We call ourselves the third largest communion in the world behind Rome and Orthodoxy.
But even the most generous estimates of our numbers make us but a small fraction of these older Churches. Getting realistic about the numbers makes us far smaller.
Archbishop Rowan Williams says that other churches are experiencing similar turmoil over these issues. But neither the Pope nor any major Patriarch shows any signs of waffling, nor do their churches display signs of the fault lines and consequent stress displayed in the Anglican Communion and particularly in the west of it.
The Archbishop claims that the ordination of women and that of practicing homosexuals are “secondary” issues, as is the blessing of same sex unions. Both Rome and Orthodoxy view them as of the first order, seeing them not primarily as a question of human rights and inclusion but as symptoms of a fundamental misunderstanding of the Doctrines of Creation and Redemption. Further, they do not separate these issues but view them as linked.
Men and women – male and female - are complements. They are not interchangeable. Each is uniquely designed and created. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve (admittedly this is a bit cheesy but it points out the truth rather simply). Priesthood is derivative of the role of Adam who provided spiritual covering and protection for Eve. With the Fall of Adam and Eve the created order went askew. But Jesus, as the new Adam, is our redeemer. In Him and through His Church the created order is being restored to its original design. Chance did not dictate that the Savior was a male. And, a male priesthood is key to our witness to the redemption of this fallen world. The male priest represents Christ. If it wasn’t chance that dictated that Christ be born male, how can a female stand in the place of Christ? Mary birthed the Christ and she had the good sense to follow Him, not supplant Him. Not even after his crucifixion.
If the two issues are linked and the resultant controversy springs from a misapprehension of the Intentional Truth of the created order, then getting them wrong and incorporating these innovations is a colossal error. Get this wrong and your compass no longer points true. Following it will not bring you in line with God’s Will. Neither you nor the people you lead can find you way home. Home is not where this “through the looking glass” compass points. In which case, this is not simply a rabbit hole we’ve stumbled into but a bottomless pit.
While here, several individuals including reporters have sought to convince me of the “blessing” of same sex relationships. This wouldn’t bother me so much except they seem to be preaching to the choir. Few are sounding a discordant note to that preaching.
We are bombarded by the pro-gay lobby and their thorough marketing effort evidenced by multiple booths in the display area as to the “naturalness” of the homosexual relationship.
But, reproduction is essential in the natural realm. The coming together of two men or two women is a biological dead end street. The outcome of a homosexual relationship is the absence of the next generation. It is a violation of the complementarity inherent in the creation. Such relationships cannot point to a redeemed order but are evidences of the Fall. Is this really so difficult to understand? Gene Robinson may be a nice and very articulate person, but he his message is wrong. I thank God for GAFCON and the Sudanese delegation present here who found the courage to clearly say so.
Has our ability to discern God’s Will fallen to such a low state that we exchange the truth for a lie on the evidence of a seductive smile?
The United States and the western provinces are fronting a “through the looking glass” world. Both theirs and the siren sound of these linked innovations have merged to a single tune, and it is being played loudly.
I have heard other voices, the echoes of ancient Christian hymns, and their volume is mounting. Here there are moderates and evangelicals who know the Gospel and may yet rise up to seize the day and extricate us from this rabbit hole. So far they’ve let the absent Global South carry the load and fight the fight.
This week in Canterbury, they must find the courage to stand on their own and say to this crazy, newly manufactured world, “Let us say no to the question of homosexual practice on Biblical grounds. Let us revisit the subject of women’s ordination giving ourselves time to study the matter, discuss it in depth theologically and reenter discussion of it with both Roman Catholic and Orthodox authorities. Then let us get on with the work of ministry He has commanded of us.”
If they will not do so, the Communion will continue in a cloud of obfuscation.All Content is Copyright Anglicans United & Latimer Press 2006 ©