Welby Issues Tame Rebuke to Episcopal Church Leaders over Gay Marriage Passage at GC2015
Presiding Bishop elect Michael Curry has no theology of the Atonement to support calls for evangelism and discipleship
By David W. Virtue in Salt Lake City
July 1, 2015
The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a tame rebuke to The Episcopal Church yesterday over its passage of gay marriage acceptance and the re-defining of its marriage canons. In a note to TEC bishops meeting in the Salt Palace he said, it will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.
True, but his statement lacked any principle or theological reflection, all he could say was that it would cause collateral damage to the organization, (communion) there is no inherent principle at stake, no citing of scripture or history or tradition. It was a corporate response from one branch of the communion to the other as though the CEO of IBM in the US had sent a note to its corporate branch office in Stockholm telling them that their numbers were down but not to worry, it won't affect overall profits.
Welby's mild rebuke only highlights the deeper reality of a divided Communion, and while he knows this, he won't face the implications of it and he just let's things pass. He won't, for example engage in any further discussion about homosexuality because he knows people who are gay and feels their pain. That is an abrogation of his authority and in direct opposition of what Scripture teaches about the nature of sin and the Scriptures equally clear call for repentance. He is waffling and the Communion continues to writhe in pain.
It is ironic that only one bishop, William Love of the Diocese of Albany stood up during the debate
to speak against the principle of both resolutions, arguing specifically against A036 on the floor of the House. Love stated that sexual intimacy was properly between a man and a woman within marriage for life. "When it comes to changing the Church's understanding of the sacrament of marriage, I would remind you of what our Lord said in Mark's Gospel, (10: 6-9) 'But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.'"
He went on to say that "Nowhere does God say that two people shouldn't love each other, share a life together, be legal representatives of one another, this is not an issue. But Scripture says that it's not appropriate to use the gift of sexual intimacy except within the confines of marriage."
Welby could have said this but didn't. He gave a corporate response to a profoundly life-altering civilizational issue that will affect all Episcopalians indeed generations of Americans to come because of the Supreme Court ruling. He clearly does not understand the profound implications of what happened here in the US this week.
When the voting was done (129 for, 26 against, and 5 abstentions) the openly homoerotic former Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson weighed in blasphemously citing our Lord's words from the cross, saying "It is finished". Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit, Robinson raises his phallus in defiance of Jesus.
With an overwhelming 80% in favor of canonical changes it was a surprise to see the evangelical Bishop Greg Brewer of Central Florida crying following the vote. Why? We who have been following the Episcopal Church have watched for nearly 40 years and know where all this was going. There is no surprise here. One deeply troubled bishop, Dan Martins of Springfield offered an agonizing, thoughtful and tantalizing response asking, "Is one obligated to remain in communion with a church that engages in false teaching as long as it continues to be a church? "When such a church progresses from mere false teaching into formal heresy--not just de facto heresy, but heresy enshrined in its liturgies and canons--and then persists in that heresy over more than one generation--and I would suggest forty years as a benchmark for "more than one generation"--then it ceases to be a church, and a faithful Christian is obligated to not be in communion with it."
It is not without its significance that there is an absence of any senior Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church officials at this year's triennium convention. They have watched with alarm the slow descent of The Episcopal Church into apostasy and want no part of it. There were no "observers"; the handful of offshore supporters of TEC including the Church of Sweden, the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church,
had themselves long ago imbibed the waters of pansexuality and are on board with the Episcopal Church. No surprise there.
What was surprising was the number who actually voted against the marriage resolutions, 26 in all, including 95% of Province IX, most of whom are beholden to TEC for money and so a vote against mainstream thinking is very costly for them.
One bishop I spoke to, the Rt. Rev. Julio Cesar Holguin Khoury, the solidly orthodox bishop of the Dominican Republic told me he has increased his flock from 28 to 70 parishes and the number of schools from 7 to 28. TEC can't match that. Is it any wonder that the Bishop of Haiti, TEC's largest diocese also voted against the resolutions?
The Presiding Bishop puts this down to mere cultural differences, but that is not true. If culture explained it all then why are provinces like Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda along with South America and Southeast Asia also opposed to gay marriage and rites for same?
No, the differences are profoundly theological and biblical and all these diocese and provinces are growing because they are standing against the culture on same sex marriage and other culture war issues. Churches like The Episcopal Church will learn that in marrying the spirit of this age they will soon find itself a widower in the next. The Episcopal Church's new evangelism slogan: Don't feel bad. God loves you, won't cut it.
The new Presiding Bishop's call for "evangelism" and "discipleship" sounds good but it is not backed up by any theology of the Atonement, therefore his words become hollow. He voted for the change in the Marriage canons so he supports sexual relationships between two men or two women, something Global South leaders eschew.
His understanding of evangelism and discipleship will only enhance the "gospel" of inclusion not conversion and therein lies the problem. It is certainly a pleasant change from Frank Griswold's "pluriform truths" couched in affirming catholic tones with the word "generous" thrown around to make believe God has changed His mind just to appease the theologically vacuous Frank and the HOB.
But as one blogger noted, "the concepts of the Fall, sin, repentance, the nature of man, salvation, sanctification, transformation, the sacraments in general and marriage in particular, the Church, the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, and finally Jesus, and come to the opposite conclusion of the Church and the Gospel on all of these things, thoroughly and completely dismantles each Christian reality and substitutes his own conception in order to arrive at his pre-determined conclusion of support for two men or two women who wish to engage in sexual relationships and have the approval of society and the Church."
Bishop Curry plans to sit down with some of his bishops later in the year in what he calls an "imaginative engagement with scripture", those are buzzwords to make scripture mean whatever we want it to mean to fit our preconceived notions of what we want the church to be and to hell with what God has already said and delivered to us in His word.
Freddie Mercury the founder of the rock group, Queen wrote Bohemian Rhapsody and coined these words, "Nothing really matters anyone can see, nothing really matters to me."
And nothing really matters to what the bishops of The Episcopal Church choose to believe, they are hollowing out the Church in the name of modernity and they will reap the whirlwind of emptying churches and lost souls.
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