Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Same Sex Marriage" rebuked in USA Episcopal Church - Anglican Communion damged, but survives.

THE CONFLICT: Same Sex marriage rites threatened to divide the third largest group of Christians in the world.

THE RESOLUTION: The significant meeting, still being held by the archbishops and primates of the world wide Anglican Church, has avoided a major split, instead, issuing a statement on "how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of marriage. . . . such unilateral actions on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity is considered by many of us as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion."

Same Sex marriage has been the most recent issue facing Christians in the Anglican Church, has been authorized by The Episcopal Church of the USA, TEC, and a same-sex marriage rite is being established by the Anglican Church of Canada, ACC.

After this historic meeting, Same Sex marriage will not be tolerated by the majority of Anglicans. "Marriage in the Anglican Communion is held to be between a man and a woman. Same Sex marriage has been identified as being contrary to the Scriptures and "represent(s) a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching."

THE SANCTIONS: As a result, TEC is being sanctioned, given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

Read more.

SIGNIFICANCE: For the first time, Christians in the non-West part of the world have stood up to the church bodies in the West and demanded a response. These are significant decisions: 1. because of the  careful leadership of Archbishop of Canterbury. 2. The communique was issued by the primates, with at least 2 / 3 of the regions around the world signing on. 3. At upcoming meetings breakaway groups of Anglicans in the USA will not have TEC voting against them when they apply for status and approval as "Anglican bodies" during the next few years. 4. For the first time, Anglicans in the USA have formally been sanctioned by Anglicans around the world. 5. This is the first time that Christians have pushed back against "Same-Sex marriage rites" after these were authorised for general use in the churches (the authorization was given at General Council, summer, 2015).

OTHER STATEMENTS: This statement by the majority of Anglicans (numerically at least) comes from most of the churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They are grouped in a body known as GAFCON and were threatening to break off all relationships with Anglicans in the USA and Canada. They are disappointed that the statement makes no reference to repentance on the part of TEC and ACC.

"The Anglican Communion is our spiritual home and the GAFCON Primates travelled to England in the hope that godly faith and order could be restored through renewed obedience to the Bible.
We are pleased that Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America has played a full part in the Canterbury meeting of Primates and that sanctions have been applied to the Episcopal Church of the United States, (TEC) recognising the need for mutual accountability on matters of doctrine within the family of the Communion." Read more.

ANGLICAN INK:  George Conger writes: The primates of the Anglican Communion have suspended the Episcopal Church from full participation in the life and work of the Anglican Communion. On 14 January 2016 a motion was presented to the gathering of archbishops and moderators gathered in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral that called for the Episcopal Church to be suspended for a period of three years. Read more.

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