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Bishop Parsley Censors Sunday School Class [3-legged stool debunked]
Stand Firm (Alabama) ^ | 4/04/2005 | SFA Staff

Posted on 04/04/2005 6:30:38 PM PDT by sionnsar

Spending the morning at Church of the Ascension in Montgomery is a great way to spend any Sunday morning. But I was particularly excited about going today because of a post card I received in the mail earlier this week. The text of that post card reads:

Dear Friends in Christ,
Much has happened these past few months, with regard to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Before everyone breaks for the summer, we will offer a month long adult class in Ascension Hall, led by John-Michael van Dyke, beginning this Sunday, April 3rd:

"Where Do We Go From Here?"

We ask that everyone be present to keep abreast of these developments and implications for our future. A blessed Eastertide!

You might imagine my surprise upon arriving for Sunday School at 9:15 this morning to find that the series had been canceled. But why?

Because Bishop Parsley told Rev. van Dyke to cancel the class.

In deference to the bishop, Rev. van Dyke complied with this request. And I was only momentarily disappointed, since in lieu of the originally scheduled class I heard uplifting words of hope about the mystery and miracle of the gift of faith.

In April 2004, when approached with a question about how Integrity of Alabama's use of diocesan facilities can be reconciled with his statement that "the teachings of the diocese have not changed", Bishop Parsley stated he cannot control who uses what diocesan facilities, comparing Integrity USA to Daughters of the King. Yet in a moment of fear he abuses his power by silencing a Sunday School class in a single parish.

Decisions produced out of fear are no surprise coming from a man who in his "Short Teaching on Christian Sexual Ethics in the Present Life of the Church" elevated reason and tradition to the same level as the authority of scripture, saying "our tradition has held for centuries that the truth of the scriptures is best revealed using tradition and reason as tools in the interpretive process...[allowing] Anglicans to welcome many of the insights of biblical criticism, science, archaeology and theological development to our understanding of God and God's purposes known in scripture." In issuing those statements, Bishop Parsley reminds us of how Bishop Carpenter used to carry around a three-legged stool, which is still used at Carptenter House, to illustrate this.

I don't know how Bishop Carpenter really saw things, but the idea of scripture, tradition and reason being three legs of the same stool is a myth. Bishop Parsley's words stand in stark contrast to the words of Thomas Cranmer, author of the first Book of Common Prayer. Here are Cranmer's words from a letter written in 1548:

"We are desirous of setting forth in our churches the true doctrine of God, and have no wish to adapt it to all tastes and trifle with ambiguities, but, laying aside all carnal and prudential motives, to transmit to posterity a true and explicit form of doctrine agreeable to the rule of the sacred writings." (Thomas, Principles of Theology, liv)

This so-called ‘three-legged stool’ is attributed to the great Anglican mind of Richard Hooker. However, nowhere in Hooker’s writing does he give these three an equal share of authority. In none of his writing does the stool analogy appear. His most famous work Of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity clearly sets forth the primacy of Scripture. If our reason or tradition conflicts with Scripture, he is clear that Scripture is to be obeyed. He writes:

"What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after these the voice of the Church succeedeth." (Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V, Chapter 8, Section 2)

You can expect all manner of irrational actions from someone with a three-legged stool worldview. What actions can we expect from our bishops between now and Lambeth 2008, when ECUSA will likely be expelled from the Anglican Communion altogether?

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: angpost2

1 posted on 04/04/2005 6:30:38 PM PDT by sionnsar
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