I am the General Secretary for the “OTHER” CEEC — that is the CEEC.CHURCH. We’re the ones that did NOT abandon canonical rule and take a “progressive stance on human sexuality issues.”
If you go to CEEC.CHURCH, you’ll find the Continuing Evangelical Episcopal Communion, the canonically-ruled group that stayed the course, maintained our historic and biblical positions on human sexuality, same sex unions and the authority of the Holy Scriptures. Abp Foley Beach and I have spoken about this unfortunate departure, both of St Mary of Bethany Parish in Nashville, TN and also of a dozen or so churches who used to be in communion with us.
A “progressive stance on human sexuality issues.” that ignores the clear teaching of scripture, the unequivocal history of Christianity as a whole and two thousand years of episcopal unity on this matter is NOT progressive — It is sadly destructive and heretical.
The Canons of the Continuing Communion contain specific doctrinal positions which prohibit the recognition of female bishops, homosexual marriages and the ordination of individuals who engage in homosexual, premarital, and extramarital sexual conduct. This position is in line with the biblical interpretation of the historic Church.
I should point out that we in the CEEC.CHURCH do not “hate” certain types of people, nor do we have “phobias” directed towards any certain un-biblical behavior. To the contrary, all of us in Christ were once trapped in many of these same life-controlling sins (and MANY others). But we rejoice in the change that Christ brings into the lives of sinners and the way that He sets them free from their past life of sin. The role of the Church has always been to love the sinner, hate the sin, and be a voice for freedom from sin.
The ministry of the Church is a ministry of reconciliation, leading people trapped in the bondage of sin to freedom. James makes it clear that sin is a trap from the enemy, a snare set to capture and then destroy us. He warns us that “after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” True love is never willing to leave the one who is loved ensnared. This, then, is why the Church’s call is to lovingly welcome the sinner and share the message of freedom, which is found in Christ. In living out this ministry of reconciliation, we are sharing the life-giving message that God is reconciling the world to Himself and not counting our sins against us. That is true freedom! We accept the sinner without affirming the sin. Jesus did this over and over again throughout His ministry. Jesus lovingly called people to find freedom in Him, abandoning the sins that were controlling and ruining their lives. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
We stand SQUARELY WITH the ACNA, Abp Foley Beach and historic Church in this regard. We applaud the ACNA for taking a clear and loving stand, and pray that the conviction of the Holy Spirit will bring about the repentance and restoration of the people so sadly deceived by this lie of the enemy.
Loving the sinner and working to bring true freedom,
Archbishop Robert Gosselin