Skip to comments.The Rev. Earle Fox: "The Episcopal Tragedy and the Coming of Clarity"
Posted on 06/23/2006 5:23:35 PM PDT by sionnsar
By email, I received the following essay by the Rev. Earle Fox in the aftermath of GenCon 2006. This is a very good essay that needs no comment from me:
The Episcopal Tragedy & the Coming of ClarityThe summary of the tasks we have before us is something I hope all of us will heed, along with the rest of this essay.
F. Earle Fox
I am an Episcopal priest who has labored in that vineyard for over forty years, now watching the Church I loved and cherished self-destruct. There will be a resurrection of sorts, that is a division with one side conforming, more or less, to orthodoxy.
But there are few signs that the orthodox in the West have learned the lessons which God meant us to learn over the last four centuries (see below). Unless there is new leadership with intellectual, moral, and spiritual credibility raised up, the division will not make much difference to the Christian Church -- which has been in the backwaters of civilization for most of the last two centuries.
In a rather interesting turn of events at the currently running General Convention, the Episcopal "liberals" (in skeptical quotes) elected as the new Presiding Bishop (pretty much the same as an archbishop elsewhere, i.e., the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Church) a woman, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who has been the bishop of Nevada.
As many, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have noted, this will create problems for the fellowship of the Anglican Communion. Most of the southern hemisphere bishops do not ordain women even to the priesthood, let alone episcopate.
On the good side, because the "conservative" (in skeptical quotes) leadership were incapable of producing clarity on almost any issue being debated, God allowed the other side to the the clarifying.
Much to the dismay of the "conservatives", who apparently thought that the other side did not really have any beliefs and program in which they meant business, that the other side was "pluralistic" and polite, not totalitarian -- Surprise! Surprise! the news is now out to the contrary. Those who disagree with the ordination of women or of homosexual persons are no longer considered legitimate, and the "liberals" have no intention of backing down on that.
Nor should they. This is a win or lose war. Goodness and truth cannot coexist with evil and falsehood. If the "conservatives" had stood up long ago, they would have let it be known that heresy is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. The "liberals" are at least acknowledging (now that they are in power) the truth, that this is an up or down contest with winners and losers. They talked about everyone winning only so long as they were not in power.
The election of Schori to PB is a clear sign that they intend no backing down on the ordination of women or the homosexual issues, and no repentance for the consecration of an openly homosexual bishop. Why anyone thought it would have been otherwise is beyond me. Their determination was clear four decades ago.
But clarity always favors truth, even when the clarity is brought by the evil side. Evil comes clearly into the open when it gains power. That is happening all over the country on the homosexual issues today. The screws are being applied to those who in any sense suggest that homosexuality might be a problem. Clarity even from the evil side favors truth because the issues begin to be clarified. People begin to see what the evil side is really up to, and what they are up against, and can then begin to take action. If they have the courage.
But when the evil side has gained the power of coercive force (law), then the turn around will be costly indeed. The question still remains how long it will take for the orthodox folks to gain their own clarity. They will have to stop bitching and whining, and get down to some serious intellectual, moral, and spiritual work. That is hardly happening.
Any group which claims to be pluralist in the post modernist sense, which claims truth to be relative, is incapable of being honestly inclusive or pluralistic. That is so because only if truth is objective and real can there be any reasonable, rational unity and community. Unity based on feeling good will always drift into totalitarianism. The pseudo-pluralists want it there way or no way. They preach pluralism and relative truth only to get their opposition (the "conservatives" who cannot conserve anything) to relativize their truth so that they will no longer defend it. Then the pseudo-liberals insert their belief unopposed.
That is the strategy of "dialogue to consensus". Keep talking until everyone feels good about feeling good. It has nothing to do with truth, it is a ploy to manipulate the discussion for ends which cannot be gained openly and honestly. And it has worked. The Episcopal Church is rightly facing its own demise. Neither side has been doing the work of the Lord in these debates -- which is first of all, producing clarity. Living in the Light. For more on the clarity issue, see Strategy.
