Anglican Bishops Split

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Sunday 2 November 2003 was a sad day for Christianity. Gene Robinson, a divorcee and father of two children, who for the past thirteen years has chosen to indulge his sinful nature and openly and unashamedly live with his boyfriend, was consecrated as the bishop of New Hampshire of the worldwide Anglican Church. But the real issue is not homosexuality.

The “abomination” (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13) of homosexuality is merely the catalyst of deeper underlying theological crisis. The real issue is the authority of Scripture. Either we accept God's Word as final and infallible or we go into heresy or apostasy.

Anglican churches in Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia were the first to split and this shows that African people accept the Word of God as authoritative. In the recent past, conservative American Anglicans have approached Bible believing African archbishops to be consecrated. As a result the pro-homosexual Western Anglican leadership has threatened to cut funding to their African counterparts.

The price of obeying Scripture can often be high. But it also shows how liberating the Bible can be - even though the African churches are financially poorer and have not been in the Faith as long, the clarity of Scripture protects them.

The Bible forbids divorce except on the grounds of marital unfaithfulness. Any divorcee who remarries (except in the case of an innocent party) is guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18). Furthermore, Scriptural requirements for leadership (elder and bishop) requires a man to be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well (1 Timothy 3:5,12) - all of which Gene Robertson has clearly failed to do.

The only African archbishop to recognise the ordination Robertson is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, claiming: "Robinson has been consecrated by his province and that makes him a bishop in the church.”

This contradicts the Reformation - we know that the authority of Scripture is greater than the ecclesiastical authority, even that of a “pope”. The consecration of Robertson remains unbiblical and is therefore invalid.

Sadly this apostasy is not limited to the Anglican Church. What is happening in the Anglican Church is likely to extend to all major denominations. (For further reading, obtain The Pink Agenda.)

One church that is holding firm against this apostasy, is the Church of England in South Africa (CESA). CESA is one of two churches with Anglican roots in South Africa, the other is Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA).

In a press release, CESA's presiding Bishop, Rev Frank Retief, stated, “While we repudiate the homosexual lifestyle and any other form of sexual immorality, we affirm our deep commitment to share with all who are willing to listen, the Gospel message of forgiveness and a fresh start through faith in Jesus Christ…those within the Church who see the homosexual lifestyle as wrong are not by definition bigots, but rather people who are concerned that homosexuals should experience God's grace and understand God's truth.”

Indeed, this is an opportunity for the glorious message of the Gospel to shine.

But what man has meant for evil, God can use for good. Perhaps this homosexual onslaught may be what is needed to emancipate the Church so that she may return to sound Biblical doctrine and application. Could this spell revival?

With the churches of Africa, Asia and South America holding firm to the Word of God while many of the Western churches flounder, we could see a very different landscape at the end of the 21st century. The Anglican churches in the West are emptying fast, while those that are preaching the Gospel in Africa and Asia are continuing to grow.

by Rob Mc Cafferty, the Communications Director of Christian Action Network.

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa info@christianaction.org.za - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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