How the Episcopal Church Became Heretical

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Dale McNamee, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. Dale McNamee

    Dale McNamee
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    Hello Everyone,

    This is how the Episcopal church in the US became heretical. While "Bishop" Spong is the main influence,he wasn't the only one.

    Remember,the many "divinity" students who avoided the draft during Vietnam and became "respected" theologians who began pushing the same ideas!

    I copied these comments from the athiest.about.com website and you can get more, if you care to, at beliefnet.com :

    Bishop John Shelby Spong

    A major function of fundamentalist religion is to bolster deeply insecure and fearful people. This is done by justifying a way of life with all of its defining prejudices. It thereby provides an appropriate and legitimate outlet for one's anger. The authority of an inerrant Bible that can be readily quoted to buttress this point of view becomes an essential ingredient to such a life. When that Bible is challenged, or relativized, the resulting anger proves the point categorically. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism, (San Fransisco: Harper Collins, 1991), p. 5.]

    What the mind cannot cannot believe the heart can finally never adore. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism, (San Fransisco: Harper Collins, 1991), p. 24.]

    Biblical higher criticism is preserved in the particular enclave of academic Christian scholarship and is thought to be too unfruitful to share with the average pew-sitter, for it raises more questions than the church can adequately answer. So the leaders of the church would protect the simple believers from concepts they were not trained to understand. In this way that ever-widening gap between academic Christians and the average pew-sitter made its first appearance. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (San Fransisco: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 12.]

    At its very core the story of Easter has nothing to do with angelic announcements or empty tombs. It has nothing to do with time periods, whether three days, forty days, or fifty days. It has nothing to do with resuscitated bodies that appear and disappear or that finally exit this world in a heavenly ascension. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (San Fransisco: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 12.]

    Papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy are the two ecclesiastical versions of this human idolatry. Both papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy require widespread and unchallenged ignorance to sustain their claims to power. Both are doomed as viable alternatives for the long- range future of anyone. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (San Fransisco: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 99.]

    I cannot say my yes to legends that have been clearly and fancifully created. If I could not move my search beyond angelic messengers, empty tombs, and ghostlike apparitions, I could not say yes to Easter. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (San Fransisco: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 237.]

    If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions included in the Gospels, then Christianity is doomed. For that view of resurrection is not believable, and if that is all there is, then Christianity, which depends upon the truth and authenticity of Jesus' resurrection, also is not believable. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (San Fransisco: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 238.]

    The best way to lose all is to cling with desperation to that which cannot possibly be sustained literally. Literalistic Christians will learn that a God or a faith system that has to be defended daily is finally no God or faith system at all. They will learn that any god who can be killed ought to be killed. Ultimately they will discover that all their claims to represent the historical, traditional, or biblical truth of Christianity cannot stop the advance of knowledge that will render every historic claim for a literal religious system questionable at best, null and void at worst. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality? pg. 22]

    Integrity and honesty, not objectivity and certainty, are the highest virtues to which the theological enterprise can aspire. From this perspective, all human claims to possess objectivity, certainty, or infallibility are revealed as nothing but the weak and pitiable pleas of frantically insecure people who seek to live in a illusion because reality has proved to be too difficult. Papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy are the two ecclesiastical versions of this human idolatry. Both papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy require widespread and unchallenged ignorance to sustain their claims to power. Both are doomed as viable alternatives for the long-range future of anyone. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality? pg. 99]

    They amuse themselves by playing an irrelevant ecclesiastical game called Let's Pretend. Let's pretend that we possess the objective truth of God in our inerrant Scriptures or in our infallible pronouncements or in our unbroken apostolic traditions. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality? pg. 100]

    I could not believe that anyone who has read this book would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of God. Have these people simply not read the text? Are they hopelessly misinformed? Is there a different Bible? Are they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naivete? [Bishop John Shelby Spong]


    But,don't worry,he'll be facing the God who he doesn't believe in on judgement day where he will be "rewarded" for his "innovative" thinking!

    In Christ,
    Dale
     
  2. John Gilmore

    John Gilmore
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    Dale,

    You hit the nail on the head. A denomination becomes heretical as soon as it abandons scriptural inerrancy. It immediately becomes open to all forms of apostasy.
     
