Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Faint Glimmer of Hope for the Anglican Church

Last Sunday's decision by Canadian Anglican Bishop's not to bless gay marriage has narrowly averted a crisis that would have led to the Canadian Church's expulsion from the Anglican Communion, a mass exodus of members and the closure of countless parishes. It is clearly a victory for reason and the church as a whole. It was also a surprise victory given the church's relentless march to irrelevance.

It's a rare moment for Anglicans faithful to scripture such as Anglican Essentials to claim any victory in the battles for theological purity. Instead they focused on the short comings of the synod with these two quotes from the Edmonton Sun:

Cheryl Chang, a spokeswoman for Anglican Essentials, a group lobbying against same sex blessings, said she believes confused and frustrated parishioners will start finding other churches immediately.

"People (will) leave to go to the Catholic Church, the Baptist church, the Pentecostal church. That's going to happen starting next Sunday, or next Monday even," Chang said.

"These are decisions that are very confusing for the church, and ultimately, very divisive."


"To do what they've done is to step apart from the worldwide Anglican communion," said The Rev. Canon Charlie Masters, the head of Anglican Essentials.

"This is a very sad day for Anglicans."

Come on guys. What would you have said if the Church had decided to bless same-sex unions? It very nearly did. Instead, you won the key vote. You worked hard for this victory claim it.

What Canon Masters and Mrs Chang are focusing on is a decision by the Synod that blessing same-sex unions “not in conflict with the core doctrine” of the church. OK, it's a set back, but it doesn't have any bearing on the actual practices of the church. Advocates for same sex blessings such as Bishop Michael Ingham will have a hard time continuing to go against the expressed wishes of the Synod.

My bigger concern is with the incoming Primate (head) of the Anglican Church in Canada:
“There is disappointment – a lot of pain. Some people will be saying ‘How long, O Lord, how long?’” said Bishop Fred Hiltz of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, who is the incoming primate or national archbishop. When asked how he might maintain discipline among clergy and bishops who want to move forward, he said, “My sense is that, as painful as these realities are, we do have a responsibility to respect the decisions of General Synod. It’s not the last time this will come up.”
Sir - there should be no more waiting, the Synod has spoken. This is the problem with the Anglican Church, the idea that doctrine and church teaching can change every few years and that liberals in the church believe they can use the same strategy as Quebec separatists, keep on voting until you get the result you want.

For those scriptural christians patient enough to stay in the Anglican Church I say fight the good fight. You still have a long uphill battle, but you won a victory on Sunday, enjoy it.

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