jQuery Slider

You are here

CENTRAL FLORIDA: Outgoing Bishop Sees "Bridges of Grace" where only Broken Bridges of Disgrace Exist

CENTRAL FLORIDA: Outgoing Bishop Sees "Bridges of Grace" where only Broken Bridges of Disgrace Exist
Brewer's Fictional World Ignores Anglican Reset, Realignment, ACNA, GAFCON and GSFA Developments

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 6, 2023

In a guest contributor article for The Living Church magazine, outgoing Central Florida Bishop Gregory Brewer an evangelical charismatic argues that "bridges of grace" can bridge the divide in the great global conflict over pansexuality that has torn the fabric of the communion forcing a realignment and reset on 80 million Anglicans.

BREWER: "The phrase describes a posture of servanthood, expressing the gospel in word and deed. I have had extensive experience within the Episcopal Church dealing with conflict and learning to 'live with difference' and 'making room for difference,' even within my own thinking."

VOL: Well, tell that to 828 deposed priests and deacons along with 13 bishops what "living with difference" means. They got their heads handed to them. They were inhibited and deposed; they lost their parishes, got reduced pensions and status with many forced to start again with small parishes in another Anglican jurisdiction that has never been recognized by Canterbury. Brewer never experienced that humiliation. He even attended GAFCON 1 and told me "I stand with them." But the lure of a TEC bishopric, a nice climate, and a pension to ease retirement, won the day.

And what about his own experience. I can talk about that. When Brewer was rector at the flagship evangelical parish, Good Samaritan in Paoli, PA, Bishop Charles Bennison came a-calling and demanded the pulpit, which he got. Brewer could not keep him out. The ONLY reason Brewer did not get his head handed to him by Bennison was that Bennison screwed up so badly, that he got inhibited and deposed himself. It is entirely disingenuous of Brewer to say he knows how to live "with difference." It was a political game that Brewer won by default, because Bennison's theology ranked up there with John Shelby Spong. "Men wrote the Bible and could therefore could rewrite it," is Bennison's "famous" contribution to TEC.

BREWER: I still long to be in a church without conflict, though I realize that such a longing is a longing for heaven; for there is no ecclesial jurisdiction without conflict. Even Jesus promises us that "the wheat and the tares grow together," and the extremely difficult thing about tares is that they can look just like wheat.

VOL: This is poor, if not bad theology. The Apostle Paul had a lot to say about conflict that cannot be ignored.

Separation from unbelievers is commanded in 2 Corinthians 6:11--7:1.
". . . Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord...." The context of the passage, as well as the tenor of the Epistle indicates that the unbelievers in question were corrupters of the Word (2:17), critics of Paul (10:10), preachers of another gospel (11:4), and ministers of Satan (11:13--15). Paul later warned Timothy of apostates who would come ". . . having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Tim. 3:1--5). The passage is as relevant today as it was the day it was written.

Reception of false teachers is forbidden in 2 John 9--11. Rebuke of apostates is commanded in Titus 1:9--13. No fellowship with disobedient brethren.
While some would allow that one ought to separate from unbelievers, they nevertheless claim that one believer should never break fellowship with another believer. But the Bible is clear that there are conditions under which a believer is not to fellowship with another believer. Disobedient believers are to be avoided.
"And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother" (2 Thess. 3:14, 15). Disobedience here includes both doctrinal and practical matters. It includes the written as well as the oral teachings of Paul (2:15; 3:6).

I could go and on. One final point is that the aim of separation is always restoration. That never happened despite Lambeth Resolution 1:10, which has been systematically ignored, rolled over and spat on by Anglican revisionists.
Last of all: Because "the wheat and the tares grow together," because we "know in part," and because we are all sinful creatures, even our best efforts and prayers do not guarantee the healing of our divisions. Indeed, the Scriptures even tell us that some "divisions are necessary." (See faith.edu)

BREWER: So, within any body of people who call Jesus Lord, leaders are tasked with the responsibility to work through places of significant conflict and difference, including in matters of doctrine, discipline, and polity. Certainly, this is true within the Anglican Communion (however one defines the boundaries) and probably will be true for the foreseeable future. My task is not to define the boundaries of what is and is not an acceptable level of difference. My task is to describe what I hope is the posture any Christian leader would take when entering those placers of conflict and difference.

VOL: The "boundaries" have been defined. Lambeth Resolution 1:10 was a boundary which has been crossed with disastrous consequences. The result has been a de facto schism with the mostly western progressive provinces banging hard against the Global South, with money being used to pressure African provinces to cave on sodomy and accepting the wider LGBTQ+ theology.

BREWER: Can one disagree with the biblical position on marriage, for example, and still be considered Christian? If one believes that disagreement on marriages does not disqualify someone form salvation, then one can acknowledge that this is an in-house argument between believers. I believe this to be extremely important. If I can look across the table and see the person with whom I am disagreeing as one who is a joint heir of Jesus Christ, and one with whom I share the mutual hope of heaven, that sets the table for a different sort of conversation than a contest who is to be defeated at all costs.

VOL: First, who says that is "disagreement on marriage"? Are there plural types of marriage? How about polygamy or open marriage. Marriage has ONLY been defined as between a man and a woman. There is no biblical basis for any alternative arrangement. Homosexual "marriage" is not entertained in Scripture. Divorce, while wrong, is allowed for abandonment, adultery, and abuse. It is never seen as a salvation issue. Sodomy is a salvation issue (See Rom. 1:18-31). Furthermore, it is highly presumptuous to think that the person sitting opposite you is a "joint heir with Christ." Does Brewer think that Spong, Robinson, Katharine Jefferts Schori and a raft of homosexual and lesbian bishops who publicly reject major doctrines of the Christian faith, are Christians?