  3. MikeS

    MikeS
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    All I can say is that I despised Spong 25 years before I had a religious or God-centered thought in my head. I remember him on "Firing Line" and I just wanted to push a pie in his condescending face even then!
     
  4. Dale McNamee

    Dale McNamee
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    Dear John Gilmore,
    I couldn't agree more with you!

    And Dear Mike S.,
    I met Spong around '80-81 and I wanted to "jack him up against the wall" then for patronizing me and my beliefs (I beame a Christian in 1971).

    It must really be bad if a "non-religious" person wanted to "shove a pie in his face". :rolleyes: [​IMG] [​IMG]

    In Christ,

    Dale
     
  5. MikeS

    MikeS
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    Spong was Tom Sawyer's cousin Sidney as an adult, puffed up and pompous and condescending. Tom would've known how to handle him! [​IMG]
     
  6. CatholicConvert

    CatholicConvert
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    Dale:

    I just wonder. Why not consider coming back Home to Rome? What are the stumbling blocks for you personally? I would be interested in knowing this as a former Protestant myself.

    Cordially in Christ,

    Brother Ed
     
  7. Jude

    Jude
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    The failure to address the apostasy of Spong, Swing, Righter and a host of others has lead to this final 'straw' that has broken the 'camel's back'. As an Anglican priest, currently in ECUSA, I, with over 2,000 others, am attending the following in Dallas October 7-9, "A Place to Stand"...

    Conference Information
    The decision to approve a non-celibate homosexual man as a bishop of the Episcopal Church and to allow for the blessing of same-sex unions has sent shockwaves through our church. This action revealed a church that has lost its foundation in biblical truth and the historic teaching of the church.
    Hundreds of thousands of faithful Episcopalians around the country are reeling from the actions of the 74th General Convention.
    The American Anglican Council has asked Christ Church to host a major gathering of faithful orthodox members of the Episcopal Church. We are mindful of the extraordinary meeting of the Primates the following week. Nevertheless, we are inviting bishops, priests, deacons, wardens, chancellors, treasurers, and other lay leaders in the church to come to Plano and help us achieve four broad range goals together:

    1. To declare our faith and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Anglican Communion.
     
    2. To declare our support in calling on the Primates of the Anglican Communion to intervene in this pastoral emergency.
     
    3. To prepare and strengthen ourselves and those whom we serve to become a missionary church dedicated to the Great Commission.
     
    4. To prepare our congregations and ministries for possible realignment to insure an orthodox and vital Anglican/Episcopal presence in the United States.
     
  8. WPutnam

    WPutnam
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    Are you saying that it was not heretical before? How far back can I take history of Episcopalianism to find it not heretical? Perhaps back to England, the Church of England?

    Possibly before King Henry VIIIth decided to divorce his wife?

    Just curious...

    God bless,

    PAX

    Rome has spoken, case is closed.

    Derived from Augustine's famous Sermon.
     
  9. WPutnam

    WPutnam
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    I hope you great success in this conference, sir!

    And I hope you do not find offense in my post immediately above! [​IMG]

    But I do hope that the final thing this conference will discover is the ultimate truth. And I mean that will an open heart and in all Chaistian charity...

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!
     
  10. Jude

    Jude
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    To say that Henry's divorce was the sole-cause of the 'split' between Canterbury and Rome is to ignore many other factors. We believe, as you know, that we are just as Catholic as Rome or the Orthodox churches of the east. That being said, I do believe that the Lord is purifying His Church, and that their will be some-kind of reunification of the Catholic churches in this century. Perhaps this is beginning. The following article may be of interest...

    The Scourge

    IN VINDICATION OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

    By The Rev. Dr Andrew Starkie

    "Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no
    wise slay it: she is the mother thereof." 1 Kings 3.27

    The Primates meeting together this autumn will require the wisdom of
    Solomon if they are to lead the churches under their care according to
    the will of God. It is worth looking back, therefore at the archetypal
    case which faced Israel's wisest king, and the judgment which he made.

    The story is familiar enough: two harlots come to the king, asking him
    to judge between them. One of their baby sons was dead, the other
    alive. Both claimed that the living one was their own, and the dead
    one, the other's. With no witnesses besides the women themselves, the
    king had a hard task: how was he to judge which was the true mother,
    and which the liar? It has been a tradition amongst Christians to refer
    to the Church, through which we came to new birth, as our mother.

