ECUSA on the issue of blessing same-sex unions
It seems many critics of ECUSA's 2003 GC assume that there is no biblical argument in favor of blessing same-sex unions. They infer ECUSA's leadership has abandoned biblical warrant as a guiding reference point, and some feel convicted by conscience to withdraw altogether from the national church. Although an observer might be tempted to dismiss the fuss as a minor brush-up in a small denomination, ECUSA's decisions on same-sex unions have much wider significance. If successful in bringing same-sex blessings into their liturgy, ECUSA could inspire other mainline denominations to do the same. With mainline Christianity pulling in the same direction, wider political effects could follow--perhaps impeding current federal and state drives to prohibit legal gay unions or marriage.
ECUSA's success may hinge on whether it can stay together. For instance, if the AAC/ACN manages to displace ECUSA in the Anglican Communion, what ECUSA does with respect to same-sex unions will have rather less significance.
Will ECUSA stay together? It might help to have clear biblical warrant for same-sex unions. Here is an argument I am currently working on, a piece of biblical theology, in favor of same-sex unions:
(1) Jesus is resurrected in the flesh. [Yes, "in the flesh" is overkill, but I want emphasis.]
(2) In the world to come, the members of the Church will be resurrected in the flesh.
(3) In the world to come, Jesus will enter into a new relationship, R, with the members of the Church.
(1)-(3) have strong biblical support, and a conservative flavor. The argument works with conservative premises to achieve a rather un-conservative conclusion. Ironically, some supporters of GC 2003 would qualify or deny these premises; to them, my argument would seem unsound.
(4) Marriage among Christians here-below is to be modeled after R.
Again, (4) has strong biblical support. The meaning of Christian marriage is to be found in the union God, in Christ, seeks and will attain with his people, the Church. So far, my argument is orthodox.
(5) R holds between men.
There will be male members of the Church in the world to come, I hope, and Christ is male. (5) sounds odd in this context perhaps because you see where I am going, but it is still orthodox.
(6) Given that R holds between men (from (5)), and marriage here below is to be modeled after R (from 4), it follows that marriage here below can be between men.
And (6), of course, is unorthodox. Yet it follows from orthodox premises.
I am tempted to say self-described "orthodox" ECUSAns do not know what follows from what they believe; they do not seem to have taken either marriage or resurrection seriously enough. If you deny (6), which of the premises will you deny? Denying (1) implies denying the resurection of Christ, denying (2) implies denying the general resurrection, denying (3) implies denying that there will be a new, real, reciprocal relationship between Christ and the Church in the afterlife, and denying (4) denies marriage the mystery of its meaning alluded to by Paul.