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?