Episcopal church without gay marriage

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Jellies, Jul 23, 2021.

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  1. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I did not say that you gave me the all clear to do what I described. However, it seems to me that you are saying whether people do something is to be left to their own conscience rather than there being any moral standard by which we should conform.
     
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  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    No, I have been saying that there is a basic distinction between Doctrine and Discipline (which is assumed throughout the 39 Articles), corresponding to the difference between faith and practice, and Gospel and Law.

    The OT (with the approval of the NT) legislates capital punishment for many violations of the Mosaic law, including some of the moral ones which Christians still hold to be (morally) binding. If a State were constituted today with the Mosaic moral laws as part of its constitution, hypothetically, would such a State be obligated to seek the death penalty in every instance that such a law was violated? I doubt very much that many Christians today would welcome such a State, or find such an arrangement to be desirable. It’s just an analogy but I think it illustrates the point well enough. We aren’t talking about what certain texts say or don’t say; we’re talking about what we’re supposed to do in concrete situations, with such passages, among others, acting as a guide. It is a pastoral matter, not a matter of faith. And people can disagree in good faith about which approach is best. While I may have my own personal misgivings about this or that issue, which I won’t go into any detail about here, my preference nonetheless is to err on the side of leniency.
     
  3. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Then from where do we take our moral guidance?
     
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.
     
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  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What you're basically saying is:
    -The OT legislates punishments we today would disagree with.
    -We don't legislate those punishments, indicating our freedom from them.
    -Therefore we are free to pick and choose how God's moral law is applied, and enforced. It's up to us.

    Yes?
     
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  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I would put it a little differently: We are free to use our reason and experience, and our knowledge of Scripture and tradition, to best apply what we understand to be the will of God in concrete situations. Sometimes we will be right, sometimes we will be wrong, but the decision here and now is ours to make, provided we haven’t delegated it to the State. All we can do is try our best and hope we have done right, repent and make amends when we see that we have been wrong, and trust in God’s mercy, knowing that we will have to give an account of ourselves to Him. I don’t consider this stance to be radical or controversial in the slightest.
     
  7. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    People often quote the Pauline admonition to obey the secular authorities in Rom. 13:1-5 without considering the fact that Paul was routinely jailed for failing to do just that. He also had no qualms about escaping from a prison after an earthquake (Acts 16:16-34).

    What explains the apparent paradox? Well, the context of Paul's statement matters: he was writing to Christians in Rome, who were routinely persecuted for their faith. A quiet, obedient, orderly church was no threat, and thus could survive to spread the Gospel. He was also making a larger point: the reason a government exists at all is to establish an ordered environment where people can live and work in relative safety and peace. To resist that order is to cause chaos and division, and thus to hurt the church. However, sometimes governments are themselves evil agents of chaos, and must be resisted when they work to harm God's church. It is an evil act for a Church to support an evil regime (as the RC church did in Nazi Germany, for example).

    Christ submitted himself to the civil authority because even he said that his kingdom was not of this earth (John 18:36), but his submission did not and does not connote subordination. All humans are fallen creatures, so too will any government formed of, by, and for men be fallen. A Christian owes their first and primary allegiance to God and his Church, and only after to any earthly nation or flag. A Christian is bound to reject any secular law that violates Christ's teachings, even to the point of imprisonment and death. Whether this resistance is pacifist or not is up to debate -- I do not believe that Christianity is a pacifist religion, but many do, so "resistance" may take different physical and spiritual forms.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
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  8. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Then we are at an impasse. You believe those may be used to determine that same-sex marriage is acceptable. I use them to say it is not.

    What happens afer my death is very important to me. I do not want to spend an eternity in Hell. On your line of reasoning how do I avoid that? What happens when I die and God says sorry you got it wrong. To me that is the danger of each one of us deciding for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. It is a bit like playing Russian roulette with your soul.
     
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  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    This is what each of us does, every single day, whether we realize it at the time or not. Do you stop and think through every micro-decision, carefully considering every word chosen in a spoken conversation? No one has the kind of knowledge or quick thinking to be able to do that every second of every waking moment. And all too often we give far too little thought to “what we have left undone”, and yet those are just as much sins as are sins of commission. We would each like to think that, on the whole, we have acted in accordance with our convictions, and that those convictions are right, but if we think we actually know that, that’s just bias and hubris talking. If you’re framing this in terms of avoidance of eternal punishment, the scenario is far scarier than what you’ve described.

