The following letter written by Fr. Sam Seamans, Rector of St.Thomas Anglican Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas, was published in the Monday issue of the Northwest Arkansas Times, in response to a recent editorial in Lowell Grisham’s liberal column, “Roots and Wings”.
In the Rev. Grisham’s “Roots and Wings” article he equates Christian orthodoxy with a story about a friend who was in a “hellfire and brimstone” church. His is the common mistake (or tactic) made by many “liberal Christians” today who think that if you embrace a thoroughly orthodox view of Christianity then you must be a fundamentalist, exclusionist, or simply ignorant or bigoted. He presents his view as the progressive one, implying that if you hold to traditional biblical values then you must favor slavery, the abuse of women, and persecution of homosexual people. This is a one-side liberal spin that really doesn’t wash. Homosexuals are just as welcome at my Anglican parish as they are in his. The difference is what is affirmed or taught as normative by our respective churches. Just because I believe what the Church has traditionally taught about homosexual activity doesn’t mean I advocate violence or ill-treatment of homosexuals, nor am I afraid of them (homophobia is one of the popular accusations among liberals towards traditionalists). I also respect and honor women and find them to be light years ahead of men in many areas.
Those who preach tolerance the most often don’t tolerate those whom they feel are intolerant. Those who decry traditional Christians for being judgmental have judged us for being exclusionary in our views. They say that we “place conditions” on God’s love, and yet their condition for acceptance is that we embrace their liberal revisionist views of the faith. Let me remind Rev. Grisham that it was Jesus our Lord who said “Go and sin no more” and he did not tell the woman at the well to keep on sleeping around because God loved her “just the way she was.” No effort on his part to redefine sin takes away the reality that repentance and amendment of life are required of those who seek to follow Christ, regardless of their sexual leanings (heterosexual sins included). Thomas Merton, a famous Roman Catholic monk, once said that we do no one any favors by lying to them about their sin. Rev. Grisham may personally be persuaded that homosexuality is not wrong, but that is a far cry from saying that God has changed his mind on the issue.
The Rev. Sam Seamans St. Thomas Anglican Church