Monday, May 14, 2007

Anglican Essentials Canada Threatens Schism

Dan points us to an article in the Toronto Star:

For conservative Canadian Anglicans, a rejection by their church of same-sex marriage blessings next month is no longer enough. They now want the clock turned back on how gays are ministered...

...The group wants a return to the days when church policy was to hate the sin, but love the sinner and help him or her remain celibate through prayer and counselling, which Masters describes as "the old way."

Masters and his group feel a recent statement by the Canadian House of Bishops telling ministers they can say the Eucharist with same-sex couples married in civil ceremonies, but not bless their unions, goes too far.

"The pastoral suggestions that are made imply that this is a holy relationship, which is to receive the full support of the church," says Masters, whose group presents itself as a "lifeboat" for those who feel the church has become too liberal.

The bishops' statement suggests they want same-sex blessings to be approved at the synod, he says, which could lead to the church being forced from the worldwide communion.

If that happens, Masters says Essentials will petition Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the church, to recognize his group as the official Anglican Church in Canada. "It's possible that by the end of June, the face of Anglicanism in Canada will change"...
You may recall that I was not terribly impressed with the statement from the Canadian bishops, as I found it to be a step backwards in an attempt to appease the Anglican extremists.

We now have the threat of schism from Essentials, who seem to also not be pleased with the Bishops' statement, but for a different reason; it does not sufficiently adhere to their particular interpretation of seven verses from scripture.

This is an attempt to raise the stakes at Synod. It is a tactic right out the Network's play book.

In regards to "hating the sin but loving the sinner," once again I'm drawn to the words of Tobias:

...It is impossible to “hate the sin” apart from the sinner, as if sin had some reality apart from the desires and actions of fallen human beings, as if you could somehow extract the sin from a person and vent your purifying fury upon it. Such a notion is very far from the Gospel. What is worse, those who begin by “hating the sin” in this abstract way soon will come to hating the sinner in a concrete way, as indeed they must, since the one cannot exist apart from the other. And when those who legislate what is sinful have sufficient power, we have seen what results: the auto da fé was intended to save the souls of those repentant heretics being burned alive...

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