Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams

Global South Primates response to Archbishop Rowan Williams

  Archbishop Rowan Williams
  Lambeth Palace
  London

  November 15th, 2005

 

Thank you, your Grace, for coming to join us at the Third South South Encounter in   Egypt and sharing your thoughts on the four “marks” of the Church as “one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” Your attempt to take on this major topic in sweeping   strokes was bold, and it was delivered with your usual scholarly eloquence. We   agree with what you said. We were disappointed in what you left unsaid, in   particular, the application of the Church’s identity to the current situation   that has left the fabric of our Communion torn at its deepest   level.

 

It   should come as no surprise to you that we consider the crisis facing the whole   Communion to be a crisis of Biblical authority. For that reason, one of the   consistent themes of the entire South to South Encounter has been the supremacy   of Scripture and the clarity of its teaching on matters of Christian faith and   life.

 

We   were pleased by your positive comments regarding the four papers that were   presented to the Encounter. Although it could not be expected that you would   interact in a detailed way with them, you could not have failed to have noticed   that each paper strongly asserted the authority of Scripture and applied this   theme to the current crisis.

 

They   were able to do this because two features marked each paper: First, the attempt   to expound biblical theology, reflecting the authority of scripture. Second, the   recognition that the four marks of the Church are traditionally used to   establish its calling and identity and to delineate its borders. It is for this   reason the theme of “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” is particularly apt for   this Encounter.

 

Your   approach was to link the marks of the church to one another through Jesus   Christ. They are his attributes before they are the attributes of the Church.  You referred in particular to Jesus’ High Priestly prayer: “Sanctify them by the   truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into   the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”  (John 17.17-19)

 

Promising though this approach is, and in many ways   consonant with the gospel, it seemed to offer a way of bypassing rather than   expounding the specificity of Scripture. In a sense it transcends the other   approaches offered here at the Encounter, but with the danger of a lack of   specific application.

 

Thus,  for example, your account of the holiness of the Church focuses on the holiness   secured by Christ at the cross and the consequent holiness as a gift to those   who are in union with Christ. But you did not take the next step, so obvious in   the Epistles, of showing how this holiness of union with Christ is demonstrated   in the obedience to the word of God.

 

Even   within the Johannine literature, the connection between faith in Jesus and   obedience to his commandments appears repeatedly:

 

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John   14.15)

 

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,  just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John   15.10)

 

“By this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his   commandments.” (I John 2.3)

 

“All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in   them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given   us.” (I John 3.24)

 

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his   commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (I John   5.3)

After   all, this truth must lie at the heart of holiness: that we so depend on the Lord   that we are obedient to his word, whatever the cost. And in the Epistles, this   holiness is the holiness of the Church, the holiness of those who build each   other up, and also the holiness that must be defended in controversy against   false teachers, whether legalists or libertines.

This   surely is the context of the Gospel of John because a line has already been   drawn against those who have resisted the claims of Christ. John chapters 13-17   are addressed to those who not only have the commandments but also keep them.  John 15 warns of the pruning or cutting away of dead branches that have failed   to bear fruit because of not abiding in Him and His word. The stark contrast of   the language of light/darkness, seeing/blind, life/death shows clearly that   there is the realization that disobedience will lead to division and   exclusion.

You   did offer an indication of how a Christ-centred method may be applied in   controversy. You scanned the New Testament for controversies of such magnitude   that the unity of the Church was threatened. You instanced two such challenges:  over the Person of Christ (I John 2.22) and over the Grace of the Gospel   (Galatians 1.8 and 3.2).

By   using the same method, however, we may also speedily find another challenge to   the unity of the body of Christ posed by unrepented sexual immorality, an   offence so flagrant that Paul insisted that the sinner be expelled from the   fellowship, and one of a type of sin which he said would cut the offender off   from the kingdom of heaven (I Corinthians 5 and 6). So relevant is this to the   present crisis in the Communion that we regret that you did not either use it as   an illustration of activities that is capable of breaking unity or explain why   moral teaching and behaviour is different from other Church-dividing   essentials.

Indeed, it is not hard to find in the teaching of Scripture   other instances of behaviour and beliefs which require the cessation of   fellowship and the breach of unity. The Second Letter of Peter, which you quoted   in terms of our participation in the divine nature (1.4) describes division in   the church uncannily like the false leaders in our Communion   today:

“For,  uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh   men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them   freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is   enslaved.” (II Peter 2.18-19)

During   our daily Bible Studies on 1 and 2 Peter we could not miss the solemn warning   about the danger of false prophets among us (note especially the series of “ifs”  in 2 Peter 2.4,5). We were reminded, sadly, that there will be ‘ignorant and   unstable ‘ people who, finding Paul’s sayings “hard” because of the call to   holiness and godliness, will twist [them] to their own destruction.” (2 Peter   3.17)

This   all reminds us of the points established for us at this Encounter, that the   marks of the Church summon us to vigilance concerning its faithfulness to   apostolic teaching and mission, its unity in the truth of God’s word, its holy   obedience to the word of the Lord, and the embrace of its catholicity in the   wholeness of the authentic gospel which it offers all.

The   essence of libertinism is the severing of the grace of Christ from his moral   commandments. This, we believe, is at the heart of our present divisions.  Although it is right to be reminded both of the grace of God in Christ and of   our own frailty and sinfulness, neither the greatness of grace nor the   sinfulness of sin can be advanced as reasons for failing in our duty to guard   the gospel. The church is, after all, “a pillar and buttress of truth” (I   Timothy 3.15) and “Your word is truth” (John 17.17).

 

Questions and   Answers

We are   grateful for your willingness to answer the many questions that our members   wished to ask, and we hope that you may take time to answer some of those that   were not mentioned in the session. Having said this, we do feel that on a number   of points your replies raised more questions.

 

Human Sexuality   and Authority

 

1. We   appreciated your acknowledgement of the “overwhelming consensus” of the Church   in time and space in believing that sex is intended by God for married couples   only and therefore that same-sex sex is unacceptable and cannot be described as   “holy and blessed”. You stated that you as Archbishop must stand with this   consensus. We are most grateful for your unequivocal words. We wonder, however,  whether your personal dissent from this consensus prevents you from taking the   necessary steps to confront those churches that have embraced teaching contrary   to the overwhelming testimony of the Anglican Communion and the church catholic.  We urge you to rethink your personal view and embrace the Church’s consensus and   to act on it, based as it is on the clear witness of   Scripture.

 

2. In   the matter of the Civil Partnerships Act, we appreciate the dilemma faced by   bishops as members of the House of Lords of the English Government. The   willingness of the Government to override clear Christian teaching in an area of   life where the church has a unique role raises a serious question whether the   church-state relationship is obsolete and a hindrance to the Gospel. According   to your explanation, the Roman Catholic Church was able to seek a conscientious   exception to the Act for the very reason that it was not part of the   Establishment. Surely the Church of England should have sought a similar   exception. Not doing so gives the appearance of evil with regard to its   “partnered” clergy even if meaningful discipline is exercised and you failed to   mention the implication of this new act with regard to the laity that will force   all parish clergy to accept openly gay partners to the altar rail on penalty of   church discipline.
 

 

Instruments of   Unity and the Anglican Communion

 

3. We   welcome your pastoral example of coming amongst us as presiding Primate of the   Anglican Communion. We recognize the limitations on your office, as the   Communion has few legal structures. We agree with you that a Communion Covenant   is needed. However, we are troubled by your reluctance to use your moral   authority to challenge the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to   call for the immediate cessation of any blessings of same sex unions and on any   ordinations of those in such unions in every diocese in the Episcopal Church USA   and the Anglican Church of Canada. The apostle Paul never invoked law for his   churches (indeed there was no canon law at that time), but he nevertheless   exhorted them to be of one mind with him and to conform their lives to apostolic   tradition (II Thessalonians 2.15). We do not see why you cannot warn these   churches now, based on the Windsor Report and your own convictions about unity,  that they will not be invited to Lambeth 2008 unless they truly   repent.
 

