From the Archives

From the Archives – New Anglo-Fudge is the Same Old Liberal Brand

 

unknownThe Anglican Church of NZ has been deliberating over the whole same sex marriage issue for the past number of days.

In essence this motion is a fudge because:

 

  1. It is contradictory – It says:

The Church has received and articulated an understanding of intimate human relationships which it expresses through her doctrine of marriage between a man and a woman, and is life-long and monogamous. We uphold this traditional doctrine of marriage

But then says:

We recognise a diversity of voices about what constitutes a right ordered intimate relationship between two persons regardless of gender. At this time it is the will of the General Synod/ Te Hīnota Whānui to respond to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Although we are far from unanimous in seeing the way forward, there is a broad recognition of the dynamic nature of doctrine, and the call of the prophetic word to be attentive to the movement of the Spirit

I fail to see how this motion can uphold the traditional (Biblical) doctrine of marriage and at the same time acknowledge “the dynamic nature of doctrine”.

 

  1. It is relativistic

This General Synod resolves to appoint a working group to bring and recommend to the 62nd General Synod

a. A process and structure by which those who believe the blessing of same-gender relationships is contrary to scripture, doctrine, tikanga or civil law, will not be required to perform any liturgy for the blessing of same-gender relationships, will continue to have integrity within the Church, and will remain compliant with the parliamentary legislation within any relevant jurisdiction;

b. A process and structure by which those who believe the blessing of same-gender relationships is consonant with scripture, doctrine, tikanga and civil law may perform a yet to be developed liturgy for blessing same-gender relationships in a manner which maintains their integrity within the Church, is compliant with the parliamentary legislation within any relevant jurisdiction, and can remain in communion under scripture, doctrine and law

So instead of acknowledging the white elephant in the room, this motion attempts to say that both views,(in spite of the fact that they are mutually incompatible with each, in spite of the fact that they both originate from different Gospels [not different understandings of the Apostolic Gospel]) are correct. This is a classic ploy of revisionists within the Anglican church who often say “All views are legitimate, what matters is that we are united as Anglicans”. Thus the term Anglican is not theologically defined.

 

  1. It’s promoting false unity – The unity promoted is not true unity, it is organisational unity that stresses unity based on the most common denominator, the thing that we can all agree on, which is “We are all Anglicans”. When the Apostle Paul writes to the church at Ephesus he says some very important things pertaining to unity. The Apostle Paul writes:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We maintain the unity by living lives worthy of the calling that we have received. All who trust in Christ alone are called to live a holy life, called to live a blameless life (Paul says this back in 1:4), we to be humble, gentle, patience with each other, we are to be loving. This should not surprise us, after all, we are all sinful, we are all human, there are times when some will find traits in us hard and even annoying unity but we are commanded to maintain it.

But what stands out to me is that Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to be eager to maintain the unity they already have, not create unity. And the unity that we are to maintain has already been established by God. And the way he established the unity it was by creating a new humanity and the way he created the new humanity was through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus propitiatory death on the cross that creates this new humanity and  it is cannot be maintained by hunting enthusiastically for the lowest common theological denominator amongst all those who profess to be Christians.

For example an ecumenical group can invite everyone of different traditions and say  “what unites us is our shared faith in God”.  It sounds lovely, but this ecumenical unity is not gospel unity. The only the former unity will be maintained is by no-one saying anything about anything because the moment they do, they offend and the unity is destroyed or they fudge it and say that both groups are correct. The Anglican Church of NZ has in essence done the latter and in either case this is not the unity that we are to maintain.

 

  1. It will not achieve what it claims it will achieve

There is an old Irish saying I heard years ago:

“Paper does not refuse ink”

One can write anything but this does always mean it matches the reality of what takes place. This motion claims that it upholds the traditional view of marriage and that the blessings that Bishop are allowed to practice are not marriage. But what will happen in my view is that these so called “blessings” will be treated like marriage.

In every denomination the process on issue of contention that liberals have wanted and been granted has led to coercion. An example of this is the ordination of women to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Church of Scotland. It was decided at General Assembly of the Kirk that women could be ordained to the ministry. Then the shift when from woman could be ordained to should be ordained. When the decision came to pass, the official view moved from women should be ordained to women must be ordained. Notice the process:

  1. You could

therefore…

  1. You should

therefore…

  1. You must

therefore…

 

in practice those who in good conscience do not hold to women’s ordination are excluded from discernment. There are many examples of the shift occurring within the Anglican Church. When women’s ordination came about there was the same talk from revisionists saying “oh yes, those disagree are free to disagree etc etc”. The rhetoric is the same within the C of E regarding the current debate over women being ordained to the Episcopate. But with women’s ordination there is no freedom and it is often used by revisionists bishops as a way of preventing Reformed Evangelical clergy coming into their diocese. What is the best way for a revisionist bishop to prevent a Reformed Anglican candidate being ordained/ordained clergy entering into their diocese? Ask them what they think of Women’s ordination. If they don’t agree, tell them

“Sorry I think it is God’s will that you don’t come in as it would not be a good fit for you”.

 

Fast forward four or five years. Reformed Evangelical cleric/candidate wants to enter the diocese, the revisionist Bishop asks him/her “What is your view of the practice of same sex blessings?” If the cleric candidate says they don’t agree, they are told the same thing,

“Sorry I think it is God’s will that you don’t come in as it would not be a good fit for you”.

 

All in all it is a very very sad day for the Anglican Church across the ditch as the new development is really the same old liberal Anglo-Fudge on offer, the only difference is that it comes from one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

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