Skip to comments.Episcopal leader says church is healing
Posted on 08/13/2005 8:28:00 AM PDT by sionnsar
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop, primate and chief pastor of the Episcopal Church USA, traveled to Berea recently for his denomination's international youth convention, where he was welcomed enthusiastically.
Around the world, however, Griswold has become a lightning rod for controversy, praised by many liberals and condemned by many conservatives.
Since presiding over the ordination of an openly gay bishop, Griswold has struggled to keep his 2.3 million member denomination united and to repair frayed ties within the Anglican Communion.
Griswold spoke with religion reporter Frank Lockwood about the church he leads. Excerpts from the interview are below.
Question: Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA: Is that a tough job these days?
Answer: It has its challenges, quite definitely. I see my ministry as one of connecting pieces, reminding people of a variety of points of view, that they don't have a corner on God's truth. God's truth has many dimensions. The Anglican tradition has always ... been a tradition in which widely divergent points of view have been held together not by one point of view capitulating to another but by common prayer, focusing beyond opinions on the person of Christ.
Q: What will it take to heal the divisions in the Anglican Communion?
A: Well, I think I see the healing already taking place. There is the public rhetoric, and then there is the actual reality. ... There are all these webs of relationships across the communion that are strong and doing good work. And certainly none of the provinces of the Anglican Communion are monochromatic. You may have angry words coming from a particular place, and yet on the ground, the relationships between bishops here and bishops there are quite strong and very positive. I think it's a question of mutual respect, time, and reliance upon the Holy Spirit, who can do amazing things in overcoming divisions.
Q: In a world with so many religions, why should somebody choose Christianity over a hundred other religions?
A: Having been shaped and formed by the Christian religion, and seeing the person of Jesus as fundamental to my sense of self and the world around me, I would want to make that deep sense of the joy and life that I receive from Christ available more broadly. But God is not restricted to the church. I think it's interesting that Abraham has three children: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And what does this say about God's capacity to be present in other religious traditions? I think one of the things Christianity does for me is give me a lens through which I can look at other religions and see where God might be at work. Compassion in the Buddhist tradition is not far removed from love in our religion. Certainly,-Judaism and Islam at its best have the same core values, and all those core values are reflective of one divine reality.
Q: Here in Kentucky,members of three Episcopal churches have voted to leave the denomination. They said that the church has departed from historic Christianity. What would you say to these people?
A: We all claim the authority of scripture. The ancient creeds, the doctrine of the trinity, the nature of Christ -- all these things are not up for negotiation. ... I would say if sexuality becomes the ground on which division occurs, then it means that sex is more important than the doctrine of the holy trinity and the divinity of Christ, which is a very sorry situation to find oneself in. Isn't it ironic that people can overlook Jesus' words about divorce and remarriage and claim biblical orthodoxy and become hysterical over a reference in the letter to the Romans about homosexual behavior? The Bible, of course, didn't understand homosexuality as an orientation. It only understood it as a behavior. Clearly, the biblical writers presumed that everyone was naturally heterosexual.
Q: Now, Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay (man elected) bishop, is actually a Lexington native. He grew up down the road. How is he doing?
A: You have to ask him. He's the bishop of New Hampshire, and for my money, he's doing what a bishop of New Hampshire should be doing.
Q: Do you think the Holy Spirit was guiding that election process?
A: I think that that's certainly the presumption of the bishops who voted to confirm the election and the deputies of the general convention who gave their consent and certainly the people of the diocese of New Hampshire who elected him.
Q: What would you want people in Kentucky to know about the Episcopal church?
A: The Episcopal Church is a questioning community. ... It's confident that Christ is at its center, and that gives it the courage to look at things that are difficult. It also is a church which has lived with open-ended questions. It doesn't need to reduce things to absolutes. We can deal with shades of gray, we can deal with paradox and ambiguity without feeling that we are being unfaithful.
One of those nuanced churches.
Episcopal leader is in severe denial...
Sounds like the ECUSA has built and is supporting the stairway to hell in order to promote diversity and tolerance with others.
Yes, they are. There is an element of truth in his statement, but it simply does not (or should not) apply to the current situation. But that has been brought up innumerable times on the posts to the Trad-Anglican list.
That is an interesting reply from the bishop. He seems to be saying that if some people find it difficult to obey one of God's commandments, they are free to violate all of the other commandments.
Jesus said that the married couple, "are no more twain, but one flesh." He made it clear that God does not approve of divorce: "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. " (Matthew 19:6).
Nevertheless, Jesus also said, "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." (Matthew 19:8) Divorce was allowed because people were not always able to live up to the Godly ideal of marriage.
I do not recall any similar allowance for homosexuality; everywhere it is mentioned in the Bible, sodomy is condemned in the strongest language. Moses did not allow it, as he did divorce. Indeed, the death penalty was prescribed for sodomy (Lev. 18:22), but not for divorce.
Frankly, I am surprised that the good bishop would not know any of this. I am even more surprised that he would describe as "hysterical" those who take the God's commandment seriously.
He knows it perfectly well. He just chooses to ignore it.
The mistake many orthodox/conservative Episcopalians make is to believe (a) that Foggy Frank is speaking in good faith; or (b) anything he says.
If the Episcopal Church USA is healing, it's because those that actually believe in Christ have left, are leaving or planning to leave for more orthodox pastures and no longer wish to be shepherded by the likes of the US Episcopal church, I suspect.
That is using the M quad theory of Million Man March Math.
I don't think it is healing, despite the departures. It could get to the point you describe someday, though.
I agree with you. If anybody says it's healing, that person is fooling himself...or trying to fool others.
The fact that Christians divorce still doesnt make it any less of a sin. His remarks indicate that he sees marriage as a temporary contract. Divorce in this worldview is a casual, everyday matter. No repentance for divorce is required. Goes on all the time. No big deal.Get over it, as they say. Its not a sin. With this understanding, it makes perfect sense that homosexual behavior is not seen as sinful either. Not only has he revised the teaching about homosexuality, he has also revised the teaching about marriage.
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