Many Anglicans Won’t Recognize Gay Bishop
Nov. 3, 2003
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Monday November 3, 2003
LONDON — Conservative Anglicans said Monday they will cut or loosen ties with the U.S. diocese that has consecrated the church’s first openly gay bishop. Supporters of V. Gene Robinson said his elevation to bishop of New Hampshire had sent a powerful message of love and tolerance.
In what is regarded by most Christians as the job description for high church office, Paul the Apostle wrote to his young protege Timothy that an ”overseer” (or minister) must be ”above reproach, the husband of one wife,” and ”must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” Paul then asks an important question: ”If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:2-5)
Members of the Episcopal Church are being asked to accept a bishop who is not qualified for the office (nor even for the priestly one he holds). Does the Episcopal leadership (and the leadership of the parent Anglican Church) want to send the message that the Bible says only what some people want it to say? Some of Robinson’s supporters call him a ”holy man.” What could that possibly mean since ”all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23)?
People who regard Scripture as having passed from God to man error-free have warned for years what happens when these texts are treated as something less than accurate. Once compromises are made, all things become not only possible but probable.
Source: Is gay bishop a fit religious leader?
Unity over doctrine” is today promoted by various movements, but A.W. Tozer shows that “unity is no treasure to be purchased at the price of compromise.”
Shows that unity is based on common doctrine; not common experiences.
In a joint statement issued Monday, Nigerian archbishop Peter Akinola said Anglicans of the “global south” believed that Robinson’s consecration demonstrates that parts of the U.S. church “consider that their cultural-based agenda is of far greater importance than obedience to the word of God.
“The overwhelming majority of the primates of the global south cannot and will not recognize the office or ministry of Canon Gene Robinson as a bishop,” Akinola’s statement said. Resistance to gay bishops has been particularly strong in Africa.
In a separate statement, the Anglican Church of Uganda said it will cut all ties with the New Hampshire diocese. Thomas Kogo, bishop of the town of Eldoret in neighboring Kenya, said his diocese will not recognize Robinson as a bishop but will maintain its ties to the New Hampshire diocese.
“The admission of homosexuals in the church … is unacceptable to the church,” said Stanley Ntagari, a spokesman for the Ugandan Anglican church, Africa’s second largest with 8 million members. “We do not recognize that man as a bishop.”
Peter Jensen, the conservative Anglican archbishop of Sydney, Australia, said the consecration of Robinson — who is divorced and lives openly with his partner — was wrong “because the word of God teaches us clearly what the standards are for Christian behavior in leaders and Canon Robinson does not fulfill those requirements.
“This creates a split for the first time in a particular area and that’s a tragedy but it’s necessary if the truth is to be preserved,” Jensen said.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, deplored such schisms Monday.
“It is clear that those who have consecrated Gene Robinson have acted in good faith on their understanding of what the constitution of the American church permits,” he said in a statement. “But the effects of this upon the ministry and witness of the overwhelming majority of Anglicans particularly in the nonwestern world have to be confronted with honesty.”
Williams, who is personally sympathetic to gay rights but has pledged to uphold the church’s teaching that homosexual acts are contrary to Scripture, struggled to bridge the differences at a meeting of Anglican leaders last month. As spiritual leader, he has no authority to impose discipline.
“The primates meeting last month expressed its desire to continue as ‘a communion where what we hold in common is much greater than that which divides us,’” Williams said. “We need now to work very hard to giving new substance to this.”
The British evangelical campaign group Reform said Monday that the Anglican Communion must now “formalize the separation” it said had been caused by Sunday’s ceremony.
But Changing Attitude, a British organization of Anglican bishops, priests and lay people, said Robinson would play an important role in the “dramatic new reality” facing the Anglican community.
“His ministry will inspire lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual Christians with new confidence that we have a full place at the communion table of our Lord,” said Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude.
And the Rev. Richard Kirker, general secretary of Britain’s Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, who attended the consecration ceremony, said even those who are troubled by Robinson’s sexuality “are full of praise for him as a man of God, pastor and teacher.
“We Christians have so much to unite and inspire us, let us seize the moment and let our love for each other triumph over our divisions,” he said.
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