jQuery Slider

You are here

ECUSA: Cracks Turn Into Fissures as Church Edges Toward Collapse


By David Virtue

LONDON, UK--There is a sign in the London Underground subway (tube) that reads, "Delays expected on the Northern Line, there are unresolved problems, as a result of previous problems."

In many ways this is a humorous, if not understated reflection on the current state of affairs in the Episcopal Church, (not to mention British Rail).

The ECUSA's current problems are a direct result of previous problems not only unresolved, but continuing and growing and getting worse by the day. A quick fix is no longer possible.

And the worse they become the more "gracious" and "conversation[al]" our Presiding Bishop becomes in his words as he walks his way through the jungle swamp hoping that the crocodiles gathering around him have already feasted on a Primate or two, and therefore have no interest in him.

He is wrong, they do.

The House of Bishops meets in Camp Allen, Texas shortly and you can be sure that the "gracious" gloves will come off and a lot of brow beating will go on, with less than "gracious" fist-shaking and "how dare you invade my diocese" by Bishop Clark Grew (Ohio) who will try and show the right amount of aggrieved pain, righteous indignation and "why don't you conservative bastards just admit you lost and get over it."

It ain't gonna happen.

There is a new resolve by the orthodox bishops that we have not seen before that was not present over women's ordination or the dumping of the '28 Prayer Book.

Sodomy, or more appropriately the consecration of a divorced man to the episcopacy who had entered into a formal homoerotic relationship with another man, is a step too far that will not be washed away on clouds of cultural enlightenment or post-modernist understanding.

That day too, is done.

The 25 plus orthodox bishops showed they had the right stuff at General Convention and publicly said so most graciously (Griswold seems to have forgotten that), and from thence forward we have had a couple of Plano gatherings, the formation of the Network (NADCP), all with a view of saying to the Anglican Communion and Rowan Williams; "We are not going to take it any more, we are fighting back. Listen to us, pray for us, but we are in a war and there is no turning or running away. The commitment has been made to fight for the soul of the Episcopal Church."

This, of course, is the last thing Griswold wants to hear, hoping that if we all talk long enough and "listen" (another favorite word of his), and keep endless "conversation" going we will meet in the muddy middle or on a plain with Sufi Rumi and sing a chorus of "blessed be the ties that bind."

Those days now are long gone, and all eyes are turning on the Lambeth (Eames ) Commission in the hope that they will resolve the impasse for us all.

But most British religious journalists on secular dailies I talked with this week think it will, at best, paper over large fissures that are no longer cracks, and that there will be an inevitable breakup of the Anglican Communion. Living in denial, noted one religion writer, is a splendid British pastime, until one has to call Winston Churchill to wield the big guns. And Rowan Williams, he reminded me, is no Churchill.

But Anglican ecumenists remain hopeful that when the dust settles everyone will still be at the table even if battered and bruised by the experience. They might be whistling Dixie.

One Anglican Communion Officer I spoke with believes that if all parties keep talking, the links can hold, even though he admitted that the church was not a democracy and that some basic principles have to be held onto if all parties were going to stay together at the table. (He opined that Virtuosity was a bit too strident and name calling, but recognized that its "voice" was necessary at such a time as this.)

But there's the rub. No one can agree on what those principles are. Will it be the authority of Scripture, maintaining liturgical order (the Americans are better at that than the British), preaching sin and salvation, or will it be "inclusion", "diversity" and a multi-cultural grab bag of half digested ideas about God's promiscuous love for all people everywhere, a Heinz variety of sexual options available from an open buffet from which one can freely pick, with more to be added as the demand calls for.

But the truth is, a yawning divide exists that even liberal/revisionist bishops now reluctantly admit. The statement, uttered by two ECUSA bishops that schism is worse than heresy, is a public admission that heresy DOES indeed exist and they want you to just live with it, because it is better than busting up the whole church!

So rather than believing and upholding the 'faith once delivered', they want you to live with ambiguity, really heresy, because it is better than law suits, parish property fights, public mockery and more.

But what the revisionists don't get is this - the final destination of the souls of hundreds of thousands of Episcopalians depends on a clear unequivocal message of salvation that cannot be tampered with, by talk of "inclusion" any more than Mel Gibson's 'Passion' can be watered down for a PG rating to satisfy blue-rinse Southern ladies or ECUSA liberals offended by the public scourging of the Messiah. Jesus did not die on a cross, between two thieves, to satisfy claims of "niceness" or to broker in "inclusion" or make the planet feel good about bio-diversity. He died because we were wretched sinners in need of a Savior and that fact is totally lost on ECUSA's revisionists even as we approach Easter.

I have read at least a dozen stories by leading ECUSA's revisionists who have expressed hatred towards the Passion movie because it displays "hate" and not "love". They don't get it. Without the cross and the attendant 'hatred', 'pain, 'suffering' and more, there would have been no redemption for a lost humanity, and if secular Jews whine about anti-Semitism, try this God turned his back, literally turned his back on his (Jewish) Son and let him die precisely because atonement was the only way to deal with their sin and ours. It was His greatest act of love.

So to say sexual sin doesn't matter, or what goes on in my bedroom is none of anybody's business, a claim this writer regularly reads on various liberal ECUSA chat rooms and Listservs, is to shake one's fist in the face of God and say "what I do with my body is none of YOUR business either."

But what if God says it does matter, and that sin is sin and He doesn't wink , or says 'boys will be boys' and that God cares deeply how we treat our bodies as "temples of the Holy Spirit".

And what if He has inviolable, holy standards that He wants us to keep because He says so. What if Pascal's Wager is true, what a (pardon the pun) hell of a risk to take, if the "inclusionists" are wrong!

Would you wager your soul's destiny on a gamble such as that!

Sixty-two ECUSA bishops are asking us to do precisely that, and the orthodox bishops are now saying, no.

And can you blame them?

There is a much bigger picture here than who owns the properties or invoking the canons and constitutions or General Convention resolutions, it is about the souls of Episcopalians, many of whom have never heard a salvific word from the pulpit in 40 years. They are dying without Christ and without hope, their brains addled by seminary graduates who don't know what they hell they believe in any more, as they ascend their pulpits each Sunday to deliver themselves on the evil of George Bush's policies while their parishioners souls cry out for a Word from God that will touch their hearts and change their lives. And that is more than a crying shame; it is a damned shame, and one that will truly damn many of them for all eternity.


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