Father Jerry Kramer isn't just another Episcopalian priest with an opinion. This is a man who literally risked his life to care for a New Orleans church and community devastated by Hurricane Katrina - even the mainstream media called his congregation a "powerhouse" in rebuilding efforts. Kramer, with chronic medical needs, served for several years even when the health care he required was disrupted.
Today, he posted a letter announcing his departure from the Episcopal Church:
We’ve reached the point with the election and scheduled consecration of yet another practicing homosexual 'bishop' that it is no longer possible to have any Gospel integrity and stay within the Episcopal Organisation. TEO is no longer a Christian body. It doesn’t believe what the Church believes. It does not act as the Church acts. It does not have the mind of Christ. 'If it quacks like a duck . . . ' TEO’s outright rejection of Jesus and His Way makes it essentially wicked and one cannot remain untouched by such evil. The Episcopal Organisation promotes and funds abortion advocacy. It sues Christians. It promotes the destruction of the traditional family. This is where the dollars go. It does not recognise the design of the Church. This all stems from the central reality that it has no regard for the revealed Word of God. There is no way around it. There is no fixing or ignoring it. If you are inside, you now know enough and are complicit in this. There will be a day of accountability.
I am particularly concerned for people of faith trying to remain within this spiritual rot and raise their children to be believers. This will end in catastrophe. Just look up any statistics of children raised 'Episcopal' in the last 20 years and see what happens to them . . . the vast majority end up with no faith at all, lost forever.
The idea that 'our parish is safe' or 'our diocese is safe' is simply a lie. This doesn’t exist. Monies given are supporting intrinsic evil. And spiritual authority and headship matter. Ms. Schori IS the chief spiritual authority for anyone in The Episcopal Organisation. A bishop is 'ordained for whole Church' not just a diocese. So now you have two practicing homosexual bishops as your spiritual Elders and 'teachers of the faith' along with a majority of 'bishops' who simply do not qualify as Christians.
There is no avoiding this. You know enough. You will have to give an account for your choices in life. It’s time to make a decision, one of eternal consequences. For those of us who have left, let’s pray for our friends and loved ones in TEO that they will see the light of God’s truth and grace."
The denomination - or, as Kramer and others now call it - "Organization" - keeps discouraging and driving off its most vital, creative, motivated and passionately Christian people.
Still, I don't agree with his conclusion that departure is the only option - although it is one way that the Lord might call his own. Alternatively, Christ "did not count equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave" (Philippians 2). Bearing the cross daily means being "delivered into the hands of sinful men" (Luke 24), at least for some of Christ's followers, some of the time.
Church history's exemplar is St. Athanasius, who contended for the Christian faith when Emperors, Bishops and probably even a majority of church people were in the grip of heresy. The slogan "Athanasius against the world" described his experience - 17 of his over 40 years as a Bishop were spent in exile.
I'm not Jesus. I not Athanasius. I'm nowhere near the example of faith that one sees in Jerry Kramer. Yet God has not given me leave to leave TEC/TEO today. He might at some point, and some days I pray for that - but mainly for my own selfish relief and satisfaction. Meanwhile, he's placed people in my care who are confused and he doesn't want them left in this wilderness. There's some message he has for me to speak here - whether to effect change or just to sound the warning that discharges my responsibility, I don't know. The prayers that Fr. Kramer asks for people like me are needed and appreciated more than I can say.