One of the primary accusations from those who oppose homosexuality in the Church (conservatives) of those who advocate for full inclusion (liberals), is that liberals have abandoned scripture, since according to most conservatives scripture could not be clearer that homosexuality is wrong. I simply do not understand why liberals do not challenge the accusation in a more forceful way. There are valid arguments that the five or six verses and portions of scripture used to condemn homosexuals have not been correctly understood by the Church, even if for 2000 years (actually the argument is only several decades old!). Arguments from natural law, the complementary nature between men and women, the purpose of marriage is for the rearing of children, the example from nature, the plumbing, the Â‘dysfunctionÂ’ of the gay Â‘lifestyleÂ’, and so forth are easily countered.
I fear that the liberals do not because they may not consider scripture an important enough source of truth and order to make the rebuttal. If this is true, which I suspect it is, then the conservatives accusation that the liberals have abandoned scripture as authoritative is true. This disturbs me. I know though this instance that I am not a liberal, at least as is being portrayed by self-proclaimed liberals within the Church.
If there is not a valid scriptural basis for inclusion of homosexuals in the full life of the Church and society, even in light of tradition and reason, then the argument for inclusion, from a Christian perspective, is on shaky ground. The positions need to be made from scripture, which is possible.
comments? e-mail me
I went to the American Anglican Council’s website after the affirmative vote by the bishops at General Convention. On the website, there were two open letters posted from a parish in Colorado.
The second letter was from a priest and I am amazed. Here is the letter. You can see it “live” at the link above.
LETTER ON HIS ELECTION
By The Rev. Don Armstrong
I do want to ask you publicly what I asked you a few weeks ago and that is: How can you replace Jesus with yourself at the center of the church's life? How can you think your election to be a bishop is more important than the unity of the whole Anglican Communion?
You are quoted in this morning's New York Times that unity is not your responsibility. I thought unity was precisely an Episcopal responsibility, even that a Bishop was sign and symbol of unity. I thought being a Bishop was also about being responsible, responsible for a diocese and responsible for protecting the doctrine, discipline and worship of the church. Your very election is a challenge to, not a protection of, the doctrine, discipline, worship and unity of the church--the exact opposite of what a bishop is supposed to be.
Then, you have never even been able to be responsible for yourself. You have not been able to control your appetites, your self-interest or self-indulgence, your lust for power and position.
You suggested in the New York Times this morning that you went to therapy for years trying to deal with your homosexuality. Do you not think that a Bishop should exhibit a certain level of self control? That even if your homosexual desires were your cross to endure, that you could reign in these desires, control them, and discipline yourself to a life of celibacy?
How can you be a model for the rest of us to follow when you yourself give into your passions? What are you going to do with heterosexual clergy who give into their passions? What about your life indicates that you have forsaken all to follow Jesus, that you have an ability and willingness to lay down your life, to sacrifice for the common good?
This morning you were quoted that you prayed every morning about whether you ought to follow the lead of Jeffery Johns and withdraw form this election, but that the Holy Spirit told you to continue in the process. Our bishop, Jerry Winterrowd says we should never pray about our own desires and then claim the Holy Spirit's approval because our motives are mixed and the voices in our head too many and too complex. He suggests letting someone else pray for our answer.
Have you ever thought that perhaps the response of the primates and clear division in the church is the Holy Spirit's sign to you, a clear answer to your prayer. The Holy Spirit's function in the Trinity has always been about bringing unity and order out of division and chaos. That your election has done the opposite, brought chaos and division to the church, could it be that it is clearly not of the Holy Spirit? Could it be that the unprecedented upheaval, chaos and division that is about consume our Communion is a clear sign that you and your supporters have only been seduced by the one whose task it is to sow dissension and discord in Christ's church, to in fact destroy Christ's Church?
Although there is much more I wonder about all this, it does seem to me that if you want all of us to vote for consent of your election you owe us an answer to these questions. You need to be responsible for who you are and what consent to your election will cause in our church and explain that to us. To say that it is not your responsibility is simply not true and not an answer!
To avoid these questions and sit silently while a wave of secular sentimentality for homosexuality sweeps you into office and splits apart our ancient Communion would be in itself an indictment of your episcopacy
Rev. Don Armstrong
Colorado Clergy Alternative
Well, the deed is done. Gene Robinson has been confirmed the new Bishop of New Hampshire. There is great sadness and anger among so many, despite the increadible joy of others. There is a difference between the two, in many ways.
There are those who truly have an honest theological position against homosexuals serving in the clergy, at least if not celibate. There are those who understand, rightly, that the action that will cause great division and dissension between Anglicans. The Communion will dissolve into – I don’t know what yet. These people are profoundly sad, with anger, too. I feel for them because they honestly donç¨š desire harm to anyone.
Then, there are those who are simply furious. While their concern is the purity of the Church, maintenance of theological purity, and demand that the American Church submits to the will of the larger worldwide communion, it all finges on their particular bent of thought and feeling. Many of these people are overwhelmed with political considerations, or maybe how their positions will reign supreme through the political process, since their warnings and attempts at persuasion have failed. They have not been able to persuade the American church (from the perspective of the majority at Convention) that a homosexual is not fit to be priest or bishop, or that homosexuals should not have their unions blessed. This group will reject Anglican comprehensiveness. This group claims the American church has separated itself from communion with the worldwide Anglican Communion by the election of an openly-gay bishop. Their position rests on their demand that the Church submit to its opinions and beliefs, excluding all those who have a legitimate theological positions supporting inclusion of homosexuals in the full life of the church. They claim that their position and theological bent is God’s. It seems this is contrary to the Anglican way.
We just have to wait through this day to see the fallout. At times, I am just amazed that the arguments are so lacking in understanding of history ï¿½ most recently, the very similar accusations of departing from the faith handed down to us, tradition, and clear biblical teaching when women were ordained priests and then bishops. There are so many examples of this type of thing happening throughout history – groups leaving in self-righteous flurry, and the church continuing. The claim is that God has spoken through Lambeth and the recent Primates meeting in Brazil, and certainly not through General Convention. The Holy Spirit has not spoken through General Convention with the election of a gay bishop because the outcome does not agree with their position, which they know is Godç—´ position.
comments? e-mail me