We have all heard of such things as Coca Cola Lite. Well, I suppose you could call this "Separation Lite." James Packer has at last quit the Anglican Church of Canada, though he has not cut his ties with the worldwide Anglican Communion, headed by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Not long ago, I reported on the troubles Packer and some other evangelicals were having with their Bishop, Michael Ingham. Ingham is pushing a fanatically radical, left-wing agenda under the guise of Christianity. He and his diocese, along with almost half the entire Anglican Church of Canada, are major supporters of same-sex marriages and other forms of deviancy that the Bible describes as moral abominations. When I last reported to you, Ingham was threatening to deprive Packer and his clerical friends of their license to minister as Anglican priests. Now they have taken the initiative and have defied Ingham.
In February, St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver, of which James Packer has been a long term member, left the 640,000-member Anglican Church of Canada to join with 14 other congregations from across the nation to seek to operate under a different bishop. They have formed the Anglican Network in Canada, reputedly about 2000 strong, and despite being forbidden to do so by the Primate of the Anglican Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, have placed themselves under the Episcopal oversight of South American Archbishop Gregory Venables, in a new non-geographically-based form of Anglicanism.
Dr. Packer rightly identified Ingham and his followers as heretics and spoke of the "poison of liberalism" that they dispensed. For his trouble, he has been condemned as a poor soul who interprets the Bible "literalistically." One compromising minister, Rev. Kevin Dixon, piously intones the usual compromisers' complaint: "I think it's very unfair when any new insight that departs from an accepted position is labelled ‘heretical.'" He called the Vancouver-area diocese's decision to bless same-sex relationships "a recognition of what's true in light of contemporary research in genetics and psychology." Packer, Dixon alleged, is adopting a "literalistic" reading of the Bible when he takes Paul's 2,000-year-old words as proof for all time that the Supreme Being condemns homosexuality. Then Dixon played the slavery card: people once used the Bible to justify slavery and were wrong; people now use the Bible to condemn homosexuality and are just as wrong. That's the argument. How anybody can make that argument with a straight face is more than I know. People did use the Bible to support slavery-indeed, some still do. The reality is that they misuse the Bible. The Bible nowhere tells us that those who refuse to condone slavery cannot be saved; it does tell us that those who indulge homosexuality cannot be saved (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Dixon knows this but still he trots out the hoary old argument from slavery. The truth is that he does not accept the authority of the Bible. He calls it a "nuanced document" that needs new interpretations-in other words, we have to deny what it says in favor what he and his fellow liberals say that it means.I am glad that at last the 81 year old Jim Packer has at last taken some stand on separation. It has been a long time in coming. As I say, it's separation lite. It's not much but it's better than nothing.