Much of this has to do with last month’s Inaugural Assembly of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). The nascent church body, which claims over 80,000 members in over 700 congregations, was formed by many churches that had either left the Episcopal Church or formed independent of it—largely because of TEC’s theological liberalism. Among those leaving the Episcopal Church were four entire dioceses, and many of the conservative leaders who had previously led the loyal opposition within TEC.
With these churches, dioceses, and individuals out of the mix, TEC has been able to speed up its move to the outer reaches of Christian orthodoxy. Among the resolutions to pass (by more than a 2-1 ratio) was the repudiation of a 2006 decision to place a moratorium on consecrating any additional non-celibate homosexuals to the office of Bishop—a move that noted Anglican theologian N. T. Wright predicts will ultimately result in TEC’s removal from the Anglican Communion.
By most accounts, the convention has been less tense than in years past. This is hardly surprising, considering any meaningful opposition is now happily constructing a church body of their own, and that most of those who fought such proposals in the past are miles away from southern California. The remaining conservatives at the convention have been viewed largely as a cultural oddity, who can now be displayed as an example of the denomination’s theological diversity, but then ignored as the church careens toward its ultimate destination of spiritual irrelevance.
In the midst of this revisionist bacchanalia, a simple resolution was presented by the Diocese of Western Louisiana. Entitled “Affirm Christ in Multi-Faith Society,” the resolution proposed:
That this 76th General Convention of this church affirm the conclusion of the Church of England at its February General Synod and direct the House of Bishops’ Committee on Theology to report back to the 77th General Convention on “their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in the United States multi-faith society, and offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none.”