Friday, July 07, 2006

gordon-conwell seminary to train episcopal priests

In an illustration of the theological polarization that is sweeping across American Christianity, an evangelical Protestant seminary on the North Shore is launching a program to train as Episcopal priests students who consider Episcopal seminaries to be too liberal. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary announced the plan as the Episcopal Church faces possible schism because its 2003 approval of an openly gay [emphasis Father WB's - see below] priest, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, as the bishop of New Hampshire has divided the denomination domestically and has placed it at odds with multiple African and Asian provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Read the whole thing here.

It rankles me whenever the press says that Anglican conservatives have a problem with an "openly gay" bishop. The problem is NOT that he is
openly gay. The problem is his sexual practice. The problem, in other words, is not his disclosure of his sexual orientation. The problem is his sexual activity. Someone needs to tell the media. As an Anglican conservative I will say that I have absolutely no problem with a bishop being "openly gay," if that means that his sexual orientation has been made public. I think being "openly gay" can be psychologically healthy in the way that being open about and facing one's proclivities toward destructive or sinful behavior is very often healthy. I DO, however, have a problem with a bishop (or a priest, or a deacon, or a layman) having sex with someone to whom he is not married. And Christian marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. The teaching of both Scripture and the Tradition are crystal clear on that point.

But the main point of this post is that Gordon-Conwell will be training ECUSA priests. Interesting.


Adam said...

Once again, this is not good. These places are going to be teaching their deformed version of Christianity and they probably have female clergy. Maybe not if they are really conservative.


DDX said...

Before getting to the issue of the current sexual behavior of Gene Robinson (and BTW that's not the ONLY behavior that must be considered before ordination) there was the abandonment of wife and family for another 'lover' who also was of the same sex-- compounding the offense. However, regardless of the lover's gender his candidacy should have been instantly rejected for abandoning his family.

Scriptural requirements for ordination (Tim/Titus) are practical--given for good functional reasons. For instance, if a man would abandon his wife and children because he became inamored by someone else, how much MORE likely would he be to abandon his job if he becomes inamored by someTHING else.

We should all take heart however. None of this has set off any alarm bells in heaven. God is still in complete control and all is surely going according to plan...His plan.

The 'tares' must distinguish themselves from the 'wheat' because the reapers are surely coming.

For anyone discouraged by all these shenanigans, there's a wonderful expository news article about it found in Mat 13:24-43. Read it! You'll be encouraged.

First Apostle said...

DDX, allow me to play the devil's advocate just for a second. Didn't the apostles themselves abandon their families to follow Christ? Talk about being enamored by someone else!

There's a weird example from hagiography as well. St Alexis left his wife on their wedding day, then returned years later and lived under the stairs in his mother's house. He never revealed who he was. To the medieval mind this somehow made him a saint. I just kept thinking about his poor wife who remained faithful to him all those years! Weird stuff.

koenigsfreunde said...

In response to Adam's comment, I will speak as a Gordon-Conwell (GCTS) alumni. I have no idea what you mean by teaching "their deformed version of Christianity". At its worst, this is deeply uncharitable. At its best (taken only as an objection to the possibility of female clergy), the objection hits the wrong target. GCTS does not have an official position on the ordination of women. Members of their faculty disagree. Since GCTS is not a church, GCTS leaves it to the church to decide whether they want to ordain a women. So, if you're from the Iker's diocese but you're a woman with a GCTS M.Div., you should not expect him to ordain you. But if you're from Duncan's diocese, it's possible that you may be ordained.

In any case, I was rather proud that GCTS decided to head in this direction, since there are solid orthodox churches in the Boston area, and many solid priests have gotten their training their over the years.

DDX said...

1st Apostle, I'm unaware of any 1st century apostles abandoning their wives. The statement of Peter to Jesus, "...we have left our homes and followed you" (Lk 18:28)does not indicate abandonment. This would be a huge contradiction. They had just recently left the Capernaum home of Peter's wife's mother (and presumably Peter's wife too since Peter was apparently living there in those days) who was sheltering and feeding them all. Peter might be leaving his family from time to time but with their total support and encouragment, never abandoning them.

Note also Paul's statement concerning his own apostolicity, "Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas (Peter)?" (1Cor 9:5)

Peter "and the other apostles" apparently took wives along and I expect they actively participated in their husbands' work.

There are many Navy families here and spouses are often separated from each other and family during deployment. But it's temporary. The paycheck comes home and so do they. I believe that's what Peter (and the other apostles) did and what was meant by his statement "we have left our homes and followed you." They clearly had not left for long and subsequently took their wives along.

St. Alexis (whose feast day BTW is Monday week 7/17) left his parentally chosen wife by her agreement on their wedding day, presumably without consumation. She understood his call to something else and that his parents were wrong to arrange the marriage. There was no abandonment and arguably no marriage either.

Thanks for reading and thinking.