford University are being warned that there are views out there which might not be their own.

I read the report. Each church gets a score out of 5, an overview of their beliefs and whether they responded to the survey. I found the survey very useful- it tells me which of Oxford’s churches are prepared to be faithful to God’s clear word even when the prevailing culture bullies and hectors. Doubtless, other LGBTetc lobby groups will be seeking to categorise all places of worship (well, only Christian ones of course) including, one day, our own. Let us pray that our biblical stance will not fail to be noticed- I should be embarrassed to get any score above a 2.

Here is one of the highest scoring churches:

University Church of St Mary the Virgin, High St, Oxford OX1 4BJ

● Member of the Church of England.

● Offers services of celebration for same-sex couples in civil partnerships.

● Hosted LGBTQ-affirming speaker Jayne Ozanne in 2018, and several discussion and Bible studies on the theology of equal marriage.

● With a high number of LGBTQ+ church members, LGBTQ+ issues are often part of the ongoing conversation within the church.

● The Pride Service takes place here before the Pride Parade in June.

● LGBTQ+ identities are respected and included in many sermons.

● Responded to our survey.

Ranking: 5 - LGBTQ+ identities and relationships are affirmed and welcomed into the discourse at University Church. A space is actively created for LGBTQ+ Christians every year in the Pride Service and same-sex relationships are celebrated with an honorary service.

This church, in contrast, must go on the naughty step, for it only scored 1/5:

Christian Life Centre. 300 Cowley Rd, Oxford OX4 2AF

● Sees homosexuality as a choice.

● Recent teaching actively opposes LGBTQ+ identities and relationships.

● Scriptural response to same sex relationships:. A "detestable sin" that "threatens the human race". Committed to "sexual purity".

● Featured as part of Love Oxford Students website, which appears to require churches to reject LGBTQ+ relationships as part of their theology to be recommended.

● Did not respond to our survey.

1 - Christian Life Centre’s (CLC) sermon on the ‘Scriptural response to same-sex relationships’ in April, 2023, publically teaches that homosexuality is sinful.

Although there is an emphasis on loving welcome in the church, this may not extend towards those ‘choosing to practise’ homosexuality, as it might be described. For this reason, CLC is ranked at a 1.

Interestingly, none of Oxford’s five mosques have been categorised and scored. Funny, that. The introductory blurb also made some interesting points. Here is one of them:

Importantly, an affirming theological perspective of the Traditional View on Marriage', is that it is not in fact a form of ancient orthodoxy, but is in most cases, an example of systematic homophobic theology from post-WWII USA

What?! So believing that marriage is between one man and one woman is actually a post-1945 American invention, and has no ancient heritage: it was unknown to the medieval church, the reformers, the puritans, the apostles and the Hebrew prophets? One wonders if the authors of this report really do attend Oxford University as opposed to Slud Street Approved School for the Educationally Backward. As well as targeting Christian churches, they are re-writing history. As this century unfolds, more of this dross will be written. It is a lie, and it remains one even when the best educated people tell it.

All people are called to come to God through Christ, and all people are called to repent. The gospel does not endorse, approve or accept you: it calls you to stop, change and re-direct. We must deny ourselves, whether we be homosexual or heterosexual, and come to Christ believing. If a church scores highly on making everyone feel happy and welcome but lowly on sharing the age-old, timeless gospel, then it scores nothing in heaven’s survey- and for that it shall one day answer. These are the churches that are unsafe. 

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers. 2 Timothy 4:3

Image by Alexander Grey from Pixabay