On St. Patrick’s Day the Episcopal Church (TEC) of the United States confirmed the appointment of a lesbian suffragan bishop to the Diocese of Los Angeles. With the appointment of Mary Glasspool, who is due to be consecrated in May, TEC has conclusively demonstrated its total commitment to endorsing sinful lifestyles and ignoring the wishes of the rest of the Anglican Communion for traditional biblical standards to be upheld in matters of sexuality.
Reaction to the appointment has come both externally and from within TEC. Internally, yet another parish – in fact one of the largest in TEC – St. Andrew’s, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, has voted to leave the denomination in the light of the unchristian and unbiblical direction of TEC. Outside TEC, the Archbishop of Sydney has condemned the election, saying that it shows that the election of Gene Robinson in 2003 to the bishopric of New Hampshire was not an aberration, but part of a determined policy of TEC to promote an ungodly agenda. Also, it is expected that TEC’s decision will be decisively rejected at the Fourth Global South to South meeting of Anglican Primates in Singapore in April.
Since Christian doctrine and practice go hand in hand, it can only be assumed that the determined endorsement of the gay lifestyle as a valid Christian lifestyle by TEC, amounts to heresy. Theological liberalism worships a different God than that presented in Scripture. It presents a ‘god’ who is no longer holy. It presents a Christ who died for some sins but not for all. It presents a ‘gospel’ that calls people not to repent but to keep going in their sins. It gives no hope, shows no love or concern for people under God’s righteous judgment for their sin, and denies the reality of heaven and hell since everybody will be ok in the end - so we should accept each other now. This is an utterly different God from the One who has revealed himself to us through Christ in the Bible.
We know from the Church of Ireland’s bishops’ Pastoral statement in 2003 that there are some Irish bishops who endorse the practice of homosexuality as a valid Christian lifestyle. Like TEC, these bishops are out of line with Scripture, Christian history and tradition and the rest of the Anglican Communion. Whilst their Pastoral statement carries no doctrinal authority within the Church of Ireland, it is a matter of deep concern to many faithful Anglicans that some of those who hold places of leadership in the Church of Ireland should express such acceptance and support of practicing homosexuality. Rather than support, sincere repentance needs to be the order of the day.
In the light of TEC’s decision, now is the time for the Church of Ireland to re-affirm its total commitment to God’s standards for us especially in the area of sexuality. Reform Ireland therefore calls upon the Church of Ireland to state that it upholds traditional Christian and biblical teaching on sex and sexuality and to utterly repudiate the stance taken by TEC in its latest appointment.