Can you feel the Inclusion?

Yes, TEO is a source of all love and fellowship and welcome and inclusion. The Episcopal Church welcomes you! It welcomes you!

Unless of course you’re conservative in your theology.

Proposed bylaws being submitted by a faction called the “Episcopal Community” is seeking to expel the non-TEC members from the Order of the Daughters of the King.

The draft bylaws now being circulated in anticipation to next month’s Triennial include entire sections of the current by-laws rewritten so that those non-TEC members who are in the Order now will be expelled from membership.

The draft reads, “All members must be women communicants of The Episcopal Church (hereinafter referred to as TEC, formerly known as the Episcopal Church of the United States of America) . At no time shall any non-TEC person have seat or voice or vote or hold office or serve as chaplain in TEC Daughters of the King.”

In addition, the wearing of the Daughters of the King cross will only be granted to so-called “parallel structures” (separate but equal?) by explicit permission of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church following a rigorous consent process of the Episcopal-only membership. “Non-TEC parallel Orders may … apply to the full National Council of TEC Daughters of the King for a license to use the name, cross, and such other items as may belong to this Order,” reads the Episcopal Community draft Article IV:I. “The decision of the National Council to grant such license must be ratified by the membership and consented to by the Presiding Bishop of TEC.”

The rest of the bylaws are rewritten so to reflect the expulsion of the non-TEC Daughters, clarifying that no one who is not in TEC can be in the Order of the Daughters of the King. The entire Section IV on membership has been deleted and rewritten in this draft being circulated by the “Episcopal Community.” If this attempt is successful, it would mean that the Anglican chapters, as well as Lutherans and Roman Catholics will all be expelled from membership in the Order.

Lifelong members of DoK being chucked out. Orthodox clergy being hounded out of their churches. Lawsuits being filed left, right and centre.

And still some people will say it’s the conservatives who are being narrow minded and exclusionist.

Here’s One Republic, one more time, to explain the problem.

Or, for those who appreciate the irony of choosing this artist, the Communards have a fine piece that should suit those fleeing persecution to the ACNA.

39 Comments on “Can you feel the Inclusion?

  1. I can’t help but note that none of the liberals on these boards have engaged with this story, despite the fact that it calls into question the whole victim narrative straw man that has been erected by the TEC revisionists.

    It’s often said, or strongly implied, that because conservatives don’t speak out against “homophobia” as strongly or as frequently as some would prefer, they don’t really object to the ill-treatment of gay people. Can we assume that the same is true of liberals who barely ever condemn the grotesque witch-hunts against orthodoxy within many TEC dioceses?

    *He said provocatively*.

    • Hi WC,

      If this is aimed, among others, at me then please note:
      1. I do not necessarily consider myself a “liberal.”
      2. I am no advocate for TEC, I think both sides are quite capable of bad behaviour
      3. I am a UK based Anglican and understand the workings of the TEC only very broadly, certainly not enough to understand about this particular group within it / affiliated to it?

      I did some internet research and discovered the following:

      Traditionally to be a full member of DOK, a woman had to be a member of TEC. In 2004 the General Assembly opened this up to assoicate members, largely from the RC and Lutheran churches.

      The following analysis is from Episopal Cafe:

      ” whether through consequences of good intentions or design, this ( the opening up of membership) has drawn DOK right into the middle of the Anglican controversies…as it opens up the door to formerly Episcopalian parishes, now associated with Anglican breakaway groups …to lead the group WITH ITS RESOURCES out of the Episcopal Church.”

      The capitals are might because I think it is in those three words that we reach the crux of the matter – the filthy lucre!!! I suspect this move to return to a situation where only TEC members can vote is motivated by legal / financial expediency. In other words TEC wants to prevent or limit opportunities for further litigations aimed at obtaining TEC properties, funds and resources.

      Is it right of the TEC / presiding Bishop? Quite possibly not, but we are all capable of sharp practice when money is involved -and I guess that might be as true of conservatives as liberals?

  2. It’s difficult for me to comment on this, as I am not a member of the Episcopal church, and I’m not aware of its current position on diversity of opinion on theological issues.

    From what Peter has posted, this seems wrong to me.

    However, I’m well aware that there are always two sides to every story, and I’d be interested in hearing the other side before passing judgement.

    It’s been interesting reading Timothy’s comments on another thread, which also seems to imply that the ‘liberals’ are taking over the Episcopal Church and leaving no room for conservatives.

    Yet, from what I’ve understood about, for example, the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop is that his consecration is a one-off, and no other openly gay/lesbian clergy could be considered for a similar position.

    Now – as I said, I’m not current with all of the history on this, so I could well be wrong! But it sounds to me as if there are genuine complaints on either side of this issue.

    For me, as a C of S member, it certainly does feel as if it is the conservatives who are completely intolerant. For them to be happy, we all have to abide by THEIR theology.

    The reverse is not true, at least in my own case. While it saddens me to see parts of Jesus’ Church here on earth discriminating against and marginalising those whom I know Jesus loves and accepts, I do recognise that only God can convict and change hearts. That isn’t up to me.

    I can only enter into dialogue with conservatives – hopefully prayerful on both sides! – with the aim that God will convict and change hearts where that needs to occur.

    Enforced adherence to a given theological standard is simply about appearances, nothing more.

    And we are told that it is man who looks on the outward appearance, while God looks on the heart…

    It’s a difficult issue, though. How, for example, would we ‘include’ those who believed that slavery was still supported by God and sought to treat people in accordance with that belief? It’s a difficult issue for those of us who support inclusion…how do we behave in an inclusive way towards those who work to EXclude others?

    • Carolyn, I really cannot let your view that ‘Enforced adherence to a given theological standard is simply about appearances, nothing more’ without comment.

      Let me give you (although I hope you already know it) the Westminster Confession of Faith: Chapter XXIV, Article 1:

      I. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.

      Pretty clear cut isn’t it? And the Church of Scotland (CoS) says that the Westminster Confession (WC) is its subsidiary statement of faith after the Bible.

      So can I take it from your above entry that you, personally, see the WC as a ‘theological standard (that is) simply about appearances’.

      Your statement raises some major questions for you, OneKirk and CoS, especially in the light of the Scott Rennie case.

      How can the CoS ordain Rennie when it is so clearly against its major statement of faith?
      How can you personally and OneKirk operate in a confessional church that has such a clear faith statement of biblical orthodoxy on marriage?
      Do you see any role at all for the WC in the CoS and, if so, how do you discern which bits to keep and which bits to drop?
      If, as your statement implies, you see no role for confessions of faith, how on earth do you determine what is biblical orthodoxy? Is biblical orthodoxy at all important to you?

