This is a critical time - A Statement from the Global South Primates Steering Committee, London,  2007

Global South Steering Committee
London, July 16-18, 2007

1. We are grateful for the prayers and witness of the millions of Anglicans around the world who live out their Christian faith in complex and sometimes hostile situations. Their lives and witness offer hope to a world that is in desperate need and we have been greatly encouraged by their testimony. Their commitment to the ‘faith once and for all delivered to the saints’ deepens our determination to stay true to the biblical revelation and our historic tradition.

2. We reaffirm our dedication to the vision of the church that has a passion to reach all those who have not yet come to a saving knowledge of Christ and one that is truly good news for the poor and freedom for those who are oppressed. We are saddened that the actions of a small part of our Communion family have caused such division, confusion and pain and we are grieved that our witness to the oneness of Christ and his Church has been sorely compromised.

3. We in the Global South remain committed to the underlying principles and recommendations of the Windsor Report and the various Communiqués that we have issued, especially the statement that was produced during the most recent Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam. It was the result of enormous effort and heart-felt prayer and we remain convinced that it offers the best way forward for our beloved Communion. In particular, we are hopeful that the development and endorsement of an Anglican Covenant will help us move past this debilitating season into a new focus of growth and missionary zeal.

4. We were distressed by the initial response of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church USA issued on March 20th, 2007, reaffirmed by the Executive Council on June 14th, 2007, in which they rejected the underlying principles and requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We urge them, once again, to reconsider their position because it is their rejection of the clear teaching of the Church and their continuing intransigence that have divided the Church and has brought our beloved Communion to the breaking point. Without heartfelt repentance and genuine change there can be no restoration of the communion that we all earnestly desire and which is our Lord’s clear intent.

5. We have also been pained to hear of the continuing and growing resort to civil litigation by The Episcopal Church against congregations and individuals which wish to remain Anglican but are unable to do so within TEC. This is in defiance of the urgent plea agreed to by all of the Primates in the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. This approach to use power and coercion to resolve our current dispute is both enormously costly and doomed to failure and again, we urge the immediate suspension of all such activities and a return to biblical practices of prayer, reconciliation and mediation.

6. Because of the categorical rejection of the unanimously agreed Pastoral Scheme and the urgent needs of the growing number of congregations now linked to various Provinces in the Global South, we have had no choice but to provide additional episcopal oversight from the concerned Provinces. We believe that failure to do so would have resulted in many individuals and congregations lost to the Anglican Communion. The rejection of the proposed Pastoral Scheme has also had a profound impact on those dioceses that had requested alternative primatial oversight. We are aware that they are exploring various ways in which they can maintain their Anglican identity apart from The Episcopal Church. We are encouraged by this and also that they are working together within the Common Cause Partnership to avoid unnecessary fragmentation. We recognize that this is a temporary measure and look forward to the time when it is either no longer necessary or they are all part of a new ecclesiastical structure in the USA.

7. We are aware of the anticipated visit by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC to the September meeting of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church USA. Sadly we are convinced that this decision, made jointly by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chair of the ACC, undermines the integrity of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We believe that the Primates Meeting, which initiated the request to the TEC House of Bishops, must make any determination as to the adequacy of their response. We strongly urge the scheduling of a Primates’ Meeting for this purpose at the earliest possible moment.

8. We have also noted the decisions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and are dismayed by their unilateral declaration that ‘same-sex blessing is not core doctrine’. While we were grateful for the temporary restraint shown in not proceeding with any further authorization, we have observed that a number of the bishops are continuing to defy the recommendations of the Windsor process. We are exploring the possibility of additional pastoral provisions for those who want to remain faithful to Communion teaching and have been affected by the continuing actions of their own bishops.

9. We are concerned for the future of our Communion as a truly global fellowship and our witness before the world as a respected ecclesial family within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. In regards to the proposed Lambeth Conference in 2008, we are concerned that the publicly stated expectations for participation have changed its character and function. It is now difficult to see it either as an instrument of unity or communion. At a time when the world needs a vision of reconciliation and unity, our failure to restore the ‘torn fabric’ of our Communion threatens to show the world a contrary example.

10. We remain committed to the convictions expressed in the CAPA report “The Road to Lambeth” and urge immediate reconsideration of the current Lambeth plans. It is impossible for us to see how, without discipline in the Communion and without the reconciliation that we urge, we can participate in the proposed conference; to be present but unable to participate in sacramental fellowship would all the more painfully demonstrate our brokenness. The polarization surrounding the Lambeth meeting has been exacerbated because we are also unable to take part in an event from which a number of our own bishops have been arbitrarily excluded while those whose actions have precipitated our current crisis are included.

11. We have received requests from around the Communion to call a gathering of Anglican Communion leaders. We expect to call a Fourth Global South Encounter to bring together faithful Anglican leaders across the Communion to renew our focus on the apostolic faith and our common mission.

12. This is a critical time for the Anglican Communion and one that will shape our future for many years to come. We are praying for all those in leadership that the decisions made and the actions taken will bring glory to God and encouragement to all God’s people. We are hopeful for the future because our confidence is not in ourselves but in Jesus the Christ who gave his life that we might have life. (see John 10:10)

56 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Eric Arllen Says:

    Thank you and God bless you faithful gentlemen.

  2. Richard W. carlin Says:

    Thank you so much for your strength.  We in the USA need your help now more than ever.

    Be assured of our prayers.

  3. Richard Bates Says:

    Thank you for living up to your calling as defenders of the truth. At a time when people wonder whether the Anglican Communion will survive its troubles, your statement reminds us that the forms of communion are nothing without the only reason behind communion — fidelity to the Gospel of Christ.

    Reading this has encouraged me. Thanks again.

  4. Keith Toepfer Says:

    Be assured that all of the bishops in the Anglican Communion will be in my prayers for God’s guidance in these difficulties, and that the bishops of the Global South will also be in my prayers of thanksgiving for your forthright stand and support of orthodox Anglicans, even those beyond the geographical borders of your sees. I give thanks to God for your steadfastness.

  5. Father Ron Smith Says:

    By your own actions, taken arbitrarily outside of the historical Canterbury Primacy of the world-wide Anglican Church, you churches of the Global South who are electing to act on your own initiative, thus establishing your own extra-canonical jurisdiction, are resiling from the historical foundations of the Anglican Communion, and thus rendering yourselves apostate from the very catholic and apostolic roots you profess to adhere to. How can this be justified?

