Itching ears

When I was growing up in the Pentecostal/Evangelical side of God’s church, I heard all the time how liberals did nothing but: “…to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
I moved into Anglicanism because I recognized that a good many Evangelicals, especially with the politicalization of Evangelicalism in the U.S., who where doing the very same thing. The ability to engage with people with different opinions of Scriptural interpretation was becoming less and less possible. Now, everyone must believe the party-line without question else we are giving in to the cultural zeitgeist, forgoing any real concern for Scripture, or simply denying God all together.
Now, I am witnessing this same attitude engulfing Anglican-Evangelicalism. No one can read a history of Anglicanism and not recognize that there has always been an allowance for different Scriptural interpretations on all manner of things, along with different expressions of piety and worship style. It didnÂ’t always make people gleeful, but it allowed for staying-together. There have always been people who have said we can no longer abide by such an attitude. Puritans, Quakers, Presbyterians, and Methodists are only a few examples of groups of people who said Anglicanism was apostate in their time because the whole Church did not come over and agree with their particular understanding of things. Read all the controversies that were surrounding the Church during the Tractarian period during the 1800Â’s.
Now, so many religious conservatives or traditionalists or Evangelicals refuse to read about or honestly consider different views of Scriptural interpretation over many issues, especially homosexuality in this time. If it does not agree with pre-determined opinions or prescribed interpretational systems, then it is completely discounted, outright.
I am sad to see within Anglican-Evangelicalism that we have accepted the worst attitudes and methods of many American-Evangelicals. Fifteen years ago while working as a campus pastor with the Assemblies of God, we were heretics to most other Evangelical campus ministries because we were Arminian or worse yet because we were Pentecostal/Charismatic. Now, I am a heretic to many because I consider and listen to those who say our traditional Scriptural understanding concerning homosexuals and homosexual relationships have been incorrect – and think their exegesis is more reasonable, even after reading Gagnon, even not wanting to find loopholes, etc.
It is my humble opinion that 2 Timothy 4:3 can be applied to a good many people on both sides of the issue, and it is to these people that the Windsor Report is a failure, and it is to these people that the Windsor Report presents a call back to the Anglicanism of history and to listen, consider, and respect those with whom we differ.

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