by Steven Chan
7 December 2008
About five years after the Episcopal Church ordained its first homosexual bishop, the Anglican denomination is heading towards a split as their conservative members declared their intention to form their own group. This would formalise the division within the Anglican Communion, reportedly the world’s third-largest Christian body with membership of about 77-80 million.
It is interesting to note that the Anglican conservatives contend that the American and Canadian churches had broken with traditional Christianity (or traditional Anglicanism) in many ways. But as is often the case, the final straw that broke the camel’s back was the decision by the Anglican leadership to ordain an openly homosexual bishop and to give their blessings for homosexual relationships.
The leadership of the Episcopal Church responded by saying that “there is room within the Episcopal Church for people of different views, and we regret that some have felt the need to depart from the diversity of our common life in Christ.”
In 1 Tim 4:1-2, the Bible says: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…” “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables”(2 Tim 4:3-4)
In Rom 1:24-32, the Bible declared regarding those who chose not to have God in their hearts that “God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves … For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality… who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” The practice of homosexuality is clearly not a distinctive characteristic of the God-fearing person.
The writings of the apostle Paul in1 Cor 6:9-10 makes it even clearer that there is no place for homosexuals in God’s kingdom unless they repent:-
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
One therefore wonders how the mainstream Anglican leadership can possibly misunderstand the plain and unequivocal teachings of the Scriptures and welcome unrepentant homosexuals into their fellowship as well as elevate some of them to the position of leadership as bishops. But as Rom 1:32 observes of these belligerent ones: “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of (spiritual) death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them”.
How can they possibly be confused as to what God’s will is as regards the practice of homosexuality? How can it be an issue of interpretation of the Scriptures as some sympathizers are prone to raise as a way to justify the different views? If such plain teachings or statements in the Bible can be distorted by these so-called religious-minded people and acknowledged Bible scholars as well, does one still wonder why there are so many different and conflicting teachings by the denominations? Yet the Bible states in 1 Cor 1:10: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Unity is only possible and welcomed on the basis of speaking the same thing (same teachings or doctrine). How can one make room in the church for people with so-called different views as regards such plain teachings of the Scriptures? The apostle Peter warned in 2 Peter 3:16 that the “untaught and unstable people twist (the Scriptures) to their own destruction”. Indeed “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation…” (2 Peter 1:20).