  6. The Rev. Jim Seagram Says:

    Greetings in Christ, Fr. R. Smith does I’m sure realize that the main departure is being undertaken by the TEC revisionist and not the Primates of the Global South. Yet, he makes an important observation. Are the GS Primates heading towards “revising” Anglican authority structures unilaterally? Will we soon be asked by them to choose between what they might call a weak Canterbury and a new Global South Primacy and a separate Lambeth type gathering? Iam very grateful for the theological leadership of the Primates of the GS, yet they border on appearing impatient or worse, power hungry and lacking in grace in terms of arbitrary time frames. Would The Primate of the Southern Cone please say something to the USA and Canadian Anglicans? Many, I believe want to hear his imput. Would the GS Primates please give a reasoned explanation of how they understand and justify the changes they are making themselves in the level of authority they attribute to their own body and statements? As a Canadian Anglican priest, I share the dismay noted in the GS Steering C statement, Par.8 re Bl. of Sa. Se. Un. not being in conflict with “core doctrine”. Yet their “exploration of the possibility of additional pastoral provisions” in Canada for those who want to remain faithful to Communion teaching needs to come through Canterbury and Lambeth and needs to recognize that those who want to remain faithful to communion teaching also want to remain faithful to the communion itself and not see further and too hasty splintering of it. We also want to remain faithful to the Lord of the communion as He guides us and not act in a legalistic manner simply because we believe we have the theologically orthodox higher ground. Our “right theology” does not mean that the GS Primates automatically have the “right” to split the communion in half any more than the revisionists have the right to splinter it. Is the Lord requiring this of the GS Primates at this time? Is there a more patient yet just as clear theologically, approach that the GS Primates can take? I expected that some day I might have had to decide between a “walking apart” Anglican Church of Canada and Canterbury but not between Canterbury and the GS Primates. That is way too fast, too soon, too arbitrary, too unilateral, too divisive, too unanglican! Global South Primates, please discern this. Is God calling you to resist stubborn, unrepentant revisionists by splitting the communion in half? The communion is lying beaten up on the side of the road. ( Pointing fingers at who the robbers are isn’t going to help alot right now ). Who will be the present day priest and levite that walks by and who will be the good “samaritan” that has compassion on us and pays the price to heal our bleeding divisions. I look to the Primates of the Global South for grace and patience and to swallow what is necessary in order to go to Lambeth 08 and be the voice within the communion that helps bring cleansing of the wound and healing to our communion. Please pastor us, don’t take the axe to us! In His amazing love, Jim Seagram

  7. Tim Smith Says:

    To Frs. Ron and Jim,
    What’s more important: following Holy Scripture (including declaring false teachers anathema) or the man-made Anglican Communion ?
    Take your choice.
    FYI: I’ll go with the Primates of the Global South who are following God’s word and not man’s.
    TRS

  8. Editorial Says:

    Dear Frs Ron And Jim

    A careful reading of the statement will reveal that there is really nothing new here. For some Provinces, Lambeth participation is still conditional, as clearly stated in their previous statements (e.g. Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda).

    I don’t think any Primate is about to form something new. They remain as Anglicans and proud to be so, even if for some, one Lambeth has to be skipped if the ‘torn fabric’ condition is not healed by Sept etc.

    Nobody is being ‘proud’ here. we are all pained by the situation and seeking a healing, resolution and pastoral responses to those most affected.

  9. Hamish Says:

    It seems here that there is a Mark 7 situation here, where Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for “nullifying the Word of God by the traditions of men.” Thank GOd for the Global South, who are willing to stand on the Apostolic Word of God as opposed to bowing to the traditions of centuries, however tempting that may be. The tradition of the church must be said clearly to be wrong if it falls out of step with God’s plan for His church as layed out in Ephesians 4; that the church grows as the Word is faithfully taught; not corrupted to satisfy one’s own leaning to sin.

  10. The Rev. Jim Seagram Says:

    Tim, You are right to exult Holy Scripture. I believe you have mis-judged the communion though and set up a biased either/or that over simplifies the situation that Christ wants us to see. Have you read on this site, Ephraim Radner’s article, “The Common Cause of a Common Light”? Before you split, I think that the issues he addresses need sincere attention! In Him, Jim Seagram

  11. Norman McIlwain Says:

    The global south receives finance from the ‘decadent’ north. Will the ‘noble’ south cut off the financial support - or is this protest just so much hot air to pacify the laity? I hope the global southern Anglicans do not put monetary concerns before their stated principles, but I remain doubtful. I believe there will be just a lot of noise - then reasons given for extra patience to resolve the disputes.

    I am sorry to be so cynical.

    Norman McIlwain

  12. Editorial Says:

    This article is a fair and calm reading of the statement.

    http://www.livingchurch.org/publishertlc/viewarticle.asp?ID=3510

  13. Rev. Leonardo Marin Says:

    Latin-American Anglican Church

  14. Ford Elms Says:

    “be present but unable to participate in sacramental fellowship would all the more painfully demonstrate our brokenness. “

    Perhaps such pain is precisely what is needed at this juncture.

    “faithful Anglican leaders”

    This states that the people in TEC with whom you differ are “faithless”. Simply because they are remaining faithful to a vision of the Gospel that does not agree with yours does not make them “faithless”. Indeed, I would argue such continual accusations consitiute deliberate reviling, which Paul speaks just as loudly against as he does against homosexuality. The actions of TEC may have been precipitate and may not have taken full account of the hurt they would cause, but to characterize them as “faithless” for this is uncalled for. You may find some among their number who make extreme and even heretical statements. Catholic minded Anglicans could find the same thing among the more vocal Evangelicals you count among your supporters. That does not make all of you heretics, any more than the statements of, say, Spong, make them so. You may disagree with them, you may need to break communion with them, sad though that may be. If you are going to claim you are acting in accord with the dictates of the Gospel, it seems to me you should be seen to be acting in such a manner. Deliberately reviling those who disagree with you seems to run counter to that.

  15. dlpittsburgh Says:

    Frs Ron and Jim,

    Forcing the people of God to choose between the “Visible Church” and “God’s Word” is a painful and complicated issue indeed. It is just like the reformation period. Martin Luther concluded that a Church who is no longer governed by the Bible is no longer a Church at all.
    And Fr Jim,

    How can you say that there needs to be more time and more grace extended to the Episcopal Church? Thay have been given chance, after chance, after chance to stop what they are doing. At this very moment, the majority of the Episcopal Church bishops are planning a massive campaign to seize all the buildings and endowments from the conservatives, and the archbishop of Canterbury does and says nothing at all. ALL OF THE INSTRUMENTS OF COMMUNION HAVE SPOKEN AND THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH HAS RESPONDED CLEARLY WITH OPEN DEFIANCE! It seems to me that what the Global South Primates are doing is very Anglican.

    DL

    P.S. All the Orthodox on this blog, please pray for the Pittsburgh diocese. There is a massive spiritual attack upon the clergy and laity of the entire diocese that has increased drastically over the past two months.

  16. The Rev. Jim Seagram Says:

    Dear DLPittsburgh (15) and other readers, As a member of Essentials Canada and a grad of Wycliffe, Toronto, I think you make valid points in your comments. I agree with them and share your concern for the way TEC has responded and the spiritual attack underway in the Dio. of Pittsburgh. The call to prayer is the most relevant thought on this site. What is in my heart that I want you to hear is that our God is so very gracious and kind and has gone to such great sacrificial lengths to make us His Son’s bride. The way I want the Primates to extend time and grace to the very determined revisionists is by GOING to the once in ten year table called Lambeth and keep saying and calling for what God’s Word and Spirit proclaim. Persevere in doing good to those who persecute and/or hesitate to do what they ought to make this a more truly honest and fair process. Protest at Lambeth, expose these injustices at Lambeth. By all means represent the Truth with humble joy but no compromise but AT Lambeth. Give the leadership they are ordained to give IN the widest body possible. No eye for eye in our heart’s. Those still in the “conservative middle” ( that’s not the same as the fence top) at Lambeth, need the GS Primates there. Don’t abandon the wider body yet. It’s not good love or helpful in God’s corrective-redemptive plan for this part of His broken bride. Will someone please respond to the “heart” part of my plea. Global South Primates, please please please go to Lambeth. In Him, Jim Seagram

  17. dlPittsburgh Says:

    Rev Seagram

    Thank you for your kind response. Here is what I think is might be going on in the mind of the Global South Primates. The Dar Es Saalam Communique made it clear that the Episcopal Church needed to express repentance and a desire to stop actions that the majority of the communion feels are sinful and unbiblical. It appears that the disciplinary action that the Primates were going to count on aftter the September 30th deadline had passed, was the 2008 Labeth Conference invitations. Instead, the ABC decided to jump the gun and send out the invitations before September 30th. I remember when the invitations came out, I thought that it was a slap in the face to the Global South Primates. It was as if Rowan said, “It doesn’t really matter how the ECUSA house of bishops responds to the comminique requests, they will be coming to Lambeth anyway”. I think this is just how the GS Primates took it based on this document, especially paragraph 10. Therefore, I think the Primates are perfectly justified in their actions, especially becuase Rowan Williams has been continually trying to sabatoge the instrument of unity that has the best chance of undermining his “unity at all costs” policy, that is, the Primates meeting.

