Church Break Follows Gay Vote
Four area parishes split off from U.S. Episcopal Church. Bishop to address issue today
By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal religion writer
It seems to me that the news release quote concisely tells us the key to why this split is happening. It is not so much "the gay issue," but a more underlying issue: These parishes are correct in their assessment that the Episcopal Church has decided that something else trumps the Scriptures.
More than two years after the Episcopal Church's debate over homosexuality, four Northeast Ohio congregations have voted to split from the national church and the Diocese of Ohio. The four parishes -- St. Luke's in Fairlawn, Church of the Holy Spirit in Akron, St. Barnabas in Bay Village and St. Anne's in the Fields of Madison -- voted Sunday to break with the Episcopal Church USA and affiliate with the Diocese of Bolivia in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. The South American diocese is based in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and led by Bishop Frank Lyon... The four Ohio parishes--with about 1,300 active members--decided to leave the U.S. church and the local diocese because of "divergent understandings of the authority of scripture and traditional Christian teaching," according to a news release.
The Emerging Church must learn from this sad situation. As long as we remain tied directly to Scripture, then we will be okay. But as soon as we say that other things can trump Scripture, then we will be moving beyond what it means to be Christian.
This is not to say that there has to be conformity to any particular interpretation of Scripture, for the emerging church embraces conversation about how we understand the revelation of the Bible. This conversation is a very good thing; our understanding of varying interpretations of the Bible helps to stem parochialism and divisions in the Body of Christ.
What I've seen is this: The best in the emerging church movement are seeking to authentically engage Scripture. But I have also seen a "take it or leave it" attitude with the Bible in some "EC" circles, which is a shame.
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