Today’s intriguing contrast in news about the Anglican Church of Canada: The Ottawa Citizen carries an item on yesterday’s meeting of traditional Anglicans, while Anglican Journal covers a confab of
liberal “progressive” Anglicans called The Widening Circle.
A group of Canadian Anglicans on the liberal, or “progressive,” side of issues concerning homosexuality and the church have urged Anglican bishops to “proceed to (the) full inclusion (of gay and lesbian people) by providing access to all sacraments and sacramental rites of the church,” including marriage.
Apparently they believe, incorrectly, that marriage is a sacrament in the Anglican Church, a misconception that seems to be current among
liberal “progressive” Anglicans. (Either that, or the distinction between sacrament and sacramental rite is just too subtle for me.) And if marriage is not a sacrament, a fortiori, how much less is “blessing” to be accorded that status.
Several conference delegates said they felt that the voices within the church that feel homosexuality is a sin and contrary to the Bible have been louder than the progressive majority.
I believe homosexual activity is a sin, but my feelings have nothing to do with it. In discerning the teaching of the Bible, feelings are, and have always been, irrelevant. Sound exegesis and rational argument are, and have always been, key to persuading the church to accept a proposed understanding of biblical doctrine.
As for the claim that advocates of orthodox beliefs predominate in the ACC, I can only say, “You can’t be serious”. The General Synod motion to authorise SSBs failed by a hair’s breadth. Substantial majorities in the orders of laity (63-53) and clergy (78-59) voted in favour. The resolution failed by only two votes in the order of bishops.
Since General Synod, moreover, diocesan synods in Ottawa and Montreal have voted in favour of same-sex blessings, with copious attendant publicity. The Bishop of Huron is sure his diocese will follow suit at the first opportunity.
liberals “progressives” really believe that traditional voices have been louder than theirs, they can’t hear their own clamouring.
“It is important progressive voices be heard,” said Rev. Judy Herron-Graham of Toronto. “We are the other half of the Anglican church. How do we reach out to gay and lesbian people with a message of hope?” asked Andrea Brennan of Dorchester, Ont.
Answer: In the same way that the church reaches out to all people: by preaching Christ’s message of repentance and forgiveness and encouraging believers to persevere, with divine aid, in the path of holiness and righteousness.
Granted, it is not easy to minister to people entrenched in sinful behaviour of any kind, even when they earnestly desire to break free. Anglicans in the pews (or clergy for that matter) who don’t know how to help those who struggle with same-sex attraction to walk faithfully in the way of the Lord Jesus should consider putting them in contact with the Zacchaeus Fellowship.
Several delegates said progressive voices need to reclaim the word “orthodox” from such conservative groups as Anglican Essentials – a Canadian group that holds a conservative view of sexuality – and that “orthodox” really means, in the Anglican context, broad inclusiveness.
It seems to be a common tactic among
liberals “progressives” to re-define words rather than grappling with their true significance and engaging in rational debate over substantive issues. Certainly, it’s far easier to re-define “orthodox” instead of offering persuasive argument that one’s views comport with Scripture.
Of course, that won’t fly. Here’s the definition of “orthodox” from my Collins English Dictionary (First Canadian Edition, 2005, p. 1151):
1. conforming with established standards, as in religion, behaviour, or attitudes
2. conforming to the Christian faith as established by the early Church
Sorry, nothing there about inclusiveness, broad or otherwise.
liberals “progressives” object to an Anglican Covenant because they don’t want their doctrinal and liturgical innovations assessed by agreed-upon standards. But, as Bishop of Durham Tom Wright recently pointed out, even friends can’t live together in anarchy.
The concluding statement from The Widening Circle urged the house of bishops “to reject any initiative which would seek to remake the Anglican Communion into a confessional expression of Christian faith governed by a magisterium (an authoritative body that determines doctrine).”
Mr. [Rev. Neil] Fernyhough [of New Westminster Diocese] commented in an interview that “Integrity Vancouver (a support group for gay Anglicans) sent me in response to un-Anglican trends that are driving the (international Anglican) communion to be a confessional church that sets out comprehensive sets of belief, practice and doctrine.”
So, who decides what’s “un-Anglican”, and on what basis? You just said you don’t want a magisterium.
c/p: Magic Statistics