Friday, June 23, 2006

Stop the whining already.

I for one am growing somewhat weary over the ECUSA controversy. Is it breaking news that ECUSA is institutionally heretical and maybe even apostate? I would respectfully say that this has been known for a while. So what’s the big deal? Why is everyone getting their drawers all in a knot now? Do we act like this when the Unitarians have a meeting? ECUSA is just High Church Unitarianism. People are arguing over what exactly? As I see it the issue now being discussed is how the convention told the rest of the Anglican Communion to stuff it. Again… big deal. What are you going to do about it? It’s not like this can be changed.

I guess my point after the long rambling is this. If you’re an Episcopalian, and if your sick of the heresy and other liberal weirdness going on… THEN LEAVE! Stop whining! You know how to do this. The exits are clearly marked. If on the other hand you choose to stay for whatever reason… same thing. Please hold the whining. You know what the score is. You’re choosing to live in a heretical and apostate church. It’s not reasonable to expect sympathy when you start smelling the sulfur and feeling the heat from the fiery pit. And yea it’s true. I am not an Episcopalian. And yes that probably makes it easier for me to tell those who are to leave their spiritual home. But seriously. Someone needs to.

One of the aspects of Protestantism that aught to make this a little easier is that Protestants generally don’t believe in “The Church” as a visible entity. So this is not like God’s Church has been subverted. You can just slide over to another Protestant sect and set up shop. Or start one of your own. That’s kinda one of the defining marks of Protestantism. As evidence there are already all kinds of so called Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. Join one. Or make a new one. A couple more won’t hurt.

Now I am reliably told that a few Episcopalians still like to refer to themselves as catholics (lower case “c”). This is to say that they do in fact believe that God only founded one church, not many. For them it’s not so simple to just slide over to a new Protestant sect or just start one up. These are people who will be looking for “The Church” not “a church.” This is made all the more complicated by the theological chaos in the Anglican Communion. So where to go?

To my mind there are logically only two choices. Rome or Orthodoxy. Both have credible claims to the things a catholic minded Christian would look for. Apostolic Orders, Sacraments, revelation by something more than private interpretation of scripture (which could reasonably be argued is one of the foundation blocks of the current mess in ECUSA), unambiguously clear and consistent (2000+ yrs) doctrinal beliefs, a long history of saints extending into modern times, and an unwavering commitment to core Christian moral principals. Both churches can and do trace themselves to Christ in unbroken succession through the apostles.

Both churches also have real issues confronting them. Since Vatican II the Roman Catholic Church has been wracked by modernism and liberalism in some parts of the church notably in North America and Western Europe. It has also been hurt by recent scandals involving clerical abuse of minor children. For its part Orthodoxy has too often been seen as an isolationist form of Christianity and it has a history of intra-Orthodox jurisdictional disputes that are difficult to resolve because of a lack of centralized authority. In some places the Orthodox Church has been uncomfortably close to some very unsavory political regimes. Of course none of this in any way weakens their respective claims to being Christ’s Church. God did not promise human infallibility. Only that He would preserve His church from teaching heresy. In the end we all need to pray, and then do what we believe is right as God gives us the light to discern right from wrong. Past that we can only trust in the infinite mercy of God. But please… no more whining.

3 comments:

americanorthodox said...

Hear! Hear!

Priest David Thatcher said...

John:

The Lord bless you! As you know, I am a former Episcopalian. You've said something here that I have thought many-a-time.

After the election of the ECUSA's latest Presiding Bishop (a much better name, in our culture, than is "Primate," which evokes something quite different to the average American), I wanted to go directly to our local Episcopalian priest, and tell him to get with it. He's a fine man, very evangelical. It grieves me that such folks are spending so many calories grasping ahold of well-anchored fixtures on a sinking ship.

I only wish and pray that they would see Orthodox Christianity as a real option for them. Alas!

Father David

Anonymous said...

What's more, if you saw that your church has completed the apostasy that it began years ago, and you still continue trying to cling to it- even to the point that you are willing to "go down with the ship"- what is your priority? Christ? Or being an Episcopalian?

-Julio