10/31/2008

Bishop Iker's reasons for running away, perhaps mad.

Bishop Iker has written his diocese with the following inflammatory gobbledygook. For those who might be interested, I have conveniently provided his remarks in purple and my rebuttals in RED.

Bishop Iker begins: "what are the real issues that separate us from TEC? Allow me to provide a brief summary of just a few of them:"

First an editorial comment: TEC (The Episcopal Church) is not a monolithic entity and therefore everything that he lists proceeds from a wrong assumption - that TEC is a single voice, and a voice contrary to the Diocese of Fort Worth. What the bishop means is that the current voices of leadership - the PB, President of the House of Deputies, the legislative voice of General Convention, the majority of bishops and clergy, and all sorts of lay people including my mother, are a single power and one aligned against the Diocese of Fort Worth in the person of its Bishop.

OK. Now to the bishop's bullet points:

• Our Diocese believes in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. TEC believes there are many ways to salvation and that all religions lead to God.

Rot! Neither the BCP, the Baptismal Vows, or the Constitution and Canons say any such thing. There are members of this Church including some clergy and all sorts of lay persons who believe that salvation is not ours to determine and that at least some religions (Judaism for example) do lead to God. There are also some cranks. I suppose there are none in Fort Worth.

• Our Diocese believes in the authority of Holy Scripture in all matters of faith and morals. TEC believes the Bible needs to be revised and adapted to meet the changing culture and that it may mean different things in different social contexts.

Are we to suppose that the vows taken by the Bishop when he was deaconed, priested and bishoped, and which BTW every ordained person makes, are only taken seriously in the Diocese of Fort Worth? There are some clergy and some laity who believe that there is a difference between the words on the page and the Word of God.

• Our Diocese believes that the essentials of the Christian Faith have been revealed once and for all in the teachings of Jesus Christ and are not subject to change. TEC believes in a revisionist approach that says only the votes of successive General Conventions can determine doctrinal and faith issues for Episcopalians as times change.

Now the word revisionists comes out. Good, get it out. Now let's think back. There are several doctrinal and faith decisions that have found their way into the life of the church by way of changes specifically ordered by The Episcopal Church, its parent church, the Church of England, and some by decision of General Convention. Does it help that faithful persons in the General Convention might also believe "that the essentials of the Christian Faith have been revealed once and for all in the teachings of Jesus Christ" and that that means changes are either not understood as being essentials or are quite in line with the teachings of our Lord? I thought not.

• Our Diocese believes that all ordained clergy are under the obligation to model in their own lives the received teaching of the Church that all its members are to abstain from sexual relations outside Holy Matrimony. TEC believes that active homosexuals and bisexuals should be ordained to the sacred ministry of bishops, priests and deacons.

Actually a large portion of TEC believes that homosexuals, like heterosexuals, are, in their lives, to be a wholesome example, something which possible even with the constraints of social and religious systems in which gay and lesbian persons cannot be married. No one "should" be ordained. But some are chosen.

• Our Diocese believes that marriage is the exclusive physical and spiritual union of one man and one woman for life. TEC believes same sex relationships are good and holy and should be blessed and celebrated.

Actually, no. (Remember the lack of single voice?) TEC is very mixed in its response to the questions of blessing same sex unions. But it seems most members of TEC believe that same sex relationships can be holy and good, just as can be heterosexual relationships.

• Our Diocese believes in the sacredness of human life from conception. TEC affirms abortion on demand.

No it doesn't. Here is what TEC says from General Convention 1994 - A054:

"That this 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirms resolution C047 from the 69th General Convention, which states:

All human life is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed by God. It is the responsibility of our congregations to assist their members in becoming informed concerning the spiritual and physiological aspects of sex and sexuality.

The Book of Common Prayer affirms that "the birth of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion in the life of a family. It is also an occasion for rejoicing in the Christian community" (p. 440). As Christians we also affirm responsible family planning.

We regard all abortion as having a tragic dimension, calling for the concern and compassion of all the Christian community.

While we acknowledge that in this country it is the legal right of every woman to have a medically safe abortion, as Christians we believe strongly that if this right is exercised, it should be used only in extreme situations. We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience.

In those cases where an abortion is being considered, members of this Church are urged to seek the dictates of their conscience in prayer, to seek the advice and counsel of members of the Christian community and where appropriate, the sacramental life of this Church."

• Our Diocese has endorsed from the very beginning the position of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) on sexuality, the recommendations of the Windsor Report (2004) on how to keep us together as a Communion, and the need for an Anglican Covenant that will define the limits of diversity. TEC has repudiated the Lambeth resolution on human sexuality, acted in defiance of the Windsor Report, and will only accept a future Covenant if there are no consequences for breaking it!

