Skip to comments.St. Andrew’s Anglican in KY Places Ad
Posted on 07/10/2006 6:15:57 PM PDT by sionnsar
The following word of encouragment was placed as an ad in the Lexington Herald Leader on July 8, 2006. The parish secretary reports that there have been calls from Episcopalians wanting more information and also calls to express thanks to Fr. David Brannen for the message.
A Message to Kentucky Episcopalians
Recent news reports on the controversy in the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) could mislead people into thinking the fuss is about homosexuality. This is not true. ECUSAs departure from historic Christian teaching about sex is a symptom of far more serious matters.
Before we get to this, however, we must admit the church has not always treated homosexuals with compassion. Christians have sometimes been harsh and unloving. Further, the church has sometimes focused on homosexuality while saying little about heterosexual sin. We deeply regret this and emphatically say this is a departure from the message and example of Jesus Christ. To be faithful to scripture, the church must evenhandedly uphold all Biblical standards for sexual expression.
In attempts to be compassionate to homosexuals, however, many leaders in the Episcopal Church have gotten things confused. While we must treat homosexuals with compassion, we must not condone their sexual behavior as pleasing to God. The Bible teaches that sex is to be reserved for marriage. This applies to heterosexuals, too.
As Christians, were not free to re-write Scripture. Instead, we trust that the things God asks are loving and wise, though sometimes very hard. When we fall short, as we all do, we ask for His forgiveness and His power to change. We trust Him to be faithful in answering those prayers, knowing that with God all things are possible. And we are patient with one another, knowing we all struggle with issues of obedience, whether with sexuality or self-righteousness or something else.
The debate about homosexuality is only a symptom of the real controversy in the church. At its root, the controversy concerns our understanding of the authority of Scripture. The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken to this issue. Look at his response to the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church:
Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching. And, to make clear something that can get very much obscured in the rhetoric about inclusion, this is not and should never be a question about the . . . dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonizingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against. (The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury)
The real issue is biblical truth.
This is where the Episcopal Church has gotten off track. And sadly its theological innovations are not limited to its teaching about sex. At General Convention last month, a resolution reaffirming that Jesus is the only way to salvation was not even permitted to be brought up for a vote. This central tenet of Christianity is apparently no longer essential in the Episcopal Church. Instead, ECUSA is devolving into a universalist sect, teaching all paths lead to salvation.
In another disturbing event, Presiding Bishop-Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori made waves in her convention sermon when she referred to Our mother Jesus who gives birth to a new creation. She signaled that the churchs fundamental understanding of the nature of God is being tinkered with at the highest level of Episcopal leadership.
In addition, the leadership of ECUSA is revising the historic Christian teaching about sin by continuing to affirm sexual behavior prohibited by the Bible. Their message is that we dont need forgiveness; we just need to be accepted as we are. It seems the only sin left in ECUSA is the sin of offending somebody.
Compare this to Jesus teaching. He said everyone needed to change. And everyone was offended! Conservatives and liberals, Pharisees and Sadducees and Herodians all conspired to have him killed. Jesus message is inherently offensive because all of us, regardless of sexual orientation, are inclined toward behavior God has said is wrong.
Note, too, that though Jesus challenged the prevailing norms of his day, He never led people away from Scripture. He always pointed them back to it.
We wish we could say the theological innovations embraced by many ECUSA leaders were exceptions. But these are standard fare at most Episcopal seminaries. This kind of teaching is finding its way into more and more parishes.
Wont this controversy just blow over?
Many Episcopalians are confused or unaware of whats going on. Some think the crisis is only about sex. Others believe problems in the national church wont affect local congregations. Still others bury their heads in the sand. The thought of walking away is too painful.
Those who wish these problems would just go away need to recognize that ECUSA is hemorrhaging. As the denomination drifts further off course, people are leaving. An estimated 200 churches have disassociated from ECUSA since 2000, and the pace of departures appears to be speeding up. In the Diocese of Lexington alone, the Herald-Leader recently reported, attendance has dropped nearly 16% since 2002.
Within days of General Convention, the largest Episcopal Church in America announced plans to leave. To date, six entire dioceses have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a way out: Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin (Calif.), South Carolina, Central Florida and Springfield (Ill.). Many leaving are faithful people who had stayed in the Episcopal Church in hopes of turning it around. With the close of General Convention, their hopes have faded.
As a follower of Christ what should I do?
Some rectors, even bishops, may deny what we say. But these matters are too serious to take someone elses word for it. Check things out yourself. The most comprehensive website is www.titusonenine.classicalanglican.net, maintained by the Rev. Kendall Harmon, theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina. It offers a comprehensive review of Anglican Communion news from every conceivable news source.
Although we remain committed to the worldwide Anglican Communion, we have been unable in good conscience to remain in the Episcopal Church. We are not alone. The majority of Anglican leaders, representing about 80% of the worlds active Anglicans, have already distanced themselves from the Episcopal Church. It appears inevitable that ECUSA will find itself excluded from full membership in the Anglican Communion.
But hope has dawned in Kentucky. Four new Anglican churches have started since 2004. We share a common vision. We hope to rebuild Biblical Anglicanism in our state, one new believer at a time, one new church at a time.
We also share a common message. It begins with bad news: we are more sinful than we want to admit. But it ends with glorious, good news: we are more loved than we ever dared dream. Since we have this love as a gift, we can never claim to be better than others. Since it cannot be taken away, we are bold in sharing it with the world.
We are on a great adventure. If you want to join us, or just want to know more, our doors are open.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rev. David Brannen, Rector
St. Andrews Anglican Church
Are you talking about Kentucky or the jelly lubricant?
Contrary to my first guess, they mean Kentucky
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