A Response to Actions Taken at General Convention
I was born into the Episcopal Church, baptized as an infant, confirmed at age 12 and basically had no clue about the reasons behind any of this. By God's grace I was born again in 1977 and for the first time ever I began to read the Bible. I started with the Gospels and wondered why they wrote the same story three times (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Later, I delved into the Old Testament and read it straight through. When I came to the history of Israel I continued to read, "and they did evil in the Lord's sight." Every time I read this I said to my self, "Oh no, they had better not do that. Don't they know it will cause trouble and bring God's judgment?"
The evil usually happened in four areas: sexual immorality; shedding of innocent blood (sacrificing children to Molech); occult practices; and idolatry. These practices brought a curse on the land (Leviticus 20:22) and separation of God's protection and provision. (Leviticus chapters 20-22 are quite illuminating on this topic.) Again and again I would read how Israel departed from their covenant with God only to their peril. Each time I asked myself, "Why?"
As I continued to read scripture I learned that there were good, godly kings like Asa. (1 Kings 15:9-ff) Asa became king after Abijah (who did evil in the Lord's sight), and in 1 Kings 15:11 we read that Asa took action to set a standard of godliness: He forbid sexual immorality (temple prostitutes), removed idolatry (by burning and destroying Asherah poles) and restored the gold and silver to the temple.
By the time I reached Ezra and Nehemiah I found that Israel had actually lost the scriptures and that they had to be "rediscovered." Ezra read the entire law of God to the people (Nehemiah 8), which produced repentance and an amazing revival. The Word of God penetrated their hearts.
Today, we are faced with a Church that has also lost sight of the Word of God. Despite strong roots in the Word and in the traditional faith of the Apostles, the Episcopal Church now seems to be of the mindset that the Bible is not actually the Word of God and that it merely "contains" the Word of God. The results of the Church's biblical ignorance are unmistakable.
As I look at the decision of General Convention to confirm Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, it is clear that the Lord simply cannot bless this action. The reality is that, under the New Covenant, God will merely "give us over" to what we want (Romans 1:16-ff). We actually can have our own way, but He is not a part of it at all. Those who celebrate and herald this "breakthrough" will ultimately find, as Israel did, deeper bondage to sin, darkness and destruction.
Reflecting on the New Testament, it is clear that God's Word cannot be broken. Jesus fulfilled what was "written" and spoke clearly about houses that were built on sand and those that were built on the rock. It all had to do with "hearing" His words and obeying them (Matthew 7). How is it that we can "bless" what is contrary to God's written word and still believe there is no consequence? In Galatians 6:7-8 it clearly says that God will not be mocked and that we will ultimately =82"reap what we have sown." There are also some dire warnings to those who "lead little ones astray."
As painful as this has been for me personally (and for so many other faithful Episcopalians), I am grateful for the leadership of the bishops, clergy and laity who stood courageously for biblical morality and for the historical faith of the Church. I was proud to see their leadership and how boldly it was expressed. It truly gives me hope for the future. I have also been greatly encouraged by the broader Anglican Communion and their voice of dismay at what has been done, and by their support of us!
Can God work through all things for good? I certainly believe so! May His kingdom come and may His will be done for His Glory.
Fr. Alan W. Hansen
President and CEO
ACTS 29 Ministries
Upcoming ACTS 29 Parish Conferences,
Teaching Events and Meetings
Sept. 14-20 -- St. John's, Naples, Fla.
Sept. 21 -- St. Jude's, Marietta, Ga.
Sept. 28 -- St. Thomas, Thomasville, Ga. October 2003
Oct. 3-6 -- St. Luke's, La Crecenta, Calif.
Oct. 7-9 -- AAC Meeting, Plano, Texas
Oct. 17-18 -- Faith Anglican, Memphis, Tenn.
New ACTS 29 Conference Offerings
Four Steps to Christian Maturity
Inner Healing Conference
New ACTS 29 Ministry Initiatives
Men's Ministry (Regional Events -- Starting late 2003 and early 2004)
For more information, call us at 800-299-6324, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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