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Values worth fighting for

Religion | Anglican Bishop Martyn Minns says the conflict within the Episcopal Church involves all Christians everywhere

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Bishop Martyn Minns said the current theological fight within the Episcopal Church should be of vital interest for all Christians.

Minns, a leader in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a group of conservative Anglican congregations that number approximately 70 in 21 states, spoke Friday at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

"The real question we have had to face in the Episcopal Church," Minns asked, "is how do we separate the values that are worth fighting for from those that are mere cultural preferences? And to what immutable standards do we appeal to make these decisions? These are not just questions for Episcopalians, or Anglicans in the rest of the world, but for all Christians everywhere."

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Minns said that "Holy Scripture" should be that immutable standard, which is why arguments over abortion, homosexuality, and other cultural and political issues must be argued from "first principles."

"Every human life is of inestimable worth because we are made in God's image," Minns said. "Every person has God's mark upon him." He admitted that some circumstances-such as rape, incest, or the life of the mother-create "agonizing choices," but added, "There is a line that we must not cross. That is the line this is not negotiable. When we cross that line, we are not only just making a political or ideological statement; we are rejecting God's revealed truth.

"[For] 40 years I belonged to a church that has forgotten these timeless truths," Minns continued. "My own church became what I have heard called the church of Utopian Unitarian Universalism." The result, he said, is "division within the Anglican Communion has been painful. Here in the U.S.A. it has been agonizing."

Minns, however, said that the tide was turning and there was good news both in the Anglican Communion and in the larger Christian family: "Out of the confusion and decline, exciting new life is emerging." He pointed out that groups such as CANA and the Anglican Mission in America, a similar group, are not only giving hope to Episcopalians, they are providing testimony that no cause is truly lost. "Christians everywhere should take note of what is happening in the Anglican Communion, both as a warning and an encouragement."

Minns told WORLD that his very presence at the Values Voter Summit was an acknowledgement that what is going on in the Episcopal Church was of profound importance to the country and to the Christian world. "The Episcopal Church has had a disproportionate impact on American political and cultural life," he said. "The eyes of America's leaders and the world's leaders are on us. Not only that, many Christians in many denominations are involved in similar struggles. We can learn from each other. We can encourage each other. This moment is a reminder that the Christian faith must not just be believed; it must be lived. Then our faith will be an encouragement to other Christians, and a powerful witness to the world."

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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