SOUTH EAST ASIA DELEGATE SAYS SEXUALITY ISSUE IS DRAGGING CHURCH TO SLOW DEATH
By David W. Virtue
NOTTINGHAM (6/23/2005)--In what is undoubtedly the toughest statement yet to emerge from the Anglican Consultative Council meeting here, the lay delegate from South East Asia, accused the North American Churches of dragging the Communion to a slow death over homosexual behavior.
"The Anglican Communion is on trial. Let there be no pretence about this. The survival of the Communion from this trial depends on the will and courage of the rest of the Communion to deal with the recalcitrance of ECUSA and Canada, correctly and firmly in the quickness of time," said Mr. Stanley Isaacs, lay delegate and lawyer from Kuala Lumpur.
He blasted the Episcopal and Canadian churches saying that those who insist on innovations and the inclusion of practices and doctrines rejected by the Bible need to realize that they are helping to drag the Church to a slow death. "If they cannot accept the true Biblical teaching as the right teaching of the Church, it will be more honest and respectable for them to walk away from the Church and form a community of their own."
Isaacs ripped recent events in ECUSA and the Anglican Church in Canada which led to the Lambeth Commission on Communion, the Windsor Report and the Communique from the Primates in February this year at Dromantine, Ireland, saying they all have had a negative effect on the integrity of the Anglican Church in South East Asia in particular and on the Christian churches of other denominations in that region in general.
"This is not an overstatement or an exaggeration of the situation there. In a region that is dominated by Muslims and Buddhists, both of whom are exceptionally conservative and parochial on matters of human sexuality and religion, Christianity which is perceived as a religion of the Westerners, and is being subjected to embarrassment and ridicule."
Isaacs said that in the eyes of the non-religionists who are morally serious because of traditional communal and family values (for example Confucianism) we are degraded.
"We are discredited even in the eyes of many governments in our region, not only the Islamic government in Malaysia and Indonesia but also the Singapore government, when the Church expresses herself in areas of social and moral ethics and values."
"Christian churches of the other denominations feel it unfair that they have been tarred with the same brush as that for the Anglican Church. They are also embarrassed by what is shamelessly practiced by the Church in the North American provinces. Who suffers? The evangelization and mission of all the churches in our region suffer. The Anglican Church which has the responsibility to evangelize 400 million people in the nine nations of the province, are the primary sufferers. Our members are at pains to understand the actions of ECUSA and Canada. We cannot defend the actions because those actions are blatantly in violation of the Holy Scripture. Not to defend the actions or to even rationalize them begs the question why we should remain in communion with the churches in ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada."
Isaacs said the power of the gospel to change and transform lives is the essential part of our faith. "This power of the Gospel gives hope and life to the masses in South East Asia who have been disillusioned by the other traditional religions of the land. The innovative teaching prevailing in the West is contradicting the true teachings as revealed in the Bible. Such teachings present a totally different "gospel" and directly undermine the very bases and foundations of our reason to share the Gospel. They are offensive not only to our Bible believing brethren but to all the other faith communities."
Isaacs said The Windsor Report clearly indicted both ECUSA and the Anglican Church in Canada and said [the church] in South East Asia welcomed that as a way forward for repentance, healing and restoration.
"The Communiqué of the Primates at Dromantine in fact used carefully chosen polite and loving language to register the honest outrage of many primates and to effect an immediate withdrawal of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada from the Anglican Consultative Council. Both provinces were given grace of time and space to go back to their own provinces and to go through their constitutional and canonical processes to express their repentance and to indicate their desire to walk together with the rest of the communion according to the terms of the Windsor Report. The Church in South East Asia welcomes the decision as a minimum measure of admonition and correction, and we would hope that all concerned will give meaning and effect to the directions given by the Primates and now by the Anglican Consultative Council itself."
What is claimed to be acceptable practice to ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada must also be acceptable practice to the other Churches in the rest of the Anglican world if we say we belong to the same God and live under the same holy Scripture. Those who insist on innovations and the inclusion of practices and doctrines rejected by the Bible need to realize that they are helping to drag the Church to a slow death. If they cannot accept the true Biblical teaching as the right teaching of the Church, it will be more honest and respectable for them to walk away from the Church and form a community of their own.
In the words of Paragraph 157, section D of the conclusion to the Windsor Report, "There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together. Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion not be heeded, then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart."
Having said all these, painful as they may be, we want to say to the members of the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada that we love you in the unfailing love of our Lord Jesus Christ and we long for the time when we can again embrace you without reservation as fellow members of the one same Anglican Communion.
Isaacs submitted his statement on behalf of the Primate, Archbishop Yong Ping Chung and the bishops of the Anglican Church in the Province of South East Asia.
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