DALLAS?Conservative Episcopalian William Murchison finds a bright side to the recent action of Episcopal leaders regarding homosexuality. In an on-air interview with KCBI radio CEO Ron Harris Aug. 13, Murchison said, “Already, the support for the scriptural traditionalists within the Episcopal Church has come from places like Africa, South America, and Australia.”
Murchison told Harris that the Aug. 5 action by the ECUSA House of Bishops confirming the first openly homosexual bishop in denominational history could spark realignment within Christianity. “Sites of Anglicanism such as England, Canada, and the U.S., have seemed in large measure to have lost their faith, but the faith is alive and well in places like Africa. I find very heartening the phenomenon of southern conservative bishops standing shoulder to shoulder on this issue with African bishops.” He observed an unrelated consequence in such interaction. “This may be one of the best things that happened to race relations in recent history.”
Murchison, a contributing columnist for the Dallas Morning News and former senior editorial columnist, is the author of There’s More to Life Than Politics and Reclaiming Morality in America. He contributes to many other publications including Human Life Review, Chronicles, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, and First Things.
The local parish to which Murchison belongs strongly opposed the recent action, he said. “We’re waiting to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us. We’re going to stick with the Bible with our traditional understanding of moral witness as opposed to these new ideas that others like the [ECUSA] General Convention are trying to introduce.”
Murchison told KCBI the tendency “to disparage the scriptural witness on morality” has been manifest throughout Christianity. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity “to wrestle with it and reassert Christian truth in this context,” adding, “We’ve needed to talk about this thing in a specific, intentional way for a long time.” He traces the current cultural crisis over sex, marriage, and the family to a new spirit introduced after World War II. He described the shift to affirm as right, valid, proper, and loving “just about everything an individual wanted to do in the context of a sexual relationship.” If personal preferences clashed with traditional values, Murchison said those favoring immorality “reinterpreted scripture to make it look fine.”
He expects a split among Episcopalians since the recent decision ignores the Anglican bishops’ affirmation of heterosexual monogamy as the Christian norm in 1998. That resolution rejected sexual activity by gays and lesbians as “incompatible with scripture.” Also opposed was the recognition or blessing of same-sex unions, and the ordination of non-celibate gay men and lesbians.
“What they have done flies in the face of this and they will not get away with it. World leaders are very strongly opposed to what the General Convention did.” When local leaders gathered in Plano, Texas, last month they agreed to allow local congregations to redirect funds normally sent to ECUSA for local ministry use.
The Episcopal Diocese of Florida, representing 75 congregations in northeastern Florida also announced a decision to freeze funds to the national denomination as a result of the pro-homosexual action. Clergy in the diocese will meet Sept. 4 and consider whether to continue withholding contributions.
Earlier on KCBI Rev. Canon Charles A. Hough, III, assistant to the bishop of the Fort Worth Diocese described the two-million member Episcopal Church as “a very small and liberal denomination that has been hijacked” in contrast to the 37 other provinces of the nearly 80-million member Anglican Communion represented in 164 countries. “The majority of its bishops and lay leaders have embraced a new religion,” Hough said of the Episcopal leadership, when they “unhook themselves from the authority of Scripture.”
Hough said 25 of the 100 dioceses in the Episcopal Church are conservative, including the one he serves. An effort to “stop this erosion” failed, he said, when the smaller group opposed an Iowa bishop who was ordaining homosexuals in the mid-1990s. “We are in the vast majority in the mainstream of the Anglican Communion,” Hough said, though a minority in the U.S.
The Anglican archbishop of Canterberry’s call for an emergency meeting of primates in October “to deal with the American problem” was described by Hough as historic. He expects a realignment to occur, placing the Episcopal Church outside the Anglican Communion. “There are a lot of hurting clergy and laymen that feel betrayed by this action,” he added. “We’re tryi