Monday, February 28, 2005

The Primates and Homosexuality

Do they actually & clearly condemn 'Gay Sex' in their Communiqué as sin against God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ?

The answer seems to be 'No'!

This is perhaps surprising and so let us note what they wrote (or what their scribe Dr, Carnley, Primate of Australia and a noted liberal churchman, prepared on their behalf).

In Paragraph 6 they stated:

We also wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of the moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship (vii).

This is a very positive affirmation of homosexual people and their right to full church membership.

In Paragraph 12 they stated:
We as a body continue to address the situations which have arisen in North America with the utmost seriousness. Whilst there remains a very real question about whether the North American churches are willing to accept the same teaching on matters of sexual morality as is generally accepted elsewhere in the Communion, the underlying reality of our communion in God the Holy Trinity is obscured, and the effectiveness of our common mission severely hindered.

Here it is stated that the teaching in North America is different from that in other places and also that this division obscures communion with God and common mission. However, there is no basic criticism of the North American position as such.

In Paragraph 14, the North American Churches are asked voluntarily to withdraw from participation in the Anglican Consultative Council and to consider their place in the Communion. Nevertheless, they are invited in Paragraph 16 to attend the next meeting of this Council in order to explain their doctrines and reasoning to all the members. There is no hint of their being in doctrinal and moral error, only that they have different views to the rest.

Finally in Paragraph 18 it is stated:

In the meantime, we ask our fellow primates to use their best influence to persuade their brothers and sisters to exercise a moratorium on public Rites of Blessing for Same-sex unions and on the consecration of any bishop living in a sexual relationship outside Christian marriage.

Here there is no statement that these innovations are sins but only that they should not be continued at the present time. A moratorium is not a full and final cessation but only a temporary one.

It may be argued that behind this Communiqué are both The Windsor Report and the Resolutions on Sexuality of the last Lambeth Conference (1998). Even so, it is most surprising that, in the light of what a majority of the Primates has said (with prophetic passion and biblical urgency) inside and outside Synods about the fact of sin and the need for repentance, this Communiqué does not anywhere clearly state in simple terms that active homosexuality and same-sex unions are sinful. There may be an implicit condemnation of them but it is not explicit! In fact, the words 'sin' and 'repentance' do not occur in this rather long document, which mentions Jesus Christ only twice!

No wonder the various pressure groups for homosexual persons are very pleased with this Statement from the Primates! No wonder traditional Anglicans are worried that the Primates failed to address with appropriate biblical wisdom and vigor the apostasy being created in a growing number of provinces through the departure from biblical faith and morality.

One wonders whether the majority of Primates actually read very carefully what their liberal Brethren produced for their approval.

And one keeps on wondering, even after (as I have) one has read this document many times in the spirit of generosity and charity.

Peter Toon February 28, 2005

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