Well, it's fine to endorse a resolution that has no power unless it is endorsed. It is quite another thing to be told that a resolution has been endorsed by others and therefore you must obey. Reviews are mixed regarding the Windsor Report and the Anglican Covenant, but there is clearly greater reluctance to give assent to a report whose recommendations have widely been ignored by Primates around the Communion, while at the same time being partially constrained by the moratoria it has asked of TEC. As to the Covenant, the ball is still in play.

• Our Diocese believes that the theological issue of the ordination of women as priests and bishops is a matter of conscience and must not be forced on anyone. TEC believes this matter has been decided for Episcopalians and that acceptance of it is mandatory in every diocese.

It is not a matter of conscience for TEC. It is the norm. Norms have the force of expectation and the expectation is that the Diocese of Fort Worth will honor the reality that women, even some women in Fort Worth, will believe they are called to ordained ministry and find ways for them to continue in discernment to that end. It is mandatory because it is the fact.

• Our Diocese has constitutional and canonical provisions that place all church property in the name of the Corporation of this Diocese, to be held in trust for the use of each local congregation. TEC claims that all church property belongs to them, a claim first made by General Convention in 1979.

No it doesn't. TEC claims that all church property is held in trust for the Episcopal Church. Here is what the canon actually says:

1.7. Sec. 4. All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any
Parish, Mission or Congregation is held in trust for this Church and
the Diocese thereof in which such Parish, Mission or Congregation is
located. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the
power and authority of the Parish, Mission or Congregation otherwise
existing over such property so long as the particular Parish, Mission
or Congregation remains a part of, and subject to, this Church and its
Constitution and Canons.
Sec. 5. The several Dioceses may, at their election, further confirm the
trust declared under the foregoing Section 4 by appropriate action, but
no such action shall be necessary for the existence and validity of the
trust.

BTW, the Diocese of Fort Worth did not exist in 1979, but was formed in 1983. Bishop Iker was not a bishop in 1979. He was ordained bishop in 1993. When the Diocese split from the Diocese of Dallas it understood what the Constitution and Canons were. When Bishop Iker was ordained, he understood. They neither of them objected. What isn't to understand about the canon?

• Our Diocese believes that heretical teaching by the church causes separation and division, that unity and truth must go together. TEC believes we should tolerate heresies and false teaching for the sake of remaining together.

So what's the comparison? That FW and its Bishop don't tolerate heresy and false teaching, and TEC does? or is it that FW and its Bishop believe heresy and false teaching causes separation and division and TEC doesn't. The first maybe. The second...nah. Everybody belives heretical teaching causes separation and division.

About the first - if this is about FW and its bishop having a special hold on true teaching and orthodoxy which somehow TEC has lost - this is part of the same assumption that is refered earlier in the "editorial comment."

• Our Diocese maintains that just as we voted to come into union with the General Convention in 1982, so we have the right to dissolve that union in 2008. TEC believes our affiliation with General Convention is irrevocable.

Actually the Diocese of Fort Worth petitioned General Convention to join the Union as part of its separation under canon from the Diocese of Dallas. GC voted to allow the formation of the diocese, which then met, named itself and submitted its Constitution and Canons which were received. Then it was admitted. FW was a product of an already existing diocese dividing. And BTW, every diocese in formation becomes a diocese only upon admission.

• Our Diocese stands with the vast majority of Anglicans around the world. TEC is a declining body and very much out of the mainstream of orthodox Christianity, both here and abroad.

This is an issue that separates? This is a reason for leaving? What about staying and bending us back towards what you know to be true? So much for a mission to TEC. The Bishop gave up long ago any sense that TEC was going to go his way.

These are not the issues, these are reasons for running away.

Well, Bishop Iker. Go. Don't go away mad. Who knows, you may find some joy elsewhere. Leave the keys.



48 comments:

  1. Thanks, Mark. I have a clue how hard you have been working on this.

    blesssings...

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  2. Right on, Mark!

    Judy Upham

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  3. The idea that these diocese have had "something done to them by TEC" is ludicrous. We/they/us/you/me/everyone is part of the Episcopal Church. This is the most extreme case of middle school jealousy I have ever witnessed. They want to take their football and go home cause the rest of the world does not play fair. Well gentlemen, the answer to the question isn't anyone doing anything to anyone. Whether you like it or not we are all in this together, we are the Episcopal Church.
    Much like middle school rewarding this type of behavior only encourages more of the same. It is a shame that ++Akinola, ++Orambi, ++Venables etal don't respond in a manner that is more in keeping with correcting childish behavior.

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  4. Well said, Fred. I've always wanted to say to those Episcopalians who accuse TEC of _______________ (fill in favorite heresy), "What do you mean, TEC believes __________________? You're part of TEC, and don't believe any such thing!"

