The Anglican Communion voted to close its doors to the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Canadian Church for three years at an international meeting last week, but sadly, no lesson seems learned. The two North American churches still affirm their ultra-liberal stance on the nature of homosexuality. And while they seem regretful for the split they caused within the Communion, they are far from understanding or even identifying the crux of the problem.
At the meeting, the Episcopal Church USA justified its decision to ordain an openly active homosexual man as bishop. Whats more, the church representatives misconstrued scripture to explain why sexual orientation should not matter in choosing leaders.
At one point, an Episcopal pastor likened the current-day clash over homosexuality to the struggle early churches faced over gentiles.
"The inclusion of the gentiles in the early church was of great controversy," he said. "We have learned to appropriate scripture differently from many other Christians. We are still learning that this remains a complex matter as it did in the early church."
This comparison clearly shows a premature understanding of the core issues at hand. No one, not even ultra-conservative leaders in Africa, denies salvation is for all homosexual, heterosexual, Jew and gentile alike.
However, when gentiles joined the church, they were expected to throw away their idols and worship God and Him only. Homosexuality is a form of idolatry that goes against the natural will of God. Therefore, while homosexuals should be invited and welcomed to the church, they should also be taught to leave their sinful ways and find life in Christ.
Salvation is not the issue. Sin is the crux of the problem.
Until the Episcopal Church leaders understand the basic teaching on sin, and learn to distinguish it from the basic teaching on salvation, no amount of dialogue will save the Anglican Communion from falling apart.
It has already been 18 months since the Episcopal Church ordained the homosexual bishop. Hopefully, 36 months in isolation will be more effective in teaching the North American churches the fundamentals of Biblical philosophy, and bring the Anglican Communion members closer to God and each other.