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COLUMBUS, OH: Activist Layman Stands for Orthodoxy on Special Committee on ECUSA

COLUMBUS, OH: Activist Layman Stands for Orthodoxy on Special Committee on ECUSA and the Anglican Communion

By Hans Zeiger
VOL correspondent

COLUMBUS, OHIO (6/14/06)-As the Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion examines the church's homosexual policies in the shadow of criticism by the Anglican Communion, there is at least one voice for orthodoxy on the Special Committee.

His name is Dr. Michael Howell, an associate professor at the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida and an active Episcopal layman from Province IV, Diocese of Southwest Florida.

In an exclusive interview with VirtueOnline, Dr. Howell explained his views on homosexuality within the Episcopal Church.

Howell summarized Resolution 1.10, agreed on by an international delegation to the 1998 Lambeth Conference as a statement of the Anglican Communion's position on homosexuality. "The message of Resolution 1.10 was that as far as communion was concerned, human sexuality is intended to be expressed in a covenant of man and woman in holy matrimony, and all other relationships...are not compatible with Holy Scripture and in the church."

Resolution 1.10, Howell said, "recognizes that there are members of the church for whom this aspect of Christian living will be difficult. Therefore the church must not demonize them, but prayerfully and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit enable them to live in terms of the Scripture."

Dealing with homosexuality cannot be reduced to politics, Howell said, for the issue is essentially spiritual. "It is not as if it's a political matter. If it were political, then simply compromise would be a good way forward."

But there is no compromise on godliness, Howell suggested. "The objective is not self-affirmation or even happiness, but obedience. That is the essence of the Christian life. We must crucify that sinful nature, as Christ has been crucified."

Asked whether it would be necessary to reverse the affirmation of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, Howell replied, "I personally think that it would be, because what we have been asked to do is repent. It doesn't mean stop. It means stop and turn around and go in the right direction."

Howell used the example of shoplifting to illustrate his point. Shoplifting is stealing, he said, so "I can't say that I've truly repented if I've just said I'm sorry, if I continue to do the same behavior and not change the state."


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