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  5. As usual, Mark, you have put your finger directly on the issues. Thanks for your work, your clarity, and (given the scope of Bp Iker's letter) your succinctness!

    Most things in Bp Iker's letter are simply lies. A few of the accusations may be true, but represent his repudiation of legitimate canonical authority (e.g., the ordination of women).

    I am not a psychiatrist, so it would not be appropriate to use the word "paranoia." (Ha! See! I managed to use it anyway!)

    However, I do hope that the canonically appropriate persons, including clergy and laity of the Diocese of Fort Worth, as well as other bishops of The Episcopal Church, will forbear bringing charges of the abandonment of the communion of this Church. I think that would be entirely legitimate, as it was for Schofield and Duncan, but strategically unwise (as I think it was in those cases). I consider Iker to be patently guilty of violation of his ordination vows and violation of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, for which offenses he should be brought to trial. That's messier and more prolonged than using the abandonment canon, but these kinds of situations are not really what the abandonment canon is meant for.

    All very sad.

    Bill Moorhead

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  6. Bp. Iker wrote: "Our Diocese believes that the essentials of the Christian Faith have been revealed once and for all in the teachings of Jesus Christ and are not subject to change."

    Does that mean that they can now revise their Fort Worth Bibles to eliminate all those pesky epistles?

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  7. Fr. Mark,

    Just curious, but at what point, if ever, do the pronouncements of bishops and prominent clergy and lay leaders start to trump what is written on paper? (i.e. the Constitution and Canons).

    Given that most judicial trials since that of James Pike appear to have concluded that there is no "core doctrine" that can be infringed and proscribed, does that not, in effect, give the public pronouncements of certain prominent "cranks" a force they would not otherwise enjoy?

    If there is sometimes a lack of nuance on the reasserter side, is it not matched on the reappraiser side to admit that things are said and done by bishops that ultimately have much the same effect as if General Convention had authorized them in the first place. From the perspective of "conscience" I'm unclear that there's much to choose between Jack Iker and Marc Andrus. Both are taking stands for what they believe; you would agree, broadly, with one and I, broadly, with the the other.

    Just by way of an aside, I could wish that you were right about the Church regarding "all abortion as having a tragic dimension, calling for the concern and compassion of all the Christian community." The trouble is that many of those who seem bound and determined to bind us to the RCRC don't talk in those terms. Where, for example, is the support for groups like Feminists for Life or encouragement of adoption as a desirable alternative? We never seem to hear anything on such subjects.

    One may agree with realignment without reservation, accept it as necessary evil, or reject it for its failure to follow catholic norms. The one thing one cannot do is to claim that it there is no basis for it.

    What would be more to the good would be if we actually looked beyond property claims to consider what is going to keep "congregations" going in the long term. Closing churches and paying lawyers just to make a point about property that neither side "owns" (if we recognize all we have as coming from our Father in Heaven) seems a rather wasteful exercise and destructive of relationships that continue to exist across the party divide here in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

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  8. Jeremy Bonner...Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

    Pronouncements of prominent bishops and clergy do tend to trump paper, but only for a while. Think how much more we are convinced (or convicted) by the practice of religion rather than the words of religions leaders. I say the creed twice on Sundays (we have two services) and every other time in the week that we have Eucharist. I have read passages critical of this or that part of the creed once in a while. Who "wins"? The words on the page revisited again and again.

    Yes, place does give cranks force that they would not otherwise have. But they are not there forever, and regular old congregants like you and like me keep on keeping on.

    There is core doctrine. The Bishop Righter trial said he had not denied any core doctrine. The Anglican Church of Canada holds that there are such core doctrines. The problem is, just what are they? Interesting article on this at
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3818/is_199804/ai_n8793164

    Yes there is lack of nuance enought for everyone. BTW one difference between Iker and Andrus, among other things, is that Bishop Iker believes that, as part of the leadership of TEC (howbeit out a good bit from the core), I am revisionist and a heretic. Bishop Andrus does not.

    Re the GC statement on abortion: Actually I hear a good bit about encouragement for adoption, etc.

    I'm of the opinion that the canon is clear and rasonable and that if it applied, it could the be the basis of a conversation between TEC/ the Diocese/ and the congregation who is leaving. In Central Florida Bishop Howe has done some good work on this. But the beginning point was that he had the responsibility to hold in trust the property and work with all parties to find a settlement that made sense.

    Thanks for the thoughtful note.

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  9. Thank you for your response to Bishop Iker. Your thoughtfulness and clarity are very helpful.

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  10. Mark,
    I read Jeremy Bonner's comments completely and thoroughly after yor comments and found myself shaking my head right up to here:
    "What would be more to the good would be if we actually looked beyond property claims to consider what is going to keep "congregations" going in the long term. Closing churches and paying lawyers just to make a point about property that neither side "owns" (if we recognize all we have as coming from our Father in Heaven) seems a rather wasteful exercise and destructive of relationships that continue to exist across the party divide here in Pittsburgh and elsewhere."