    The recent Mind of Anglicans survey reveals that within the Church of
    England (and, indeed, within the Anglican Communion in the West) we now
    have effectively two claimants to be the true mother of the faithful.

    On the one hand, there is the church which maintains the orthodox faith
    which is contained in the great Creeds of the Church, and takes
    seriously the inheritance of faith; which does not regard the Bible as
    a merely human text, but holds it to be God's revelation to man; which
    does not exalt private judgment or subjective experience over the
    universal consensus of the historic Church in matters of faith and
    doctrine.

    That is, there is the church which is the worldwide majority of
    Anglicans, whether they call themselves Anglo-Catholic, high- church,
    evangelical, or orthodox, who are Christians in the sense that our
    forefathers in the faith would have understood that term. On the other
    hand, there is the church, almost unknown amongst the poor churches of
    the Global South, but thriving in the decadent West, and especially in
    ECUSA.

    It is suspicious of the religion of the unwashed herd, and has instead
    capitulated to the ethos of progress, or development. Like a virus, it
    transforms itself by engagement with orthodoxy; so, like the 'flu, it
    develops more virulent strains, harder to detect, more damaging.

    It always claims to be the true mother, and is ever running down and
    disparaging the orthodox as marginal or ignorant. But the reek of
    wolfish breath may be detected, even under the laundered fleece. They
    are ever the minority, because they are at heart gnostics: their
    'truth' will never be understood by the ignorant rabble.

    They, too, might call themselves catholic, evangelical, orthodox
    (radically so), as well as modern, liberal, affirming and open. They
    may invoke tradition, though in their hands it is a very slippery eel.
    They also have a strong grip on much of the media.

    Wisdom comes from experience, and the virtue of history is that it
    gives us vicarious experience. The two rival claimants have contended
    before within the Church of England, and the orthodox have never yet
    lost the argument, though because of the influence of the secular power
    they have sometimes lost the vote. Indeed, when they looked like
    winning the vote, back in 1717, the Convocation was shut down by the
    government. Churchmen were then threatened by plans for an 'inclusive'
    church-inclusive, that is, of Arians and Deists.

    Heterodox government ministers had appointed Benjamin Hoadly, an arch-
    liberal, to the diocese of Bangor, and doctrinal discipline looked
    endangered. In the ensuing furore, called the Bangorian Controversy,
    the revisionists of the time expected support from the recently-
    appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, William Wake.

    Wake had been their political ally, which is why he was appointed to
    Canterbury. But once in place, Wake realized that the revelation of God
    was being nullified, and that Christianity itself was threatened, and
    so he opposed his erstwhile backers. Wake found himself allied with
    high churchmen such as the great spiritual writer William Law, against
    the threat of having heresy imposed on the Church.

    In the event, the orthodox line held, and Providence intervened when
    the most hawkish ministers fell from grace in a financial scandal, and
    soon after died. In the 1920s and 30s, there emerged a new
    manifestation of the old heretical virus.

    It was called 'Modernism'. It was typified by the likes of Dean Inge of
    St Paul's, and Bishop Barnes of Birmingham. At the heart of this heresy
    was the belief that science had shown us that we had progressed beyond
    the primitive norms which Christianity was born in, and we needed to
    ditch them as unbelievable by modern man. So out went the miracles, the
    Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, and so on. But they weren't content just
    to tinker around with a bit of dogma here and there. They wanted to
    help the whole world embrace the new reality.

    Having given up on the supernatural, they set about creating heaven on
    earth, as they saw it. They wanted as many people as possible to live
    an earthly life as good as life could be. And their vision of the
    perfect life might be caricatured as being a pretty First Class
    candidate in Maths at Trinity College, Cambridge, or something like
    that. Their horizons were amazingly narrow for people who claimed to be
    so enlightened. This was the Nirvana which we could one day expect to
    attain.

    But how would this progress be achieved? Eugenics. It is not generally
    known that eugenicists were a powerful force within the Church of
    England and in PECUSA in the early twentieth century, but in fact
    eugenics was the Modernist cause within the Church.

