Betty Butterfield on Episcopalians:
Desertpastor discusses Thomas Oden’s “The Rebirth of Orthodoxy : Signs of New Life in Christianity” and Fr. Thomas Hopko’s “Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality” (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press) and the the tendency highlighted by the works of young people embracing orthodoxy in their various traditions–or in some cases in others’. Being one of these “young fogies,” I recommend the discussion.
So… what do you think about the increasing interest in orthodoxy among many protestants and evangelicals? What does it mean? Where is it going? Does it encourage you? Excite you? Concern you?
Today three Dioceses of South Carolina, Pittsburgh and San Joaquin joined the Diocese of Fort Worth in requesting alternative primatial oversight from the Archbishop of Canterbury etc… This raises interesting questions. foremost among them: exactly what authority, if any, does ECUSA TEC have to keep dioceses in? It has seemed to me to be historically true that Bishops (and Diocesan Conventions/ Standing committees) exercise supreme authority in their dioceses in matters of affiliation (hence the early years of the church where several Bishops did not attend General Convention and the Civil War years where all it took for the creation of a separate province was for the Southern Bishops to stay home and meet together.) So here’s the question about the creation of a 10th province: Why can’t Network and Windsor Bishops simply forego involvement in the broader church, not recognize its authority and meet together in synod/convention instead? Wouldn’t that be a handy internal solution?
UPDATE: Central Florida has joined with the lot requesting alternative primatial oversight.
The following is an article relating to the controversial discharge of a resolution stating that Jesus is the only way by which one may be saved.
Episcopal convention: Jesus not the only savior
UPI Religion & Spirituality Forum
COLUMBUS, June 21 (UPI) � Episcopal Church leaders, meeting in Ohio for their annual convention, refused to affirm Jesus as the only one who can save humanity.
The House of Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the 2.3-million church, a branch of the 77-million worldwide Anglican Communion, voted overwhelmingly against a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the “only name by which any person may be saved,” with some opponents comparing the notion of Christ’s uniqueness as a prescription for genocide.
“This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust. I understand the intent, but I ask you to allow the discharge to stay,” said the Rev. Eugene C. McDowell, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Canon Theologian for the Diocese of North Carolina, Virtue Online reported Wednesday.
The convention’s Committee on Evangelism first heard the resolution and discharged it to the chagrin of that committee’s chairman, the Rev. Colenzo Hubbard, a noted evangelist and director of Emmanuel Episcopal Center in the Diocese of West Tennessee. Hubbard motioned to lift the resolution from the discharge list, but after heated debate, more than seven-tenths of the House of Deputies rejected the motion.
Drafted by the Rev. Guido Verbeck, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Western Louisiana, Resolution D058 declared the Episcopal Church’s belief in an “unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved,” and it acknowledged evangelism as “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).”
The resolution further affirmed “the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God’s unlimited and unending love for all persons,” while calling on the Episcopal Church to renew its Scripture-based witness to “all persons.”
Hubbard said that he voted for the resolution in committee because of his simple responsibility as a Christian. Hubbard quoted several verses of Scripture to demonstrate his conviction. “I do agree that Jesus Christ is both the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God’s unlimited and unending love for all persons,” said Hubbard.
Echoing Hubbard, Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon, a leading conservative in the denomination, argued for a “reaffirmation of what some have called ‘the scandal of particularity’ of the Cross.”
Judy Mayo from the Diocese of Fort Worth also opposed discharge. “My friends, this is a church convention, and this is the very essence of our faith. This may be the most important thing we deal with at this entire convention…Surely we can say together that Jesus Christ is Lord. And if we can’t, we have no reason to be here.”
But liberals outnumbered Hubbard, Harman, and Mayo � by far.
McDowell, the theologian from the Diocese of North Carolina, told VirtueOnline after the floor vote, “In the Episcopal Church we don’t do up and down votes on Jesus Christ as Lord, and to do so is potentially a mean-spirited approach, to ask questions that aren’t meant to be questions.”
McDowell explained that how one lives his life is the more important issue than whether one affirms Jesus as Lord. To place a statement of belief over actions is the essence of “self-righteousness,” he said. “Actions speak louder than proclamations…What Jesus calls us to do is to live our lives.”
McDowell outlined his basic theology of grace: “Salvation by grace is remembering that we are the children of a living God. Grace is already there. And salvation is realizing we now live into that salvation. And sanctification is the transforming of my life from one that’s me-centered to one that’s God-centered.”
The Rev. Donald Perschall, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Centralia, Illinois, was shocked by the church’s inability to acknowledge Jesus.
“On top of leaving the Anglican Communion, we’ve decided to leave Jesus Christ behind as well.”
I found a copy of the lyrics of the “Friendship” song I mentioned a few posts ago.
Words by Bidwell, American Musical Miscellany, 1798
Tune anonymous (Christian Harmony, p. 282)
Friendship to ev’ry willing mind
Opens a heav’nly treasure:
There may the sons of sorrow find
Sources of real pleasure.
See what employments men pursue,
Then you will own my words are true:
Friendship alone presents to view
Sources of real pleasure.
Poor are the joys that fools esteem,
Fading and transitory;
Mirth is as fleeting as a dream,
Or a delusive story;
Luxury leaves a sting behind,
Wounding the body and the mind;
Only in Friendship can we find
Pleasure and solid glory.