    See, what they really mean is leave us alone so that we can take your property with us. Those that sue are those that are in error -- but those that are being sued are those that are squatting on the property.
    It is easy for the one holding the property to say, it is unChristian to sue us because they end up with the property. Ity might be more genuine if say, Mr. Duncan were to say here is the property back and TEC is more than welcome to it since to steal is as unchristian as to sue. And, what about the missions that have been sold to fill legal war chests of the likes of Mr. Schofield? Is it unchristian to sell holy places in order to finance unholy activities?
    Jeremy, I find your arguments to be disingenuous, sorry.

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  11. "...TEC is very mixed in its response to the questions.."

    This shows a couple of things:

    1. That too many in TEC believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Look for the pulse and the poll to determine all matters. When it doesn't, that means WE aren't of one mind and can't say much else.

    and that,

    2. We believe that faith and morals are actually decided by GC. The claim that the BCP "doesn't" support this or that isn't the issue. We know that plans are underway to make BCP fit the theological conviction du jour. Today BCP says one thing. In a few years it will change because...again...the poll and pulse rule TEC.

    Too much living in the world.

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  12. No problem Fred. Like many in the middle (in Pittsburgh terms at least) I've been taking flack from my own side as much as from yours, if that's any consolation.

    I happen to be somebody who would happily walk away (my own church building is one that nobody wants and has been draining congregational energies for a while). But, for now, we know that most realigners aren't going to do that. I know one person on my side who holds similar views but who says that she would happily leave her church if there were agreement to dispose of the property and give the funds to a mutually agreeable group like World Vision. How about that as a way to strengthen a commitment to the Millennium Development Goals?

    So let's think for a moment what your assumptions imply. First of all, Pittsburgh's in the shape it's in (which is pretty good for a Rustbelt diocese) precisely because of those pesky Evangelicals. They're the ones responsible for most of the growth. So TEC is laying claim to assets that have been nurtured by those who've been proclaiming their counter-cultural views long before realignment was contemplated (going back at least to the late 1960s and if you accept the thesis of my recent ANGLICAN AND EPISCOPAL article back to the 1950s). So isn't asserting a claim to things in which they've had so much of a hand a little hypocritical on your part? Why did no one tell them that their intolerant view were incompatible with American Anglicanism years ago? Remember how EPISCOPAL LIFE ran a feature on Orchard Hill Church out here in 1991, just weeks before Orchard Hill walked out of TEC? Apparently your side weren't that on the ball back then.

    What bothers me is that no one really seems to be asking the question are we suing to get back a building for a viable congregation or are we suing to claim property? Ultimately, a litigation war won't destroy the big suburban parishes on either side but it will destroy the small ones (often towns with only one Anglican church of any sort). When do we start asking how do we make arrangements to share church buildings between realigners and remainers? Someone from the progressive side actually asked this at a recent meeting that I attended as an observer.

    And I'm sorry if you think it disingenuous (I wasn't, incidentally, putting it forward as a legal argument) but do you really see our church buildings as the possessions of any of us? I think some on both sides of the aisle do, but I would hope that most of us would see them as graced space of which we are, at best, temporary occupants.

    By the same token, would the original Anglo Catholic missionaries who planted churches in San Francisco approve of the outlook of most of those congregations today? I rather doubt it, but does that mean that conservative Anglo Catholics in San Joaquin have a claim to them? No, that's equally absurd. And yet trotting out the hierarchical church argument with regard to property only seems as selective of history as some conservative approaches to the past.

    Hope Mark+ doesn't mind one commentator responding to another.

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  13. Thank you, Mark.
    Barbi Click
    formerly of the Diocese of Fort Worth; now of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri and in St. Louis at Christ Church Cathedral and doing very well, thank you, but praying for friends and family in FW who are about to go through so much more over the next 7 months.

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  14. allen... many of your comments are helpful, but many are not. I wonder if it is time for you to get your own blog rather than constantly beating the drum here? I don't want to cut you off, but you almost never have anything positive to say here. You have decided that TEC and most of the stuff talked about here is just wrong. Perhaps you have a blog already?

    If so let us know where it is.

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  15. Thanks, Mark, for this concise rebuttal.

    I must add to your and Paul A.'s comment on Iker's "Our Diocese believes that the essentials of the Christian Faith have been revealed once and for all in the teachings of Jesus Christ and are not subject to change."

    If this were true, there would have been no need for the Council of Nicea, among other things. And much of our theology comes from Paul and the Apostolic Church, not Jesus.

