Skip to comments.[Canada]TWO CANADIAN [Anglican] DIOCESES REJECT SYNODíS CALL FOR BLESSING OF SAME-SEX UNIONS
Posted on 04/19/2004 3:19:02 PM PDT by ahadams2
TWO CANADIAN DIOCESES REJECT SYNODS CALL FOR BLESSING OF SAME-SEX UNIONS
We are a group of Anglicans from the Dioceses of Athabasca and Edmonton. We live out our Christian faith in a variety of contexts, yet we find the common ground of our Anglican identity in the Person and Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are united in our commitment to the authority of Holy Scripture and our desire to see the Anglican Church of Canada submit itself willingly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of its life. In faithfulness to the call of Christ and the teaching of Holy Scripture, we cannot support the resolutions regarding the Blessing of Same Sex Unions sent by the Council of General Synod to General Synod 2004 on the following grounds:
1. On the grounds of Christian love.
We believe Jesus clearly proclaims that the love of God calls us to holy living, and that to go against, or to advise others to go against, Jesus' call to holy living would be an offense against the law of love - both love of God and love of our neighbours. The most loving action is that which empowers a neighbour to grow closer to God. We see these motions as hindering that growth in God's love.
2. On the grounds of Christian repentance.
We believe that we as a church need to repent of our neglect of proper pastoral care to our members who have struggled with the desire for a sexual relationship outside the bounds of a Christian and heterosexual marriage. We have not fully listened to the voices of our brothers and sisters who have chosen to leave the gay and lesbian lifestyle, nor are we currently doing enough as a church to provide training and resources for clergy and laypeople involved in those ministries, and support for those members of our church who choose to leave the gay and lesbian lifestyle. We have not proclaimed, or have silenced, the Gospel of healing for those members of our church.
3. On the ground of our communion with each other and our fellowship with all baptised Christians.
The proposed Framework for the Anglican Church of Canada speaks of our baptismal covenant, and rightly so. Yet the Framework states that within the ACC, we differ on our "reception of the apostles' teaching" [Framework, pg. 8]. We find it contradictory to propose that we as individual members of a church can receive or not receive the apostolic teaching, and yet at the same time hope to continue unimpaired in "the fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers".
Through faith and baptism we are indeed members one of another in Christ Jesus, not only with Canadian Anglicans but with all baptised Christians throughout the world. We desire to remain in communion with our fellow Anglicans around the world and to preserve and strengthen that fellowship which we share with our fellow-Christians of other denominations. We are persuaded that to proceed with the blessing of committed same-sex relationships can only serve to further impair that communion and fellowship.
4. On the ground of honesty.
We believe that it is time to stop using the euphemism 'blessing of committed same-sex relationships'. Many of the people who wish to take advantage of such blessings will have been through a civil marriage. To persist in pretending that what the Church is proposing to ask God to bless is not marriage is to be dishonest to God and to ourselves. We believe that the continued use of this euphemism is designed solely to lessen the offense to people of traditional theological conviction in the church. The debate is about the permissibility of gay and lesbian marriages, and should be named as such.
3. On the ground of Christ's high priestly prayer.
In John 17 Jesus calls us not only to unity, but also to faithfulness to the truth and holiness of life. To exalt our Lord's call to unity over the other two calls is to make it an idol. A true Anglican balance can be seen in the Intercession in the BCP service of Holy Communion: 'And grant that all they that do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity and godly love'. Where Christians are not in agreement in the truth of God's holy Word, there is no true unity, whether or not they inhabit the same institutional structures.
The unity referred to in these proposed resolutions is a unity based on structural and canonical allegiance, not on faithfulness to Christ and his word. As such, it is not in any way a biblical unity to which we can pledge ourselves. The resolutions also fail to represent the truth about Canadian Anglican unity: that it is already shattered, with only an illusion of unity remaining. We are not called to the illusion of unity but to that real unity which alone can bring freedom (John 8:31-32).
5. On the ground of Christian faithfulness in making disciples of all nations.
In many of our churches, we are seeing people of all ages coming to a living faith in Jesus Christ. These new Christians are coming to us and asking us for instruction in Christian discipleship. We believe as Christian leaders that we have a solemn responsibility to provide accurate and faithful instruction in the way of Christ. To compromise on this instruction on the ground of inclusivity is not only an act of dishonesty, but is also perilous to the spiritual health of the members of our congregations; it is not an act of love but an act of betrayal. As pastors we desire to teach faithfully and accurately what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ, but the passage of these motions would undercut this and make it more difficult for us to uphold biblical teaching in our parishes.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
From the Diocese of Edmonton:
The Rev. Don Aellen
The Rev. Regula Brandle
Ms. Lori Calkins
The Rev. Capt. Tim Chesterton
The Rev. Richard Conrad
The Rev. Stephanie London Crane
The Rev. Clarke French
The Rev. Pat Hill
Capt. Kathy Hutchinson
The Rev. Gordon Ingram
The Rev. Sally Johnson
The Rev. David Johnston
The Rev. Lynette Kent
The Very Rev. Greg Kerr-Wilson
The Rev. Kevin Kraglund
The Rev. Steve London
The Rev. Wayne Masliuk
Capt. Christine Pierce
The Rev. Stuart Ravnsborg
The Rev. Michael Sung
The Rev. Joe Walker
The Rev. Ralph Warnock
The Rev. Mary Charlotte Wilcox
The Rev. Michael Williamson
From the Diocese of Athabasca:
The Rev. Roy Dickson
The Rev. Ken Harding
The Rev. Canon Fraser Lawton
The Rev. Terry Leer
The Rev. Sean O'Connor