    And, as I keep saying, I have made no pronouncement on what is acceptable and what isn’t. I’m just a layman, I don’t make those decisions. What I have said is that I see it as a pastoral matter rather than a doctrinal matter. It is a complicated issue, and one that should be considered very carefully and very seriously. I do not think either side has done a particularly good job at this so far.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
  10. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes, but some decisions are far more important or more far-reaching in their effects. Accordingly we think through our decisions based on how important they are. I give very little thought to what tie I put on in the morning and if it seems to go with shirt I'd be happy to wear. (Apparently I don't always get it right.) On the other hand I would not make a decision to steal something lightly. Indeed, my decision would not be to steal. Indeed, we once mistakenly came out of a supermarket with an item we had not paid for. I went back and paid for it.

    I am not asking you to make any pronouncements even though in an indirect way you have. You believe same-sex marriage is acceptable. I believe that is one of those issues to big not to think about and may be have a few regrets later. I think it's a serious as the salvation of your soul.
     
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    As a matter of secular law in a rights-oriented democratic state, I don’t see how it’s avoidable. As a religious matter, it is not something that I directly face. I am an outside observer, striving to achieve a fair, just, and accurate view of the subject. What does not worry me is the notion that I will be condemned (outside this Forum, of course) for opting for favoring mercy and leniency in the face of uncertainty.
     
  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    1. How is that not open theism?
    2. How is that not moral relativism?

    Can you give me a principled argument that would compel me to believe that Jesus resurrected, rejecting which would make me a non-Christian?

    Can you give me a principled argument that would compel me not murder an innocent human life, rejecting which would make me evil?

    I suspect that you can’t demonstrate it all the way, in both cases. Which means that in a single post you’ve undone all of religion and all of philosophy.
     
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  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I have neither asserted nor implied that God changes or that there are no universal moral laws (one of which is certainly, “you shall not murder”). I have said that life is complicated, our moral lives are governed by a myriad of overlapping (and sometimes conflicting) rules and principles, and that in the midst of real relationships it can be difficult to know what the truly right thing to do is in every situation as it happens. This is our common experience as human beings. The struggle of the moral life is what great works of philosophy like Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals and great works of literature like Shakespeare’s plays and Jane Austen’s novels are all about.
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    You're late on the scene. All of religion and all of philosphy is already 'undone' mate. 1 Cor. 1:18-25.
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Ah! But which really religious types ever read that sort of stuff? :laugh: :disgust: Most of them won't even watch National Geographic channel or PBS America if it's got anything about evolution, dinosaurs, cosmology or physics on. :loopy:
    .
     
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  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Your game of Russian roulette is dependent on the premise that Christ's atonement is negated by infringements of your interpretation and failure to comply to 'Law' though. Break the written 'Law', as you understand it and the consequence to the law breaker will be loss of salvation and negation of faith. Put your willy in the wrong place and lose your salvation, eat lobster or pig or enter the sactuary at the wrong time and eat meat sacrificed to idols, and consequently suffer the fires of hell.

    It seems to me that the law per se has a huge bearing upon one's final destination in your philosophical approach to salvation and how it may be attained and retained. Don't get me wrong though, I believe the law is perfect and good Ps.19:7 but it needs to be interpreted in the light of teachings of Jesus Christ concerning care and concern for our neighbour, Luke 10:27 as well as our love for God. On balance I believe it is better for the church to 'bless' intentions of monogamous fidelity between gays, than to tacitly condemn them to profligacy and licentiousness by refusing to recognise their intentions to be faithful to each other. After all the church weekly 'blesses' even failed attempts by believers to 'live sober, holy and righteous lives'.

    In your case your expression of care and concern for your gay 'neighbour' is sincerely expressed in your fear for his eternal soul. So that leads you to warn them of their possible fate. A commendable thought and loving, as long as it is truly done in love.

    In others case our faith in the universality of God's love for his entire creation and the unlimited extent of His grace toward us sinners allows us to steer very close to 'letter of the law breaking' out of concern for our 'neighbour' who in their probably misguided state, ( and aren't we all in one way or another? ), may be quite unable to change the focus of their 'natural' affections for each other. Spiritual living is as far above 'natural' as the heavens are above the earth, and that life change is only available to any of us by God's grace alone.

    Our trust in Christ's universal sovereignty should give us confidence that even 'law breaking' for the right reasons, i.e. out of obedience to the spirit of His teaching concerning concern for our neighbour, will be acceptable to Him. He will take full responsibility for our 'law breaking' as long as it is truly associated with fellowship with Him and sincere in obedience to his commandment to 'sacrificially love one another as He has loved us'. Mark 2:23-28, John 6:53, Lev.17:13-14.

