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.”