jQuery Slider

You are here

ALBANY: Bishop Love says Diocese is in the midst of a Battle with uncertain outcome

ALBANY: Bishop Love says Diocese is in the midst of a Battle with uncertain outcome
The greatest threat to the Church in the West comes from the ongoing cultural wars over human sexuality and same-sex marriage; abortion; "hate-speech legislation" and court rulings by judges who seem to have little to no regard for the U.S. Constitution (particularly the First Amendment and its guarantee of religious freedom and freedom of speech).

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
June 13, 2019

In a candid appraisal of the situation he personally faces along with the future of the diocese of Albany, Bishop William H. Love told delegates to the diocese's151th annual convention that the diocese is in the midst of a battle whose outcome is not yet known. The very nature and character of this diocese as we have known it, is under attack from forces outside as well as within, he told delegates.

The evangelical catholic bishop painted a grim picture of the state of the Church, his own partial inhibition and the state of the diocese's finances.

But then he said this: "We have all read the final chapter. We know how the war ends -- God is triumphant! The question is -- whose side will we be on when that final day comes? Will we "Stand Firm in the Holy Spirit, striving together as One in Christ and His Holy Word, or will we cave under the pressure of political correctness and special interest groups, being driven by the shifting winds of culture and society? Will we speak God's truth in love, or will we embrace false teachings to the physical, spiritual and psychological detriment of others? Will we be "strong and courageous" as God commanded Joshua as he was preparing to lead the Israelites across the river Jordan into the Promise Land, or will we cower in fear of what others may say or think or do? The decision is ours."

Love described the passage of Resolution B-012 by the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, as a ticking time bomb launched into the middle of the Diocese of Albany, waiting to explode. "As the clock ticked away, the level of tension and division between those with differing opinions in the Diocese regarding same-sex marriage intensified."

"With the passage of B-012 by the General Convention, a line has been drawn in the sand -- a line that I am unable and unwilling to cross. The Presiding Bishop placed a partial restriction on my ministry in regard to overseeing Title IV Disciplinary Proceedings involving same-sex marriage. In issuing the partial restriction, the Presiding Bishop stated, "Bishop Love's conduct in this regard may constitute a canonical offense under Canon IV.4(1)(c) ("abide by the promises and vows made when ordained") and Canon IV.4(1)(h)(9) ("any Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Clergy").

Love said he planned to appeal the disciplinary action taken against him as well as officially challenge the legality of B-012 and bring clarity as to which has more authority when at odds with one another -- a General Convention Resolution or a Diocesan Canon.

"The jury is still out as to whether The Episcopal Church is truly welcoming, inclusive and diverse enough for those of us who cannot embrace TEC's current progressive agenda. If we are to have a real place in The Episcopal Church, we must be provided a way to remain true to our understanding of Holy Scripture and the sacramental nature of the Church, and to differentiate ourselves from TEC's progressive actions and beliefs that violate God's Word (as we understand it), and are so offensive and problematic to the vast majority of the wider Anglican Communion and Body of Christ. Anything less is the equivalent of TEC's enslavement of its conservative and orthodox members. For a Church that is constantly touting "justice issues," I would argue it is currently doing a great injustice to its conservative and orthodox brothers and sisters."

Love said that in all the conversations he had had, no one had persuaded him that he had misunderstood God's intent for marriage, in spite of societies changing views.

"It has now been over four months since the Presiding Bishop took disciplinary against me, and to date, I have still not been officially charged with anything. I have asked (for my sake and the sake of the Diocese) that this process not be drawn out. I was told an investigation into the allegations made against me would be conducted and I should hear something in a couple of weeks. That was in the middle of February. It is now June. As soon as I hear something, I will let you all know."

Love said the Presiding Bishop Curry told him that there would always be a place in The Episcopal Church for bishops, clergy, laity and dioceses that were theologically conservative and orthodox in their faith.

When Love enquired of Curry if parishes who disagreed with him could be legally transferred to another diocese, he was told that there was no legal way to do that. "It may be time for The Episcopal Church to think outside the box and make provisions for non-geographic dioceses. I reminded the Presiding Bishop that when TEC wants to do something, it usually finds a way."

Love said the fallout from B-012 was his inability to recruit clergy to fill 11 vacancies in the diocese. "Some clergy are hesitant to come to the Diocese because of the uncertainty of what is going to happen to the Bishop. Will I be deposed or forced to resign? Others are under a false allusion as to the true nature of the Diocese, having believed the lies and misrepresentations being spread around by people who have no clue who the Diocese of Albany truly is. Others are concerned about the finances of the parishes they are considering. Clergy interested in coming to a parish look at its relationship with the rest of the Diocese and whether or not the parish is honoring its assessment."

