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Griswold at Belfast Cathedral

On BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence programme (Sunday 31st January 2005) former Archdeacon Gordon Linney and the Rev. Alan McCann of Reform Ireland debated the appropriateness of the invitation to ECUSA Primate Frank Griswold to preach in Belfast Cathedral in February.

In this article, Alan McCann outlines his position further.

The invitation to Bishop Frank Griswold to preach at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast has raised some concerns for those within the Church of Ireland with an orthodox and biblical viewpoint. The present difficulties and divisions within the Anglican Communion are a direct result of the unilateral action taken by ECUSA in consecrating as bishop an openly gay man, Gene Robinson.

This consecration proceeded despite the assurance given by primates in October 2003 that no such action would be taken. Bishop Griswold is on record as saying that he 'regrets the consequences of the actions in other parts of the world but he does not regret the action itself.' That is like saying you regret that someone died because you pulled the trigger of a gun but you do not regret pulling the trigger itself. There seems to be a clear contradiction in his statement.

The truth is that, as in the past, the liberals have asked those who are orthodox to 'listen' whilst they have proceeded to act. Once again, those who are orthodox are being asked to listen to the liberal agenda whilst the liberals continue to act. The plan appears to follow the pattern of the past - keep the talking process going for as long as possible whilst continuing to carry out the same actions time and again until eventually it becomes the accepted norm.

The Dean of Belfast's invitation to Bishop Griswold to preach in St Anne's Cathedral is a very controversial one in light of the fact that 50% of the diocesan synod of Connor voted last year for a biblical position to be maintained in the area of human sexuality. Further to this, the diocesan synods of Clogher, Armagh, Kilmore and Down & Dromore have passed resolutions upholding the teaching of Lambeth Resolution 1.10. It would appear that the majority of the northern province of the Church of Ireland wishes to remain faithful to the biblically orthodox position concerning human sexuality.

Whilst Dean McKelvey is free to invite Bishop Griswold to preach he should also take into consideration what message such an invitation is sending out to the rest of the Church of Ireland and the wider community. Further, in the interests of balance and in the spirit of true listening, a biblically orthodox primate should also be extended the same opportunity - so that both sides in this argument can be heard.

In the radio interview, Archdeacon Linney constantly referred to the need for inclusion and listening at this time and I could not agree more. However it would appear that the only people being excluded and unheard are those who hold to the traditional and biblical position which the Church universal has held for millennia.

Reform Ireland has never asked for the invitation to Bishop Griswold to be rescinded but we have asked for the opportunity to be given to put the other side of the argument. I suspect no such invitation will be extended and once again, those on the liberal wing of the Church of Ireland who constantly call for tolerance will in fact show intolerance to those who remain faithful to the Scriptures. All we can do is pray and remain faithful to the Word of God.

02th Feb 2005

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