Beauty, with all its gaudy shows,
Is but a painted bubble;
Short is the triumph wit bestows,
Full of deceit and trouble;
Fame like a shadow flees away,
Titles and dignities decay;
Nothing but Friendship can display
Joys that are free from trouble.
Learning (that boasted glitt’ring thing)
Scarcely is worth possessing;
Riches, forever on the wing,
Cannot be called a blessing;
Sensual pleasures swell desire,
Just as the fuel feeds the fire;
Friendship can real bliss inspire:
Bliss that is worth possessing.
Happy the man who has a friend
Form’d by the God of nature;
Well may he feel and recommend
Friendship for his Creator:
Then let our hearts in Friendship join,
So let our social pow’rs combine,
Rul’d by a passion most divine:
Friendship with our Creator.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Anglican Communion Network
June 22, 2006
Contact: Jenny Noyes 412-325-8900
An Open Letter to the Episcopal Church USA
We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), meeting in Kampala on 21st – 22nd June, have followed with great interest your meeting of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA in Columbus. We have been especially concerned by the development of your response to The Windsor Report, which has been reported to us quite extensively. This is something for which we have earnestly prayed. We are, however, saddened that the reports to date of your elections and actions suggest that you are unable to embrace the essential recommendations of the Windsor Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué necessary for the healing of our divisions. At the same time, we welcome the various expressions of affection for the life and work of the Anglican Communion.
We have been moved by your generosity as you have rededicated yourselves to meet the needs of the poor throughout the world, especially through your commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.
We have observed the commitment shown by your church to the full participation of people in same gender sexual relationships in civic life, church life and leadership. We have noted the many affirmations of this throughout the Convention. As you know, our Churches cannot reconcile this with the teaching on marriage set out in the Holy Scriptures and repeatedly affirmed throughout the Anglican Communion. All four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion advised you against taking and continuing these commitments and actions prior to your General Convention in 2003.
At our meeting in Kampala we have committed ourselves to study very carefully all of your various actions and statements. When we meet with other Primates from the Global South in September, we shall present our concerted pastoral and structural response.
We assure all those Scripturally faithful dioceses and congregations alienated and marginalised within your Provincial structure that we have heard their cries.
The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, on behalf of CAPA
New album recommendation: for those of you who like old-time music and ballads, I suggest you check out Tim Eriksen’s new album,
Eriksen reached a certain level of prominence with his contribution to the soundtrack of the movie Cold Mountain and while he’s not native to the Appalachians, or even to the South, he does a wonderful job. He and Dirk Powell are probably the best at this sort of music…traditional while still alive.
I like all the songs, but I think the most enjoyable might be “Southern Girl’s Reply” and “Friendship.” Indeed, “Friendship” could be a companion piece to the Touchstone article about friendship, “Friendship: The Love that can no longer speak its Name” by Anthony Esolen
Now Playing: The Southern Girl’s Reply from the album “Every Sound Below” by Tim Eriksen
The following is a selection of the general response of the Anglican Communion Institute (an orthodox think-tank) to the resolutions passed by General Convention today.
The fact that same-sex blessings were not addressed at all, in either B033 or in any other resolution, represents a devastating lacuna in General Conventions response to Windsor. Given that the new Presiding Bishop-elect is a well-known facilitator of such blessings, this silence affords Bp. Jefferts-Schori at least a certain room to maneuver within Convention. But if in fact B033 cannot point up the inconsistency between its recommendations and the actual actions of its leaders, then it only proves its own uselessness. In any case, leaving both the Communion and members of the Episcopal Church to guess at the status of same-sex blessings within this church seems, under the circumstances of the last few years conflicts, to be a grave disservice to our common life and trust. While the need to use the exact language of Windsor in its resolutions was perhaps overblown, at least within a context of genuine desire to respond positively, General Conventions refusal or failure even to address central elements of Windsors requests, with or without exact language, only testifies to the Conventions own internal inadequacy to engage the Communion at the most basic level. It thus undercuts even the most generous reading of B033s first resolve. Here, for instance, is what the Windsor Report actually asks with respect to same-sex blessings:
While we recognise that the Episcopal Church (USA) has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions, the decision to authorise rests with diocesan bishops. Because of the serious repercussions in the Communion, we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorised such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We recommend that provinces take responsibility for endeavouring to ensure commitment on the part of their bishops to the common life of the Communion on this matter (The Windsor Report, par. 144)
It seems evident, therefore, that General Convention set aside a major element of the Windsor Reports recommendations; and that the invitation to withdraw from representative functions in the Anglican Communion still stands an invitation apparently now aimed at our own Presiding Bishop-Elect. It is hard to see why the Convention left their new leader hanging in this way.
“An analysis which I heard from my delegation, which
seems accurate to me, is that normally the moderates
in the middle vote with the left wing progressives
against the right wing orthodox. In this resolution,
however, the ends were played against the middle.
Neither the progressive left wing nor the orthodox
right wanted fudge: both have called for clarity one
way or the other. It was the moderates who wanted to
apologize without apologizing, to have their cake and
a chance, if the cards were skillfully played, to eat
it too. But they lost.”
Despite the fact that I wanted the Episcopal Church to comply with Windsor and remain in the Anglican Communion, I’m thankful that people are at least seeking honesty–honesty in being wrong is better than lying about what one will or will not do in order to pacify others.