 

Miscellaneous   Questions

 

4. In   regard to the appointment exclusively of first-world liberals to head the   Communion Secretariat and committees like the Panel of Reference, we are   disappointed with your deferring to “process.” You seem to keep saying, “My   hands are tied.” We urge you to untie your hands and provide the bold, inclusive   leadership the Communion needs at this time of crisis and distrust. One area of   particular concern is the manner in which people are appointed to the various   commissions and task forces, often without the knowledge or recommendation of   their Province. We are more than ready to offer you the names of gifted, and   highly competent men and women who could serve to guide our Communion into the   future.

 

5. We   are glad that you are concerned about new approaches to evangelism in England.  We know that Europe has become a spiritual desert, with the European Union even   proposing to drop reference to the heritage of Christianity from its   Constitution. We urge that re-evangelization and mission to Europe be a top   priority of the Church of England and we pledge our   support.

 

6. We   also agree with your desire to listen to Muslim views and understanding their   context. We applaud the initiatives that you have taken to engage in such   conversations. We were pleased to hear your conviction that in all such   conversations we pray for opportunities to make a grace-filled presentation of   the unique claims of Christ. However, we are troubled by your reference to   “crude threatening proselytizing.” None of us would support such an approach   during these critical times and we wonder to whom you were   referring?
 

 

Personal

 

7. We   appreciate your sharing the testimony of your own pilgrimage of faith, including   your early encounter with Russian Orthodoxy. We agree there is much to learn   from other traditions, such as the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Baptists and   Pentecostals, who are equally part of the one holy, catholic and apostolic   church. We are sure you must feel the shame caused by the brokenness within our   own Communion when you interact with these churches ecumenically.

 

Once   again, we wish to commend you for taking the effort to be with us in   Egypt.

 

With   gratitude and fraternal greetings

 

 

 

Your   brothers in Christ,

 

  The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola   (Church of Nigeria)
  The Most Rev’d Dr. Justice Akrofi   (West Africa)
  The Most Rev’d Fidele Dirokpa   (Congo)
  The Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini   (Rwanda)
  The Most Rev’d. Bernard Malango   (Central Africa)
  The Most Rev’d Dr. Joseph Marona   (Sudan)
  The Most Rev’d Benjamin Nzimbi   (Kenya)
  The Most Rev’d Henry Orombi   (Uganda)
  The Most Rev’d Remi J. Rabenirina   (Indian Ocean)
  The Most Rev’d Ignacio Soliba   (Philippines)
  The Most Rev’d Gregory Venables   (Southern Cone)
  The Most Rev’d Yong Ping Chung   (SE Asia)

 

Present but had to leave before   the final draft was circulated:

 

The Most Rev’d Donald Mtetemela   (Tanzania)
  The Most Rev’d Bernard Ntahoturi   (Burundi)
  The Most Rev’d Dr. Peter   Sugandhar (Church of South India)

 

64 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. The Rev'd Darin Lovelace Says:

    Dear Friends,

    Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    It was my great privilege to witness the bold statements of faith of several of these good warriors at the conference in Pittsburgh.  What a joy to have such leadership in our Communion at such a pivotal time.  May God continue to bless your bold and unashamed defense of the Gospel!

    Yours faithfully in Christ,

    Darin+
    St. Paul’s, Durant, Iowa
    An ACN congregation

  2. Stuart Siegel Says:

    Interesting letter, but I think I’ll continue to be guided by Desmond Tutu: Anglicanism “used to be known for embodying the attribute of comprehensiveness, of inclusiveness, where we were meant to accommodate all and diverse views, saying we may differ in our theology but we belong together as sisters and brothers… God must look on and God must weep.”

  3. Wondering Says:

    #4 Stuart

    Not too sure about Desmond Tutu but I would rather be guided by the Lambeth Fathers (1920):

    “…the Churches represented in [the Communion] are indeed independent, but dependent with the Christian freedom which recognises the restraints of truth and love. They are not free to deny the truth. They are not free to ignore the fellowship.”

    As for the idea of a “weeping God,” I wonder why that image is so prevalent in modern times cf to “angry God?” Just consider what issues the modern Church is appalled with - and thta of our forefathers.

    I don’t think God has changed - we have.

  4. Editorial Says:

    We read with bemusement a Times article (17 Nov) with the sensational opening line:

    “THE Anglican Church came closer to schism last night after 14 evangelical archbishops condemned the Church of England as evil and singled out the Archbishop of Canterbury for personal attack…”

    This letter is simply a response to his talk and Q&A session at the 3rd Encounter. If it took so long, the reason was because it went through various drafts as the Primates worked on it after the Encounter. As for timing, it was not posted deliberately with any event in mind, let alone the COE Synod.

    The letter is not condemning anyone, certainly not the COE or Archbishop Rowan Williams.

    We hope common sense, integrity and professional journalism will prevail and letters such as the above are read in their proper and full context.

    Maybe we should just listen to each other (source) and not via the Public Media.

    GSA Admin

  5. John R Says:

    It is a shame that the release of this letter may have been mishandled. However, I have to say it is enormously helpful. It is very rare indeed to see the Archbishop engaged in true and open dialogue - that is to say, a conversation that goes past the first two contributions. Here in the UK, he is treated with an almost sycophantic respect by some and simply confuses the others. The Primates have done what a lot of us have wanted to do - listened to the Archbishop and then put our questions to him. It is to be hoped this dialogue will continue - and will continue in public!

  6. Michael Mason Says:

    Having learned that this was meant to be a private letter which you have now published on the internet, your comment that “Maybe we should just listen to each other (source) and not via the Public Media” strikes me as mere weasel words. Did you realise that the letter was intended to be a private one and not for publication?

  7. Simon Barrow Says:

    See the latest reports on this on Ekklesia (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk). It would help if GSA could clarify the circumstances surrounding the release of this text, which I believe was first made public on this site. Regarding John R’s comment: it seems unfair to say that Dr Williams rarely engages in open dialogue - he has made considerable attempt to do so on these issues, and has faced vilification when he has tried to get beyond theological slogans or has declined simply to endorse what some see as “self-evident” in scripture, tradition or Anglican polity.

  8. Laurence Says:

    This is a very sad affair - the image it casts of the Church of Jesus Christ is a poor one, ever more seen as a den of power games and infighting. The Archbishop doesn’t deserve to be abused the way he is, by so many sides with thier competing demands upon him. Rowan Williams has been one of the most consistently sane voices in this whole controversy - calling for a recogition of the humanity of those with whom you might disagree - and yet impatient people would rater not listen. Please leave him alone, and show a little care. Let us pray that some sense comes to the whole communion soon enough…

  9. Paulo Goncalves Says:

    The GSA Admin’s disavowals above are highly disingenious in light of the fact that at least two of the alleged signatories have distanced themselves from the letter and were unaware of the fact that it would be made public. Surely by now their names should have been removed from the list above, and their objections also cast considerable doubt on the integrity of the entire process. The further claims of a beneficent ‘dialogical’ intention behind the letter are simply not sustained by either its content or tone. The alleged ‘bemusement’ which the GSA Admin avers it experienced on reading the Times article simply seem in poor taste.

    It would seem high time for the truth surrounding the publication of the letter to be made public. who approved the letter? Who signed it? Who approved its publication and appended fictitious signatories who were unaware of this fact? Why has the list of signatories not been revised?

    Rather than expressing ‘bemusement’ and making disingenious references to ‘unhelpful’ interpretations, both of which insult the intelligence of the average reader, it’s time for those responsible in GSA to come clean.

  10. Paul Jackson Says:

    I heard read the hype surrounding the letter and felt compelled to read it for myself.  It strikes me as a well written and well balanced letter written with humility and kindness.

