Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Memo to my Anglican readers: Doctrine Matters

Less than a month after sponsoring an event for Virginia Episcopal clergy featuring a speaker who denies both the afterlife and unique divinity of Christ, Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over a service featuring a similarly controversial figure.

In a Good Friday service at historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, retired Bishop John Shelby Spong decried the Nicene Creed as “a radical distortion of the Gospel of John,” asserted that several of the apostles were “mythological” and declared that Jesus Christ did not die to redeem humanity from its sins.

The three hour service featured a series of six meditations by the retired Newark bishop interspersed with prayers led by Johnston and a hymn promoted by the Center for Progressive Christianity entitled “Welcome doubt: Refine our thinking.” Johnston’s promotion of Spong, whose Newark diocese famously declined by 40 percent during his tenure, further undercuts the Virginia bishop’s claim to be creedal and orthodox.
Read the rest here.
HT: T-19

(I am posting this here instead of T-19 out of deference to their house rules. They get a bit touchy over comments critical of Anglicanism.)

Why is anyone even remotely surprised? Seriously. This is the perfectly logical devolution of a "church" (or communion if you prefer) that at its inception tried to wedge St. Athanasius and Calvin into the same pew and still visualizes them communing from the same chalice. Of course any "church" that attempts such is a fraud. But even now we have Piskies obsessing over the whole gay thing but who were/are totally unconcerned about women's ordination and even more serious doctrinal issues. That's why Mr. Spong is the poster child for what Anglicanism is all about.

Because when you boil it all down Anglicanism is just one endless series of theological and doctrinal compromises made by people for whom the only real heresy is dogmatism and intolerance of endless dialogue. The fact that an overt apostate like Jack Spong is called a "bishop" by the Episcopal Organization is just further evidence that it has devolved into little more than liturgical Unitarianism. Some of the other branches of the Anglican tree are not as advanced in their own decay. But the seeds of their destruction are already planted. They were sown more than 500 years ago.


Anam Cara said...

If you think T-19 is grouchy, try criticizing Anglicanism over at Stand Firm. They will ban you from ever posting again - especially if you suggest Orthodoxy as an alternative. At least they banned me and several others I've talked to.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Their house - their rules. Can't speak to Stand Firm but T-19 has a long standing policy on that subject.

Dn Paul said...

a "church" (or communion if you prefer) that at its inception tried to wedge St. Athanasius and Calvin into the same pew and still visualizes them communing from the same chalice

Forget about St Athanasius. They try to do the same with Luther and Zwingli. The two ends of the Protestant spectrum are in perpetual tension (when anyone stops to think about it), without any need to invoke the Fathers.

William Tighe said...

As one that was banned from SF without warning in September 2007 I can testify to the truth of this. At T19 I appear to be in a kind of "perpetual moderation:" comments that I post appear -- or not -- after a considerable period of time. The strange thing is, those that do not appear there seem as often as not to be bland and pedantic, and without any explicit or implicit critique of Anglicanism.

bob said...

I'm keeping good company; I am also of the Brotherhood of The Banned from both sites! Yes, speaking the truth to an Anglican is touchy, "traditional" no less than "progressive". I must (I find) always keep before me the important fact that *they like it there*. If they didn't they'd quit. They act dismayed and fulminate all they want, but these dear folks have endured Spong, PIke, Williams and Schori and people stealing their church buildings out from under them -- and mostly have zero intention of not being Anglican. Gluttons for punishment. Don't ever suggest there is something other than punishment because they have never seen it. It's like suggesting there is such a thing as "religious freedom" to a Coptic Christian.

EPG said...

Rather than comment on the moderation policies of other sites, I am going to address one of the points made by our host: What Anglicanism is all about, and what it comes from -- it never was really about religion. It was about Henry VIII's dynastic concerns, and Elizabeth's desire to impose order following her brother's Protestantism, and her sister's attempt to restore the Church of Rome. I'm not sure she did ever really care what was inside men's souls, but she was certainly going to knock out any challenge to her authority.

And then, again, in the wake of the Commonwealth, the overreaching by James II, and the establishment of the reign of William and Mary, another essentially political arrangement was reached. The religious arguments were either window dressing, or post hoc rationalizations.

Such are the hazards of an established church.

Now, I've read a lot from some of the posters above, and know that you all know much more than most about church history (including me). So have at it if I am wrong.

Fr. Theodore Phillips said...

I was an Anglican. I loved being an Anglican. I was neck-deep in Anglicanism. But I decided I would rather be in love with the Truth as the Scriptures and Fathers articulated it and sink into the Living God to whom they witness.

It is fun and convenient to be Anglican in the "first world," because "Anglican" can mean whatever you want it to, based on your own preconceived notions or latest attraction. If you want to mix and match theologies and liturgies or, even, deities, go right ahead! Believe me -- I knew a Hindupalian, who had her idols at home and went to Communion at a theoretically Anglo-catholic parish! I knew religious brothers who would suspend a golden Buddha around their neck along with their profession Cross!

Rogers & Hammerstein put it best in their musical, "Cinderella": "In my own little corner, on my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be!" That is how Anglicanism functions: One person or parish is "evangelical," one is "Calvinist," one is "anglo-catholic," one is "Prayer Book catholic," one is "Broad," one is "low," one is "charismatic," one is "re-imagining god(dess)." All in the same town, diocese, province, and ecclesial community. Each believes the others to be "wrong" or at least "mis-guided."

As one friend of mine puts it, "As long as things are ok in my parish, I am fine." But "ok" means no more than "the way I like it" (in this case, a melange of Anglo-catholicism and pan-sexualism).

I, on the other hand, was "unfaithful," "disobedient," "hypocritical," and subject to revilement because I dared to say that objective truth mattered enough for me to renounce my ordination and leave my religious community. It seems that it's ok to violate vows to be faithful to one, and one only, God or to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil; but it is an unpardonable offense to violate vows to be obedient to religious superiors (even when the vow puts obedience to Christ explicitly prior to obedience to fallible mortals). That is very typical "Episcopalian" reasoning.

Still, I do miss the music, the dignity of solemn Evensong, and Christmas Figgy Pudding...