Question for the Anglican General Synod, Canada

The Canadian Anglican General Synod will be held on June 19-25. The Synod will choose a new primate and vote on same-sex marriage blessings. This is from The Star. Huchinson is the departing Canadian primate and Harvey is Newfoundland Bishop and spiritual head of the conservative Canadian group Anglican Essentials.

The early church, formed when King Henry VIII broke from Rome, had to be flexible to survive amid acrimony over the split and widely varied methods of worship across Britain, Hutchison says.

“From Day One, it was an accommodation” he says, a trait the church carried with it as it expanded with British colonialism.

But as attendance at home dwindled, it expanded abroad.

Today, more than half of all Anglicans live in Africa, where conservative bishops take a dim view of the liberal churches in Britain, the United States and Canada.

For conservative Anglicans, those bishops, led by Nigeria’s Peter Akinola, are guardians of the traditional Anglican Church.

That point was driven home for Harvey two years ago at a meeting of bishops in Ireland. One of the African representatives told Harvey that the church came to his country largely through the efforts of missionaries from North America.

“Then he said to me, `Now, my brother, we need to go back to North America and remind you what you taught us.'”

Question: What did the Anglican missionaries teach Africans at the height of the slave trade, and why would one want to continue that teaching?

Update – Commenter Jack corrected the record.

The Anglican missionaries from North America, except for a very few, came after the slave trade was ended…

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48 Responses to Question for the Anglican General Synod, Canada

  1. Jack says:

    The Anglican missionaries from North America, except for a very few, came after the slave trade was ended. The missionaries taught people to read, and to read the Bible. They taught that God, through the Bible, is the first and final authority on right and wrong. They taught that we all sin, and when we sin, we must “repent and return to the Lord.” In doing so, we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, and those sins are washed away.

  2. stuart spani says:

    It is time for every Anglican to decide what is the basis of their faith – what the Bible says or what they wish it said.

    The homosexual issue is the symptom, the real problem is that too many of our leaders have eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and believe that they know more than God.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for the comment Stuart. I agree 100%. For example, the Vatican just came out with the Ten Commandments for driving and at the same time, I spoke with a virulently anti-gay pastor who explained to me that Jesus doesn’t care what or how we drive. Clearly one is interpreting what the bible says and the other isn’t. Since cars were not in the Bible, it’s hard to know which is which.

    From your site, I found this:

    He said that if we “remain in Him” (at all times) that He would remain in us, and that this is how we would “bear much fruit” for His Kingdom.

    What does it mean to “remain in Him”? There are many items like this in the Bible that require interpretation. I’d also like to know if it’s a violation of the commandment not to bear false witness for the AGI to repeat lies about the lives of GLBT people.

  4. Jack says:

    AGI = American Geological Institute?

  5. Jonathan says:

    Jack, if you want to be a reputable contributor to this site, you’ve got to quit acting stupid. IAYGB 😉

  6. Jack says:

    I don’t know what that is, either.

  7. Jonathan says:


    “At the general synod they will decide whether there is to be no progress or whether we’re to go ahead and have that discussion,” said Rev. Ken Gray of Church of the Advent in Colwood. “Some of us feel that failure to proceed with the blessing of same-sex unions at this time will perpetuate a historical injustice.”

    While some worry the mandatory blessing of same-sex marriages would create a rift within the church, Opheim said the church’s survival depends on moving ahead.

    “If the church dies it’s not going to be because of this issue. It will be because it’s not relevant anymore.”

  8. Jack says:

    “If the church dies it’s not going to be because of this issue. It will be because it’s not relevant anymore.”

    Isn’t it telling that the liberal churches are dieing and the bible-based churches are thriving. The problem with the liberal churches is exactly as Opheim says. They are not relevant. The church becomes irrelevant when it simply echos the popular culture.

    Furthermore, if the Church supports same-sex marriages, then it has no basis to deny polygamists the right to marry (King David himself had several wives), nor has it any basis to deny siblings the right to marry.

  9. David says:


    The fact that you need to trot out the bogeyman “if the Church accepts gay people it will have to accept polygamy, too” is really an admission that you’ve already lost.