    As a Baptist Pastor in Englnd I watch with helpless horror as the country continues to slide into moral depravity.  Thank goodness for men of God outside the country who rally to our aid to point out the need to address these issues.

    Paul Jackson

  11. Gerd Says:

    The letter of the african bishops is wrong.

    In Nigeria (The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola,Church of Nigeria), in Sudan (The Most Rev’d Dr. Joseph Marona Sudan), in Kenya (The Most Rev’d Benjamin Nzimbi Kenya), in Uganda (The Most Rev’d Henry Orombi Uganda)and in some other african and asian countries homosexuality is still illegal. Untill today in that states were no discussion over homosexuality.

    But in all european countries, in Australia/New Sealand, in South-America, in North-America, in EastAsia (Japan, China, Vietnam,..) homosexuality is legal. In this part of the world we hat during the last 50 years a long discussion over homosexuality.

    So the african/asian bishops should work in their countries for a better life of gay people. Gay people in Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan, Egypt or Tanzania should have the same rights which they have in european countries.

    So i hope that in the future in Africa will be a better time for gay couples.

    And the bible says nothing against gay couples. In Germany, in Denmark, in Sweden, in the Netherlands gay couples get in evangelical churches a blessing and that is wonderful.

    With gratitude and fraternal greetings

    Gerd

  12. John Courtie Says:

    The archbishops’ letter shows much careful thought, and some charity - though perhaps not much open-mindedness.

    Of more concern to some of us is the way questions of sexual morality are elevated to the status of shibboleths, while other moral issues receive much less attention. Biblical injunctions to honour parents, and to discipline children, for example, are increasingly ignored. The harm done is incalculable. These attitudes are as sinful as any sexual misbehaviour, yet seem not to raise the temperature of debate anything like as much.

    Nondum considerasti quanti ponderis sit peccatum.

  13. Paulo Gonçalves Says:

    In response to Tunde (#13), and further to my earlier response (#11), I can assure him I have indeed read the entire response - numerous times.

    While the letter raises questions concerning ecclesiology and practice, its entreaties are rhetorically founded on the assumption that theological and hermeneutic presuppositions are shared by both its authors and their intended interlocutors. As the authors themselves are well aware, this is not the case. What the letter does not say, but what it clearly intends to highlight, is that these differing pressuppositions underlie any secondary disagreement on sexual morality. It is therefore using a secondary issue to try to force (through its strategic rhetorical assumption that the interlocutors share its presuppositions on ecclesiology and revelation) these primary issues and differences into the light. The letter is thus in no sense a simple benevolent dialogical tool, but a strategic one around deep-seated disagreements on method.

    With reference to Archbishop Akinola’s recent response - I must say that to the observer it sheds little light on the matter, simply highlighting that there was, and is, no agreement concerning the letter by its alleged signatories, and that certainly no concensus regarding publication was reached (how else would the current dissent be explained, except through further unhelpful accusations of cowardice, or a change of mind?).

    The waters remain muddy, and good will alas in very very short supply.

  14. Joseph Says:

    Being that at least two of the Bishops whose names appear at the end of this letter are repudiating its’ contents, I call into question the motives behind it and the method of its preparation.

    It is shameful to ignore the deep and profound blessing of discernment that was involved in Gene Robinson’s elevation to Bishop and in the decision of Canada to bless gay couples.  It defies the Doctrine of Reason and the way our church is structured.

    For the dishonorable and dishonest use of God’s word to justify bigotry and hatred, I say: “Shame!”  It is for God to separate the wheat from the tares, not us.  Those who obsess over the sexual behavior of others usually have profound problems of their own.

    There are many, many churches in America espousing the principle that gay people are second-class citizens.  The Episcopal Church is not - and never will be - one of them.  I cordially invite my brethren who wish this were not so to join the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, headed by the charming Reverend Fred Phelps, if they wish to use God’s word to spread hatred. 

    Eradicating God’s children from God’s house based on their sexual orientation has become a priority that outstrips feeding the hungry, providing disaster relief, and educating the poor.  God help us all!

    Your brother in Christ,
    Joseph

  15. Andrew Says:

    Who is gsa admin I wonder?  Are we not entitled to know who runs this website and has made the decision to publish a private letter to the Archbishop?  The Primates’ letter refers disparagingly (and inaccurately) to Western Liberals being appointed to key posts.  Who make up the various teams that are supporting the Global South Primates?

  16. nancy Says:

    Having just read the Archbishop’s letter & the responses on this site, I am amazed at the criticism of the Archbishops’letter. As one who has read biographies of those who are committed to Jesus Christ in past centuries & having read of present day martyrs for my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, I am so proud be aligned with the writers of this letter to the AofC. What they write witnesses to my spirit about the TRUTH of Scripture.I was in ‘nondenoms’ for 20 years & I was taught that the Word of God was true. I have experienced peace, strength & healing in my life & the life of my Family.  I never learned that in the episc church (believe me I searched for it). Four years ago the Lord brought me back to the episc church.  If I had realized what had gone on in this church for these past years, I probably would not have returned.  In the past four years, the Lord has taught me to stand for HIM in this place. I thank my God for these godly men that are in leadership in the Global South.  I thank God for the men & women who are willing to stand firm for the Gospel of Jesus Christ without compromise.  Such ones as these will our Christ say ‘well done my good & faithful servant.’  With them as my examples (as well as the apostle Paul), I hope & trust that I will hear the same words spoken to me.
    Thank you mighty men of valor.  Blessings in the name of Jesus, 
    a simple layman, Nancy

  17. Joseph Says:

    Well, Nancy, if you consider signing the name of someone to a letter without their authorization a virtue of which God would approve, perhaps the Episcopal Church is not for you either.

    But to me, that’s not “standing firm for the Gospel of Jesus Christ without compromise.”

    It’s Machiavelli. 

    Your brother in Christ,
    Joseph

  18. Revd Frank Gelli Says:

    Well done,Global South! You have spoken loud and clear. High time men of God called Rowan Williams and the disastrous liberal establishment of the C of E to account for their feebleness, cowardice and apostasy.

    Under the present ABC the Church of England is letting the people of this country tragically down. Because it is the historical mission, legacy and duty of our Church since the Reformation to minister to the English people. To proclaim and uphold the Gospel to them. By failing the affirm Biblical teachings - indeed, the very mind of Christ - to the nation, The ABC and the majority of bishops are guilty of a grievous sin. The damage, spiritual, moral and practical, they have inflicted on the nation is incalculable. God will judge them.

    Kierkegaard once said that the worse, most tremendous guilt of the Danish Establisehd Church of his day was to have made it impossible for the people even to discern what the teaching of Christ really is.

    Ditto for Rowan and his lot!

    I wonder why St Athanasius’ motto comes to my mind, in these dark days for Christianity in England: “Pro Deo, contra mundum!”

    Carry on, Global South! We need you!

    A turbulent priest

    Fr Frank

  19. nancy Says:

    well joseph, that was a quick response!!  You are correct, I don’t belong in the episc church as it is today.  I am first a Christian, then Anglican.  Angican is the way I will go, the episc church has walked away.  I am in this apostate church for the time being because the Lord has not yet said to leave.  In that respect I am in good company.  Many are waiting until after ‘06 national convention I suppose.  As you are well aware,many, many have already left.
    Joseph, let’s wait til the full story comes out..you know, about the two who said they did not give permission for their names to be used.  One of them is The Most Rev’d Handford of Jerusalem. From what I have read, he is a bit cozy with ecusa and their money.  Could that be a reason that he does not want to own up to the letter?  Let us wait and see how all of this falls out. 
    Yes, Joseph, I still stand firm with these men of God.  I would take my chances with them rather than the ones who are trying to rewrite the Scriptures, i.e. the so callled Bis Robinson & the ones who affirm homo marriages & homo lifestyles.  Jesus is the One who came to save us from our sins & the lies from satan.  Blessings, Nancy

  20. Joseph Says:

    From Rev. Rowan Williams’ speech:  “In other words, a catholic church is not a church that seeks a uniform global culture. The unity of the church is not cultural; it is in Christ - one Lord, one faith, one baptism - and any number of languages and costumes.”

