The leader of the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) has been trying to downplay the American church’s radical departure from orthodoxy. Commenting on conservative Episcopal congregations who are breaking away from the American church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says that the conflict is more about “biblical interpretation” than about homosexuality. She contends that “We have had gay bishops and gay clergy for millennia. The willingness to be open about that is more recent.”
Despite Jefferts Schori’s revisionist description, virtually everyone recognizes that wherever biblical authority has been taken seriously within the Anglican communion, homosexuality has been regarded as sin. This has been the case throughout the history of Anglicanism. The departure from biblical authority and the mainstreaming of homosexuality are relatively recent developments that have been located in the western sector of the communion.
That is why many conservative Episcopalians and others in the wider Anglican communion have been encouraged to hear N. T. Wright, the Bishop of Durham, suggest that discipline may be in the offings. In his remarks on the wayward American church, Bishop Wright says, “Even if it means a bit of pruning, the plant will be healthier for it.”
It’s hard to see how entrenched unorthodoxy could ever be dislodged from the endowed sectors of liberal Anglicanism. But we support and rejoice in any attempt to bring ECUSA back to the straight and narrow. It is, after all, the only path that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).