    As a gross oversimplification, most people are straight, some people are gay, some people have greater flexibility. That’s the way human beings are made. It’s a fact of life, and is already widely accepted because it’s the obvious truth.

    Those who don’t “accept” the fact of human sexual diversity see a future in which they are increasingly marginalized and irrelevant, ultimately to be dismissed with a sad shake of the head as pitiable anachronisms, sort of like those who still talk about “mud people.” That’s what all this sound and fury is about. I’m sorry. I don’t take pleasure in your discomfort, but it’s just the truth.

  10. David says:


    Thanks for your comment. Well framed question regarding what the Bible is. Clearly, anyone who is claiming Biblical inerrancy is elevating some people above others, asserting that they have special authority to speak for God. The Bible then is only a tool for some people to exercise their will over others. It has nothing to do with the personal relationship of individual people with God.

    Ironically, these people claim that to use our brains for prayer and discernment is elevating human wishes above God, as in the typical statement “you can’t make the Bible mean whatever you want it to mean.” But that’s precisely what they themselves are doing. They have elevated themselves as authorities and their own (very human) desires over and above everyone else’s ability to listen to God, trying to cut off that relationship and substitute themselves for it. It’s really nothing but idolatry.

    I even have a cd of this pastor who says that “the gates of hell are found” where people try to engage in a conversation about “what God meant” by this or that – where there is any questioning at all going on. That is simply remarkable to me. Such transparent human manipulation pretending to be faith.

  11. Jack says:

    “The fact that you need to trot out the bogeyman “if the Church accepts gay people it will have to accept polygamy, too” is really an admission that you’ve already lost.”

    Really, why is that? Because I am pointing out the logical inconsistencies in their arguments? Is it that their arguments are not based on logic, so that if I use logic I have lost?

    Let me ask you, if homosexual marriages are “blessed” by the church, what basis will they have for denying polygamists such blessings? What basis will they have for denying such blessing to siblings who with to marry?

  12. Jonathan says:

    Jack asks:

    “Let me ask you, if homosexual marriages are “blessed” by the church, what basis will they have for denying polygamists such blessings? What basis will they have for denying such blessing to siblings who with to marry?”

    I’ve been laughing over this one since yesterday. Are you serious? Let me see:

    1. Do Jewish synagogues prohibit Jews from marrying non-jews?
    2. Do Catholic churches prohibit remarriage after divorce?
    3. Do some Mormon sects allow polygamy?

    Would same-sex marriage affect any of the above traditions? No. Your question is a straw man. It’s a nonsensical slippery slope argument, a sign of desperation, a last gasp. You’ve run out of rope to hang yourself with and you sound ridiculous. I’m telling you this because Jesus commanded us to love our brothers as ourselves, and I’m concerned that you are destroying your reputation.

  13. Jack says:

    Jonathan, you are talking nonsense. We are not dealing with Jews, Catholics, or Mormons. We are dealing with the Anglican Church. Presently, the issue of polygamy is no “straw man,” but a very important and relevant issue for Anglicans in Africa. Some people believe that polygamists should not be allowed to join the church. Others think they should put away all their wives but the first before they are allowed to join. The current practice is to allow polygamists, and their wives, to join the church, but that they cannot marry again.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Jack, thanks for making my point. The polygamy question stands on its own. It has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

  15. JackIsBack says:


  16. Jack says:

    test 2

  17. Jack says:

    Sorry about the tests. I’m trying to figure out why my comments won’t post.

  18. Jack says:

    OK, I’ll try again.

    These issues are related. The Anglican Church takes these stands based on its reading of the Bible. If the Bible is discarded, which is necessary to support same-sex marriage, then the Anglican Church cannot use the bible to oppose polygamy.

  19. Jack says:

    Fascinating. I removed the words “or even i-n-c-e-s-t” (but not hyphenated) from the end of the comment, and it passed.

  20. David says:

    Which is something for the Anglican Church to work out. Jonathan’s point was that there is nothing forcing any faith community to do anything whatsoever with regard to how and on what basis it blesses marriages.

