The Anglican Consultative Council voted last week to exclude the Episcopal Church, USA and the Anglican Church of Canada from its deliberations for three years. The ground of the expulsion was the fact that the two North American churches had taken actions in violation of Anglican doctrine and church law on the issue of homosexuality. The Episcopal Church USA elected and consecrated an openly-gay man as Bishop of New Hampshire while dioceses in both the U.S. and Canada had moved to bless same-sex unions. In both churches, the ordination of openly-homosexual ministers has gone without punitive action.
The 30-28 vote was hardly overwhelming, and no one seems sure where this will lead. The American and Canadian churches seem to be anything but repentant for their actions, and the Anglican Communion moves ever closer to a formal schism.
In response to the ACC actions, the Rev. Susan Russell of Integrity, a group pushing for the full acceptance of homsoexuality, said this to BBC News: “The more important question, I think, for the Church, is, ‘Does God care more about our sexual orientation or our theological orientation?’ And if one’s theological orientation is determined to be correct, faithful and holy, then we see no bar to ordination.”
Can we separate a “theological orientation” from a “sexual orientation?” I think not. What we believe about God and what we believe [and practice] about sex are fundamentally and inextricably related. One cannot accommodate homosexual behavior or homosexual relationships without denying the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible as the Word of God. The authority of the Scripture is directly assaulted by arguments for the normalization of homosexuality. Likewise, the sufficiency of Scripture is denied by those who claim that the Bible must be corrected or supplemented by contemporary ideologies of sexual orientation.
The Rev. Russell’s argument is worthy of note. We can count on seeing this line of argument again.
LINKS NOT EXCLUDED BY ANGLICANS: US Church Excluded for Gay Stance, BBC News, June 23, 2005; Anglicans Show US, Canada the Door, The Australian, June 24, 2005.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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