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Episcopal Bishops hear call to Evangelize even as Church faces Inevitable Demise

Episcopal Bishops hear call to Evangelize even as Church faces Inevitable Demise

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
March 16, 2019

The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops met in Kanuga, NC this past week in an attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

Michael Curry's much ballyhooed "way of love", an advance certainly on Frank Griswold's Circle Dance of Dispossession, and other Sufi ramblings, saw the HOB get an evangelical wakeup call from two speakers, who would, in times past, have been shown the door, not invited in.

The first was a woman bishop from the African American Methodist Church, whose denominational mandate is "to seek out and save the lost and to serve the needy." TEC hasn't saved a soul in decades, but it does have oodles of causes that keep it busy with no mention of seeking and saving anything, except whales, bashing white privileged folk and lots of talk about unidentifiable racists in the Episcopal Church.

"The church at its best is the whatever-it-takes church" and must be "more prophetic than programmatic," said AME Episcopal Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the denomination's first woman bishop.

Both the culture and the context of church have changed in the 21st century, she said, and what worked in the past does not work now; however, too many churches just do the same old things, maybe with a different name, and hope it brings different results. The church, McKenzie said, has to be "more prophetic than programmatic" and should not be content "to preside over attrition."

TEC is riddled with programs with none having to do with the salvation of souls, and, based on year-over-year numbers, it is presiding over its own attrition.

The truth of the gospel has not been diminished by any cultural advancements. The Africans are living proof of that. Episcopal and Methodist churches in the US are largely staying alive because of the African witness to the gospel.

Oddly enough, the AME bishop did not mention or even allude to homosex, at least according to an ENS story. That is clearly something to thank God for. Such an omission would not go unpunished t'were it an Episcopal bishop. Failure to exalt pansexuality can get you punished by the Presiding Bishop. Just ask the Bishop of Albany, William Love.

The Episcopal Church needs to truly commit to evangelism, rather than fight about sex, money and power, said orthodox light Honduran Bishop Lloyd Allen during his sermon. At the last General Convention, he thought the biggest problem was lack of translation for some sessions. Go figure. But TEC's problems have always been about sex, specifically homosexuality and money, as in tons of dead men's money to spend on any number of issues the HOB can come up with. And power, well look how power has destroyed orthodox bishops who only wanted to stand for the gospel, all of whom are now gone with one two exceptions.

Following her lecture there came the Church of England Bishop of Islington, one Ric Thorpe, a bishop from the HTB/Welby gene pool, who told the bishops the story of his conversion experience, which led him to become an evangelist and church planter. As the bishop of Islington, he supports the Diocese of London's goal of creating 100 new worshipping communities within the diocese by 2020. Praise the Lord.

The essence of church planting is about making disciples and teaching them to make disciples of others, he said. Clergy and all church leaders need to repent, saying "we have lost our way; we've lost our passion for the Gospel," Thorpe said. They need to admit to Jesus that "we've tried lots of stuff and it just doesn't work and we need something different."

Church planters and those who hope to revitalize existing churches must honor the past, navigate change in the present and look to the future, all while making space for innovative ideas about how to be the church in their contexts. "We need to encourage each other to think differently" and take risks, Thorpe said, "even if you don't know what the outcome is going to be."

In terms of risk, evangelists need to have a loose hold on their traditions and be willing to "go down in flames, not just be comfortable," he said. The essence of church planting, Thorpe said, is about making disciples.

Pick me off the floor, Mildred.

Nobody has talked like that to TEC's HOB in decades and if they had, they would have been told ever so politely to go pound sand. Why no talk of inclusion and diversity and generous orthodoxy and good disagreement? Not to be heard. Thorne stuck to his script and walloped the HOB. Did they feel the pain?

Neither speaker talked about sex, a refreshing change from the usual whine about how homosexuals feeling SOOO excluded and God's love is for absolutely everybody without the need for repentance and amendment of life.

WELBY AND THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE

Of course, the Episcopal Church's resident lesbian bishop did have her say, and consistent with all things pansexual, Mary Glasspool said she was grateful to Bishop Gene Robinson, who broke the ice in behalf of LGBT+ people, sustained the wounds and continues to serve God's People in the world. Really. No mention that his consecration cost the Episcopal Church over 100,000 lost parishioners, millions of dollars in lost income, and saw a split in TEC that will never be healed.

There was much hand wringing and high dudgeon at Welby's hypocrisy and double standard -- allowing a sodomite bishop, but not his or her spouse.

Would these bishops attend without their partners? Of course not. They will go and take their partners and give press conferences at Kent University, stealing the limelight from Welby and I Peter, just like Gene Robinson did.

Welby has no idea what he is in for. He thinks he is running the show, when in fact, the pansexualists will be running it. They will get the headlines, while he ducks and weaves at press conferences, trying to put out the fire of homosexual exclusion. This is Welby's first Lambeth rodeo and my third. He has no idea what he is in for. He has lost before it has even begun. Now he is despised by GAFCON Primates as well as leftist liberal bishops who make more noise and blow more smoke. Archbishop Wobbly may yet join humpty dumpty.

MICHAEL CURRY'S "WAY OF LOVE"

Of course, the HOB had to hear from the Presiding Bishop about his "way of love" talk and how it is impacting the Church.

The Presiding Bishop said he is working on making an "internal paradigm shift."
INTERPRETATION. We are losing the game externally, TEC is dying, but I am going to plumb my inner self for answers. "Dear self we're screwed, please help."

Curry said that conversations about church decline sometimes create a pit in his stomach. He added that he has realized that "somewhere in my career, the goal of my ministry is to increase the number of people in church, increase the dollars in church, and do things that model success in every other venture of life and replicate them in the church." Ironically, his former Diocese of North Carolina decreased under his reign.

"I think that, if I ever get to the point where the goal of my ministry is to help as many people as I can have that real loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God that we know through Jesus Christ, if that's my goal, then actually the decline in the numbers of the church doesn't matter because the decline in the numbers of the church may not indicate a decline in the number of people who are following Jesus."

So, the PB doesn't mind if the Church goes out of business as long as the remaining few follow Jesus and he still gets his fat pension. The fact is the true followers of Jesus have already left TEC and are now members of the Anglican Church in North America. It's possible Curry had a brain infarct and overlooked that little fact.

Sadly "the way of love" hasn't stopped the massive litigation of two dioceses and more than $60 million spent on lawyers; nor has the promotion of sodomy and same sex marriage seen homosexual couples flocking through red doors.

The sad truth is that nothing is going to change. The bishops will go back to doing what they have always done, performing their ecclesiastical functions as aging congregations wither and die, hoping that the diocese doesn't run out of money before they retire and hoping against hope that juncturing with another diocese is not in their future. They haven't got a clue how to evangelize. They wouldn't dare tell sinners they must repent. Not inclusive, old chap. The really sad truth is that the Holy Spirit left the Episcopal Church decades ago and no one has had the guts to tell them.

(The Episcopal News Service contributed to this article).

END

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