Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Proposal for Generous Orthodoxy

The apparent defeat of Kevin Thew Forrester to receive the necessary consents to become Bishop of Northern Michigan has caused a fire storm. Greg Jones at the Anglican Centrist talks about the difference between "establishment liberals" and
[A]n impressive cadre of Episcopalian laity and clergy who are very serious (and usually very educated) about theology and the Anglican tradition. This group tends to agree on matters of theology, liturgy and church order, AND, in regard to the affirmation of women's ordination and the inclusion of all the baptized into sacramental life and leadership.
I've known several people who support blessing same sex unions and ordaining men or women involved in same sex unions, but who are believed the Nicene Creed in its "plain sense" rather than redefining the words to fit their worldview. They insist on the Trinity being "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Ghost)" rather than "Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer" (a modalistic version of the Trinity as it names three functions, not three persons). They insist on the Incarnation and that Jesus is fully human and fully divine. They insist that Jesus' death on the cross somehow puts us right with God (atonement). They insist on a physical resurrection (as if there were any other kind).

Now, I support the ordination of women in the Church and I believe in "full inclusion" of all people (gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat, blue, red, green, etc.) in the sacramental life of the Church. The problem is that I don't agree with blessing what the Church calls "sin." That is the heart of the matter.

The whole issue before the Church right now is not "what do we do with sexually active homosexual men and women?" Rather, it is two fold. The first is "what is the limit of authority to define sin?" and "How do we know what is sinful?"

The "How do we know what is sinful?" question has been answered by the Church. Up until recently, there was no question that homosexual sex was sinful. That is still the official position of the Church Catholic and the Anglican Communion as a whole. There are people who are trying to change the teaching of the Church such that life long mutually monogamous homosexual relationships (gay marriage if you will) are no longer considered sinful.

But, until the Church changes its teaching, the teaching stands. Think of the matter of changing the speed limit on a street. There is a street by my house that is four lanes and divided, but the speed limit is 30 mph. It is a rather nice revenue producer for the city as people regularly travel at 40-45 mph on it. Now I think the speed limit should be 35 or 40. I can lobby the city council to change it, but I cannot travel 40-45 while I am lobbying for the law to be changed without paying the fine when I am caught.

Now I do not want to exclude my creedally orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ. So I have a proposal for those who find themselves creedally orthodox, but who support blessing same sex unions and ordaining men or women involved in same sex unions:
  1. Accept that the current teaching of the Church is that gay sex is sinful. Being gay or even being gay and involved in a long term relationship should not be a bar to membership in the church.
  2. There will be no public blessings of same sex unions. If you must bless same sex unions, please do them under the guise of "house blessings" or some such private affair
  3. Only support for ordination those who can articulate and teach the creedally orthodox faith. Put a moritorium on ordaining homosexual men or women involved in any sexual activity outside of man/woman marriage until the Anglican Communion determines that either gay marriage is blessed by God or it is morally neutral.
  4. Continue to lobby the Church to change her teaching on same sex unions if you disagree with it, but do not publically act outside of that received teaching until the Church changes her consensus.

As for me, I will continue to the Church to maintain her teaching on the subject until I can be convinced, with arguments from Scripture or Tradition that blessing same sex unions better reflects the Will of God and calling them sinful.

How does that sound to you all?

YBIC,

Phil Snyder

25 comments:

BillyD said...

Frankly, I'm a little surprised at #2 - you seem to be saying that violations of Church teaching aren't really the problem, but rather what in Spanish is known as ¿Qué dirán? - What will the neighbors say? If it's wrong to bless same-sex unions in public, isn't it wrong to do so in on the sly?

Besides, I would rather that house blessings be about houses...

C. Andiron said...

You can't split apart Christology from other parts of Christianity (such as scripture's teaching on sin) when discerning the difference between believer and unbeliever. It's all of a piece. This is a very irenic post, but what do you think it will gain in the long run?

They insist that Jesus' death on the cross somehow puts us right with God (atonement).
Why does one need Jesus' death on the cross when the Church's position on what is sinful can be changed through lobbying?

But, until the Church changes its teaching, the teaching stands.
The teaching is God's and it is contained in the bible. Why put it this way? Do you think creedally orthodox antinomians will eventually respect all of God's word if they are lured in to church by the thought that the Church's teaching will change, even though it won't? Witnessing and Sunday service for believers are two separate things, and should be treated as such.

