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What does it mean to be Episcopalian? Not much really

What does it mean to be Episcopalian? Not much really


By David W. Virtue, DD
March 27, 2022

Well, what does it mean to be an Episcopalian? Very little, apparently.

Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, who, on learning of her background said this: I was raised Catholic, became Episcopalian & found out later my family was Jewish. I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity."

Of course, Ms. Albright is not the only Episcopalian for whom it could be said, 'you can believe anything you like as an Episcopalian if it comes with a fifth and one vaguely affirms the creed.'

Colin Powell, Secretary of State under George W. Bush said, the higher the church, the closer to God; that was how I saw it. I was following in my father's footsteps, counting the collection and depositing it in the bank; Alma was following in her and my mother's footsteps, working on rummage sales and the altar guild.

"I watched Mike and Linda assisting at Mass and saw myself in my cassock waving the incense burner before the altar on Kelly Street," Powell recalled. The tradition had been passed to the next generation, from one St. Margaret's to another, like an endless stream."

The perfect Episcopalian. All form, little theological substance. Cranmer would not have recognized either person as remotely Anglican. One does not put one's hand into the fire as you die proclaiming, "I counted the collection and deposited it in the Bank of England."

Biblical theology is not the sine qua non for being an Episcopalian.

One only has to think of Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong, who managed to reject the supernatural entirely and who had the singular ability to trash the entire corpus of Christian faith and every doctrine associated with it and still remain an Episcopalian...even unto death.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had a hard time with the supernatural and miracles, even as something as commonplace as the bodily resurrection of Jesus which is sort of foundational to the faith once for all delivered. No matter, she was a woman, and got the top job with minimal theological education and spent most of her time inhibiting orthodox priests and bishops that did not share her progressive views. She raided the (Episcopal) company store spending millions on church lawyers over property disputes.

More presidents are recorded as Episcopalian than any other denomination, but little is said of their commitment to Christ. They have, in the words of the late Presiding Bishop John Hines, 'loved the church more than they loved the Lord of the Church.'

By all accounts, most episcopal politicians are the pray, pay and obey crowd who, presumably, write out checks while ticking the box marked episcopal.

One never reads press releases put out by the Episcopal News Service where some Episcopal politician actually does anything or says something that connects their faith with decision making; but that politician will be given the requisite obituary when the time comes to let the whole world know they were Episcopalian.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry gushed over Albright, saying this; "Instead of seeking yet more data to defend what we already think, we need to learn what others think, and why they think it. Instead of conspiring with the like-minded, we need to spend more time learning from those we consider wrongheaded. Even while we challenge the premises of those with whom we disagree, we should take the time to re-examine the logic of our own thinking."

What that has to do with being an Episcopalian, let alone a Christian, must forever remain a mystery.

If you take Curry's words in the context of TECs drive to push homosexual marriage on to the Church, would his words about "re-examining the logic of our thinking" have purpose? One can only imagine the screams of outrage from TECs resident queer bishops along with the queen of lesbian outrage, Susan Russell, if Bishop Curry dared to suggest a reset over the issue.

It was said of Vice President Mike Pence that he occasionally worshipped in an ACNA (Anglican) congregation in Washington DC. Pence's evangelical credentials were pretty well established even though his boss seemed not to care those gallows were erected by insurrectionists to swing him into the next life for his disloyalty to the president. Most American evangelicals who support Trump had apparently no problem with Pence entering into heaven prematurely through an Anglican portal.

Wannabe Republican presidential candidate Ohio governor John Kasich is a Bona Fide evangelical Anglican. Kasich kept his integrity and for his stand was quickly denounced for his failure to worship at the altar of Trump, calling for his impeachment. He was quickly cancelled.

One notable presidential exception was the late George H.W. Bush, an Episcopalian who worshiped at the flagship evangelical parish of St. Martin's Episcopal in Houston. His faith was solid enough to guarantee him entrance into the kingdom I am told, which puts him in a better place at the last judgment than Spong, of whom one could safely say that the gnashing of teeth will require new molars every five years.

Being an Episcopalian might in fact be a ticket to hell, not heaven, a frightening prospect, indeed.


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