I’ve just returned from a holiday and just catching up on the news. One article I read was about the Episcopalians (Anglican Church in the USA), who recently overturned a moratorium on the consecration of practising lesbian or homosexual bishops.
As an aside, I think the debate on homosexuality is out of balance, because the debate does not put equal weight on all the other sins. As an example, the sin of anger or the sin of looking lustfully at another person, who is not our husband or wife (in any type of media – pictures [papers, magazines], movies, videos); are all in the same category – they all separate us from God.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he writes (5:16-26, NIV): “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
No one can deny that there is discord, dissension and factions within the Anglican ‘communion’ – something is wrong; and Scripture is very prescriptive about the process to be employed. In an odd way, I think, the spotlight is not on the Episcopal Church in America but on those who claim to follow the true gospel. The reason is this: they claim that their views are biblical based – therefore their response also has to be biblical based – and that response does not (cannot) included continued communion with a group who believe in a different gospel.
I’ll leave the conclusion to Paul, Galatians1:6-9 (NIV): “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”