Canon Robinsons' Revolution Must Be Exposed and Opposed
By: Deacon Keith A. Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
I am a Steve Martin fan. I love his humor and appreciate his movies. They make me laugh in an age when there seems to be entirely too little to laugh about.
One of my favorite Steve Martin movies is an older one entitled "The Jerk" The film opens with the main character, an obviously white man, saying:"Huh? I am not a bum, I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things. My friends and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? O.k. It was never for easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days sitting on the porch with my family singing and dancing, down in Mississippi."
This clumsy white guy claiming to have been born a "poor, black child", no matter what he says, is still what he is. Something even more absurd is occurring today. Gene Robinson will soon claim to be a Christian Bishop. This is not funny. It is tragic. He too, is still what he is, no matter what he or some wayward members of his Church now say.
At four O'clock this afternoon in Durham, New Hampshire, with the eyes of the whole world watching, another white guy, a married Episcopal priest, who broke both his marriage and priestly vows when he divorced his wife and abandoned his children over a decade ago in order to engage in an active homosexual relationship, will be presented for consecration as a Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Canon Robinson seems to think he is a revolutionary, somehow bringing about a new day when Christianity will be re-created. He claims that his "consecration" is a sign that, in his own words, "God is doing something new." What he is claiming is that God has changed his mind. He is wrong. Robinson simply rejects the unbroken teaching of the Christian Church for two thousand years. He seeks to substitute a new interpretation of the plan of God in "creating them male and female" and calling us to the communion of marriage.
It was the ancient Prophet Isaiah who warned: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness into light and light into darkness, who change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own sight, and prudent in their own esteem" (Isaiah 5: 20 and 21). Robinson does just that. He calls "evil good, and good evil". However, the facts and the unbroken witness of revelation, tradition and history still remain. Christianity has always proclaimed that marriage is a special state, reserved only for a man and a woman, ordered toward both the communion of persons and the gift of new life in children.
Canon Robinson (whom some will soon call "Bishop") proclaims to the world that God has changed His mind and, further, that so should the Christian Church. By his open and active homosexual lifestyle he rejects the clear Christian teaching concerning human sexuality. For two thousand years the Christian Church has taught with uniformity that conjugal love is to be sexually expressed only within a monogamous marriage between a man and a woman. He wants to substitute his "new thing" for the classical, orthodox Christian claim that sexual expression is a gift reserved only for spouses.
Canon Robinson presents his claims in pseudo-theological sounding language, contexts them in errant appeals to revisionist history and frames them in pop psychology. He also projects them with a countenance that is apparently kind and even endearing. That is what makes it all even more disturbing and dangerous. However, let's be clear, Canon Robinson broke his vows and has rejected a substantial foundation upon which the whole Christian faith is built.
This sadly deluded Christian, who in another age would have been called to repentance for apostasy, immorality and heresy, is now being held out as some new champion to the public. He proclaims, to all who will listen (and many will) that God has changed His mind about marriage. He rejects the unbroken teaching of two millennia, confirmed by all social science, human reason and experience, that the two parent heterosexual family is the safest place for children to be raised and where they can best flourish as human persons. He wants to replace it all now with a new revolutionary ideology.
In this Robinsonian revolution, non-conjugal sexual acts between men are to be viewed as equal to the marriage bed if they occur for a protracted period of time. Quite simply, this is not Christianity, it is blasphemy. It is not a "new thing", it is actually quite old. Yet, faithful Christians who oppose this "consecration" are being presented as somehow the ones who are narrow and not liberated.
The fact is that the Christian way concerning faithful, monogamous marriage as the only proper place for sexual intimacy, within the communion of authentic married love and for the begetting and rearing of healthy, happy children was and still IS the authentically "new" way.
This current situation is not an unfamiliar one - if we look at it in light of Christian history. I do not care how "advanced" the new heretics claim to be , or how "modern" the issues purport to be, this struggle still concerns a clash of world views, personal and corporate, and competing definitions of freedom.
The early Church was sent into cultures filled with people who thought they were extremely "advanced" in their day. There were other similarities they had with the West in addition to sexual promiscuity. They practiced primitive forms of abortion and even "exposure", a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders. To them, freedom was rooted in a notion of power over others and the right to do as they chose, including engage in homosexual acts and much worse. However, these cultures and these practices were confronted by a new "way" called Christianity.
One has only to read the ancient Christian manuscripts such as the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve) or the accounts of Justin Martyr or other early sources to read of these cultures of "use", not at all unlike the one in which we live today, where people were treated as property to be used. These were cultures of excess where "freedom" was perceived as a power over others and cultures of sexual promiscuity where unrestrained license masqueraded as liberty. In many of these cultures, homosexual sexual practices were also prevalent. Christians preached and lived a truly "new" way and rejected this lifestyle proposing a different way.
The new "apologists" for the "God is doing a new thing" approach proposed by Canon Robinson now maintain that the witness of the early Christians and the clear biblical texts cannot be used to oppose homosexual practice as sin. They also argue that living an actively homosexual lifestyle should not disqualify him from elevation to the Office of Bishop. They argue that such an approach is antiquated, even though it is the clear witness of Christian history.They insists that Christians in the past did not know what we know now and that they were somehow unenlightened.
This claim is utter nonsense. In fact, much of the world into which the early Church was sent was engaged in sexual licentiousness and was often homo-sexualized. All early Christian sources are uniform in the rejection of homosexual practices. All Church Councils are as well.
