Thinking Anglicans

South Carolina: the diocese responds again to TEC

The Diocese of South Carolina has published several further statements on its website:

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CharlotteTobias HallerSimon SarmientoDavid ShepherdJCF Recent comment authors
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Fortunately, Bishop Lawrence survived the “attack” by TEC, and he is not yet a martyr for the cause, but it was a close call. +Lawrence still stands in the breach protecting the diocese. “As a result of TEC’s attack against our Bishop, the Diocese of South Carolina is disassociated from TEC; that is, its accession to the TEC Constitution and its membership in TEC have been withdrawn.” +Lawrence and the Standing Committee had already declared that the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of South Carolina trumped the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church in which the bishop took… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” the 2012 General Convention placed an unbiblical doctrine of humanity into the Canons of the Church. The doctrine, discipline and worship of TEC were all fundamentally changed in a fashion most of our clergy cannot and will not comply with. Bishop Lawrence and a majority of our deputation left the Convention before it concluded as a result.” – Canon Kendall Harmon re Diocese of S.C. – From just these two sentences, one can understand why TEc had to accuse Bishop Lawrence of wilful ‘Abandonment of TEC’. At his consecration to ne Bishop of South Carolina, Bp. Lawrence promised to… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

Canon James B. Lewis’s argument essentially seems to be that the complainants are a minority and that they disagree with the (seeming) diocesan majority and therefore this is a sign of capriciousness and abuse by someone who isn’t one of the 14 people he’s attacking. Rather a long bow, I should say. Even more startling is the oppobrium he loads upon them for daring to dissent from the diocesan majority. Indeed, he treats the complainants in precisely the same manner that he and his fellow travellers claim to have been treated themselves. Of course, when one is as mired in… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

How is it possible for Mark Lawrence to assume that because his ministry has been temporarily restricted, that the whole Diocese will want to follow him to some new organisation of his own invention? The complaints – which have now been upheld – are against him, aren’t they? As a restricted bishop surely he does not have a choice in whether individual parishes and Christians are no longer affiliated to TEC? He does rather seem to be making up his own episcopal world as he goes along. It’s that same rather ridiculous line that some Anglo Catholics and some Conservative… Read more »

Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

Bishop Mark Lawrence needn’t have taken his diocese down this road.

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

Can anyone explain what is meant by an ‘unbiblical doctrine of humanity’?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Savi I think the answers to your question can be found here http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/43952/ Note that it is not only the issue of same-sex blessings, but also the canonical changes relating to the ordination of transgender persons. About the latter, Bishop Lawrence wrote: There is however an even more incoherent departure from the teaching of Holy Scripture and from our Episcopalian and Anglican Heritage to be found in the General Convention’s passage of resolutions D002 and D019. These changes to our Church’s canons mark an even further step into incoherency. They open the door to innumerable self-understandings of gender identity and… Read more »

Tobias Haller
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Tobias Haller

Lawrence makes a deeply disturbing error, though not a surprising one, in linking gender identity with “eros.” Gender identity is almost universal, as almost everyone, including the Bishop, has a sense of his or her own gender — which may, in fact, include other things than the simple binary “male” and “female.” That the bishop finds this “unbiblical” is not surprising, as the Bible says little to nothing about such matters. But as Mark Twain once said about cats, the fact that the Bible fails to mention them is of little interest to the cats. The more serious issue is… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Thank you, Tobias, for clarifying the psychological dimension and language surrounding it.

Unfortunately, you would likely find that Lawrence and many of his followers in SC aren’t too interested in science and wouldn’t let it influence their theology.

Quiet American
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Quiet American

Thank you, Simon, for posting the language from Lawrence. In his rebuttal, Haller makes a few disturbing, though not surprising, errors of his own. It is true that sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual activity are distinct things. But they are not “completely different things.” These concepts are more intertwined, for example, then the concepts of race and gender identity, and yet it is a commonplace among scholars that the performance of race and of gender identity is related in profound ways. Moreover, the scriptures speak, in a pre-modern way, to each of these things. When the scriptures say that… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

‘So God created man in his own image (Imago Dei), in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’ Gen. 1:27. Created binary sexual differentiation. ‘Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”‘ Gen. 2:22. Sexually differentiated imago dei is brought to the man by God for companionship and binary gender union.… Read more »

Charles W. Allen
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Charles W. Allen

What is unbiblical about “there is no longer male and female” (Gal. 3:28)?

Tobias Haller
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Tobias Haller

Not wishing to send us off on a tangent, but I don’t grasp what either Quiet American or David are getting at here. David is clearly confusing sex and gender — two different things. (They are “related” in that they are aspects of each person, but not causally.) “Male and female” is about sex, “masculine and feminine” about gender. The former is physical and biological, the latter is psychological and to a large degree cultural. Every person has these characteristics along many variable lines, and there is no necessary correlation, though Lawrence appears to think there should be. But the… Read more »

jnwall
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jnwall

What is so strange to me about this whole conversation is people’s willingness to project an ancient mental construct onto the world and onto the mind of God.

Geoff
Guest

“Haller is mistakenly taking Bishop Lawrence’s normative claim–to how Christians should think about gender identity and gender expression–as a straightforward description about what “is” or is experienced in the world.”

Except that Lawrence’s “claim” doesn’t pass muster either as either a normative _or_ a descriptive one. And I do not think anyone who has read Br Tobias’s work could accuse him of denying that the three concepts listed are _related_ (while nevertheless very much distinct).

