Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Divine Principle of Marriage: The Red Letter Version vs the Bishop Waldo Version

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library is an excellent resource for the traditionalist. The other day I was browsing the Red Letter Bible and chanced upon the "Divine Principle of Marriage" in Jesus' words as recorded by Matthew,

Matthew 19 - When Jesus had finished talking on these matters, he left Galilee and went on to the district of Judea on the far side of the Jordan. Vast crowds followed him, and he cured them.19:3 - Then the Pharisees arrived with a test-question. "Is it right," they asked, "for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds whatever?" 
19:4-6 - "Haven't you read," he answered, "that the one who created them from the beginning 'made them male and female' and said: 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two separate people but one. No man therefore must separate what God has joined together." 
19:7 - "Then why," they retorted, "did Moses command us to give a written divorce-notice and dismiss the woman?" 
19:8-9 - "It was because you knew so little of the meaning of love that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives! But that was not the original principle. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife on any grounds except her unfaithfulness and marries some other woman commits adultery." 
19:10 - His disciples said to him, "If that is a man's position with his wife, it is not worth getting married!" 
19:11-12 - "It is not everybody who can live up to this," replied Jesus, "- only those who have a special gift. For some are incapable of marriage from birth, some are made incapable by the action of men, and some have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let the man who can accept what I have said accept it." 
Compare the red letter words with the words of Bishop Waldo in his July 2, 2015 Pastoral letter regarding marriage. I have included links and scarlet lettered some of the text.

Making, Equipping and Sending Mature Disciples of Christ
2 July 2015
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 
The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is ending, a convention that has been consequential by all accounts. At this point, I’ll comment on two events in particular.  
On Saturday, June 27th, the House of Bishops elected and the House of Deputies confirmed The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop Diocesan of North Carolina as the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry was elected on the first ballot and confirmed by very large margins in both houses. It was a deeply prayerful and Spirit-filled time of clarity and hope.  
Many of you have experienced Bishop Curry’s preaching here in our own diocese and know of his deep faith and his commitment to bringing people everywhere to the knowledge and  love of Jesus as Lord. We are all thrilled at his election and look with hope and energy for the mission and growth of our Church in the years ahead.
As you know, I was one of two bishops who served on the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage during the triennium following the 77th General Convention in 2012. After our report was filed this past February, I was also one of seven bishops appointed to the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage for work during this Convention, together with about fifteen lay and clergy deputies. 
Upon completing work on the legislation, our committee sent three resolutions to the House of Bishops for initial action. The first resolution (A037) called for another three years of work to deepen and expand our Church’s biblical, theological and ethical reflections on marriage. This resolution called for a representative diversity of viewpoints to serve on the Task Force in the coming triennium, a key provision that was needed for its passage by the House of Bishops. I voted for this resolution. 
The second resolution (A054), passed by the Convention on July 1st, approved two gender neutral rites for marriage for trial use in the Episcopal Church, “under the direction and with the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority.” Having been satisfied that constitutional and canonical concerns had been addressed by our legislative committee and that diocesan bishops have retained authority for how trial use will unfold, I voted for this resolution, which passed both Houses of the Convention. This resolution provides authorized rites for different-sex or same-sex couples to be married. See comments on the third resolution regarding the marriage canon below. 
It is important to note that the existing rite for marriage in the Book of Common Prayer remains in place.  
The provisional rite known as “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” approved at the 2012 General Convention was amended to include improvements identified since that convention. Because marriage is now legal in all 50 states and same-sex unions are no longer a legal option in the USA, this rite was nonetheless re-authorized for use in foreign dioceses of The Episcopal Church where same-sex marriage is not legal. 
Use of the trial rites approved in Resolution A054 will be “under the direction and with the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority or where appropriate, ecclesiastical supervision.” The resolution also specifies that diocesan bishops will “make provisions for all couples desiring to be married in this church to have access to these liturgies.” This latter  phrase means that in dioceses where same-sex marriage in the church is not permitted, the  bishop is to see that such couples, for example, will be put in touch with a neighboring diocese where same-sex marriage is permitted in order to be married according to one of these rites.