      • Philip,

        What good is enforced adherence to a theological standard one doesn’t believe one’s self? I can’t imagine it does anything for one’s relationship with God, can you? As God told Samuel – he sees our hearts, and that is what He is concerned with.

        Jesus was quite explicit with the Pharisees about outward appearances vs. inward ‘rightness with God’ (or inner conviction), when he called them ‘white-washed sepluchres’.

        The Westminister Confession of Faith? Well, C of S ordinands, in their ordination vows, accept it as a subordinate standard ‘insofar as their conscience will allow’. The C of S is traditionally a broad church, and acknowledges differences in understanding of Scripture.

        If the WCF is the ‘be all and end all’ of theology, why do we still have functioning theological departments, which continue to produce research thesis (and have done for the past 400+ years, since the WCF was written) that interpret and reinterpret Scripture?

        Heck – that’s what the Reformation was all about. :-) Our right/God-given duty to read and study the Scripture for ourselves.

        Honestly, though – the WCF as your standard? It was written in the 17th century – of course it had a ‘traditional’ understanding of marriage.

        John Knox was also quite notoriously not happy with women in anything like leadership positions, etc. (see all of his exchanges with Mary Queen of Scots).

        I’m not going to base my faith on the Biblical understanding of white men living 400 years ago, you know? I think that is ludicrous – to lay all my cards on the table, so to speak. ;-)

        The WCF also goes on about predestination – something you perhaps accept, but I do not. I remember my husband and a fellow divinity student staying up all night one time, looking up all the verses to do with predestination vs. universal salvation – to take the extremes – and they concluded that you could make a case for either if you picked and chose your Scriptures.

        If you’ve read along on the Driscoll thread, you’ll know already that I have huge problems with particular groups of Christians claiming that they have cornered the market on Biblical truth/orthodoxy. I’m fairly certain that the mystery of God is so big that all of us get quite a bit of it wrong. :-)

        I also have tremendous faith in the saving grace of God, through Jesus. As I said in the other thread – I strongly suspect that God’s grace is a lot bigger than anyone’s faith. :-)

        For me, this insistence on ‘orthodoxy’ quite often (and almost inevitably) gets mixed up with our own personal pride in ‘understanding theology’ and being ‘holier than’ others who don’t believe exactly as we do. And I think it can quite often get in the way of following Jesus.

        But here’s my question (and I posed it on the Driscoll thread as well): what ‘orthodoxy’ is it necessary to believe – in ‘exactly the right way’ in order to be saved and to be considered a follower of Jesus?

        I’d love to hear your take on that.

        • Carolyn:

          I’d like to flip your question on its head:

          Where do YOU think the line is between Christian and non-Christian? In concrete terms, what is the difference between one and the other?

          I would also like to respectfully suggest that – for someone who prides themselves on being “inclusive” (we could have an interesting debate on what on earth that really means) – some of your comments about conservatives demonstrate an unwillingness to critically engage with the actual arguments they are making.

          • WC –

            I’d be happy to answer that question for you, once you’ve answered it for me. You see, I’m not the one insisting on the importance of ‘orthodoxy’ to (what often seems) the exclusion of all else.

            I’m also not the one claiming that I have ‘cornered the market’ on God’s truth – which seems, in my experience (both as a former conservative and as a lasped conservative), to be the position of most evangelicals.

            If you could give me specific examples of places where I have failed to ‘critically engage with the actual arguments’ conservatives are making, I’d be happy to give those arguments consideration.

            It is difficult, of course, to answer every point that is made (you see the leviathan thread that is ‘The Sexualisation of Heresy’!). But I feel that I have made quite an effort to do so – so I’d be interested in hearing specifics about where you feel I haven’t done that.

            Because, of course, I feel exactly the same way. :-) I feel that I (and others) have made numerous points that the conservatives have consistently failed to address/engage with critically.

            To give you a few examples:

            No one has yet answered my question about what exactly one has to believe in order to be a Christian (and explained why adherence to ‘exactly the right theology’ is not an example of the ‘works’ about which we are not to boast).

            No one has explained theologically how God can do something (i.e., give David mulitple wives) which God condemns as sinful.

            No one has explained why (although it appears Peter is about to, which I’m looking forward to!) conservatives happily contextualise Biblical passages dealing with slavery, yet resist strenuously the contextualisation of Biblical passages dealing with homosexuality.

            I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on these issues. :-) Just as I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the conservative arguments you feel I’ve failed to engage with.

            • “it certainly does feel as if it is the conservatives who are completely intolerant. For them to be happy, we all have to abide by THEIR theology.”

              “While it saddens me to see parts of Jesus’ Church here on earth discriminating against and marginalising those whom I know Jesus loves and accepts”

              These comments are heavy on pejorative boo-words and light on theological engagement.

              I think part of the problem is a difference in the use of words. For you, “love and accept” = “affirm their sexual relationship”. For others, “love and accept” means being someone’s friend, and not having a harsh spirit, but nevertheless refusing to endorse sin.

              The central problem is this: Peter and other conservatives think same sex acts are always wrong. You don’t. This core disagreement pervades every part of the debate and means that you will never come to any agreement unless one of you changes your mind. But I do think you need to be more willing to accept the internal coherence of the conservative position, rather than characterising it as bigotry and intolerance, and admit that it is not inimical to mainstream historical Christianity.

              Imagine there was a burglar in your congregation. Not someone who had burgled in the past, but repented, and put a life of burglary behind him, but an active burglar, who robbed houses every day but still came to communion on Sunday. Any church worth its salt would feel compelled to challenge his sin and help him to move away from it. This would not mean that the congregation were self-righteous, or felt they were without sin, but they would be acting in a humble spirit of fraternal correction (which St Paul commends). This is how conservatives see the issue of homosexual practice – a sin like any other that must be repented of.

              And just as they would say that it is inappropriate for the unrepentant burglar to hold office in the church, to take part in the sacraments, a man who is an unrepentant sexual sinner can not do so either.

              Now you are probably wincing at this analogy. But that is how conservatives see the issue. And I just do not see the bigotry. Christianity is above all a religion of repentance and reconciliation.

              So, what is a Christian? Some thoughts:

              1. A Christian must accept that the historical figure Jesus Christ was truly God and truly man.

              2. A Christian must believe in the Trinity.

              3. A Christian must accept that he is a sinner and in need of salvation, which is found in the person of Jesus. This involves the confession of sins and what the Catholics call a “firm purpose of restitution”.

              4. A Christian must have respect for the authority of the historical church, and worship regularly with other Christians if at all possible.

