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December 22, 2003

Comments

John Cain

I favor aligning ourselves with the AAC and other conservative, biblically grounded churches. If the ECUSA's leaders choose to continue to take actions that cause them to break communion with us, so be it. I am upset, but I am not willing to water down my beliefs to fit their agenda. I do not consider the act of aligning ourselves with the AAC to be affirmatively "leaving" the traditional Episcopal church or the Anglican Communion.

As for the homosexual issue, sex outside of the covenant of marriage is sin. As a church, we minister to and love sinners but abhor the sin. Lay leaders & teachers, priests and bishops are called to a higher standard than the average pew sitter. Those practicing sex outside of marriage are no more qualified to hold such a position than a practicing alcoholic, a practicing verbal abuser, a practicing adulterer, a practicing thief, etc.

D.C.,

Please include the email we sent you today in this digest.

Joe Pagnotto

Lana Short

D.C.,

I have not had nor taken the time to respond to your dialogue on joining the AAC. So, this may be too late for your summary or consideration for tonight's meeting.

I am a personal member of the AAC and have advocated that SJD affiliate with them for a number of years. I thought it was a better way for us to go than the First Promise (now AMIA) which Larry and several priests did here.

The AAC is prayerful and balanced and (like you are giving a forum and a voice for those who disagree with affiliating with AAC) has given a forum and a voice to those parishes and dioceses who have not been traveling down the same path as the leadership of ECUSA for several years.

The AAC has held fast to the beliefs of the orthodox and traditional faith and has shown that the revisionists are the ones that have left, not the other way around. I see nothing in their literature that advocates pulling out. I think aligning ourselves with them gives us strength and structure to our voice.

For years I have not wanted our Episcopal Church to break up. I still do not. But when the church looks more like the world than it holds a standard which of God and His desire for our life in Him, I can no longer say "well, let's just talk it out and set up another study" as a means to delay the inevitable clash of values.

Just as you mentioned bibliolatry I think there's a tendency for us to make our church (buildings and organizations) our idol. For me, I must ask the question: Who do I follow? The church or the teachings of Jesus the Christ? It should be one and the same, but with ECUSA, I'm sad to say it's not the case.

FYI. I do not believe the homosexual lifestyle is one God wants anyone to live. He clearly wants us all to live sexually pure lives...that's very clear. Contrary to what Will Symmes said, science has NOT proved that one is born homosexual. I believe it is a complex set of environmental, and psychological factors that make one follow a lifestyle of attraction to the same rather than other.

There's not time to deliberate all of that here, but I will share with you that my brother died of AIDS in 1990 and he shared much with me his last year of life. He felt that his choices were wrong and that God did not want him to live the life he had chosen which killed him. He received God's full forgiveness and I KNOW he is with Jesus as I write this. He died being loved fully by his family and would not have wanted his "sin" blessed. My beliefs about this issue have been shaped by his life, death, and God's design and plan for our lives.

I pray for all of you who wrestle with decisions facing our church now and in the future.

Blessings,

Lana

(Posted by DCT at Lana's request)

Carole & Joe Pagnotto

D.C.,

Thank you for this e-mail. Until its receipt, we were unaware of your web log. Since then we have read most of your postings and have felt the need to reply in however a cursory manner to the cases presented therein.

Because we are briefly addressing a number of postings, we are responding in the form of a reply to the message below.

A primary concern is the proposal that the American Anglican Council is "laying the groundwork for schism" within the Episcopal Church. To the contrary, it would seem that the Episcopal Church was schismatic when its General Convention blessed same sex unions and approved election of a practicing homosexual to a bishop's seat in defiance of prohibitions beginning in Genesis (19:4-25) and continuing through Romans (1:18-32), !st Corinthians (6:9.18-20) and--for Anglicans--at Lambeth.

As believers in Biblical Christianity, the AAC has no choice but to join the rest of the Anglican Communion in protest and to act accordingly.

The most obvious way to justify the Convention's actions is to recast the Bible as something less than the infallible word of God. This can be done by pointing to what appear to be inconsistencies in the Scriptures, particularly those of the New Testament.

Since the Gospels were written considerably after the Crucifixion and since Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each had his own noncompeting view of Jesus, some details can appear to be inconsistent with each other. None, however, is inconsistent with the Resurrection, the defining proof of Jesus's claims about Himself, and with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

When measured against the truth of this fact and the message itself, claimed "internal inconsistencies" and questions of manuscript reliability take a definite back seat the power and truth of Christ's teachings. These teachings and their amplification in the rest of the New Testament are in fact "core Christianity," not "profession of the Episcopal baptismal rite, including the Apostles Creed." Their validity, perhaps even more than the documentation of Jesus's supernatural powers, confirm his claim to be the Son of God in a way that inclusive of the Godhead and not relational as in "sons of thunder," "Abraham," etc.

Another way to undermine the authority of the Bible is to portray it as an evolving document. God can thus destroy the city of Sodom because of its homosexual practices and thousands of years later decide that same sex unions and actively gay bishops are permissible. Accordingly, His word can be revised to keep up with the times.

The problem, of course, is that the word of God can now be changed at the whims of those who are supposed to be governed by it thereby creating a rather fickle deity ruled by the times rather than being in control of them.

Some may be comfortable with a god whose word is changable and whose biblical interpretation needs continuing revision to accomodate the latest whims of man--e.g. the blessing of same sex unions and consecration of gay bishops. We believe with that such a view can only hasten the destruction of our society whose foundations were laid by believers in in a God whose unchanging word is recorded in the Bible, the touchstone against which the plans and actions of man must be measured.

The Episcopal Church in its General Convention has strayed so far from God and His word as described in Psalm 119:89-91 that its recent actions bring us back through the centuries to a time when Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door of Wittenburg's cathedral. We ferverently pray that the Episcopal Church ends its schismatic activity through repenting and renouncing its decisions and thereby return to the Anglican Communion. Otherwise, we endorse without reservation any move St. John the Divine takes in sympathy and/or affiliation with the American Anglican Council.

Carole and Joe Pagnotto

(Posted by DCT at Joe's request)

Bob Nimocks

Does any one have any thoughts on new churches? We intend to begin an earnest search and welcome any input. Would also welcome the chance to join one with a group who has a made a thorough examination and shares a common heritage. What about Palmer or Christ Church?
Bob Nimocks

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