"Different from some friends, that I respect, I believe what Jesus said
about not dividing His Body the Church outweighs my personal
interpretation of the text on sexual morality."
But Bishop Louttit's teaching on sexual morality is the same as the teaching of the Church Catholic. He is in the catholic / universal majority. ECUSA / TEC IS NOT THE CHURCH. It is but an insignificant and heretical backwater of the Universal Church which runs throughout the world and throughout time, and which transcends not only ECUSA, but Anglicanism as well. The teaching of this Church, the only One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, is what matters. And ECUSA is deviating from the teaching concerning human sexuality of the Universal Church. It is ECUSA that is in rebellion, and ECUSA that is schismatic. It is ECUSA that is dividing the Body of the Lord Jesus, and it is those within ECUSA who have pushed this novel teaching on sexuality who will have to answer for the divisions in the Body that have resulted.
St. Paul said "I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1.10). What mind and what judgment, if not the mind and judgment of Christ himself? Bp. Louttit is implying that the mind and judgment of Christ himself are expressed by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, that Christ uses the judgments of ECUSA to admonish and correct (and contradict) the clear and consistent teaching of the saints in the Church Catholic, throughout the world, and throughout time, since the days of the Apostles themselves. I'm sorry, but that is a ridiculous notion. Our allegiance to ECUSA (and to Anglicanism) MUST ALWAYS BE subordinate to our alleigiance to the Bride of Christ, to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
As Archbishop Williams pointed out just yesterday, "Unless you think that social and legal considerations should be allowed to resolve religious disputes... there has to be a recognition that religious bodies have to deal with the question in their own terms. Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching." ECUSA has not done that. ECUSA has abandoned any pretense of being a part of the Catholic Church. This can be clearly seen in ECUSA's having failed, to date, to present a coherent theological apologia for its actions, demonstrated from Scripture and from Tradition. ECUSA hasn't done so because it can't.
One is tempted to ask, following Paul in 1 Cor. 1.13: Was ECUSA crucified for you? Or were you baptized into ECUSA? No. You were baptized into the one Lord's death and resurrection, and thereby incorporated into his one mystical Body. And that Body is not coterminous, thanks be to God, with ECUSA.
Here is Bishop Louttit's letter:
The Reverend Clergy and Laity
The Diocese of Georgia
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I copy two Bishop's letters to their congregations. I love and trust both Bishops.
The two letters see the actions of the General Convention very differently. I do not see how both can be correct. However, I believe Bishop John Howard of Florida is recording better than I could what I believe General Convention did.
I served on the Special Committee on the "Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion." I have read all of The Windsor Report a number of times! I have heard hours and hours of arguments and discussion of it's meaning on disputed points. I believe the General Convention answered the way Windsor asked us to if we wish to walk together. Except we strengthened the scope of what we asked Standing Committees and Bishops to honor as Bishop Howard, a lawyer, states.
I have worked with Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori. I look forward to her ministry as Presiding Bishop. She is very thoughtful, highly educated, and listens carefully to the person speaking to her. She is a pastor! She has excellent leadership qualities.
Her daughter, an Air Force Pilot, when stationed at Mood A.F.B. attended Christ the King. Bishop Jefferts-Schori has visited Christ the King in our diocese.
She is liberal in the sense she believes women can be ordained and that monogamous homosexuals should be eligible for ordination if they meet the other qualifications. I think the majority of deputies elected by our dioceses favor the ordination of monogamous homosexuals as do a majority of living and voting Bishops (retired and active). I think I am in the minority.
Different from some friends, that I respect, I believe what Jesus said about not dividing His Body the Church outweighs my personal interpretation of the text on sexual morality.
Henry I. Louttit
Bishop of Georgia