The Wilberforce Academy’s Ben John comments on the US Episcopal Church’s decision ruling against Bishop William Love for upholding the Church’s teaching on marriage and family.
The Episcopal Church of the United States of America (TEC) has found Bishop William Love, Bishop of Albany, guilty of “violating the Discipline of the Church,” “violating the Worship of the Church,” and “failing to abide by the promises and vows made when ordained.”
What awful, blasphemous and wolf-ish act had the Bishop done? He wrote a letter to the clergy in his diocese instructing them not to perform same-sex marriages.
How did it get to this point?
The US Episcopal Church, which is overseen by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, speaker at the Royal Wedding in 2018, and part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has embraced liberalism for a number of years. In 2003, the church ordained Gene Robinson, an openly practising homosexual, as a Bishop of New Hampshire. In 2012, the church authorised liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions, and in 2015 they entirely capitulated and redefined marriage, eliminating language that defined marriage being between a man and a woman, and allowing same-sex ‘marriages’ to take place in their churches.
When same-sex ‘marriages’ were introduced, Bishops were allowed to decide for their dioceses whether they would allow gay marriages or not, but this changed in 2018 with the passing of Resolution B012. It said:
“Resolved , That in dioceses where the bishop… holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples, and there is a desire to use such rites by same-sex couples in a congregation or worshipping community, the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or ecclesiastical supervision) shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple, the Member of the Clergy involved and the congregation or worshipping community in order to fulfill the intention of this resolution that all couples have convenient and reasonable local congregational access to these rites…”
This is saying if an orthodox Bishop does not support gay ‘marriage’, they must make every effort to find alternative provisions so that gay weddings can take place in their diocese.
Bishop William Love’s pastoral letter
Bishop William Love responded to the passing of the resolution with a faithful, Biblical, and bold pastoral letter to all the clergy of his diocese. He wrote:
“With the passage of B012, the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in effect is attempting to order me as a Bishop in God’s holy Church, to compromise ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3 ESV)…
“B012’s stated intent of making liturgies for same-sex marriages available for use in every Diocese and parish of the Episcopal Church (where civil law authorizes same-sex marriage) is in direct conflict and contradiction to God’s intent for the sacrament of marriage as revealed through Holy Scripture…
“B012… encourages Brothers and Sisters in Christ who have same-sex attractions, to act on those attractions engaging in sexual behavior that God through Holy Scripture has not only NOT blessed, but has identified as sinful and forbidden…
“B012 is contributing to false teaching in the Church regarding marriage and human sexuality, thus opening the door for people with same-sex attractions to fall into sin by disordering God’s original design in creation.”
Because of the pastoral letter and his refusal to back down, disciplinary measures were launched against Bishop William Love. Last week he was found guilty. A hearing will be scheduled this month to determine the terms of discipline.
Bishop William Love wrote, announcing the decision:
“Whatever the final outcome, it will severely impact not only me and the ministry entrusted to me as Bishop of Albany, but it will also seriously impact the life and ministry of the Diocese. I continue to pray that somehow God will use all of this for His purposes.”
Although we are thankful for Bishop William Love’s bold stand against liberalism, why is the liberalism of TEC tolerated by the rest of the Anglican Communion?
In 2016, disciplinary action had been taken against TEC at the Canterbury Primates Meeting following the Episcopal Church’s decision to support gay ‘marriages’:
“The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”
But this was simply ignored. In 2018, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was invited to speak at the Royal Wedding; could there have been a greater endorsement of his false ministry?
In fact, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has overseen and endorsed the disciplinary case against Bishop William Love. There has been much controversy and division within TEC in recent years including under Curry’s leadership. Since TEC has drifted into liberalism, many orthodox Anglicans have left TEC to find alternative oversight, particularly in the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), whose Archbishop, Foley Beach, is the chairman of Gafcon, the global coalition of Bible-believing Anglicans. Many faithful Anglican churches, wanting to break away, have been involved in long litigation suits where TEC has sued them for their buildings and this continues to happen under Michael Curry. Meanwhile, his new book, ironically titled Love is the Way, is endorsed by Justin Welby – why? Why aren’t the US Episcopal Church expelled from the Anglican Communion for their apostasy and heresy?
The US Episcopal Church is now therefore clearly apostate. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is a wolf, leading and pointing sheep towards destruction.
In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul writes:
“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one…’Purge the evil person from among you.’” (1 Cor 5:11,13b ESV)
Scripture is clear we are to guard against the false teachers in our midst (Matthew 7, Acts 20, 2 Timothy 4, 2 Peter 2 and others) and to stand guard. But we seem to be welcoming them in. If more liberalism is tolerated in the Church of England, we will be on a similar journey as TEC.
By promoting Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Archbishop Justin Welby is promoting and endorsing someone who is toxic to the gospel, to the Church and to the cause of Christ. God does not call us to ‘good disagreement’ for those who preach another gospel, and we should not believe the lie that we can work together, that there can be ‘mutual flourishing’. Liberalism should not flourish, it should die. The Church of England is sadly on a similar trajectory, accommodating false teachers leading people astray under the demonic lie of ‘mutual flourishing’. Where is the bold leadership in the Church of England that will condemn TEC, who will stand up for the truth of God’s word and the Gospel? When the Church of England made a clear statement on sex being reserved only for Biblical marriage earlier this year, the backlash from the world, and from within the church itself, pushed them into apologising for stating God’s truth.
We thank Bishop William Love for his faithful and bold stand, and we praise God for his ministry in the Diocese of Albany.
What Michael Curry and TEC wanted of Bishop William Love was not to “conduct gay ‘marriages’ himself” but to condone them by allowing them in his diocese. Faithful clergy here in the Church of England – and there are many – must resist the temptation to take the easy option of allowing gay marriages in their churches by other ministers, or to submit to Bishops who allow gay marriages in their diocese, or to partner with those who preach another gospel. Same-sex ‘marriage’ is not something for us to turn a blind eye away from – we should oppose it and oppose sin in our midst.
Bishops in the Church of England are asked at their consecration:
“BE you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the same?”
Bishop William Love is being punished for doing just this, for being faithful to God and his word, and for keeping his vow.
Let us pray that more Bishops will have the courage to do the same.
**Update: 27 October 2020
Bishop William Love has since resigned his position as Bishop of Albany before the disciplinary hearing. In an address to his diocese he wrote:
“A second meeting of the Hearing Panel under the leadership of Bishop Knisely, was scheduled for this coming Monday, October 26th, to determine what disciplinary action should be taken against me. After much thought and prayer, recognizing that whatever disciplinary action would be offered would not be anything I could in good conscience agree to, I have made the very difficult, but necessary decision to resign as Bishop of Albany …
“I have tried by God’s grace and the guidance and empowering of the Holy Spirit to faithfully uphold my ordination vows, despite the recent ruling of the Hearing Panel, and to carry out the unique ministry of bishops, as ‘one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel,’ testifying to ‘Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.'”