The Book of Revelation foretold a time when the number 666 would be marked on everyone and without it a person couldn’t do business or function in society. Who could have ever thought that in the 21st century in Western culture endorsing homosexuality would become the 666 required to live and do business, have a job, carry on a trade, and be socially acceptable. The constitutional right to freedom of religion is displaced in favor of the freedom of sexual practice, whatever it may be, with no allowance for reasoned objection. In states that have voted for traditional marriage, federal judges are declaring the laws unconstitutional (in their opinions). When Christians decline to provide business services such as wedding photography or baking for homosexual couples the court system is used to beat the Christian into submission or deprive them of their livelihood. Now, the principal attorney for the United States government has said he won’t defend any federal laws that he doesn’t believe in, specifically anything not friendly to gays and lesbians, and has advised his federal attorneys around the country to do likewise. So the rule of law is now by executive branch fiat; it reminds me of “Alice in Wonderland,” where the law is whatever the queen says it is.
While it is incumbent on Christians to work peacefully against this, it does mean, in a practical way, that we are thrust back into the second and third centuries of the Roman Empire, where the prevailing culture and society, government and law was hostile to Christians and all that we believe. It means that churches need to emphasize discipleship and discipline within the ranks of the committed fellowship. We need to insist and enforce moral standards on ourselves, giving submission to God’s authority and glory to him in our faithfulness.
The Christian Church, and in particularly the Anglican Church, that wishes to be orthodox, needs to set its house in order, and keep it in order. Some will fall away, and some will decline to join us, but it is God himself who issues the invitations, and through prevenient grace, moves the non-believer to receptivity and a softened heart.
Turning now to the Anglican Church world in North America, I read recently that the Episcopal Church’s current Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, whose ministry has been marked by scorched-earth litigation against departing faithful Anglicans, and has modeled a Jezebel spirit in faith and spirituality, is thinking of running for a second nine-year term. Is it possible that she could be re-elected and given a second near decade to destroy what is left of the Episcopal Church? Well, her earned Ph.D. is in Marine Invertebrates, not in theology, and in the Episcopal House of Bishops (having some similarity to the area of her doctoral study) she has shown a firm command of their decision making. In short, yes, it could happen. Whether it will or not is too soon to say.
Bishop David Anderson is President and Chairman of the Board of the American Anglican Council.