Michael Youssef, the head of Leading the Way Ministries and a vocal critic of Islam, today argued that the Episcopal Church is no longer Christian and “not Jesus’ church” as a result of the church’s policies regarding gay-rights. Youssef is a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration, a largely anti-gay and anti-choice screed, which also laments the “decline in respect for religious values” in American society. However, Youssef’s diatribe against the Episcopal Church shows the Manhattan Declaration’s call for “religious liberty” and greater respect for religious values remains secondary to its unbridled anti-gay attacks. Youssef’s attack on the Episcopal Church keeps him in the company of other Religious Right leaders and groups who continuously smear mainline Protestant churches that back civil rights. In a column for the American Family Associations news service, Youssef declared that the Episcopal Church’s support for LGBT equality means that the Church has “defied God” and lost its status as Christian:
Episcopal Church: Christian?
Based on everything I am currently reading and what I experienced firsthand in that Church in the past, my answer to this question is a forceful, “No!”
Perhaps the last nail in the coffin of that once-vibrant Christian church came as no surprise to many of us when M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, kicked off the new year of 2011 by performing a lesbian marriage ceremony at St. Paul’s cathedral in Boston. Two “priestesses” of the church — Katherine Hancock Ragsdale (dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School, no less) and Mally Lloyd (canon to the Ordinary at St. Paul’s) — were united in homosexual bliss in the presence of 400 guests. The whole debate of homosexuality has deteriorated into an emotional argument on equality with total disregard to God’s created order that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
But how can one be surprised at this defiance of church cannons when the Episcopal leadership has defied God? Once the fear of God and obedience to His Word are trampled underfoot, then any sort of church resolution is not worth the paper it’s written on.
Back in 2004, the Episcopal Church, in an act of slight-of-hand (more likely a cunning maneuver), agreed to hold a moratorium in the practicing of all the sordid affairs of “ordaining, marrying, and uniting, and blessing” acts of sodomy. But that was merely a surface declaration. In reality, the blessing of same-sex marriage had been widely accepted in the American Episcopal Church before the time of moratorium.
Can anybody in his/her right mind believe that the Episcopal Church is the Church of Jesus — the Jesus who left the glories of heaven, came to our broken and dark world, died on the cross to redeem us and give us power over sin, and then rose again to assure us of eternal life with Him? The answer has to be a resounding, “No!”
The Episcopal Church is not Jesus’ church. The few…very few faithful ones left within this Church need to run for their lives lest they be held accountable for complacency on the Day of Judgment.