Being gay or even being gay and involved in a long term relationship should not be a bar to membership in the church.
What about I Co 5? Don't you think church discipline is ever appropriate?

All in all, despite your good intentions, this would probably lead to further diluting of doctrine and leading of flocks further astray. Please consider carefully what you are suggesting!

plsdeacon said...

BillyD - I realize that there is no way that we can police what a priest "blesses" in someone's home. I would further stipulate that if the bishop of a diocese says that there will be no blessings of same sex unions, then there will not even be private ones. I believe that creedal orthodoxy will eventually lead to orthopraxis (right practice).

C. Andiron - The Church has changed what is sinful - even after the apostolic age. Witness the tension between the injunction to eating meet in Acts 15 and in I Cor 8. Witness the fact that we do lend "at interest." Witness the way we treat divorced persons and how we treat children born out of wedlock.

In terms of excommunication, I would ask you to look at your own sins and ask for which sins you should be excommunicated. Should we excommunicate everyone trapped in drug or alcohol abuse? How about serial polygamist (men or women on their 4th or 5th marriage)? Where do we draw the line?

Orthodoxy and orthopraxis feed each other. The process of surrender to God is a long and difficult one. Thomas Merton said taht we surrender to God last those things we like about ourselves most.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

WilliamK said...

Having read your proposal directed at the "creedal orthodox" who believe that the Church's traditional position on "homosexuality" is in error and requires modification, I found myself wondering why you aren't also advocating a complete moratorium (please note the correct spelling of this critical term) on the ordination of women. If change on "homosexuality" must await consensus in the Anglican Communion, why shouldn't ordination of women? I also wonder why you limit the consensus to the Anglican Communion? You refer to the "Church Catholic," and (if I understood correctly) you imply that views outside of the Anglican Communion also have considerable weight. In that case, again, I must wonder about your willingness for us to go ahead with ordination of women when Rome and Constantinople (not to mention most of the rest of the Anglican Communion) firmly oppose this practice.

I can't escape the feeling -- to be frank -- that you are insisting on a harsher standard for a viewpoint with which you disagree than for one with which you agree.

WilliamK

plsdeacon said...

Hi William,

In 1968 (I belive) either the ACC or the Lambeth conference decided that the ordination of women was not a communion breaking issue. While I disagree with how it was done (illegally and then approved), I believe that there are many women whom God has called into ordained ministry at least in presbyterial orders.

I oppose blessing of same sex unions based on Scripture and Tradition. The Anglican Communion (our "branch" of the Church Catholic) has spoken several times in all its "instruments of unity" that the teaching of the Communion is that sex is only "good" when exercised within the confines of a male-femal marriage. Until that changes, we should not be blessing same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in them.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon,

Thank you for continuing to engage in thoughtful discussion of these issues.

Your wrote, "But, until the Church changes its teaching, the teaching stands."

That statement assumes something, i.e., that in the Anglican Communion we have an official body which defines the Church's teaching. That is true in the Roman Catholic Church, but it is not true in our Communion. Wnen the Archbishop of Canterbury says that the 1998 Lambeth resolution I.10 reflects the mind of the Communion, I think he is wrong. It reflected the mind of the Bishops gathered at the Conference, or, at elast, those who voted in the affirmative. But we have never given the Lambeth Conference magisterial authority. Lambeth resolutions of all sorts have been ignored by Anglicans of all sorts, including the section of I.10 in which the Bishops themselves "to listen to the experience of homosexual persons...." If we are to have a legalistic interpretation of par of I.10, let's make all of the Lambeth resolutions binding on the whole Communion. If we were to go down that road, it would not only be the liberals who objected but conservatives as well.

YBIC,
Daniel

plsdeacon said...

Daniel+,

Lambeth 1.10 is not legislative - it simply reflects what the Church has always taught concerning the blessing of same sex unions.

I don't really like the "no controlling legal authority" argument because we can use it to justify anything. For example, does General Convention have the authority to redefine the Trinity in either Monarchial Modalisitic or Arian terms? If not, why not? Anglicanism has not Magisterium, so why can't General Convention simply say that Nicea and Constantinople were wrong and Arius was right? How about the Incarnation? If we can dispense with the Trinity, then we should be able to dispense with the Incarnation and Resurrection!

If GC can do it, why can't a Diocese or even a parish do it? Why can't we all do and believe what is right in our own minds?

