Skip to comments.STATEMENT BY A GROUP OF BISHOPS to the Anglican Church of Canada
Posted on 06/05/2004 7:45:25 PM PDT by ahadams2
STATEMENT BY A GROUP OF BISHOPS to the Anglican Church of Canada:
We write to you from the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada meeting at St. Catharines, Ontario.
In recent days the Synod has made a number of contradictory decisions which may be causing confusion in the Church. On the one hand, the Synod has deferred a decision concerning the blessing of same sex unions for three years in order to explore whether such ceremonies would be a matter of doctrine. This consideration will need to be engaged by all 34 synods of the Anglican church of Canada. On the other hand the Synod appears to have pre-empted this work by summarily expressing the opinion that it affirms the "sanctity" of committed adult same sex relationships.
We regret that the decision of this Synod also ignores the work of the Lambeth Commission for Anglican Provinces not to take any action on these matters before the release of their report.
Faithful gay and lesbian members of our Church, who are themselves deeply divided on these questions, have a right to expect the Church to respond to their request for theological guidance with respect to their relationships with the utmost theological and pastoral integrity. We believe that General Synod failed to meet that challenge.
We must point out that General Synod's opinion is in error and contrary to the teaching of Scripture and the tradition of the undivided Church, the clearly expressed conviction of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference of 1998, the overwhelming ecumenical consensus of the Church inside Canada and abroad, and the 1997 Guidelines of our own House of Bishops.
We urge Anglicans across Canada distressed by this expression of opinion not to despair and urge them to take their full part in the diocesan and provincial synods which will contribute to a decision of whether this is a doctrinal matter.
We express our sorrow particularly to the Inuit and Indigenous churches whose representatives spoke clearly to the Synod but whose voices were ignored. We express our appreciation to the Bishops and people and churches of the Global South who have implored our Church unsuccessfully to abide by the mind of the Communion. We express our appreciation to all the people in the congregations of the ACiNW, and assure them of our on-going support, and full recognition.
Many of us will take comfort in the Article of Religion (XXI) which reminds us that Councils of the Church often fall short in their seeking God's will. We are told in that Article that in many Councils of the Church, there has been much error, "even in things pertaining unto God." The point of this teaching of our Church is to give us confidence that when the Church acts unwisely it is still the Body of Christ. We invite all Anglicans to continue to uphold the teachings of the Anglican Church worldwide which stands unchanged.
If we are faithful to our Lord's call to the costly love that alone can sustain us in our common life, then the world, whatever else it sees, will see the love of Jesus at work in our frailty and imperfection and find hope for its own future.
Rt. Rev. Donald F. Harvey, Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador
Rt. Rev. Ronald C Ferris, Diocese of Algoma
Rt. Rev. Andrew Atagotaaluk, Diocese of Arctic
Rt. Rev. Benjamin T. Arreak, Diocese of Arctic
Rt. Rev. Larry Robertson, Diocese of Arctic
Rt. Rev. William Anderson, Diocese of Caledonia
Rt. Rev. Anthony Burton, Diocese of Saskatchewan
Rt. Rev. Charles Arthurson, Diocese of Saskatchewan
Rt. Rev. Terrence Buckle, Diocese of Yukon
These brave 9 got in trouble with the new Primate and liberals because of what they said. They broke the liberal mantra of "unity", which is a worse trangression to liberals like Hutchinson than heresy.
From The Anglican Journal:
"The statement, which Bishop Harvey read as he was flanked by eight other bishops on a stage on the synod floor, took many delegates by surprise coming as it did after the night prayers just as they were ready to leave the plenary hall.
Primate-elect Andrew Hutchison said he was obviously very disappointed to hear that kind of statement because it speaks of division.
Thats very sad, he told Anglican Journal in an interview. Asked what effect the statement would have, Archbishop Hutchison said, I think the effect will be to reinforce division within the church. Im just terribly sorry we couldnt settle the issue here.
He said that he had heard far too late to do anything about the action of the nine bishops.
A good reply to the whole ACC Synod and the above response of 9 bold bishops is in the following article.
Where is the candlestick?