  18. The Rev. Jim Seagram Says:

    Dear DLP, Thanks, that is very helpful. To briefly further the discussion, I would want to say something about your phrase, the Primates are perfectly justified. My point works both ways, as well on the polity issue in Radner’s article and following comments as on this issue. Remember that our context is the Kingdom of God and our standard is Jesus. Jesus would have been perfectly justified to NOT go to the cross, but He did for Love’s sake. TEC and A. Rowan Williams may believe they are perfectly justified in acting against the jurisdiction violations of some of the African Primates, but for love’s sake they should not. And the GS Primates may feel that they are perfectly justified in staying away from Lambeth, but for Love’s sake they need to go. The Holy Spirit is all about God’s grace prevailing in the church, not offended reactions prevailing.What would/is Jesus telling the Primates to do? Regardless of what they are perfectly justified in doing,I believe they will serve Christ’s purpose better by displaying His grace and truth AT LAMBETH. When the church displays to the world that it lives the way of Jesus, God’s favour to reach the world with Jesus will be more strongly upon us. DLP, in the end we may disagree on what action the Primates should take, but if the world sees only offence and counter offence, ones rights verses anothers rights,then they will not know that the Kingdom of God is among them. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.I believe God’s will is for all the Global South Primates to go to Lambeth. Iam praying that they will know God’s will and follow. In Him, Jim Seagram

  19. Terence Chang MD Says:

    I am a member in Anglican Essentials Canada as well as the Anglican Network in Canada and our parish has been in the eye of this crisis in New Westminster since 2002.  From my personal perspective, I am very greatful for the clear and unambiguous statements from the GS Primates and I can assure you they have been extremely patient with the actions of those who have initiated the “tear in the fabric of the Anglican Communion” in the first place.  I feel the unilateral innovative actions of New Westminster and Canadian Synods are based on the struggle to incorporate today’s cultural rights and freedoms into a pastoral care model.  But we must be constantly reminded to view today’s complex situations through the lens of scripture, not the inverse.

  20. Sinner Says:

    We will pray for Pittsburgh, Dl, but we will not pray for protection, for safety, for peace.

    We will pray for war - that you may be victorious!

    We will pray for justice - that Calvary church and other parts of the vine that have borne bad fruit will soon be cut down and burned!

    And most of all, we will pray that you remember Lot’s wife: that your whole diocese flees ECUSA as Lot fled Sodom, and that no-one looks back

  21. dlPittsburgh Says:

    Thank you Sinner for the support. Just pray that as the diocese flees ECUSA that we don’t lose ALL of the church buildings and endowments at the same time, just out of spite. However, even if we do, God’s truth will prevail. There will just be an incredible amount of wounded, bitter and destroyed laity and clergy. I am a young man who feels a call to the priesthood in the midst of all this mess. And all of the sounds of battle draw me deeper into the call not further away from it. The mroe I think about that, the more I nkow it has to be God calling me.

  22. dlPittsburgh Says:

    Rev Seagram,

    I do admire your emphasis on patience and hope. But when does patience and hope become enabling sinful behavior to continue? Let’s say for sake of discussion that I agree with you and that Lambeth 2008 should have the GS Primate attend, Then what? What do you suggest should happen if the Episcopal Church Bishops refuse to repent and stop their innovative actions? Will you choose the Church or will you choose obedience to the Word of God? I don’t deny that this is a painful decision to make, but ultimately the visible Church must take second place if the leaders within it are into heresy. And by the way, And this is important for me, THIS WILL NOT BE A SCHISM, OR A RUPTURE, OR A SPLIT AS YOU CLAIM. It will a be REALIGNMENT. The unity and strength of the Anglican Communion will remain, and its unity to the world will actually be enhanced. Our witness to the world is hindered right now because of the Episcopal Church!!! The Anglicans will actually stand up for the Truth, and this is the most powerful witness that this postmodern world needs right now. So bascially, I disagree with the notion that unity at all costs is better than truth at all costs. And Jesus himself even said this when he stated he came not to bring peace but a sword.

  23. Gerry O'Brien, Newfoundland, Canada Says:

    Dear Old Acquaintance, Reverend Jim Seagram:

    I remember when, in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, you were doing your summer’s work (I think it was) in 1976.  I was so very impressed with your witness to the Glory of Jesus Christ and how you had met Him on the street in Toronto after you were attacked with a knife and nearly killed.  I am aware of the financial empire that you walked away from and that the Priest in Charge of St. Stephen’s in Swift Current was so happy to have you at his side for that brief time.  Your testimony was part of the witness that eventually brought me to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

    I also have become a very strong believer in the Old Testament Books such as Ezekiel, Samuel, Amos, etc.  In those Books and others, there is an amazing revelation about persons called “The Sons of Zadok” and eventually after studying them and the High Priesthood of Melchizidek (Note Zadok and Zidek) and go to the roots and find the relationship.  Sons of Zadok fight against the “Eli System” (remember Him {Eli} and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas and His grandson Ichabod)?  They were the System and they watched their Religious Empire crumble because of the way they wandered from God and God’s Truths.

    Todays North American Anglican Churches (TEC and ACC) are much like The Eli System of old.  One could easily say the the Eli System is alive and well in TEC and ACC and they are more interested in corruption and sin and finding ways to qualify their actions as being God’s will rather than facing the fact that their actions are those of Satan and no one else.  Ichabod means “The Glory is gone” and perhaps one could label the ACC as the Church called Ichabod today.

    Wake up!!  Even in Essentials we have people who want “more time” for the ACC when no more time (in my opinion) should be given.  The ACC has decided to walk apart; they just want others to appear to be the fallguy for them…..
    The Global South has not made that decision but their decision about Lambeth is (again in my opinion) correct.  TIME has run out, ACC and TEC do not need any more time, they need to walk alone (which is what they want) and those of us who wish to remain in the worldwide communion should be prepared to become part of Global South or Southern Cone…..JIM, be fully supportive of Essentials and even though you say you belong to Essentials, GET OFF THE FENCE).
    Become a Son of Zadok!!.  Stand up and shout, you who sin and continue to sin and expect it to be authorized by Canterbury and GS and SC….Get out and leave the rest of the Church to get on with going where we have to go. 

    I’m fed up with this asking for more time, being patient, etc.  Let’s get on with being a part of the Worldwide Communion and leave TEC and ACC to go their own misled way.

  24. Gerry O'Brien, Newfoundland, Canada Says:

    to dlpittsburg:
    In one or ten years from now, the church buildings etc. will not mean nothing.  New Church buildings will spring up, full of Scripture and Jesus Loving Christians who are unafraid of tithing and prayer and who will rebuild a much more glorious “Church” than the ones left behind because they instead of a building will be the real Church once again.

    Phinehas (The Presiding Bishop of TEC) and Hophni (The Primate of ACC) and Ichabod (the poor little Bishop of Diocese of Westminster)will fall with their Eli System….it may take 25, 50 or 100 years, but they will fall when God says, Enough is Enough and then God will look at the Sons of Zadok and say, Well done…..

