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Global South Primates Rip the Episcopal Church on Gay Marriage

Global South Primates Rip the Episcopal Church on Gay Marriage

By Michael Heidt in Salt Lake City
VOL Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
July 2, 2015

In a July 2 statement, Primates of the Global South, representing over two thirds of the worldwide Anglican Communion, ripped into the Episcopal Church, accusing it of deliberately rejecting the Communion's teaching on human sexuality and acting without regard for the wellbeing of the Anglican Communion and the mission of the Church writ large.

The Primate's statement follows the Episcopal Church's decision at its 78th General Convention to endorse gay marriage by authorizing same-sex union liturgies, and making its marriage canons gender-neutral.

"We are deeply grieved again by the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) Resolution to change the definition of marriage in their church canons in their current ongoing General Convention," state the Primates.

After criticizing the Episcopal Church for acting against the teaching of the Anglican Communion on sexuality, as expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1:10, the Primates go on to say that the Episcopal Church has acted unilaterally, without "giving the least consideration" for the consequences its decisions might have on provinces, the Anglican Communion, ecumenical relations, or the mission of the broader church, and relations with other faiths:

"This TEC Resolution is another example of such unilateral decisions that are taken without giving the least consideration to the possible consequences on other provinces and the Anglican Communion as a whole, the ecumenical partnerships, the mission of the church worldwide, and interfaith relations."

The Primates then accuse the Episcopal Church of contradicting Holy Scripture and altering its meaning in the name of pastoral care.

"This Resolution," state the Primates, "Clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God's plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally. Indeed the church must provide pastoral care for all, whether heterosexuals or homosexuals. However the church should not alter the teachings of the Holy Scriptures that was interpreted by the majority churches globally, to provide such pastoral care."

The Global South statement concludes by saying that the Episcopal Church has allowed itself to be shaped by society's values and is "losing its distinctiveness as salt and light in this world."

Quoting St. Paul, the Primates end with an admonition, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

The Anglican Archbishop of the Middle East, Mouneer Anis, who is a signer of the Primates' statement, echoed its opinions in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that gay marriage is a constitutional right.

"There is no doubt that this decision contradicts God's purpose and plan for the creation in a clear way," declared Anis in a statement entitled God Gave Them Over Into a Depraved Mind, "The Church has to remain as the light that conquers the darkness and the evils of this world. Churches in the West should shape their society with their spiritual values and should not permit the opposite where society shapes the values of the Church."

Two representatives of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops confirmed the Global South's criticism of the U.S. denomination acting unilaterally and without regard for wider consequences.

In a June 30 statement from Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, expressed "deep concern" about the Episcopal Church's gay marriage resolutions, and the "stress" it would cause the Anglican Communion.

When questioned by Press about the consequences of their actions in the light of Welby's statement, Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, stated, "There has been no discussion." The Bishop of Massachusetts, Douglas Fisher, agreed with Whalon, while admitting that there had been "private conversations."

Whalon went further, saying that there were no "consequences" in the Archbishop of Canterbury's statement, and that the canonical changes authorized by the House of Bishops do not "change anything."

"We did not see any consequences, with all due respect to Archbishop Welby," said Whalon, "The Prayer Book is still the same, the change of the canon doesn't change anything."

Despite Whalon's claims, the Primates of the Global South believe something has changed -- that the Episcopal Church has further distanced itself from normative Scriptural teaching, at the expense of the unity of the Anglican Communion and the mission of the Church.

These same traditionalist primates refused to attend the Anglican Communion's last Lambeth Conference, in 2008, because bishops from the Episcopal Church were also invited to attend. As a result of their threat to boycott future events, the Archbishop of Canterbury has not announced plans to hold the next scheduled Lambeth Conference in 2018, deferring the decision to his primates.

With the Episcopal Church's decision to further champion a radical gay rights agenda that is at odds with the belief of the majority of the Anglican Communion, the de facto schism that exists within the worldwide church looks set to continue and intensify.

