Answers to Questions Frequently Asked
since the Split with The Episcopal Church
Is the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin affirming of Gays or LBGT persons?
We are true to the inclusiveness of the gospel, holding all people to one biblical standard. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were offered so that all people who accept Him as Lord and Savior may receive forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. We believe that the scriptural basis for morality is unchanged, remains the foundation of our individual and social lives, and reflects a redeemed life in Jesus Christ. We do not single out different groups and grant them exceptions to the teachings of the faith.
Aren’t you and the Episcopal Church just two sides of the same coin?
There are significant areas of disagreement where we find the Episcopal Church’s doctrine fundamentally insufficient and which prevent us from being one with them. These are:
Biblically: We, as Anglicans, believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God and authoritative in all aspects of our personal and corporate life. We do not believe that the Bible is simply on a par with other holy books of the world’s religions.
Theologically: As Anglicans, our theology is based upon the authority of Scripture and, as a result, our theology has not changed. We promote and support the historic faith as the way to a grace-filled life and salvation. We proclaim that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone and no other path leads to God. We believe the scriptural basis for morality is unchanged. We also affirm that the core doctrines of the Virgin Birth of Jesus and His physical, bodily resurrection from the dead are historic truths.
Ecclesiastically: We, as Anglicans, adhere to the biblical teaching that the Church is the body of Christ. We see the Church as a vehicle for love and reconciliation in a fallen and broken world. We adhere to the foundational teaching of marriage as a lifelong relationship between one man and one woman. We believe clergy are called to live godly and holy lives, in the example of Jesus. We believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception to natural death.
You all broke away from the Episcopal Church, right?
Yes. We came to point where in good conscience we could no longer represent a church that had strayed from the faith. As a result of teaching the traditional faith, we were threatened with disciplinary action and were ostracized by the Episcopal Church. After much prayer and thought, we took a first vote in December of 2006 to leave the Episcopal Church. A year later, the second vote was taken in December of 2007 to make it final. The Canons (Rules) of the Episcopal Church and the laws of the State of California were the road map used to make the final decision. The majority of congregations voted to leave the Episcopal Church. To those who elected to stay with the Episcopal Church we gave their deeds and funds held by the diocese. The response from the Episcopal Church was to sue us individually and collectively, and to sue to have all of our assets confiscated.
You’re the really conservative branch that doesn’t honor women in leadership, right?
The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin does honor women in ministry and in leadership. We believe that the highest order of ministry is the laity and women serve the Lord as lay ministers day in and day out. As for Holy Orders, we believe that scripture is clear in reflecting women in the diaconate but unclear about the priesthood or episcopate. Therefore, we do ordain women to the diaconate, but not to the priesthood.
The lawsuit was really about gay marriage wasn’t it?
No. The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin and Bishop Schofield, along with many of our clergy and lay leaders of our congregations, were sued by the Episcopal Church, who demanded all property because we challenged their departure from the faith once received. This lawsuit came about even though we followed all the laws of the State of California and all the Canons of the Episcopal Church in effect at the time of our departure. We presented negotiated settlements to the Episcopal Church, which they rejected. We are not alone in this historic struggle, as all mainline denominations are struggling with the same issues of choosing between faithfulness to Scripture or bending to the thinking and values of the world. Our struggle in defense of the faith is a struggle for many orthodox Christians.