    I cannot see losing sleep over Buildings when we should be building a new Church in North America which will have the freedom to be real Christians and Real believers in the Supremacy of Scripture and not be bowing down to the enemy any more.

  25. dlPittsburgh Says:

    Mr O’Brien

    I agree with you about the buildings. I am personally not tied down to any building becuase I have only been an Episcopalian for a few years. However, I am thinking of all the precious older folks who have raised their children and grandchildren and buried their husbands and wives on the church grounds. I am frankly tired of (and I am not saying that this was what you said) all these people passing judgment on the precious older generation (I am 25 years old by the way) who are deeply concerned about losing several generations of memories, sweat and tears simply because some liberal bishops think it is their duty to teach the conservative schismatics a lesson. These bishops who are planning to sieze property and assets from the orthodox will pay the price in judgment from God (on this earth, I am not saying they are beyond salvation). Furthermore, the new generation of clergy that are coming must be ready to minister to betrayed, hurting and disillusioned parish members and not be so eager to move onto new things that they forget about them.

  26. Fr. Ron Smith Says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Chriat,
    There seems to be an awful lot of Old Testament judgementalism in correspondence on this site. Is this an indication of the ‘Sauline’ theology being expressed in the Global South takeover bid in the world-wide Anglican Communion, I wonder?


    Where is the charity and humility of Christ of the Gospels in all of this? If we are to be guided in our co-redemption with Christ of God’s world by the Law rather than by Grace - this latter being Pauline theology - which one of us will be pure and holy enough to stand before God at the Day of Judgement?

    I understand the Gospel to be like ‘One poor person showing another poor person where to find bread’. The N.T. Benedictus Domine clearly states the mission of John the Baptist and of Christ (and of the Christian Church) in the words of the priest Zechariah: “To give knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins”. This must be seen in the context of our common sinful human nature requiring all us to repent of our sins.

    One of the sins that Jesus could not abide was that of hypocrisy. It was, very often the religious people of his day that Jesus had difficulty with. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, about to stone to death the woman caught in the act of adultery: “Which of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone”.

    Many stones continue to be cast, even amongst the family of Christ, in whom we once learned:‘there is no East nor West’ (nor yet a ‘Global South’)

  27. Gerry O'Brien, Newfoundland, Canada Says:

    Dear Father Smith:
    Perhaps if more of the Old Testament had been paid attention to over the past 5 or 10 decades we would not be in the conundrum that we are today!  All of this has not happened overnight and will not be “fixed” overnight or, I doubt it will be “fixed” in TEC or ACC except by way of an amazing Act of God.  It seems that man has taken upon himself to be in charge these days, doing the “nice” thing rather than doing the “right” thing. 

    If you call this Old Testament judgementalism, then so be it!  Was the Old Testament not what Jesus Christ studied as a youth and until He was crucified?  Did He not live as a Jew and die on the Cross as a Jew?
     
    I believe that Jesus found many of the answers that he used in His ministry from the teachings of the Old Testament, would you not agree?
    I also believe without question that He knew how to pray, How to ask His Heavenly Father to intercede and also to guide Him in His ministry.

    IF the leadership in TEC (Presiding Bishop) and ACC (ArchBishop Hiltz and his predecessor) had paid more attention to Scripture than to pushing the inordinate leanings of our present society, our Churches would not find themselves in the mess they are today. 

    I rather doubt that if Jesus Christ were to come today that He would show a lot of tolerance towards what is happening with the liberal views in the ACC or TEC.

  28. Mike Says:

    It is too late for TEC.  They roll in their money and use it to convince people to betray the Word of God.  They are guilty of Selective Interpretation and Selective Exclusivism.  In other words, all are welcome except for those who believe in the authority of Scripture.  They are Gnostics tried and true as they ignore sin in its most blatant form!! 

    Let them have their mortar and brick while the true Anglicans have church. 

    As far as Canterbury, there is no riding the fence.  Accept the fact that you have wiggled this way and that too many times.  Get with the program or step down. 

    Thank God for CANA!!!!!

    Science has produced no proof.  Even if homosexuality were because of some gene, that would not be justification for the lifestyle.  All of us are required to control how we live out our sexuality - no exceptions.

    Sincerely,
    Mike

  29. Fr. Ron Smith Says:

    Dear Gary O’Brien

    Yes, indeed, Jesus was a Jew, and as the only perfect Jew he managed to fulfil all of the ancient Law - only he could have done this, However, in the New Testament, he said to his disciples (whom he later made apostles): “A NEW Commandment I give to you - that you love one another. This is how (others) will know you are my disciples, that you LOVE one another.

    It does seem to me that Jesus, in matters of sexual impropriety, he always chided the accusers before advising the sinners to mend their ways. It seemed more important to Jesus to stem our natural talent for condemnation than our natural talent for sexual activity.

    What Jesus was really concerned about, surely, in sexcual as well as other matters, was the calculated exploitation of other people. About the situation of homosexuality, there seems to be no direct reference in scripture where Jesus says anything about it - except, perhaps, in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 19, verse 10 to 12. In his discourse to his disciples on the institution of marriage, Jesus then spoke of the ‘eunuchs’ - those not capable of, or not choosing to be parents. In verse 12 we hear these words: “There are eunuchs born from their mother’s womb; there are eunuchs made so by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

    We know, for instance, that in earlier times, men were made eunuchs who became the ‘castrati’. We knowe also that monks, nuns and celeibate clergy are of the second category. But who are those in the first category? Could they not be those whom we now may recognise as homosexual?

    Many Old Testament teachings were ignored by Jesus and, significantly, Saint Paul. Paul, however, was a human being straddling the world of Old and New theology. As a Jew, he would still have been constrained by certain of the Jewish traditions, notably the one that said anyone who did not produce children were in some way not fulfilling what was required of them (see the blighted lives of certain women of both Old and New Testaments). Jesus, however, apart from his recommendation of right behaviour in the state of marriage, said very little, if anything, about sexual behaviour outside of that norm. His words in Matthew 19, verse 12, leaves us with a certain ambivalence about relationships, all of which, however, must include the great commandment to love one another.

  30. dlPittsburgh Says:

    Fr. Smith,

    Thank you for joining in the conversation. I agree with you that “judgementalism” has no place in the body of Christ, but we need patience, love and gentleness as Paul exhorted TImothy. There are two comments in you last post that concern me.
    1. “It seemed more important to Jesus to stem our natural talent for condemnation than our natural talent for sexual activity.”
    I presume you are referring to John 7 and the woman caught in adultery. I agree that Jesus came against self-righteuosness where ever he found it. He also exhorted the sinful woman to “go and sin no more”. Furthermore, I find your interpretative grid for interpreting the words of Christ resembling Marcionism. Marcion’s basic framework of thought was that the God of the Old Testament was mean and judgmental, while the God of the New Testament was one of pure love and mercy. I am not saying that you believe in two Gods like Marcion did, but I am saying that you interpret the words of Christ as if they trump the entire Old Testament and render them null and void. However, the Old Testament speaks explicitly agaisnt homosexuality (I’m sure you are familiar with the passages)  and it also speaks against it implicitly. The implicit teaching is in the creation story where God’s act of creation was with Male and Female complementarity. Therefore, Jesus was upholding the teachings of the Old Testament, and it is incorrect exegesis to only take the Words of Christ as the sole source for Biblical Theology and belief. Rather, we must read the Words of Christ in light of the Old Covenant and vice versa; we must read the Old Covenant in light of Christ. The second comment puzzles me and I would ask you to please clarify.
    2. “Many Old Testament teachings were ignored by Jesus and, significantly, Saint Paul. Paul, however, was a human being straddling the world of Old and New theology. As a Jew, he would still have been constrained by certain of the Jewish traditions, notably the one that said anyone who did not produce children were in some way not fulfilling what was required of them (see the blighted lives of certain women of both Old and New Testaments).”

