|The Dean of Westminster (left) and the Archbishop of Wales with Bishop Gene Robinson of the US Episcopal Church|
That divisive lobbyist Christina Rees and her feminist campaigning group, Women And The Church (WATCH) which could not tell the difference between equality and feminism started a process of dilution which has relegated the Anglican Church in the West to the margins of faith with ever decreasing congregations save for some remarkable exceptions on the evangelical wing. The 'equality for women' campaign is just that, a distortion. Their brand of equality demands preferential treatment for themselves leaving the rest of the church to struggle on the best they can. Many "budding clerics - perhaps a third - are from evangelicals" but they are allowed only a token bishop while women bishops are to be fast-tracked into the House of Lords so that they can continue their protest about discrimination at the highest levels.
An indication of their warped views can be found in a comment of a new WATCH baton carrier on the overdue appointment of the prominent evangelical, the Rev Preb Rod Thomas as Bishop of Maidstone. The Rev Jody Stowell who shares her distorted views on 'religion, feminism and community and the life of a priest' in a blog said "We should be careful that this isn’t creating a church within a church", just as they have done in the Anglican Communion.
It is reported that the appointment was made only in a bid to avert a split in the Church of England. All credit then to the Archbishop of Canterbury but none whatsoever to the Archbishop of Wales who continues to lead his church down into the pit with no concessions to anyone who doesn't conform to his fashionable, liberal bent.
From the recent Cranmer disclosure and other events afflicting the Anglican church it is apparent that this dilution of the faith is turning into pollution of the faith.
Mohammed is a false prophet. Christ predicted that there would be. How can any Christian accept the claim that Mohammed is 'the chosen one' in a line of prophets from God from Adam, Noah, Abraham to Moses, Jesus and Mohammed Mustafa, identifying Mohammed as the chosen one? Islam denies that Christ died on the Cross and even claims that Jesus was a Muslim. So the One who died for all is replaced by one who would kill all if they don't believe in him. It cannot be appropriate to offer hospitality which allows critics of all other faiths and none to peddle their distorted ideology in Christian churches which, if they had their way, they would destroy.
The Holy Bible is used by Islam to justify its ideology by distorting the Word. Is Dr Hall not aware that Islam is persecuting Christians simply because they are Christians and in doing so take their authority from the Quran? Have no lessons been learnt after a Muslim prayer service was held at St John's Church in Waterloo? - "The Bishop of Southwark takes very seriously his responsibility to uphold the teaching of the Church and to work within its framework of legislation and guidance. It is quite clear that Islamic prayer should not take place in a consecrated building," said a spokesman for the Southwark diocese.
From the enemy without to the enemy within, there is no let up in attacking traditional values for the benefit of a few individuals who would see their irregular relationships regularised, opening the door to other relationships such as three or more person marriage with children left to work out the puzzle as to why they don't simply have a mother and a father. And why not if love is the criterion? That is the logical development of the process. The process started with the ordination of women but that was just part of the package. The gay lobby, particularly in the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC), has torn Anglicanism apart with the appointment of practicing homosexual bishops, a novelty welcomed by Dr Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, who likes to claim that opposition is fruitless because change is inevitable. Under his headship, perhaps, but even he is not immortal which will leave future bishops to pick up the pieces, such as they are, be they gay, straight or transgender for that is how the Archbishop sees the future of the Church in Wales based not on faith in Jesus Christ but faith in Katharine Jefferts Schori the retiring Presiding Bishop of TEC.
This is not fiction. In 2012 TEC approved legislation that opened the door to transgender ordination leading to the conclusion "Cross-Dressing Clergy: These Are the Reasons the Episcopal Church Could Be Near Collapse". Note the similarity of the Archbishop's pronouncements with the legislation passed at the Episcopal Church Convention: The Episcopal General Convention voted to amend church laws to state: "No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age" - provided always that their views accord with the Presiding Bishop and her faithful disciple.
In 'Episcopalians for Traditional Faith' the Rev. Dr. Frank Larisey wrote an article claiming "It's Not about Sex". He wrote: Episcopal Church (TEC) spokespersons insist that the mass exodus of members began when Gene Robinson, celebrity homosexual, was consecrated as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Most of the mass media slavishly follow TEC's lead, mentioning the first openly gay bishop in every article about declining church membership. Fr. Larisey begs to differ. TEC's claim is a smoke screen that obscures the true reason behind the loss in membership: When the revisionists changed the words of worship, they changed the religion itself, making possible what followed.
Dr Larisey's claim makes a lot of sense. "When the revisionists changed the words of worship, they changed the religion itself, making possible what followed". Not only has much of the beauty of the Book of Common Prayer been lost but subtle, and not so subtle, changes are made (see the solemnization of holy Matrimony below). In the Church of England a new baptism service without mention of the devil was debated by members of the General Synod in February. It was claimed that "the new texts are needed because the world has changed so much, even in the last 15 years". Yes the world has changed but by reflecting secular change rather than maintaining our faith based on scripture and tradition the Anglican Church in the West, literally, is the poorer.
All this change has reached fruition in the campaign for same-sex marriage. Opponents are accused of being homophobic but what is homophobic in believing that marriage is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others? The argument that the Church has survived many upheavals doesn't wash when all the indications are that such views are motivated by self-interest rather than "for our good and the good of all His Church" as we say in the sacrifice of the Mass.
Gays and particularly the many gay clergy in the Anglican Church have become increasingly vocal as they see an opportunity which goes beyond acceptance to one of 'normality' as equivalent to Holy Matrimony and the procreation of children. It is not and cannot be. This is the straw that will break the back of the Anglican Church. This goes beyond vested interests. People who have tolerated female ordination and gay bishops are drawing a line. They find the concept of same-sex marriage too ridiculous to be taken seriously and their treatment for saying so offensive. The hour has come.
Read "Voting No to same-sex marriage is not homophobic, say [Irish] bishops here, and an
"Open letter of [Church of Ireland] Anglican Evangelical clergy on marriage" here.
Marriage is the voluntary union for life between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Same-sex marriage is not "equal" marriage. It is an grotesque imitation which demeans the solemnization of holy Matrimony:
DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this Congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
Why do the bishops of the Church of England and the Church in Wales even have to discuss the matter? They should follow the example of the bishops of the Church in Ireland and condemn the move as inconsistent with Christian teaching.
"The Church of Ireland synod has agreed to extend the time for the Church's select committee on human sexuality, which would include the discussion on same-sex marriage and gay relationships." The decision follows the "open letter signed by two Belfast ministers" referred to above which concluded:
"In recent days two Irish bishops have publicly declared and taught contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture and to the teaching of the Church of Ireland. This is despite the vows and promises made at their ordination and consecration, to uphold the Church's teaching and to refute error. We believe that they are now themselves teaching error and we call on them to repent of this and to teach what the Church has taught about marriage according to Scripture."
Today's reading from Acts is entirely apposite.
"Will 2015 Be the Last Mother's Day Celebrated Ever?" Read here.
"US clergy, including five bishops, ask synod to 'stand firm' on marriage." Read here.