David Shepherd
Guest

Tobias: Male and female can also describe gender. Transgender persons do not change their passports to masculine. Masculinity and femininity are applied to a broader definition of sexually differentiated traits and behaviour. The Genesis account extends to describe sexually differentiated behaviour in man’s innocence before the fall> It’s not just an account of biological differentiation between the sexes. Yes, it is tangential, but please clarify why there is a need to effect physical changes to a person who psychologically considers themselves an opposite gender to their biological origin. Even if for some, their biological characteriatics do not correlate with their… Read more »

Randal Oulton
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Randal Oulton

Is it just me, or does it seem like the straw that broke the camel’s back, and lit a fire under TEC officials, was when he starting giving away the family silver?

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

I continue to fail to see why the observation that it was (plainly) God’s will that the majority of people are in a very simple way male and female, and many of them (the Church has never believed all of them) will wish to marry and have children, of necessity implies that such is his will for every person. Nobody I know doubts that a heck of a lot of people are heterosexual and want kids, which is the argument of Genesis.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I think Bishop Mark Lawrence’s biggest problem is that he has rejected the polity of TEC, which accepts the fact the LGBT people are members of the human race, deserving of respect and acceptance. God accepts all of us – no matter what our differences from one another. Surely the Church has a ‘duty of care’ for all people? If the bishop is so certain that TEC is adrift from his own understanding of Christian propriety, he must voluntarily resign his position as one of its accredited leaders? He made promises of fealty at his episcopal ordination – to obey… Read more »

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
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Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

They’ve been working at “giving away the family silver”, in the form of handing supposedly legal (and apparently expensive to the diocese in terms of what has been paid – $500,000 since Lawrence’s election – to attorneys in recent years) documents to like-minded parishes, assigning property rights to them, for quite some time now, Randal. This is not a new development. The Lawrence standing committee and diocese, in pursuit of an anti-TEC policy, is working hard to re-invent itself as a Congregational body, extending to the individual parish that same “right” to autonomy which it claims for itself. This is… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

David, there is a good deal of information available on the transgender issue. You are correct that people change their identity on passports to say male or female. The issue is one of congruence of the external appearance or physical reality of sex to match the inner psychological sense of gender. The changes range from superficial (clothing, hair and makeup) to reassignment surgery. What I find disturbing in the SC view is that they seem to find this morally offensive. I am at a loss to understand the outrage — and strong language. A good bit of this information, and… Read more »

Douglas lewis
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Douglas lewis

I’m always surprised when I come across a comment like this: “I think Bishop Mark Lawrence’s biggest problem is that he has rejected the polity of TEC, which accepts the fact the LGBT people are members of the human race, deserving of respect and acceptance.” We who think that homosexual practice is immoral certainly don’t think that it puts one outside the race or entails a loss of respect or acceptance (of the person) any more than lying, adultery, lust, greed or any other moral failing. I have serious moral failings, some of which I struggle not to justify, and… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Douglas, you might think that insisting that I must not live as full a life as you do shows me respect and acceptance, but it actually does not because it places me in a different category to you, a category where making the same life choices you can make is by definition immoral for me. It takes a long stretch of the imagination to call that respect and acceptance. And while anti lgbt people have convinced themselves that they are accepting, there can be very very few lgbt people who would agree with that assessment. Applying different moral standards to… Read more »

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

“We who think that homosexual practice is immoral certainly don’t think that it puts one outside the race or entails a loss of respect or acceptance (of the person) any more than lying, adultery, lust, greed or any other moral failing. I have serious moral failings, some of which I struggle not to justify, and yet I claim full membership in the race. Why would I think differently about any LGBT person?” Douglas lewis While I think there is a small amount of hyperbole involved in the remarks about Bp Lawrence’s “problem”, one wonders whether your own personal failings have… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“We who think that homosexual practice is immoral”

Douglas, if you think you have the moral judgment to call my spousal intimacy “immoral practice”, then I’m going to insist upon the moral judgment to say, “No, you do NOT accept and respect my person.”

David Shepherd
Guest

What I found strange is that D002 and D0019 rule out prohibiting access to the discernment process due to marital status, yet there are explicit biblical references to marital status as a qualification for public ministry. Paul’s concern was that it brought the ministry into disrepute: ‘A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach’.(1 Tim. 3:2). ‘Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. (1 Tim. 3:12) Also, ‘If any be blameless, the husband of one wife,… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Anyone wanting to understand Bishop Lawrence’s views may find his (fairly recent) address to the Guildford DEF helpful, see
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/45594/

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Thanks for the link, Simon. As I suspected from the earlier quote, Lawrence is confounding a few different concepts and categories under the heading “eros” or “sexuality.” Perhaps I’m being pedantic in wanting to keep the issues clear, but I think in an area where there is so much confusion it is helpful to do so. Lawrence says, in the speech to which you link: “Individual Eros has gone now to the point of not just how I express my sexuality, but what my sexuality is, and we now have the capacity don’t we, because of medical developments in technology… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Just out of curiosity, does the action of DioSC in awarding quitclaim deeds to its individual parishes mean (or does it purport to mean) that if TEC wanted to prevent its assets leaving the church upon DioSC disaffiliation, it would have to sue parish by parish? In other words, is the DioSC action intended to be a sort of “poison pill” making TEC legal action prohibitively expensive? Just wondering.