    So, Nancy, you’d rather stand firm with people who fradulently affix the names of people to official documents without permission, then publish them on the Web to cause strife, and who rewrite the scriptures in a bigoted manner.

    That’s not Anglican, that’s Southern Baptist.

    Those you condemn: the so callled Bis Robinson & the ones who affirm homo marriages & homo lifestyles.  Bishop Robinson was lawfully elected and rightfully holds his title.  No bigot can rob him of it.

    I personally find it easier to accept in loving kindness a gay couple in a committed relationship or a gay person who does God’s will than a mean- spirited bigot who needs to demean others in order to feel better about herself.  (Of course, I see that your IP address is in Texas, where gay bashing is a state sport, so perhaps you are a product of your environment.)

    See, when you talk about ‘homo marriage’, you are speaking of my neighbors - a very nice couple who adopted two children from foster care.  They belong to my church and they are better parents than most.  Their children were once considered ‘at risk’ and the youngest one has HIV.  Now they are consistently on the honor roll and have impeccable manners.  It’s obvious that they love each other.  But to you, their ‘homo marriage’ is not valid.  And you would rob them of the spiritual and legal protections and joys of marriage.

    And Nancy, that tells me everything I need to know about you.  The Lord may not have told you to leave yet, but I will gladly hold the door for you on the way out.

    God help you and any gay men and women that you come into contact with.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Joseph

  21. Joseph Says:

    Fr. Frank, a self described ‘turbulent priest’, writes: The damage, spiritual, moral and practical, they have inflicted on the nation is incalculable. God will judge them.

    God will judge every last one of us.  And from what I read in your comments, sir, he will have quite a bit to say to you on the subject of The Great Commandment.

    Has it ever occurred to you, that as a priest, your calling is not to seek the inequal treatment of any of God’s children?

    It’s not too late.  Repent.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Joseph

  22. Craig Goodrich Says:

    Joseph,

    I notice you refer to “bigotry” and “bigots” regularly in your posts.  Two questions: 

    First, do you really, honestly believe that the only reason for resistance to the overthrow of three thousand years of unanimous, unambiguous moral teaching is bigotry?

    Second, why is it, in your view, that proponents of the normalization of homosexual behavior, unable to respond equally theologically to theological and Scriptural criticism of their arguments, invariably seem to turn to ad hominem accusations of “bigotry,” “homophobia” (whatever that may be), and the like?

  23. Joseph Says:

    Hi Craig:

    First, do you really, honestly believe that the only reason for resistance to the overthrow of three thousand years of unanimous, unambiguous moral teaching is bigotry?

    Yes, I do.  For it is far from unanimous and unambiguous.  There is quite a bit of review of early Scripture that is ignored when people decide to demonize gays.  Also, our Canon Law and general precepts disallow it. So, when I see it, I often find a bigot.

    <i>Second, why is it, in your view, that proponents of the normalization of homosexual behavior, unable to respond equally theologically to theological and scriptural criticism of their arguments, invariably seem to turn to ad hominem accusations of “bigotry,” “homophobia” (whatever that may be), and the like.</i>

    Well, Craig, because it isn’t ad hominem at all.  The so-called theological objections to gay behavior are out-of-context arguments used by the ignorant to hurt those they don’t like.

    Please visit religioustolerance.org for an expalnation that maeks sense, but that you will dislike anyway.  Then ask yourself why you dislike it.

  24. Postmodern Christian Says:

    To Joseph, Nancy and Craig

    As a fellow Christian I am disapointed in each of you. In reading your responses I would call you to the injunction of Jesus about condemning one for the speck in his eye without removing the log in your own.  FOR SHAME.

    We all need to maintain civility and respect in these discussions so as to not dishonour the Lord we all claim to believe in so strongly.  There is a such thing as rightious indignation but when it divolves into name calling with the intention to hurt then we have lost sight of our Savior and need to repent. 

    That said.  As a layperson who has a strong interest and background in church History and Theology I would like to ask a similar question to Josephs but hopefully in a little more respectful way. 

    When you say that ECUSA is overthrowing unambiguous and unanimous teaching I would also have to disagree, but even supposing it was. 

    Support for slavery was pretty unambigous in the bible, but we saw fit to rightly abandon and decry that institution.  We came to understand the bible in different ways, or to simply choose to relegate some of the arguments to a specific time in history.  This is only one example of where Christianity has come to understand a prior assumption of biblical and previous generations to be flawed. This also was not a decision reached by concensus (see civil war.)

    Why is there no room in our communion for that kind of question on this issue?  I am sensitive and even sympathetic to my friends in the Episcopal Church who feel they were abused by the process.  But I am befuddled by those who claim to be appalled at the hermenutic audacity, that we might embrace those who question an old and previously unquestioned view.

    I have been curious about my co-laborers in christ’s views on this issue.  I pray you will respond with the respect and admiration I have attempted to extend to you.   

    Thanks. Peace in Christ to you.

    A Postmodern Christian (In Texas)

  25. Joseph Says:

    Mr. Postmodern:

    I do apologize if my coments gave offense.  But being that the dignity and rights of human beings are the subject of the debate at hand, I hope you will consider that I grow angry when my fellow Christians seek to deprive their friends, neighbors and family members of them.

    You ask, in the context of slavery Why is there no room in our communion for that kind of question on this issue?

    Well, it’s rather simple.  Proponents of slavery unsuccessfully made the argument that the slaves were ‘not fully human’ based on their skin color.  Proponents of making gays second-class citizens sometimes make the argument that gays are ‘less than human’ or ‘gravely disordered’ based upon their sexual behavior.  I will point out here that social science and psychiatric findings on this issue have concluded what we’ve known all along: being gay is NOT a choice.

    But they do not wish to couch the debate in these terms, because they will lose, just as proponents of slavery did.  What’s at stake here to them is their belief that they are somehow superior to gay men and women.  We all know monogamous, Christian, gay men and women in (or seeking) committed relationships.  When you look them in the eye, it’s difficult to justify denying them the basic rights and responsiblities that we all take for granted.  And for those of us who do not know such families, I suggest you acquaint yourselves with one before making blanket proclamations about their place in our Communion.

    Bigotry dies hard.  But the foot of the Episcopal Church is on its’ neck.

    I hope this clears up my position for you.


    Your brother in Christ,
    Joseph

  26. tonye willie pepple Says:

    i am very happy with the letter because it shows that the church is not going into schism but looking for a way forward by asking the wrongdoers to repent and turn back to scriptures

  27. nancy Says:

    Mr. Postmodern, I have reread my 2 posts & Craig’s posts. For the life of me, I can see nothing offensive in my posts or Craig’s.  If I am being uncivil for calling ‘homo’ sin or disagree with those who want to rewrite scripture, so be it.  If I am being unfair & not inclusive for stating I’ll line up with the Global South Bishops, so be it.  If I am wrong to say that Jesus Christ is the one who saves for sin & hell and that He is the One Who sanctifies (which to my understanding is a lifelong process,thank Him for His mercy & grace), so be it.  If it is offensive to say that the Bible is TRUTH, so be it.  If it is offensive to call episc church apostate, so be it.  I am in good company with the Apostle Paul. He warns of false prophets & teachers.  Paul even calls those who teach a different gospel accursed.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  I choose to follow Jesus Christ, daily repent of my sins (so that I can see clearly & get that plank out of my own eye), recognize that I am to pray for others for healing, discernment & for the veil to removed not only from others, but myself also.  I can discern sin.  It is really very simple to do so.  Prayerfully read the Word of God.  This I have had to do; ie, to forgive someone I did not want to forgive.  As do all sinners, we justify our sin. I did.  For years, I rationalized my sin of unforgiveness because I was so wounded by that person. I gained much freedom in Christ when I repented even though that person never changed.  The point being, all sin is forgiven when one repents and quits justifying the sin.  That is my prayer for all sinners not just homos.  If there is a problem with the above, so be it.
    A forgiven sinner who walks in the JOY of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. Blessings, Nancy from TX

  28. Michael Kemp Says:

    Praise God for the good bishops of the South! They at least keep to the word of Scripture and stand in the true Anglican tradition, embraced by such as Latimer and Tyndale. Some posts have called for others to repent. What is needed is for the Church of England (in which I grew up and sadly was forced to leave over 20 years ago) to repent for its departure from the express Word of God and to return to the ‘old paths’. May God have mercy on its present leaders and guide them into all truth.

  29. Joseph Says:

    Fr. Frank says: “I certainly seek to love my errant neighbour, Christ commands it. But I also believe, with St Augustine of Hipo, that sometimes one must love the neighbour with tough love - with ‘benigna asperitate’, the great saint puts it.  A tough love that does not blur the crucial line between good and evil. A tough love that brings about true metanoia in the errant person.

    Wow! I completely agree.  I hope my tough love doesn’t burn you too badly, but your bigotry is not love.  It is evil, and I will not blur the line.

    Not only can you not serve both God and Mammon, but you can’t serve both God and Satan.  Bigotry is Satanic.  I strongly suggest you give it up.

    And, for Nancy: <i>If I am being uncivil for calling ‘homo’ sin or disagree with those who want to rewrite scripture, so be it.</I>.

    Well, if I am being uncivil for calling you a bigot, even though you are, so be it.  And if I am being rude for saying that your reading of Scripture is done to justify your pre-existing hate, so be it. If your mental problems are the source of your bigotry and I just don’t get it, so be it.  If you and your cavalier dismissal of ‘homos’ costs you dearly, so be it.

    I truly hope that God forgives your sin - the one that makes you feel that it’s okay to call decent men and women by a pejorative name (homos) and be a bigoted idiot.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Joseph

  30. wole Says:

    Thank God for the Global South Anglican primates.  The church in the west seems to have forgotten that it is righteosness that exalts a nation, forgetting the historical basis of their own greatness.  It is, however, great that God still has a voice in His church!

  31. Joseph Says:

    Yes, thank God for the Global South African primates… for exposing their true intentions by fradulently including signatures of Bishops who do not support their views. 

    The church in the west IS exalting righteousness.  The basis for its greatness is including all of God’s children, not casting them aside based on prejudice.

    God always has a voice in our church - and he continues to speak on this issue.  It is a shame that so few listen.

  32. Terrence McCabe Says:

    The commandment that Christ gave us was simple enough: Love one another as I have loved you. John wrote that the commandment was given to us by Jesus on on the night before he was handed over to suffering and death.

    Are brothers in the global south want biblical justification as long as it is convenient to them. It seems that self love and willful pride is the only gospel preached by the global south. Coercion is not love. Pride is not service. Hate is not healing.

    I pray that they find the healing love of Christ Jesus and remember they are only servants to the servants of God. Have they forgotten that we are bound to seek and serve Christ in all people?

  33. Sydney |weatherall Says:

    It is now time for Christians to take on these liberals like Williams and not back down by mincing with them on issues like homosexuality.
    The break up of the Anglican church over this issue will be a blessed time as the true Christian in it and the imposters will be identified.

  34. Chris Johnson Says:

    The only horror that Protestanism created at the time of the reformation, was the fractioning of Christian Unity.  The Anglican Church avoided this by it’s willingness to have different opinions on any giving subject, and yet still come to the Eucharist together.  i am sympathetic to being upset at the arogance of the US Church however to split over it is just plain stupid.  These Primates wrote a strong argument to the Archbishop and I believe he is doing his best to address the situation, however i must caution taking an Evangelical stand in regards to scripture.  The Church has always helped in interpreting scripture to the people, so scripture can fall either way.  My biggest problem is why are the African primates having so much say over what is a national Churchs debate (ie. the US and Canada)  this is a breach of conduct on there part.  Just my Opinion.

  35. Marlin Rice Says:

    I think this whole matter is tragic. I can’t help but wonder why the whole World Church is allowing a few renigade American Bishops and one man illegaly ordained are allowed to destroy what has been established from the time of Henery VIII.

      I pray constantly that the Church Heads can turn the Church away from the false teachings that even Christ spoke of in the scripture.

      Not all the ECUSA is in favor of the radical Bishops. Many have left the Church because of the secular path the ECUSA has taken over the last few years. We need to return to the narrow path and ignore the politically correct way of the liberal factions.

      I like the Archbishop and can sympathise in that he has been handed what is probably one of the most critical issue the Church has ever faced.

      In closing I ask, is it worth all the trouble for a fiew misguided souls to be allowed to shake the entire Anglican Communion?

    Marlin Rice

  36. Terrence McCabe Says:

    Marlin,

    Please note that the Bishop of New Hampshire is a legally elected and consecrated Bishop in our church. If his election and consecration is not valid then no Bishop in the USA is legally elected or consecrated. The vast majority of the House of Bishops and The House of Delegates elected him as required and in conformity to our canon law.

    The church in the USA is governed by our General Convention and the canon laws passed by the majority of our members over a period of 200 years. We are a people of the law. We have no basis of existance outside of that law. We believe that it is the Holy Spirit, speaking to us in our convention, that has guided us in our long history. It is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that gave us our canon law.

    Our Bishops have wisely decided to not consecrate any newly elected Bishops in the USA until after the 2006 General Convention of our church. The Bishops (and all members of the church) will wait to see how the Holy Spirit moves his church in this time of trial under our clearly defined canon law. They understand that all Bishops are elected under the same law. They understan that all Bishpos are consecrated under the same law. They also understand that if any one Bishop is denied his office after election and consecration then all legally elected and consecrated Bishops hold office illegally. We would have no Bishops. Our church would become lawless and we would no longer be governed by the rule of canon law and all their actions would be null and void.

    Perhaps you prefer the Roman tradition of Bishops by appointment. Perhaps you prefer a state of lawlessness like the independent evangelical congregations found in the USA. Perhaps you feel the need to direct the church by personal rule and inspiration. I myself prefer our canon law and our election process. I accept the inspiration of the Holy Spirit working in council under established canon law passed in the General Convention of my church.

    You may want to see the vast majority of members in my church as some radical minority no matter how erroneous your opinion may be. I am joyful in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit governs my church and that our canon laws protects us from any tyranny of a misguided minority. The majority of my church has been guided and remains bound to the work of the Holy Spirit working in council to bring the love of Christ Jesus to all members of my church.

  37. Marlin Rice Says:

    Terrence/Joseph

    I can only think you are not keeping up to date on occurrences. The majority of the US Bishopes voted to honor the decisions of the Lambdeth Commission and the Anglican Councel.

    As to the legality of the consecration of Robinson the I referr you to artical XX in the back of the prayer book. Mine was printed in 1945 and I haven’t seen the newest printing. I don’t think I would have faith in it with what I’ve heard about the changes. Still I’ll have to find out for my self.

    The truth exists in biblical prophesy. Jesus told of the corruption and false doctrine. Read the Gospals, read the Epistals, read Revelations. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for this kind of sin and reference to it are in the New Testament. These renagades are not only teaching false doctrine they are spliting the Church over there own petty wants.

    God willing the Church will remaine whole. But the false doctrine has to go. If that means the New Hamptshire Diocese and others of a like mind have to be rejected and cut off, so be it. As far as waiting for the next Lambeth councel.

