Every mainline denomination has, on paper, a wonderful exposition on the truth, centrality, and importance of Scripture. The real question is what happens their leaders stop believing the Biblical tradition handed down to them through the last two thousand years?
What follows is an article by Episcopalian David V. Hicks:
“The only time I ever heard the now Bishop Gene Robinson speak was at a Vespers service at St. Paul's School in the fall of 1992. His topic appeared to be God's gift of love, a phrase he often repeated in his talk, but his point conflated love with sex, and he urged the girls and boys of St. Paul's to share their sexual gifts 'either with someone of the same sex or someone of the opposite sex.' He said this more than once, and I jotted the phrase down in the book of prayers at my desk. No mention of marriage or even of commitment. He did close his talk, however, with a disarming suggestion that God would be well pleased if His gifts were shared safely. 'Please use a condom.'"
"…At the time, I knew nothing of Mr. Robinson's sexual preferences, and it was not his oblique references to homosexuality that alarmed me so much as his implication that God allows, nay, smiles upon whatever we choose to do in the name of love. There was a malevolently yet seductively twisted logic in his argument. I tried to listen with the ears of one of my students, and what I heard not only gave wings to my passions and license to my libido, but it made me think less of myself for failing to be sexually active, for failing to use my God-given sexual gifts. It tickled my adolescent ears and undercut all the repressive preachments of my parents and the school authorities, as I'm sure it was meant to do. My liberation was at hand!"
"…This case boils down to saying, "Because I have a strong, innate desire to do this, I should have the right to do it, and it must be all right to do it." The premise is interesting only in that it emphasizes the strength and innateness of the desire, but upon consideration one is bound to ask: what desire is not strong and innate in the person afflicted with it? The conclusions are, of course, non-sequiturs, as well as contrary to a huge body of wisdom literature on the subject teaching us to beware of strong, innate desires. They are the very things likely to overwhelm our right reason and sound inhibitions.”
In 1991, the PCUSA proposed a paper (thankfully rejected) that proposed much the same thing. Sadly, that paper regularly resurfaces as a “resource” for Presbyterians teaching on sexuality. In some ways, we were saying the same thing back in the early 90s that Fr. Robinson was preaching in New Hampshire.
I know that some readers are “sick up to here” with talk on sexuality. This is the issue du jure, but the greater, underlying issue is what we make of the Bible. One can talk of how we follow Jesus, not just the Bible, but I’d challenge you to tell me how to know how to follow Jesus without the Bible. Once we demote The Word we are left to our own devices and Jesus suddenly takes on an image that looks suspiciously like us. This is what happened with Bishop Robinson in the above.
I’m afraid that the Episcopalian church, without a miraculous revival, represents the direction of mainline denominations. They are simply a step or two ahead of the rest of us.
Keep praying—keep the faith,