But the answer is No! (Quite literally "Nell! No!") General Convention lacks the authority to change the teaching of the Church. We can change issues of Church Order, but we cannot change the essentials of the Faith. Who determines what is essential? The whole Church does! Or as much of the Church as we can reasonably gather - that would be the Anglican Communion speaking through its instruments of unity. They do not have legislative authority, but they do have moral authority.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,

I diagree that the question of same-sex intimacy is one of the essentials of the faith and would argue then that it is not a matter that has been settled once and for all. On matters that are essential,e.g., the Tinity and the Incarnation, there is always some freedomin interpretation, but there are boundaries.

Daniel

plsdeacon said...

Fr Wier,

What marks the Trinity and the Incarnation as essentials while sexual morality is not? If same sex intimacy is not one of the essentials, then opposite sex intimacy is also not one of the essentials and we should be free to bless adulterous affairs or premarital sex or polygamous relationships - should we not?

I agree that blessing same sex intimacy is not settled "once and for all." However, as far as the Anglican Communion goes, it is settled "for now." Any arguments to change the settled teaching of the communion should be based on Holy Scripture. Simply saying "I don't agree with you" is not an argument.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,

The settled teaching of the Anglican Communion is far from settled on most ethical questions. The Bishops at Lambeth changed positions on contraception and they may well change positions on homosexuality in the future. I think what brought the change on contraception was reflection on experience. Anglicans didn't wait until the Bishops had spoken, they went ahead and made their own decisions about birth control. I think we are in a similar place in the rethinking of same-sex intimacy. We see same-sex couples whose lives reflect the same qualities that we see in
heterosexual couples.

YBIC,
Daniel

plsdeacon said...

Daniel+

Scripture is silent on the issue of contraception. Likewise, I do not recall any liturgies for blessing contraceptives or couples engaged in contraceptive behavior.

Scripture is not silent on the issue of homosexual sex and the Anglican Communion has called this issue a major one. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

There are a few arguments I see:
1. Scripture is silent on the "marriage" like homosexual relationships. I would answer that scripture is also silent on stealing cars or writing bad checks or drug abuse, but we still consider these sinful.
2. Since we've brought this issue (SSBs) up, we are no longer of one mind, so we should be free to experiment and see where our new understanding takes us. I would answer that this can be used to question any doctrine of the Church and so should not be used
3. We see God's grace in the lives of those involved in homosexual relationships. I should hope so! But, that is not a valid reason to call "sin" as "blessed." That is actually a form of Reverse Donatism where we infer moral goodness because we like the people involved or see signs of God's grace in them. God's grace must be at work in the lives of sinners or we are all in deep, dark, serious trouble.

You say that Lambeth "may well change positions on homosexuality in the future." This only confirms that their position is NOW that homosexual sex is sinful - in all its manifestations. We simply lack the authority to bless sinful acts.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,

To say that the Anglican Communion has called homosexuality a major issue is, IMV, an overstatement. Even the Lambeth Conference in 19 did not in I.10 declare that it was as central as the Lambeth Quadrilateral and, as I have asserted, the Bishops at Lambeth have never been as having the kind of magisterial authority that some would claim they have. Of course, there were nopublic services to bless the use of contraceptives, but I suspect that Anglicans were rarely condemned for acting against the Lambeth resolution.The analogy is, admittedly,not perfect,but it does show that on a moral matter on which the Lambeth Conference spoke, reflecting the long-standing posotion of the Church, change is possible.
When I taught religion in a Roman Catholic high school, I tried to get the students to see the different categories of Church teaching. The restriction of holy orders to men is a matter of sacramental theology. Abortion is an ethical matter. Clerical celibacy is a matter of discipline. To suggest that changing the Church's teaching on a question of ethics would open the door to changes on matters of theology - doctrine - simply doesn't make sense to me.

YBIC,
Daniel

plsdeacon said...

Daniel+,

I don't know how you would interpret "Rend the fabric of the communion at its deepest levels" but I would say that it means that continuing with the consecration of +Robinson would cause schism. (Schism derives from the Greek to "rend the fabric.") Thus, I would say that this is a subject the communion takes very seriously and TEC simply doesn't care. So, we are left with a choice. Either we do not proceed with calling "blessed" what the rest of Christianity (or at least the vast, vast, majority of Christanity) calls "sin" (and if this is a "minor issue, then that is the "right" course per I Corinthains) or we determine that the rest of the Church does not matter and we will do what we dam# well please, thank you very much.

