Thursday, June 23, 2005

Anglican Church expells entire Canadian and US membership over homosexuality

The global Anglican Church has officially split over the issue of homosexuality. Anglican liberals (mostly in Canada and the US) versus the conservatives (strongest in Africa and Asia).

Leaders of the 38 national Anglican churches around the world chastised the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada asking them to leave the denomination (which basically means that the global Anglican Church is now split into two groups).

They split over two issues: (i) authorizing same-sex unions, and (ii) ordaining openly practicing homosexuals.

The Anglican Consultative Council made the decision. It is based in Britain and is the church's central administrative body. The motion was passed 30 to 28 by secret ballot, with four abstentions.

I think the common evangelical stance on this issue would be very similar to and in agreement with that of most “conservative” or “Biblical” Christian groups: you might not be able to choose what your sexual orientation is, but you can choose your lifestyle (and with God’s help live by your decision to live a lifestyle consistent with Biblical ideals).

Official Anglican Church policy declares gay sex "incompatible with Scripture" and opposes gay ordinations and same-sex blessings.

The U.S. church argued its position in the document, "To Set Our Hope on Christ” that states "members of the Episcopal Church have discerned holiness in same-sex relationships and have come to support the blessing of such unions and the ordination or consecration of persons in those unions."

Bishop Suffragan Catherine Roskam of New York told the Anglican Consultative Council that the church believed "a person living in a same-gendered union may be eligible to lead the flock of Christ." Other US delegates argued that the blessing of same-sex unions constitutes a "new reality, a sacred union".

Conservative Anglicans, however, accused Episcopal Church leaders of ignoring the views of many members of their flock. The conservative American Anglican Council said the composition of the group "represents a revisionist theology and radical wing of the Episcopal Church."

The expulsion is in effect until the next council meeting in 2008.

I am surprised and encouraged that there still exist Anglicans who want to maintain Biblical values. Are splits in a church always a bad thing or can they be good? If there were never any splits in the church then there would still only be one catholic church under Rome (not even the eastern churches would exist as separate groups).


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