    I don’t think Cannon Law supports going against God’s Word Written. And I believe God would not support unrepentant sin. The love of God is unending but Jesus did cast the money changers out of the temple and destroyed thir tables. Too many people look to the love and forgivness of God and forget his wrath.

    To sum up no one living in unrepentant sin can be allowed to lead the Church or be given a place of honor and respect. The Anglican Church worldwhide cannot allow this travesty to continue. If the few American Bishops that still support this don’t relent then they need to be made outcast.

    I pray that God will open the eyes of those of you who are being so mislead.

    Marlin Rice

  38. Terrence McCabe Says:

    Marlin,

    We believe that the Holy Spirit guides our church in understanding his unfolding truth of love. We believe that his inspiration works in our General Convention. The church was born in the Pentecostal Fire. The Holy Spirit did not manifest himself as a book appearing over the disciples. The Holy Spirit is a living fire in his people. The Holy Spirit is the fire that enlightens us today as he did in the past. We understand that the mystery of God’s love is never ending. We understand that the Holy Spirit speaks to people of faith in all ages.

    The Holy Spirit is as much our our guide to truth now as he was in the Apostolic Age. The Bible is not the final statement of our faith. It is the expression of faith that comes down to us from the Aposolic Age. The faith of the Apostolic Age contained beliefs that were in error. For example, Christ did not come to establish the Messianic Kingdom on earth in the Apostolic Age that was clearly believed to be imminent in that time.

    Evangelical belief if the Bible as the sole source of truth seems perilously close to idolatry to me. God is not a series of books. The Lord Christ Jesus taught the people of faith in his time that the written law was never as important as serving others by acts of kindness and love. The Lord Christ Jesus continued to unfold the truth revealed by all the latter prophets. The Lord Christ Jesus was put to death by people that believed that written rules alone contained God’s truth. Evangelical beliefs regarding the Bible reminds me of Islamic beliefs regarding the Qu’ran. Islamic thinkers believe that the Qu’ran is uncreated and has existed eternally. Clearly a misunderstand of God.

    We can not be thrown out of the Anglican church. There is no such church. Our church is just one member of a voluntary communion of churches. We our the church in the USA. We do not need or require the premission or approval of any other organization to govern ourselves.

    Perhaps it is time for my church to discipline any member that will not conform to canon law legislated by our General Convention. That would require us to remove any Bishop or priest that will not conform to the rule of law that they are bound to uphold by their oaths and vows. Perhaps it is time to our church to truelly reform ourselves. Perhaps it is time to cleanse ourselves of all oath breakers. We elect our Bishops to office by our law and we can remove our Bishops by lawful trial.

  39. Marlin Rice Says:

    Terrence

    My point is that in artical XX of the “Articles of Religion” state that it is unlawful for the Church to ordain any thing contrary to “God’s Word Written” (Bible) or to expound one place in scripture “that it be repugnant to another”. The present situtation is covered in this artical as the Bible speaks against sexual immorality and deviations in both old and new testaments.

    You say it’s evangelical seemingly reffering to such personages as Pat Robertson. I differ in that as I’m going by what is said in the Bible and the “Articles of Religion” of the Episcopal Church set up in 1790. Some things can’t be changed or interpreted to suit ourselves. This is made most clear by the stand taken by the Global South but the majority of American Bishops and Churches. Many, instead of speaking out, have left the Church. I just hope the few who are causing these problems are proud of themselves.

    It all is in God’s hands and when the finaal Judgement come I think there will be many who will reget their choices. By then it will be to late. I myself am sure and firm in my faith and will remain so. I will stand with the Pittsburg Diocese and the Global South.

    Forgivness and the Grace of God won’t be attained by unrepentant sin. To find out what is sin, go to the Bible. You can’t make it up as you go. Otherwise you are fooling yourself and endangering your soul.

    Marlin

  40. Terrence McCabe Says:

    Marlin,

    You keep missing the point. The Holy Spirit continues to speak to us today just as he did in 1790. It was by an act of the General Convention that the Articles of Religion were accepted as part of the organization of the church. The same General Convention that can drop the statement from the Book of Common Prayer if that is the will of the Convention.

    Please read the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples in Jerusalem placed very few restrictions on gentile members of the church. In fact, no Jewish law was to be applied to us. One of the few rules given to us by the disciples was to refrain from promiscuity. That is all we are asking of our Gay brothers and sisters. Were the disciples in Jerusalem wrong in placing these rules on us? Are we wrong in expanding the call to refrain from promiscuity by our legislation?

    If you have read St. Paul’s letters carefully you would see that he said marriage is given to us to help us over come our burning passion and drive towards promiscuity. He was simply restating the rule given by the disciples in Jerusalem to the gentiles in the church. How is our legislation in violation of those principles? Are we not simply clarifying the rules given to us (the gentiles) by the Apostolic church? We have never been bound by the Law of Moses. Thanks be to God!

  41. nancy Says:

    Marlin,
    With the Terrances & the Josephs of this world there is no reasoning.  All they wish to do is blah, blah.  The desire is to wear you ( & me!) down.  They keep twisting & reading their meaning into clearly understood Scripture, Reason & Tradition.  I’ve throughly enjoyed reading your truthful & informed posts.  The T’s & the J’s call others who have traditional views bigots & any other insulting name they can come up with.  I have learned that the spirits in these dear people identify themselves by what they call others.  We’ve been told in the Scriptures “to test the spirits to see if they are of God.”  Bless their hearts.  Marlin they can’t help themselves.
    Blessings, Nancy

  42. Marlin Rice Says:

    Nancy

    Thank you. You see the point clearly. They accept and distort the very verse they use to support their actions and ignore any that would condem them. There is no arguing with those who are blind to the truth. There are none so blind as they who will not see. We all know who the true bigots are.

    God’s grace be with you evermore.

    Marlin

  43. Marlin Rice Says:

    Terrence

    As it is you who are missing the point I will add one last comment and then leave you to your misinterpretations. Article XX of the Articles of Religeon forbid the “General Convention” from going against scripture or twisting the meaning of it.

    I suggest you yourself realy and honestly read the Bible, all of it. You seem to be sadly missinformed.

    Even though it seems a waste of my time and effort to reply to you I’ll hopefully, with the help of God, show you the error of your ways. Tonight I’ll pray for God to send you the wisdom to see clearly and to throw of the yoke of Satans influance.

    God give you the wisdom to see the scriptures clearly.

    Marlin

  44. Terrence McCabe Says:

    Comments:

    Nancy: Please refrain from false witness against your neighbor. I have never called any person a bigot in my messages. I would also point you to you that I clearly represent a ‘traditional’ and a ‘orthodox’ view within the church. The church has always said that the Holy Spirit guides the church. We pray for his inspiration at every service.

    The first council of the church was held in Jerusalem under the direction of the disciples of Christ. In fact, I pointed to its’ judgement regarding the only rules for gentiles in the congregation. Councils are the final authority on what is orthodoxy in our church. It has been true since the Apostolic Age.

    The Feast of Pentacost is celebrated as the birthday of the church. I also agree that we should test our beliefs against scripture and I gave two examples of biblical jutification for my views. Remember it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that gave us the Bible. Remember it was a council of the church that determined what books would be included in that Bible. Why do you fail to see the Holy Spirit in action today? Is he dead?

    Marlin: Discussion is never a waste of time. How is it that you know what God’s plan is for me. Did you have a personal revelation of God’s plan for me? To say that I wear Satan’s yoke is certainly not a way of seeking and serving Christ in all people. Are your baptismal vows meaningless to you?

    Have I ever said that you are damned for your views? Have I ever said that you are blinded to the truth? The answer is no. I believe that civilized and intelligent people can disagree. I have always presented my views with that understanding tha you are both civilized and intelligent. Was I in correct in seeing you in that fashion?