    What exactly are you saying about Paul? I don’t want to misrepresent you, but it sounds to me like you are saying his writings are merely human documents that respresent the cultural values of his day and age. The part that really concerns me is when you said “Paul, however, was a human being straddling the world of Old and New theology”. It sounds like your exegesis of Paul is governed by the principle that you can ignore any value judgment Paul makes if it conflicts with your view of cultural values in the 21st century. It also sounds like you are denying 20 centuries of Church teaching that says Paul’s letters are verbally inspired by the Spirit of God. Am I reading you correctly?

    Again, thanks for posting and lets all continue to meditate on First Corinthians chapter 13 and beg God to impart it into our lives.

  31. Gerry O'Brien, Newfoundland, Canada Says:

    dlpittsburgh: 
    Concerning the comments and your response to Fr. Smith - Ditto!!!  As you stated, we must go back to I Corinthians 13 (which I do confess I need to do more often) and communicate with more Christian love than not. 

    Fr. Smith - I have to ask you…. When are you fellows just plain “Going to get with the program”.  Yes Jesus commands us to love one another and I believe that He was commanding us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  When we decide to walk apart from each other by following false doctrine and false teachers, I am not convinced that we are any longer a Brother or Sister in Christ.

  32. The Rev. Jim Seagram Says:

    Hello again, I sent a response to a number of your comments, #s 19 to 24, but it seems to have been lost in cyber space and now I am time crunched and won’t be on line for several days. So, some very short notes: 19, Thanks. I agree with the idea that revisionists are trying to put cultural rights into pastoral care and hence the damaging “inverse”.  20, Yes, division is inevitable. We may be speaking from our “giftings” prophetic, pastoral etc.. Some emphasize truth , others grace. I am all for the least unnecessary pastoral damage possible in the process, that’s all. 21, Great, sounds like God. We’ll pray for your call discernment. Will the training you get match the context you’ll be serving and leading in? 22, The GS Primates will be led by the Spirit when they are there,no matter what the outcome, they need to be in the process. Please say more about your sense of what the big picture of realignment looks like. I’m very interested in your comment. Unity at any cost is, i agree, not unity and not biblical. Only don’t underemphasize the big cost to God of real unity,that’s all. 23 Gerry hello, Briefly, 1 I need to clarify privately some of your understanding of my testamony. I’m glad you have come in faith to Christ. 2 Sons of Zadok. Yes a division is coming. 3. Do you criticize anyone who is in the Essentials Federation for being on the fence? I believe you are jumping to too many conclusions about others based on these brief comments. Speak your heart by all means. Sound the trumpet, yes.You might help your cause by letting God give you more 1Cor13 for the sinners whose sins are the issue (and keep in mind the non flesh and blood aspect of this, Eph 6)For my part, I need to be on my knees alot more for all of this. God is the lord of this mess and He will guide, but I believe He is asking us to PRAY,LOVE and OBEY. Must go now. Bless you all. In Him, Jim Seagram

  33. Mike Says:

    There is nothing in Scripture that speaks against homosexuality?  Okay, let’s see, “a man shall not lie with a man as with a woman.” 

    Are gay men living in platonic relationships?  Why marry or be joined in some kind of civil union. 

    Judgement?  Yes, we are to judge, especially with righteous judgement.  The assumption that a Christian is not supposed to declare a right and wrong is absolutely crazy!  Paul seems to encourage Christians to be more concerned about the willingness of Christians to hold each other accountable and not so much concerned about judging nonbelievers.  I believe Paul would say that a Christian is not to eat with a fellow believer who is intentionally living in sin.  It is that serious.

    Sincerely,
    Mike

  34. Tim Smith Says:

    NEW TESTAMENT GUIDELINES FOR ADDRESSING
    FALSE TEACHING AND DOCTRINE

    The Holy Scriptures of the New Testament address the matter of false teaching, a different gospel and false prophets. We provide the following Biblical passages (from the New American Standard Version unless noted otherwise) to assist in your personal prayers and decision as to how to respond to the false teaching and practice in ECUSA today.

    I. Our Responsibility

    “Judge with Righteous Judgment” (John 7:24)

    It is appropriate to observe the Biblical distinction between judging as condemning a person’s soul—which is clearly God’s role—from the Biblical mandate for Christians to judge as in distinguishing between right and wrong, between good and evil. “The Lord will judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10: 30). The matter of eternal judgment of a person to his or her eternal fate is rightfully reserved to God alone. Nevertheless, He desires of His people to know the difference between that which is right and that which is wrong and to live that which is moral and good by forsaking that which is immoral and evil.

    So often one encounters someone citing the Biblical passage: “Judge not, lest you be judged” as if the Christian is to have nothing to do with any kind of judging or judgment process. This is unfortunate since Holy Scripture is quite clear that it is the responsibility of every Christian to “discern between good and evil” as Solomon prayed to the Lord (I Kings 3:9).

    From the New Testament, we are admonished by our Lord to “[t]ake heed that no one leads you astray” (Matthew 24:4). In order to do so, Jesus implored his followers: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). In fact at Luke 12:57, Jesus asks: “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right ?”  He approves of one of Simon Peter’s judgments by affirming him and saying: “You have judged rightly” (Luke 7:43). See also, Luke 13:57; I Cor. 5:9-13.

    “The spiritual man is to judge all things” declares the Apostle Paul at I Corinthians 2:15. Otherwise we would all be “children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles” (Ephesians 4:1).

    Clearly when Paul spoke of judging those “inside” the church he qualified that judgment in many ways. Judgment should be implemented (1) in a spirit of gentleness and an awareness that one’s own self is vulnerable to temptation (Galatians 6:1); (2) in a mournful manner (1 Corinthians 5:2) and with regard for the offender as a brother and not an enemy (2 Thessalonians 3:15); (3) out of a desire to reclaim the offender for God’s kingdom rather than punitively condemn the offender to hell; (4) with a zeal to restore him quickly and enthusiastically to the community following repentance (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; 7:8-13); and (5) in proportion to the recalcitrance of the offender and the severity of the offense (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 5:1-2). Yet, equally as clearly, Paul insisted that the church do its job of judging those within the community of faith who have deviated from Biblical norms. Anything less would be unloving.


    II. As to proclamation of another or different Gospel

    Galatians 1:6-10: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached, let him be accursed [fn: Gk:anathema] ... For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men ? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

    I John 1:1-7, especially verses 5-7: ” And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth, but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

    II Corinthians 11:3-4: “But I am afraid that ... your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we have preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” [NIV] 

    II John 7-11, especially verse 10-11: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching [of Christ], do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting, for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”

    See I Timothy 4:1-3 and Romans 1: 21-32, especially verse 32: “though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them, but approve those who practice them.” [RSV]

    III. As to false doctrine, teachers and prophets

    Christians are warned by Jesus in Matthew 7:15-16 to “beware of the false prophets.”

    I John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God: and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist of which you have heard that is coming, and now it is already in the world.”

    II Peter 2:1-4, 9-10: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment ... then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.” 
    In Galatians 2:4, Paul issues a warning concerning those who would go beyond the word of God in placing rules upon the faithful that “it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even one hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.” 

    I Timothy 1:1-5 finds Paul urging Timothy to remain in Ephesus “in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” See also, I Timothy 6:3-6.

    See also II Corinthians 4:1-2, I Corinthians 15:33-34 and Titus 1:12-16.

    I Corinthians 6:18: “Flee immorality.”  In this regard, I Thessalonians 4:2-8 reads: “For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenue in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”

    IV. The Christian’s Calling

    II Corinthians 6:17-7:1: “‘Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises separating ourselves from darkness, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

  35. Mike Says:

    Tim:  Great work!!

    The theology coming out of a lot of mainline denominations is shallow and built on sand.  What they proclaim is music to the ears, but disaster to the soul. 

    I am burnt out on a lot of the mystical language professors use, but their theological positions are not solid. 

    I am convinced that many of them are resurrecting old heresies because Christendom has already experienced what is now being pushed in so called free thinking institutions. 

    Mike

  36. The Rev. Jim Seagram Says:

    Yes Tim, Very Helpful. To further the discussion, take 2John7-11. Don’t even greet the one who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ or you will share in his wicked work. The psalmist in #119 says that the sum of thy word is truth. From your list we can see just how much scripture is leading one in this issue. What we want to avoid is using scripture as the pharisees did to try to tell Jesus to avoid associating with sinners. They had the scripture to back up their claim and Jesus had scripture to back up His action, but only Jesus was listening to the Spirit of the scripture, God’s heart for the lost. 2John and Jesus at the sinner’s party are indeed two different situations, but my point is to follow the Spirit of the scripture in its widest scriptural meaning and not use the letter of the law to block the Spirit’s purpose in dealing with others. Scripture is our guide under the direction of the Holy Spirit. I am advocating for relational sensitivity (pastoral grace) in living the guidance of scripture. I am NOT advocating ignoring or compromising the scripture in favour of people pleasing. Love and Truth kiss in the Word! Judge rightly, administer it humbly, prayerfully and letting all relevant scripture guide our words and attitude and actions. In Him, Jim S.

  37. Mike Says:

    I used to ignore the homosexual push in my denomination for over 20 years.  However, I have become more vocal and challenged their ideology because there is a continuous feeling and belief that the way their applications are not entirely accurate.  I have this uncomfortable feeling that they, gay activists, push a faith contrary to the Holy Spirit and to the Word.  They take words like love, grace, law, regeneration and give each a spin that does not make sense. 

    THere was a Lutheran theologian by the name of Dr. Walther who dealt with the subjects of Gospel and Law in the latter 1800s.  HIs work is solid.  He said that the person who understands Gospel and Law deserves a Doctorate Degree.  The title of the book is Rightly Dividing the Gospel and the Law.

    Also, nobody really debates moral implications of living that kind of lifestyle; an example of denying children the basic right of getting to know a father who was a sperm donor.  Far fetched?  No. These cases actually exist.  These children are robbed of their right to know.  This is a huge area with plenty of traps. I am sure the Holy Spirit has plenty to say about that.

    It seems to me that the more wealth we accumulate, the more we know about science and what we can do, the more spiritually bankrupt we become.  Humans have always had the tendency to say to God, as a 3 year-old child says to a parent, “I can do it all by myself.” 

    Please God save us from ourselves!

    As far as religious institutions and territorial issues, well, no denomination has a monopoly. 

    Mike

  38. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    May God grant grace to those who hold fast His Word in love.

  39. Chip+ Says:

    We are coming from the Continuum and are delighted at the Godly leadership, Scriptural focus and committment to holiness we discovered in CANA leadership and staff. We’re also praying that God move by His Spirit in a powerful way among His people, so we can all work together for the Mission of the Church. Nothing else matters. I would urge us to be sure we love all our TEC/Canterbury brethren and love the Lord, as we follow Him with all that we are. Everything else will fall into place in His time. Prayer is the key, beloved!

  40. Felmersham Says:

    I was brought up in a fundamentalist, Southern Baptist congregation, of which my grandfather was pastor, in a tiny rural community in North Carolina.  Everyone could quote scripture inside out and recite it till the cows come home, but as I approached the age of decision, of believer’s baptism, I felt increasingly uncomfortable, something wasn’t right.  In Church people would go on about how God loves everybody, then it would be “nigger this and nigger that”.  Even at 14 I knew something was wrong with this picture.

    I drifted for a couple of years, then falling back on my Grandmother’s English roots, went one Sunday to the local Episcopal Church.  There, to my surprise, blacks and whites worshipped together, the only place in the whole county.  Old plantation families rubbed shoulders with hippies, black, white, old, young, straight and gay - all together in the Body of Christ gathered around his table.  Instead of quoting scripture they were living it out, proclaiming God’s love.  The Episcopal Church has been my home ever since.  I can’t help but find it ironic that some of these wealthy Virginians whose families once owned vast numbers of African slaves and fought hard to keep Segregation are now bowwing and scrapping to an African archbishop.  Priceless!

    Why should the Communion founder on this particular issue?  Homosexuality is not that important in the scheme of things, the behavior of a small minority.  It begs the question, “where was the Anglican Church when it was profitting from the slave trade, its ships sailing from Bristol and Liverpool, where was it when Empire invaded foreign countries and exploited their people and took their resources, where was it when women were relegated to the sidelines within the Church lest they contaminate its Holy Mysteries, where was the Church in Rwanda during the genocide, and where is it today in Mugabe’s regime?” I do know where the Anglican Communion is as thousands continue to perish in the highways and byways of the world of hunger, disease, and endless warfare.  The Communion is busy at their conference tables and talking shops selling out their brothers and sisters and grappling for power, instead of sharing the Good News that our world is so desperate to hear. 

    What are we going to say when we are all called before God to give account for all we’ve done, the opportunites he gave us we ignored, and the love we failed to share?  How shall we ever stand before Love Unbounded and not be found wanting, realising too late that all people are worthy of our love and attention, and wishing we could go back and do things differently?  Judgement, yes there will be judgement, and it will be terrible indeed when all those who might have heard us speak the words of salvation, but didn’t, stand as witnesses against us.  Will our squabbles be worth it then?  As Shakespeare has the Prince of Verona say, ” ..a plague on both your houses!”
    Felmersham

  41. Mike Says:

    It seems as though there is a lot of confusion in the comment above.  Are we talking about civil rights or free exercise of religion.  Are we going to say that Scripture has authority or celebrate and live a life that denies the authority of Scripture (it always feels better when we can point to the sins of others).  Are we talking about love that compels one to be a prophet or a superficial love that says everybody is right for the sake of inclusiveness?

    I can say that something is terribly wrong with a lot of liberal mainline protestant denominations these days.  Heck, they are leading toward complete freedom where anybody can claim to be Christian and anybody for any reason can deny what Scripture really says.  Seems like those who want to venture in uncharted waters don’t really care where the current and wind take them. 

    It is a shame that some clergy and laity in liberal churches, under the banner of inclusiveness and civil rights, will, should they get their way, eventually take away the freedom ordained clergy and laity have to disagree with homosexuality.  In fact, the church will later on remove ordained clergy who refuse membership to a homosexual person.  It is naive to believe that denominations long ago approved of the lifestyle.

    Nondenomitional churches are fulfilling what wealthy denominations are refusing to do because they will spread the message about salvation.

    Mike

  42. Mike Says:

    THe Episcopal CHurch, TEC (I no longer consider a part of the Anglican Communion regardless of what TEC clergy say) are doing the very thing that Scripture speaks against - false doctrine.  The assumption that homosexuality is no big problem is far from the truth.

    I also find it amazing that the homosexual numbers are considerably small, but their push is creating an incredible amount of damage.  Seems typical attitude of these kind of groups. 

