A proper use of the word arrogant.

Here is something the deposed bishop of Pittsburgh who is also the brand new "Archbishop of The Province of Something," Duncan had to say regarding replacing The Episcopal Church with this new entity called the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). He was asked by Tim Morgan of Christianity Today, and Cherie Wetzel reported it in her transcript of the press conference following the service and inauguration of the new ecclesial entity on December 3rd,

"Is the goal of this new enterprise to replace TEC or form a parallel structure?"

He responded, "The Lord has been replacing TEC for 50 years."

Here is how to use the word arrogant in this context:

It is the height of arrogance to declare that the Lord Jesus Christ is somehow directly responsible for the size or shape of The Episcopal Church or any other ecclesial body in the actual world of principalities and powers.

To imply that the workings of the Lord Jesus Christ are related the workings of ACNA in its attempt to usurp or replace TEC is arrogant.

Fifty years is an interesting number....that marks the beginning in 1958, why 1958? (corrected from earlier revision). It looks from the transcript that he is echoing Cynthia Brust who said, "The decline of the last 50 years created a crisis of faith." Again why that date?


  1. Fifty years ago was 1958 not 1948, but try to find some other way to make your point. Best wishes, Ron

  2. Nom de Plume5/12/08 8:52 AM

    Sorry, Mark. You're right about this being the height of arrogance. One might also use the word "hubris".

    But your math needs checking. 50 years ago was 1958, not 1948.

  3. John 2007 writes,
    You have a point, Mark, that we should not declare with apodictic certainity that anything is from the Lord. I appreciate that you do not see humility and godliness in Duncan. I do, and I would take his words to be better interpreted as "it seems like the Lord's blessing is not upon TEC because its been dwindling in numbers and vibracy for decades so our sense is that the blessing of God is somewhere else." Anyhow, what I would ask you, Mark, is this: "When the left wing or progressives make essentially the same claim, declaringl that, for sure, the Spirit is doing a new thing, or that God is assuredly on their side, will you chide them for their lack of theological modesty, too?"

  4. Minor point, but I was born in 1948 ... does this make me 50 again?!? (It's a miracle!)

  5. Writing in a hurry is always trouble...thanks to all for the math notes.

    Ron...the only point is that I am not sure just why he picked fifty years as his measure.

  6. Of course he is the epitome of arrogance and has been for decades.

    One of the posters over at my place said that Duncan truly believes he is the new Martin Luther.

    Not only does Duncan speak for Jesus, but he is the reincarnation of Luther. That is clearly a symptom of deep psychosis in its specific sense of delusional disorder.

  7. Sorry fr a second post, but, two events came to mind regarding 50 years ago - 1956

    1)Elvis joined the army
    2)Desegregation started (Montgomery bus boycott ended)

  8. Devon writes:
    John 2007 asks whether progressives are not also arrogant when we declare that "the Spirit is doing a new thing" with us. Well that would depend on whether the person making the claim was trying to explain where the idea of the "new thing" came from (not arrogant)or claiming the authority of the Holy Spirit to do the "new thing" (definitely arrogant). So, yeah, liberals can be arrogant. But the point is that the Duncan folk are not doing a "new" thing at all. They're doing an old thing that has generally been a bad thing--moving forward is full of danger and fraught with the possibility of error, but moving backwards reliably results in, at the very least, insularity and defensiveness. Fundamentalist movements don't have a very good record.

  9. +Duncan seems simply to be applying what the parable of the sower (and the different soils) says....sometimes weeds take over and plants die despite appearing to be healthy initially......someone once taught some years ago.....not +Duncan's original thought - but the original teacher did not tell us to wear decline and small numbers as a badge of honour....in fact he also taught something about a mustard seed......

    Anyway, please remember, +Duncan and his new Province are perfectly acceptable in most of the AC in which TEC is considered heretical and a trouble maker.....how do you think things are going to pan out in the AC??

  10. Sorry Observer, but the schismatics have only been able to be labeled acceptable to a minority of the provinces of the AC. I suspect that these people will follow the path of most of the other groups who have left. They will continue to fight and fracture among themselves until there are about 40 tiny jurisdictions, all with their own primate of course, which is nice if you are looking to make yourself a primate.

  11. Well, and let's even get more basic. When anyone claims they know the mind of God, not only do I think they're arrogant, I run screaming from the room with one hand over my billfold and the other over my crotch!

