“And By This Beauty, The World Shall Be Saved”
A STATEMENT OF THE TRURO ANGLICAN CHURCH VESTRY
ON MARRIAGE, NUPTIAL THEOLOGY AND MISSIONAL STRATEGY
March 10, 2013
|Sunday morning worship at Truro Anglican Church.|
We are firmly committed to the “no” of God as it relates to homosexual behavior and, by extension, the erroneous concept of “same-sex marriage,” which Scripture, Christian tradition and human physiology render antithetical to God’s unitive and procreative purposes for sexuality and marriage. For the purposes of teaching, discipleship and mission, however, we believe this “no” is but a small fraction of what God has to teach us about the meaning and potential of human sexuality. Beyond this “no” is the profound “yes” of God to the one-flesh union of man and woman. We believe the male-female relationship, sealed in marriage by the Holy Spirit, mirrors and models the total self-giving love of the Trinity. It is through biblical marriage that God makes us participants in the love he expressed in creation and through which he acts to heal and renew the world. Marriage is God's sign of our ultimate union with him and thus a gift to all persons - married or unmarried.
This nuptial theology lies at the very heart of Truro's mission and its evangelistic outreach. It is the basis for our vibrant marriage and parenting education programs that are bringing the Gospel to growing numbers of people who previously had no contact with any church. It is why we are partners with our Bishop John Guernsey’s diocese-wide initiative to better equip our parishes in marriage preparation and divorce prevention. It is why we are investing extensive resources in building our understanding and application of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, including three parish conferences devoted to the topic since 2011.1 In all of Truro Anglican’s life and mission, the "no" of God is fully and faithfully presented but always as part of the equally adamant “yes” found in the “great mystery” of Christ and the church that the Apostle Paul teaches in Ephesians 5.
One outgrowth of Truro’s teaching and missional outreach has drawn considerable comment: the personal friendship between our rector and Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. This outreach has been undertaken with the full knowledge and support of the vestry. In public and private conversation with +Shannon, Tory has been frank about his and the parish’s conviction that the Episcopal Church is schismatic, that +Shannon is engaging in false teaching relative to sexuality, marriage and nuptial theology, and that he needs to repent. The friendship Tory has pursued with +Shannon is personal and in no way portends institutional reconciliation between Truro Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church. In light of these facts, we offer this reassurance to our brothers and sisters across the Anglican Church of North America: we are unalterably and irrevocably committed to biblical orthodoxy and equally opposed to the heresies and self-deceptions that permeate the Episcopal Church. The personal friendship and exhortation Tory is extending to +Shannon is one expression of what the vestry believes the image of God, as manifested in every person, calls forth from us and is consistent with our larger missional strategy to communicate truth in love to a world that is in deep confusion and pain.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25