Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Line In The Sand: John W. Howe, Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida, has drawn a line in the sand with regard to the on-going controversy in the world wide Anglican Communion over the American (ECUSA) and Canadian Anglican Church's actions on homosexual issues. Bishop Howe states explicitly, "...if the Episcopal Church decides to walk away from the Anglican Communion it will also walk away from me." Here are some excerpts from Bishop Howe's statement.
"Both Churches, the Episcopal Church, USA, and the Anglican Church of Canada, have been asked by our brother and sister Anglicans from around the world to choose whether we wish to remain part of the Anglican Communion, or, in the words of the Windsor Report, to walk separately. We have been generously given until our General Convention in 2006 to make this choice (and, actually, we could take up until 2008 to do so, although the only presently available venue for the Episcopal Church to make this choice is next year's General Convention).

We have been told that our membership and fellowship in the Anglican Communion is highly valued, and no one wishes to kick us out or excommunicate us, but there must be conformity to the Communion's common understanding, teaching, and practice if we are to continue to enjoy that status. We have been given the space to make this choice carefully, prayerfully, and in a leisurely manner.

The unstated implication is inescapable. In the words of one of the leading Primates of the Communion, the Communique is written in extremely gentlemanly and diplomatic language, but it is unambiguous in what it says: Communion with those in the Episcopal Church, USA, and the Anglican Church in Canada who will not repent has been irretrievably broken. He went on to say that the Primates are equally clear that it is the Anglican Communion Network (which Central Florida joined in September of 2003) and those who will submit to the recommendations of the Windsor Report who are the true Anglican presence in the USA.

In my opinion we are at a pivotal point in Anglican history. Faithfulness to the teaching of the Scriptures and the whole of the catholic and Anglican tradition has been reaffirmed, and revisionist innovations have been rejected.

The choice before us is between genuine repentance, and with it restoration to full participation in the Anglican Communion ... or permanent separation. True repentance in this context would not merely consist of expressing regret that others are troubled by our decisions and actions, but full compliance with the Lambeth Resolution that homosexual practice is incompatible with Holy Scripture AND a radical commitment to the pastoral care and concern for homosexual persons and the repudiation of any kind of discrimination or abuse toward them. (Bishop Howe's complete statement can be found here.)

The Bishop's "line in the sand" along with the ominous legal state of affairs in Canada as noted in The Billy Goat's March 1 report on the Same-Sex "Marriage", "Hate Crimes", and the New Totalitarianism article by Michael D. O'Brien, points to an inevitable crisis of conscience and faith facing the North American Anglican Communion. Our conservative and evangelical Episcopal friends need our prayers and moral support. Their struggle is our struggle. May God be with them, and keep them faithful to His truth.

For His glory,

~ The Billy Goat ~

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