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CAIRO: Anglican Scholar Says Sex is Chief Idolatry in Western Culture

CAIRO: Anglican Scholar Says Sex is Chief Idolatry in Western Culture

By David W. Virtue in Cairo
October 6, 2016

Why has the Global South spent so much time on issues of sex for more than two decades, asked Dr. Ashley Null, Cranmer scholar, speaking to some 100 Anglican leaders at the 6th Trumpet Global South Conference here in Cairo?

"Is it central to the gospel message? It is the current chief idolatry of western culture that human fulfillment is found in good sexual relations and that each human must find such fulfillment wherever they can -- multiple heterosexual relationships or homosexual relationships," said Null.

The Bible says that sex is not the most important means of human fulfillment. Should the Global South stop reminding western culture and the churches dominated by western culture with graciousness, and charity and compassion, remembering that those broken by and in bondage to idolatry can only break free when they hear that God loves them and can only hear that message from us?"

"Defenders do not get to choose where to draw the battle-lines. Sin is to take a good from God and make it something other than God, the best. The nature of true gospel proclamation is to make addressing false ultimates first order issues. We cannot dodge the bullets, even if it is not the ground we want to fight on. Was not the emperor important for Roman community, so why object to burning incense to the emperor? The good is the enemy of the best. God raised Augustine an African theologian to combat Pelagius, and the reformers used Augustine to oppose Duns Scotus. The reformers turned to Africa, the writings of Augustine, to engage with scripture. The rationalizing tendency of the Episcopal Church is now being challenged by the African church."

Ironically a bishop from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Rt. Rev. Raphael Hess, Bishop of Saldanha Bay, in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, who is present here, declared his support for same-sex blessings in his diocese last May. In a letter to diocesan clergy, Bishop Hess dissented from the February decision of Southern African bishops to reaffirm the Lambeth Conference's Resolution 1.10 (1998). He said a diocesan task force would prepare alternative legislation in support of same-sex marriage for the provincial synod in September.

A pastoral letter issued by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said the bishops' synod had attempted to draw up guidelines for clergy who wanted to bless couples in same-sex relationships or to enter same-sex unions themselves. South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in 2006.

Bishop Hess counted himself among "those who believe that the Church should accept and support or bless monogamous, covenanted relationships between homosexual people and that they may be ordained."


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