Skip to comments.Godly Layman Lays It On The Line Even In Death
Posted on 08/12/2005 7:56:34 AM PDT by sionnsar
JACKSONVILLE, FL (8/11/2005)--I never knew Jerry Rodgers, but those who did, say he was a godly, caring, loving father and husband, businessman and fervent, believing Episcopal layman who cared deeply for his church - The Episcopal Church USA.
Jerry was not a public speaker and he was never in the public eye or caught the attention of national leaders or bishops. He labored quietly for His Lord writing letters beseeching diocesan clergy, his bishop, (John Howard), the Presiding Bishop, primates around the globe, even the Archbishop of Canterbury to stand firm on the 'faith once delivered to the saints.'
He got few responses back, but that did not deter him. Week after week, month after month, and year after year he continued to write letters.
On August 4 he penned a letter to Bishop John Howard and to all the clergy in the Diocese of Florida.
Here is what he wrote: "I am writing you with deep feelings of personal shame, sadness, despair, grief, disbelief, frustration, and a profound sense of being betrayed: "sold out" on the altars of Political Correctness and Secular Humanism. Bishop, how could you let this happen on your watch? After 2,000 years (approx) of Christian Faith, Tradition, Custom and Canon Law founded on the rock(s) of Christ Jesus and God's Word in Holy Scripture; I ask you again, how can you allow this "split", this "sell-out" (in our diocese) to happen on your watch? I invite you or any member of the clergy, to respond directly to me (c/o All Souls Church) citing Book, Chapter and verse of Scripture that approves, accepts or authorizes continuing sin.
"I do understand the potential secular losses and the personal sacrifices that must be made to commit (and to submit) to Christ Jesus and the authority of Scripture, but, (Big But) did not each of you already do that in your ordination vows. Of course, if you do not believe in the Divinity of Christ or the authority of Scripture, your vows are worse than useless, they are HYPOCRISY. How about the rest of you? The heresy of the national leadership of ECUSA cannot be allowed to continue. I have read many expressions of love, forgiveness, diversity, middle way, fulfillment, church enrichment, said in reverent words by those that support and benefit by this heresy. But guess what, not one word of supporting Scripture. Still, all the pious creative use of language cannot hide the truth. If a leader in the church, exalts, blesses, sanctifies, approves by justifying, sin, that leader is guilty of "HERESY". Can, should, a heretic be a leader in the Church? Should that "leader" even be in the Church? You know the answer.
"I have included a copy of an Open Letter to the Bishop and the Diocese that I have submitted to the Times Union for the "Letters" section of the newspaper. I do not know if it will be printed, I do so hope so. Perhaps it will touch a few hearts and open some eyes to the truth of the abominable happenings in our diocese and in the national church.
"Bishop, I urge, implore, beseech, pray and even beg that you use your position of power and leadership to heal the rift that is splitting our Diocese asunder. Restore this Diocese, our Church, to the worship of God, His Son, and His Word. As a professed "orthodox" believing Christian how can one justify anything less? After all, it is not the believing Christians that left the Church, the national leadership of ECUSA (including the majority of the House of Bishops) and the Diocesan liberals are the ones that left our Church. I cannot conceive any rationalization that would allow you to "punish" believing Christians for the "sin" of believing in God, His Son, and His Word."
I will pray you make the right decision
Signed, Jerry Rodgers, a parishioner, All Souls Church
In his Open Letter to the bishop and the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, Rodgers wrote of the crisis in the ECUSA and the election of V. Gene Robinson and said this: "This heresy (by Griswold and Robinson) is condemned, reviled, and rejected by an overwhelming majority of Anglicans/Episcopalians worldwide. The worldwide Anglican Communion has asked ECUSA to recant and repent the ordination of Robinson and to cease and desist justifying the sin of sexual immorality by approving, accepting, glorifying, or sanctifying continuing sin by ordination, civil union rites, or any kind of "marriage" ceremony. This does not preclude loving, pasturing, mentoring, teaching, praying with and for, the sinner.
"There are apparently two groups of clergy and laity, in N. Florida, that follow and support the national ECUSA leadership: the first group consists of Clergy (and laity) that does not believe in the divinity of Christ Jesus, does not believe in the authority of Holy Scripture, or that Christ died for our sins, was buried, was Resurrected then Ascended to "Heaven". They have revised and rejected God's Word (and traditions of several thousands years) to reflect their Liberal, Secular Humanism. The second group contains Clergy (and laity) that profess to be orthodox "Christians". This group supports and condones the heresy of ECUSA by using words like Diversity, Unity (at any cost), enriching the church, all in the name of Love. This second group is the more detestable of the two because they sin knowingly. We can call ourselves "Christian", but if we do not follow the teachings of Christ Jesus, do not believe in His divinity, or accept the authority of Holy Scriptures, we are not "Christians". Again, we cannot, must not approve, accept, justify or sanctify sin; thereby promulgating sin. There is NO "middle ground" on this issue. I am a simple man with a simple faith...the Apostle Paul is crystal clear on the issue of sexual immorality...then let us pray for the liberal revisionists to return to God and His Holy Word."
Jerry wrote many letters over time but had seen little response and even less change. However, just a few days ago, he had found a misplaced response letter that had fallen between two pieces of furniture in his office. It was a "thank you" letter from a priest who had written that he had received one of Jerry's letters, and it had meant a lot to him as it had reminded him of his ordination vows. Jerry was encouraged by the letter and as he thought and prayed he became convinced that God wanted him to write "just one last letter."
He wrote the above letters on August 4. They were mailed out on Monday August 8.
Later that same day Jerry, 74, a Jacksonville native and long-time parishioner at All Souls Church had a heart attack and died. He is survived by his soul mate and best friend of 54 years, Florence King Rodgers. Out of their loving union they were blessed with a son and three daughters. He is also survived by a brother and a sister and leaves behind a legacy of 16 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Jerry's funeral will be held tomorrow morning at All Souls Church."
"He loved the Lord Jesus and the church that's been taken from us. He was a man of great caring and compassion, Jerry gave sacrificially of himself to the work of God's Kingdom, his family and friends, and to his church. We will miss him very much," wrote his rector the Rev. Jim McCaslin.
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