This article is the second one in a week about Rev Dr Mascord 'losing' his licence to preach in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney due to his stance on same sex marriage and his view that traditional Biblical theology is flawed. It is worth noting straight away that Dr Mascord did not have a current license in Sydney, so his license was not revoked - he applied for a license and the Archbishop declined.
I have to say that I side with the archbishop of Sydney on this one - and I know that some of my friends will vehemently disagree with my view here - especially those on the list of signatories.
The truth is though that Dr Mascord, when ordained, vowed only to teach and uphold the doctrine of the Anglican Church, and also to be subject to his bishop. He is now openly advocating views which are contrary to the doctrine of the Anglican Church, and refuses to submit to his bishop's lawful and reasonable request.
Also worth noting is that the Archbishop advised that he could in fact be licensed to serve in his parish, if he could give an assurance that he would only preach that which is in accordance with the doctrines of the church (again,he is only being asked to fulfil his commitments in accordance with his vows of ordination) - Dr Mascord declined to give that assurance, and so the Archbishop upheld his own vows taken when he was consecrated as bishop 'to drive away all false and strange doctrine which is contrary to God’s word; and privately and publicly to call upon and encourage others to do likewise' and to 'correct and discipline, according to the authority you have by God’s word, the disorderly and disobedient and those guilty of offence within your jurisdiction'.*
For me this is pretty clear cut - if you wish to be licensed to preach in an Anglican Church, it is entirely reasonable that you will only preach in accordance with the doctrines of the church. If you cannot in good conscience do that, then it is also not unreasonable that you be told you can't preach.
Finally, I will finish with a quote from C.S. Lewis, which I think is relevant here:
“It is your duty to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly. In defense of those opinions they are prepared to suffer obloquy and to forfeit professional advancement. They thus come to feel like martyrs. But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman. We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them. We always knew that a man who makes his living as a paid agent of the Conservative Party may honestly change his views and honestly become a Communist. What we deny is that he can honestly continue to be a Conservative agent and to receive money from one party while he supports the policy of the other.”**
*From The Consecration of Bishops service in An Australian Prayer Book, © Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation.
** From 'God in the Dock'
Fr Daryl is an Anglican priest living in regional New South Wales Australia.