    It is my fervent opinion that God's will is best seen through the retro-spectoscope, not the pro-spectoscope.

  12. I´m sorry but the whole ¨more holy¨ enterprise has been from the a ¨Place to Stand¨ (alone, with security guards) rally in Dallas to become a totally spiritually repugnant, anti-hospitality, anti-welcoming, behind the scenes, devious/manipulative excluding caper that is inappropriate and a violation of sacred vows, Commandments and basic decency. Duncan, Iker, and the rest of the windy destructionists will have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide from the vicious demonizing and hatefilled propaganda machine they have created with their own secretive plotting...imagine the lives that will be lost because of hate crimes instigated from the pulpit of these self-proclaimed extra Holy few...wouldn´t wanna be ya...my Mom always said ¨when you dig someone elses grave, you are digging your own.¨ I´ve seen that and known that to be true.

  13. Observer wrote, "Anyway, please remember, +Duncan and his new Province are perfectly acceptable in most of the AC in which TEC is considered heretical and a trouble maker.....how do you think things are going to pan out in the AC??"

    Well, trouble maker perhaps. Heretical would suggest that in most provinces the sexuality issues that have driven these troubles have been raised to the level of credal core doctrine (to use the Canadian terms), and/or that most provinces have accepted the allegation (unproven) that the Episcopal Church as an institution has denied any significant part of the creeds.

    As to "perfectly acceptable:" for what purposes? They are certainly "perfectly acceptable" as Christians, at least in my understanding that their imperfections are no worse than most; but that's largely true in the Episcopal Church as well. Whether this new entity will be "perfectly acceptable" as part of the Communion, and whether by that definition they are acceptable as "Anglican" remains to be seen. Most likely we will see once again what happened in the '70s: an assertion that "Anglican" is a theological distinction and not an institutional one, with acceptability self-defined accordingly.

  14. I blame Jack Kerouac. After all, _On the Road_ was published in 1957. It's all the fault of those lousy beatniks...

  15. John 2007 adds, there is also the matter of bearing fruit as a witness of God's blessing. While I realize the dangers of this, like almost anything, being used in the wrong way, we could cut Duncan and others some slack, and find reason to be far more charitable, if we admit that part of the Christian life is being willing to look for what bears fruit and what does not. Certainly church attendance numbers are hardly perfect proof of apostolic fruit bearing. But Duncan and his realigners have not, certainly, focused on numbers in the main, but have drawn attention to the quality dimension, the vibrancy, the apostolic fecundity and lack thereof in ECUSA.

    It's a judgment call. Jim Simons, interestingly, is plastering depictions of 'Good Things Happening in Diocese XYZ" all over his webpage as if to say 'ECUSA is bearing fruit,Bob! Just look!" But Duncan and the realigners will not let go of some basic convictions about the nature of God and the nature of the Christian life and the gospel-determined limits, in their view, of diversity.

    As for the comment that Duncan thinks he is Luther, anyone who says that does not know Duncan (with whom I don't agree on everything BTW) but uses that to dismiss Duncan. He said 'I can do no other' not to compare himself to MLuther as a person/theologian but to say that he was in the same predicament, and it was said with great, great sadness of one who loved his church, not with the paternalistic and dismissive contempt for the church that we find in, say, Spong.

  16. I'm with Johnny,

    De-Segregation started and all that Supreme Court "judicial action"...

    To me, this is what these pretended "Culture wars" really are all about.

  17. “We will pray that we not be overcome by arrogance nor be guided by hostility to those who have left, but keep the paths cleared for common faith and work.”

    You do appear to be guided by hostility to an ‘off the cuff’ response in which the term “fifty" was plucked out of the air.

    Has your bitterness overcome the command to love your brother in the Lord?

    Seems to me that your comments are not clearing any path, indeed quite the reverse.

  18. My friends from Pittsburgh tell me that the former Bishop of Pittsburgh never mentioned the fact that there would be no women Bishops in "his" new province. I guess that was not important enough to tell the priests and lay deputies at their GC when they voted to leave. Just follow the leader where-ever he goes!

  19. I believe it is true that the decline in TEC is due to its overemphasis on politics at the expense of religion (or spirituality, if you prefer).