    Ultimately, homosexuality and lesbianism is contrary to Scripture and what I believe is the will of God.  If that is what the church chooses to approve of, then my children will belong to no such community of faith.

  43. Mike Says:

    Sorry about my grammar.  I am not awake yet.

  44. Gerry O'Brien, Newfoundland, Canada Says:

    Felmersham said…
    “The Episcopal Church has been my home ever since.  I can’t help but find it ironic that some of these wealthy Virginians whose families once owned vast numbers of African slaves and fought hard to keep Segregation are now bowwing and scrapping to an African archbishop.  Priceless!”

    Unbelieveable that you would say what you have Felmersham…the TEC and ACC should be bowing to the African Archbishop and others who are “standing on the Word of God” as their guiding light and on the teachings of Jesus Christ.  TEC and ACC are drifting to far from the shore and will see their ships sinking along with all their vast wealth.  You are a bigot and should bow to The Lord God Almighty in repentance and beg forgiveness.

    MIKE:  Ditto.

  45. Mike Says:

    Here is the Political Correctness and the hypocrisy I see going along with it that ultmately drags down our nation:

    1)  Right of a woman to get an abortion over the right of the innocent, helpless life who is given no choice.  The father of that child is given no choice. All-the-while antiwar protestors scream against the Bush administrations while ignoring the silent cry of the helpless being murdered.

    2)  Lawyers robbing the Catholic Church of 40% of the 660 million paid out by the Church for those who were abused.  I am sure those attorneys will use the money to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, and help those with mental illness (even our clergy).  We really know that Lawyers run our country.  Heck, they can even create their own jobs.  Where would we be today if we actually had more scientists and engineers than lawyers?

    3) Compromise of our national border because of political figures who are more interested in giving amnesty to people who enter this country illegally while others who follow and obey our laws in order to come to our country are stalled and beat up with red tape.  Hang on, I have not even mentioned those who want to adopt children and have to abide by the laws of two countries coupled with State laws.  How much does a couple who adopts a child and brings the child to this country have to pay a lawyer in order to get a birth certificate?  How about $1,000?  This does not include any fees paid prior to, during, and after the adoption such as a 1 year period of observation by a social worker.  An illegal immigrant can cross the border, and give birth at a local hospital.  I wonder what she pays for a birth certificate.

    4)  I am tired of hearing liberal church leaders scream about the rights of the less forunate and scream against the imperialistic way of our country only to turn around and try to restrict clergy from Africa who have appointed bishops to evangelize our nation! This is not right. 

    God Bless
    Mike

  46. Felmersham Says:

    Mr. O’Brien, the Honorable Gentleman must understand that I am no bigot.  Furthermore bows are reserved for my Lord and Saviour, not mere men, even if they are Archbishops. 

    As for myself, I am an Anglican in the vein of Richard Hooker; Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.  Scripture has pride of place, of course, but we must not turn these three into idolatry if we are to follow the Living Word, Jesus Christ.  He is constantly opening our eyes to his truth.  Truth itself does not change, only our apprehension of it; “..blessed is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock”, there in black and white, but can it be God’s will?  Do you really believe that the universe was created in six days, that woman created from Adam’s rib is therefore inferior, and accepts and sanctions the institution of human slavery?  Many Anglicans apparently do.  I would hope you don’t, but it begs the question, “What do you use to interpret scripture?”. 

    Where were you all when bishops and others were denying the historicity of the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, and the historical life of Jesus?  I once sat through a sermon in London the First Sunday of Christmas where the preacher told us Luke’s infancy narrative was largely the product of a Zorastrian myth.  This in what had hitherto been a very sound parish.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  The rot set in long before we started being kind to women and homosexuals.

    Mike, nondemominational churches may very well be places of nurture for many, but as an Anglican you must realize that there are serious questions regarding the validity of their sacraments, especially when a lay person presides at the Eucharist.  I would not encourage any Anglican, however disaffected, to abandon our faith.

    I have no quarrel with anyone that is worthy of denying my love for my fellows.  I respect the differences of opinion in our Communion, trusting that the One whose name we share is stronger, far stronger, than the raging of our human emotions and opinions.  I must beg your leave for fear that I am turning into yet another angry old man with nothing better to do than grind axes.  There is a sermon waiting to be written and souls yet to be saved.  Yours in Christ, Felmersham.

  47. Mike Says:

    Thanks Rev. Felmersham.  Essentially I don’t like division and I truly believe doctrine unites. 

    I am sometimes rather emotional because I feel a deep sense of loss even in my own tradition - the roots of my tradition go back to England. I also though I could count on my Council of Bishops, but they, for whatever reason I just don’t understand, seem to be taking the path of least resistance. The faith I had in the Episcopal structure is very weak at best.

    In the past, during my college days, I was trusting and too naive about where some of our church leaders were heading.  My uneasiness has slowly grown over the years.  I can say that I have certainly gained a lot of insight the last 3 years.  I have also done a lot more studying and a lot more praying for fear that our community of faith will not be able to hold together. 

    I am sure you are no bigot and would certainly not resort to name calling.  I apologize even if that were implied.

    Mike

  48. Gerry O'Brien, Newfoundland, Canada Says:

    Rev. Felmersham:  I must ask you for your forgiveness.  I misread your statement and I truly do apologize.

    I do disagree with you however in your discussion about the non-denominational churches or at least some of them.  In many parts of the Country, they are the ones that are carrying the torch and speaking the Truth….not some nice words, but the right words.  And if I am wrong about this, then so be it, because a person is Laity and giving Eucharist, where does it say that this is wrong.  I don’t think Jesus said any such thing…just people making rules for Churches…Roman Catholic, Anglican, whatever.
    If the body is broken in reverence and a liturgy is followed that is directed towards the absolute sovereignty of Jesus Christ…Is this not enough.
    It is the misdirected Church that is doing the twisting, not some Church of Jesus Christ that is following Him rather than some misguided Parish Priest or Diocesan Bishop.
    Yours in Christ Jesus,

  49. Father Ron Smith Says:

    To Mike and Gerry (in Particular)

    The problem with evangelical piety is that it can sometimes err on the edge of bibliolatry - that is, idolatry of the Bible. What must be remembered is that the Word of God was not meant to remain between the covers of a book - holy as that book might seem to be - especially to certain scholars of the Church.

    Saint John’s Gospel makes this quite clear in the very first chapter of that book: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” showing us the fulness of the Glory of God, in whom there is no darkness. Christ is the Light of the World, also the Bread of Life. In him, says Saint Paul, is all the fullness of God; a demonstration of God’s perfect love for all humanity.

    In other words, the Book is a guide only to the ultimate reality of the God who has - according to orthodox Christian theology - been revealed to us once ands for all at the Incarnation of his Blessed Son, Jesus Christ - Word-made-flesh!

    History tells us that humankind is afflicted with the sin of Adam (disobedience), and that we need the grace of God (in Christ) to regain our sense of intimacy with God as (his) children. Baptism and Eucharist are God’s appointed avenue to the salvation that Christ has already secured (One perfect, sufficient and satisfactory oblation, once offered, for the sin of the (whole) world.

    My question is, where does the denial of one’s God-given sexual orientation and identity fit into this plan of salvation? Does one deny one’s God-given biological nature? Ask any gay person who has wrestled with the reality of his/her sexual nature, and find out whether they are still able to listen to the quasi-gospel of those whose eyes are blind to the infinite variety of God’s creation. What we are is what God has given to us; what we do with it is something else. May God have mercy on us all!

  50. Tim Smith Says:

    What sort of poppy-cock is this ?
    “Baptism and Eucharist are God’s appointed avenue to the salvation that Christ has already secured….”

