Skip to comments.Changing the Rules in the Middle of the Game
Posted on 03/09/2005 6:28:10 PM PST by sionnsar
At the recent ordination of four of our church's men to the Diaconate and our Deacon to the Priesthood, my husband and I met three very interesting fellows who had travelled from out of town to attend the service and the luncheon. Each of them had been called to ministry, found our church and contacted our Bishop. We conversed with these men separately yet, coincidentally (or not?), we had quite similar conversations with all three. The similarity between these men (who had never met each other) was that they are (or were) members of ECUSA either serving as Deacon or studying for the Diaconate, who left or were kicked out (yes, kicked out!) because of their orthodox beliefs.
One man is a member of an ECUSA church where his wife serves on the Vestry. He was studying for the Diaconate and was told to leave the program when he kept asking them to help him understand how he could reconcile certain irreligious teachings with Scripture. Another man was a cradle Episcopalian, in his junior year of seminary, who was forced to withdraw because of his earnest questioning of how the liberal, secular concepts being taught could be justified through Scripture and tradition. This man joined the Roman Catholic Church for a time, then discovered the continuing Episcopal movement and is once again a postulant for the Diaconate.
The third man was a Deacon at his local ECUSA church who could no longer tolerate the secularization of what he thought was the "Anglican" church he had studied and loved. After much soul-searching and heartache, he transferred his Orders to the UECNA and this past Sunday was ordained Priest. At the time he advised the ECUSA Bishop he was transferring his Orders, he asked that his records and membership be properly closed. To his surprise, he received in short order a letter stating he had been deposed -- deposed without being given a chance to appear before a tribunal and defend himself! "How can a Deacon be deposed when he has done nothing wrong?" I asked. He shrugged his shoulders and explained that one could be deposed for not adhering to one's ordination vows to obey the Bishop.
All of this makes me contemplate even further what I wrote in the post below. If a priest vows to follow the rule of the Bishops, and the Bishops change the rules, where does that leave the priest? Isn't one's vow to faithfully uphold the Word of God more binding than one's vow to obey a Bishop? The Lord Giveth»
The Lord Giveth»
Lee Nelson's recent reflection on why he hopes never to be called an "Episcopal Priest" gave me pause to consider my own thoughts regarding this subject. He states:
When the Episcopal Church continually abandons the revelation of God and the teachings of Scripture, many have now found it difficult to use the word "Episcopal" or any of its variations. But, why should we? As an Anglo-Catholic, I must believe that we have the same priesthood (ignoring the several innovations which Anglicanism has undertaken) as other catholic bodies. If, God willing, I am made a priest, I will not be an "Episcopal Priest," (as if the modifier makes a man any better...) but a priest of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, an ambassador to the Kingdom of God and sacramental embodiment of Jesus Christ.
I empathize with Lee's position. Several members of our continuing Episcopal church have commented on how they feel uncomfortable calling the church "Episcopal," noting that other parishes of our National Church instead call themselves "Anglican." I feel the same way much of the time, especially when I read about yet another ECUSA apostasy that outdoes the one I read about the day before.
However, I am now more fully understanding that the continuing Episcopal movement is called "continuing" for a reason. Orthodox Episcopalians did not leave the Episcopal Church. ECUSA abandoned its religion, forcing countless devout Episcopalians to "continue" practicing their original faith as established by the Apostles, inherited by the Church of England, and brought to this country by the founding fathers. "Episcopalian" has not become a dirty word -- a description to be ashamed of -- just because those in power at ECUSA have abandoned the Faith.
INTREP - ECUSA
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