The bishop of the Episcopal Church diocese in Albany, New York has issued a ban on same-sex "marriages" in parishes he oversees. Bishop William Love’s November 10 letter to diocese church members announcing the ban comes just ahead of the official initiation on December 2 of a policy allowing same-sex marriages in Episcopal parishes across America. Church officials passed a resolution in July allowing for homosexual partners to marry in all diocese nationwide — even where local bishops object on biblical grounds.
In issuing the ban in his diocese, Bishop Love charged that with the passage of the same-sex marriage resolution Episcopal Church leadership “is attempting to order me as a Bishop in God’s holy Church to compromise ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3 ESV), and to turn my back on the vows I have made to God and His People, in order to accommodate the Episcopal Church’s ‘new’ understanding of Christian marriage as no longer being ‘a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God’ as proclaimed in the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, but now allowing for the marriage of same-sex couples.”
With scriptural clarity Love pointed out that the new policy “is contributing to false teaching in the Church regarding marriage and human sexuality, thus opening the door for people with same-sex attractions to fall into sin by disordering God’s original design in creation, exchanging the complementary nature of the male and female body to ‘become one in flesh,’ with a distorted unnatural expression of sexual intimacy between people of the same sex.”
He added that “not only does the same-sex couple come under God’s judgement and condemnation, but it also brings God’s judgement and condemnation against the Episcopal Church.”
The bishop noted that his denomination, as well as society in general, “have been hijacked by the ‘Gay Rights Agenda’ which is very well organized, very strategic, very well financed, and very powerful. Satan is having a heyday bringing division into the Church over these issues and is trying to use the Church to hurt and destroy the very ones we love and care about by deceiving the leadership of the Church into creating ways for our gay and lesbians brothers and sister to embrace their sexual desires rather than to repent and seek God’s love and healing grace.”
Bishop Love counseled his diocese that “Jesus is calling the Church to follow His example. He is calling the Church to have the courage to speak His Truth in love about homosexual behavior — even though it isn’t politically correct.”
He also pointed out that, biblically, “sexual relations between two men or two women was never part of God’s plan and is a distortion of His design in creation and as such is to be avoided. To engage in sexual intimacy outside of marriage between a man and women, is against God’s will and therefore sinful and needs to be repented of, NOT encouraged or told it is ok.”
The response to the ban from LGBTQ individuals who have found comfort in the Episcopal Church’s departure from biblical Christianity was predictable. “You come to a church looking for comfort and love and you're told that you're acting in concert with Satan,” said one lesbian Episcopal congregant in Albany. “Anybody who does’nt fit in with his vision of how things should be is unsafe because of his letter and his actions.”
Similarly, Jennifer Adams of the Chicago Consultation, a group that has aggressively lobbied for the full inclusion of homosexuals into Episcopal Church worship, told the Huffington Post that LGBTQ individuals seeking a Christian experience often gravitate to Episcopal congregations, where they typically feel safe from language and dialogue that will challenge their lifestyle choices. “It grieves me, and I know it grieves many other Episcopalians, that one of our bishops has chosen to speak in these terms,” Adams said of Bishop Love’s same-sex marriage ban.
So far Love is the only Episcopal bishop in America who has challenged the denominational policy. In response, the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, issued a statement saying that, “along with other leaders in the Episcopal Church, I am assessing the implications of [Love’s] statement and will make determinations about appropriate actions soon.”
Curry confirmed that the denomination he oversees is “committed to the principle of full and equal access to, and inclusion in, the sacraments for all of the baptized children of God, including our LGBTQ siblings.”
Image of Albany church: Bestbudbrian