    I don't go to church to hear about the rector's politics. I don't care anything about the rector's politics; what I care about is faith, and how to learn it and live it.

    But of course, this is a problem in most churches today - that cultural/political concerns completely trump faith (something also especially true among the so-called "orthodox," although they seem to have difficulty realizing this) - and I do think it's why the numbers continue to fall.

    Until American religion gets back to business, the decline is going to continue, I think.

    Who would belong to a ridiculous organization like the church, if not for the fact of the religion/faith/spirituality it offers? I sure wouldn't.

  20. The most rapidly expanding class in religion in the US is not any church, liberal or conservative.

    It's "none of the above". This inability of conservatives and liberals to find a modus vivendi is driving people away from both. Young people especially see no relevance in institutions that appear to be arguing over the angels on the head of a pin.


  21. Having worked with Duncan a number of years ago in Pittsburgh, I can say that he is one not to be trusted. I am frankly not surprised by what he has done to the Diocese of Pittsburgh and that is saddening.

    As an itinerant preacher (non-parochial) I find all these discussions about numbers and decline quite humorous. Having preached in 175 different churches over the years, I see a very different church engaged in mission and community, excited about ministry. People are genuinely engaged in the Gospel mission. There is a great deal more vitality in the TEC than its critics acknowledge.

    Finally, organizing anything new based on anger will fall apart in the end.


    Formerly of Pittsburgh

  22. No Marshall - "Heretical would suggest that in most provinces the sexuality issues that have driven these troubles have been raised to the level of credal core doctrine." Heretical is the lablel for denial of the unique and salvific minstry of Our Lord. "All roads lead to God." Or how about "the church wrote the Bible and the church can change it." Or Muslim/Wiccan/Druid priests. Sexuality issues are merely symptomatic of a much deeper rooted heresy that is evident to most of the Christian world.

  23. Well, Dan, let's see: "All roads lead to God." Of course, the Episcopal Church has never said that. Even the Presiding Bishop has only said, "I'm not about to tell God what he can't do, who he can't love, who he can't save;" but nothing further.

    About, "the Church wrote the Bible and the Church can change it:" until the 18th Century almost no Christian would accept the peculiarly American notion that Scripture must be "verbally inspired, literally true, inerrant and infallible." Certainly that was not the position of the Apostolic and Postapostolic Fathers. Scholars have worked for centuries to consider what might be the best translation in each generation, and what might be the best understanding of the texts in the context of those who first heard them. But the Episcopal Church has not accepted a new book of Scripture, nor thrown out an old one. Nothing has happened on par, for example, with the Reformation decision to focus on the Hebrew text of the Old Testament instead of the Septuagint. Now, that was change!

    As for Druid/Wiccan/Muslim priests: well, I'm aware of three individuals - hardly a groundswell. Moreover, for all the allegations that some bishops haven't been punished for divergent views, the three priests you've referenced have all been punished.

    I recognize that you're convinced that the few notorious individuals within the Episcopal Church are evidence of significant error, and that my responses won't change your opinion. My point, however, was that it isn't a matter of your opinion, nor of mine, but of those of the authorities of a majority of the provinces of the Anglican Communion. Even among those who have spoken of their discomfort with how the Episcopal Church understand discipline within the Anglican tradition, few have alleged that the Episcopal Church has failed in doctrine as understood within the Anglican tradition. I don't expect that to change now.

  24. Further to Kirepiscatoid's comment, I recently changed the "About Me" section on my blog to say the following:

    "Comments here do not represent the official views of my parish, my diocese, my bishop or the Anglican Church of Canada. Neither do they purport to represent the official views of God. They are merely the views of this particular opinionated prairie priest - who hopes that his views on issues are generally consonant with God's views, but claims no certainty on that score. "

    To Dan's comments - Had you taken a basic logic course at university, you would realize that using isolated incidents to claim an overall trend fails to meet the tests of fundamental logic. And FWIW, the "Muslim priest" was dealt with quite swiftly once her curious syncretism was made known.

  25. IT makes a good point: "The most rapidly expanding class in religion in the US is not any church, liberal or conservative.

    It's "none of the above"."

    At my local hospital, the book with the admissions for the visiting chaplains now has a new section. After RC (the largest), then Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, etc., the LARGEST section - even bigger than RC - is DND = Do Not Disturb.

