Two large and influential Episcopal parishes in Virginia voted overwhelmingly yesterday to leave the Episcopal Church and to affiliate with the Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, a conservative leader in a churchwide fight over homosexuality (source).
These seven dioceses have rejected the authority of Presiding U.S. Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to head an Anglican church. Schori’s election was provocative not just because she is a woman, but because of her open support for Gene Robinson, an openly gay man who was elected bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
Katrina Wagner, a parishioner of one of the seceding churches, sums up the heart of the controversy as well as anyone could.
I grew up in the Episcopal Church. I hope I don’t cry when I talk about this. But the issue is: Are we going to follow Scripture? (source)
And that indeed is the issue. Will the Anglican church obey the inscripturated Word of God, or will they walk away from biblical authority and the Christian faith by calling evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)? Seven U.S dioceses have decided that the Episcopal church in the U.S. has taken the broad way, and they will not follow them down the path of destruction (Matthew 7:13-16).
The apostle Paul told Timothy how to treat those who maintain the external trappings of Christianity while denying the substance of its teachings: “Avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:5). The seven seceding dioceses have decided that the time has come to do what scripture says they must do when false teachers prevail. They are separating.
May the Lord bless them for their faithfulness.