The inevitable split of the Anglican church (Tom Wright)

In Today’s TimesOnline, Anglican Bishop Tom Wright (N.T. Wright to Americans) writes—The Americans know this will end in schism: Support by US Episcopalians for homosexual clergy is contrary to Anglican faith and tradition. They are leaving the family

In the slow-moving train crash of international Anglicanism, a decision taken in California has finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Both the bishops and deputies (lay and clergy) of TEC knew exactly what they were doing. They were telling the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other “instruments of communion” that they were ignoring their plea for a moratorium on consecrating practising homosexuals as bishops…In Windsor’s language, they have chosen to “walk apart”…

…Many in TEC have long embraced a theology in which chastity, as universally understood by the wider Christian tradition, has been optional.

That wider tradition always was counter-cultural as well as counter-intuitive. Our supposedly selfish genes crave a variety of sexual possibilities. But Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachers have always insisted that lifelong man-plus-woman marriage is the proper context for sexual intercourse. This is not (as is frequently suggested) an arbitrary rule, dualistic in overtone and killjoy in intention. It is a deep structural reflection of the belief in a creator God who has entered into covenant both with his creation and with his people (who carry forward his purposes for that creation).

Paganism ancient and modern has always found this ethic, and this belief, ridiculous and incredible. But the biblical witness is scarcely confined, as the shrill leader in yesterday’s Times suggests, to a few verses in St Paul. Jesus’s own stern denunciation of sexual immorality would certainly have carried, to his hearers, a clear implied rejection of all sexual behaviour outside heterosexual monogamy. This isn’t a matter of “private response to Scripture” but of the uniform teaching of the whole Bible, of Jesus himself, and of the entire Christian tradition…

…It is a very recent innovation to consider sexual preferences as a marker of “identity” parallel to, say, being male or female, English or African, rich or poor. Within the “gay community” much postmodern reflection has turned away from “identity” as a modernist fiction. We simply “construct” ourselves from day to day.

We must insist, too, on the distinction between inclination and desire on the one hand and activity on the other—…

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2 thoughts on “The inevitable split of the Anglican church (Tom Wright)

  1. […] Ben covers N.T. Wright’s reaction to the Episcopal Church’s recent vote on ordaining homosexuals into the ministry while Kate at Anglican Canadian asks if the TEC is still a Christian Church. Fred Sanders has a post, somewhat, somehow, related. Peter Kirk offers his view as well. […]

  2. rick says:

    looks like a schism in the church is inevitable based on this news: https://www.mindreign.com/en/mindshare/Religion/Candles-Out-in-the-Episcopal-Church-3f/sl36962305bp346cpp10pn1.html

    how can a church overcome such divisive differences on issues like abortion, ordaining gay bishops, and divorces…

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