    There is absolutely no possibility that I will ever be called upon to confer a 'blessing' upon a gay couple. Therefore it is of no consequence to me as far as I am concerned. I am simply expressing some understanding of the reasoning behind some of the churches which have decided to allow individual priests to perform such ceremonies. Following the teaching of Jesus Christ is more than just a matter of rigidly and inflexibly following a list of rules in a Holy Book. Some people's faith in Christ is greater than others and may lead them to diametrically different conclusions. Luke 18:6-9.
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
  17. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It seems to me why are wasting our energies on a futile argument. For some everything is relative. Do your own thing and if it sits well with your own conscience it is good enough. I personally don't believe Christ died on the Cross for that but hey what do I know.
     
  18. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Too many people confuse Jesus' love for us (agape) with being nice. Jesus was a nice fellow! He would never actually condemn anyone to hell for sinning, would he? That wouldn't be nice! No, surely not. Jesus would just smile, raise his hand in a blessing, and let the sinner continue on in their sin.

    It's no wonder that sinners prefer this "nice" version of Jesus, because there is no actual judgment in him. This Jesus only exists to smile and wave and congratulate you for being such a special, wonderful person. Jesus doesn't judge; he just pats you on your darling little head and sends you on your way.

    It sounds great, doesn't it? The problem is that this Jesus does not, and never did, exist. It is certainly not the Jesus of Nazareth we read about in our Bibles.

    The Biblical Jesus is the one who told his apostles that he came not to bring peace, but a sword, to divide a man from his father and a mother from her daughter (Matt. 10:34-39).

    The Biblical Jesus is the one who says, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matt. 7:21-23).

    The Biblical Jesus drove the moneychangers and sellers of sacrificial animals from the Temple in righteous anger that they had turned his Father' s house into a house of trade. (John 2:13-16.)

    The Biblical Jesus teaches us that he is the vine, and we are the branches. If we are cut off from him through sin, we will be cast away as a dead branch and be burned. (John 15:5-6).

    The Biblical Jesus tells us that it would be better for us to have our hand or foot cut off, or our eye gouged out, rather than let them lead us to sin. (Mark 9:43).

    The Biblical Jesus is the one who said, "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matt. 7:13-14).

    Jesus is not Mr. Rogers. He is not your therapist or your basketball coach or your surfer-dude buddy. He is the eternal King and Judge of all creation. He does not love us because we are loveable, for we are not loveable. We are horrible, fallen, wicked, bent creatures. He loves us in spite of our awful natures. His goal is to save us, not to indulge us. Jesus hates sin as the Father hates sin, and he knows full well that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Death in sin means eternal damnation (Luke 16:19-31).

    If we accept Christ as our savior, we let ourselves die to sin (1 Pet. 2:24). And having died to sin, we cannot continue to live in it (Rom. 6:1-7). For to do so means we did not die to sin at all, but are still in its grip, and live under Christ's judgment for it.

    Jesus Christ is holy, and good, and kind, and gentle, and humble. But he is not nice. He will not, out of niceness, allow sin to go unpunished on the Day of the Lord (Rev. 21:7-8).
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    "The Biblical Jesus is the one who says, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matt. 7:21-23).

    I had not forgotten that though, as so many in here seem to assume. Neither should anyone else.

    However!
    Out comes the proverbial straw man marching into the thread, thumbing his nose at the idea that Jesus Christ did not come to judge the earth but to save it. John 3:17, John 8:11. He did not condemn sinners, they will condemn themselves by the words of their own mouths. Luke 19:20-27.

    Should we see it though as our God given responsibility to condemn others when Jesus Christ himself did not, (rather than just to correct them if they provoke us, in the manner that Christ did)? We should hope our eyesight and insight is up to the task, otherwise we may find ourselves on the wrong end of a telling off by Him who 'condemned not others'.

    There will be condemnation for sure: The men of Nineveh will have their say, Matt.12:41 the Queen of Sheba will also pour scorn on many condemnatory religious types Matt.12:42. If we want to escape condemnation the safest and most Christlike way is to avoid condemning others. Luke 6:37.

    We can be sure there will be judgment but it will not necessarily be what is expected by the 'righteous'. There may be some pleasant surprises for some died in the wool sinners and some nasty shocks for self styled servants of The Lord who did mighty works in His name, prophesied and cast out demons from others, (but failed to notice the ones in themselves).
    .
     
  20. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Christ came into the earth to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). By his sacrifice on the cross the elect are saved. But sin as always lurks in the human heart, and the fundamental error is that some feel that Christ's sacrifice on the cross covers all sin, perpetually. Romans 6:1-14 should put this false notion to rest, particularly this verse: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2).

    Also this: "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness." (Rom. 6:11-13).

    As to Jesus not condemning sinners, consider John 5:30: "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgement is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me."