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On Bishop Otis Charles' "Marriage" - by Dr. Bill Atwood

Dr. Bill Atwood: On Bishop Otis Charles' "Marriage"

While Bishop Charlesmay be celebrating, (see the article below) his actions are heartbreaking for many of us in pastoral ministry who understand what is happening and confusing to many who don’t.

First of all, it is tragic that the Episcopal Church has been so enveloped in doctrinal confusion that no one has convinced him of the creative and liberating truth of Biblical order. Now, the silence about this from our leaders is deafening, but the issues are so important, a response is necessary.

It is easy to imagine how a relationship could be so intoxicating that objectivity about it is lost, but there is clear medical evidence that men who engage in same-sex intimacies shorten their lives dramatically. While there may be individual exceptions, that data is shocking. For the church to advocate and bless that which robs three decades from many people’s lives is reprehensible. People are far too precious to be cast aside like that.

The situation is also a source of great grief and confusion. Instead of encouraging behavior that the Bible clearly proscribes, we should love people well enough to tell the truth, saving lives and souls. As Christians, we have a responsibility to tell people when they are moving away from the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

It is also sobering to remember that bishops do not receive more license than others because of their office, but less. James wrote: 3:1 “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” It is even more serious to know that little ones in the faith are watching and being led away from the teaching of the church. The voice of the church needs to be unmistakable in its call to repent from anything the Bible calls sin and turn to Jesus. That is always true, whether in secret sins we would rather not admit or in public displays of rebellion.

Those who commit to conform their lives to the historic revelation concerning sexual limits and other patters of life will not find rejection but the abundant life that Jesus promises.

The Rev. Canon Bill Atwood, D. Min.

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