Skip to comments.Anglican Caucus Hears Call to Uphold Biblical Faith
Posted on 05/10/2006 4:55:41 PM PDT by sionnsar
"We must uphold Biblical Faith while reminding Anglicans they have been failed by ECUSA revisionists' pursuit of what many around the world declare a new religion," says Fr. Martin Oguike.
By Douglas E. Miles
Special to VirtueOnline
EDISON, NJ (Apr. 30) -- The Diocese of NJ Anglican Caucus meeting at St. James' Episcopal Church heard Diocesan Treasurer and Deputy Peter Hausman, an orthodox believer, warn of the potential for a formal parting and severing of the Anglican Communion between the American Episcopal Church (ECUSA) and Canterbury with the Provinces. The outcome he asserts depends on three important events.
The first is the pending report of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church in America; second, the outcome of the election for the Bishop of California in which three openly practicing homosexual candidates are running, and third, the outcome of the election of the new Presiding Bishop to replace Bp. Frank Griswold. This is set to occur at the June 2006 General Convention in Columbus, OH.
"The wrong outcome of any one of these three watershed events could destroy the fragile balance holding us together," Hausman warned.
Guest preacher for the Eucharist Celebration of the Anglican Caucus was Fr. Martin Oguike of the Diocese of NJ . "The events of 2003 and the ordination of Gene Robinson have left much of the Anglican Communion in complete disbelief that American Episcopalians are actually pursuing Christianity. Many of my Anglican friends around the world are saying ECUSA has started a new religion (other than authentic Christianity)."
"Even Faithful Christians in ECUSA appear as outcasts to much of the Anglican Communion Worldwide. We are seen by the rest of the world as having abandoned the word of God, and they all wonder how can Biblically based followers of Christ even remain in ECUSA?", he said
Fr. Oguike said that when he first returned to his native Nigeria following the 2003 General Convention in Minneapolis and the subsequent ordination of Bishop Robinson "my own people ostracized me, my own fellow Nigerian clergy, even though I am an orthodox Believer. This was simply for my affiliation with ECUSA because they wonder why the faithful have not all left the American Church by now."
As a consequence of the ordination of Bp. Robinson, the 53 US bishops who attended his ordination and supported him are no longer recognized by the twelve Anglican provinces in Africa, he said. "They all felt that God will not be mocked in this way and for as much as we live for Christ, we must also be prepared to suffer for Him," Fr. Oguike added.
'All Paths Lead to God' - The Unitarian and Universalism Heresy
Recounting an early clergy experience in the UK where he served the Church Missionary Society, he described his shock to enter a Church of England institution one day and seeing icons for Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism all represented on a Venn diagram with God at the center.. "It was a living example of the heresy that all paths lead to God, - but all paths do not lead to God and to eternal life and salvation."
"We have developed this kind of paradox of faith in nature with God being whomever we know Him to be emerging in ECUSA ", he observed, adding "this doctrine amounts to Unitarianism and Universalism."
Drawing on Scripture, Fr. Oguike reminded his hearers that "there is only one name under heaven and on earth given by which we shall be saved and that is the Name of Jesus, the name above all names."
"Right now, the rest of the world is not expecting us (the Faithful Anglicans) to do anything and that we will just get accustomed to this new thing and that some will run away but the rest of us will just learn to live with it. But we who are in the Network (the Anglican Communion Network) and the Communion must act corporately and do something . It is our Church and we are still obedient to the Canons and Articles of Faith of ECUSA even if others are not."
Following Eucharist, Fr. Bill Guerard of St. George's Helmetta, NJ later told Caucus members how impressed he was with the leadership the Network (ACN) has raised up after attending a recent Anglican Communion Network Church Planting Coaches conference held in Virginia,. "The deans of our convocations are not only men of great faith, but men of great vision." he said.
"At the conference we heard from a number of people, both young and old, who have been involved in planting churches. This is an important part of the vision of the Network, and has been from the beginning, to build up faithful, biblically based Anglican Churches in this country in the event that the present Episcopal Church continues to decline and die. The Network is a very mission-minded organization.," said Fr. Guerard
Fr. Guerard also pointed to a recent Gallup poll. Episcopalians now rank the lowest of any Christian group in percentage of church attendance. The only two groups who attend services less regularly than Episcopalians are Jews and those who profess no faith.
In his address to the diocesan convention in March, Bishop Councell observed that "we are a declining diocese in a declining denomination." But no further mention was made of this, and there appears to be no change in the direction of the church as the pattern of decline continues.
"If you know people who have left the Episcopal Church and have not joined another church, please let me know," Guerard continued, "We want to reach out to them. We also want to reach out to those who are unchurched. That should always be our main focus, to seek and save the lost."
He further recounted, "We have a rich and wonderful heritage of faith. Billy Graham once said that the Articles of Religion of the Anglican Church is one of the finest expositions of evangelical Christianity that has ever been written. In most of the Anglican Communion today, the Articles of Religion still form an important foundation for the life of the church. Only in America are they ignored."
Caucus attendees were encouraged not to focus on "bricks and mortar" and what might happen to their respective parish properties in the event of any formal split in the Communion after General Convention in Ohio. There are a range of legal outcomes with no fixed precedents in Church property controversies over the years as Church leaders everywhere are aware, observed one layman.
The most recent one a Caucus attendee reminded everyone occurred in Diocese of California. The incident resulted in an $80,000 fine offering damage awards to the two Newport Beach parishes for trespass of their First Amendment rights. The decision is currently on appeal.
There was a brief exchange among Caucus attendees about the recent departure of 65 parishes in unison from The Diocese of Kansas. While the financial and ownership outcomes of this event are unknown at this time, it is a reminder of the painful complexities of property rights in the life of a major Church denomination.
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