The Anglican Communion now faces one of its greatest crises ever over the question of whether or not same sex relationships are sinful or to be blessed by the church. Earlier today, on the second ballot, the diocese of New Hampshire elected the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson to be their next bishop. To his credit, Canon Robinson made no secret of his involvement in a relationship with his same sex partner, whom he named but didn't make a focus of the election process.
This election causes us the gravest possible concern, for if the church ratifies it, we would clearly be approving of the relationship in which Gene Robinson is involved. This is not about a person or a diocesan election process; it is about a radical change in church doctrine.
The union in which Canon Robinson participates is not Holy Matrimony but an intimate relationship outside the bounds of marriage. This would be true whether he were cohabiting with a man or with a woman. For the church implicitly to sanction such a partnership will be a clear repudiation of the teaching of Holy Scripture and the tradition of the church; it also would signify a massive overhaul of the Christian theology of marriage by the Episcopal Church. It would in addition be against the expressed will of the Anglican primates at the recently concluded meeting in Brazil, as well as the two documents commended by the primates, "True Union in the Body", and the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops' Theology Committee report. Finally, it would be against a whole host of General Convention resolutions on this subject dating back several decades.
We keep hearing about doing justice in the Episcopal Church; we think it is important to stop and consider what this means. The currently unchanged official position of the Episcopal Church is that the only proper context for the expression of sexual intimacy is between a man and a woman who are married to each other. For the last two decades, there has been a debate about whether or not to alter this teaching, a conversation which has been so challenging and difficult precisely because to move to bless same sex partnerships would represent such a breathtaking departure from all previous Christian teaching.
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If Gene Robinson's election is confirmed by General Convention, it would bring through the back door a practice that the Episcopal Church has never agreed to approve through the front door. How can this be considered doing justice? We do NOT have a theology for same sex relationships, and to agree to the Robinson election would be tacitly to sanction relationships still searching for a theology. We do not believe such a theology is possible without doing violence to Holy Scripture. . . .
This really hits the nail on the head.
It's my own belief after having read the biographies and statements of the candidates that in most respects Robinson was the most moderate and temperate of the candidates. Nevertheless, he is living in open defiance of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. It would've been better to not fill this vacancy.
Still more unfinished business: I realize I've failed to update my current reading. I'll try and get to this next week.