Skip to comments.Liberals Lash Out As Orthodox Opposition Mounts [David Virtue]
Posted on 08/19/2006 6:48:25 PM PDT by sionnsar
Sides are being drawn up in what promises to be all out total war between liberal and conservative factions in The Episcopal Church, with orthodox forces on one side represented by Network and Windsor bishops, while on the other, groups like Via Media, "The Episcopal Majority" and a plethora of pansexual forces, standing arrayed against them.
And Dr. Rowan Williams, who is sending two emissaries to the U.S. to try and keep the peace, seems powerless to control or stop it.
Where, once upon a time, it was the Network "fundamentalist" bishops, the American Anglican Council and a host of fleeing orthodox priests and their parishes that were being blamed for the church's ills and failure to preach the new doctrine of inclusivity, now the self-identified Windsor bishops are catching it with both barrels.
The Rev. William R. Coats, a retired priest who lives in Hohokus, NJ, who identifies himself with a new group calling themselves The Episcopal Majority, has written a response to the upcoming Texas meeting called by Bishop Don Wimberly to affirm the Windsor Report as the way forward for the TEC.
In his letter, he rips both Wimberly and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and scores Dr. Williams for sending "two emissaries" - the Bishops of Durham and Winchester - to Texas to presumably pour oil on troubled waters, suggesting a way forward with flying bishops, to enforce Lambeth Resolution 1:10 (as the official teaching of the church on sexuality) and please don't form a 10th Province under an evangelical African or Asian Primate or it will ruin everything.
Coats deplores the upcoming meeting calling it "divisive and harmful for our church."
Now in times past when revisionists got angry with orthodox believers they were called all manner of names like "homophobic", "fundamentalist, "mean-spirited", lacking inclusion and in much need of diversity training.
But Coats takes it to a new level. He says that neither Bishop Wimberly nor Dr. Williams have any legal authority to do what they are doing and then says the actions of an English Bishop (Canterbury has no legal standing in this country or this church) and is trying to sabotage The Episcopal Church. So Coats ratchets up to the level of anger and outrage to that of "legal". That's a whole new level we have not seen before.
Writes Coats: "The Archbishop is certainly entitled to his beliefs, and he may not like what our General Convention did; but this does not give him the right to meddle in our internal affairs with an eye to undermining or overthrowing our process. We had thought the Archbishop was a neutral arbiter. This outrageous act now shows him to be aligned with those who seek to harm this church."
For openers, perhaps Mr. Coats should ask the American Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold why he and George Werner, speaker of the HOD announced the end of ECUSA and the formation of TEC to include 16 jurisdictions at GC2006 in Columbus, Ohio recently if it wasn't intending on forming a breakaway church that could even include Church of England liberals! What legal standing has that got?
Furthermore Williams has steadfastly stayed in the middle refusing to being pushed to either side, neither renouncing Griswold and the revisionists for abandoning 'the faith once delivered to the saints', at the same time making it clear that he stands with the majority of the Anglican Communion, despite his own personal views, for example, on homosexuality.
As a result he has taken a beating from the Archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola for his wishy washy stands (the consequences of which the Nigerian leader may well have his own Lambeth 2008 in Africa), at the same time Williams has warned The Episcopal Church's liberals that they are isolating themselves by their various stands on positions that the communion overwhelming opposes.
Coats' attempts to paint the Archbishop of Canterbury as suddenly orthodox is way too disingenuous. Many American orthodox priests and laity I talk too are none too convinced of Dr. Rowan Williams' orthodoxy, and my talks with African Anglican leaders recently confirms that many on that continent do not think that Williams could lead a lost to soul to Christ if his pension depended on it. They don't understand what his Affirming Catholicism is or amounts too, as they have a very simple message of sin and salvation which is working mightily in winning millions of Africans to Christ. (A Nigerian bishop recently told Christian Challenge editor Auburn Traycik that his province is now 20 million strong up from 18 million a year ago, while the TEC's total Average Sunday Attendance has dropped to well below 800,000!)
Regardless, Coats blasts the Bishop of Texas and the Archbishop of Canterbury arguing that Lambeth Conferences have no legal standing within the Anglican Communion. That is true because there is no single set of Canons or Constitutions in the communion binding us altogether. So The Episcopal Church wants to do anything it likes; including rejecting major doctrines of the faith, push pansexual behavior, spread inclusivity instead of salvation by grace, reject Scripture as normative, and expect the leader of 80 million souls to drink tea in the gardens of Lambeth Palace, with his pinky raised, stroking Griswold's (soon to be Schori's) ego and telling him/her that all is well and all manner of things will be well.
Those days are long gone, and with a woman taking the helm of The Episcopal Church, who has even less gospel that Griswold, the SS ECUSA is heading in only one direction - down.
Coats says that what Wimberly and Williams are doing is an "end run" around General Convention. Really. So when did a convention, any convention pre-empt Holy Scripture? Whoever said that a GC resolution trumped the Bible on faith and morals? Only the church's liberals and they have no business speaking for the church's orthodox faithful, and they certainly don't speak for millions of African Anglican evangelicals who want nothing more to do with the Episcopal Church except to 'snatch from the flames' those who are being burned, like the Bishop of San Joaquin, and dozens of godly orthodox priests who simply can no longer stand the stench of TEC's apostasies.
So frightened are the so-called "diverse center" that this National Gathering of The Episcopal Majority will hold a conference in November, right after Bishop Schori's consecration as the next Presiding Bishop, at Washington's national cathedral to, as they say, "build a national coalition of individuals and groups who are committed to the values and vitality of The Episcopal Church". Now what vitality would that be exactly? Thousands of small churches (average size 77) filled mostly with geriatric Episcopalians who, within a decade will be dead! Some vitality.
They will also "affirm the orthodoxy of our Church, and its adherence to the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral." That's laughable. What orthodoxy? What about affirming the Creeds, the 39 Articles, Lambeth resolution 1:10, the Bibles as 'God's Word written' or affirm sex within marriage between a man and a woman!
The last General Convention broke the famous (or infamous) 'bonds of affection' so many times as to be laughable.
Pittsburgh Bishop and Network Moderator Bob Duncan says the middle has collapsed. "For that part of the Network working constitutionally within ECUSA as over against the dioceses represented by the thirty progressive bishops who issued their Statement of Conscience, we are two churches under one roof," he said recently.
Coats and the new "Episcopal Majority" will have none of it. They say they want to affirm traditional Anglican values of national autonomy and toleration of views involving matters of Church discipline. Translation: We want to do as we please, believe whatever we like, practice whatever bizarre sexualities we choose too, and we don't want to be disciplined for it. In short, stay out of our faces.
To cap it off they want the church, in fact the whole Anglican Communion to affirm the consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson and the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the sacramental life of the Church. No repentance please.
And then having gotten their way, like spoiled children, they want to "oppose all attempts at home and abroad to curb or demean this Church, dismember it or evict it from the Anglican Communion."
And just in case you haven't gotten the message, or it hasn't sunk in deeply enough, they threaten to establish ties with national churches or groups abroad who are sympathetic to The Episcopal Church - in short establish a rival communion of their own just in case Williams or Akinola or the entire Global South decide they have had enough and establish a rival communion of their own which excludes The Episcopal Church.
There you have it. A selfish, ingrate, spoiled, my-way-or-the-highway, sinful, unregenerate church that they expect God to bless with such ballyhooed words as "listening" and "conversation" a fiction in their own minds.
Is it any wonder eight dioceses have pulled out of the national church with dozens of large cardinal parishes having left or poised to go. The Episcopal Church has sown to the wind and it is reaping the whirlwind.
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