    I pray that we always remember that each of us is a child of God. I pray that we always remember that we are all sinners forgiven by God’s grace. I pray that love never fails to be shown towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  45. Editorial Says:

    We have to delete a comment by “Joseph” made earlier on because of rude name-calling. Please maintain some measure of decency in your discussions

    TerryW

  46. Marlin Says:

    Terrence

    You keep referring to the Holy Spirit as a guiding factor and then go on to ignore and twist biblical reference that speaks against homosexuality. “man SHALL NOT lie with man as with woman and woman SHALL NOT lie with woman as man, this is an abomination in the eyes of the lord”. I’m not saying that salvation is not possible through Our Lord but the repentance of sin has to be true. “Go and sin no more” is what Jesus said. A person living in a same sex relationship is not repentant. You cannot ignore scripture or change it. If you do it has no value at all. Just because we live in modern times is no excuse. This kind of thing is the work of Satan.

    The comming of the Christ and his death on the cross for our sins didn’t change the law of God. “I come not to change the law or the prophets but to fullfill them” Jesus said. The Mosaic laws that weren’t imposed on the Gentiles were mainly to do with food and circumcison. Circumcision was the mark of the first covanant the Jews had with God. Jesus dieing on the Cross was the second covenant for all men therefor that law no longer applied. The eating of pork was changed when Jesus said that it wasn’t what goes into the mouth that condemed a man but what came out of his mouth.

    I welcome homosexuals to Christ who want to change there ways and lead a new and holy life. But I won’t accept a practicing homosexual as one to guide us in faith or accept him as Bishop. This is in violation of every thing Holy and against the teachings of the Church that I’ve lived with for 60 years. It goes against scripture and is in violation of the Articals of Religeon set up when the ECUSA was founded. I refered to artical 20, have you read it. Or has that been changed in violation of that very artical, which is wrong as well as it violates the Church itself.

    We cannot allow what are purely secular matters to controll our religeous beliefs. What’s next, the Church supporting the murder of hundreds of thousands babies to support abortion as a means of birth controll. This is what these actions can lead to. This is what the secular, athestic world is doing. Does it have to apply to the Church as well?

    I support the actions of the Global South, The Diocese of Pittsburg, and returning to the old values and traditions of the past. We cannot go on allowing the false doctrine that is being imposed to go on. Thats it plane and simple.

    Marlin

  47. mccabe Says:

    Marlin,

    I understand that we our not in agreement. I believe that civilized and intellegent can reasonably disagree on these subjects.

    However, we are all bound by our Baptismal Covenant. Perhaps we should all go back to it and see what we have vowed to believe and do when we entered the faith.

    The Bishops, clerics and laity of the church have all taken vows and made oaths to enter the church and to hold office. Let us examine those vows and oaths and see if we are fulfilling our sworn duty. The discussion and examination of our vows and oaths could help us resolve our differences. If we no longer agree to live by our vows and oaths then we forfeit our membership and our office(s) in the church. We have no part in the process.

    There is nothing more on this subject that I wish to share. The Peace of God be with you!

  48. Marlin Says:

    McCabe

    I thank you and agree with your response.

    Hopfully with the guidance of God this will be resolved and the Church will remain whole.

    Marlin

  49. Ray Says:

    A helpful response to some of the assertions of the primates’ letter is found in last week’s Church Times.  David Edwards open letter can be read here:

    http://www.churchtimes.com/churchtimes/website/pages.nsf/httppublicpages/252EFF216CB7A951802570C20051DE87

  50. JimmyLane Says:

    Ray

    Thanks for the link. But I cannot see how this letter is ‘helpful’ when in the first place, the original Primates letter was only addressed to Abp Rowans. 

    As for David’s
    “Nor do I concentrate on your completely unprovoked attack on the integrity of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

    Where did he got that from? The media’s interpretation? Given that any letter can be interpreted in various ways, given the context and content, many readers are still waiting to be convinced that this letter was an “attack,” let alone ‘completely unprovoked…integrity of Abp..” Huh?

    I suppose if this interpretation and imagination keeps some entertained and in angst, they can keep carrying on the conversations - with themselves.

  51. Ray Says:

    JimmyLane

    I think that the letter is helpful for its clear content and eirenic tone

    It does not seem innapropriate for a senior churchman to respond publicly to a letter which was made available to the general public on this website

    As to the primates’letter being seen as an “attack” this is not just David Edwards view The evangelical Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, criticises the letter as “ill-judged” and “hectoring”  So JimmyLane in the time-honoured phrase “your puzzlement’s odd”

  52. Marlin Says:

    For myself I cannot see where there can be any argument in this whole matter. Why are there arguments? The secular world cannot be allowed to infringe on Church matters, so secular law on moral matters has no hold on the Church. We live by God’s moral laws which are in the Bible and not up for disscusion. There are those who would cast out the Old Testament because the moral laws there go against the sin they commit every day. There are those that I’ve seen on other sites who would eliminate the Bible in its entirety because it not politically correct.

    Just as in the secular world the problems are comming from a very vocal minority. In the Churches in the US and Canada, minorty factions and renagade preists would undermine the whole world Church. If the won’t recant their standing then as Jesus said “if thy hand offend, thee then cut it off and cast it from thee”, this meaning if your hand sins and he wasn’t talking a bout an individual alone but any who are unrepentant including organizations or groups.

    It is clear, as the Global South maintains, That there are those in the ECUSA who are teaching false doctrine. I feel if they won’t recant and repent then they too should be cut off from the ECUSA. I also feel that this is the view of most of the ECUSA members. All you have to do is read, noting the individuals posting, and it becomes clear. There are other sites as well and it’s the same on them.

    Every one talks of God’s Love but want to over look his wrath. God loves those who love him and follow his commands. Many would ignore what God does to those who go against his word.

    Marlin

  53. mccabe Says:

    Marlin,

    “It is clear, as the Global South maintains, That there are those in the ECUSA who are teaching false doctrine. I feel if they won’t recant and repent then they too should be cut off from the ECUSA. I also feel that this is the view of most of the ECUSA members.”

    Is this what you call ‘listening’? That is the process we are engaged in now - listening to each other. Listening is not yelling at one another. Listening is being attentive to the speaker. It is the processing of attempting to hear the other person saying those things we do not want to hear. Listening is respecting each other. Respecting each other is to see the inherent dignity of the other person.

    It is our sworn duty to uphold our Baptismal Covenant that calls us to respect the dignity of all persons. It is our sworn duty to uphold our Baptismal Covenant that tells us to seek and serve Christ in all people. If we do live in accordance to our sworn Baptismal Covenant then are we really members of the ECUSA or the great Anglican Communion?

  54. JimmyLane Says:

    Ray

    Odd my puzzlement may be, but odder still when one examines the content of the letter (after all it is here on the same page- read it for yourself). It is not about who shares the Media’s opinion (even if it is the respectable Bishop of Durham, ‘evangelical’ or otherwise). I too think making it public was a wrong move. But it is a letter with a gentle, sincere tone and direct/clear content, responding and interacting with ++Rowans message at the 3E.

    Why right and on what basis do the rest of us have to judge it in this manner? Unless, truth does not interest us and we are only out to get at those GSPs (esp ++Akinola).

  55. Marlin Says:

    mccabe (Terrence)

    You keep reffering to the Baptisimal Covnant. What does this have to do with this matter?

    To quote:

    Dost thou, therefor, in the name of this child, renounce the devil and all his works, the vaine pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow nor be led by them?

    Answer: I renounce them all; and, by God’s help, will endevor not to follow or be led by them.

    Minister: Dost thou belive all the Articles of the Christian Faith, as contained in the Apostals Creed?

    Answer: I do.

    Minister: Wilt thou be Baptised in this Faith?

    Answer: That is my desire.

    Minister: Wilt thou then obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life?

