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Why Louisianans of Both Dioceses Must Stand Firm in the Faith
Stand Firm [LA] ^ | 7/13/2005 | Brad Drell

Posted on 07/13/2005 5:31:13 PM PDT by sionnsar

Recently, the Diocese of Louisiana and the Diocese of Western Louisiana celebrated 200 years of the Episcopal Church in Louisiana. Our two dioceses share much in common - a long standing heritage of 200 years, Camp Hardtner, Cursillos that still number themselves from a common reckoning, a Bishop, Leonidas Polk, who founded the University of the South (and I’ve attended church and practiced law with Polks right here in Central Louisiana), Kairos Prison Ministry, and the culture of our state which is unique - highly Catholic, highly Evangelical (read Bible Belt), yet, a state which has extremely high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, divorce, incarceration and poverty. In short, it is good there are a lot of churches in Louisiana, as there are many in need of redemption, and what is a church but a hospital for sinners. In Louisiana, the Church is much needed.

In my personal experience, there are very few Louisianans who would deny the existence of God, or challenge the notion that God loves us and plays a role beyond imagination in all our lives. Bishop Spong’s concept of a non-theistic God just won’t fly in Louisiana. We know better. In the past, we just didn’t worry about the wingnut fringe of the Episcopal Church - like our country, we thought it was confined to California and the North East.

Many of us Louisiana Episcopalians experienced shock and dismay at the actions of the General Convention of 2003 which essentially endorsed homosexual behavior as normative. We had basically been about our business of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our own backyard, and attempting to make Jesus Christ present in the broken and hurting backyard of our own state. The affairs of the national church were none of our business. Feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison, evangelizing the lost - these were and are our tasks, for which the resources held by the Episcopal Church in Louisiana or any church were inadequate, and resources were not to be wasted on the navel gazing of the national church. While all this was going on, our properties were mortgaged to the national church via the Dennis Canon, and the theology of the Episcopal Church drifted so far from what we knew here in Louisiana.

So why do I, a churchman from the Diocese of Western Louisiana, whose focus prior to GC2003 was prison ministry, now spend time on the affairs of the national Episcopal Church?

Like it or not, part of our credibility as ministers of the Gospel here in Louisiana stems from our common life with other Christians in Jesus Christ. Certain assumptions are made - we believe in Jesus Christ, the Bible and its authority, sin, and redemption therefrom - in our common ministry with fellow Christians. However, members and even Bishops of the Episcopal Church have repudiated these very basic beliefs of all Christians. Our fellow Louisianans now know of this repudiation. When I was serving on a Kairos team at Angola (which, ironically, is not in my home Diocese, but the Diocese of Louisiana), I was asked “why are you Episcopalian” by a black man on the team who attends a Baptist church. All I could say is that I was a cradle Episcopalian. Despite the fact that Kairos was started in Louisiana by an Episcopalian, being Episcopalian in Louisiana no longer carries the guarantee that one who bears the name of “Episcopalian” necessarily bears the name of Christian. The only minimal qualification to serve on a Kairos team is to be Christian. I, the state co-chair of Kairos, was questioned on my qualifications as a Christian. This one question made me stop and think. Interestingly enough, at my table family was a man who was an Episcopalian, and became one in prison, who was lead to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Fr. Miller Armstrong and Deacon Charlie DeGravelles, two extremely strong clergymen of the Diocese of Louisiana who had ministered to this man.

This unfortunate situation does not stem from anything Louisiana Episcopalians have done, but what the Episcopal Church has done that has landed it in the headlines - what General Convention 2003 did, what Jack Spong writes, and every other dreary headline in the news says about the Episcopal Church - taking a stand against Israel, criticizing the war in Iraq, a Muslim chaplain in a Episcopal cathedral, Wiccan priests, you name it. Interestingly, what separates Louisiana Episcopalians from fellow Christians in our own state encompasses many of the same things that separate us from our brother and sister Anglicans from the Global South. It is those common assumptions again - we believe in Jesus Christ, the Bible and its authority, sin, and redemption therefrom. These are questions that boil down to one, the same one asked of me at the Kairos at Angola - are you Christian, or not?

