I wrote yesterday about the problems within orthodoxy and liberalism on the issue of human sexuality in the Anglican communion. The debate as it has been conducted has focused on the single issue of the rights and wrongs of homosexual sex. The moral nature of the debate has produced a fault line in the church with “the sexually pure” on one side and “the sexually deviant” on the other. In the sexually pure camp, there are evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and charismatics. In the sexually deviant camp there are liberals and various sympathisers such as accepting evangelicals.
Whilst is is important to uphold the law on sexual standards and behaviour, there are great problems with this fault line. First and foremost, God only has one fault line; those who confess Christ as Saviour and Lord and those who don’t. Sinners who have been humbled by the love of Christ in his death on the cross for our sins are “in” and proud, arrogant, self confident Christ haters are “out”. Our level of understanding and obedience to the law is not God’s means of dividing sheep and goats.
It is quite possible, therefore, to call oneself evangelical, Anglo-Catholic or charismatic and yet still hate Christ. Such a person could and probably does exist. He is an evil dog who teaches others to put their confidence in the flesh. To him, church ceremony and tradition, church attendance, baptism, bible knowledge, spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues, sexual purity, the law, Christian pedigree, theological training and college or a myriad of other practices are the source of his confidence before God (Phil 3:1-6). It might also be possible to call oneself a liberal and yet only have confidence in Christ as Saviour, the righteous one by whom and through whom and in whom we are made right before God, whilst holding a flawed theology of human sexuality due to indwelling sin and intellectual fallibility, and so be saved.
The fault line which Paul writes about in chapter 3 of Philippians makes Christ looks glorious when we all say as Christians “I am a sinner. Even my theology is flawed and incomplete. But Christ is my great Saviour and I aim to follow him as Lord with all my heart as I listen to him and do what he says.”
The launch of The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FoCA) must be met with a mixture of hope and caution. The fellowship is based on the Jerusalem Statement which was produced at GAFCON and emphasises Christ as Saviour and Lord in its articles 1. and 5. Issues of human sexuality appear at item 8. It is hopeful as it clearly calls all Anglicans to unite under Christ as Prophet, Priest and King in his word. Members and leaders of FoCA must exercise caution, however, in case Christ’s office of Priest is lost in the media circus and on-line debate which will doubtless follow its launch. We are very easily led into debate on the law without confessing that Jesus loved us and gave himself for us. His threefold office must be loudly proclaimed above all. But there is a very real danger that the fault line in the communion will become the law of human sexuality and not Christ crucified for sin, raised as Lord and whose word will endure forever. If human sexuality becomes the fault-line then the gospel will have been denied. We must proceed with caution.
[For the record, I believe the bible teaches that homosexual sex is the end point of worshipping the creature rather than the creator (Romans 1:22-27). It is only when people stop worshipping God through faith in Christ and start worshipping the human form, including human physical form, emotions and intelligence, made in the likeness of God, that our hearts are given over to lust which leads to sexual activity outside life long heterosexual marriage. Anyone calling himself a Christian whilst engaging in sex outside marriage, including the habitual use of pornography, has stopped worshipping Christ and is in mortal danger. He needs to turn his heart to Christ and in doing so repent of his sexual sin. For more on how to overcome fallen sexual behaviour through faith in Christ, see For men Only]