Anglican Bishops Divide

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Anglican bishops divide over creation based doctrine re sex and "false gospel" according to a report in BBC News Online, 1 July 2008. A recent conference of conservative Anglicans, including 291 bishops, plans to set up a council of bishops "to help restore order to what it has called the 'chaos' over the last five years within the worldwide Anglican Church." A major cause of the ‘chaos’ is the debate over the ordination of homosexuals, and especially the appointment of a homosexual bishop in New Hampshire, USA. The conservatives see a need to "combat liberal approaches to sexuality" and have called for "the authority of the Bible" to be reasserted. Following the conference the conservative group issued the "Jerusalem Declaration" which outlines their position and calls for a return to the traditional Anglican beliefs based on the Scriptures, the Thirty Nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer. Statements in the Declaration include: "We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church's historic and consensual reading." And: "We acknowledge God's creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married."

One of the leaders of the conservative group is Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney who held a meeting with 700 British clergy in London following the publication of the declaration. When accused by protestors about being prejudiced against women and homosexuals Jensen commented "What we see in the goings-on in New Hampshire and elsewhere is, if you like, a symbolic enactment of a different set of ideas. It is not so much the thing itself, as what it represents in our church which has so alarmed us."

BBC

Editorial Comment: We are pleased that Archbishop Jensen is taking a stand on this important issue, but we predict he and his colleagues will lose the battle over homosexuality for the same reason they lost the battle over the ordination of women back in the 1990's. In spite of their claims the Scriptures should be "translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church's historic and consensual reading." Archbishop Jensen and many of his colleagues in the Sydney Anglican Diocese have compromised the Scriptures by subscribing to various forms of theistic evolution, and have opposed the work Creation Research and other groups teach that Genesis is real history, not just theological theory. Although Jensen recognises that the current battle is due to people introducing a "different set of ideas" into the church, he does not understand that the door to that set of ideas was opened when his predecessors in Darwin's time refused to stand firm on the authority and accuracy of Scripture, and allowed Darwin, Lyell and their successors to remove the Bible from the real world, and reduce it to a source of inner beliefs and personal fulfilment. The Bible's teaching on human sexuality and marriage is firmly based in Genesis 1 and 2, as affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19. However, if the creation accounts are considered myth, rather than real history, they have no authority in the real world, and those who claim that homosexuality is just "natural" because it evolved that way can claim to have as much authority as the conservatives who are opposed to homosexual bishops. (Ref. theology, philosophy, controversy)

Evidence News 9 July 2008

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