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  16. When he was still a cardinal the current bishop of Rome explained how the church changes while remaining incapable of error:

    The church has always known these truths, but it has not always been aware of its knowledge.

    Ummm,, who knew this was also true of the bishop of Fort Worth?

    FWIW
    jimB

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  17. Jeremy,
    I would certainly agree with you let's sell everything and give to the Millenium Goals. Better yet, let's focus on two things. First, lets make sure everyone in the world has enough to eat and that everyone in the world has all the basic rights they are entitled to.

    As to the building up of churches by the Evangelicals, I think that as we study history we find that waxes and wanes with a wide variety of subsets within the Episcopal Church -- thats why it stays with the Episcopal Church.

    With that in mind -- dialog is open.

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  18. Mark,

    Explain where I am wrong. Irritating to the agenda yes, but where wrong? The BCP is coming under revision. Preliminary notions abound, but one thing's for sure. It will reflect the majority theology and practice of those who currently lead TEC. Is it a fallacy that there are those who want the marriage service revised to include SSBs? Is it a fallacy that a push is underway to change the opening of services with "Blessed be the one holy and living God", rather than the Trinitarian language currently in BCP? Is it a fallacy that a revision is underway to remove "proceeds from ...the Son.." from the Nicene Creed?

    Those that currently lead will revise the BCP with a left-of-center theology and expect the Church to use it. Right?

    I'm saying that considering our already fragile unity, a revisionist BCP is NOT going to serve anybody well. It will fracture the remaining unity that TEC can claim from those in the pew.

    Couple that with new Title IV canonical changes to silence/restrain the laity, and another to re-deed church property and I'm sure that TEC's current leaders will force an irreparable split involving more than the likes of Iker.

    My visit this afternoon with a very loyalist TEC clergy widow tells me that we need not push people like her any farther. Loyalists such as Ann are ready to jump ship once forced to deed property over to a bishop that they do not identify with nor respect.

    Irritating, but where wrong? Would you really like to find out 6 years from now that this current generation of elected leaders killed off the Episcopal Church? Or perhaps you are willing to recognize that a gross miscalculation took place and is worsened by upcoming agendas that will have little opposition.

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  19. "Is it a fallacy that a revision is underway to remove "proceeds from ...the Son.." from the Nicene Creed?"

    No, that's not a fallacy. The fallacy would be that this is some sort of revisionist plot to water down the Creed.

    The filioque was simply not in the original text of the Creed, allen. Removing it doesn't even say anything as to its truth or falsehood, just that its addition was not authorized (the only agency that gets to monkey around with the pronouncements of Ecumenical Councils are other Ecumenical Councils. The Eastern Orthodox Churches never had the filioque - are they revisionist?

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  20. Hey, Mark,

    I've just recently started reading Preludium, and just want to say that I really appreciate your respectful openness in hearing a diversity of opinion, and encouraging discussion.

    I think your posts are inciteful, informative, and very thought-provoking.

    Blessings!

    Sincerely,
    Grace.

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  21. billyd,

    My point is that NOW is not the time to irritate TEC's base more than is already happening. All we need in the next six years is a BCP revision that ticks off and creates yet more controversy with the current sustaining members. Is it really worth more exits to take on a theological revision in the Creed? When does self-restraint make sense in this current leadership?

    You didn't mention the revision of the marriage rite being pushed. Or the revisionist salutation at the service opening that erases the Trinity.

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  22. Why did no one tell them that their intolerant view were incompatible with American Anglicanism years ago?

    Because TEC, in the democratic-majority, doesn't think that way, Jeremy!

    I guess it's natural that those who are intolerant, would PROJECT that intolerance on everybody else...

    ...but in reality, ALL views (tolerant to intolerant, and everything in between) ARE "compatible" w/ TEC.

    As long as you don't go stabbing us in the back (that's vow-breaking BEHAVIOR, not "views": see re xSchofield and xDuncan), all are welcome here.

    [NB to Mark: sadly, voluntary self-moderation---fine for the vast majority---won't work on a tendacious/mendacious few. Those few can ruin real dialogue for that vast majority. What's the cost of "Y'all Come/Rudeness No Problem"? As w/ TEC generally, so also here at Preludium: it's not the views, it's the behavior. Only you, Mark, can decide when enough's enough. Pax.]

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  23. Mark+, I have really no interest in the opinions of what Sarah Hey calls the liberal ideologues. They want to advance their cause no matter if it kills the denomination. Gene Robinson called for the advancement of the homosexual agenda (yes, I know people hate that term "agenda" but I don't know a viable more neutral term) even "if it risks the institution itself."

    But I really would like to know what is going on in the mind of the liberal institutionalists. They share a love of the church as a church not as a means to a political end.

    Jeremy Bonner is so reasonable. Where is the reason on the other side?