I do believe that ethical teaching can and has changed. But, and I hop you agree with me here - your previous posts seem to say that you do, it has not yet changed in the case of homosexual sex. Will you at least agree that the majority (probably the vast majority if we guage by active members) of the Communion believes homosexual sex is sinful? That is the point of my proposal. We agree to be bound by the current teaching of the Church until the Church changes that teaching. If you feel the strong need to break the teaching of the Church, you have two options. First (and preferable if you want to be a person of integrity) you can leave the Church and find one that agrees with your beliefs. Second, you can (while teaching and following the current teaching) work to change the teaching by appeals to Scripture, Tradition, and Reason (and, not or) such that the rest of the Church agrees that either you are right or that it is not a communion breaking issue.

We (all of us - conservative and progressive) have fallen victim to the secular idea that political activism as the correct way to facilitate change. It may be the best way to get your way, but it is decidedly not the best way to discern the will of God.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,

The appeal to the argument that a vast majority of Christians or Anglicans hold that same-sex intimacy is sinful has been made frequently, but I would argue that the vast majority of Anglicans and other Christians may not have been heard. Who has been heard are the Bishops and the partisans on all sides of the issue,i.e., people like you and me.

Because I am an Episcopalian and there is diversity of convictions on this issue within ECUSA, I see no reason to leave, nor to abandon my convictions. As a presbyter I am clear that my convictions are probably in the minority among Anglicans and I would never suggest to anyone that my convictions are consistent with what the church has taught and for the most part continues to teach about same-sex intimacy. Nor would I suggest that one cannot hold the position that you hold in good faith. Because I believe that I am in agreement with other Anglicans on the essentials - as summarized in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral - I am committed to ECUSA's staying within the Communion in the deepest possible relationships with other Anglicans. I have no difficulty in remaining in communion with people who disagree with about this issue as I have had years of practice staying in communion with don't share my pacifist convictions. I think there is room for diversity of convictions on many issues.

YBIC,
Daniel

plsdeacon said...

Daniel+

Thank you for admitting that your view is a change from what the Church holds and teaches on the subject. You are one of the few people that will admit that.

So, can you give me the scriptural warrant for your change? Can you show me, out of Holy Scripture or out of the Tradition of the Church where homosexual sex is spoken of in positive terms? Can you share your moral reasoning?

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,

There are some scholars who have suggested that intimate same-sex relationships were accepted in earlier centuries in the Church, but I think the evidence is not very strong. What I see as persuasive is the scholarly work on the contexts of the passages in Torah and in the Epistles. I think that the practices condemned in Torah were cult prostitution, although I have heard it argued that as a small and threatened people there was a good reason to mandate that all sexual activity have the potential for procreation. I think that the practices that Paul condemned were prostitution, the prostitution of younger men by older men. I have heard of no conclusive evidence that there existed in Israel nor in the Roman Empire anything like life-long committed same-sex relationships. If this interpretation of Scripture is correct - or even might be correct - then I think we have to look at the experience of same-sex couples and see if there are signs of the holiness that we see in married couples. I see that holiness and, to use a legal analogy, I have reasonable doubt that the Scripture does condemn such relationships. Of course, I could be wrong and I have to trust God to show me where I am wrong. The joy of being wrong is that God's love does not depend on our being reight.

YBIC,
Daniel

Bryan Owen said...

A very interesting discussion all around, Phil and Daniel. I don't mean to break up the momentum between the two of you (I do hope you'll continue - this is a good model of how to conduct respectful and principled dialogue, IMO), but I thought I'd just share a thought or two since Phil brought this posting to my attention at the end of last week.

I share some of the same surprise by this posting, Phil, as BillyD in the first comment. But also because, having read your postings and comments on other blogs, I've always thought that you believe that homosexual sex - regardless of intentions or the character of the relationship - is categorically wrong and sinful. If that's the case, then the Church could no more bless SSUs than she could revise the Christology of the Nicene Creed.

Just to be clear, are you saying here that if "the Church" (Universal Church? Anglican Communion?) comes to a different mind on this issue, then you would also change your mind and embrace as holy what you previously believed to be sinful?

plsdeacon said...