Considering that I discovered and re-discovered Jesus Christ in the Episcopal Church here in Louisiana, and I hope and pray to give my children the same Christian upbringing that I experienced in Louisiana, I have a vested interest in seeing that the Episcopal Churches in Louisiana, come what may, remain Christian. Episcopal Churches in Louisiana have a long and proud history of Christian ministry in Louisiana - from beautiful churches across the state to the depths of the most ugly prisons, and all points in-between. That ministry must continue in Louisiana. Like it or not, the national Episcopal Church has something to say about that.

Thus the need for Stand Firm Louisiana. Those of us who are bible believing Christians in Louisiana who attend Episcopal Churches will be judged not only by what we do, but for the company we keep. We must try to influence GC2006 to return to Christian teaching, and, failing that, we must walk with other Christians, for the sake of our ministry to a broken and hurting Louisiana. Bold steps by Bishops MacPherson and Jenkins may be necessary to support our churches remaining Christian. For these bold steps to be taken, they need our support, and they need to hear our voices. Let us not forget that we are blessed with Bishops that are on the Presiding Bishop’s council of advice and are the head bishops of their respective provinces of the Episcopal Church. What Bishops MacPherson and Jenkins do matters much to the future of the Episcopal Church. What they do in the days ahead will not only hinge on what they think, feel and believe, but on the voices they hear within their flock - those that both represent Christ to and seek Christ in them. We have influence over our national church - and all the evil needs to prosper is for good people to do nothing. We have good and godly Bishops, but they need empowerment, as we all do.

The liberals are well organized - they have Integrity (which has a chapter in New Orleans under the rectorship of a priest who was formerly the canon of the Diocese of Western Louisiana), the Every Voice Network, and Via Media (and a Via Media t-shirt was worn by one of the participants at First Camp at Camp Hardtner which I recently attended). Like it or not, they are here in Louisiana, in both Dioceses. These organizations, left unchecked, will not only undermine but ultimately repudiate the Gospel message within the Episcopal Church in Louisiana. We, as Episcopalians still holding to the hope of the Gospel in Louisiana, must be organized as well to assure our future.

I and others will be working to organize a conference in the near future in Louisiana, where Louisiana Episcopalians will be able to meet, encourage each other, and pray and work for the future of the Episcopal Church in Louisiana, which may, after General Convention 2006, require the Episcopal Churches of Louisiana to remain Christian in fellowship with other Anglicans around the world, and with fellow Christians in Louisiana. I believe this requires the formation of an American Anglican Council Chapter in Louisiana under the banner of Stand Firm, Louisiana. This is a ministry in our own backyard. It is time to act, with conviction, in favor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the cause of the founding of the first Episcopal Church in Louisiana. Without this cause - without our Savior - our obligations as Louisiana Episcopalians lapses, and there will be no more cause for our ministry in the most neediest of places within the United States. Our common heritage can bind us together for our common future as Anglican Christians in Louisiana. Lord Jesus, may it be so.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 07/13/2005 5:31:15 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; Hermann the Cherusker; ...
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 07/13/2005 5:32:33 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Kyoto: Split Atoms, not Wood)
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To: sionnsar
I'm sure he's Bible-believing and I admire his prison ministry, but his remedy just seems to be pep rallies. His faith in Jenkins is seriously misplaced as well. Jenkins presented the abominable To set Our Hope to the ACC. Dude wants to be the next PB.
3 posted on 07/13/2005 6:13:41 PM PDT by Martin Tell (Red States [should act like they] Rule)
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To: sionnsar
Brother Brad, you are a day late and a dollar short.

The heresy train has left the station, and nobody is going to listen to you.

4 posted on 07/13/2005 6:55:34 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: sionnsar

Bishop (and Lt. General (CSA)) Polk must be turning over in his grave. Bishop Polk was a good man, baptising both General Joseph E. Johnston of the Army of Tennessee (CSA), and Johnston's successor Lt. General John B. Hood.

i can't help but wonder what he'd think of the Episcopal Church of today. You have my deepest sympathy and admiration FRiend. None the less, there are still bastions of Conservative Episcopalianism in this nation. Perhaps some day...

5 posted on 07/13/2005 11:49:03 PM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (I have come here to kick @$$ and chew bubblegum...and I'm all outta bubblegum! ~Roddy Piper)
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