Dr. Edith M. Humphrey
June 4, 2004
Last night, following Evening Prayer, nine Bishops of the ACC who remain faithful to the Scriptural teaching on sexuality stood up before General Synod. They issued a statement of regret and exhortation to the Anglican Church of Canada, for which they have been unjustly criticized. I am thankful for their forthright assertion that the "opinion" of the current Synod was "in error," "contrary to the teaching of Scripture and the tradition of the undivided Church," "the Lambeth Conference of 1998," "the ecumenical consensus of the Church," and "the 1997 Guidelines" of the Canadian HOB. Unfortunately, customary Canadian politesse has led my dear friends and our leaders to call for restraint while the house is on fire.
Resolution A-134 was bad enough:
it settled for a three-year extension to a discussion that has gone about as far as possible, ending in theological impasse between irreconcilable positions.
it implied that the issue of blessing homoerotic relationships may well not be a matter of doctrinethat is to be decided.
The imported last minute amendment to "affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same sex relationships" is downright darkness. Indeed, it uses theological terms ("sanctity"), and this means that the framers of this resolution have already decided how it is that the three-year discussion will conclude. For if something is deemed "holy," who is the church, or any church council, to forbid it? Indeed, any synodal permission to "bless" is simply icing on the cake. Those currently blessing these so-called "unions" will continue to do so, undisciplined, for they are simply "affirming" what "God" has already accepted; those parishes and dioceses desiring to begin this practice will do so unencumbered, for they have seen that even dissenters in the Canadian Church have no stomach to do anything stronger than "regret" such actions.
Last nights statement from the traditionalist bishops said that this "may be causing confusion in the Church." In fact, the whole week, entitled "catharsis and switch" by one shrewd analyst, is already a major stumbling block. The hemorrhage of the ACC has begun: those who stay have as much to fear as those who escape this schismatic province.
Is there a fearless leader to the south or the global south who will offer refuge? Let us pray so.
Would that our cautious leaders had not simply expressed thanks to the Bishops of the Global South, and support for the AciNW! Would that they had emulated those courageous bishops directly to their south, who last August stood "filled with sorrow!" Those U.S.A. pastors (admittedly in an un-Canadian American style) roundly rejected the action of ECUSAs General Convention as an act that "divided itself from millions of Anglican Christians around the world." Surely the Canadian synod has likewise departed from the historic church, and from those who hold to the truth amidst dangerous conditions, even by speaking out of both sides of the mouth. Though this synod has not agreed to bless same sex unions, nor to consecrate a practicing fornicator, it has called these arrangements blessed, smiled on "gay" and pro-gay schismatic leaders, and suffered its newest Primate to criticize his dissenting bishops as divisive. Confusion reigns supreme.
Article XXI may be a certain comfort, since it is true that the Church has seen hard times. But how do we know that this communion has simply "acted unwisely" and that it is "still the Body of Christ." Has any prophet seen the candlestick still upright? Theologians with the acumen of Pannenburg and Packer have called this a communion-breaking issue. It is true that homoerotic sin is no graver than any of the garden variety iniquities that would bind us all. However, not to discipline those who have acted without reference to the rest of the Church, to assert that this state is blessed, and to set up a constitutional quibble about whether this is a doctrinal issue, and to malign those who dissent from the decision these acts are deadly.
How can faithful Canadians continue to be complicit with those who are determined to lead the Church away from the truth, or spend more time in synods that doubt Biblical, historical and ecumenical teaching? Continued discussion is to engage with the Enemy in his "Hath God said?" rhetoric. Many faithful Anglicans in Canada must now choose between their well-meaning leaders, who have asked them to so engage, and their conscience. Perhaps the international community will intervene in our confusion and timidity, whether or not we deserve it.
Is this a "doctrinal issue"? How can it be otherwise? The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) considered debates about eating non-kosher food theological, and called on the churches of God to act together. If food matters to catholicity, how much more does our sexuality! Sexuality has to do with our doctrine of humanity (anthropology). Anthropology is directly related to the doctrine of the church, and to the doctrines concerning our triune and holy God, in whose image humankind, male and female, have been created.
In the wake of ECUSAs apostasy, the ACC has veered off the way of the Lord. It has taken its candlestick to a new altar. It is colluding with the spirit of this age. May those Canadian shepherds who still hear the word of the Lord on this issue wake up, and hear Gods voice, "Come out of her, my people, lest you partake in her iniquities." And may they take counsel with the whole people of God to decide how best to do this.
The answer is easy. Jump ship from a religion formed so that King Henry VIII could engage in unnatural relations of a different sort. Rome awaits eagerly the return of Her separated children to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.