All Things to All People

The largest Anglican church in Canada has pulled out of the national church and put itself under the authority of a parallel conservative body. The “tipping point” was their diocese’s support of same-sex blessings, but I was very pleased with this National Post article for letting the putative dissidents explain their rationale: they left because of their view of Scripture and not because of homophobia.

In that light, this quotation from a liberal partisan really struck me:

Paul Feheley, principal secretary to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, head of the Canadian Church, said Anglicanism has always contained wide areas of opinion and there is no reason for anyone to leave.

“We’re not holding our noses and pretending this is not happening, but at some point we can’t be all things to all people.”

Someone who persists in such a laissez faire attitude toward Bible doctrine is the appropriate object of the kind of separation Paul calls for in 2 Thessalonians 3:

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us….
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

St. John’s has done right in pulling out, and according to the article, they did it soberly without glee. That’s quite a feat. I applaud them.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

1 thought on “All Things to All People”

  1. I don’t think it is really appropriate to consider the move of St. John’s as the kind of separation Paul discusses in 2 Thess. 3. This is a move in the right direction, but they are still Anglicans. A change of allegiance within the broader Anglican network is not really separation, and this story must be continue to be placed within the context of the global Anglican communion and its struggle over homosexuality and Biblical teaching.

    For more on the story, see several posts by my Dad here: http://oxgoad.ca/category/issues/anglicans/

    Also see this from Australia today: http://your.sydneyanglicans.net/sydneystories/lambeth_lifeboat/

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