You’re probably sick of this story, but I have to shine the flashlight over here for a minute.
The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida has voted to repudiate the denomination’s confirmation of an openly gay bishop last month. It also rejected the decision to accept same-sex blessing ceremonies.
The election of Gene Robinson as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire has been covered to death, but the implications for the Episcopal Church and other denominations are just beginning to ripple across the surface of the pond. Many in the Episcopal Church USA, not to mention the worldwide Anglican Convention, are strongly opposed to the decisions of the ECUSA. It’s very possible the ECUSA may split over this issue.
But I haven’t heard much in the mainstream press about the spillover effect to denominations that are in full communion with the ECUSA, like the Evangelical Lutheran Chuch of America. When Mr. Robinson is ordained, as I understand it, a bishop from the ELCA, which officially rejects ordaining openly gay pastors, will have to be there at the ceremony. How will that sit with the rest of the churches in the ELCA?
Regardless of your personal feelings on homosexuality, the Bible is very clear on the issue: God doesn’t like it. Interpreting the relevant passages in Leviticus and Romans in any way other than “God opposes same-sex unions” is simply wishful thinking. Now, if the ECUSA (like the United Church of Christ before it) is going to reinterpret scripture on this issue, what’s next? Do we get rid of “thou shalt not steal”? How about an exemption for income tax returns? Or maybe we can lift the prohibition on child sacrifice. (Oh, wait–we did that with Roe v. Wade.)
Either scripture is the authoritative, true and final word of God or it isn’t. The ECUSA seems to want it both ways–the Bible is the word of God, except for the parts they don’t like. At the very least, that’s intellectually dishonest; at worst (and in truth), it’s heresy.