Many of the early missionary journeys of the nascent Christian Church brought the gospel to what were then called "pagan" cultures. In the process, many of the sexual practices of these cultures were strongly opposed by the Christian Church. However, these practices sometimes seduced even Christian priests and leaders. When that did happen, these priests and leaders were considered to be apostate and called to serious repentance.
When they actually taught that their errors were "new ways" and held them out for others to emulate, they were called heretics and they were put outside of communion with the Church. This was done to both bring these leaders to repentance and to protect the members of the Church from the dangers they practiced and proclaimed.
The word "pagan" was not used as a disparaging term, but actually represented a pseudo-"religious" world view. I now use it the same way in referring to our contemporary age as increasingly "pagan". Many of the "gods" and goddesses" of this old world view promoted these lives of selfish excess, including homosexual practice and hedonism masquerading as freedom. In fact, the myths concerning them had them acting in much the same way.
These "pagan" practices have been reintroduced today, only the myths and statues are different. Canon Robinson is not proclaiming something new at all. Rather, he is proclaiming something old. He has given himself over to the "old way".
The early Christians did not simply point the finger and rail against the "pagans" of their age. They did not present a "negative" message. They proclaimed the freedom found in Jesus Christ to all who would listen and demonstrated it in their compelling witness of life. They lived in monogamous marriages, raised their children to be faithful Christians and good citizens, and went into the world of their age, offering a new way to live.
This new "way" (which is what they first called the early Church) presented a very different world view than the one that the pagans embraced. Their clergy (deacons, priests and Bishops) lived and proclaimed the truth regarding human sexuality and God's plan for monogamous, chaste marriage and family. Those who broke from that clear witness, or preached anything different, were not allowed to exercise their office of leadership.
With joy and integrity, these early Christians spoke and lived this new way in the midst of the pagan culture. As a result, they sometimes stirred up hostility. Some of them were martyred in the red martyrdom of shed blood. Countless more joined the train of what use to be called "white martyrdom", by living lives of sacrificial witness and service in the culture, working hard and staying faithful to the end of a long life spent in missionary toil.
Slowly, not only were small numbers of "pagans" converted and baptized, but eventually their leaders and entire Nations followed suit. Resultantly, the Christian worldview began to influence the social order. The "clash of freedoms" continued, but the climate changed significantly. It was the Christian faith and the sexual practices of the Christians that began to win the hearts of men and women. The cultures once enshrined to pagan practices, such as plural marriage, homosexuality, exposure and abortion, began to change dramatically and this continued for centuries.
In the face of pagan societies of the past, it was Christianity that taught such novel concepts as the dignity of every person and their equality before the One God. The Christians proclaimed the dignity of women and the goodness of chaste marriage between a man and a woman and the sanctity of the family. It was Christianity that introduced the understanding of freedom not simply as a freedom from, but as a freedom for living responsibly and with moral integrity; a freedom to choose to live chastely both in Marriage and in the consecrated celibate life.
The Christians insisted that freedom must be exercised with reference to a moral code, a law higher than the emperor, or the sifting sands of public opinion or wandering sexual appetites. It was the Christians who understood that choice, rightly exercised, meant always choosing what was right and that the freedom to exercise that choice brought with it an obligation and a concern for the other. It was the Christians who proclaimed the virtue of self control, asceticism as a tool to curb wayward sexual appetites and fidelity to marriage and clerical vows.
Their faith presented a coherent and compelling answer to the existential questions that plagued the ancient pagans; such as why we existed and how we got here? What was the purpose of life? What is God's design for our sexual identity and for procreation? How evil entered into the world and why we could not easily always make right choices? What force seemed to move us toward evil and how we could be set free from its power?
Christian philosophy and the arts began to flourish this new way and under the Christian worldview. Philosophies of government and economic theory began to be influenced by these principles derived from a Christian worldview. The institutions of the civil order protected such institutions as monogamous marriage between one man and one woman because they promoted the common good.
Now Canon Robinson calls for a rejection of all of this.
A further irony of today's event is that it is occurring on "All Saints Sunday" in the liturgical Calendar. This is the day when we remember those who have gone on to the Lord, marked by the sign of faith. In the martyrology of the Christian Church, many of these Saints lost their lives opposing heresy such as that being both lived and attributed as a "new thing" by Canon Robinson. Rather than renounce their faith and embrace the practices of the world around them, they insisted on staying faithful.
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, when deacons, priests, Bishops or other leaders succumbed to sin (wrong choices) and fell, they were rightly corrected and removed from leadership by Church authorities. When they insisted and taught that their error was "a new way", they were put outside of the communion of the Church in order to secure their return to fidelity and to protect the faithful from their error.
What is happening in Durham, New Hampshire is not "new" at all. It is quite old. A member of the Clergy of a Christian Church has broken his vows, divorced his wife, abandoned his family, taken up with a male paramour and rejected the historic, clear teaching of Christianity.
However, rather than being called to repentance, he is being presented for consecration as a Bishop. That is what is actually new.
It is also a scandal and deeply sad.
The fact is, like Steve Martin in the movie "The Jerk" with which I began this article, no matter what Canon Robinson says he is - he is what he is. He is no revolutionary.
Nor can he be a Bishop, no matter what is said or done today.
Canon Robinsons' Revolution Must Be Exposed and Opposed.
Deacon Keith Fournier is a constitutional lawyer, a graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University of Steubenville and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. He is one of the founders of the Your Catholic Voice Movement and the President of the Your Catholic Voice Foundation.
Your Catholic Voice Foundation
http://www.yourcatholicvoice.org VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - President, 757 546-9580
Apostacy, Homosexual Unions, Marriage, Gay, Homosexual
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