November’s consecration of a gay man as bishop of New Hampshire has received criticism from leaders of the Global South as well as conservatives in the West. The following is the full statement of the Bishops of the Anglican Province of Congo on homosexuality and blessings of same-sex unions within the Anglican Communion as released by the denomination Jan 5. The bishops gathered in Kinshasa and penned the statement condemning the consecration last month.
We, the Bishops of the Anglican Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRCongo) gathered in Kinshasa, its capital city, on behalf of the clergy and laity from the DRCongo, take this opportunity to officially express our unhappiness regarding the issues which have recently arisen pertaining to the issues of homosexuality and the blessing of same-sex relationships which we believe are contrary to Holy Scripture, and to moral law in the Third World. We therefore strongly condemn:
· the consecration of Canon GENE ROBINSON, a divorcee and an actively gay bishop of the US New Hampshire Diocese of the Episcopal Church on 2nd November 2003;
· the access to priesthood of actively gay and lesbian people;
· the use of the newly devised Prayer Book published by the Diocese of New Westminster/Canada for the purpose of officiating the blessing of same-sex marriages.
We believe that the above-mentioned acts clearly and deliberately misinterpret:
a. the Word of God
b. the resolution 1:10,98 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998 prohibiting homosexuality, an act contrary to Christian calling in Holy Scripture. In its position of moral keeper, the Church must do all in its power to prevent immorality and itself avoid being corrupted and in turn corrupting the whole world.
c. the work of the Commission established to study in depth the issue of homosexuality. The findings of this Commission initiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to try and establish proper solutions to homosexuality in the Church is due in October 2004. The bishops from the Third World opposed the consecration of Canon GENE ROBINSON as bishop in their meetings at Lambeth Palace, London in October 2003.
We knowingly declare that:
1. the Anglican Province of Congo strongly condemns homosexuality and wishes to disassociate itself from relations with Dioceses and Parishes involved in homosexuality. Therefore, it disapproves the confirmation and consecration
of Canon GENE ROBINSON, a man living openly in a homosexual relationship, as bishop in God's ministry.
2. The Anglican Province of Congo is in fellowship with all Parishes, Dioceses and Provinces of ECUSA and of the Anglican Church of Canada in opposition to homosexuality. It is happy to support both morally, pastorally and spiritually all Christians from every part of the world within the network of theologically orthodox churches and Dioceses in opposition to homosexuality.
3. The Anglican Province of Congo condemns every immoral act which promotes active homosexuality as a cultural norm. The Gospel purifies all culture and must be in agreement with Holy Scripture.
4. The Anglican Province of Congo rejects the newly published New Westminster Diocesan Book of Prayer promoting the blessing of same-sex union. It calls upon each and every women and man of God to think about God's Word relating to marriage in Genesis 1:27,28 and encourages abstinence as the appropriate way for those who are not called to marriage. The Anglican Province of Congo therefore invites any person knowingly involved in homosexuality to repent from his/her sin and return to the fullness of relationship with Christ. (Lev.18:23; Mat.19:4-6; Romans 1:23-27).
5. The Anglican Province of Congo seriously warns any of its Dioceses or Parishes that have fellowship with any such groups that are involved in active homosexuality for the purpose of material interest and support.
6. The Anglican Province of Congo calls upon all goodwill Christians to refrain from criticizing, judging or remaining silent on issues pertaining to active homosexuality ravaging the western world and to seriously pray for their return to God in true repentance.
7. The Anglican Province of Congo invites all within the network of the theologically orthodox Anglican Communion to remain firm of faith and be involved in a fellowship based on spiritual, moral, material and/or financial support to each other.
The Anglican Communion is a precious gift from Christ Himself that needs to be jealously protected and promoted by each and every faithful Anglican Church.