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Feast of St. Hilary

To: The Rt. Rev. Robert O'Neill
St. John's Cathedral
Denver, Colorado

January 14, 2004

Your Grace:

Inasmuch as an Archbishop of an Anglican Province in Africa has publicly declared his belief that "the devil has entered into" the Episcopal Church, and given that as you say "we have more in common than what divides us," I should like to challenge you to a public debate, me on the Affirmative and yourself obtaining the Negative, on one of the following timeworthy propositions, of your own choice:

{1} "Resolved: That it is deducible from the writings of the fathers and that Spirit of discernment granted as a gift to all believers in Christ [I John] that the Episcopal Church is invaded by the demonic power."

{2} "Resolved: That given that 'we have more in common than whatever may divide us,' a consensus should be reached by faithful Anglicans as to whether or not recent actions of General Conventions supporting the election of certain and future Bishops contrary to what the Church and Scripture has ever deemed worthy criteria for the Ordination of same, and advocating marriages contrary to natural law, could ever be rationally construed a the work of the Holy Spirit."

{3} "Resolved: That it is entirely appropriate for the faithful, for the sake of their own spiritual welfare and that of others, to resolve without external coercion within their own consciences, by the grace of God, whether the Episcopal Church has not fallen prey to that inauthenticity the fathers designate as 'prelest,' i.e., that form of spiritual delusion and self-deception engendered through the incensive power of the soul of the individual by demons."

The Affirmative is willing to debate the Bishop of Colorado on any or all of the above resolutions at the public venue of his own choice, within a suitable framework of time for the sake of mutual preparation, utilizing the debating rules of the National Forensic Society with impartial judges selected from university faculty agreed upon by both parties, and including extra time allotted for rebuttals that both sides might agree upon.

Throughout the history of the faith such debates and discussions have profited their hearers, remembering as we do the famous theological debates at European universities throughout the Middles Ages between e.g. Franciscans and Dominicans, the famous discussions during the continental Reformation, and those engendered in and out of council during the early centuries of Christianity, e.g. between St. Justin Martyr and Trypho, Tertullian and his interlocutors, St. Augustine and the Pelagians, etc.

May God in His wisdom grant to as such of the faithful, as well as ourselves, that Spirit of discernment without which the Apostle enjoins us to understand we cannot "test the spirits, to see whether they are of God or the world." Respectfully submitted,

Fr. James C. Barlow St. Francis of Assisi Anglican Church 3480 St. Francis Way Estes Park, Colorado 80517

Bibliographical Indices (partial):

"Authenticity," Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM (1977)
"People of the Lie," M. Scott Peck, Ph.D. (1983)
"Texts of Commandments," St. Gregory of Sinai (Philokalia, 1951)
"A Different Gospel," D.R. McConnell (1988)
"Precepts," St. Simeon the New Theologian (Philokalia, 1951)
"How to Respond to Satanism," B. Frederickson (1988)
"Ascetic Discourse," St. Neilos (379)
"The Scale of Perfection," Walter Hilton (1388)
"On the Spiritual Law," St. Mark the Ascetic (425?)
"Texts," St. John of Karpathos (680) "Confessions," St. Augustine (397)
"The Will to Power," Friedrich Nietzsche (Kaufmann, 1967)
"Goddess Unmasked," Hughes, (1996)
"On Discrimination With Respect to Passions and Thoughts," Evagrios (393)
"The Closing of the American Mind," Allan Bloom (1988)
"Unseen Warfare," Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli, CR (1589)
"Against Heresies," St. Iraenaeus (178)
"Ascent of Mount Carmel," St. John of the Cross (1579)
"Discernment of Spirits," Jacques Guillet et.al. (1970)
"Ignatian Discernment," John Futrell (1970)
"The Devils of Loudun," Aldous Huxley (1936)
"Faith: Its Nature and Meaning," Paul Surlis, ed. (1972)
"Epistle to the Romans," St. Paul (54)
"Le Discernement dans les ecrits pauliniens," Gerard Therrien (1973)
"Intellectuals," Paul Johnson (1990)
"The Second Epistle of Peter," Alois Stoger (1969)
"Elucidations," Hans Urs von Balthasar (1975)
"The Epistle of St. James," Otto Knoch (1969)
"Toward a Theology of Communal Discernment," Fr. Ladislas Orsy, SJ (1973)
"The City of God," St. Augustine (385)
"On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination," St. Diadochos of Photoki (451)
"The Culture of Narcissism," Christopher Lash (1988)
"On the Character of Men," St. Anthony the Great (291)
"Satanic Counterfeit," Gordon Moher (2000)
"On Watchfulness and Holiness," St. Hesychios the Priest (425)
"Satanization of Society," Mark Rossio (1994)
"On the Demon of Unchastity and the Desire of the Flesh," St. John Cassian (428) "Demons Behind the New Age," J.D. Kallinger (1997)
"On the Guarding of the Intellect," St. Isaiah the Solitary (482)
"First Epistle," St. John the Evangelist (80)
"Second Epistle to the Corinthians," St. Clement of Rome (125)

"The difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of deception becomes discernible in whether the proclaimed word is heard or not." --Rudolf Bultmann

"We do not err because the truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable." --Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"The true prophet disturbs consciences, and most people do not like to be disturbed. The false prophet is popular because he soothes the consciences of the wayward with his easygoing teaching." --Bruce Vawter, The Conscience of Israel


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