The Rt. Rev. Craig B. Anderson, President and Dean
The General Seminary News Spring 1995
As a new feature of what I hope you will agree is an improved publication, I plan to share thoughts and reflections about The General Theological Seminary and, on occasion, some comments regarding the wider Church. I invite your response and suggestions as to appropriate topics given this opportunity to ruminate, reflect and occasionally rail on a quarterly basis.
Last year during the height of the housing policy controversy here at GTS, I made a promise that the Seminary would provide theological leadership in exploring issues and concerns before the Church regarding human sexuality. I made the promise in response to what I felt God was calling us to address as a Church and in particular as The General Theological Seminary of the Church. The Trustees provided such leadership in adopting a courageous, compassionate and theologically informed policy, which recognized the Church’s teaching in light of the varied contexts and diocesan responsibility in exercising authority in selecting persons for ordained ministry. The formation of the policy was not an easy task but one increasingly recognized by many as sensitive and principled.
Other examples of such leadership included this year’s Fall lecture series which emphasized the need for a broadened theological anthropology and doctrine of humanity to frame issues related to human sexuality. The Bradner Lectures this spring will build on this foundation. Lastly, a recognition of our growing leadership in this area came this month when the Interim Committee of General Convention mandated by Resolution BO12A, “Continuing the Dialogue on Human Sexuality,” took place here at GTS.
Keeping promises is important to me even when the promise involves an issue that is controversial. Being “tired of the issue” and wanting to get on with the “real mission of the Church” misses the essential point that ministry grounded in sound theology requires ongoing vigorous reflection and thought. Human sexuality is a fundamental aspect of our shared humanity.
It is an essential component of our doctrine of human being to include ethical discernment and pastoral ministry. In short, “the mission of the Church” has as its goal the redemption and reconciliation of all aspects of humanity including human sexuality. To say that we no longer need to talk about human sexuality is like saying that we no longer need to talk about creation, sin, judgment, repentance, reconciliation and redemption. To suggest that all of the issues regarding sexuality are resolved and that we need to get on with the “real mission of the Church” is not only naïve but misguided. Human sexuality is an integral part of our shared life in Christ.
Craig B. Anderson
We hope you will come to the Bradner Lectures and help us here at GTS keep this important promise by supporting your Seminary with prayer for the discernment that will aid our leadership in this important aspect of the Church’s life.
Sermo Tuus Veritas Est
+Craig B Anderson