Daniel+,
I think that the scholarship that says the passages that condemn homosexual sex only condemn cult prostitution are an exercise in isogesis - they are reading into the text things that are not there. Particularly Lev 18:21. The whole chapter is about unlawful sexual relations including beastiality and incest. All of the "do not ..." passages have to do with sexual relationships except the one about sacrificing children to Molech. So, I am convinced that this passage, at least, concerns any homosexual sexual activity. In Romans, Paul is speaking about Natural Law (or at least his understanding of it). N.T. Wright says that Plato was well acquainted with long term homosexual relationships - particularly among men, so the arguement that antiquity knew nothing of the type of relationships we are discussing is simply not true. Jewish antiquity may not have known about it, but I doubt very much if 2nd Temple Judaism was ignorant of Greek practice.

You are right that our relationship with God does not depend on our being right. It does, however, include our being put right (justified is a passive verb form of the word "righteous." Part of that being put right (and I believe a large part of the Christian Life) is surrendering our selves "our souls and bodies" to God - subordinating our will and our desires and our thoughts to the will and thoughts of God. May I submit that we are probably both wrong on this (at least in part). However, knowing our own mental and emotional and spiritual frailities, should we not trust the Wisdom of the Church on this matter? ISTM that TEC is saying "everyone else but us is out of step!" That strikes me as arrogant in the extreme. As I say to the programmers and business people I work with, if you are surrounded by trees, you are probably in a forest. Shouldn't we recognize that we have wandered into a forest and are lost and need help to find our way out?

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

plsdeacon said...

Bryan+

I am ready and willing to be convinced that the doctrine I received and hold is wrong. I just need the right arguments and they need to be based on Scripture and Tradition. I agree that this issue has ethical, moral, and authoritative dimensions to it. Is it just that the heterosexual "lobby" got almost everything it wanted in terms of rule changes regarding divorce and remarriage and even getting most clergy to turn a blind eye to pre-maritial sex (for which there is more scripture directly relating to the condemnation of these practices) while we draw the line at blessing homosexual sex? No. The solution to that, however, is to return to a scriptural standard for heterosexual sex as well as homosexual sex. Is homosexual sex inside of a life long committment (e.g. "marriage") wrong? I blieve it is but it is "less" wrong than a "bath house" lifestyle. Finally, where does authority to change moral and ethical teaching in the Church lie? Does it lie with the individual? the congegation? the diocese? the province? the Anglican Communion as a whole? How about the Church cahtolic (east and west)?

All of these have to be considered and should be open for discussion and discernment - thus the proposal. But (and this is a huge "but") we should not start acting on a new understanding until we have reached consensus on what that understanding is? The rest of the Communion has said this is a communion breaking issue. Should we continue to thumb our noses at them and tell them that our new understanding is more important that their fellowship? Or have we forgotten Paul's 1st letter to the Church at Corinth?

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,

I hope in due course to respond to your comments. For the moment I would point out that saying the "rest of the Communion has said this is a communion breaking issue"is an overstatement. There are Churches in the Communion that do not see it that way.

YBIC,
Daniel

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

I have read Bishop Wright on Romans and I disagree with him. I think that Paul was addressing the excesses of idol worshippers and I suspect that his first readers would have seen his words as a referring to what went on during the rites of those cults. Wright wants to interpret it more broadly as addressing the behavior of those who are not idolaters but live in an idolatrous society. I would opt for a narrower reading. Besides that, I would not want to read Romans 1 without going on to the next chapter - chapter divisions being not Paul's at all and possibly misleading. Romans 2 begins "Therefore...." and I think we need to read Romans 1 in light of Paul's assertion: "Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others." To use Paul's words in Romans 1 to justify our judgment of others is,IMV, to miss the point.

I have wondered why same-sex intimacy, and not some other issue, came to be communion-breaking. I think part of the reason is the strong relationships that developed in the early 1990s between some African bishops and conservative Episcopalians. After Lambeth 1998, in preparation for which African bishops were helped by some Episcopalians, it was the desire ofmany conservative Episcopalians to reverse the direction ECUSA was heading or replace ECUSA as a member of the Communion. Homosexuality was an important issue for the African bishops, but I'm not sure it would have become communion-breaking if not for the urging of conservative Episcopalians.

I hope this is not dismissed as a conspiracy theory. I don't see a conspracy here. This bit of history provides a way to understand how the deep friendships that formed between these two groups may have led to this being seen as a communion-breaking issue when the earlier disagreements over women's ordination didn't cause so much division. For an excellent study of these relationships see Miranda Hasetts's "Crisis in the Anglican Communion."

plsdeacon said...

