Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Reflection on the House of Bishops meeting

There has been a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the House of Bishops’ response to the communiqué from the meeting of the Anglican Primates in Dar es Salaam in February, on both sides of the issue. (Well, there has been some real disappointment expressed on one side, and a great deal of ranting and raving and foaming at the mouth from the other side.)

The HoB’s statement has been posted on various sites on the Web, including EpiScope:
http://episcopalchurch.typepad.com/episcope/2007/09/the-statement.html

One part of the statement that attracted some criticism from “progressive” commentators was the following:

The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution EC011 of the Executive Council. This Resolution commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion." (1) The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.

A point of criticism was that the statement notes the reference of GC 2006 Resolution B033 to “non-celibate gay and lesbian persons,” which, although clearly implicit in B033, had not been stated explicitly until the HoB statement. Well, it’s not like there was anyone who didn’t already understand to whom B033 pertained! But what hasn’t received much mention, and what some of us wish the HoB had also explicitly noted, is that B033 pertains not only to non-celibate gay and lesbian persons, but also, presumably, to other “candidates to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” Unfortunately, there are many whose manner of life presents a challenge at least to me who have already been consecrated to the episcopate, and I guess it’s too late to do much about that now (although there are a number of purported bishops-elect to whom this might still apply). Here are what I consider some “challenging manners of life”:

notably failing to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself” and to “strive for justice and peace among all peoples, and respect the dignity of every human being” (granted, this language is specific to the Baptismal Covenant in the American Book of Common Prayer and as such is not common to all Anglicans, but any Anglican, or any Christian, who cannot vigorously respond “I will, with God’s help” to these vows desperately needs to find another religion);

making hateful (not just critical, but hateful) public statements about other human beings, some of whom are fellow Anglican Christian human beings, and dvocating their prosecution and incarceration even for simply discussing homosexuality;

actively invading another diocese in another Province, by consecrating bishops and claiming jurisdiction over congregations not only without the consent of the bishop of that diocese and the Primate of that Province but in total contempt of that bishop and that Primate, and indeed in contempt of the Archbishop of Canterbury;

arrogant condemnation of another Province for alleged nonconformity with certain provisions of resolutions of the Lambeth Conference and subsequent documents while flagrantly refusing to conform with other provisions of the same resolutions and documents;

unwarranted and unsubstantiated accusations of heresy and apostasy against the Primate and the Bishops of another Province;

violation of clear biblical morality, specifically as set forth in Exodus 20:16 and Deuteronomy 5:20.

I am disappointed that the House of Bishops did not also enumerate these instances of “a manner of life [that] presents a challenge to the wider church.”

Bill

2 comments:

Josh Indiana said...

Thank you for saying this:

"making hateful (not just critical, but hateful) public statements about other human beings, some of whom are fellow Anglican Christian human beings, and advocating their prosecution and incarceration even for simply discussing homosexuality;"

Peter Akinola has done exactly this, as everyone in CANA knows. They and he ought to be held accountable for it.

This is why I organized a demonstration against him (and them) in Chicago when he appeared at the AMiA conclave in September.

Let there be no doubt about the hateful beliefs of the secessionists.

WSJM said...

Thanks, Josh.

How did the demonstration go? I saw a little press on it afterwards, but I'm not sure it got as much as it should have. Thanks for doing that.