              5. A Christian must believe that abortion is a sin.

              • OK, WC – you have a point about the perjorative language I’ve used in places, and I can see how that would be perceived as ‘light on theological engagement’.

                However, you accused me of failing to engage with the conservative arguments, and I asked for examples of conservative arguments I’ve failed to engage with. I’m still interested in hearing what arguments you think those are. Because while not all of my comments have been ‘theologically engaged’, I have tried to make sure that many of them have been. And I have specifically made an effort to engage with as many conservative theological points as possible.

                It’s why my posts tend to be so long winded! Which is perhaps the problem – maybe the length puts people off…I completely sympathise. :-)

                I think you are right that we have a fundamental disagreement about the rightness vs. the wrongness of same-sex partnerships. However, where I think you are wrong is insisting that I should accept the ‘internal consistency’ of the conservative position.

                That’s just it – I don’t think the conservative evangelical position is internally consistent at all. It glosses over, for example, the inconsistency I mentioned in my previous post – the fact that God specifically gives David his many wives (and says he’d have given David even more if he’d only asked!).

                Yet a key component of the conservative argument against same-sex partnerships is that the ‘consistent Biblical picture is of sex between one man and one woman’. Which is, of course, simply not true.

                And this is just one example.

                And yes – I think your burglary example is not a good analogy at all. We clearly see how burglary hurts/harms other people/fails to show love. Yet conservatives cannot point to an example of how monogamous commited same-sex partnerships harm others/fail to show love. Conservatives are instead, reduced to arguing, ‘Well, I believe God says these partnerships are evill, so they MUST be hurting those involved – even though there is no objective evidence of harm’.

                Yet Jesus himself (Luke 6) judges the appropriateness of the Pharisees’ interpretation of God’s law in terms of: how does this interpretation affect other people? Is it ‘for good’ or ‘for evil’?

                He doesn’t start with an ‘a priori’ position (i.e, ‘the law says don’t do X, so therefore X harms people). Instead, Jesus essentially says ‘X does not harm people, so preventing X is not a valid interpretation of the law.’

                Your definition of what one must believe to be a Christian is fascinating. Could you give me Biblical references to support your contentions that these beliefs are necessary in order for someone to be a Christian?

                • But we’re coming up against the same problem again. You say conservatives are ignoring difficult bits in the bible; they say you are.

                  I also don’t buy your picture of Jesus and St Paul as proto-consequentialists/utilitarians. Presenting Christian ethics as simply a matter of avoiding harm is a narrow interpretation, and not one that is supported by any major Christian tradition. You will not find it in the Fathers, or the Scholastic theologians of the Middles Ages, or the Reformers. What, for example, are we to make of the warning against committing adultery in our hearts on this view?

                  Would it be wrong to regularly steal £100 from somewhere who was so wealthy that he didn’t notice?

                  As for Biblical justifications, I come from the Catholic tradition, so it’s a bit more complicated than just pointing to chapter and verse. I’ll have to get back to you.

                  • WC –

                    What does ‘regularly committing adultery in your own heart’ do to you? I’d suggest that it leads to an awful lot of heartache for both yourself – yearning for something you can’t have, and your partner – you are hardly going to be loving and committed to your partner and developing that relationship as you should if you are lusting after someone else, right?

                    Consistently stealing from someone too wealthy to notice the money. Well, when my children have stolen from me in the past (small amounts of money I wouldn’t miss – it’s only happened a couple of times), I’ve been incredibly hurt. The lack of respect/etc that this act shows for me is intensely hurtful. Therefore harmful and not loving.

                    I think you seriously underestimate the strength of the command to ‘love one another’ as the whole of the law.

                    You may not ‘buy it’, but this is what Jesus himself said.

                    • I’m afraid your examples don’t refute my objection. What if I am a single man who likes nothing more than a bit of lusting in my mind’s eye? Who I am harming? Specifically. And sticking with my hypothetical rich man, who is being harmed by my stealing? He has more money than he will ever need. He doesn’t even know how much he has. So why can’t I help myself to a bit?

                      And I’m sorry to say that you are twisting my words to suggest that I am somehow rejecting Christ’s commands. I did not. What I did do was question your characterisation of Christian morality, and the way you interpret “love” to mean “refuse to point out sin”.

                      I’m not sure how much more progress we are going to make on this thread, so this will be my last contribution. But please try and see the conservative POV more generously. I don’t ask that you agree with it, but I do ask that you characterise it fairly and not resort to irrelevancies and anecdote in your arguments. The fact that some conservatives handle the gay issue badly is neither here nor there in deciding whether gay relationships are acceptable or not.

                  • Carolyn,

                    I hope you don’t feel you are being ganged up on, but I want to jump in here. Firstly, I want to just point out that Jesus’s approach to the law was effectively to reaffirm it but simultaneously deepen and internalise it. The typical sterotype that Jesus attacked the Pharisees for legalism is actually basically false! Jesus’ problem with the pharisees was never that they took the law too seriously, actually rather the opposite.

                    Secondly, regarding David and polygamy, we see that Jesus in Matthew 19 makes clear that God’s intention from the outset for sexual relations was the union of one man and one woman for life, and that exceptions were made in the case of divorce because of hardness of heart. By inference we can make the same case for polygamy. Polygamists are also barred from holding office in the New Testament church (1 Tim 3:2).

                    • Matt, could you give some biblical references to prove that,
                      “Jesus’s problem with the pharisees was never that they took the law too seriously , rather the opposite.”

                      Wasn’t it that the Pharisees were obsessed with the letter of the law and ignored the “spirit” of the law as in Matthew Chapter 23, verse 23 : ” you give a tenth of your spices but have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness.”

                    • Matt,

                      I’d agree with Sue that you need to provide Biblical evidence that Jesus’ problem with the Pharisees was that they didn’t take the Law seriously enough.

                      How do you read Luke 6, for example? In what way where the Pharisees ‘not taking the law seriously enough’ when they wanted Jesus to have 1) planned ahead and not picked corn on the Sabbath and 2) waited a few hours to heal a man who had needed healing for years?

                      These two actions both seem to clearly violate the commandment (which was a serious one – in Leviticus, the punishment for breaking it was death). In what way do you see these actions fulfilling and strengthening the command not to work on the Sabbath?

                      As for polygamy – I agree with you that we have clear teachings from Jesus/in the NT that one can use to condemn polygamy.

                      However (and it seems to me this a big ‘however’) – the core evangelical case against same-sex relationships is that they violate the ‘natural created order’ of God, which is one man-one woman.

                      And conservatives insist that this is a consistent ‘created order’ revealed throughout all of Scripture and is never deviated from.