    The later history of eugenics, most notably its adoption by the Nazi
    ideologues, has meant that the heirs of Modernism are loathe to
    acknowledge their former allegiance to it. Eugenics was the most
    visible social expression of the modernist doctrinal heresy: it
    proposed a hideous social experiment which treated people as means to
    an end. But far from following social trends, Modernist churchmen were
    in the vanguard of promoting eugenic practices, using their
    ecclesiastical support as a propaganda tool to further an unpopular
    agenda.

    Although they used the rhetoric of being 'relevant', Modernist
    churchmen used the Church itself as a vehicle for effecting a change in
    wider social attitudes towards eugenics. Some of the language used by
    the Modernists Inge and Barnes is truly stomach turning, and no-one who
    lives in the post-Auschwitz world can fail to be startled by the
    frankness of its disrespect for human beings as creatures made in the
    image and likeness of God. 'Feeble-mindedness', warned Inge, 'cannot be
    bred out of a family in which it has established itself, but it could
    be eliminated by bringing the infected stock to an end.' (Outspoken
    Essays, 2nd series, p. 258). 'Unchecked mongrelising destroys the
    symmetry of a national type' (p. 262). 'Persons with a definite
    transmissible taint ought not to be allowed to procreate... the
    reckless must be restrained by the State. For it is obvious that when
    the State takes upon itself the burden of providing for all the
    defectives that are born, it is entirely within its rights in insisting
    that the number of these worse than useless mouths shall not be
    wantonly increased' (p. 271).

    Bishop Barnes maintained, 'When religious people realise that, in thus
    preventing the survival of the socially unfit, they are working in
    accordance with the plan by which God has brought humanity so far on
    its road, their objections to repressive action will vanish.'

    (Should such a faith offend?, p. 288). Barnes even praised St Paul and
    St John as exponents of 'Aryan' thought, as against the 'irrational
    asceticism and sacramental magic' of the 'swarthy' Mediterranean races
    (pp. 170-71). How was the eugenic experiment to be put into effect?
    Birth control. The great campaign for birth control in the 1920s and
    30s was driven by a eugenic engine: the desire to 'educate' the poor
    and 'feeble minded' into not having children. The great obstacle which
    eugenicists had to overcome in order to put their ideas into effect
    was the traditional resistance of the churches to the separation of sex
    from procreation.

    It was at the Lambeth Conference of 1930 that Inge, Barnes and their
    allies pushed for a change in the Church's teaching. The orthodox
    bishops wavered. The resolution which approved artificial birth control
    was, of course, surrounded by pious caveats. The caveats have, of
    course, subsequently been universally ignored. The dam had been broken,
    and the Modernists were handed a powerful weapon for remoulding
    society. Its demoralizing effects since then on society in the West
    have been all too evident. If the orthodox had held firm, relief would
    have been forthcoming.

    The reaction against Modernism in the late 1930s was swift and
    terrible, and the rout almost complete. Orthodox evangelicals rallied
    to the Barthian banner, and the excesses of the Nazi regime
    demonstrated the need to refrain from reckless social experiments in
    the name of progress, especially racial progress.

    The virus of Modernism eventually returned with John Robinson's half-
    baked scepticism in the 1960s. But the orthodox response has so far
    failed to come. Michael Ramsey appeared to defend the historic faith,
    though in the event he did nothing to stop the social manifestation of
    the Modernist heresy, but instead opened the floodgates himself,
    proposing legislation to legalize abortion and sodomy. There was no
    fight.

    Now, in New Hampshire, the Modernist virus has shown its true colours.
    Its social consequences are plain, its agenda out of the closet. The
    orthodox can no longer afford to maintain the divisions of 'party':
    keeping the Catholic or the Evangelical wing together is yesterday's
    politics. If it was shabby then, it is useless now.

    The time has come to discern the true mother. ECUSA recklessly
    disregarded the warnings of the Archbishop of Canterbury that
    proceeding with the appointment of Gene Robinson and approving same-sex
    unions would lead to the break-up of the Communion. Revisionist clergy
    such as 'Revd Una Kroll' (The Times, 9 Aug) are already screaming for
    the child to be cut in two, so they can have a piece of a dead church
    in which they can promote heresy without having to listen to orthodox
    complaints.

