The Episcopal Church, withering away in terms of numbers of members in this country, is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, whose spiritual leader is the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Rowan Williams. The American branch abandoned a certain fealty to Scripture when it not just tolerated, but celebrated, the ordination of a practicing homosexual as a bishop. But, hey, what’s Scripture when compared to self actualization and being who you want to be?
Regardless of one’s stand on homosexuality, you can’t square a circle. Put differently, you can’t sustain two mutually exclusive beliefs at the same time. If one is to be a Christian, there are those annoying Scripture verses that condemn homosexual behavior in the strongest possible terms.
Note that all-important word, “behavior.” God loves all of us, regardless of our sinful natures. At the same time, God hates the sins we commit. Homosexual behavior is sinful, do the math…We are not entitled to simply ignore inconvenient or politically incorrect Scripture.
Put differently: you don’t have to agree with Scripture’s black-letter meaning, but you also should not call yourself a Christian if you do not.
Here is where otherwise well-meaning (or, perhaps agenda-driven) Episcopalians want to have it both ways. And, as a result, are seeing more faithful (to Scripture) parishes split, and, in a reversal of historic roles, attach themselves to African churches. You see, the United States has become a missionary field for Scripturally-based African, especially Nigerian, churches.
At the same time, with the elevation of a dedicated liberal, and a woman at that, to be presiding bishop of the American branch, some conservative bishops have had enough. From this AP story, they’ve even gone to the length of refusing to take communion with the liberals:
Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, who has called the acceptance of gay relationships a “satanic attack” on the church and who now leads a rival network formed by conservative Anglicans in the U.S.
On Friday, Akinola led seven conservative archbishops in refusing to take communion with [TEC Presiding Bishop] Jefferts Schori.
Well, perhaps Archbiship Akinola is over the top with that “satanic attack” business. And, perhaps, he has not shown what Rowan Williams properly has called “humility.” Further, any Christian who refuses to take communion with another he regards as a sinner (clearly Akinola’s brief) is, at best, a hypocrite.
As Rowan Williams said, “There is one thing that a bishop should say to another bishop — ‘That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great savior.'” Jesus, as usual set the standard, and it is relayed in this story from the Gospel of John, chapter 8:
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her…
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
The message? All are welcome at Jesus’ table. But they must go and sin no more. This is the part that today’s Episcopal liberals simply don’t accept.