Love said the diocese faced financial hurdles and that the diocese had taken a huge financial hit this year.

"As of May 31, 2019, the Diocese has received $81,937 less than the amount received at this time last year. The projected diocesan deficit has more than doubled from the beginning of the year going from $24,200 to $55,651 (primarily related to the loss of income, not increased spending). If the current downward spiral in giving continues, the projected deficit will grow even larger. The last time the level of giving in the Diocese was this low was in 2012.

"I realize that not all of the drop in financial giving to the Diocese is related to B-012 and the Diocese's stance on same-sex marriage, but a significant portion is. There are people on both sides of these issues voting with their feet and their pocket book. For those parishes and individuals who are purposefully withholding assessment payments or pledges as a means of protest, I would ask you to reconsider your actions for the good of the Diocese as well as yourself. We are all in this together and have a responsibility to one another."

Love said that there were 16 parishes that chose to pay nothing toward the Diocesan Assessment this year.

ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS AND THE CHURCH AT LARGE

"We now live in a post-Christian era where the religious freedoms we once enjoyed and this country was founded on, are not only in jeopardy, but are actively being attacked.

"As Christianity finds itself coming under ever greater attack here at home and abroad, the Church is in desperate need of strong and courageous leadership (lay and ordained). It needs godly men and women who are willing to pick up their cross in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him where ever He might lead, even to Calvary if necessary."

In an article entitled "The Countries where It's Most Dangerous to Be a Christian in 2019," Joe Carter, referencing a report from Open Doors USA, stated "One in every nine Christians in the world lives in an area, or in a culture, in which Christianity is illegal, forbidden, or punished." He went on to state that in the top 50 countries identified on the World Watch List 2019 reporting period [for the previous 12 months], "a total of 1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked; 2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned; and 4,136 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons. On average, that's 11 Christians killed every day for their faith."

"It is amazing that as we look around the world today, the places such as Africa and Asia where the Church is growing the most and where the Holy Spirit most seems to be at work, are the very places where Christians are suffering the most for their faith. Despite the attacks and threats of violence directed against them, by God's grace, they have remained "strong and courageous" and the Lord is blessing them and using them to be a blessing and encouragement to others. May He do the same with us. While I don't look forward to or invite persecution for myself or anyone else, the growing attacks on the Church in the West may be the very thing needed to help bring the Church alive and recognize our utter dependence on Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit."

Love said that in the United States, the level of physical attacks against Christians is on the rise, as witnessed by recent church shootings and the burning of churches). However, that level is certainly nothing on the scale as that found in parts of Africa and the Middle East where entire Christian villages are being annihilated, or in China where the Communist Government is systematically rounding up and imprisoning thousands of House Church leaders and their members.

"For those of us in the West, I believe the greatest threat to the Church and individual Christians is currently being manifested under the guise of social justice, anti-hate rhetoric, and political correctness. Whatever the source or justification, let there be no doubt that Christianity and our religious freedoms are under attack."

Love said that The Lord never promised that living a Christian life would be easy, or that once we signed on the dotted line and said I believe, all would go well and that we would never experience pain or sorrow or suffering or loss. In fact, He said just the opposite.

"I would argue that the greatest threat to the Church in the West comes from the ongoing cultural wars over human sexuality and same-sex marriage; abortion; "hate-speech legislation" and court rulings by judges who seem to have little to no regard for the U.S. Constitution (particularly the First Amendment and its guarantee of religious freedom and freedom of speech). I am convinced that the day will come in our lifetime, when a person who stands up and speaks about sexual morality (particularly in regard to homosexuality or transgenderism) and quotes Leviticus or Romans -- will be charged with a "hate crime" and either fined or imprisoned for doing so. The current "Equality Act" just passed by the House and now before the U.S. Senate may very well create that scenario. Are you prepared to go to jail for the Gospel's sake? What is happening in other parts of the world is at our doorstep.

"Tragically, as I look at the shrinking numbers in the main-line denominations in the United States, to include The Episcopal Church, I see an ever growing number of churches that are drifting as if in a rudderless boat blown to and fro by the political and societal winds of the day. Many of our church and political leaders and people have been deceived and led astray by modern cultural forces and political correctness."

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, God calls us to be "Strong and Courageous;" To "Stand Firm in the Holy Spirit, Striving Together As One," (Philippians 1:27) as we go forth boldly in the name of Jesus Christ, trusting in His promise to be with us always, even to the very end of the age."

END

Subscribe
Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top