Report
Forward in Faith Conference
June 2003

The annual FiF conference met at Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, PA, June 25-8, amidst the continuing/impending fracturing of the Episcopal Church.   (See the FiF website.)

Just for starters, homosexual persons have been chosen to be bishops in both the Episcopal Church (New Hampshire, Gene Robinson) and in England (Jeffrey John).  JJ claims to be, as of late, non-practicing.   Robinson is open and unapologetic.  The new Archbishop of Canterbury is pro-homosexual, but promises to follow the expressed mind of the Anglican Communion as defined by the Lambeth Conference in 1998, which strongly condemned homosexuality. 

Persons who cannot acknowledge that homosexual behavior is immoral and forbidden by God, and who cannot acknowledge the clear and abundant empirical evidence showing the pathological nature of homosexuality, should not be leaders in the Christian (or any other) community, no matter how unpracticing they are at the present time.  That means that Robinson, John, and the ABC, Rowan Williams, have no business being leaders in the Anglican Communion. 

It seems inevitable that the Anglican Communion, not only the Episcopal Church, is bound to split.   Rowan Williams will be incapable of holding things together.   Though not homosexual himself, he is too compromised on sexuality issues to lead the Anglican Communion.  And that means that Anglicanism will no longer have as its figure-head, the Archbishop of Canterbury, at least not until the Church of England repents of its drift toward homosexuality, and repents of its ordination of women. 

The Episcopal General Convention meeting in Minneapolis, July 26-August 9, is expected to confirm Robinson's election, which will immediately create an exodus of individuals and parishes from the Episcopal Church.  The signs have been with us for decades, but most clergy have buried their heads in the sand, and have not kept their people up to date on what has been happening.  So large numbers of Episcopalians have been caught flatfooted with the current crisis.  "I did not know it was that bad!!!"   

 

Clarity always favors truth.   Unclarity always favors falsehood.   Because pseudo-conservatives (who are incapable of conserving anything) could not force clarity to the discussion, God has allowed the enemy to bring clarity by the simple expedient of letting them carry out what they have been saying all along they would do.   Why is anyone surprised?  It may be that this new clarity forced upon us will actually bring some serious action from those who claim to be orthodox. 

"Orthodox" leaders have been more concerned about collegiality than about clarity of truth, thus falling right into the hands of the pseudo-liberals (who have no interest in liberating anyone with truth, only liberating to promiscuity with deceit).  

 

At the conference, FiF made an unequivocal declaration that it would find ways to consecrate as bishops the two men it has chosen for the task if there is not immediate action on the part either of friendly Episcopal bishops or foreign primates to provide alternative episcopal oversight for those parishes whose local bishops are hostile to orthodox Christianity.   In other words, the long-promised Anglican province in North America independent of the Episcopal Church will become a reality.  That will probably happen no matter what the decision in Minneapolis about homosexuality.  For FiF, the prior issue is maintenance of a male priesthood, regardless of the homosexual issue.  And acceptance of female clergy has already been made mandatory by the Episcopal Church.  

Who will consecrate the new bishops, if it comes to that?   There are sufficient FiF bishops to do the job.   They would be "presented" (charged with misbehavior) by the "liberal" bishops.   But, if Robinson is consecrated bishop, so what?   Who cares any more?   General Convention does not own diocesan property, so if there is sufficient support in any local diocese, it can disassociate from General Convention.  The consecration of a practicing homosexual just might provide the incentive for the feet-draggers.   

 

Pseudo-liberals lied when they said they were for "inclusiveness", or as Presiding Bishop Browning put it, "There will be no outcasts".   The "conservatives" were not capable of discerning the lie at the time, and incapable therefore of acting earlier on to preserve their position.  Anyone who disagrees with a pseudo-liberal quickly becomes the outcast when "liberals" get into power.

On the other hand, it should have been seen right away by conservatives that the ordination issue is an either/or issue.   The two sides cannot "coexist".   There will have to be winners and losers.  Anyone with half an eye open knew there would be outcasts, no matter who won.   That is just the logic of the situation. 

The question is not whether there would be outcasts and losers, only whether the winners and loses would  be decided on the basis of truth, righteousness, and love.   The "liberal" side had no intention of allowing truth to define righteousness or love, and the "conservative" side was too wedded to collegiality to say "no" to anyone.  The

There will be many parishes leaving in toto, hopefully with their property.   The numbers of parishes expected to leave may make it impossible for the different dioceses to prosecute in order for the diocese to keep parish property.  As the diocese of Washington, DC, knows, lawsuits are expensive.  We shall see. 

 

In any event, if Robinson is accepted as a bishop by General Convention, the Episcopal Church as we know it is at an end.  Those with any sense of spiritual integrity will leave, and the remainder will be a empty shell of a Church, with no spiritual power, no financial stability, and no possibility of evangelism and growth. 

My hope is that Congress will come to its senses and revoke the Episcopal Church's management of the National Cathedral, maybe even finding an orthodox Anglican group to take it over.  But do not look for an outbreak of such wisdom and courage in Congress any time soon. 

 

And where will yours truly end up?  I will go only to a jurisdiction which supports a male priesthood.   (See my article, Psychology, Salvation, and the Ordination of Women.

The gender ordination issue is not a peripheral matter for Biblical faith.  It strikes right at the heart of salvation by faith rather than works.   Ordaining female priests has the effect of compromising the integrity of the Biblical worldview because it compromises the Imago Dei in which we are made, male and female.    

It may be that AMiA (the Anglican Mission in America) will agree with FiF on the ordination issue, but as of yet, that has not been decided in AMiA.  A joining of FiF with AMiA would be a strong step toward unification of the fractured conservative breakaway Episcopal groups.  

 

E. Fox 

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