The third resolution (A036), also passed by Convention on July 1st, is a rewrite of and replacement for the existing marriage canon (I.18). It resolves some conflicting issues in the existing canon having nothing to do with same-sex marriage, in particular the requirement that a non-Christian or agnostic spouse-to-be sign a Declaration of Intent that is a statement of Christian belief. The new canon requires both parties in a marriage to sign a Declaration of Intent specifying that the couple understands the teaching of the Church regarding marriage, as opposed to specifying that they both believe that teaching. That Declaration also specifies the underlying principles that our Church upholds regarding marriage. Finally, this resolution is also gender-neutral and provides for the use of any authorized marriage liturgy in solemnizing a marriage. The rites approved in A054 (above), together with the existing BCP marriage liturgy, fall into this category, under the direction and with the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority. I voted for this resolution, which also passed both Houses of
the Convention. 
These resolutions will be welcome to many in our diocese and be unwelcome to many others. The reality that we remain a diocesan community with differing perspectives on this is no surprise. All of these viewpoints have a place at the table in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. In fact, those different viewpoints from our diocese have been actively engaged in the legislative committee and hearings process throughout this Convention. The Rev. Jordan Hylden, a priest from Upper South Carolina who was a voice for the traditional perspective on my Diocesan Task Force on Unity, and who is a featured writer for The Living Church, has been a continuing and thoughtful contributor to the pre-convention public dialogue on marriage. He has also been present and active in conversations here at General Convention in Salt Lake City. His work has been and will continue to be of deep value to us all in this ongoing conversation. 
It’s worth remembering that over the past five years we have shared many faithful experiences that have shaped our understanding of same-sex relationships, blessings and marriage. During this time I and some 5,000 - 6,000 of you have had one form or another of face-to-face conversation on this subject. From forums in every single congregation of the diocese (in some cases multiple times), to the First Theological Council, pre- and post-General Convention dialogues, to the establishment of the Bishop’s Task Force on Unity, we have  worked together to learn and to understand one another. We have engaged in study through my Task Force’s report, In Dialogue with Sacred Tradition: A Pastoral and Theological Reflection on Same-Sex Blessings and In Dialogue with Each Other: A Curriculum. Above all, I have sensed our continuing desire to stay together—not necessarily resolving the differences among us, but learning how and deciding to live together as brothers and sisters in Christ in spite of those differences. 
Ultimately, the conversation about marriage will continue to deepen our Church’s reflections on all marriages. For, as changing norms in society indicate, vast numbers of people are choosing never to be married, and a strengthened and broadened understanding and commitment to marriage by our Church is becoming a conservative witness in the presence of those changes. It is an assertion that God continually calls us to live lives rooted and formed in Christ Jesus, bearing witness to the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  
Your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo
VIIIth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Bishop Waldo has come a long way baby from the time when in the walkabouts prior to his election as Bishop of Upper South Carolina he claimed that if he had been at GC 2009, he would have voted "No" to D025 which authorized the ordination of same-sex partnered clergy. For a refresher, here is some of the text of that resolution which Bishop to be Waldo says he would have opposed,

D025 Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm the value of “listening to the experience of homosexual persons,” as called for by the Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988 and 1998, and acknowledge that through our own listening the General Convention has come to recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships “characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God” (2000-D039); and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God’s call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church, and that God’s call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church...
Our Bishop is unfortunately not constrained by the Articles of Religion which our wiser forefathers drew up, for they cannot ordain anything that is contrary to scripture,

XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of  Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's  Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.  Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.
Neither is he constrained by the voices of bishops from around the world,
"The recent decision of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, to remove reference to gender in the marriage canon and introduce rites for conducting ‘same-sex marriage’, is a mistake with serious consequences.
The problems for the rest of the Anglican Communion have already been noted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. But the fundamental reason that it is a mistake – and the reason why it is so destabilizing – is that it is a significant departure from Holy Scripture. This is a departure which Christians are not at liberty to make."  
With this action, TEC has officially rejected the Anglican Communion’s standard, Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which expresses the Communion’s received and historic understanding of marriage and sexual relationships. TEC has now taken the pattern of behaviour which Lambeth describes as ‘incompatible with Scripture’ and equated it with Holy Matrimony." The GAFCON Primates Council, 6th July 2015
And this from "Reform" via Anglican Ink,
 In rejecting this definition of marriage, the bishops of the US Episcopal Church have rejected Jesus’ own teaching.  As such, they have denied the faith they profess to teach, forfeiting any right to be regarded as true bishops of the church of Jesus Christ.  Jesus warned us to “watch out for false prophets” who come in his name (Matthew 7.15, 22) 
And in a flashback to 2002 when the Canadian church left the Church catholic,
In 2002, the synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster authorized its bishop to produce a service for blessing same-sex unions, to be used in any parish of the diocese that requested it.
A number of synod members walked out to protest the decision. J. I. Packer was one of those who walked out.
When asked why he walked, he answered, “Because this decision, taken in its context, falsifies the gospel of Christ, abandons the authority of Scripture, jeopardizes the salvation of fellow human beings, and betrays the church in its God-appointed role as the bastion and bulwark of divine truth.” (from
So we and the majority of other dioceses in the Episcopal church have bishops who knowingly falsify Scripture and create their own "scarlet letter" version of the truth, passing it along in "pastoral" letters to the poor misinformed pewsitters.

This is the ultimate destination of all of those who embark on the path of Biblical revisionism. Revisionism is the name of the heresy under whose spell our church leaders have fallen even though they will deny it to the end.

First it was the laws in Leviticus that were lost, next it was the text of Romans that was fiddled with, and now, finally, they have jimmied with Jesus' words. That is how revisionism works. First attack the translators, nit pick at the words, attack the witnesses (poor Paul in particular), then attack the interpretations, and finally you are left with just the red letters to attack, and when those are attacked, the assault has shifted to Jesus himself.

By now it should become apparent to even the most uniformed pewsitter that Jesus is under siege, and that their Episcopal Bishops have tossed Him outside the doors of their precious cathedrals.

I say "should," but will it?

Mene, mene, tekel, and parsin.

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