I ask your prayers for the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada which began meeting in Winnipeg yesterday (Tuesday 19 June). A new primate will be selected on Friday. On Saturday a decision is to be made whether to officially allow blessings of same sex couples. Archbishop Hutchinson has called for attention to our baptismal covenant, our conscience, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Italics ours - NPA) Fr. Martin Brokenleg
Fr. Brokenleg is a TEC Priest from SD, currently teaching at the Vancouver (BC) School of Theology. He is a partnered gay man, married under Canadian law.
Obviously, he would like the Anglican Church of Canada to vote in favor of Same Sex Blessings, in spite of the worldwide Anglican (and general Christian) consensus against that. He posits three sources of authority (citing Archbishop Hutchinson of Canada). Let's look at each and expose the flaws:
- "our baptismal covenant" - TEC and other revisionists say that "if one is baptized, one is entitled to anything and everything in church - ordination, marriage, you name it." The flaws in that assertion are too many to list, but the main problem is that the "baptismal convenant" is divorced from what the New Testament says about baptism. Romans 6 teaches that baptism is death to an old, sinful way of life so that we walk in a new, transformed life in Christ. It does not mean we are free from teachings about sin and righteousness - that there are "no rules" as some have argued. I Timothy 5:22 warns against "laying hands" (ordaining to leadership) those who are entangled in sin, and I Timothy 3 gives strict criteria limiting who should be a bishop. And the full message of the Bible assumes that marriage is between one man and one woman. Baptism does not entitle church members to sacraments or offices. The baptismal covenant argument depends upon willful ignorance of the Bible and seeing "Episcopalian" or "Church of Canada" as something above and against being Christian.
- "our conscience" - If each individual's conscience is the authority in church matters, then don't argue any corny stuff about a "baptismal covenant." It is inconsistent to say that the Prayer Book carries any weight if our own individual preferences overturn what it says. The Bible refutes the chaos of this "me, myself and I" religion by appealing to the example of Jesus himself: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:3-11) The Bible also warns that the consciences of sinners are too damaged to give useful guidance. An individual consciense cannot overturn plain Biblical and traditional teaching about marriage.
- "the leading of the Holy Spirit" - Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will only lead us to what Jesus has taught! And Jesus affirmed the message of the Father in Creation, that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is no less than the Christian teaching of One God in Three Persons, the Holy Trinity. To argue that Father, Son and Holy Spirit work against and contradict one another is false teaching of the worst sort (and TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada are the best at being worst these days).
The major flaw running through all three of Archbishop Hutchinson's and Fr. Brokenleg's criteria is the exclusion of the Bible - which in their ordinations they vowed to uphold as "the Word of God, containing all things necessary to salvation." And it is a telling flaw that ordained leaders in the church can treat their vows and God's people in so sloppy a manner.