                      Yet we have a clear example here in which God does deviate from this claimed ‘natural order’. Which is a big problem for the conservative case.

                      It’s the lack of consistency in the conservative position that is the key here – and it is something that, frustratingly, conservatives on these threads want to continue to claim doesn’t exist, when it clearly does.

        • To refer back to Alice again, Carolyn: ‘How can you mean what you say unless you say what you mean’? And that is the point that Timothy Fountain has been pursuing with you on another thread.

          Orthopraxis has to come out of orthodoxy: the two are intimately related. Right actions can only follow right beliefs. I gave my testimony elsewhere, and my own personal victory over Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) came through recognising Truth: that gay was not a biblical identity and that I was experiencing temptation rather than any identity conflict.

          You raise a number of points that respond to comments that I did not make. I did not claim WC as ‘the be all and end all’ of theology and I did not claim it as my standard of faith. What I DO think is that far stronger material than general positions based on love and justice and contextual theology need to be assembled by those that seek to overturn orthodoxy.

          I also think that you equate liberal and progressive far too glibly. These are primarily political positions that you have taken following the lead of the LGBT lobby, which is primarily not Christian.

          To give you an example. I viewed the video of gay Christians to which you linked a while ago. I was also grieved by their clearly expressed pain, hurt and confusion. But I had an entirely different reading to you. Every participant self-identified as gay. Gay is of course the predominant discourse that is available to teenagers and young adults who are experiencing SSA. I grieved that these guys had not had loving, professional and Spirit-filled Christian counsellors come alongside to help them.

          Do you see my point? We view the same expressed views differently because we have different beliefs, as Timothy Fountain has correctly identified.

          And this is the fundamental problem. Liberal Christians accept ‘gay’ as immutable and unchangeable, despite evidence that orientation can change. Their positions are primarily determined by the political positions of wider LGBT lobby or by revisionist theologians that have already accepted the fundamental pre-suppositions of the LGBT lobby.

          WC is correct in his observation that you refuse to accept the ‘internal consistency’ of the conservative evangelical position on sex.

          As for your question on what you need to believe to be a Christian, I take a minimalist position. The catholic church (Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox churches) have all agreed on the Apostles and Nicene Creed as statements of faith. All of these statements are regularly reflected in worship in all these churches, and include all that is necessary for salvation.

          Indeed, the Bible states what is needed for salvation even more succinctly. If we believe in Jesus we will be saved (Acts 10:43, Acts 16:31, John 3:36). So, based on this, I would never dare to accuse you, Sue or other liberal Christians of not being Christians as I cannot see into your hearts. I believe that many people come to salvation simply by confessing Jesus as God and asking for his help.

          But, again coming back to orthodoxy and orthopraxis, I think you need to distinguish between salvation and sanctification. Salvation is the work of a moment by confessing Jesus as Lord. Sanctification is a work in progress throughout our whole lives, where we gain greater knowledge of what God requires of us for correct living through reading the Bible, where we learn and apply God’s Word to our specific situation thorugh prayer, and where we gain the power to live out that life through the Holy Spirit

          All the best.

          • Philip,

            Well, we can agree in terms of salvation and sanctification – I have no problems at all with what you write there (surprise!).

            And I agree, as well, with what you say about us both viewing the same video and reacting to it in different ways, based on our different beliefs. I posted on the ‘Sexualisation’ thread, I believe about this phenomenon – psychology has shown us that individuals committed to certain positions (whether they be political, theological, whatever) are very, very good at taking whatever evidence they find (both supportive and contradictory) and fitting it into their own belief systems.

            Not only are we very good at taking contradictory evidence and fitting it into our own belief systems, but our brain actually ‘rewards’ us with a dopamine (I believe) rush when we do this.

            But that’s the thing (and this is also something I posted on the sexualisation thread) – you and I are both convinced that we are following the ‘mind of God’ on this issue, despite the fact that we come to diametrically opposed positions on same-sex relationships.

            So – how does the Church deal with this reality? What do we do, practically speaking, when you (and others) believe that same-sex relationships are sinful, while I (and others) believe that the historical lack of acceptance that gays and lesbians have faced and continue to face is sinful?

            I think that dialogue is great and necessary – we need to understand where the other side is coming from. But then what?

            Your answer appears to be (as is the answer of most evangelicals I know), that the Church – all of it – must abide by your theological convictions.

            Yet how would you feel if you were made to abide by my theological convictions?

            It’s very difficult, isn’t it?

            • Sue & Carolyn,

              Coming back to the pharisees, I don’t think Jesus’ problem with them was to do with “letter and spirit” of the law, but rather that they did not teach the whole of the law, but emphasised a less weighty part (e.g tithing). Matt 23:3. They also replaced parts of the law with the traditions of men. Mark 7.13.

              I’d look at Matt 5:20. Jesus was not being flippant here as some people interpret him. He was being serious. Our rightousness has to exceed theirs. This is not because they are such great people. Actually the opposite again. They weren’t great people when keeping the law was concerned!

              We Christians badly need to reorientate ourselves to the pharisees! Their problem was not legalism (by definition of following the law of Moses) but submission to man made rules, leaving parts of the law out and a false interpretation of the bible.

  3. Philip,

    The WCF also calls the Pope the ‘anti-Christ’…there really are fairly good reasons not to consider it the ‘be all and end all’ of good theological thinking and orthodoxy, you know? ;-)

    • That’s not my point, Carolyn, I am sure that we can all find parts of the WC that we dislike. But your earlier post seemed to rule out all statements of faith as ‘enforced adherence to a theological standard (that is) simply about appearances’.

      So I repeat my question: Do you see any role for statements of faith (WC or otherwise), or, as your later post this evening implies, do you rely on whatever research can be marshalled to support the latest liberal activist position.

      Because evangelicals have orthodox biblical scholarship, the teaching of the church Fathers and 2,000 years of unified understanding of the Bible on our sides in support of the orthodox position on sex.

      Revisionists and liberals need far more than general biblical statements on love and justice, tied to essentially modern and post-modern understandings of sexuality to overturn this position.

      In short, sister, you ain’t yet come up with the goods!

      • ‘In short, sister, you ain’t yet come up with the goods!’

        Or, more accurately perhaps, you don’t believe I’ve yet come up with the goods! (just as I don’t believe your position is Biblically consistent).

        Why is pointing out very real difficulties – which I suspect you reject, just as much as I reject them – in the WFC not ‘the point’?

        You ask on what basis I ‘pick and choose’ what to believe. I’m just pointing out that we ALL ‘pick and choose’ what to believe.

        You are dismissive of me, because I don’t adhere to ALL of the WFC. Yet you also don’t adhere to all of the WFC – yet you accuse me of ‘picking and choosing’?

        This is the key, actually, to my frustration with conservative evangelicals. This inconsistency, while at the same time, claiming total consistency (I refer you back to the fact that no one has yet explained, theologically, how God can do something [give David muliple wives] that God unequivocally and consistently [in your world view] condemns as sinful).

        Additionally, I find it fascinating (and again frustrating) this continued return to ‘tradition’ and the ‘teachings of the church fathers’ to buttress your position on homosexuality – while conveniently ignoring the fact that you jettison tradition and the teaching of the church fathers in other areas (like slavery, the role of women, etc).

        Aargh! It’s so very, very frustrating! (I suspect you feel the same way!)

        For me, the Bible is very clear about what makes you a Christian: ‘If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be saved – and your house’, of course – although that adds an interesting theological twist, doesn’t it? ;-) Perhaps we won’t go there. :-)

        All else is window dressing. And often distracting, ‘temptation to pride’ window dressing that distracts us from our real purpose of following Jesus.

        It does feel as if you are missing the point of my comment about ‘enforced adherence to theological standards’. What profit is there – how does it help my relationship with God – if I am forced to adhere to a theological position I disagree with? Again – God looks at the heart, not at outward appearances.

        And often, anyway, it is only ‘outward appearances’ that seem to matter, at least in my experience. I know a gay man (C of S minister) who was told – ‘Just find an understanding woman!’ in order to ‘cover over’ his homosexuality. And, of course, Scott Rennie isn’t the only gay minister – he’s just the only openly gay one. I know of many others – and their orientation is commonly known – yet it isn’t ‘open’, becuase they aren’t living in a monogamous relationship. But they are OK, and not hounded out of the church.

        I know of another couple of ministers who regularly go cottaging (behind their wives’ backs, I might add) – this is known in at least one presbytery, yet the conservative evangelical ministers there do nothing. Why? This cottaging minister is one of their own. :-( So it’s covered up – appearances again.

        ~So, yes – outward appearances don’t impress me a whole heck of a lot.

        • I’m at a conference so I’ll share in more detail tonight. Yes, I agree it is frustrating to find directly opposite views from the same Bible, but that is the whole point of dialogue :-) God bless

        • Carolyn, first let me respond to your points.

          I did not make the case for the conservative evangelical (CE) position on sex based on tradition, although I concede that by mentioning the church fathers you could have read that into my comment. (I’m not a Catholic, as you no doubt will have realised! :-)

          But biblical orthodoxy and 2,000 years of scholarship agreeing with the CE position is of far more weight than your rather disparaging reference to ‘white men living 400 years ago’, as if this automatically categorises their views as irrelevant.

          Peter has answered your point on polygamy: God nowhere condones polygamy and I see no need to add to his comments.

          I’ll also await his posting on slavery, although I had also posted an argument on the now enormous and ungovernable ‘Heresy’ thread.

          Closted, cottaging CoS ministers: Well what do you expect in a ‘broad church’? I have no doubt that there is as much hypocrisy, duplicity and deceipt in the CoS as in any other church. As I have heard pastors sometimes say: ‘If you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it as you’ll spoil it’. I don’t know the cases so I can’t comment. I would hope however that in any church worth its salt there would be skilled Christian counsellors with the courage to confront and love such ministers through their sexual difficulties. Cottaging is hardly the unforgivable sin.

          But let me try and get beyond our seemingly insurmountable differences over scriptural interpretation by conceding two points to you.

          1) Conservative evangelicals do interpret contextually and do ‘pick and choose’ scriptures. This is because they give greater emphasis to issues of sexual behaviour than to other issues, such as slavery. In my view (and other biblical conservatives are welcome to disagree) this is because they see issues of sexual behaviour of being of foundational importance with respect to who we are as people, how we see ourselves, and how God sees us as people in Christ.

          2) Conservative evangelicals do major on what you see as ‘enforced adherence to theological standards’. Most evangelical and charismatic churches have their own statements of faith (mine does) which are usually derived from the Creeds and/or the great reformed confessions, such as the WC. They do this because it is important to be clear about what a church believes. To return to the point made most effectively by Timothy Fountain: orthopraxis (correct action) follows from orthodoxy (correct belief). It also is derived from the difference between salvation and sanctification. While salvation is, quite correctly in my view, based on a simple confession of Jesus as Lord, sanctification is based upon applying the scriptures, prayer and the Spirit throughout our life. And orthodoxy, expressed through liturgy, confessions, statements of faith, etc, are one very useful way of doing this.

          But I think you (and by extension those who have a liberal view on sex) also need to concede a number of points as well. Let me suggest them:

          1) LGBT activists uncritically accept ‘gay’ as given and immutable, based upon arguments from the wider, overwhelmingly non-Christian LGBT lobby. Despite massive amounts of research and lobbying the best that the wider LGBT lobby can come up with is that ‘the causes of homosexuality are complex and varied’ (American Psychological Association latest statement). There is no proof that ‘gay’ is genetic, there is no proof that ‘gay’ is unchangeable and there is growing evidence that highly motivated individuals can change their sexual orientation. ‘Gay’ is demonstrably not the same as the standard immutable sociological categories of race, gender and age. LGBT activists uncritically accept ‘gay’ as an ontological category based only on two positions. Firstly the views of the larger and more politically influential non-Christian LGBT lobby, and secondly based upon the expressed experiences of LGBT Christians.

          2) LGBT Christian activists give only one definition to ‘loving acceptance’ of gays in the church, and that is full inclusion in ministry and leadership. This is equivalent to saying ‘loving can only be what we say it is’. You and Sue have posted about the rejection and exclusion of LGBT Christians from the church, but what you actually mean is their exclusion from ministry and leadership. I am sure that you can find cases of LGBY Christians who HAVE been expelled from evangelical churches for being gay. I am equally sure that this is not a mainstream evangelical position. From my own experience in my charismatic church which holds to a conservative theology, there are a number of gays who regularly attend and who are receiving significant ministry whcih they appreciate. The evangelical position is NOT exclusion and rejection, but the position that homosexual practice is a sin and that any gay coming to church will be offered loving help to overcome sin, as would anyone else. The liberal position on ‘loving acceptance’ is equivalent to saying loving is only what we liberals define it to be.

          God bless

          • Sorry Philip, despite being very moved by your earlier testimony, I have to challenge some of this.

            “there is growing evidence that highly motivated individuals can change their sexual orientation.”

            Can you find one credible research body (which does not have an underlying Christian agenda) which consistently supports this?

