3.11.03

Crisis in the Anglican Church

Last night, I slept at about half past midnight, watching TV. The consecration of the first openly gay Bishop in any major Christian denomination put New Hampshire, USA on the map. Having been born and raised as an Anglican, this simply breaks my heart. The opening hymn in the colourful ceremony was "The church's one foundation", one of my favourite hymns. The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord, they sang.

Bishop Gene Robinson was consecrated as a Bishop, in a move that threatens the very unity of the Anglican church. 53 Bishops from all over the world were there to show their support, and lay hands on the new fellow-Bishop. During the ceremony, there was a stage where anyone wishing to object to the consecration was allowed to speak. Three people spoke, and described their annoyance and digust that the church was not only boldy going against the word of God, but also against the Worldwide Anglican church, who in a meeting last month, decided not to support the consecration.

What is left behind is near chaos, as the church has been shaken to the very core of its foundations. Homosexuality is spoken of strongly in the bible and God frowns at it without a doubt. What most clergy who suport this move are saying is that if we are to follow the bible to the letter, then women shouldn't wear trousers (try that during winter), and slavery would be legal. This is just being silly. I think that the bible is the final world on any and everything, and is definitely a manual for life. It is simply interpreting the bile properly that is an issue. But whenever homosexuality is mentioned, it is condemned in every single way. Genesis 19:5-7, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13 and Judges 19:22 are places in the Old Testament where homosexuality is mentioned, and the penalty is simple: death. But some would argue that we no longer live under the law, and that the New Testament sets us free from the Old Testament. Homosexuality is mentioned 3 times in the New Testament: Romans 1:26-27, 1 Cor 6:9,10 and 1 Timothy 1:9, 10 and in each of them, the commentary is simple, Homosexuals will not enter Heaven. Yes, we have to love them as Christians, but in no way should we allow them to become leaders in our communities, this is just as good as endorsing their 'situation'. Even if we did accept the idea of homosexuality (God forbid), sex outside marriage is condemned and that is exactly what Bishop Robinson has been doing for the past 19 years !!!

The first openly gay person to be elected a Bishop was Canon Jeffrey John in Reading, England, who practises abstinence and technically would have been allowed to take up the position. But his fears on what his appointment would do to the unity of the worldwide church led him to turn down the position. The debate that ensued from this appointment was fierce, and his 'resignation' only happened to push this under the carpet for the time being. Bishop Robinson was more stubborn, claiming he felt God was pushing him to take up the position. And the American church has been just as stubborn as him, with the head of the Episcopal church there agreeing to go along with the consecration.

The Nigerian church, which has the largest population of anglicans in the world, has been at the forefront of opposition to this appointment, with most of the African church firmly behind them. Notable among the exceptions, the church of South Africa, who believe that the church should focus on more pressing problems, like AIDS and poverty. The 'western' church has classified us as the 'developing world', and labelled the Bishop of Nigeria, Bishop Peter Akinola as a 'traditionalist', labels which I think are degrading and very biased.

My thinking is that there should be no negotiation. If the Archbishop of Canterbury does not take action against the Province of New Hampshire, then the church of Nigeria seems very likely to break away and form their own movement. And that will be sad, very, very sad.

P.S. On a lighter note, I had 13 visitors on my blog today, wow !! Didn't know I had so many 'fans'. All I have to say is "THANK YOU PEEPS!!"

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