    Talking about revisionism !!!

    Just eliminate faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, His call to come to Him in faith and to follow Him. Might as well do away with most of the New Testament while one is at it - certainly Paul’s epistles must be jettisoned.

    Then one can start one’s own little sect. One could call it ‘Sloppy Agape Church’ with an appropriate motto like ‘Just B&E For Me: Forget Faith and Forget the Faith.’

    Having done away with the cardinal tenet of Christianity, ignoring the founding Biblical principle of the Reformation is easy. Oh, that would be ‘bibliolatry’ wouldn’t it. Heavens forbid.

    If the poppy-cock wasn’t so real, it’d be surreal.

    God will not be mocked!

    You have been warned. Repent and return to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word and to His words.

    You will be in my prayers this evening.

    TRS
    Ephesians 2:8

  51. Mike Says:

    Thanks Father Ron.  However, I can’t accept that kind of message.  I believe there are a lot of false assumptions such as believing God’s will is involved if one believes himself to be gay.  It is too bad the “I’m gay” is more important to them than “I am a child of God.”  However, the child of God phrase used in the N.T. is used in a strict way. 

    A lot of the Old is quoted in the New.  Yes, I take seriously passages of Scripture that says it is an abomination to God.  In fact, it seems as though the New Testament expands on this by declaring that a woman shall not have unnatural relations with another woman. 

    The Book of Acts says that Gentiles did not have to follow Jewish observances, but laws regarding sexual immorality were still applicable. 

    I don’t hate all those who are GLBT, but I do find the lifestyle repulsive and is nothing I will approve of for myself and for my family.  Bishops might be able to ignore the protest, which means, communion or no communion, there will be the remnant from each denomination who will eventually walk away (they can keep their money and their buildings).  I used to abhor this, but it does not bother me as much anymore.  I think Bishops are losing a lot of ground and some people will begin to question a lot about how money is spent and where it is going. 

    Ultimately, this supposed “progressive” claim is not a strong argument and is an insult, a slap-in-the-face to conservatives. 

    I think you will at least take comfort in the fact that I also believe in the Gospel of John and in the Word becoming flesh. 

    The grace of God is used and abused today.  It seems to me like it has become cheap.  Seems like a lot of folks are using the “where sin abounds grace abounds even more” as a “I can do whatever I want because I will be forgiven.”  I think Scripture also speaks against that. 

    For me, Scripture is primary and will always be that way.  Otherwise, professors in our once esteemed theological training and clergy alike will continue to put a new spin and twist on justifying what sin is.

    Perhaps, out of God’s pure pleasure, he will see the intent of my heart and grant his blessing to me as he did to the thief on the cross who was not baptized and had not taken communion.

    Friend, don’t worry, because those who remain faithful to Scripture will eventually experience their own suffering.  I am sure the elite in our wealthy denominations will find a way to get rid of them. 

    I have heard enough and said enough.  Peace.

    Mike

  52. The Rev. Jim Seagram Says:

    To #49, Fr. Ron re ” Ask any gay person “. Ron, have you talked to any of the “gay” clergy and lay folk in the Zacchaeus Fellowship from Canada? They do not fit the image of a gay person under which you seem to be operating and presenting. I will try to find and send you the contact info. Their voice is rarely heard in the “open” forum and sometimes blocked at synods. They have and are an important message! In Him, Jim Seagram

  53. Ralph W. Davis Says:

    Father Ron,

    I think if one steps back the issue is fundamentally what exactly is the authority of scripture, and, what is our nature as human beings, fallen, from the time of Adam?

    “My question is, where does the denial of one’s God-given sexual orientation and identity fit into this plan of salvation?”

    Classical Anglican theology has always said we as humans have inherited a fallen nature, or to put it in modern terms, all of us have an “orientation” toward sin, due to our inheritance from Adam.  No one, excepting Jesus alone is exempt from this nature and no one, excepting Jesus, due to his conception by the Holy Spirit, is a direct creation of God. 

    So, if we assume homosexuals were born with those desires (not necessarily a proven assumption, but for the sake of argument I’ll grant it), did God make a mistake in creating them so?  Of course not, any more than the person who was born nearsighted, or with a cleft-pallet, is a “mistake” in the ultimate providence of God, but neither are they direct creations…they have inherited problems.

    Whether those who have homosexual desire were born that way, or were formed that way by the way they were raised, is immaterial.  Why?  Because EVERYONE is a sinner, inclined, or with an orientation to some pattern of sin. 

    Personally I think I may have a ‘polygamous’ orientation… But no Christian Church I know of worth the name would allow me to show up for the Eucharist with a different female-mate every weekend giving the lame excuse “Well, it’s just my orientation.  Since I was 14 years old, I’ve had desires for sex with different women, and of course God doesn’t make mistakes, He made me what I am, I was born that way.”

    “Does one deny one’s God-given biological nature?”

    All the time, otherwise I’d be a serial adulterer.  Wouldn’t you? 

    “Ask any gay person who has wrestled with the reality of his/her sexual nature, and find out whether they are still able to listen to the quasi-gospel of those whose eyes are blind to the infinite variety of God’s creation.”

    I really cannot see how the variety of creation has anything to do with the variety of temptations each of us must face.  Your temptations are not identical to mine, never-the-less we both know how to please our Savior by what Holy Scripture has told us what is acceptable behavior.  This issue is about how one reacts to desire, sinful desire…and that is the very heart and soul of ethics.

    The good news of Jesus is that he will free us from our slavishness to sinful desires—and their ultimate consequence, death and hell. This is exactly what most unhappy homosexuals are looking for, hope that change is possible.


    “What we are is what God has given to us; what we do with it is something else.”

    Everyone is held to the same standard, it is not discriminating—even though each of us faces different patterns of temptation.

    “May God have mercy on us all!”

    Indeed He has already, in Christ.  But faith in Him, proven by our obedience to the charity of His word, that’s right, CHARITY, what James called the “Law of Love” exhibited in the two great commandments, and spelled out in the 10 Commandments, and in more detail in the sexual commands of the bible, Old Testament and New, is the way God’s people love God, and each other.

    Peace be unto you.

  54. Craig Goodrich Says:

    Ford Elms asserts,

    Simply because they are remaining faithful to a vision of the Gospel that does not agree with yours does not make them “faithless”.

    If what the leadership of ECUSA adheres to is a “vision of the Gospel” then Tropic of Cancer is a vision of The Wizard of Oz.  They are certainly not faithless in any absolute sense—they have a great and undying faith in the UN, for example—but whatever their faith may be, it bears no relationship whatever to any recognizable form of Christianity that has existed over the last two thousand years.

    If the official teachings of 815 and the Domestic & Foreign Missions Society are permitted to become associated with the Anglican Communion, then the Communion itself will have ceased to exist as a distinctive unit within world Christianity; it will have become simply an international association of independent spiritual clubs, with less in the way of coherence than Rotary International.

    Somehow or other the Anglican Communion Office has managed (for the moment) to convince +++Rowan that the Global South is just bluffing.  It is marvelously heartening to read this statement; the Primates have my prayers—and my gratitude.

  55. Mike Says:

    Ralph,

    You explained it better than I did.  Thanks.

    Mike

  56. Ralph W. Davis Says:

    Thanks Mike, but we made different arguments for the same goal, obedience to our Savior, known by scripture first, then Christian communal experience (tradition), and common sense (reason).  (Hooker properly understood, was right.)

    How folks can take an ethic, no older than the 1960s, and act like it is self-evident—and all who oppose it are somehow bigoted, I’ll never know.  Sin blinds as well as binds methinks.