    The UCC blesses same sex marriages, and I see no reason to conclude from this that they must therefore also bless unions that are something other than equal partnerships between two consenting, unrelated adults. That is what discernment is for.

    This reminds me of the irrational zero-tolerance policies we see cropping up in some schools, where people seem unable to apply common sense to a situation, instead substituting rigid rule-based decision making. You know, if you allow an 8th grader to have an aspirin in their backpack, you then can’t forbid a senior from bringing smack to school. And you know what that leads to…

  21. Jack says:

    David, like the Jews, the Catholics, and the LDS, the decisions of the UCC (UUC?) are irrelevant. This discussion is about the Anglican Church. But if the Anglican Church decides to bless such unions, how can it deny such blessings to siblings? If they are consenting adults, what is the problem? If a man’s wife consents to his taking another wife, what is the problem? “Discernment” must have some reason to it.

    Your “zero-tolerance” analogy is likewise faulty. It is legal to posess aspirin, but illegal to posess “smack.” On the other hand, sex between siblings, sex between men, and sex with animals are all forbidden by the Bible, and in the same passage (Lev. 20).

  22. David says:

    “‘Discernment’ must have some reason to it.”

    Yes, it does. That is my point. I think you have misunderstood my analogy – I’m not the one making the slippery slope argument, the schools with these inane policies are. Discernment would lead one to see the silliness of equating aspirin and smack, but insecurity or laziness leads some administrators to substitute the idolatry of rules for discernment.

    Discernment also would lead one to the conclusion that there are substantial differences between the sexual situations you cite, rather than relying on the idolatry of rules found in Leviticus.

  23. Jack says:

    OK, then, if all are consenting adults, why would a same-sex marriage be OK, but marriage between siblings and polygamous marriages NOT be OK? (Since we are dealing with the Anglican Church, here, please try to use the Bible. The point of discernment, after all, is to discern the will of God, so that we can follow His will to the best of our ability, and repent when we fail.)

  24. David says:

    Jack, I’m not a member of the Anglican Church, so I don’t know why I would be expected to make theological arguments for that context. You keep insisting that the positions of other faith traditions are not relevant here, but it’s not my place to make arguments for an internal debate within a tradition of which I am not a part. I can only answer your question from within my own faith experience.

    What I can tell you is that, as I understand the Anglican tradition, the Bible is not the only source of truth; equally important are tradition and the truth continually being discovered through the scientific method (commonly referred to as “reason”). It’s the third element that requires constant reassessment, because our body of knowledge changes.

    What Bruce has pointed out here is very germane. We could go on and on debating what the Bible says and what the Bible means by what it says, and whether the historical/cultural context of those six passages matters, but ultimately the question revolves around what we believe the Bible’s purpose is.

  25. Jack says:

    I am a member of the Anglican Church, and have been all my life. You do not quite have the Anglican tradition correct. All three elements must be present. Reason cannot override the Bible. Reason and Tradition support the Biblical teaching, but cannot be used to discount it.

    What Bruce has said is repeated by many who do not like what the Bible teaches, and they use such rhetoric to deny the authority of scripture. “If the Bible is simply the writings of men and perhaps women who were trying to promote their own group’s beliefs,” then it is completely meaningless, and cannot be taken as anything more than propaganda. Neither the Virgin Birth nor the Resurrection could be believed.

    In any event, it seems you are unable to answer the question, which was, “If all are consenting adults, why would a same-sex marriage be OK, but polygamous marriage and marriage between siblings NOT be OK?”

  26. Jack says:

    Jesus’ message was not “love thy neighbor.” That was part of His summary of the Law, the first part’s being, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt 22:37)

    His message was, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

    That is about as all-or-nothing as it gets.

  27. Jonathan says:

    Care to interpret John 14:6?

  28. Jack says:

    No. It is quite clear, and needs no interpretation.