            What do we mean by “highly motivated” ? Does this mean, “if only you tried hard enough, prayed enough you could change?” I know of someone who attempted suicide because he was told he was still gay for the simple reason that he was, “not sufficiently motivated.”

            The idea that someone can change their sexuality if only they try hard enough is wrong and cruel as it places the onus on a that individual to bring about change – surely this should be down to God’s grace, if you do believe change is possible?

            The “sufficiently motivated” line also puts pressure on some people to “be good” and try to convince themselves and others that they have changed, despite their deep knowledge that they have not. All that, “Oh, I think I feel something stirring after all” mind game is not good for people. Haven’t you heard of the closet? People can lie to themselves and others for years.

            You say that in evangelical churches,
            ” every gay will be offered loving help to overcome sin.”
            What if that person does not see their sexuality or their behaviour as a sin? Is it really an “offer” ( which implies choice) or is it something different? If they say, “thanks, but I have come to terms with this”, will that be respected – or would there be pressure?

            What if a married bisexual man or woman came to such a church, they said they were faithful to their spouse, but made it clear they were not ashamed of their same sex attractions either and saw it as a part of themself that they and their spouse could accept. Would that be acceptable? Or would it be necessary for them to repent of their ( unacted upon )orientation?

            Exclusion takes many forms, not just the exclusion of practising gay Christians from ministry.

            Really, aren’t there better things to do than police our fellow human beings in this way? Let’s police ourselves and not worry about specks and eyes.

            • Sue, I’m at a conference so I’ll post a longer response tonight. I think you raise some very valid points. I totally agree that people who self-identify as gay should not be pressured to change. But I am also very concerned about people who are convinced that homosexual practice is a sin and who want to change. Later :-)

            • Sue

              Firstly your responses over my ‘gay’ identity points:

              ‘there is growing evidence that highly motivated individuals can change their sexual orientation.’ The biggy is of course the Spitzer study (see which generated a primarily political response because a reputable psychiatrist dared to say that change in sexual orientation was possible.

              But let me try and come to some agreement with you by agreeing with most of your points. Many, perhaps even most, conservative evangelicals are deeply uncomfortable with both the idea of homosexuality and with being around gay people. Evangelical churches have, historically, had a poor record of acceptance of gays even based on my definition. The testimont that I shared with you I have only shared with my pastor in my charismatic church and I would be very wary of sharing it with most people in my church, which only goes to prove most of your points.

              My own personal frustration with many evangelical churches is that the attitude of far too many members remains coloured by cultural conservatism rather than Gospel values. I suspect, Carolyn, that this also colours your experience in the States. But, as I said, ‘if you find the perfect church, don’t join it as you’ll spoil it!’

              I do think however that evangelical attitudes are changing and that many more evangelicals are becoming accepting of gays as people. I also defend the integrity of ministries that genuinely offer help to people that want to change their sexual orientation, without pressure and coercion.

              But Sue, you also have to face the reality of people who claim to have ‘left gay behind’. I recognise that you do not vilify ex-gays, but the non-Christian LGBT movement treats them appallingly, basically because they stand as living testimony against the now uncritically accepted view that homosexuality is innate and unchangeable.

              I remain very concerned that the most influential components of the wider LGBT movement, such as Stonewall and Peter Thatchell, have an ideologically driven agenda to end public discussion of homosexual practice as a sin. They want to put in place a legal framework through the Equalities Bill that will enable them to harrass Christians who still claim the right to discuss this idea publically. And that, to me, is not just highly illiberal, but also dangerously authoritarian.

              So where does that leave us? There are LGBT Christians that claim that gay is ‘innate and unchanging’ and that it is a form of oppression to even offer the prospect of sexual orientation change within the church. There are also ex- or post- gay Christians that claim that their orientation has changed, mostly commonly through counselling and spiritual healing. We need to be tolerant of both positions within the Church.

              One of the most positive aspects of this site and of Peter’s ministry is that it is fundamentally accepting and tolerant of gay people, while presenting a firm committment to Biblical orthodoxy. And this leads to the joint commitment to both educate evangelicals into tolerance and acceptance of gay people as people, while defending biblical orthodoxy on sexuality and the right of Christians to apply that orthodoxy. It seems to me that both are important.

              Extract from Peter’s essay on this site on ‘The False Paradigm that distorts our Discussions’: ‘In short, true healing is found in the pain of dying to self and resurrecting as the human God intended us to be, not the one that society prescribes us to be. It requires nothing more of us then to see Christ as he truly is – the Lord of all and one who tells us who we truly are, a radically different perspective to what the world tells us we are.

              I hope and pray you will find such a healing in your life, that if you are reading this and struggling with your sexuality, that you will see that it is not a determinative thing in your life, that God calls you beyond it’.

              I agree completely with that statement, and it reflects my experience. Gay is not who God says we are, and God is greater than the sexual hurts that all of us experience.

              God bless

              • Hi Philip,

                am not about to get deeply involved in this thread or comment on the original post (about TEC etc), but would just like to pick up on 2 things in your reply to Sue above.

                First: are you aware that Dr Spitzer’s study was criticised for several flaws in its method? (Eg sample size of only 200, recruited largely thru’ ex-gay ministries and other ‘pro’ ex-gay folk such as Dr Laura Schlessinger; many participants interviewed only by phone not in person; 23% of his sample was referred to him by NARTH, and 43% came from ex-gay ministries; some participants were activists including at least one (Anthony Falzarano) who had lobbied politically for anti-gay legislation…. OK, I’ll leave it there).

                There is also Jones & Yarhouse’s study, which to my knowledge was methodologically much better, though its sample size was rather smaller (less than 100). I think it’s fair to say that there are glimmers of evidence that some people do change orientation – I’m including people’s stories in that, as well as studies such as those mentioned above. But I think it would also be true that there’s no truly authoritative study on this.

                Linked to this: even if you accept that some folk have changed in orientation (whatever exactly that means), seems to me that doesn’t in itself prove that being gay is a pathology… As I mentioned on another thread, if the observation that some same-sex couples can show forth sacrificial love is true, it’s hard to see how such love could be founded on a pathology or a disorder.

                The second thing was that you named Peter Tatchell as someone who has “an ideologically driven agenda to end public discussion of homosexual practice as a sin”. I do wonder if you could find a quote from him to support this – as to my knowledge this is not part of his agenda. As far as I’m aware he’s very pro free speech and I didn’t think he was against the amendment to the Bill (forgotten the name of the Bill now…) which makes provision for criticising sexual practices. I should try and find a quote myself but look at the time…

                in friendship, Blair

                • Blair

                  I’m don’t actually think its very helpful for liberals and conservatives to throw ‘scientific studies’ at each other. I agree that much of the research, from both sides, is ideologically driven, and is often designed to enforce pre-determined conclusions.