If the decisions the 78th Convention of the Episcopal Church are anything to go by, the North American denomination doesn't care.

Michael Heidt is Editor of Forward in Faith magazine and a priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth

*****

The full text of the Primates' and Archbishop Mouneer Anis' statement follows below.

Global South Primates Condemn Actions of the Episcopal Church for Changing Definition of Marriage

July 2, 2015

Statement in response to the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church resolution regarding same sex marriage

We are deeply grieved again by the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) Resolution to change the definition of marriage in their church canons in their current ongoing General Convention.

By this action, TEC has chosen by its own will and actions in clear knowledge to depart from the Anglican Communion's standard teaching on human sexuality according to Lambeth Resolution 1:10. This TEC Resolution is another example of such unilateral decisions that are taken without giving the least consideration to the possible consequences on other provinces and the Anglican Communion as a whole, the ecumenical partnerships, the mission of the church worldwide, and the interfaith relations.

This Resolution clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God's plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally. Indeed the church must provide pastoral care for all, whether heterosexuals or homosexuals. However the church should not alter the teachings of the Holy Scriptures that was interpreted by the majority churches globally, to provide such pastoral care. The aim of pastoral care is to restore people to the bosom of God where they encounter His love and design to live a life according to His plan.
We are against any criminalization of homosexuals, they are like all of us, need God's mercy, grace and salvation. The church is intended by its Lord to be the holy leaven to shape society by its spiritual and moral values in line with God's design. But sadly, by this action of TEC, the church gives way to the society to alter and shape its values. In other words the church is losing its distinctiveness as salt and light in this world. "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2)
This statement is approved by:

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, Archbishop, Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa and Chairman of Global South.
The Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean and General Secretary of Global South.
The Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, Primate of South East Asia and treasure of the Global South.
The Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo, Primate of Myanmar.
The Most Rev. Hector "Tito" Zavala, Primate of the Anglican Church of South America.
The Rt. Rev. John Chew, member of the GS Global South steering committee, former GS chairman.
* The above mentioned GS Primates are the ones who sent their approval and amendments before posting this statement. We will add the names of those who will send their approval after.

*****

God Gave Them Over Into a Depraved Mind

Middle East Anglican Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis's statement regarding the US Supreme Court Ruling for same-sex marriage.

It is sad to hear that The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States. The excuse for this is promoting human rights and achieving
equality. I think that this ruling is wrong and will have serious and destructive consequences on the American society and other societies, which will follow the steps of the United
States.

There is no doubt that this decision contradicts God's purpose and plan for the creation in a clear way. We know that God created human on his image as male and female to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:28) He also created man and woman to complement each other
physically and psychologically.

God's plan is the best for human being, however the ruling of same sex marriage which contradicts God's plan, will lead to human misery and disintegration of the family hence the damage and collapse of the whole society. This is what Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome, when he said: "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same
way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done." (Romans 1: 26-28)

In the west there are a growing number of people In spite of the growing number of people who are pro same sex marriage, however we see millions of people who oppose this ruling because they cling to the Bible's teachings in this issue. This is the best response for those who claim that same sex marriage is acceptable in the western culture. If it is so, then why so many westerns reject this idea. Here I must record my admiration for the statement made by Archbishop Foley Beach, of the Anglican Church in North America, who opposed this decision strongly.

We urge all American and Western churches to adhere to the teachings of the scripture and God's plan for relations; they should resist societal pressures to make same sex marriage a norm. The Church has to remain as the light that conquers the darkness and the evils of this world. Churches in the West should shape their society with their spiritual values and should not permit the opposite where society shapes the values of the Church.

"We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29) Having said this we should not be homophobic, in the contrary We should pastorally care for those with homosexual orientation and love them in order to live a life pleasing to God Almighty.

This means that we should not deal with them as criminals but as fellow humans who need God's Grace.
+ Mouneer Egypt
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis

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