It took a while, but the ACNA College of Bishops conclave selected a new Archbishop yesterday, Foley Beach.
I cannot claim to be familiar with him, but everything I’ve read about him encourages me about his selection. I particularly like his statement ten years ago upon departing The Episcopal Church. This comes from A Living Text, where there are other notable past statements from Archbishop Beach.
I am forty-five years old and for thirty-four of those years I have been an active participant in the Episcopal Church. I was baptized, confirmed, married, ordained a deacon, and ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. It has served to shape and form me spiritually and it has taught me tremendous aspects about worshiping Almighty God.
The Church has been a place of stability and refuge, although it has always been in need of reform. But recent actions of the Episcopal Church have taken spiritual depravity to new depth for the modern era.
The Church which taught me the Gospel has now adopted a new Gospel which reduces Jesus to nothing more than one option among many. The Church which introduced me to the Word of God has now rewritten the Word of God to placate cultural and political pressures put upon it by intellectual extremists.
The Church which taught me to confess and repent of my sins has now embraced and endorsed certain sins which have become culturally accepted. The actions of the 2003 General Convention in approving the consecration of a non-celibate homosexual person to be a bishop in the Church, and its approval of a method by which liturgies may be used for same-sex unions in the Church is the presenting issue of a much deeper theological and moral problem within the Church.
While these decisions are clearly in contradiction to the teaching of the Bible, the lessons of Church History and Tradition, and the mind of the world-wide Anglican Communion, they demonstrate a clear obsession with reinterpreting the Scriptures and an amazing disregard to the consequences of their actions on other Christians throughout the world whether Anglican or not.
A revisionist philosophy has overtaken the ethos of the Church which interprets the Scriptures, Church History and Tradition not according to what they actually say, but according to how one is made to feel and in order to be pastorally sensitive. I cannot be apart of such forsaking of Christian teaching and morality.
To remain in the Episcopal Church is on some level affirming the direction the church has taken whether I agree or not. To remain in the Episcopal Church is to pretend that I am not a participant in this abomination before the Lord.
To remain in the Episcopal Church would be to knowingly violate my conscience, and that I cannot do and keep my soul intact. To remain in the Episcopal Church and take communion with those who teach and practice this false teaching would be a clear violation of the Scriptures (For example, 1 Cor.5). Some say that I must stay and fight for reform and change the direction of the Church. This has been my battle cry for the past 24 years.
I have come to the conclusion that the best way to reform it is to leave it and allow the devastation of embracing sin to run its course. I must be about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and teaching the principles of the Word of God. My calling from God is not to lead or participate in an ecclesiastical fight which will evolve to litigation in the secular courts over sacred idols and mammon.
While that may be the call from the Lord for others, my calling is to help people discover the most wonderful gift in the world — a living, dynamic, personal, and saving relationship with Jesus. I cannot do this and be a part of an organizational structure which now at its core denies the very things which I hold dear. The Apostle James wrote that to know the right thing to do and not do it, is sin (James 4:17). For me this is the right thing to do and not to do it would be sin before God.