Skip to comments.Episcopal Clueless Watch
Posted on 05/23/2005 5:18:33 PM PDT by sionnsar
Frank Griswold had ECUSA's delegation to the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting over to 815 a few days ago:
Members of the Episcopal Churchs theology delegation to the Anglican Consultative Council hearing on homosexuality next month joined Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold May 20 at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City for a strategy session.
Writing to the national Executive Council on May 18, Bishop Griswold invited the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta; the Rev. Michael Battle, associate dean for academic affairs and vice-president of Virginia Theological Seminary; the Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana; the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, Bishop Suffragan of New York; the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity; and Jane Tully of C-FLAG to organize our thoughts and determine how best to express them in ways that will have the greatest chance of being heard and understood as fellow members of Christs risen body.
The Episcopal Churchs presentation will fall into three sections, the Presiding Bishop noted. The seven-member team will address issues scriptural and theological; the reality of homosexuality in the life and experience of faithful persons and families; and a witness to the fact that divergent points of view on issues of sexuality need not be church dividing, and that those who stand in different places can make common cause together in the service of Christs mission.
While the Anglican Consultative Council will pay for three persons to represent us in Nottingham, Bishop Griswold wrote, he added that I feel that we are best served by sending six, in addition to myself, and I have every confidence that these six persons will represent the Episcopal Church with faithfulness and grace.
Figures. The Anglican Consultative Council will pay three people but Frank Griswold feels that ECUSA would be best served with seven. All righty then. Is there any thing in particular that you'd like for lunch, Frank? Got a particular hotel in mind? Considering that this whole controversy revolves around theology, the fact that ECUSA in only going to devote a third of its presentation to it indicates that ECUSA knows it doesn't have a Scriptural leg to stand on and has to fall back on the "homosexuals are really, really nice people" argument because it doesn't have anything else.
As for the idea that "those who stand in different places can make common cause together in the service of Christs mission," Philip Turner disposed of that little hallucination in the June/July issue of First Things. Some highlights:
The contents of the preaching I had heard for a decade from the pulpits of the Anglican Church of Uganda (and from other Christians throughout the continent of Africa) was simply not to be found. One could, of course, dismiss this instance of vacuous preaching as simply another example of the painful inadequacy of the preaching of most seminarians; but, over the years, I have heard the same sermon preached from pulpit after pulpit by experienced priests. The Episcopal sermon, at its most fulsome, begins with a statement to the effect that the incarnation is to be understood as merely a manifestation of divine love. From this starting point, several conclusions are drawn. The first is that God is love pure and simple. Thus, one is to see in Christs death no judgment upon the human condition. Rather, one is to see an affirmation of creation and the persons we are. The life and death of Jesus reveal the fact that God accepts and affirms us.
From this revelation, we can draw a further conclusion: God wants us to love one another, and such love requires of us both acceptance and affirmation of the other. From this point we can derive yet another: Accepting love requires a form of justice that is inclusive of all people, particularly those who in some way have been marginalized by oppressive social practice. The mission of the Church is, therefore, to see that those who have been rejected are included for justice as inclusion defines public policy. The result is a practical equivalence between the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and a particular form of social justice.
For those who view the Episcopal Churchs House of Bishops and its General Convention from the outside, many of their recent actions may seem to represent a denial of something fundamental to the Christian Way of life. But for many inside the Episcopal Church, the equation of the Gospel and social justice constitutes a primary expression of Christian truth. This isnt an ethical divide about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Its a theological chasm one that separates those who hold a theology of divine acceptance from those who hold a theology of divine redemption.
Indeed, it is important to note when examining the working theology of the Episcopal Church that changes in belief and practice within the church are not made after prolonged investigation and theological debate. Rather, they are made by prophetic actions that give expression to the doctrine of radical inclusion. Such actions have become common partly because they carry no cost. Since the struggle over the ordination of women, the Episcopal Churchs House of Bishops has given up any attempt to act as a unified body or to discipline its membership. Within a given diocese, almost any change in belief and practice can occur without penalty.
Certain justifications are commonly named for such failure of discipline. The first is the claim of the prophets mantle by the innovators-often quickly followed by an assertion that the Holy Spirit Itself is doing this new thing, which need have no perceivable link to the past practice of the church. Backed by claims of prophetic and Spirit-filled insight, each diocese can then justify its action as a local option, which is the claimed right of each diocese or parish to go its own way if there seem to be strong enough internal reasons to do so.
This unofficial doctrine of radical inclusion, which is now the working theology of the Episcopal Church, plays out in two directions. In respect to God, it produces a quasi-deist theology that posits a benevolent God who favors love and justice as inclusion but acts neither to save us from our sins nor to raise us to new life after the pattern of Christ. In respect to human beings, it produces an ethic of tolerant affirmation that carries with it no call to conversion and radical holiness.
