I received a call from the Arkansas Democratic Gazette on my thoughts on the Windsor Report. The following is my response.
The Windsor Report comes as a slap on the face for those conveniently undermining the authority of Scripture in order to suit their agendas. The report falls back on the foundation of Anglicanism, Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and Reflected Reasoning. The Windsor Report has not only reprimanded the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), but also has asked ECUSA to openly express its regret and put a moratorium on the election of homosexual candidates for the orders and the Rite of Blessing of same-sex unions. Consecrators of Gene Robinson are invited to consider in conscience their withdrawal from representative functions within Anglican Communion.
St. Gabriel’s national church, The United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA) realized ECUSA’s departure from the faith 25 years ago, when ECUSA began tampering with the Book of Common Prayer and rewrote its theology and liturgy in the form of 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Regarding the article, �What Next� in the Arkansas Democratic Gazette, I responded in a previous post:
Exclusive claims of compassion to the detriment of morality and time-honored traditional family values, need careful consideration. Approving what is Biblically incorrect in order to make people feel comfortable requires a lot of soul searching. The Church, as an institution and guardian of faith and morals, needs to be be compassionate while also being forthright and continuing to do its duty.
The Windsor Report references Scripture as the source of authority, and it demands the rationale of homosexuality in terms of Scripture. Bishop Gene Robinson, during his recent visit to St. Mark�s Cathedral in Minneapolis, was quoted in Christian Challenge (August/September 2004) as saying, “We do not worship a God who got locked up in Scripture 2000 years ago.” Gene Robinson stands diametrically opposed to the directive of the Windsor Report, which re-emphasizes the authority of Scripture and �bishops as teachers of the scripture� (see para. 58).
While clamping down on ECUSA, the Diocese of New Westminster and the Canadian Church for their stance on homosexuality, the report reiterates that such a stand is detrimental to the communion or the Instruments of Unity. Therefore, it puts moratorium on the election of any candidate who lives in same sex union to the orders, restricts the jurisdiction of the New Hampshire See in terms of acceptability of the candidate in other provinces and urges ECUSA to express regret over the breach of bond of communion surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for New Hampshire (see para. 134) .
In terms of Inculturation, the report recommends rooting of the faith in one�s culture. The report�s emphasis on Pauline example is compelling evidence against the stand of the ECUSA:
In Paul�s world, many cultures prided themselves on such things as anger and violence on the one hand and sexual profligacy on the other, Paul insists that both of these are ruled out for those “in Christ.”
The Windsor Report recommends that both the principles of adiophora (in terms of the importance of issue at hand — para. 87) and subsidiary (in terms of the handling of issues at a local level — para. 94) be maintained while observing the dictum, “the clearer it is something indifferent in terms of Church�s central doctrine and ethics, the closer to the local level it can be decided.” The decision on such a serious matter, in other words, should have been decided within the communion and not unilaterally by ECUSA.
Regrettably for ECUSA, sanctions had to come from without, whereas in truth, ECUSA could have introspected itself in terms of the great Anglican foundation of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Everything is well said except for the factor of �acceptability� of this issue by the rest of the communion “until new consensus emerges.” This is a cause for concern. In the issue of women�s ordination, the Anglican Communion bypassed apostolic tradition in passing it by consensus, and what began as an individual practice came to be a consensus in terms of acceptability (see “Recent mutual discernment within the communion” para. 12-16). Such precedence only speaks of the potency of similar approval for the homosexual issue as well.
Conversely, the position of UECNA in both the issues of women�s ordination and homosexuality has been orthodox. Therefore, UECNA maintains its role of safeguarding the tradition, namely male candidacy to ordination and the sanctity of heterosexual union and family based on Scripture and Tradition.
After apparent reprimand, the Windsor Report also admits the fact that ECUSA may or may not comply with the recommendations of the Communion/Instruments of Union. �Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion not be heeded, then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart� (para. 157).
Whither will go the Episcopal Church USA? Will they go it alone or will they go with the flow of Anglicanism?