Skip to comments.What the Episcopal Church is offering to the world [Toon on "To Set Our Hope on Christ"]
Posted on 06/29/2005 10:02:25 AM PDT by sionnsar
We all have heard about the current crisis in the Anglican family caused primarily by the recent actions of the American Episcopal Church in the promotion of the doctrine that same-sex relationships can be blessed of God, and that those in such partnerships are eligible for ministerial office. At the request of the other provinces of the Communion, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church commissioned a team of theologians to explain this new teaching and practice. This appeared as a book on June 23, 2005, with the title, To Set Our Hope on Christ. I predict that it will horrify and enrage most of the membership of the Communion.
Before I saw this book, I expected with other observers that it would say something like what appears below, which is the usual message of the Gay lobby:
1. In the 21st century the Churches of the West have a greater understanding of sexuality as an orientation than they did even in the 20th century.
2. It is clear that God made some people heterosexual and others homosexual in orientation, and thus homosexuality, as an attraction towards the same sex/gender, cannot be wrong in itself, for God does not create evil.
3. States, governments, corporations and councils in the West are beginning to give full rights to persons living in permanent, same-sex partnerships and thereby they provide an example and encouragement to the Church.
4. God is Love, and Love is God, and same-sex affection, in a committed and faithful partnership, is just as much an expression of Gods love as the affection in a heterosexual relationship.
5. Not everyone, in fact only very few, are called inwardly or outwardly to be celibate. Thus to require celibacy of either heterosexual or homosexual people is cruel and causes them unnecessary suffering. Further, if celibacy if required then homosexual persons suffer more than heterosexual ones for they cannot legally marry or live with a member of their own sex.
6. Since God is Love, and Love is God, the Church of God must be inclusive and thus offer a full place and participation to homosexual persons, just as they are.
7. Over the centuries the Church has demonstrated prejudice and injustice towards both minorities and women, and the latest such prejudice is against men and women with a homosexual orientation. With time and patience such prejudices are dissolved.
8. The ECUSA has recognized the rights of divorced persons to be married a second and even third time in church and thereby has set a precedent for the right of same-sex couples to receive a blessing on their partnerships.
9. The ECUSA has recognized that the primary purpose of marriage is companionship and not procreation, and this opens the door for the acceptance of the companionship of faithful, long-term same-sex partnerships.
10. A Church which opposes the rights of homosexual persons, who are in committed partnerships, to full participation in its life and ministry, will be shown to be increasingly irrelevant as the 21st century progresses.
On reading the book carefully, I was surprised by its style and content. Most of the themes stated above are to be found there in one way or another; however the whole approach is not combative (homosexual persons fighting for their rights) but educative. The reader is invited to come and see what the Lord has done and is doing amongst us in the Episcopal Church.
What does it say? It makes the amazing claim that within the Episcopal Church there has been a major discovery from the Bible and Christian experience, and, further, that this discovery has led to an important development of doctrine, like certain epoch-making developments of the past (e.g., the inclusion of Gentiles in the Church without first submitting to practices from Judaism see Acts 10-15). The discovery is that two persons of the same sex can live together in Christian holiness and be true examples of Christian faith, hope and love; and the doctrine is that it is right to bless such partnerships and to call persons from them into positions of leadership in the Church. In so doing, the Church has been led by the Holy Spirit to set aside the tradition of Christian teaching from the past, which classed homosexual activity as sinful fornication, offensive to Almighty God.
My judgment is that the whole edifice of the book is built on arguments that have a shaky and sandy foundation. I am writing a full length reply to it which should be published by September lst. We will keep you posted! Meanwhile, Lord have mercy upon us all of us!
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