A report from a delegate at this month's Episcopal Church General Convention:
We began the afternoon by Reconsidering A061 which added some newer Biblical translations to the list of officially authorized versions. Yesterday (that would be Saturday for those of you in real time), we added an amendment that would make the ESV an officially sanctioned version for the Church.
As we were ending our night last night, a deputy asked for reconsideration, because he felt that the House had been deceived by the people who offered the amendment His main complaint was that we deputies had not had ample time to read the ESV version before being asked to add it to the approved list. (On that, he did have a point.) But then he said something very near to this [this in not an exact quote]: "I did read some of it, and in 1 Corinthians 6:9, it says, 'Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality... will inherit the kingdom of God.' We were told that this version is a literal translation, and it is clearly not. This version says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God."
There were gasps in the room, and within seconds we voted to reconsider, which would mean that we would start back over, and present the original resolution, without the ESV amendment, for a vote. Killing the inclusion of the ESV. That's where we ended for the night.
Evidently, overnight, someone did some checking and found that the RSV, the NIV, the CEV and several other versions of the Bible already approved for Episcopal Church usage used those exact words in 1 Corinthians 6:9. In fact, most of the versions that we were being asked to approve in this resolution also used that same exact offending word. Who knew!
So today, before anyone could bring any of these embarrassing facts up, the first person up at a microphone asked that we send the bill back to committee, saying that the bill "needed more study." The bill was sent back to committee.
So they weren't aware that this was what the Bible teaches about homosexuality? What did they consult when they previously came up with their policy about homosexual clergy? Apparently, not the Bible. Which is quite revealing. Though not a surprising revelation.
The denominational debates aren't really over homosexuality. They're about the denomination's view of the Bible as the authority of doctrine and practice. If the Bible is not a church's authority, then it won't guide their deliberation about changing church policy. The authority becomes culture and they have to update their policies.
I wish we could be clearer as we hear about denomination after denomination deliberating their policies about homosexuality. It's actually a disagreement about Biblical authority, not the latest social practice the church is out of step with.