11/11/2007

No recourse in the example of the Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America.

Thinking Anglicans draws our attention to an important analysis of the actions in the Diocese of Pittsburgh by The Rev. Canon Harold Lewis, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh. Please go over there and read it in its entirety.

Canon Lewis ends with these words:

"If indeed the Episcopalians seeking realignment can be seen as the new Confederacy, we can take some comfort in the knowledge that the old Confederacy and the church that it spawned were short-lived. Already there is dissension in the ranks. In this diocese, although we could not tell by their behavior at Convention, there are several clergy and lay leaders from "conserving" parishes who have indicated to the bishop that when push comes to shove, they will not join ranks with the Realigners, and will instead remain in the Episcopal Church.

Beyond the bounds of the Diocese, other Realigners are seeking different paths. The bishop of Fort Worth, for example, whose diocese is a member of the Network, has indicated that his diocese will only realign with a province which does not recognize the ordination of women. One religious body which is a member of the newly formed group called Common Cause is reportedly considering a petition to the Holy See. Such, historically, has been the fate of religious organizations formed in protest against other religious organizations.

The memory of the words and the presence of Archbishop Tutu buoyed me during the cheerless hours spent at diocesan convention. His embracing message of inclusivity, based on his interpretation of John 12:32, "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself," rang in my ears. Despite a Biblical theology which trumpets a penchant for believing in "the plain meaning of Scripture," this passage seems to elude our conservative brethren, who by their actions continually suggest that the Lord's intention was to bring only some to himself."

I have been suggesting for some time that the dissenters might not be able to hold the Common Cause Partnership together. The Moderator has used one image and then another to justify the separation that the Network and others have brought about. Canon Lewis slams the door on using the justification of the separation of the dioceses in the South as a rationale for dioceses having the right to separate now.

One other item about the separation of the North and South at the time of the un-Civil War: The Southern dioceses did not separate on the assumption that they were the only true Anglican body in America and that one day they would rise up and become the true church part of the Anglican body of churches, etc.

11 comments:

  1. Mark - in that passage you quoted from John 12:32 does Jesus literally mean that he will draw every single person to himself? There is a sense that every single person will be called to give an account before him on the last day, but I don't think these words of Jesus are meant to be interpreted as every single person will be saved. "pas" (or "pantes" used in this verse) is usually used to mean all rather than every or everyone, whereas the word usually used to denote every or everyone is "hekastos". I take this passage to mean he will draw all people, without distinction, rather than without exception - IOW - people will be drawn from every race, class, gender without distinction.

    Remember the context of Jesus saying these words - the Greeks have just come searching for him and the Jews are rejecting him - seems to add support to the contention that Jesus is referring to the offer of salvation through his being lifted up (in his death on the cross) to both Jews and Gentiles without distinction. I doubt that Jesus would have included the Jews who were rejecting him among the "pantes" whom he would save - so, yes, there are some who are not included.

    Many conservative scholars seem to understand that this is the "plain meaning of Scripture" which you think has eluded us. I would be interested in your detailed exegesis of this passage.

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  2. Talk about spending a lot of energy on nothing. Duncan hardly meant to use the example of ECUSA separating during the civil war as (1) either the basis for his splitting or (2) an analogy that corresponds detail for detail with the present day. All he meant was that the church had gone through a kind of realignment before and it is going through one again.

    Lewis is correct in his use of the failed marriage analogy. Not much else he writes is convincing to me. He tries to place the race card (imaging that, huh?) and it doesn't work.

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  3. David Wilson12/11/07 8:57 AM

    In making the case for realignment prior to the Pittsburgh Diocesan Convention Bishop Duncan had used the analogy of the Confederate House of Bishops as a precident for such a realignment. At the time I read the bishop's missive I had a hiccup. I immediately thought the good rector would use this analogy in a way to bring scorn against the bishop and the conservative majority. It is shameful for Dr. Lewis to play (by association) the race card in this situation. If Dr. Lewis hadn't been so engrossed with pondering Archbishop Tutu's address, he might have actually heard Nancy Bolden, chair of the Racism Commission, praise Bishop Duncan and Bishop Scriven for their solid support in the work of eradicating racism in our community.

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  4. christopher+12/11/07 9:51 AM

    The southern dioceses do not appear to have believed that they were going to be within the same country once all was said and done - an entirely different situation in which TEC's awaiting the outcome of the war (no canonical action at the time) made good sense.

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  5. Down in the Old Dominion, the Virginia cases turn exactly on a statute that was enacted during reconstruction to deal with continuing disputes over church divisions tied to the "issues" of the Civil War.

    Friends, wherever you sit on these issues, pray for Judge Bellows and for those with whom you disagree.

    His Peace,

    -miserable sinner

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  6. Isn't it adding insult to injury that they are holding these consecrations in a church building that they are attempting to take away from the Episcopal Church?

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  7. Sir, Desmond Tutu does not seem to have read all of John Ch 12....

    -v33 explains what v 12 means (not quite what Tutu gets from it);

    -the rest of John 12 contains exclusive claims by Christ and talks of judgment on those who do not follow him.......

    John 12
    32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

    34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”


    When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

    “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

    39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

    40 “He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart,
    lest they see with their eyes,
    and understand with their heart, and turn,
    and I would heal them.”

    41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

    44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

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  8. ddhanson dijo...
    Isn't it adding insult to injury that they are holding these consecrations in a church building that they are attempting to take away from the Episcopal Church?

    13/11/07 10:28 AM

    Ha! These people don't even look in mirrors because there is a reflection they do not wish to see!

    Leonardo Ricardo

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  9. It's sort of charming that anybody claiming to be a scholar also thinks that Jesus said anything attributed to him in that literary masterpiece, The Gospel Attributed to "John."

    LPR

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  10. rudigervt - it might surprise you to know that there are many intelligent scholars who have no trouble in affirming that John's gospel was written by the apostle John, and that he recorded the authentic words of Jesus. Quaint, isn't it? Don't believe the nonsense produced by the Jesus Seminar people, who would have us believe in a Jesus unrecognisable by the early church.

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  11. Don't believe the nonsense produced by the Jesus Seminar people, who would have us believe in a Jesus unrecognisable by the early church.

    Brian, pray do have some of those early church goers contact me. I eagerly await a first-hand recounting of these things they apparently told you. I'm always interested in having my misconceptions and misperceptions corrected by credible evidence.

    LPR

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