July 20, 2009
The New Remnant: Evangelical Episcopalians
Pro-gay Episcopal church further alienates its conservative evangelical minority.
Last Friday, The Episcopal Church (TEC) completed its General Convention in Anaheim, California. The bottom line for conservatives still inside TEC is that they are increasingly adopting the language of remnant theology to describe their commitment to remain within TEC.
The church's Left-learning majority exercised extraordinary dominance and pressed forward with two measures:
D025. Gay Clergy, Bishops. This measure strongly endorses opening the office of priest and bishop to all qualified persons and is widely viewed as legally opening the door to gay and lesbian ordination as clergy and consecration as bishop.
C056. Same-sex blessings. This measure authorizes church leaders to develop services for the blessing of same-sex unions and openly allows bishops to respond sort of on a case by case basis and grants an attitude of generosity toward LGBT couples seeking a church blessing of their relationship.
In response, about 29 bishops (nearly all conservatives) signed the so-called Anaheim Statement. George Conger reports:
Twenty-nine bishops have endorsed a letter affirming their desire to remain part of the Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church while being faithful to the calls for restraint made by the wider church.
Styled as the "Anaheim Statement," the letter of dissent to the actions of the 76th General Convention pledged the bishops' fealty to the requests made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the primates' meetings and ACC-14 to observe a moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.
So, the big question for conservatives is this: What is holding this remnant together?
The Left sees only conservative condemnations and what conservative evangelicals are against as the glue that can only hold the Right together for so long.
The Right, however, puts high hopes on the Anglican Convenant, evangelism, natural church growth, and liberal over-reach as elements that will give them the edge in the long haul.