Theology Thursdays: The Next Schism by Armstrong Williams
Five years ago, a conference of Episcopal church leaders flatly declared that the homosexual lifestyle was in direct violation of biblical scriptures. Therefore, they reasoned, it would be wrong to seat an openly gay bishop. In just the short time since, the homosexual agenda has replicated throughout the culture, and the entire bible has been tossed out on its axis.
Exhibit A: the recent votes by the Episcopal Church USA to endorse an openly gay man as bishop and to give the dioceses the option of blessing same sex. The change is so pervasive as to separate the church from the very scriptures it was created to uphold. Already, the decision is dividing the American church from the more conservative Anglican community throughout the world. Ripple effects could be felt throughout all organized religion, which will no doubt have to address similar concerns in the near future.
The approval of a homosexual bishop by the church proclaims many things. It says the church is pulling way from the very principles that have animated it with meaning. It says that the traditions that have been essential to Christendom are eroding. Most of all, it says that our sense of morality is in crisis.
Religion derives much of its meaning from its ability to provide us with an absolute moral point of reference that helps us discern between right and wrong. Without this foundation, we are condemned to formless lives. It is this absolute moral point that allows us to move beyond a strictly social (or relative) frame of reference to open the door to authentic spiritual discovery. Moral absolutes are the lifeblood of religion-all religion.
The Bible is a testament to moral absolutes. The word of God defines marriage only in terms of men and women and explicitly denounces homosexuality as a sin. Throughout its history, the church has consistently found that a homosexual lifestyle violates the basic tenets of the bible. As such it is the duty of our Christian leaders to stress the importance of a loving union between man and wife, under God. It is the duty of the church to preserve these basic and essential principles that arbitrate our lives.
Sadly, we have reached a point where political correctness has supplanted our faith. In this day and age, any preacher who explains to his congregation that homosexuality is a sin will have hell to pay from the gay mafia and the liberal media. Examples are all around us: Radio pundit Laura Schlesinger was recently dubbed a hate speech monger for verbalizing her disagreement with the homosexual lifestyle. In Indiana, Liz Anderson was ordered top stop wishing her co-workers a "blessed day," because it was deemed offensive. In Florida, a Christian group was ordered to remove publicly posted ads for a seminar about "addressing, understanding and preventing homosexuality in youth." in Canada, Jerry Falwell reports that he must censor any remarks regarding homosexuality and partial birth abortion on the Canadian broadcast of his "Old Time Gospel Hour."
Now, with the promotion of a homosexual Bishop within the Anglican church, it is no longer a matter of an oppressive cultural agenda eroding the word of God. The evil microbe is within us, it is replicating from within our most sacred institution, pulling the church away from the very scripture it was created to uphold.
I do not say this out of hate or fear. I am deeply sensible to the perils of discrimination. But I do not believe that political correctness should keep us from supporting what is right. Plainly, some things should not be relative. Biblical passages must be considered sacrosanct if they are to have any meaning whatsoever. Practicing religion ought not to be about cultural statements in general or gay rights in the specific; it ought to be about striving for the spiritual promise that the bible holds out for us. This promise represents a sacred covenant between man and God and should not be censored in the name of political correctness. This is not about anger or spite. It is about adhering to ones faith. It is about recognizing the supreme act of arrogance that occurs when man expects God to adapt to him. The bible should not be subject to the vicissitudes of culture. Some things should be absolute. Without these principles, our lives lose meaning, and our selfish decadence foreshadows our fall.
Ephesians 2.16 summed it up succinctly: "Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else."
Armstrong Williams can be contacted via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 28, 2003