    The national church spent $2 million on lawyers last year. That does not include monies spent propping up remaining Episcopalians and it does not include monies spent by dioceses. How much will it increase when the lawsuits against the four dioceses start? Do you really think the denomination, which is already the fastest declining, can survive the years of bad PR and legal costs?

    Here is what I think: The liberal institutionalists are simply scared. The situation has gotten out of hand. They doubt their numbers are sufficient to stop the liberal ideologues, and they are scared that if they form an alliance with reasonable conservatives like Jeremy Bonner and demand that the insanity ceases, that they will be turned on.

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  24. "Is it really worth more exits to take on a theological revision in the Creed? When does self-restraint make sense in this current leadership?"

    But allen, the only people who would exit over taking the filioque out of the Creed are, presumably, the grossly ill-informed.

    "You didn't mention the revision of the marriage rite being pushed. Or the revisionist salutation at the service opening that erases the Trinity."

    Largely because I don't know anything about them. For the record, I'm ambivalent about gay marriage, and against excising the Trinity.

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  25. "Our Diocese believes in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. TEC believes there are many ways to salvation and that all religions lead to God."
    Unfortunately, the Presiding Bishop just gave people who believe that about TEC more grist for the mill. Pittsburglive.com has this from her visit this weekend: "Jefferts Schori replied that like most Christians, she believes Jesus died for "the whole world." But his life and resurrection did not sever the promise God made to Jews and to Muslims, she added, and those groups still have access to salvation.

    "I see evidence of holiness in people who are not Christians. I have to assume in some way God is present and important in those people who may not consciously know Jesus." Does that mean they're all saved? When I hear statements like that if makes me wonder why Jesus bothered when it wasn't necessary.
    I know those here who love her dearly will say that she's not the pope so that's just her own opinion, but maybe then if her opinions cause so much trouble someone should tell her to follow the script and just talk about what the BCP states as doctrine as opposed to muddying the waters.

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  26. billyd,

    As you hopefully remember, I am no fan of those who are leading the fracture of this Church - on either extreme. But, I sense that there is valid criticism that has long gone unaddressed by the revisionists. When we are teetering on more mass exits, now is not the time to - after centuries - decide that we are going to be retrained on something like the Filioque Clause! Is THAT so important as to risk chasing away loyalists with what will appear to be an unnnecessary innovation?

    Forget Iker. Look at the loyalist base that is getting fed up. Iker et al may share some of the base's criticisms and for that reason alone he should be listened to.

    In no unexpected fashion, the Presiding Bishop has handed our Church another embarrassment. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review carried the account of her visit wth the remnant of TEC's diocese there. Concerns were expressed by attendees that the Presiding Bishop was too weak in her Christology. The article states"

    "Jefferts Schori replied that like most Christians, she believes Jesus died for "the whole world." But his life and resurrection did not sever the promise God made to Jews and to Muslims, she added, and those groups still have access to salvation".

    The Muslims???

    Has anyone actually discerned that Allah has nothing in common with the Judeo-Christian God? Aside from the reactionary "be nice", has anyone ever looked at how Islam's god is not the least like the God and Father of Jesus Christ. Yet, in liberal fashion, a god is a god is a god as long as people are sincere.

    To lump the god of a pedohile like Muhammad in with the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus Christ is shoddy theology at best.

    Iker shares this concern of TEC's remaining loyalists in Pittsburgh.

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  27. Allen, I'm not even sure that the proposal to do away with the filioque comes from the usual suspects. This may originate among those who are pursuing Anglican-Orthodox relations. At any rate, it's not anything that needs to be addressed right now, and you may be right that it can wait until things are calmer.

    While I believe that God's salvation isn't limited only to those who sign the Sinner's Prayer card at a Billy Graham revival, neither do I believe that God is in some sort of covenant with the Muslims. Do you have a link to the article? From your quote, it appears that this is a summation by the reporter, who may have got it wrong.

    Careful with condemnations of "Allah," which is simply the Arabic word for God. It's the normal word used by Arabic-speaking Christians to refer to You Know Who.

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  28. "I see evidence of holiness in people who are not Christians. I have to assume in some way God is present and important in those people who may not consciously know Jesus." Does that mean they're all saved? When I hear statements like that if makes me wonder why Jesus bothered when it wasn't necessary.

    Have you ever read CS Lewis' Narnia books - especially the Last Battle?

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  29. Christopher (P.)3/11/08 1:43 PM

    Allen--

    Why do you think that she's going on the basis of "be nice." There is a solid basis of theology, Biblically based, that sees the salvation that Christ effected as being "for the nations." And that sees belief manifested as much or more in actions than in words. And most everyone thinks that the God that Muslims pray to is the same God as Jews and Christians pray to--and to affirm this is not to affirm anything else about the relative merits of the three religions. As to Chris H.'s comment about why did Jesus bother, it seems to miss the point. The statement that holiness and experience of God may come to Jews and Muslims is precisely because of Jesus. The PB isn't saying that Jesus is superfluous; she's saying that he may be more powerful than we had imagined.