Daniel,
I read Romans 1 as very expansive - homosexuality is the result of a fallen universe (not just fallen people). It was not part of God's design in Genesis 1 or 2, nor it is in Jesus' retelling of the creation stories when he discusses divorce.

BTW, I agree that Romans 2 gives us all pause and should forbid judgement. We are not speaking of jugement, but of discernment. Is this behavior part of God's design in creation or not? It is part of the behavior that God wants for His people or not?

Again, I fall back on the traditional teaching of the Church regarding this issue. The Church has never blessed homosexual relationships and to think that we are soooo much smarter than the Church for the past 2000 years strikes me as arrogant. None of the arguments I hear come from Scripture. The only arguments I hear are arguments that say scripture doesn't apply in this situation or that condition. I've not seen anything that speaks postively in Holy Scripture concerning same sex relationships.

In Galatians 5, Paul tells us that fruits of the Spirit and the fruits of the flesh (=sarx by which Paul does not just mean "meat" but of our fleshly outlook or attitudes). If you honestly look around you on all sides of this issue, you see much more party spirit, anger, strife, discord, dissensions, etc. than you see love, joy, peace, paitence, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness and self control.

That alone should help us discern whether this innovation is based in the Holy Spirit or in our sinful nature.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

The decision to choose a narrower or wider reading of a text is important. We have generally chosen a narrower reading of the texts in John that speak of "the Jews" and I would, for much the same reason, choose a narrower reading for the texts that deal with some forms of same-sex intimacy, although I am well aware that intimacy is not the best word to describe temple prostitution.

I think that the Genesis texts are not only about what is normative - in a statistical sense - but about what is fundamental - that it is not good for us to be alone, that we are created for relationship. What always troubles me about these discussions is that they tend to focus on one aspect of a relationship - sexual intimacy - rather than all the other aspects. What I see in the same-sex couples who are my friends are the other aspects, the depth of their faith, their deep love for one another, their gifts as parents, and I see these as being as holy as those same aspects in the lives of opposite- sex couples.

I appreciate the argument that we should wait until there is a clear expression of themind of the Communion. Should Peter have waited before visiting Cornelius?Should the people of the parish church in Fort Erie have waited until there was a common mind about slavery and refused to shelter runaway slaves who had crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo? Should the ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi been postponed until there was a commond mind about the ordination of women? I think that we discern God's will about such issues as people take the risks of acting before there is a common mind. Could those who act be wrong? Of course, but I trust God to deal with that.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

One more comment:

There is division and anger and party spirit, but it seems to me - and I could be wrong - that much of this is because some Anglicans are unwilling to remain in relationship and discern together whether the actions of ECUSA are "based in the Holy Spirit or in our sinful nature." It is not ECUSA that has declared itself to be no longer in communion with other churches. It was not bishops from ECUSA who did not attend Lambeth 2008 and it is not our bishops who have refused to worship with bishops with whom they may disagree. I respect the consciences of those who disagree with me, but many of them have contributed mightily to the rise in party spirit in the Commuion. ECUSA has, you may recall, responded to all the requests in the Windsor Report. The same cannot be said for some bishops. Laying the blame for this situation solely at ECUSA's doorstep overlooks the effects of the actions of others.

plsdeacon said...

Daniel+

If the Holy Spirit is leading the Church in a new direction (and I would hope you agree with me that this is still in doubt), we still need to wait on the Holy Spirit.

Regarding Peter, notice that he did have scriptural support for what he did. Where is the Scriptural support for blessing what is still called "sin."

I don't believe that there was a special blessing for the Church in Erie and Li Tim-Oi was acknowledged to be an abberation and a pastoral necessity and, when the pastoral emergency was over, she functioned as a deacon.

All I am asking for is retraint and acceptance of what the Church teaches until that teaching changes. For my own mind, I am asking for scriptural support for the proposed change. Just as Peter had support in the Prophets, so we, too, should have support before we change the moral teaching of the Church.

Regarding your second issue. I submit that TEC is acking like a married man having an affair. When the wife asks him to stop, he refuses. When she threatens to leave, he blames her. My point in all of this is that the party spirit and the anger and dissension and lack of patience on all sides points to the proposed change as not being from the Holy Spirit.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder