A lone Episcopal bishop is holding true to biblical beliefs about marriage and sexuality, and a conservative Anglican group is grateful for his unpopular stance in the liberal denomination.
A pro-homosexual resolution that passed earlier this year by the Episcopal Church General Convention is being described as a "compromise" for bishops who refuse to officiate a same-gender marriage ceremony.
The allowance went into effect Dec. 2 but, so far, it appears only one bishop, William Love, is refusing to abide by the resolution. He wrote in an eight-page letter that the Episcopal Church and "Western society" have been "hijacked" by the "Gay Rights Agenda," which he described as well-organized, well-financed, and very powerful.
Episcopal News Service reports the letter was read aloud to several congregations in and around Albany, New York, where people were in tears, angry and upset that the pastor described homosexuality as "sinful and forbidden."
What really happened in that letter is that Bishop Love pinpointed the problem in the Episcopal Church, says Rev. Phil Ashey, president & chief executive officer of the American Anglican Council.
"It's collapsed and it has compromised," Ashey says of the Episcopal Church, "and exchanged biblical truth about human nature and human flourishing for a compromised and really poisonous secular vision."
Ashey predicts that Love will be the next target of his denomination's ongoing effort to punish dissenting clergy, which has cost approximately $60 million in litigation over seizing church properties.
"Some of which they've turned over to other religious groups," says Ashey, "including Muslims, rather than negotiate settlements with departing Anglicans."
Love isn't totally alone, however: the news service quotes a church rector who said the letter was "bathed in love and God's holy word."
"It was very compassionate," said the pastor, "and it was very factual as to what almighty God says in his Bible."