Classical christians in mainline churches are accustomed to feeling mortified by their titular leaders. They know that many church bureaucrats and pastors reject the biblical truths summarized in the Nicene Creed. Many such believers persevere by remembering that no church is pure and that mainline churches' central texts affirm orthodox faith.
Like other people, however, orthodox believers pay attention when they feel cognitive dissonance. A church's actions can be in conflict with its professed faith only so long before faithful Christians wonder how much hypocrisy they can stand.
Accordingly, when the Anglican Church of Canada's Diocese of New Westminster voted on June 15 to provide church blessings for homosexual couples, representatives from eight orthodox congregations left the meeting in silent protest (see "Anglican Liberals Endorse Same-sex Unions," p. 18). That protest is poignant testimony to the contempt that Bishop Michael Ingham and the voting majority of his Vancouver-based diocese have shown for the classical orthodoxy affirmed by the majority of the world's Anglicans.
Whether the church should bless active homosexuality has been a crucial issue in mainline churches at least since the 1980s. It most likely will retain this place of central importance so long as bishops and church conventions treat Scripture's moral guidance as subject to debate and revision. Sex stays at center stage for two other reasons: such debates are lively (in a prurient manner), and they have become shorthand for much broader debates about central Christian doctrines.
Consider how the sexuality debate manifests itself on four crucial doctrinal matters:
- The Creation—Classical Christians: The created order, as described in Genesis, tells us of God's purposes for marriage and sexuality. Revisionists: Because so many educated people consider Genesis a mere creation myth, it is irrelevant to the sexuality debate.
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