Homosexual activists in the Anglican Communion have enjoyed a string of strategic victories in recent months, giving evangelical Anglicans much to pray about:

  1. The Church of England almost installed Jeffrey John, a priest who has been in a homosexual relationship for 27 years, as a bishop. John says his relationship became celibate when the church issued a report that affirms historic Christian teaching on sexual morality. On July 5 the Archbishop of Canterbury's staff met for six hours with John, who then declined the appointment. British newspapers depicted John's resignation as a bowing to financial pressures rather than a principled decision.

  2. Despite warnings from around the world about the schismatic nature of doing so, the Diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver, British Colombia, has blessed two cohabiting men, and plans to offer more such blessings.

  3. The Episcopal Church's Diocese of New Hampshire has elected as its bishop V. Gene Robinson, who divorced his wife when he believed God was calling him to "acknowledge [himself] as a gay man." Robinson has lived with his male partner for 13 years, and they are not celibate.

These three developments may seem distant, as significant to evangelical life as the daily weather forecast for Greenland. On the contrary, they are harbingers of a moral and theological conflict that will not go away. Evangelicals in mainline churches have confronted these issues for decades and we expect all evangelical churches will struggle with them in the next few decades.

If this summer's developments indicate anything about those who favor a more liberal teaching on sex, it is this: they never surrender. Indeed, many of these activists openly work toward the church's pronouncing its blessing on any ...

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August 2003

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