ALBANY, NY: Bishop Affirms Heterosexual Marriage, Condemns Homosexual Lifestyle
Homosexuals Need our Compassion and Love Not Affirmation of Unbiblical Behavior, Says Bishop Love
By David W. Virtue
The Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. William Love, told more than 900 delegates to the 140th Annual Diocesan Convention in Speculator, NY, last night that the appropriateness or inappropriateness of homosexual relations is really a symptom of a far greater issue centered on one's understanding of Holy Scripture and its authority in our life.
"Is the Bible really the Word of God, or is it simply a creation of man? Does it apply to us today, or was it simply for the people at the time in which it was first spoken or written? Does it have authority over our lives, or can we simply pick and choose those parts we like and ignore the rest? Depending on one's answer to these questions, determines to a great extent how we understand the other issues that are dividing and threatening to destroy the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion," he said.
Love condemned culturally relativistic interpretations of Scripture saying that God was not limited in His understanding of human sexuality when He condemned homosexual behavior in Leviticus 18 and Romans 1 and modern societies' enlightened understanding of human sexuality.
Love reminded the delegates of the Nicene Creed regarding the words of creation and condemned notions that same sex relationships is a "gift" and shot down the so-called scientific notion that homosexuals are born that way.
"To the best of my knowledge, there is no genetic link that has been discovered. In regard to God creating people homosexual in orientation, Matthew 19 makes a strong case against such an argument. 'Haven't you read, 'that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female...for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.'"
Love pressed his point saying that the Book of Common Prayer makes reference to a passage in Genesis that Jesus quotes in Matthew 19.
"The Church has always taught that marriage is intended to be between a man and a woman, and that such marriage is ordained by God. The current move to legalize homosexual marriages and make them the equivalent to heterosexual marriages is a new development and has no scriptural support or previous cultural support."
Love said this is turning marriage into something, which God never intended it to be. He called the legal and societal ramifications of homosexual marriages "potentially devastating" and "the greatest tragedy," especially if the church starts blessing such unions. "Couples will be lured into believing that their lifestyle is in accordance with God's will, even though Holy Scripture speaks aga9inst it. They will be living in a state of sin, seeing no need for repentance, thus denying themselves of our Lord's forgiveness - the forgiveness he made possible 2000 years ago on the cross."
Referencing the "justice" issue, Love acknowledged that people of homosexual orientation have often been treated shamefully throughout history. The church has been guilty of turning a blind eye in the past, not speaking out against the physical and verbal abuse aimed at "our homosexual brothers and sisters". He said the Baptismal covenant demands that we strive for justice and peace among all people, which includes "our homosexual brothers and sisters."
Conversely, Love said that it is "unfortunate", that in making up for past injustices, the church has gone too far by embracing and encouraging people in a lifestyle which God, through Holy Scripture has spoken against.
"This is to do them a great injustice. We can love the person without embracing the lifestyle. As Christians, we pledge to support and uphold one another in our life in Christ. Sometimes, the greatest love and support we can show a person is the hardest. To speak out against that which we believe is wrong is never easy, but often is the very thing that most needs to be done."
Love said the two diocesan resolutions, affirming marriage between a man and a woman and to be eligibilible for ordination one has to either be married (man and woman) or celibate, are not intended to be divisive. They are to provide clarity in a time when there is great confusion within the Episcopal church, as well as the Anglican communion concerning marriage and sexual relations outside of the confines of marriage between a man and a woman.
"The wider Anglican Communion needs to know where the Diocese of Albany stands on these issues. As your bishop, I have pledged to support and uphold that which was asked of us in the Windsor Report.
"The proposed canons are consistent with past and current diocesan policy and are not in violation or a contradiction of National church canons," he concluded.
The bishop received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his address.
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