This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, June 21, 2020:
The Right Reverend William Love, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York, is on trial for defending the faith. A Title IV hearing is reviewing evidence and taking testimony in a setting similar to a court hearing but with this difference: The hearing, made up of a panel of his peers, could then punish Love if it finds that he violated a resolution allowing the church to sanction and perform same-sex weddings. It will be judge, jury, and enforcer of its ruling.
The Episcopal Church (TEC) was organized after the American Revolution when it separated itself from the Church of England, which required its clergy to swear allegiance to the Crown. It follows the Book of Common Prayer and describes itself as “Protestant, yet Catholic.”
Protestants, beginning with Martin Luther, claim that Sola Scriptura — Scripture Alone — defines and refines believers’ faith and practice.
For more than 13 years Love has endorsed Sola Scriptura, asserting that “the Bible is, in fact, the word of God. It’s not just some historic document that was written some 2,000-plus years ago, but God’s reveal word.”
Accordingly, he has followed the orthodox Protestant interpretation of Scripture that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage and that marriage is between a man and a woman.
In 2015 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed Resolution B012, Marriage Rites for the Whole Church, which sanctioned gay marriage for the whole church but allowed a few bishops, including Bishop Love, to opt out. Then it changed its mind.
In 2018, Love issued a Pastoral Letter and Directive declaring, “I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary for salvation.” But with the passage of Resolution B012, “the Episcopal Church in effect is attempting to order me as a Bishop in God’s holy Church, to compromise … and to turn my back on the vows I have made to God and His People, in order to accommodate the Episcopal Church’s ‘new’ understanding of Christian marriage as no longer being ‘a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God’ as proclaimed in the rubrics [authoritative rules] of the Book of Common Prayer but now allowing for the marriage of same-sex couples.”
He held that B012 “is in direct conflict and contradiction of God’s intent for the sacrament of marriage as revealed through Holy Scripture … [and] ignores God’s Word regarding marriage and thus ignores the authority of Holy Scripture.”
He added, “B012 turns upside down over 2,000 years of Church teaching regarding the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony … and is in fact doing a great disservice and injustice to our gay and lesbian Brothers and Sisters in Christ, by leading them to believe that God gives His blessing to the sharing of sexual intimacy within a same-sex relationship, when in fact He has reserved the gift of sexual intimacy for men and women within the confines of marriage between a man and woman.”
He made the case that “B012 is contributing to the false teaching in the Church regarding marriage and human sexuality, thus opening the door for people with same-sex attraction to fall into sin by disordering God’s original design in creation.… Not only does the same-sex couple come under God’s judgment and condemnation, but it also brings God’s judgment and condemnation against The Episcopal Church.”
He went further, stating the Satan is behind the move: “I do believe [that the church has] been deceived into believing a lie that has been planted in the Church by the ‘great deceiver’ — Satan.… Satan is having a heyday bringing division into the Church … and is trying to use the Church to hurt and destroy the very ones we love and care about.… B012 plays right into this.”
I believe B012 is misguided, heavily flawed and will ultimately do far more damage than good. As a result, I cannot in good conscience as a bishop in God’s holy Church agree to what is being asked for in B012.
While I respect the authority of [the] General Convention as an institutional body, my ultimate loyalty as a bishop in God’s holy Church is to God.
The panel of Love’s peers is expected to conclude its business and issue its edict over Love’s transgression of the Episcopal Church’s new interpretation of marriage within the next few weeks.