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CANADA: Bishops issue pastoral statement ahead of marriage canon vote

CANADA: Bishops issue pastoral statement ahead of marriage canon vote
Pastoral Statement from the College of Bishops

By David W. Virtue, DD
July 5, 2019

ACOC: Next week, the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod will gather in Vancouver, British Columbia for seven days of worship, learning, deliberations and listening for the leading of the Spirit in making some important decisions. In early June we asked for your prayers for our General Synod members, and we renew that call to prayer today. Please uphold your 21 members of General Synod from the Diocese of Toronto -- bishops, clergy, lay and youth -- as well as all of the delegates from across Canada. Pray that we may be faithful to the Gospel in all our conversations and decisions, and fruitful in good works and in acts of love.

VOL: You are not being faithful to the gospel if you vote for same-sex marriage. It violates "male and female created he them" as well as 2,000 years of Christian teaching on marriage and much more.

ACOC: Of all the items of business on the General Synod agenda, a lot of attention has been given to the second reading of the motion to revise Canon XXI -- On Marriage in the Church to include same-sex marriage. We do not know, nor do we wish to anticipate, how that vote will go at General Synod. We hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will infuse the conversation with holiness and will guide the results of the balloting. We are all approaching General Synod in a spirit of openness to ongoing discernment.

VOL: Based on what has happened in The Episcopal Church, The Scottish Episcopal Church and Western Christendom in general, it will probably pass. "Openness" means not believing the Bible's clear teaching on marriage.

ACOC: The College of Bishops, embodying as we do a breadth of theological views ourselves, is committed to remaining united regardless of the outcome. Whether the motion passes or fails, we will not be divided. We will stand together through the grace of God and by faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. We call upon the Diocese of Toronto to stand together with us, unified in all our glorious diversity under the banner of Christ.

VOL:The College of Bishops will be divided ten seconds after the vote is in. The Law of Non-contradiction, that is, contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, kicks in. The Bishop of The Arctic has already thrown down the gauntlet. If the progressives win, then in CONSCIENCE the conservatives cannot stay and should immediately join the ACNA. There is no alternative. If they stay, they will be the equivalent of the quisling Communion Partner bishops in TEC on same sex marriage by not standing united against it. Only one bishop refused to bow the knee and he faces a partial inhibition.

ACOC: We do recognize that, no matter the result, there will be heartbroken Christians who will feel that the Church has erred. These heartbroken Christians are our siblings in Christ. After the vote, there will be no winners or losers, only family.

VOL: So, let there be heartbreak. Truth is more important that anybody's feelings. After the vote there WILL be winners and losers; it is a fiction to say otherwise. If the progressives lose, they will howl like jackals and scream that the Church lacks inclusion and diversity, and they will start pushing all over again till they win. (See TEC).

ACOC: When the results have become known, we urge you to reach out to your neighbors who will be hurting. Please call or write to those you care for, even if you disagree on this issue, to remind them that you believe them to be valued brothers and sisters in Christ and that there is safe space in the Diocese of Toronto for them and for their faithful understanding of scripture. Please encourage them to reach out to us, their bishops, for reassurance that they continue to be an integral part of the Body of Christ in this Church.

VOL: The "Body of Christ" in Canada IS broken if this vote passes. The Holy Spirit will have nothing to do with progressives on this issue. The Holy Spirit cannot go against the teaching of Scripture or the testimony of Jesus. It is ludicrous to think otherwise. One cannot divide the Trinity against itself.

ACOC: We read in scripture that Jesus was present with the disciples in their boat when a great storm arose, and their vessel began to be swamped. We serve a Savior who speaks in the midst of tumult, rebuking winds and calming waves. May Christ be present in this ship, the Church, guiding us through this sea, and may God grant that we land safely on the other side, pulling together on the oars.

VOL: This is an ad hoc fallacy. You cannot misuse scripture to support an unsupportable, unbiblical truth. Nobody is going to land safely on the other side. One side will win, the other will lose. If conservatives win, they must tell the other side to repent or leave the Church. They have no alternative. If progressives win, then conservatives must separate themselves from progressives and go their own way. If they do not, the whole ACoC ship will flounder and sink. It is only a matter of time. TEC is sinking, the ACNA is on the rise. No brainer.

ACOC: Again, we ask your prayers.

VOL: Prayer will not change God's mind. His has already revealed His will to us in Scripture.

Yours faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
The Rt. Rev. Peter Fenty
The Rt. Rev. Riscylla Shaw
The Rt. Rev. Kevin Robertson
The Rt. Rev. Jenny Andison

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