jQuery Slider

You are here

Beware Revisionist Bishops Bearing Linguistic Alms


News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

Beware when a revisionist bishop comes to you bearing linguistic alms. All might not appear as it seems. Words like "dialogue", "mediation" and "conversation" can be smoke screens for my way or the highway.

Consider the following. When disagreements appear between those who support pansexuality and those who do not, a liberal or revisionist bishop will usually invite a recalcitrant parish and its priest to have a "conversation" perhaps a "deep conversation" with him about what to do.

"The church [needs] to engage in the costly and demanding discipline of deep conversation about how our faith is shaped and formed," says Frank Griswold, the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop. Now these are code words with just a hint of arm twisting and much beloved by our PB, who says repeatedly that one encounters the truth in others when people enter into "deep conversation" about whatever it is they can't agree about. He usually likes his fellow bishops to huddle into small groups where persons of opposing views can sense the pain of the other, and "hear" the heartfelt cries of whomever it is that needs to be heard and felt.

A brief review of Virtuosity's archives revealed that Griswold had requested either "deep" or "graceful conversation" at least 23 times with one bishop or another since 1999. That's a lot of conversation. Even more significantly most of it was one-sided and went in favor of revisionist thinking.

The idea here is that the acceptance of "pluriform truths" will allow each side to "hear" the other, based on "deep listening" and while agreement is not the objective, a willingness to let all sides he heard allows all to live in "creative tension" with one another. The argument being that the "diverse center" allows for all points of view and then let us all get on with Frank's mission to save the world. There is always the hope in Griswold's mind that everyone will end up on a plain with Sufi the Rumi. But that, like the Eschaton, remains a future hope.

Another favorite word of revisionists is "mediation." Here a revisionist bishop who is in tension with an orthodox parish will demand "mediation," which means listening for hours to the bishop trying to broker in pansexuality and then, when he has failed to convince anybody, the bishop then threatens the priest and demands that they all join him at the communion rail where differences are set aside for a sip of wine and a piece of bread - Holy Communion being the great leveler for all pluriform truths. The priest and his congregation are invited to stay in the Episcopal Church for the greater cause of church unity, but if that fails the priest is shipped out for the even greater cause of diversity.

Sometimes outside "mediators" like the Massachusetts based Public Conversations Project are brought in to try and find common ground so the bishop can say he has done his level best to persuade the other side of his neutrality, and that he has truly made an effort. The attempt is to make irreconcilable positions reconcilable, but if unsuccessful, the hope is that the bishop will let the other side go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Of course that never happens. When these mediation attempts are made, it allows the bishop to say "look I tried", now I will wield the canons and beat the poop out of whatever "fundamentalist" priest stands in my way, depose him, and Scripture be damned.

Outside mediators were brought in, in the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, but with no success. Bishop Bennison bagged mediation because he saw himself losing. Revisionist bishops like Bennison can then push through their sodomite agenda with the orthodox being told they can go pound sand.

Ditto for the word "dialogue." One dialogues and dialogues till we all agree that the revisionists are right about sex and then we are obliged to get over it and move on.

In the Diocese of St. Albans in England the bishop there this week called for mediation over anger in his diocese at the appointment of Jeffrey John, a homosexual priest to be the new dean. The evangelicals have given a resounding, unqualified no to such an appointment based on the teachings of Scripture, but the bishop wanted him and he got the job regardless of what the evangelicals thought. At the installation of Jeffrey John the Right Rev. Christopher Herbert, the bishop, said he was aware of the reactions to the appointment but he would continue to "listen deeply and patiently to each other so that understanding on all sides may grow.'' Understanding about what exactly? That the other side sees the light and praises Jesus for Jeffrey John's appointment? In his dreams. It isn't going to happen.

Mediation is a bad joke at this point, and the evangelicals know it and they will use money, or the withholding of it to make their point. Then you can be sure that the bishop will listen, perhaps even mediate. He likes to eat.

So whenever a liberal or revisionist bishop proposes anything like dialogue, reconciliation, conversation or mediation, beware, it is always a one-sided poker game with the bishop holding all the aces.

If you are orthodox it will never ever come out in your favor....never.

When Bishop Henry Parsley (Alabama) talks about going into parishes to have "conversation", it ends up basically "it's my way or the highway." Ask any of the orthodox parishes what he thinks about the Anglican Communion Network. Ditto for Bishop Robert Moody of Oklahoma.

