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Episcopal Church Cannot Survive Conflicting Doctrines
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 4/29/2005 | Joe Bell

Posted on 04/30/2005 9:05:05 AM PDT by sionnsar

Today there are two Episcopal Churches existing under one roof. One version advocates a contemporary political and social agenda and the other advances the everlasting, and unalterable, word of God that is often found to be inconvenient and difficult to follow in the 21st century.

The rip in the fabric of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), began to open at least as far back as the 1960s when California Bishop James Pike decided the Holy Trinity did not exist and that there had been no Virgin Birth. Nevertheless, he also decided to remain at his post as a Christian leader. (Individuals are free to embrace any religion they choose, or no religion, however, it is a mystery as to why anyone who no longer believed two canons that are central to Christianity would want to remain a Christian.)

Heresy charges were invoked against Bishop Pike but there was neither the will nor the numbers to move forward. Whether overwhelmed by the counterculture of that era, or perhaps Pike's doubts were widely shared, the Episcopal Church failed to reprimand the obstinate bishop.

ECUSA continued to fashion a new church and at the 1976 General Convention approved resolutions to study the ordination of homosexuals. Today the division between the two Episcopal churches is widening in Connecticut where Bishop Andrew Smith appears poised to discipline six priests who opposed the 2003 installation of an openly homosexual bishop in New Hampshire. Bishop Smith supported the appointment of the Reverend Gene Robinson and the six priests have requested to be placed under the authority of another bishop, a procedure known as delegated Episcopal pastoral oversight.

Bishop Smith was in error to support the appointment but he is correct in his assessment of current events, labeling the Connecticut controversy part of a larger conflict within the church.

At issue is the Bible, which traditional Christians believe is the word of God and, therefore, not to be edited to conform to modern society. The current prevalent attitude among many Episcopal leaders and churchgoers is that the Bible is a living document that must be flexible to the times. Liberals use that same approach to interpret the U.S. Constitution. However, the Constitution is not a living document, it is a legal document and the Bible is eternal and its lessons about right and wrong are not adjustable.

Nevertheless, the Episcopal Church has labored to sculpt the Bible so that it would fit more easily into the contemporary world. This has caused such confusion that in 2003 the House of Bishops failed to pass a resolution that reaffirmed the Bible was "the foundation of authority for the Church." For the bishops to have found themselves unable to agree that Holy Scripture is "the foundation of the authority of the Church" is a stunning disclosure on how widely accepted Bishop Pike's theology of skepticism has become.

While it is the issue of homosexuality and the church that has captured media headlines, the fracture within the church is about far more than human sexuality. It is about what Pontius Pilate asked Jesus in John 18:38, "What is truth?"

The Episcopal flock can no longer agree on an answer to Pilate's question. It cannot even reach accord on whether Jesus is really, as He claimed in John 14, "the way, the truth and the life" and that "no one can come to the Father but through me."

For those who do not believe Jesus is the Son of God these assertions are surely debatable, but for a Christian church to express uncertainty on these points is amazing. In order to consider oneself a Christian there are, it is reasonable to assume, a number of tenets one should accept. All religions have certain beliefs that are integral to the faith.

In "Mansions of the Spirit," Canadian Bishop Michael Ingham, of the Diocese of New Westminster, said it was legitimate for Christians to shrug off Jesus' claim to be "the way, the truth, and the life." He wrote, "The exclusive god is narrow, rigid and blind."

This concept fits flawlessly into current American society where many individuals reject the notion that there are universal truths. Individuals have the right to make such assertions, however, it is a peculiar thing for a Christian church to declare that the truth spoken by Jesus is dependent upon the moment and the circumstances under which it is spoken, and then expect those who maintain the Bible is the word of God to quietly acquiesce.

The Most Reverend Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop and Primate ECUSA, does not believe everlasting truth has a place in the Episcopal Church. On March 7, 2004, during an interview with David Frost, Bishop Griswold said, "I think every province of the Anglican community has its own realities and each province is going to have to live its realities in its very own way."

Bishop Griswold expressed the philosophy of extreme individualism that is analogous to the ruling issued by three Supreme Court justices in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which supported the constitutional right to abortion by stating, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of the universe and of the mystery of human life."

While it is reckless for a judge to make such a statement, it is impossible for a church to endure under such a philosophy. A religion that cannot offer its followers truth has nothing to give and is not worth following.

The Reverend Canon David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, has rightly observed, "Episcopal Church leadership has rejected Scripture as the inspired, living, authoritative word of God and no longer holds to the truth revealed therein. The doctrines of sin, salvation, redemption and transformation are not palatable in the 'new Gospel.' Once these truths have been dismissed, it is easy to understand why an 'anything goes' approach to sexuality has been embraced - it is a logical progression."

The Episcopal Church is faced with the collision of two irreconcilable doctrines - the doctrine of God and the doctrine of man. Attempts to reconcile the two will fail and the factions within the Episcopal Church must and will in time formally separate. Each will, as Bishop Griswold predicted, "live its realities in its very own way."


--Joseph Bell has hosted a radio talk show and is a former editorial writer/columnist for several Connecticut newspapers. A former liberal Democrat, Bell has not been on the conservative side of the aisle for very long. He voted for Clinton/Gore in 1992. Abandoning the convictions that he had held and defended through adolescence and into adulthood was not easy. Sincere soul-searching and a commitment to distinguish fact from fiction compelled him to accept that liberal ideology was bankrupt.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: angpost6; ecusa

1 posted on 04/30/2005 9:05:06 AM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; St. Johann Tetzel; AnalogReigns; GatorGirl; KateatRFM; Alkhin; Peanut Gallery; tellw; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-7 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 04/30/2005 9:05:33 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?)
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To: sionnsar

"A religion that cannot offer its followers truth has nothing to give and is not worth following."

Or why not join the Unitarian/Universalist church? A fine upstanding American church, no set beliefs required. A foundation of the "greek" societies on American college campuses, as I recently learned.

This is America, we've go something for everybody. I cannot understand, in America, the desire to destroy things, such as the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, the Boy Scouts. Not in America, when you can go to the corner and find a new thing, or start your own thing.

That is why it is very difficult for me to see these destroyers are being anything other than evil-doers, as our beloved W might put it.

3 posted on 04/30/2005 9:15:28 AM PDT by jocon307 (CVCVMELLA CAFEARIA CLAVSA EST)
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To: sionnsar

Maybe when they were voting on Robinson for Bishop, the traditionalists in ECUSA should have filabustered.

4 posted on 04/30/2005 9:41:55 AM PDT by ken5050 (The Dem party is as dead as the NHL)
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To: ken5050

Well, it's always easier in hindsight.

5 posted on 04/30/2005 9:47:44 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?)
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To: jocon307

I'd say two things:

1. All that lovely property just waiting to be exploited.

2. All those lovely people just waiting to be expropriated and changed (they'd say, 'improved').

Doesn't do the good these misguided ones want to accomplish if they begin their own churches and try to evangelize. That would be very hard work. I don't think they want that.

In Christ,
Deacon Paul+

6 posted on 04/30/2005 12:32:25 PM PDT by BelegStrongbow (I think, therefore I vote Republican)
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