On September 16, St. John’s Cathedral in Brisbane held a service of “Choral Evensong for the Brisbane pride festival.” The church’s Facebook page posted photos of the church decked in rainbow flags, the sermon referred to the Trinity of God as the church’s “queering principle,” and according to reports, prayers were said to a “Rainbow Christ” and an “Erotic Christ.”
“The Trinity is our Queering principle, that which invites us to defy binaries and labels,” Peter Catt, the cathedral’s dean, declared in a sermon entitled “Queering the City of God.”
In that sermon, Catt praised LGBT activists in the 1990s who “used the term to point us to the dangers of seeing people through binary lenses. Queer thus came to be used for people who did not fit the approved categories; people who transcended the limiting territory created by labels.”
“Queer serves to remind us that no matter how many identities we describe or allocate there will always be those who feel excluded from all of them,” the dean argued.
As could be expected, Catt seized on Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” The dean argued that this passage meant “the Christian is not to understand their-self or others in terms of the great binary classification [sic] that were applied to humanity at the time,” but to “transcend these three binaries.”
Faith in Jesus Christ does indeed transcend all these identities, giving the believer a new identity in Christ. This verse is no justification for “queer” sexual identities, transgenderism, or homosexual practice, however. That did not stop Catt, of course. He even used the doctrine of God as a Trinity to normalize LGBT identities in a Christian context.
“We talk of God as being a Trinity: Three in One. The Anglican Theologian Sarah Coakley suggests that the fact that God is a Trinity trumps all our binaries,” he argued. “No binary is of God. She also points us to the fact that Church fathers such as Gregory of Nyssa held that there is a gender fluidity within the persons of the Trinity.”
This argument is hogwash. Gregory of Nyssa’s “On the Holy Trinity” emphasizes the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and never once suggests that any of the persons of the Godhead are female or feminine, or that their gender is “fluid.”
Furthermore, God wrote the male and female binary into human beings from Genesis 1.
So why did Catt make these arguments? To push the LGBT agenda from the pulpit. The church program for the event included a picture of an LGBT rainbow flag in a Christian fish symbol.
On the day of the Evensong service, the cathedral posted pictures of rainbow flag imagery in front of the cathedral, on a welcome table, and on the handrails.
Celebrating Pride at St John's today and ready for a special Evensong with discussion over refreshments after the service.
David Ould, senior associate minister at Parramatta Anglican Cathedral, reported that certain prayers were said at the Evensong, referring to Jesus Christ as “Rainbow Christ” and “Erotic Christ.”
Rainbow Christ, you embody all the colors of the world. Rainbows serve as bridges between different realms: Heaven and Earth, east and west, queer and non-queer. Inspire us to remember the values expressed in the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
Orange is for sexuality, the fire of spirit. Erotic Christ, you are our Fire, the Word made flesh. Free us from exploitation, and grant us the grace of mutual relationships. With the orange stripe in the rainbow, kindle a fire of passion in us.
These passages come from the “Rainbow Christ” prayer published in 2012.
The decision to refer to Jesus Christ as “erotic” seems particularly blasphemous, as Jesus never has any sexual relationship in scripture. Indeed, traditional orthodox Christianity considers Jesus to be the only sinless human being, and any sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and a woman to be sinful.
In August, Anglicans in Britain spoke out against rainbow flags flying on British cathedrals. “The flying of a gay pride flag above a cathedral is more than a contradiction, it constitutes a blasphemy,” Gavin Ashenden, a missionary bishop to England who rejected his ordination in the Church of England (and his position as honorary chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II) but kept his connection with the global Anglican Church, told PJ Media last month.
Ashenden cited Romans 1, noting that “distorted sexual identity and practice is diagnosed by St. Paul as a symptom of idolatry. He warns that the more a society turns its back on the living God, the more people experience dis-ease and disintegration. This expresses itself partially in a confusion of sexual identity and equally by an absence of continence.”
“Given that Pride teaches things which are in direct contravention of what the Bible and [the Book of Common Prayer] teach, how is it justifiable for an Anglican cathedral to fly their flag?” Matthew Firth, pastor of the Anglican churches St. Cuthbert’s and Holy Trinity, Darlington, posted on Facebook at the time.
Responding to these issues, anonymous Anglicans posted 95-Theses-style notices to the doors of British cathedrals last October, for the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s legendary posting of the 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg (historians dispute whether or not it actually happened, but the Reformation certainly did).
As the leadership of the Anglican Church in Britain and Australia (and the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.) becomes increasingly liberal, pro-LGBT, and open to the idea that salvation is not limited to the atonement of Jesus Christ, conservative Anglicans have been calling for reform and forming splinter organizations like GAFCON. For every LGBT Choral Evensong, there is a David Ould and a Gavin Ashenden to condemn it.
Some will call Jesus an “Erotic Christ” and brand the Trinity “queer,” but the biblical gospel also remains inside the Anglican Church.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.