But this should not be an unexpected development. In a theology dominated by radical inclusion, terms such as faith, justification, repentance, and holiness of life seem to belong to an antique vocabulary that must be outgrown or reinterpreted. So also does the notion that the church is a community elected by God for the particular purpose of bearing witness to the saving event of Christs life, death, and resurrection.
It is this witness that defines the great tradition of the Church, but a theology of radical inclusion must trim such robust belief. To be true to itself it can find room for only one sort of witness: inclusion of the previously excluded. God has already included everybody, and now we ought to do the same. Salvation cannot be the issue. The theology of radical inclusion, as preached and practiced within the Episcopal Church, must define the central issue as moral rather than religious, since exclusion is in the end a moral issue even for God.
We must say this clearly: The Episcopal Churchs current working theology depends upon the obliteration of Gods difficult, redemptive love in the name of a new revelation. The message, even when it comes from the mouths of its more sophisticated exponents, amounts to inclusion without qualification.
The future of Anglicanism as a communion of churches may depend upon the American Episcopal Churchs ability to find a way out of the terrible constraints forced upon it by its working theology. Much of the Anglican communion in Africa sees the problem. Can the Americans? It is not enough simply to refer to the Episcopal Churchs Book of Common Prayer and reply, We are orthodox just like you: we affirm the two testaments as the word of God, we recite the classical creeds in our worship, we celebrate the dominical sacraments, and we hold to episcopal order. The challenge now being put to the Episcopal Church in the United States (and, by implication, to all liberal Protestantism) is not about official documents. It is about the churchs working theology one which most Anglicans in the rest of the world no longer recognize as Christian.
The Episcopal Church is not(yet) universalist in name or in creed but it is universalist in practice. Thus the only thing Frank Griswold and I have in common is words. And the meanings that he and I attach to those words are totally different and sometimes mutually exclusive
When I discuss the Cross of Christ, for example, I mention how Jesus had to die to atone for my sins and for the sins of the whole world. When Frank discusses the Cross, we hear lots about "love" and "reconciliation" and next to nothing at all about sins unless they are corporate ills Episcopalians aren't guilty of, things like racism, sexism or "homophobia."
That's the reason why ECUSA saw, or claimed to see, nothing wrong with giving a pointy hat to an unrepentant sinner like Gene Robinson. It's why I grew up in Episcopal Sunday schools but didn't learn who Jesus Christ was until Billy Graham explained him to me one evening in 1969. And it's also why I and other conservative Anglicans share nothing whatsover with Frank Griswold and the Episcopal Church and why there needs to be an Anglican split.
Don't make me laugh! The destroyer of what was left of sanity in the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. is more like it. This lesbian is one of the leaders of the "gay-lesbian-transgender" takeover of what was once a church.
Thus the only thing Frank Griswold and I have in common is words. And the meanings that he and I attach to those words are totally different and sometimes mutually exclusive.
National Socialist Radio's All Things Considered a month or so ago covered the case of the case of the 6 Connecticut conservative Episcopal priests facing dicipline for not supporting Bishop Robinson.
They interviewed one of the priests, and their bishop. The priest was very clear: "We can't support this. It's contrary to the Scripture and the universal practice of the church.", or words very close to that.
I honestly can't remember a word the bishop said. It was all a mush.
Do we sound like that to them? Or is it like the banquet scene in That Hideous Strength, where the language of those antagonistic to God is turned into a meaningless gabble?
I was at our Men's club at my parish last night. We got into a discussion about God's love. I was talking to a gentleman who was talking about how God gives us unconditional love despite our sins and faults, just as we unconditonally love our children regardless of what they do.
I finally found an answer that I can briefly explain. It's like this:
"Yes, I unconditionally love my kids. And I offer them rules to live by, telling them what's right and wrong and applying encouragement and discipline to get them to do right. But my kids, especially as they get older, are free to ignore and reject me and my advice, my rules. And when they do, they hurt themselves. In fact, if they do things such as use addictive drugs, get involved in gangs, engage in dangerous behavior, etc., they can die. Even if they are physically O.K., they can die spiritually. And God's unconditional love is like this. He offers it to us, and because He loves us he offers us rules to live by. But if we ignore and reject him, then we will injure ourselves both physically and spiritually. But instead of dying once, rejecting God's direction for us can cause us to die forever. God loves us unconditionally, but that doesn't mean that we won't manage to kill ourselves."
They've jumped off the 100th floor and are at the 35th floor saying "God has not done anything yet so it must mean I'm okay!"
I have quit attending the heretical Anglican church I'd been going to and have yet to find a church here in Toronto that is any better. One Catholic church I attended I felt very strongly urged to leave, as soon as I set foot inside. It's discouraging to be surrounded by heretics, but it is comforting to be led to recognize them.
More like President of DISintegration.
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