A series of essays toward General Convention 2003 and beyond
In the name of God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- I ask you our dissenting Episcopal and Anglican brothers and sisters to reconsider what you are contemplating as your response to the election and confirmation of Canon Gene Robinson as the next Bishop of New Hampshire.
My concern is solidly based in the bible. In the Council of Jerusalem, the Church's leaders concluded that gentile believers did not need to be circumcised. This decision overthrew a central part of the religious practice inherited from Judaism. The reasoning behind the Church's decision was that uncircumcised gentile believers were seen to be exhibiting signs of the Holy Spirit. The situation with Canon Robinson is quite comparable.
In the New Hampshire Diocesan election, the duly elected leaders of that diocese affirmed that they clearly saw signs of the Spirit in Canon Robinson and his life and work, including his relationship with his partner, Mark Andrew. General Convention looked carefully, saw the same signs, and confirmed New Hampshire's choice. This is why this autocephalous part of God's church has selected and confirmed Canon Robinson to be New Hampshire's next bishop. This action is clearly a break from the practice of the past, but it is also clearly not a break with the faith. The action is fully based on the bible, as explained further below.
The human authors of the bible did not know Christian life-committed unions of same-sex partners. Many of you who are forming divisive plans likewise do not have personal familiarity with Christian life-committed same-sex couples. Those of us who do have such familiarity can clearly see the signs of the Holy Spirit present in many life-committed Christian same-sex couples, in much the same way that those in many Christian heterosexual marriages show signs of the Holy Spirit. You will see these signs too, if you will only stop and look.
For Church leaders to take action now in opposition to New Hampshire's and General Convention's acts of discernment looks to me very much like blasphemy against the Holy Spirit -- because the competent authorities most familiar with the situation have found the signs of the Holy Spirit to be present in Canon Robinson's life and work.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was cited by Jesus in three Gospels as an unforgivable sin. Likewise, in three Gospels, he warns those who cause others to sin: "... It would be better for him to if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."
For the sake of your own souls -- and the souls of those whom you lead -- I ask you the dissenting Episcopal and Anglican brothers and sisters to reconsider what you are contemplating as your response to the election and confirmation of Canon Gene Robinson as the next Bishop of New Hampshire. Jesus himself said nothing (that we know of) against homosexual unions. However, he clearly spoke against dividing the faithful. And he spoke severely against causing your followers to sin. And he spoke quite strongly against judging others. I pray you, do not let your cultural heritages and emotional responses lead you and your followers astray -- please reconsider what you are about to do.
As Gamaliel said, "...If this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!"
I am already praying for you, and will continue to do so.
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
Ted Mollegen firstname.lastname@example.org
Member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council
General Convention Deputy L-1 from Connecticut
Founder/Convener of the Episcopal Network for Evangelism
Former Secretary, Episcopal Church 2020 Task Force References:
Gentile believers -- Acts 10:1 through 11:18, especially 10:45 and 11:17
Council of Jerusalem -- Acts 15: 1-29
Causing others to sin -- Matt 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:1b-2
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit -- Matt 12: 31-32, Mark 3: 28-29, Luke 12:10
Do not judge -- Matt 7:1-5, Luke 6:37-38
Gamaliel's advice -- Acts 5:33-39
Episcopal Network for Evangelism -- http://members.aol.com/ENE2020
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