                  I’m quite happy with your statement ‘that there are glimmers of evidence that some people do change orientation’. I’d put it at more than glimmers, but I am more concerned that biblical orthodoxy on sexuality be retained and that people who voluntarily want to change their sexual orientation be allowed to undertake counselling, therapy and spiritual healing without coercion from either liberals or conservatives.

                  Your point about sacrificial love in gay relationships is a good one. Peter responded by stating that it is not in question that gay relationships can exhibit love and grace; the issue is what are the God-defined boundaries for showing love sexually. I agree with that point: love and faithfulness are primarily about obedience; doing what God says we should do. But that only gets us back to our deadlock over issues of scriptual interpretation …..

                  Re-reading, this last point sounds a little blase (sorry don’t have an accent ecoute), so let me try another take on it, especially as I seem to be in the mood for conceding points.

                  Gay people are quite capable of exhibiting sacrificial love and grace in their relationships. I’m quite enjoying chatting along with you and Carolyn and Sue and I think you’re all great folks! (Can you feel the LOVE, come on everyone BIG GROUP HUG!!)

                  But it comes back to what we believe that God says are the correct boundaries for the sexual expression of love, and you know what I believe.

                  I strongly believe that we are all ‘wounded healers’ in the church and that we all have places where we can minister to each other in love and grace. I have a vision for ministry where we ALL come as equals before the Lord to be healed and set free, through his people the body. I am sure that if I met you I would have something to learn from you and vice versa. I am very critical of evangelicals who raise up homosexual practice to be the ‘unforgiveable sin’. But sexual sin is important, because our sexual actions come out of who we believe that we are.

                  Which brings me onto your Peter Thatchell point. Yes, I shouldn’t have conflated him with Stonewall because he is a free speech advocate. In fact he is a free everything advocate and that is the problem. Peter Thatchell is at the radical edge of ‘queer politics’ that advocates that sexual identity is fundamentally unimportant, what is important is the right to free sexual expression. And it seems to me that the right to free sexual expression for something as powerful as sexuality, outside any absolute moral framework, is a very dangerous thing.

                  I concede that LGBT Christians to conduct ‘committed, loving and faithful’ relationships (Yo, I’m conceding stuff today!) Christians by definition have the Spirit of Christ within them to admonish, strengthen, discipline and constrain.

                  But non-Christians are also by definition without the indwelling Holy Spirit, and without the restraints that He provides. I believe that original sin gives us a pre-disposition to sin and that people are unregenerate until we are saved and Spirit-filled.

                  Defintions of what are sin, even in the post-Christian cultures of Europe and America, have an impact. I genuinely fear what will happen in these increasingly hedonistic, hurting, sexualised society if the idea that homosexual practice is not a sin takes hold.

                  God bless

                  • Hi Philip,

                    *joins group hug*

                    v quickly as am going away early tomorrow morning…

                    ‘fraid I’m still nitpicking re Peter Tatchell as I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s a “free everything advocate” or that he’s saying there should be no moral boundaries. He tried a citizen’s arrest on Mugabe remember – not directly related to the matter at hand I admit, but I cite it to give an example of moral courage on his part.

                    “Gay people are quite capable of exhibiting sacrificial love and grace in their relationships” – as with Peter I think that’s a brave and heartening comment for you to make, but seems to me it gives you a problem, as if it’s true it leaves the conservative position looking inconsistent. If gay people can exhibit sacrificial love in a same-sex relationship, how can it be a sin to do so?

                    Really like your paragraph starting “I strongly believe that we are all ‘wounded healers’ in the church…” by the way.

                    in friendship, Blair

              • Hi Philip,

                I do recognise that there are people who are ex-gay, post-gay, I do think such stories should be listened to. My response to “ex or post gay” is to consider four broad possibilities:

                1. Their sexual orientation has changed from gay to straight ( I will be honest and say I am sceptical about such a radical change.)
                2. Many of these people are “bisexual” or have a capacity for some degree of sexual fluidity. I am very open to this idea, some people do experience shifts in orientation or perception of that orientation during their lifetime. Take Tom Robinson ( of the 70s “Glad to be gay” song) who is, apparently now with a female partner and has a child. He wrote a song “having it both ways” much later on. He seems to have been unaware of his capacity for a heterosexual relationship before meeting his wife/ partner.

                3. There is more to successful relationships than sex and sexuality! Some people ( caution – I said SOME!) are able to regard other things as more important. For example, as we get older what we DO in bed is often more important than what we LOOK like. Some people focus on other things such as the love that sustains the relationship, the pleasure of physical and sexual connection with a partner and are able to put the need for visual stimulation to one side.

                4.Some people are so “highly motivated” that they are prepared to retreat to the closet in order to win approval from others and feel better about themselves.

                My key point is this though, the experiences of those who report change should not be used as a weapon to force LGBT christians who are happy with who they are to change or feel shame about their self acceptance. For most people who are gay, that is innate and unchanging, just as for the majority of straight people their sexuality is a “given”

                Is it oppressive or abusive for churches to “offer prospect of orientation change?” Well, if this is unsought- yes! If it is not made clear that many studies show a high failure rate and some people end up embittered by the whole thing-yes!
                If it involves “healing” or “deliverance” or a “programme” carried out by self styled experts – yes! If the people involved are not recognised as vulnerable and there is not a clear, ethical framework – yes! If the individual concerned later says they suffered disastrous emotional and psychological consequences and chose to take a case to law – then it would be up to the courts to decide!

                Conservative christians no longer have the right to treat law abiding gay citizens in ways that are potentially abusive and damaging. It does not matter how well meaning “interventions” are. If churches are going to offer “loving help” they will have to be very careful to act within a scrupulous ethical framework.

                I would like to genuinely thank you for what I presume are your personal concerns towards me, Philip. I would like you, however to recognise that you don’t know my personal circumstances and that, in any case, I am quite secure in my assurance of God’s love.

                • Sue and Blair

                  Thanks for your comments. I am glad we are beginning to find areas where we can agree.

                  It's difficult to post this week, strangely enough as I'm in the UK. I'm visiting my parents in the Midlands which I do once or twice a year. My father had a stroke six years ago and I visit to check up on how they are doing. They have no internet access, so I'm briefly posting on t'interweb in a public libraray, rather than on my computer!

                  I will engage when I'm back in South Africa next week. Keep well :-)

                • Sue

                  I only arrived back from the UK yesterday and I had not seen your post of July 2nd.

                  I apologise if I conveyed any personal concerns about your assurance of God’s love or of your faith, either in my above or earlier comments. I have no such concerns nor would I presume to have the authority to question your faith.

