Bishop Iker comments on the Primates’ Communiqué
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, offers perspective
Another Primates’ Meeting. Another warning to the Episcopal Church. So what else is new? Haven’t they done basically the same thing for the last three years or so? Well, yes, but there is a difference this time. In effect, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have been temporarily suspended from participation in the affairs of the Anglican Communion and have been put on notice that they must follow the Communion’s teaching on sexuality or withdraw from the Communion altogether. Decision time is upon us. Will the Episcopal Church choose to remain an active member of the Anglican Communion or will it choose to walk apart and go it alone as an American denomination?
Once again the Primates of the Anglican Communion, at a meeting in Ireland in late February, have upheld Biblical teaching regarding homosexuality and have firmly rejected revisionist theology and innovation in this regard. Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture, and the Communion is opposed to the ordination of anyone living in a same-gender relationship and to the blessing of same-sex unions. Since the Episcopal Church and the Canadian Church have acted contrary to this teaching, they have been told not to send their elected delegates to the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in June. (This Council is composed of bishop, priest and lay delegates from each of the Communion’s 38 Provinces.) Instead, spokesmen from ECUSA and Canada are invited to appear before the Council to explain why they have acted contrary to the clear teaching of the Church on these matters.
In addition, the Primates called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to form a special international panel to monitor how orthodox congregations and clergy here in ECUSA are being dealt with by their revisionist bishops. Many are reporting persecution and canonical punishment because of their adherence to the traditional teaching of the Church. Those who uphold the position of the Anglican Communion have been labeled as “dissidents,” when in fact it is the other way around.
This week (March 11-16) the House of Bishops meets to consider all of this. Next summer the General Convention meets and will do the same. The Primates have given us time and space to decide where we are going to go with this. In the meantime, the position of the Episcopal Church as a member of the Anglican Communion remains in jeopardy. Unless we repent and accept the teaching of the Anglican Communion, ECUSA will walk apart from the rest of the Communion.
However, as a member of the Anglican Communion Network, the Diocese of Fort Worth is secure as a full member of the worldwide Communion. Our status is not in jeopardy. We are in full compliance with all the recommendations of The Windsor Report 2004 and with the clear teaching of the Anglican Communion. We will continue to oppose any move by the Episcopal Church to leave the Anglican Communion, for to do so would make ECUSA nothing more than a small, liberal, protestant sect, alienated from the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship.
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker