Skip to comments.Episcopal Church’s homosexual bishops vote formalizes schism, theologian N.T. Wright says
Posted on 07/17/2009 7:06:00 AM PDT by markomalley
London, England, Jul 17, 2009 / 02:48 am (CNA).- Prominent biblical scholar and Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright has said the Episcopal Churchs recent decision to allow homosexuals to be ordained as bishops will mark a clear break with the Anglican Communion and formalizes a schism. He also insisted that chastity is not optional for Christians.
On Tuesday the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (TEC) voted by wide margins to pass a resolution allowing homosexuals to enter any ordained ministry in the church.
Responding to the news was Anglican Bishop of Durham Nicholas Thomas Wright, a scholar of the New Testament who has authored both scholarly works on the historicity of the Resurrection and popular works for the lay reader.
Comparing international Anglicanism to a slow-moving train crash, he wrote in a Wednesday column for The Times that the Episcopal Churchs vote marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.
Saying the Episcopal bishops knew exactly what they were doing, he characterized the move as a rejection of the Archbishop of Canterburys and other Anglicans moratorium on consecrating practicing homosexuals as bishops.
They were formalizing the schism they initiated six years ago when they consecrated as bishop a divorced man in an active same-sex relationship, against the [Anglican] Primates unanimous statement that this would tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level.
V. Gene Robinson was installed as Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in 2004.
Using the words of the 2004 Anglican Windsor Report on Anglican controversies, he said the Episcopal Church has chosen to walk apart.
He then described TECs claims that they are willing to remain in the Anglican Communion as cynical double-think.
He noted that the controversy began even before the consecration of Bishop Robinson, naming a church courts 1996 acquittal of a bishop who had ordained active homosexuals as a key moment.
Many in TEC have long embraced a theology in which chastity, as universally understood by the wider Christian tradition, has been optional, Bishop Wright wrote in The Times.
Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachers have always insisted that lifelong man-plus-woman marriage is the proper context for sexual intercourse, he explained. This is not (as is frequently suggested) an arbitrary rule, dualistic in overtone and killjoy in intention. It is a deep structural reflection of the belief in a creator God who has entered into covenant both with his creation and with his people (who carry forward his purposes for that creation).
Saying that ancient and modern paganism has always found this ridiculous and incredible, he said the biblical witness is consistent and the uniform teaching of the whole Bible, of Jesus himself, and of the entire Christian tradition.
TEC supporters appeal to justice, he said, is misguided. Nobody has a right to be ordained: it is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace. Further, justice means not treating people the same way but treating people appropriately and making distinctions.
Justice has never meant the right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire, he added. Noting that everyone has deep-rooted inclinations and desires, he said Christians should love what God has commended and desired, rather than ask God to command what they already love and desire.
Turning to divisions within TEC, he said that while breakaway traditionalist Episcopalians motives can be sympathetic, Anglicans should not forget the Episcopalian bishops who voted against the resolution and worshippers who share their beliefs.
TEC is now distancing itself from the fellowship of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Wright warned.
Ways must be found for all in America who want to be loyal to it, and to scripture, tradition and Jesus, to have that loyalty recognized and affirmed at the highest level.
I have three books by Bishop Wright and they greatly helped me understand the deeper issues surrounding the divine purpose of the Jewish dispensation, the Incarnation and the Passion/Resurrection. This man is a clear, orthodox thinker and a great man of God.
1 Corinthians 5: 9-11
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
Stick a fork in me and call me done. Also call me Anglican, not Episcopalian. How incredibly sad. How incredibly blind.
I am not Episcopalian, but I have been watching and reading about this since they first made Gene Robinson a Bishop. It is fascinating, and a little depressing, to see a church with such a long history, self-destruct on the rocks of political correctness.
It’s been going on for a very long time. Believe it or not the work has been ongoing since 1943, at least. The real impetus was Bishop Pike in SF in the 1960’s. Just gathered steam after that.
The problem always was that highly-educated but deeply morally-compromised liberals were attracted to the Episcopal Church and, with their erudition and riches, always ran the shop. They simply rode rough-shod over the common folk in the pews (the Epistle of James notwithstanding) and were clever enough to do their work somewhat behind screens of verbiage.
Now, of course, they don’t even have to be polite, but they used to have to at least discountenance what they were doing.