Skip to comments.Counterattack [TEC in SC]
Posted on 09/21/2006 5:09:11 PM PDT by sionnsar
Will the Episcopal left make an example out of South Carolina?
The election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina could deepen the divide between traditionalists and liberals in the American denomination, depending on whether the denominations leadership approves his election.
"If his election were not to be approved, it would create a severe problem," Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the diocese, said Wednesday.
To say the least. What's the Anglican word for Fort Sumter?
Like Salmon, Lawrence is a traditionalist. Answering questions given to the diocese nominees, Lawrence said the Episcopal Church has frayed "by our misguided passion to be culturally sensitive and intellectually flexible."
"In its desire to be perceived as relevant to one segment of our culture it has lost its commitment to the Gospel," he continued. The church "has cast aside scriptural faithfulness. ... Like an addictive or dysfunctional family, this pursuit of cultural sensitivity has led to destructive patterns of behavior."
Like making up Christianity as you go along, for example, and calling it a "movement of the Spirit."
But Lawrences consent may prove difficult. "Already there are indications it will be rough," Harmon said, "because of the deep fracture in our church and the fact that South Carolina is clearly seen on one side."
The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is among seven diocese nationwide that voted to reject the authority of the national churchs presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori. She was elected in June as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. arm of the Anglican Communion. The communion has about 70 million members worldwide; about 2.3 million Episcopalians live in the U.S.
Three years ago, Episcopalians stunned the communion by consecrating the first openly gay bishop - V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
In their statement rejecting Jefferts Schori, leaders of the Diocese of South Carolina wrote, "the election of a new Presiding Bishop who supported (Robinsons) consecration, and who has advocated and permitted same-sex blessings in her diocese is another painful complication."
"We will find a way to sort this out as Anglicans, so we have a common future. But whenever youre in a badly broken relationship, the first thing you need is space," he said. "If they take away the space of a diocese of being able to choose its own leader, they send a signal that the Episcopal Church intends to move totally contrary to the Anglican Communion."
Would the liberals actually go through with it? Jake thinks it's a nifty idea.
One would think that the Standing Committees and Bishops will have a difficult time giving consents to this election. Although I would be hesitant to use the unfortunate resolution B033 passed by manipulation at our last convention, it would seem to me that anyone advocating for schism would fit the description of one "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion." Some of us were deeply opposed to this wording, but the majority wanted it. The question is, now that an opportunity has arisen to show that this was "not just about gay bishops," will they use it?
Tobias Haller's not saying that he supports the notion or anything. It's just that...well, you know.
Bishop-elect Lawrences responses are troubling. He appears to say (I will stand corrected if the double negative of question 19 confused him) that the church should divide over the issue of the rightness or wrongness of homosexual conduct. This in itself would appear to be countenancing schism, the technical name for division in the church. The bishop-elect is unsure as to whether he would remain in orders if his diocese does not separate from the Episcopal Church and such insecurity is incompatible with an Oath. Finally, he intends not to remain with the Episcopal Church if South Carolina separates from it. That is, at least, how his answers appear. He surely deserves an opportunity to correct any misapprehensions, or wrong conclusions one might draw from a survey such as the one to which he responded.
Whether these survey responses by bishop-elect Lawrence constitute an impediment and if he stands by them thus remains to be seen and needs to be seen and will have to be judged by those preparing to give or withhold consent. Surely his statements are troubling on the surface. But I served on a committee with him at this last General Convention, and he seemed to me to be a man of high principle and conscience. I would pray that he would carefully examine his conscience and his principles in this present instant, and if there is any defect in his intent, mend it, or otherwise not place himself in the perilous position of taking an Oath he may not be prepared to maintain.
I don't think ECUSA's left could possibly be that dumb. Not unless they wanted to (1) Drive South Carolina out immediately, (2) Probably drive the rest of the Network out with it, (3) get the lawsuits going hot and heavy, (4) Dynamite any chance that Kate Schori would get an invitation to the next primates meeting, and (5) Enrage the Third World bishops, force Dr. William's hand, give ECUSA a head start on its second-class Anglican status and probably kill the next Lambeth Conference.
Counting on restraint or wisdom from the powers-that-be is probably not a winning strategy.
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