    A 'no fault' divorce of the Anglican communion would treat the
    Christian faith merely as a matter of opinion, not of salvation. What
    is needed is the exercise of godly discipline which leaves the door
    open to reconciliation. Such a discipline has traditionally been called
    excommunication. Contrary to the popular view, excommunication actually
    affirms that someone is part of the church-though under discipline
    because of unrepentant sin.

    True wisdom demands an solemn ultimatum by the Primates, and especially
    by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for ECUSA and New Westminster to
    repent of their heresy, or face the discipline of being out of
    communion with them until they do so. Provision of alternative
    oversight will help ECUSA to take the discipline seriously. Then, by
    its actions, the Revisionist church will demonstrate whether it is the
    true mother, as it claims-or whether it is something else.

    The Revd Dr Andrew Starkie is curate of St. Barts in Newcastle upon
    Tyne
     
  11. William Putnam

    William Putnam
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    Jude replied:

    I don't believe I said that it was the "sole-cause," but even an Episcopal priest here in Pensacola told me that it was at least the spark that begin the schism. I am sure there were other issues that were festering before the pope denied his divorce.

    I've printed-out your article for reading, so I will comment on it as I go along:


    OK, but somewhere, I may make reference to the Church of England in the same context as the Church of America in the same context as the Church of Italy. [​IMG]

    I just might suggest a third alternative, albeit not Anglican… [​IMG]

    Indeed, I do agree that "that there is the church which maintains the orthodox faith."

    So which church was it before the Anglican split with the Catholic Church? Or to extend it further, before the Orthodox split in approximately AD 1,000?

    So far, I see this as a defense of the original "orthodox" Church of England (the Church which broke from Rome) against those "upstarts" that have been successful in compromising of doctrine, culmination in what has recently happened here in the United States.

    The Anglican Church the "true mother"? Oh, you mean those who are compromising against the "orthodox" Anglican as it was originally after the break with Rome?

    I am not sure I have ever ran into this phenomenon, that the more "progressive/liberal/reforming" (or what ever handle fits) of a break-away church looks with such haughtiness, upon the church it sprung from. But I do see the charge that it is the other way around - That Catholicism looks down with disdain (in a "superior attitude," I am always being reminded of) - in my nearly 20 years of defending my faith.

    In my youth, being an Fundamentalist Protestant seeking the "true Church" of Jesus Christ, I gave the Episcopal/Anglican community about 1 nanosecond of consideration out of an obvious (to me) lack of orthodoxy! To seek orthodoxy to it's source, via the evidence of the early church fathers, let me straight-away to the Catholic Church. Or perhaps I should give the full title" The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church headquartered in Rome.

    No offense, but that is the way I see it…(or saw it back in 1953!) [​IMG]

    Two rival claimants in America? I presume one is more in line with the main Church body in England, how "orthodox" she herself is I care not to speculate so as not to offend you. You must know I do not give it much credence…

    This is beyond my knowledge. The names are obviously not familiar names to me, but I get the gist of it, I think… Is that Bangor, Maine or a city in England?

    That goes to show you my ignorance! [​IMG]

    OK, this sounds like events in England only, not involving the USA, but I do see similarities that only you can elaborate on…

    Ah hah! I have a time line now! Something that occurred about when I was born!

    Sounds like bishop Spong to me! (And I do not know him that well…)

    I wonder what "miracles" that were held extra-scriptural before that time? I wonder what was thought of about the events at Lourdes and Fatima…

    De we see the fruits of this in the "Jesus Seminars" here in this country?

    I know of it vaguely…

    This is new to me; that the Church of England was that involved. I think I am a bit shocked, wondering if there were any in the Catholic Church so afflicted with this thought? I sure hope not!

    (Continued in next message)
     
  12. William Putnam

    William Putnam
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    (Continued from previous message)

    (NOTE: I find the term "Roman Catholic Church" too distasteful (my understanding that this is an Anglican construct), so if you don't mind, when you see the term "Catholic Church," I am speaking of that church that has her headquarters in ROME!) [​IMG]

    Lord have mercy!