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  30. As usual, there is always more to the story than the slant Allen, and now his cohort, Christopher, is prone to take. A tiny bit more perusal revealed that the Presiding Bishop's statement was more focused than presented in the other paper.

    From today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette;
    During her sermon and in a later time for questions, Bishop Jefferts Schori addressed the divisive issue of whether Jesus is the only way to God.

    She said she believes Jesus "is the vehicle of salvation for all those living and dead and those to come after us."

    But the Bible also recorded promises to Jews and others, she said.

    "Those promises were not broken by Jesus' life, death and resurrection," she said. "Therefore, Jews have access to salvation without consciously saying 'Jesus is my Lord and savior.' I didn't do that; God did it. I also see that God made promises to Hagar and Ishmael, who Muslims claim as their ancestor. I don't think God broke those promises when Jesus came among us."


    Were she my Presiding Bishop, this is not the embarrassment Allen thinks.

    BTW Allen, Arab Christians, even Arab Anglicans, pray to Allah daily. Allah is the Arab word God. Unfortunately, I do not know enough about Islam to state that its image of God is similar or vastly different than that of Jews or Christians. However Allen, you constantly make comments of judgement here which, for me, identify you as an ignorant, bigoted, country bumpkin.

    I researched your statement "a pedohile [sic] like Muhammad" because it was a new claim to me. One source identifies his youngest wife as 6 when betrothed and 9 when he consummated the marriage. This is a source written 300 years after his death. Other sources identify her as having been 16 at betrothal and 19 at consummation.

    All of his other wives are identified as definitely being adult and on good terms with him. That hardly sounds similar to what we moderns know of pedophilia.

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  31. "Go and MAKE disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

    Christians are supposed to enable others to be fashioned into followers of Christ. Until then they are in a lesser light. We aren't to be satisfied with the lesser light.

    Excise the Great Commission if you can't agree with the words "make", "teaching" and "observe all".

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  32. David, I do have a quibble with the PB's quote about Muslims. I can't find any salvific promise to Hagar or Ishmael in the Biblical account - just a promise to make a nation out of Ishmael, and that Hagar would have more descendants than she could count. Other than that, there's just a prediction that Ishmael would be hard to get along with. Am I missing something?

    Mind you, I'm not arguing for the damnation of the Muslims. I just don't understand the PB's reference.

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  33. Allen,

    Please read the Nostra Aetate, and then come back and comment on whether Bishop Schori's comments are incompatible with orthodox Christianity. Note I did not say fundamentalist Protestant Christianity.

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  34. "..ignorant, bigoted, country bumpkin".

    Thank-you, Mark, for allowing dah-veed to continue to bust through your high standards which exclude name-calling.

    I have stopped replying to his slurs and notions for this very reason. Bluster away, dah-veed. There's a special allowance being made for you, perhaps due to a language/culture difference.

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  35. Mark,
    Thank you for your thoughtful rebuttal of Bishop Iker. There are many in the Diocese of Fort worth who do not want to have any part of this. I pray for many friends and all in this diocese. Marilyn

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  36. Allen, in my experience here for a number of months, you make judgements on TEC, the Presiding Bishop, the actions of the General Convention and the Executive Council of TEC. Most of the time they are snarky slurs.

    I often believe that you get your information from the yellow journalism of David Virtue, because his speaking points are often your exact speaking points.

    When challenged with more accurate information, which is often one Google search away, such as regarding the closing of the Native American churches on Pine Ridge, you never concede that you were perhaps mistaken or ill-informed.

    When you make snarky claims about the TEC canons say this, and are challenged for the specific canon, you ignore your interlocutor and move on as if you never made the outlandish statement. Such as when BillyD inquired about the canon requiring the hiring of a priest unwanted by a parish. You ignored him for days. When you finally acknowledged his inquiry, you changed your original claim and dumped it in his lap that he needed to do his homework.

    You called Mohammed a pedophile on the flimsiest of ancient information and thus dismiss an entire faith culture.

    I am sorry, those are all ignorant and bigoted actions of a person of little education or who purposely slurs the truth.

    BTW, it came out in the Diocesan Convention that TEC had restored most of the money and the issue regarding closing the Pine Ridge churches was indeed caused by internal friction in that diocese. But the truth would not serve your purposes here, so you let that slip away, as so much else.

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  37. Ah, David, don't forget one of Allen's best slurs (made in a thread downstream) when he called participants in the SF Gay Pride Parade "Man-Boy Love perverts...self-disclosing pedophiles...Molech's abomination."