    Answer: I will, by God’s help.

    Minister:Having now, in the name of this Child, made these promises, wilt thou also on thy part take head that this Child learn the Creed, the Lord’s prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul’s health?

    Answer: I will, by God’s help.

    Minister: Wilt thou take head that this Child, so soon as sufficently instructed, be brought to the Bishop to be confirmed by him?

    Answer: I will, God being my helper.

    I ask again: What is your point????

  56. Marlin Says:

    Ray

    I agree with you. The letter and answers are quite clear. I think that some just want to put spin on this just as they do every thing else. I don’t think any thing can be read into these. They are gentle and sincere and quite to the point with no retoric.

  57. mccabe Says:

    Marlin,

    The online version of the Book of Common Paryer is available to all. Use Google search full phrase search option: “Book of Common Prayer”. Please refer to it since it is the only authorized ECUSA version:

    Part of the Baptismal Covenant:

    Celebrant: Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
    People: I will, with God’s help.

    Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
    People: I will, with God’s help.

    Celebrant: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
    People:I will, with God’s help.

    Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
    People:I will, with God’s help.


    Prayers for the Candidates
    (I have deleted some of the service - see Book of Common Prayer for full service)

    Leader:Open their hearts to your grace and truth.
    People:Lord, hear our prayer.

    Leader:Fill them with your holy and life‑giving Spirit.
    People:Lord, hear our prayer.

    Leader:Keep them in the faith and communion of your holy Church.
    People:Lord, hear our prayer.

    Leader:Teach them to love others in the power of the Spirit.
    People:Lord, hear our prayer.

    Leader: Send them into the world in witness to your love.
    People:Lord, hear our prayer.

    Leader:Bring them to the fullness of your peace and glory.
    People:Lord, hear our prayer.

  58. Marlin Says:

    mccabe

    I will say this, I haven’t seen the new prayer book. If this is from it then there have been, in my opinion too amny changes for me to accept it. For instance the changes in the Creeds. “We blive in God….......”. The creed’s were a stament of personal blief not a group belief. “I belive in God…....”.

    The oath’s that I transcribed were from the prayer book printed in 1945 and the baptismal service that was preformed after my birth. You’re transcription is not in my prayer book. If this is an example of the new prayer book then I don’t hold with it. I believe what is stated but I still don’t see where the apply to the current situation. There is nothing in either the prayer book or the bible that says to love sin. Love and help the sinner to repentance but abhore sin. The current situation is caused because of unrepentant sin and no amount of retoric, false interpretatons of biblical verse, or outright rejection of biblical truth will convince me otherwise.

    This is the exact point the Bishops of the Global South and the Pittsburg Diocese are trying to make. Any deveation from scripture is false doctrine. That is the point. We all agree on God’s forgiving nature but you seem to lack teaching of God’s wrath for those who go against his word and teach others to do the same. Don’t ignore those parts of scripture.

    I just hope Arch Bishop Williams gets input from this site. He will see that more than the Global South are upset by all this.

  59. mccabe Says:

    Marlin,

    I had a feeling that you were not an active member of the ECUSA since you had no working knowledge of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. You have confirmed my speculations that you do not attend ECUSA services on any regular basis. Even in my small rural congregation, we repeat our Baptismal Covenant three or four times a year.

    Why do I insist on talking about the Covenant? That is simple enough to answer. It is the required statement of faith for all members of the ECUSA. It is the only doctrine that we must confess as our true faith. It is the outline of the actions that we must perform be a member of that faith.

    If you were an active member of the church then you would be aware of the vows required of all active members of the ECUSA. You may wish to review the service for the Great Vigil of Easter. You may wish to review the service for Confirmation.

  60. Marlin Says:

    mccabe

    Why do you think that I stand with the Global South. The Church I was born in, baptised in, and confirmed in doesn’t seem to exist any longer accept in the Global South and dioceces like Pittsburg. Instead of ignoring what was going on with the canges we old timmers should have made our objections knowen. With the election of a homosexual bishop though it has gone to far down the road of false doctrine. Of course I’m not familer with the 1979 prayer book. I never clamed to be. But the old prayer book is still offered for sale and if it is no longer valid, why is it still sold? why do many Churches still have services under the old doctrine. There are many who left the Church because of these changes. Doesn’t that say that they aren’t accepted. My own Church has suffered a great loss in attendance because of these changes. When I found out the way the Church (My Episcopal Church) had gone down the road of false doctrine I thought it time to speak out. The ECUSA has allways been my Church at heart. My ancestors were devoute Anglicans. My G. G. Grandfather supplied most of the stone for the building of my home Church. What has and is going on is a travesty. It breaks my heart to see it. I’ll not follow the false doctrine. I’ll not break faith with my God no matter how assalted or ridiculed. If that makes me a fool in your eyes, so be it, I’m a fool, but I’ll still not break faith. I’ll also pray for your soul. More so if you follow this false doctrine. I’m old Church, just maybe I can see what you don’t.

  61. mccabe Says:

    Marlin,

    You wrote: “I’ll not follow the false doctrine. I’ll not break faith with my God no matter how assalted or ridiculed. If that makes me a fool in your eyes, so be it, I’m a fool, but I’ll still not break faith. I’ll also pray for your soul. More so if you follow this false doctrine. I’m old Church, just maybe I can see what you don’t.”

    I would never call you a ‘fool’. I do not think your foolish for following your heart or conscience. I follow mine. We should never be asked to violate our conscience.

    You may pray for me if that helps you. I can certainly use all the help that I can get. However, I am at a loss to explain what I have done that is wrong. I take my Baptismal Covenant seriously. Breaking it is for me a fundemental failure of faith.

    Remember that we live to serve each other. At the present time, the whole church is committed to ‘listening’ to each other. There is pain in our church today. There is real pain on both sides of this division in our community of faith. I will never stop ‘listening’.

    I am so sorry for your pain and sorrow at the changes we have made in the ECUSA in the last 40 years. While you see loss, I see growth. I only wish that I could explain that to you and easy your pain.

  62. Martin Says:

    The goal is simple: to know and love God, and to love God’s children. Everything that is not part of that goal is superfluous at best.

    Obviously the obsessive need to scapegoat homosexuals is not part of that goal. It is more likely opposed to that goal.

    You cannot rationally reduce love to obeying a list of rules. That is a complete reversal of what Christ said. He said that love is the fulfillment of the law. Not that following rules is some sort of love by proxy. If that were true, the Pharisees would have been the greatest lovers of all time. 

    Clearly there are those here who believe that who God accepts and who God rejects has something to do with them. This is spiritual delusion, pure and simple.

    God’s love for his children is higher than any and all dogma. If your dogma contradicts God’s love for his children, then your teaching is false and did not come from Jesus Christ.

  63. mccabe Says:

    Martin,

    I totally agree with your comment.‘Where love is - there also is God’ and ancient hymn of our faith that should be sung at ever meeting discussing this topic.

  64. Craig Goodrich Says:

    This thread is long dead, but for the record:

    Joseph:  The assertions at religioustolerance.org, or at least at http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marj.htm and http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marj_c.htm—which seem to be the only pages with specifics—have been so thoroughly refuted that even Walter Wink no longer maintains that there is any possibility of clawing some sort of positive view of homosexual activity from any part of the Bible. 

    It is possible to argue that new revelations have overridden the traditional Biblical view, or that Biblical authority is no longer binding on Christians, or some variation of these points, as did To Set Our Hope on Christ, the Episcopal official presentation to the ACC.  (These arguments are also unsuccessful, but not quite as obviously so as the Biblical attempts.)

    So I repeat my question.

    Postmodern:

    Kindly show where I have lacked civility, or descended to ad-hominem in any posts.  Or have we reached the point in postmodern Political Correctness where bringing up actual facts and evidence in a conversation is too, too oppressive?