    Ah hah! Birth control rears it's ugly head! :(

    I now get the impression that you, Jude, stand on the side of orthodoxy on this subject. If so, we are head and shoulders brothers in agreement here! [​IMG]

    You give clarity to a statement I often make concerning artificial birth control:

    That in the 1930's ALL Christians stood with the Catholic Church in opposing as a grave sin, artificial birth control.

    Where are they all now? :(

    A sad situation indeed!

    Yes, I see an unreconsilable breach here. But I do have a solution… [​IMG]

    Now we are speaking of events here in the USA.

    Jude, I think the Episcopal Church in America is in serious trouble! And please, believe me when I say that not with an attitude that we do not "have a beam in our own eyes" in the sins of our own clergy, overblown and over-reported as I believe they are, but with regard that none of Christianity, Protestant, Catholic or whatever, should not show this to the non-Christian world! It is a grave scandal that hurts the mission to spread the gospel of Christ.

    It surprises me to see and Anglican priest say this! Thank God! And by your posting this, I think you are of the same feeling! [​IMG]

    Do they have the guts, the fortitude to do this?

    Good for this man!

    He sees a serious problem that needs attention in your community, Jude! And my prayers go out to you and yours, your congregation and your faith!

    I could offer a "better cure" for the problems confronting Episcopalians today, but I want to be as charitable as I can. It reminds of an "Anglican use" parish in New England somewhere, as well and the journey of one Father Ray Ryland. You may have heard of him. He was a married Episcopal priest who converted to Catholicism, petitioned Rome for a dispensation that he could be ordained a Catholic priest, and it was GRANTED! He appears on EWTN every once in a while, and a wonderful testimony he and his wife tells. And please know that he looks back on his former community with great love…

    You are an Anglican priest (or perhaps better, an Episcopal priest)?

    (I used to talk to a Fr. Ken Peck in Texas some years ago, so perhaps you know him.)

    Please pray for me, A sinner who falls far short of the glory of God!

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    Et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram
    aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt
    adversum eam et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum et quodcumque
    ligaveris super terram erit ligatum in caelis et quodcumque
    solveris super terram erit solutum in caelis.


    (Matt 16:18-19 From the Latin Vulgate)
     
  13. Jude

    Jude
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    a letter from the man who may be the 'new archbishop' of a'new Canterbury'......

    ANGLICAN COMMUNION NEWS SERVICE

    Archbishop Akinola attacks Archbishop Ndungane over "Gay Remarks"

    [ACNS source: All Africa News Agency] The Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter J. Akinola, has written a strong-worded letter to his southern Africa counterpart, Archbishop Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, expressing deep criticism over the stand taken by Archbishop Ndungane on the controversial issue of gay ordination within the Anglican Church.Responding to Archbishop Ndungane’s recent sentiments published in a leading British newspaper, Archbishop Akinola has launched a scathing attack on his fellow churchman, telling him, “you got it all wrong”.
    Archbishop Ndungane had indicated in an interview that African clergymen, including Archbishop Akinola, who were expressing opposition to gay ordination were arrogant, intolerant and hypocritical.
    Below is the full text of Archbishop Akinola’s letter, released yesterday:

    A MESSAGE TO ARCHBISHOP NDUNGANE

    “My attention has just been drawn to a publication by a religious affairs correspondent in a British daily criticising the stand of a majority of Global South Primates and several other bishops around the world over the current departures arising from the ongoing controversies surrounding unscriptural revisionist innovations on human sexuality.
    Your criticism is based on some unfortunate presuppositions. And coming at this time, it appears like an attempt to cause a possible diversion of focus amongst African and Global South Church leaders. But thank God these leaders have come of age, they are no longer to be pulled by the nose nor taken for granted. We are poised, using every gift of God available to us to defend orthodoxy, the integrity of the Church, and banish the erroneous teachings you plan to impose on us.
    The criticism
    1. How correct are you dear brother Archbishop Ndungane in judging the cloud of witnesses to biblical truth through the ages whose stand on biblical ethics is only being upheld by those of us who are now branded as arrogant and intolerant? Is there anything in our pronouncements that constitutes a departure from the standard of morality held out in the Bible?
    Isn’t it a paradox that the Archbishop of Southern Africa sees no arrogance in those whose flagrant disregard of the stand of the entire Anglican Communion has plunged us into this sad and avoidable controversy. They have refused to ensure strict compliance with resolutions duly passed at the Bishops’ Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ Meetings. To you that is alright. Should there not be a protest against such disrespect? When has the poor (as we in the Global South are often called) begun to be proud over and against the rich (the affluent West)?
    2. How can you forget so soon the alert we sounded at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Hong Kong barely a year ago? It is worth repeating here:
    “While I appreciate that the New Westminster diocese and the Church of Canada may not be, in numerical terms, especially large ecclesia bodies, we value them as dearly as we value all our partner Provinces. We have a growing fear for the sense of loss which sustained departure by them from our common path and mind must risk. We urge and pray that reflection will lead to reconsideration. It is hard indeed to see any action, which threatens our Communion to be justified as a ‘local mission priority’”
    3. Brother Ndungane, you got it all wrong. What you cited as top priorities are in this context clearly misplaced. I ask, are the issues of peace, hunger, sharia, and HIV/AIDS, serious and prevalent, as they are, more important to the Church than faithfulness to the plain truth of Scripture? We remind you dear brother of our Lord’s response to a similar situation two thousand years ago as recorded in Luke 13:1-5.(Please take time to read it over and over again). His response was that, tragic as those situations were, the more important priority was repentance. He actually said, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish” It didn’t mean that Christ was not compassionate. If anything He demonstrated compassion daily in His miracles and teachings. We are following His footsteps by doing all we can for those caught in these painful conditions as part of our holistic approach to ministry.
    We place a high priority on caring. For sure, the Archbishop has not forgotten that ‘man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from God’ (Dt. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Lk. 4:4). Peace, hunger, sharia and HIV/AIDS are indeed major life and death issues, albeit, they are at the physical level. Unfaithfulness to Scripture is a more major life and death issue because it is spiritual. What shall it profit a man to feed well and live long here on earth only to lose his soul in hell? What then is the Church here for ?
    4. On the question of integrity of ECUSA’s decision, again we ask, can one eat his cake and still have it in his hands? And can two walk together unless they be agreed? (Amos 3:3). If the integrity of a part is so important, what will be said of the whole? And it must be said that this is not a matter of ‘unity in diversity’ for according to the rule: in the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, freedom; in all things charity, the issue at stake falls within the orbit of the essentials and thus any deviation means alienation.
    One suspects in your unguarded and scathing criticism a resurgence of a hitherto latent feeling of hurt since the Lambeth Conference Committee on human sexuality you chaired was overwhelmingly overruled by the so-called hard-liners who are not willing to compromise the precious heritage of scriptural truth.
    5. The accusation of hypocrisy does not recognise the inherent difference between what the Church openly and officially sanctions and what it does not but exists. In the former, the Church stands responsible while in the latter, the burden of blame and guilt remains the private responsibility of those concerned with the accompanying room for repentance and forgiveness. This accusation carries with it an uncomfortable insinuation of double standards on the part of those opposed to homosexuality in the Church. However, it still does not square up as two wrongs do not add up to a right.
    6. The unwarranted accusation that Africans do not know much about their sexuality portends a talking-down of Africans - agnostic tendency that is capable of weakening the resolve of the African church leaders to be God’s prophets in times like this. The biblical prophets resisted it and so must their contemporary counterparts.
    I ask you dear brother to face issues and not fall into the temptation of “casting stones”. Apparently you do not know everything I have said and done on every issue concerning Nigeria. That you have not heard any fuss from me in the foreign media about certain issues does not mean the Church which by the grace of God I lead is doing nothing. For instance, I deliberately included Zamfara State in the itinerary of the immediate past Archbishop of Canterbury to Nigeria and called the world’s attention to the infringement on fundamental human rights that the imposition of the Islamic penal code portended for freedom-loving peoples. The Church in Nigeria has borne the most brunt of this unwarranted imposition. If you care to know, I urge you to refer to the volumes of published findings by Christian Solidarity Worldwide following their repeated visits to Nigeria, including my Office.
    Conclusion
    May I say as I conclude that your comments reveal a palpable failure to grasp the nature of the issues at stake. Your criticism is so burdened with such sad and most unfortunate presuppositions that see our stand from the point of arrogance and intolerance rather than a strong will to defend the ‘faith that was once delivered to the saints.’ When you accuse us of arrogance and intolerance, be courageous enough to direct the searchlight at yourself and those for whom you spoke.
    What is at stake has to do not just with the identity of the Church universal and our historic faith but also how we treat God and his incarnate and written Word. Yes, we are a worldwide communion, but our church is only a part of the holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Where the autonomy of any part of our communion becomes a scandal in the entire Christian world, then we must be humble enough to accept rebuke and correction. There is still room for repentance. Amen.”
    The Most Revd Peter J Akinola
    Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate
    The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
     