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  38. Another small matter brought up by the Presiding Bishop to the remnant in Pittsburgh. She noted how Islam is the direct recipient of the Covenant made with the children of Ishmael (the Arabs). Point of clarification: the promises were made to the Arabs and pre-dated the revelations to Muhammad by centuries. To compare the two is incorrect. It is also quite a leap to go from God's promise of making great nations of Ishmael's seed to claim that God endorses the Arab nations' superstitions. Abraham's seed was told that it would be blessed to be a blessing. Different Covenant, different promise. While the spitballs fly, let's refute (in a scholarly fashion) any evidence not to our liking as a world-view. I do not have a PhD in Oceanography. Neither do I have a Donated Dignity (D.D.) degree. But, I don't fall for the "let's all just get along" unifying efforts that try to synthesize a fake version of the God and Father of Jesus and Allah for the sake of harmony. It's disturbing that any Christian scholar would be so weak as to not speak the truth to competing faith claims and not promote the superiority of the incarnation/revelation of Jesus Christ. Probably why the remnant brought the issue up to start with.

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/History.htm

    Spitballs at the ready?

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  39. So Billy, by extension, does that direct those same slurs to those of us here at Father Mark's blog who are Anglican Christians and also sexual minorities?

    Guilt by association?

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  40. What I loved was the implication that Dah-veed is getting some sort of special treatment because he's not white and in the US.

    It's enough to make God an ahumanist.

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  41. Note to Allen;

    Scholarly work is written in a straightforward, unbiased tone. It normally begins with a thesis, and then allows the research to fall where it may, in support of or not in support of the thesis.

    The snarky tone of this website should have alerted you to the possible bias of its author. This sort of writing begs the question, is this based on research or is it the prejudice of the author making the facts fit their presupposition.

    For me, this is a highly suspect "source" to which you have directed us. It reads as one of David Virtue's diatribes.

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  42. David, that's how I read it, frankly. So far no clarification from Allen, or even a recognition that most Pride Parades haven't let NAMBLA march for years.

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  43. David,

    As a scholar (of sorts) myself, you're making far too generous an assumption about "scholarly work." The fact that something sounds reasonable and/or is well documented in no way assures that research will "fall where it may, in support of or not in support of the thesis." We all - liberal and conservative - bring our biases to the writing process, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    Most historians end up being somewhat selective in what sources they use and how they use them. That's partly a function of human limitations (and time). I've sometimes tried to imagine how a progressive might have written the history of the Diocese of Pittsburgh that I've just completed (and you can read a summary that includes a description of how progressives might view the past forty years at my blog "Catholic and Reformed," the October 21st entry)

    Would such an account be more more "true" than the one I have written? Surely it depends on where you sit? Didn't Lincoln once remark, in response to the question whether the South had a right to secede, what right and wrong had to do with it? The North won and the South lost and that was an end of it. And that, ultimately, may be the deciding factor in how the actions of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and Fort Worth come to be viewed in the years ahead.

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  44. Now +Iker was invited to Lambeth (not all TEC bishops were invited by the ABC, as you know)....

    - yet the TEC hope is that by not being part of TEC, +Iker will be unacceptable to the rest of the AC.... not likely, not at all likely given it is with TEC's leadership and theological direction and not +Iker that most of the Communion has issues

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  45. In her sermon at Calvary - Pittsburgh, KJS stated that those who stayed and those who left the Episcopal church are "saints." Does this signal a change? For surely one shouldn't sue a saint of the church. Right?

    In the remaining Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin, 100% of revenues are going to be used for lawsuits. This is simply accounting trickery, 815 pays for the cost of the diocese and the diocese pays for 815's lawyers. But can an organization rightly be called a religious organization if it uses 100% of it's income on lawsuits?

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  46. Observer, why wouldn't +Iker have been invited to Lambeth? He is the Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.

    If you are going to start a food fight, find some fresh tomatoes. It's stall news that +Robinson of New Hampshire didn't receive an invitation - and that none of the CANA or other rogue bishops received them, either. Don't play numbers games you can't win.

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  47. A the tail end of Jeremy's post he describes Lincoln saying that the North won, and that was the end of it.
    So how do you tell who "wins" in the case of the TEC and those leaving it?
    Any ideas?

    Obadiah Slope

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  48. My point is that today we have no adequate criteria for assessing victory or defeat.

    Will the new American province end up a slightly glorified version of the REC or the heir to the American Anglican heritage? No Episcopal Evangelical in the 1840s anticipated the struggle that was coming or that it might ultimately be "lost." The same holds true today. We simply do not know.

    The one difference between then and now is the global dimension. This is not solely an American struggle. Miranda Hassett - much to her credit - has made that all too clear.

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OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
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