jQuery Slider

You are here

CENTRAL FLORIDA: New Episcopal Bishop writes about heresy but fails to see the irony in belonging to an apostate Church

CENTRAL FLORIDA: New Episcopal Bishop writes about heresy but fails to see the irony in belonging to an apostate Church

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 28, 2023

The new Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev Justin Holcomb, might well be the brightest, best educated bishop in the Episcopal Church's house of bishops. He holds a Ph.D. in theology, which only a small handful of bishops presently possess. His resume is revealing in its affirmation of orthodoxy.

Holcomb has taught theology and apologetics at numerous seminaries for 22 years and has written or edited 20 books. Prior to his current position, he served as a priest at a parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, was an executive director of an interdenominational ministry and held various other ministry positions. He earned his Ph.D. in theological studies from Emory University. He also has both a Master of Arts in theological studies and a Master of Arts in Christian thought from Reformed Theological Seminary as well as a bachelor's in biblical studies from Southeastern University. With that kind of CV, he was a shoe-in on the first ballot. Other candidates never came close. He is clearly theologically well equipped to be a bishop, but in the wrong denomination.

One of his books titled KNOW THE HERETICS, a romp through the history of heresy from the Early Church to the present time, it is revealing in all its candor. The book is worth possessing and received a ringing endorsement from theologian Thomas Oden.

There is profound irony in that the book testifies to the package of heresies the Episcopal Church has imbibed. These heresies run the gamut from presiding bishops who could not subscribe to the authority of scripture, the 39 Articles, the deity of Christ, to the denial of Jesus's bodily resurrection. More recently TEC has denied the ontology of human existence, promoting unbiblical sexualities up to the blessing of homosexual unions and "consecration" of same-sex "married" bishops.

By any standard, Holcomb's books would rank him high in the pantheon of bishops in the Anglican Church in North America had he not first sworn fealty to The Episcopal Church.

It is doubly ironic that Holcomb's orthodox stance which clearly conflicts with most of the bishops in TEC, saw a previous Central Florida bishop in the person of John W. Howe resign his orders over the passage of resolution B012, namely the brokering of homosexual marriage into the Church. Before that, the former Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. William Love was handed his marching papers because he refused to sign onto the renegade resolution.

Clearly, Holcomb had no problem signing onto resolution B012 or he would never have obtained the necessary consents from the House of Deputies and House of Bishops.

His acceptance of B012 makes a mockery of his book and his other writings which reflect a very orthodox position on faith and morals.

Does Holcomb think that by taking the job, he can join the handful of Communion Partner bishops and make common cause to protest TEC's direction? Does he think he can single handedly turn the SS TEC around before it demographically disappears in the next twenty years? Or is it the comfort zone of a pension and hanging out with the mitered crowd, making common cause with heretical bishops, sipping elegant wines in five-star hotels, all the while raging against the Israeli government's actions against murderous Palestinians and spouting the latest word on climate change?


The Diocese of Central Florida has suffered the same losses over the last eleven years under the evangelical charismatic Bishop Greg Brewer, as all other dioceses that are progressive and revisionist theologically.


In 2012, the number of parishes stood at 87. It is now down to 81.

MEMBERSHIP in 2012 was 29,609. By 2021, it had dropped to 23,664, a decline of 3,945 or 20%.

COMMUNICANTS in 2021 were 24,533. By 2021, it was 18,846, a drop of 5,587 or nearly 24%.

ATTENDANCE, the true bellwether of diocesan health revealed that the ASA in 2012 was 13,294. By 2021, the AWA (now Average Weekly Attendance) was 6,960, a whopping drop of 6,334 or nearly 48%.

Membership to Attendance Percentage: In 2012. it was 44.8%, By 2021, it was 29.4%, a difference of --15.4%.

Other stats showed a drop in baptisms from 446 to 264, or nearly 41%.
Confirmations in 2012 were 422. In 2021, they were down to 209.

Weddings dropped from 116 to 65 and funerals dropped from 654 to 565, or nearly 14%. The "death" figure when figured against the other diocesan statistics is huge.

There was not a single uptick in any of the figures that would indicate the diocese has any more of a future than a liberal or revisionist diocese.

It further demonstrates that there is no guarantee that a single holdout of one, two or even three orthodox dioceses, stays the hand of God or reverses His judgment and wrath against sin, because history shows us otherwise.


The sin of Achan (Joshua 7) saw the whole family stoned for the father's disobedience. The Israelites were occasionally collectively punished for the sins of the few.

Moses begs Pharaoh to free the Israelites from their bondage, and when he says no, all of Egypt is punished over and over again.

The Diocese of Central Florida will not escape the judgment of God, who is already visiting punishment on TEC with decline that is irreversible. TEC has repeatedly refused to repent of its personal and corporate sins. It is only digging in deeper with each passing year, defiantly opposing Lambeth Resolution 1:10, the Windsor Report and multiple appeals from Global South archbishops and bishops to repent, with little attempt to hold back the dikes of overflowing heresies.

The answer from Scripture is clear. It is that Christians are called to separate from such bodies of sin, which Holcomb's book recognizes. "Come ye out from among them..." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, is not posed lightly for casual sin. It is for repeated failure to confess and repent of entrenched sin and evil.

I doubt Bishop Holcomb has any plans to pull the Diocese of Central Florida out of TEC. That would be red rag to an episcopal bull.

Holcomb argues in his book that people "were not judged heretics because they asked the questions. It is the answers that they gave that are wrong." He writes that Paul (Gal.1:9) uses the strongest words possible against those who distort the gospel, "If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse!" The apostle Peter also railed against "false teachers," Holcomb noted.

Holcomb blasts John Shelby Spong, accusing him of Docetism. He writes, "A modern example of this can be found among classic Christian liberalism. With the dominance of science and philosophy in the 19th and 20th centuries, many Christian theologians tried to make Christianity more palatable to a modern society. This is captured in the title of a book by controversial liberal bishop John Shelby Spong: Why Christianity Must change or Die. Liberalism removed any literal supernaturalism (miracles, literal creation, and prophecies) in the Bible."

At the root of Docetism was the desire to make Christ more palatable to a world that sees the cross as foolishness. Spong fitted that nicely.

Spong was never tried for his heretical Docetic views. It was said at the time that more bishops believed Spong than they did the authority of Scripture, hence they left him alone. It is generally recognized that most TEC bishops cannot say the creeds without their fingers crossed behind their backs. There is a mountain of irony that while Spong was never put on trial and tried for his heresies, the TEC HOB was ready to toss out Bishop Bill love for his orthodox views on marriage. He resigned rather than go through a faux trial.

In the end, Holcomb cannot serve two masters. He cannot serve the Moloch god that is The Episcopal Church and then confess that he upholds orthodoxy in a diocese that is mostly evangelical, but is clearly out of step with the rest of the church. On the other hand, he cannot pretend to be orthodox and play nice in a church whose leaders are heretics.

Soon, the tension will show if he is faithful to what he has written and to His Lord, he will succumb or be forced to leave. A seared conscience cannot sustain the unsustainable.


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top