An Offensive Strategy
The "conservatives" never had a strategy for offense, for taking the Episcopal Church back for Jesus Christ. They got suckered into the endless dialogue and endless compromise, until there was nothing left to compromise away, and the other side held all the cards. As Napoleon remarked, "The logical end of defensive warfare is surrender." The "liberals" did not win the Episcopal Church, "conservatives" surrendered it.
I have been asked why I have remained in the Episcopal Church. My response has been that I do not know of any part of the Christian Church which has learned the lessons we were supposed to have learned over the last four or five centuries. The Church has, for all practical purposes, made an enemy of both science and politics. We have given over those two realms (both from God) to secular and now pagan folks. We became convinced beginning in the early 1800's that reason and revelation were opposed to each other, thus consigning ourselves to revelation without reason -- a terrible and fatal mistake. And absolutely contrary to the Bible. So, without reason, we became guess what...? Unreasonable, and thereby (rightly) lost the trust of the public.
As for the Episcopal Church, there is no reasonable form of Christianity left there, excepting in local parishes here and there. The question is still, where now? I have one option, which will be noted when I make such plans as are necessary.
The two lessons we were to learn were: (1) how we know what we know, which is what science is about; and, (2) the Biblical form of politics, which is what our American Constitution was written to undergird. But we ran away from both, and are paying dearly for it. The whole of Western Civilization is dying because Christians have failed their Lord in these two areas.
One might ask how we can discern evil -- a term, out of fear, seldom used today. Simple. The first sign of evil and of spiritual warfare is the subversion of truth (read Romans 1:18 ff.). All the rest of the Fall follows from that. Having blindsided ourselves, we lose track of who God is, and worship the creature rather than the Creator. And then, with a false, inadequate god, we fall into compulsive, self-destructive behaviors -- of which homosexuality is a prime example. But there are many others.
We will begin to have an offensive strategy when we learn how to discern good from evil again, and when we take on two tasks.
Christians have before us the task of rebuilding the whole of Biblical theology in a manner which can take on the secularists and the pagans. That is what the Road to Emmaus is about, and the task to which I am called, and which I find people working on at Biola U. where I am now teaching.
The first task for Christians is recovery of our intellectual credibility. If we have no reputation for being truth-seekers, we pass the reputation on to God as being not interested in truth. That is slander. When we lose truth, everything else erodes as well. We will recover our moral and spiritual credibility only when we again base them on objective truth.
Secondly, we must recover what God was birthing in Western Civilization, a Godly form of civil government. Americans must recover the constitution we were given, and learn how to explain the Biblical foundations of a free people.
The issues are bigger than the Episcopal disaster, which is just a forerunner. America shows all the signs of going the Episcopal way -- down the sink hole of relativism and pseudo-pluralism, ending in totalitarianism. They are the issues of Western Civilization, and becoming the issues of world culture (thanks to the globalists and their tool, the UN).
There is no hope for civilization outside the Church of God. Only a people rooted in the Hand of God and obedient to His Voice will be able to turn the momentum of self-destruction back toward rational, sane, and truly compassionate culture and spirituality.
Christians did it before, and, under the law and grace of God, we will do it again.
Without question one of the most balanced assessments of our situation that I have had the pleasure to read. As this brother says, Conservative Christians, Episcopal or otherwise, must pray hard then act fast. Above all, act before it is too late! The enemy is on the field. Where are we? In this zero sum game every advance of the enemy MUST BE SEEN AS A RETREAT FOR THE FAITHFUL. It is time to get our butts in gear!
I intend to learn more about this man and his mission.
How is this for moral clarity?!?
Ping for exceptional clarity...
(I'm going to bet that Fox+ is familiar with Christopher Dawson's view of history!)
Wow. I wish everyone reads this.
This is a win or lose war. Goodness and truth cannot coexist with evil and falsehood.
Those who leave the Episcopal Church will find the same fight elsewhere, in different forms, because the enemies of Christ assault His followers wherever they are found.
perhaps democracy wasn't meant to be the way church decisions are made...
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