  29. Jonathan says:

    Well then, having known you through your blogosphere comments and having known Jesus through many different pastors and my own reading of Scripture, it is quite clear that you “have not cometh unto the Father by me [Jesus]”. I’ll pray for your salvation, but I don’t think it will help. Your Salvation is not up to me. It is up to you. “Whoever has the Son, has life…”

  30. Jack says:

    Considering your misreading of scripture regarding what is and is not sinful conduct, I do not put much stock in what you consider “clear.” Nevertheless, I do appreciate your prayers. You and David will be in mine as well.

  31. Jonathan says:

    So you take back your 5:37 comment? It isn’t clear?

  32. David says:

    How this elicits a “yippee!!” from a lifelong member of the Anglican Church, I do not know.

    “…we know that people on both sides of the issue, those who voted for, those who voted against leave tonight with a profound sense of sadness that the body of Christ is so broken.”

    Describing the defeat of the proposal as “by the slimmest of margins,” the article reports: “Concerning the blessing rites, clergy and laity voted yes, 63 to 53 and 78 to 59, respectively, but the move was rejected by the bishops, 21 to 19.”

    So clergy and laity seem to be moving decisively in one direction, the Church authorities, “by the slimmest of margins,” in another.

    As to your question, Jack, of course I can answer it; I’ve answered it many times before. But I cannot answer it in terms that will satisfy your requirements, those being that I frame my answer according to a view of the Bible I do not hold.

  33. Jack says:

    No, Jonathan, John 14:6 is still clear. Nothing I can say will remove the scales from your eyes.

    David, it elicits a “yippee!!” because the Canadian Church has not deserted the rest of the Communion yet. There is still hope, as slim as this margin of victory, but hope nonetheless, that they never will.

    No, the Bishops are not moving in another direction from the priests and laity, they are only moving more slowly, and have not yet completely fallen.

    Lastly, you cannot answer the question in terms that will satisfy my requirements, because my requirements include logical and biblical consistency. You hold the Bible to be nothing more than a historical reference, and a flawed one at that.

  34. David says:

    [Correction: This isn’t my comment, it’s Jonathan’s. -David]

    No, Jonathan, John 14:6 is still clear. Nothing I can say will remove the scales from your eyes.

    Jack, please don’t get snippy. If it’s clear, then you can explain what it means. Maybe you can’t “help” me, but you may enlighten other readers.

  35. Jack says:

    You have other readers?

    Jesus was succint and clear. I cannot phrase it better. Nevertheless, I will try to rephrase it. Just accept that my rephrasing will be but a poor echo.

    From the King James Version:

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

    Jack’s poor rephrasing:

    If one wants to get to heaven, where art our Father (Matt 6:9), and to have eternal life, then one must accept Jesus as his Savior. There is no other way.

  36. David says:

    Ok, thanks. Now, what does it mean, in your words, to “accept Jesus as your Savior”?

    And, this seems to indicate that a person who lives his or her whole life in a way that decreases the suffering of others, but perhaps knows nothing about Jesus, is condemned. Is this what you believe?

  37. Jack says:

    To “accept Jesus as one’s savior” requires several things. First, the belief that God cannot or will not accept sin in His presence. Second, that we all sin. Third, that we cannot remove that sin ourselves. Lastly, we must repent of our sins (known and unknown), and accept Jesus’ sacrifice for those sins. In that way, we are cleansed of our sins.

    “This seems to indicate that a person who lives his or her whole life in a way that decreases the suffering of others, but perhaps knows nothing about Jesus, is condemned.”

    This is an of-repeated fallacy, countered by Paul in his letter to the Romans(Chapter 2, verses 12-16):

    “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

  38. Jack says:

    Sorry, “oft-repeated” was meant.

  39. Jack says:

    There’s the rub, though, Doug — we DO have the Law.

  40. David says:

    Jack, do you have any insight into why certain non-denominational groups reject all versions of the Bible other than the New International Version? If the words in the Bible draw their authority from the idea that the King James authors were divinely inspired, how does it work for this version published much more recently to be “inerrant”?

    Sorry if this is outside the scope of your expertise. It just seems very strange to me, so I thought I’d ask.

  41. Jack says:

    You got me on that one, David. What groups do this?

    (And if they are a group, doesn’t that make them a denomination? That’s what I’ve always wondered.)