Friday, June 19, 2015

The Break Point

We are coming to a break point in the Episcopal Church. The General Convention in Salt Lake City, June 23-July 3, 2015 will consider several important issues facing our denomination. “Among them is a change in the Marriage canons, a proposal to authorize Blessings of Same Sex Unions, moving from a Provisional Rite to a Trial Rite, a Restructuring of the polity of the Episcopal Church, and of course, the election of the next Presiding Bishop (June 27th).”

Even though the momentary target is sexuality, the underlying challenge is a rebellion against our very understanding of how our God communicates to us. What is at issue is the authority of Scripture. Do we believe that The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain all things necessary to salvation and are the rule and ultimate standard of faith [Lambeth 1888]? Or, do we believe that human beings are the sole judge of what is right and good?

The story is as old as Adam and Eve. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” [Genesis 3:6]. The resounding answer of Adam and Eve was that their opinion outweighed the opinion of God. The result was disaster.

The clear testimony of Scripture is that “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” [Romans 1:21-22]…“For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” [Romans 1:26-28].

The very powerful LGBT lobby would have us believe that they are sole arbitrator of what is right in the area of sexuality. They do not want our mere acceptance, but they want our approval. “Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” [Romans 1:32].

What happens at this coming General Convention has the potential of tearing our denomination further apart, and the echoes will resound in the larger Anglican Communion. As Western Christianity departs from the clear teaching of Holy Scripture the mantle of Anglican Historicity and Tradition will inevitably fall on the Two-Thirds World Anglican Churches. Indeed that is already in process.

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