Frank Griswold loves to talk about the need for "conversation" or, in his case "deeper conversation" (the prerogative of the PB is always to go to a deeper place) between dissenting parties, but if ever the orthodox party were to win the arguments or a majority agreed that sodomy was wrong, they would be sent back to "converse" about it a little bit longer in order that their minds might be changed and to seek another point of view or "deeper place" to go too where sodomy is approved.

And then when "graceful conversation" (and at the end it is never graceful at all) ends, the revisionists always win; the argument of course based not on any kind of logical empirical reasoning, but on "stories" told by whatever offended person feels his or her ox is being gored.

Logic, reasoning, rational discussion, empirical evidence involving the law of non-contradiction all go out the window in favor of the "story" of whatever aggrieved person, usually a pansexualist whose daddy ignored him growing up, or his mummy didn't love him/her enough, and only the church understands that he/her needs genital same-sex to gratify some innate urge for fulfillment or completion.

In all the years this writer has observed these conflicts, I have never seen a single instance where "dialogue", "conversation" or "mediation" ever ended up in favor of the orthodox winning on discussions about faith and morals. The last General Convention saw the complete obliteration of all sanity in these two areas.

And when, on occasion the aggrieved party doesn't get what it wants IMMEDIATELY from the church in a GC resolution then 'local option' kicks in and it gets brokered in anyway; truth or Roberts Rules of Order be damned.

Recently the Archbishop of Canterbury says that mediation might be necessary if the Anglican Communion looks like it will fall apart over conflicting views on sexuality.

Now nowhere in the New Testament, especially in St. Paul's writings does the great apostle urge mediation on really anything.

Usually he says, "I give this command (not I, but the Lord) or conversely "I, not the Lord", about virgins and unmarried men remaining unmarried for the work of the kingdom or he says of himself - "Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ..."thus establishing the origins and authority of his apostleship.

Paul makes it clear that marriage is between a man and a woman with no other sexual arrangement possible, and he says quite candidly in his Corinthian letters that neither fornicators, adulterers, the effeminate, etc. who indulge themselves will enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently floated the idea that the Anglican Communion might need professional help to resolve its crisis over homosexuality.

In secular terms that might be just fine, but as the spiritual leader of 77 million souls that is quite another matter altogether.

"It is a cultural challenge to the whole view of scripture", says Dr Williams. "This is an issue which allows a clear line to be drawn in the sand." He then opined that he felt pain caused by campaigning conservative Evangelicals and suggested the need for an outside expert on conflict resolution. "When the dust has settled, it may be time to think about a facilitated conversation."

But the question must be asked of the Anglican leader, what specifically is there to mediate? How does one have a "facilitated conversation" (a Griswoldian solution) to something the New Testament is quite clear about and the church has been clear about for well over 2,000 years? How can mutually irreconcilable positions be mediated when there is not a shred of biblical evidence that a third way or alternative solution can be found?

Does one "mediate" the efficacy of the cross for example? Does one mediate sinful sexual desires and behavior and find alternative ways that please God and Louie Crew at the same time?

"Though your sins be scarlet they shall be as white as snow," there is no mediating position here.

Does the Archbishop of Canterbury think, for a moment, that any of the Global South bishops will participate in a "mediation process" to find a way around the problems? Why should they?

The Global South bishops believe these are salvation issues not subject to mediation. You don't mediate right and wrong said an African bishop to Virtuosity recently. "If something is proscribed in scripture what does the leader of 77 million Anglicans want us to 'mediate' exactly"?

The Roman Catholic Church has done a lot of dumb things pushing pedophile priests around parishes without notifying authorities of their behavior, but I have not heard a single cardinal or bishop say that pedophilia is good and right in the eyes of God. In fact the tolerance for homosexual behavior has reached zero level, and gays will not be permitted or tolerated in the priesthood. No more nods and winks or turning a blind eye. The lavender mafia is no more.

This church knows better than any other the enormous damage homosexual priests have done to young men in their care, and they have the litigation settlements costs to prove it.

The Anglican Communion is heading towards a crisis, a meltdown, and the Archbishop of Canterbury will have to decide after the Lambeth Commission has delivered its report, if he thinks that mediation is the next step. If he does he may well learn that that the final step is not mediation at all but dissolution.


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Prayer Book Alliance

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice


Go To Top