                  I apologise if I offended you in any way.



          • Philip,

            I realise that your case for the evangelical position on homosexuality is broader than tradition – but you continually come back to that (as do others holding your position). So it’s clear you give it a significant amount of weight. So I think it is important to point that out – particularly given the fact that the Church has consistently, thoughout its history, rejected the ‘traditional viewpoint’ as new scholarship and understanding as allowed it to challenge culturally entrenched ideas.

            I see the homosexuality debate in exactly the same way. And I don’t believe that you and the other conservatives on this board have given evidence that homosexuality should be seen differently – i.e., that there is something sacrosanct or particularly convincing about the anti- homosexuality argument that means that the Church ‘tradition’ on that argument shouldn’t be challenged.

            You seemed to make a large point out of the WCF – which is the reason for my ‘disparaging remark about white men living 400 years ago’. The WCF seems irrelevant to me in this debate. Hopefully, from my post, you understand why (since you, also, reject aspects of it, I find it hard to understand why you would feel it should hold more weight for me).

            I appreciate your acknowledgement of the 2 points we’ve made about the conservative evangelical position – the ‘picking and choosing’ (you are the first evangelical I’ve seen who is willing to acknowledge this, so kudos to you!) and the willingess (no insistence) on forcing your theology onto others.

            In the second instance – what do you think you accomplish via this enforcement of your views on others? And what impact do you think this has on those who disagree with you theologically?

            Paul talks about those who feel that eating meat sacrificed to idols – and that while eating such meat isn’t wrong, if you think it’s wrong, then it’s wrong for you.

            I would think that’s a fairly compelling argument against forcing one’s own theological understanding onto others? In forcing me to go against my own conscience, you force me to sin. What do you think?

            Need to get my son to a doctor’s appointment, so will come back later to address the two points you feel ‘liberals’ need to concede (although Sue has addressed one of those very well).

            • Carolyn

              ‘what do you think you accomplish via this enforcement of your views on others’? Answer: the retention of biblical orthodoxy on sexuality of course.

              And the catholic (small c) church ‘enforces’ its views within the church on salvation by faith in Christ, the Trinity, the forgiveness of sin through the perfect sacrifice of Christ, and the virgin birth through the Creeds. Do you have a problem with any of these views, or their ‘enforcement’ by the church? Where we differ is that I, in common with other biblical conservatives, also assign paramount importance to biblical orthodoxy on sexuality.

              Unless of course you disagree with the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds in which case we do have problems! :-)

  4. This is really a question to Peter.

    If you read my post yesterday (29th June 10:38pm), you’ll see that I suggest that TEC’s action over the DOK is largely motivated by a desire to prevent or limit opportunities for further litigations aimed at obtaining TEC properties, funds and resources. In other words, the accusation that the TEC offer inclusion, “unless your theology is conservative” is a rather limited analysis as the exclusion is actuated by financial and legal concerns, NOT theological ones ( even if TEC has offered other pretexts for their actions.)

    I’ve looked again at your article ( don’t know if you wrote it or someone else) and there is no acknowledgement of this legal/ financial basis for the action. This means the writer of the article is either:

    a. Ignorant of this ( unlikely) or
    b. Not wanting to give the whole picture…for some reason…

    Now, I am not saying the TEC are spotless in this matter ( they aren’t) – but I wonder whether the comment on their actions is somewhat partisan and not particularly transparent either?

    • Very quickly Sue, but I’m afraid the By-Laws of the DoK explicitly allow for membership of non-Episcopalians. DoK has never been an organisation only for Episcopalians.

      Furthermore, it’s very clear that this action by 815 and its followers has everything to do with trying to make the ACNA nothing to do with Anglicanism. The opposite couldn’t be further from the case.

      Article III. Members

      Section 1:
      All members must be women communicants of the Episcopal Church, or of other Churches in communion with it, or of Churches with the Historic Episcopate but not in communion with it.

      Section 3: Membership
      A. In an existing parish or Institutional Chapter:

      1. Upon approval of the Rector or Priest-in-charge, any woman communicant of a parish or mission who accepts the two Rules of the Order, shall be eligible for membership after a three-month preparation period of concentrated study, training, prayer and service.
      2. Any baptized woman communicant in a church-related or non-church related institution who accepts the two Rules of this Order and is approved by the head of the Institution, its Chaplain or the Bishop if it is a non-church related institution (retirement, assisted living facility or prison) shall be eligible for membership.

      • Hi Peter,

        I only know what I’ve read on the net, but the link you post (DOK website) shows the bylaws as enacted through the 2006 triennial. Episcopal Cafe claims the by-laws were changed in 2004 to allow for associate non- Episcopal members to become full voting members. So, 2006 bylaws don’t tell us much there.

        However, the history of when the laws were changed is not that pertinent. The key question is whether you are saying that the TEC’s current actions have NOTHING to do with a desire to prevent or limit further litigation?

        • I’m sorry to say, but I think TEC’s actions have everything to do with spite. They simply cannot let those who have left ECUSA remain in any form of fellowship with those who stayed. That is the reason for changing the by-laws.

          • Well, I suppose you would think that though.. I see it is a mixture of genuine caution ( over resources and lawsuits) and a desire not to allow ACNA any status that gives it credibility. I honestly didn’t feel however, that the article published acknowledged the complexity of the situation of ECUSA and breakaway members and the level of bitterness, acrimony and messiness in terms of litigations etc that exists. It read as a kind of “liberals are so nasty to conservatives” rather than seeing a much broader picture, which maybe doesn’t really reflect well on any of us.

            What interests me though is the sheer level of under reporting in the UK of the launch of ACNA. I knew that most of the secular media would be completely indifferent ( bored?)by the squabblings of Anglicans – but I sort of thought there might be something ( teensy- weensy mention ?) on Sunday morning on one of the religious news programmes. I know most people can’t be bothered following lawsuits in the US but I did think the events at Texas had the potential for some headlines that were sufficiently easy to grasp and sensational enough to interest the British public eg: “rival church installs alternative Archbishop.”

            I mentioned it at Church – no one had a clue what I was on about! ANCA,FOCA, CANA and even GAFCON ( no I didn’t use the acronyms) drew a blank. Bob Duncan? They’d never heard of him, including the Churchwardens and secretary of the PCC. Weird really. You’d think Anglicans would …well…want to be informed about what was happening in Anglicanism?

            This is what makes me suspect that all of this may well, in the not-too- distant -future look like a non event. I could be totally wrong though, I could be looking at it through the lens of UK secularism and indifference.

            What do you think?

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