Al Mohler, in his most recent post, Heresy Precedes Homosexuality, discusses openly gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, and why he is the poster child for all that is wrong (if you are theologically conservative) or right (if you are theologically liberal) with the contemporary church.
1. How both sides see Robinson:
To conservatives, Bishop Robinson represents a near-total theological meltdown. An entire universe of the theological principles and doctrines of orthodox Christianity must be jettisoned or redefined before an openly homosexual bishop becomes imaginable. In order for this to happen, the tradition of the church must be sidelined and the authority of Scripture must be undermined.
For liberals, Bishop Robinson is a sign of hope. The liberal wing of institutional Christianity represents a call for theological revolution in order, they would argue, to liberate Christianity from repressive doctrines and an oppressive tradition. The election of Gene Robinson as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire is, they sense, the shape of things to come.
2. Robinson claims that the Church of England would collapse without its gay clergy
He said many of the English church’s clergy lived openly in their rectories with gay partners, with the full knowledge of their bishops.
He may be correct. But to born-again, revivalist Christians, it is no surprise that most of the denominational churches, absent of the gospel, are instead filled with sentimental moralizing in Christ’s name, and since they lack the HOLY Spirit, they also are filled with the acceptance and practice of sin. Repentance and faith towards God are rarely preached, and so regenerating faith is rarely experienced.
The unregenerate do not have the HOLY Spirit, so matters of holiness to them are merely ethical considerations. They, like all humans apart from Christ, lack the awareness, desire or ability to forsake sin, since such things are made manifest to one’s spirit by the Spirit.
Such “churches” are really largely immaterial to the work of God and His kingdom, and are in many ways antithetical to it, so their collapse, if anything, would be a GOOD thing.
I am not surprised or dismayed that the COE is filled with gay clergy – mainline denominations may have some true (born again) Christians among them, but by and large, they are filled with unregenerate people, because their unregenerate clergy draw those who want to hear their christ-less, cross-less message. And I don’t mean that they fail to talk about Christ or the cross, but rather, they miss the true meaning of such, forgetting that the cross was necessary to allay God’s wrath at our sin, and that we continue to be in sin until we are regenerated by accepting Christ as Lord in our hearts.
Mental assent is something the demons do, but they fail to surrender to Christ, receive him into their beings, and they fail, of course, to follow him. Belief and mental assent? Any unbeliever or demon can do those. And that’s largely what you have in such ichabod denominational churches.
3. Robinson logically admits that if ordaining gay bishops is wrong, so is ordaining gay priests
ECUSA has been ordaining gay priests for many, many years….It’s just a surprise to me that this issue did not become an issue until a gay and lesbian person became elected bishop. If it’s wrong for one (bishop and priest) it ought to be wrong for both….So it either ought to be wrong for all orders of ministry, or for none.
Of course, he thinks neither is wrong. But Mohler takes issue with this, of course:
The Bible clearly disqualifies an unrepentant homosexual from the Christian ministry. Why would a church allow the ordination of homosexual priests and then balk at homosexual bishops? Forces for biblical orthodoxy within the Anglican Communion must recognize that a decision to allow openly homosexual priests is, in effect, a decision to allow homosexual bishops.
4. From Gene Bishop’s own admission, he is in essence NOT Christian in orthodoxy, and by my account, is therefore not really a Christian, biblically speaking
One day when I was ranting and raving about how much of the Nicene Creed I didn’t believe, he said ‘well, when you’re in church, just say the parts of the creed you do agree with. Be silent for the others. We’re not asking you do so something against your integrity’. And again I thought whew, that’s what one would hope for from a religion – honesty and integrity.
While it is absolutely true that Christian spirituality demands honesty and integrity, when we don’t believe, we should be honest about it, but not call such unbelief “Christianity.” If he doubts the essential orthodox truths of the Christian faith as outlined in the Nicene Creed, can he really say that he is a Christian? By pure definition, he is Christian in Name Only, since he doesn’t believe the foundational Christian doctrines. Of course, that really begs the question, what doctrines are essential for salvation, and which are essential to Christianity in all its forms.
Mohler criticizes Robinson’s claim of being Christian while doubting some essential doctrines this way:
So, long before we ask the question of why a church would elect an openly homosexual bishop, we must ask why it would ordain a candidate for the ministry who, at the very least, openly doubted the very basis of the church’s faith?
Mohler concludes that Robinson’s example should remind us all that the acceptance of homosexuality is the RESULT of a long descent into heresy and abandonment of God’s truth, as I discussed in The Wrath of God II – How God abandons a nation.
The election of an openly homosexual bishop does not emerge out of the blue. It can be traced to a succession of events and decisions made by this church. The toleration of heresy precedes the toleration of homosexuality. Bishop Robinson helpfully reminds us of this important fact.