Open Book
Light Bulb

human identity & divine authority

Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, earned accolades for his marriage sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry to Megan Markel. We do indeed underestimate the power of love. We doubt its effectiveness. All people are precious in His sight.
January 2016 the global Anglican Communion sanctioned Bishop Curry’s Episcopal Church. For three years that American-based church will, “No longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, and should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee. And while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.” Anglicans remained committed to Episcopalians, but they no longer trust their theology.

The conflict is gay marriage. The real issue is human identity over divine authority.

Responding to the Anglican Church’s sanction, Bishop Curry defended validating all people, regardless of how they identify. “Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based upon a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today; All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.”

If I understand correctly, the Bishop believes gender identities are inconsequential for those in Christ.

Jesus said: “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two become on flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“What God has joined together”—at the beginning was Adam and Eve, one male and one female—“let no one separate.” Is it wise to ignore the Creator’s design? Did Jesus leave room for gender-identity and sexual preference? In fact, He advocated for divine authority.

In addition to neglecting Jesus’ teaching about human sexuality, Bishop Curry’s interpretation of the New Testament letter of Paul to the church in Galatia ignores that
Apostle’s letter to the church in Rome. According to Paul, “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

Dr Rosaria Butterfield was a tenured professor at Syracuse University and a lesbian feminist fighting for LGBTQ equality. In 1999, following over two years of radical hospitality by Christians, she went from hating Christians to becoming one.
She describes her conversion as a train wreck, she lost everything but her dog. Dr Butterfield acknowledges her lesbian lifestyle as sinful. But she believes her real problem was the sin of pride—elevating her self-identity over God’s authority. In her story she recounts how unconditional love and acceptance, and the prayers of Christians gave her space to listen to and struggle with and ultimately bow before divine authority. ~

Dan Nygaard