Monday, July 20, 2009

Using gays as human shields: here's what the Episcopal Church is really about

VirtueOnline - News - GC2006 - COLUMBUS, OH: Episcopalians refuse affirmation of Christ (h/t P. Hassenstein)

While the headlines focused on "gay rights," the Episcopal Church was sneaking about behind that agenda to deny key tenets of Christian faith.

70% of the House of Deputies (clergy and lay people representing every diocese of the denomination) voted to "discharge" - that is, kill without discussion, the following resolution:

FULL TEXT RESOLUTION D058 SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST ALONE Discharged [REJECTED, KILLED, LIKE JESUS HIMSELF] in committee. Discharge upheld by House of Deputies, 75th General Convention.

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church declares its unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved (Article XVIII); and be it further Resolved, That we acknowledge the solemn responsibility placed upon us to share Christ with all persons when we hear His words, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6); and be it further Resolved, That we affirm that in Christ there is both the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God's unlimited and unending love for all persons; and be it further Resolved, That we renew our dedication to be faithful witnesses to all persons of the saving love of God perfectly and uniquely revealed in Jesus and upheld by the full testimony of Holy Scripture.

By making gays, lesbians and other sexual identity groups the target of so much debate, the national church effectively paints traditional Christians as bigots, "homophobes" and all around meanies. And so traditional Christians' objections are ignored when the issues are core statements of faith.

As a parish priest, I wonder what can be included in preparation for Baptism or Confirmation? Much of the existing language in the Book of Common Prayer has been disavowed by this General Convention:

Bishop - There is one Body and one Spirit;
People - There is one hope in God's call to us;
Bishop - One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism;
People - One God and Father of all. (Liturgies of Baptism and Confirmation)

Question - Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?
Answer - I do. (Baptismal Covenant, reaffirmed in Confirmation)

Celebrant - Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People - I will, with God’s help. (Baptismal Covenant, reaffirmed in Confirmation)

...your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life. (Prayer over the Baptismal water)

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate (Nicene Creed, required at principal Sunday services)

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world. ("Rite II, Prayer A" for the consecration of Holy Communion)

The majority of Episcopalian leaders, including clergy and lay people, reject the specific faith claims of the Book of Common Prayer. No wonder they talk so much about "sharing our stories" while passing a budget that eliminates all resources to support Evangelism. When it comes to Jesus Christ, they have no Good News to share.

While efforts to "include" LGBT&c people can be seen, even in disagreement, as an effort to express God's love, what in the world can motivate the theological rejection of Jesus Christ displayed by this denomination?


The Underground Pewster said...

John's Gospel is, or has been, an anathema to the modern Episcopal church. There are those parts that go against the pluralism and universalism that are so popular these days. The HoB/HoD deny the claims of exclusivism, but they do not have a proven theology to stand upon.

They can try all they can, but they cannot erase the Word as received.

Revelation concludes with the ever unpopular warning:
22:18-21 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen"

P.S. Lord forgive them for they know not what they do.

Restless Heart said...

Thank you for this.

Human sexuality issues aside, The Episcopal Church declared itself utterly distinct and apart from the cztholic Church by its rejection of this resolution. This is news that needs to be repeated often, so that even the pew-sitters most distant and disconnected from General Convention understand what their church has said it believes -- and doesn't believe -- to the world.

TLF+ said...

UP & RH, thanks for your comments. We need to pray for these folks - many of them (I dare say most of them) think they are doing something that God would want.

I don't believe that the denomination can be turned - I am talking here (as are you two) about the salvation of sould for whom Christ died. So we need to keep up intercession for them, even while sounding warnings about the false teachings.