(CNSNews.com) -- The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, the Episcopal bishop of Albany, N.Y., released a "pastoral directive" on Nov. 10 stating that recently approved "gay marriage" rites shall "not be used anywhere" by the clergy in his diocese. He also stated that people in the Episcopal Church who think same-sex marriage is a good thing "have been deceived into believing a lie" spun by the "great deceiver" -- Satan.
In July, the Episcopal Church leaders voted to approve Resolution B012, which set the policy for performing gay marriages. The policy provides "gender-neutral marriage rites" and affirms that Episcopal clergy may perform the rite even if their bishop objects. Episcopal priests perfomring the gay marriages are allowed to seek "pastoral support" from a bishop of another diocese, if needed. The new rite is scheduled to go into effect in December.
In his lengthy pastoral directive, Albany Bishop William Love explained why he cannot support gay marriage. He concluded, "Until further notice, the trial rites authorized by Resolution B012 of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church shall not be used anywhere in the Diocese of Albany by diocesan clergy (canonically resident or licensed), and Diocesan Canon 16 shall be fully complied with by all diocesan clergy and parishes."
Explaining why he could not support same-same marriage, Bishop Love said that on three occasions, as a deacon, priest, and bishop, he "solemnly declared 'that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation.'"
But with B102, the Episcopal Church "is attempting to order me as a Bishop in God’s holy Church, to compromise 'the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3 ESV), and to turn my back on the vows I have made to God and His People," he said, "in order to accommodate the Episcopal Church’s 'new' understanding of Christian marriage as no longer being 'a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God' as proclaimed in the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP 422), but now allowing for the marriage of same-sex couples."
Gay marriage "is in direct conflict and contradiction to God’s intent for the sacrament of marriage as revealed through Holy Scripture," wrote Bishop Love. "In so doing, B012 ignores God’s Word regarding marriage and thus ignores the authority of Holy Scripture. When asked about marriage and divorce, Jesus stated, 'But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ What therefore God has joined together let not man separate” (Mark 10:6-9 ESV).
"As the 'Son of God,' God incarnate ... it would stand to reason that Jesus would know God’s purpose or intent for marriage," said the bishop. "Jesus could have allowed for, or made provision for, a wider interpretation of marriage (to include that between two men or two women), but He didn’t." From "the very beginning of creation, marriage has been between a man and woman," he said.
The new Episcopal policy will harm homosexuals, said the bishop. B102 does "a great disservice and injustice to our gay and lesbian Brothers and Sisters in Christ, by leading them to believe that God gives his blessing to the sharing of sexual intimacy within a same-sex relationship, when in fact He has reserved the gift of sexual intimacy for men and women within the confines of marriage between a man and woman as expressed in the above passage from Mark’s Gospel," wrote the bishop.
Further, a gay marriage rite "encourages Brothers and Sisters in Christ who have same-sex attractions, to act on those attractions engaging in sexual behavior that God through Holy Scripture has not only NOT blessed, but has identified as sinful and forbidden," he wrote, citing Leviticus in the Old Testament and Romans in the New Testament.
B102 promotes a false teaching about marriage and human sexuality, said Bishop Love, because it opens the door "for people with same-sex attractions to fall into sin by disordering God’s original design in creation, exchanging the complementary nature of the male and female body to 'become one in flesh,' with a distorted unnatural expression of sexual intimacy between people of the same sex."
"In so doing, not only does the same-sex couple come under God’s judgement and condemnation, but it also brings God’s judgement and condemnation against the Episcopal Church," wrote Bishop Love.
He continued, "Recent statistics show that the Episcopal Church is spiraling downward. I can’t help but believe that God has removed His blessing from this Church. Unless something changes, The Episcopal Church is going to die."
As for the Episcopal Church leaders and lay people who support same-sex marriage, Bishop Love said he believes "they have been deceived into believing a lie that has been planted in the Church by the 'great deceiver' -- Satan."
"The Episcopal Church and Western Society have been hijacked by the 'Gay Rights Agenda' which is very well organized, very strategic, very well financed, and very powerful," said the bishop. "Satan is having a heyday bringing division into the Church over these issues and is trying to use the Church to hurt and destroy the very ones we love and care about by deceiving the leadership of the Church into creating ways for our gay and lesbians brothers and sister to embrace their sexual desires rather than to repent and seek God’s love and healing grace. B012 plays right into this."
Gay marriage will cause "tremendous damage" to the Diocese of Albany and the global Anglican Communion, said the bishop.