Lawrence writes to South Carolina: Anglican Ink, July 15, 2012. July 15, 2012Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Anglican Ink, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Mark Lawrence
The 77th General Convention has endorsed sexual, liturgical and doctrinal anarchy, the Bishop of South Carolina declared in a letter to the diocese dated 15 July 2012.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence stated the 77th General Convention that met from 5-12 July in Indianapolis had been an exercise in “incoherency”, and urged members of the Episcopal Church in his diocese to pray for discernment as to God’s will for the church in the coming days.
Some good had come from the church’s triennial meeting of General Convention, the bishop said, and he had taken “encouragement from the resolutions that were passed regarding needed structural reform, and for the intentional work in the House of Bishops on matters of collegiality and honesty.”
Yet this may have been too little, too late, and was “akin to a long overdue rearranging of the furniture when the house is on fire.”
The bishops cited four actions taken by the convention that he believed stood “in direct conflict with the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them.
While the convention had turned aside the call for an “Open Table” – removing the requirement that those receiving the Eucharist be baptized, it was nonetheless an ill portent and “moves the Church further down the road toward encouraging the communion of the unbaptized which departs from two thousand years of Christian practice. It also puts the undiscerning person in spiritual jeopardy.”
He also voiced objection to the adoption of Resolution A049 which authorized provisional local rites for the blessing of same-sex relationships. “I will not authorize the use of such rites in the Diocese of South Carolina. Such rites are not only contrary to the canons of this diocese and to the judgment of your bishop, but more importantly I believe they are contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture; to two thousand years of Christian practice; as well as to our created nature,” Bishop Lawrence said.
The Episcopal Church “had no authority” to change the “sacramental understanding of marriage as established by God in creation and blessed through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. It has no authority to do this either by revising the marriage rite to include same-sexpartners or by devising some parallel quasi-marital sacramental service,” he said.
Nor had the General Convention thought through two resolutions, D002 and D019, which “mark an even further step into incoherency.”
These two “open the door to innumerable self-understandings of gender identity and gender expression within the Church; normalizing ‘transgender,’ ‘bi-sexual,’ ‘questioning,’ and still yet to be named – self-understandings of individualized eros.”
The consequences of adopting this resolution for the local church were such that “I fail to see how a rector or parish leader who embraces such a canonical change has any authority to discipline a youth minister, Sunday school teacher, or chalice bearer who chooses to dress as a man one Sunday and as a woman another.”
The convention’s vote to allow the question of gender to be “self-defined, self-chosen” led to “sheer sexual anarchy” and would not be countenanced in South Carolina.
Over the coming month the bishop said he would meet with clergy and church leaders to discuss the questions: “How are we called to live and be and act? In this present context, how do we make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age?”
“I ask that you keep me and the councils of our diocese in your prayers as you shall be in mine,” Bishop Lawrence said, adding that “we have many God-size challenges and, I trust, many God-given opportunities ahead.”
First printed in Anglican Ink.