  14. Jude

    Jude
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    MONROEVILLE, Pa. (Sept. 27) - Episcopal dioceses in Pennsylvania and Texas accused the national church Saturday of exceeding its authority and violating its own constitution by confirming its first openly gay bishop and approving the blessing of same-sex unions.
    ``These acts are to be held null and void, and of no effect, in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh,'' read a resolution approved 239-69 by delegates in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
    Clergy and lay delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in Texas conducted a similar vote as part of a national drive among conservative dioceses and clergy seeking to distance themselves from the Episcopal Church for its decisions last month on the gay bishop and same-sex unions.
    ``We are here to take a stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ in a time of great dissension and confusion in our church,'' said Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker.
    Talk About It
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    Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, meeting in Jacksonville, discussed plans for a formal vote Nov. 15 on whether to support the national convention. Most oppose the two decisions but want to work within the church to resolve the differences, the Rev. Mark Eldredge said.
    Both the Texas and Pennsylvania dioceses called on the Anglican Communion to recognize those who oppose the gay bishop and same-sex blessings as ``the legitimate expression'' of the Episcopal Church.
    Delegates in Pennsylvania also approved a resolution that would allow parishes to withhold money from the national church.
    The national denomination of the Episcopal Church, with 2.3 million members, is the U.S. branch of the worldwide, 77 million-member Anglican Communion.
    ``We are dealing with the consequences of that body's schismatic - literally unity-breaking - acts,'' said Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan. ``We are trying to call the Episcopal Church back to its senses, and asking the worldwide Communion to help us.''
    The discontent among conservatives was fueled by an Aug. 5 vote of the national church's General Convention to confirm as bishop the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who has lived with a male partner for more than 13 years. New Hampshire clergy and lay Episcopalians had earlier elected Robinson to be their next bishop.
    During the same meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., General Convention delegates also voted to let dioceses continue to decide on their own whether to perform same-sex blessing ceremonies. Some Episcopalians argue that the wording of the measure means the ceremonies are consistent with church teaching.
    Bishop Frank Griswold, the head of the Episcopal Church, supported the decision to confirm Robinson in a letter last month to U.S. clergy and fellow Anglican leaders around the world. He said a ``blessing'' can come from the controversy.
    Conservative leaders believe both decisions go against the Anglican Communion, and some have already taken action.
    A week ago, the Diocese of Central Florida voted to repudiate the General Convention's vote on Robinson and same-sex blessing ceremonies and asked world Anglican leaders to intervene.
    The Diocese of Albany, N.Y., also rejected the decision on Robinson and same-sex blessings and asked Anglican leaders to decide whether the national convention votes ``exceeded the limits of Anglican diversity.''
    A handful of other dioceses have planned special meetings in response to the General Convention in the weeks ahead. Some dioceses and parishes have already decided for now to withhold payments that would have gone to national church headquarters.
    Episcopalians who oppose Robinson's confirmation will gather Oct. 7-9 in Dallas, at a meeting organized by the conservative American Anglican Council, to decide their collective response.
    Some Anglican leaders overseas say they are also considering severing ties with the Episcopal Church over its decision to approve Robinson.
    Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, has called world Anglican leaders to an unprecedented meeting Oct. 15-16 in London to discuss fallout from the decision.
    U.S. conservatives say they want Williams to authorize a separate Anglican province for them in North America.
     
  15. Kiffin

    Kiffin
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    Here was a great write up regarding the crisis in the ECUSA

     
  16. dumbox1

    dumbox1
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    Interesting article about a memo by a staffer of the Archbishop of Canterbury on how to manage/deflect media coverage:

    London Telegraph article

    Mark
     

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