Pronouncing a different gospel of marriage does disqualify you from salvation and anybody who disagrees is an abject heretic. THERE ARE NO "JOINT HEIRS OF JESUS CHRIST." There are only those who profess the faith in Christ crucified." John 12:48: "there is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my word."

BREWER: Intercessory prayer is powerful, and God uses it to change hearts and minds in a way that is far superior to any rhetorical technique to win an argument. Prayer expresses an act of trust that we converse in the presence of God, who promises to guide the church into all truth. Prayer invites wisdom that cannot be found otherwise. We have agreed to a holy task: to discern truth together as witnessed in Scripture and in our hearts and minds.

VOL: Prayer has changed nothing over the besetting issues (read sins) in TEC. Nothing. And it will not, because God's Word trumps prayer where prayer is being used to manipulate God, and misused to try and fix a problem that Scripture has already addressed. If you think prayer will change God's mind for Him, then you are delusional. God cannot contradict his own revealed Word.

BREWER: Jesus said, "I come among you as one who serves." Service means caring for their needs, being generous in hospitality, praying for their concerns. Even if I see them as theological "enemies," I am still obligated to love, meaning serve, my enemies: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them, and if they are thirsty, give them something to drink."

VOL: Service to people and loving them, does not change the theological matrix that God has declared himself about. Of course, we are to feed, clothe and give drink to those in need but that does not mean we can change the ontological truth about sexuality, which in truth has got nothing to do with what Brewer just wrote.

BREWER: Our ultimate aim is not merely to win an argument, nor to convince the other side. Our ultimate aim is to serve for the sake of Christ those who with whom I am in conversation, and trust God to reveal the truth. Do I bring to bear the best arguments I have? Do I listen carefully and thoughtfully? Do I ask hard questions? When that happens, I lose sight of the fact that these are people for whom Christ died. We do not use dialogue as a tool for manipulation, but as a tool for prayerful discernment.

VOL: Clearly Brewer never took a course in apologetics. "Listening" was the favorite word of the late PB Frank Griswold, which basically meant you will listen to the whine of gays till you believe their stories and change your mind. Homosexuals were never asked to change their minds, even though there are scores of ex-gays who tell a different story that is never reported in the MSM or Episcopal or mainstream Anglican journals. Their narratives would interrupt the mainstream "gay" news that we must accept all and love all because the culture says so.

BREWER: There are also places of historic hurt, prejudice, and acts of harm that require us to face our histories and bring us to repentance. We do not have a history of loving each other well in conflict, and that history cannot be swept under the rug if we are going to engage lovingly in the present.

VOL: And what about orthodox Anglicans who are being oppressed because they dare to say that God does not approve of sodomy and they back it with scripture, tradition, history, and reason. What about their voices that are never heard over the bleating of homosexuals that demand that their voices only be heard. And don't forget the scores of priests who lost their jobs because they were oppressed and forced into the spiritual gulag archipelago by TEC's leaders.

BREWER: An approach to divisions and disagreements comes from a profound belief that all in the conversation are in God's field, the Church, and God is Lord over that Church, and I am not. Yes, I have a role to play: to speak the truth in love, to guard the flock and love generously. This is a role to be approached with all humility. This is God's church, not mine. Our position must be to join with others in the presence of God, acknowledge that this is God's church and not ours, and ask God for the discernment and wisdom necessary to serve each other well, proclaim the gospel to the world and glorify God.

VOL: So, orthodox, and faithful Anglicans who speak the truth from within a framework of Scripture are told to be humble because of what exactly? And this is "God's church and not ours," even though Scripture guides God's church, not reason or post-modern 20th century views about sodomy pushed by a secular culture and a progressive church culture that Brewer thinks we should now bow the knee to. Speaking the truth in love means telling people that they jeopardize their souls by living in relationships that the Bible specifically condemns.

No. This is a salvation issue that brooks no compromise. No amount of "humility," "listening" or feeling your pain of exclusion will change one jot of what God has revealed in Scripture to us. Not now, not ever. There can be no "unity in the bond of peace" when doctrine is ignored and flaunted. Crying "peace, peace when there is no peace" was the cry of the prophet Jeremiah (6:14; 8:11), but it failed then as it does today.

The Anglican Communion is irretrievably broken. GAFCON primates have issued divorce papers to Justin Welby. He can run the Canterbury Communion, but not the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is 85% owned by the Global South, with a sprinkling of Western churches and jurisdictions. Archbishop Welby is no longer Primus inter pares. He is, to all intents and purposes washed up on the banks of the Thames River, a beached sturgeon with nowhere to go.

Paul cried out in Second Corinthians 6:17 says, "Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you" (CSB). The clause come out from among them is a reference to a passage in Isaiah.

Paul quotes this passage from Isaiah in reference to the Corinthian church. He is taking familiar wording and giving it meaning in a fresh context. Just as the Israelites in exile were to put off any idolatry they may have picked up while living in Egypt, so the Corinthian believers are to lay aside the idolatry and sexual immorality that they were steeped in by virtue of living in Corinth. They must be separate from the sin of the world. And that is why the vast majority of Global South Anglicans have said enough is enough and have gone their separate ways from the mostly apostate West. Brewer sold out; that's the long and short of it. And one day there will be all hell to pay. You can read his take here: https://covenant.livingchurch.org/2023/06/05/bridges-of-grace-serving-well-in-the-midst-of-conflict/

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