    Got it. Loud and clear.

  26. Dan, the Muslim and Wiccan priests were removed from the ministry some time back.

    You really should ask the Central Committee to send you the updated talking points.

  27. I am never let down by TECUSA people's love of technicalities...yes, Robert...a minority of Provinces but, as I hope you realise, GAFCON does represent a majority of Anglicans who turn up on a Sunday around the world and also those under 60. Please don't take comfort from having the support of tiny Wales, Scotland and Ireland.....

    TECUSA people need to remember that if they found the ABC a let-down pre GAFCON, given how surprised he was by that conference being more representative of the Anglicans in the world than his (at which 0.8m people on a Sunday TECUSA had a quarter of the bishops because of the absences), the ABC ain't going to be any friendlier ..... unless you believe he wants to go down in history as the ABC who let the AC split in order to keep tiny, Western liberal provinces in despite their tearing of the Communion in 2003 ..... which went against his advice. He has given TECUSA lots of time and he wants all to stay at the table but when it comes to it, he does not want to see the AC as TECUSA, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, the Celts and NZ..... that would be tragic and a legacy which dies out in the next century as liberals so reliably deliver emptying churches year on year (based on nos from 815)

    Splitting hairs is no good for anyone. Same goes for temporary political compromose eg BO33. We should all just be honjest and divide....let TECUSA lead a global liberal church.....why compromise your principles to stay in the AC with SC, Nigeria et al (notice they are going nowhere and face no consequences for what TECUSA people call "boundary crossing" etc) The writing is on the wall - TECUSA can be proactive or wait to be shown the door the moment it gets rid of BO33..... or will TECUSA continue to split hairs and sacrifice its own principles??

  28. As long as we're bringing up the Wiccan and Muslim "priests," let's tell the whole story. In both cases, nothing was done until the traditionalist media so hated by most people here publicized the situations and asked, quite properly, what in the world was going on. So, point one is that things like this get corrected within ECUSA not out of some sense of Christian principle, but out of a sense of public relations. Sometimes, that is; Jack Spong is definitely an embarrassment to ECUSA, but is still so celebrated for his brilliance that he remains a member of its House of Bishops, despite having effectively renounced Christianity, and in the most aggressive of terms.

    Point two is that in the case of the Muslim "priest," ECUSA's bacon was saved only through the dumbest of luck, namely, her being canonically subject to a bishop (Geralyn Wolf) 3,000 miles away. Her diocesan bishop, in contrast, gushed over her enlightened stance (in print, no less), a reaction many of us find more representative of the "Resurrection is a myth" types that pass for shepherds of today's Episcopalian flock.

  29. ...a minority of Provinces but, as I hope you realise, GAFCON does represent a majority of Anglicans who turn up on a Sunday around the world and also those under 60.

    And your point? In the Anglican Communion, every Province is on an equal footing.

  30. Observer, do you really believe that the people in the pews in those "GAFCON" provinces actually spend their time worrying about what their bishops believe? Do you really think anyone in the pews gives a dang about their bishops?

    The truth is, here in Central America, in North America, all over Africa, Asia, Europe, throughout the WWAC, most people are interested in bringing about the Reign of God and just suffer the clergy and their obsessions.

    You may buy the bill of goods being peddled by the GAFCON bishops, but to say that they represent the majority opinion of the people of the Anglican Communion is delusion.

    The people in the pews haven't voted on these matters, and the Most Holy Primates of GAFCON and the Global South are not elected by the people and clergy, but appointed by approved by the bishops.

    Most people throughout the Developing World are more worried about survival than the obsessions of their clergy. And folks in the Developed World are going to have to pay attention to their survival now, too, as the world of the conservatives melts before our eyes.

    In case you're wondering, Observer: I live in the Developing World.

  31. Observer, I fear that your head is buried deep somewhere, just not in sand.

    You continue to repeat the same thing, the same issues, as a broken recording, over and over, Ad nauseam, on every thread.

    Granted, the African Anglican churches are huge churches. Their primates are confident and outspoken men. Those churches are also very politically different from the Anglican churches in the West. They are far less democratic in their polity. Their confident and outspoken primates run the political show. They operate as a "good old boys" club. They control who is in, and who is out.

    They elect/appoint, without the participation of the laity, who are to be the bishops, and they depose and deny pension, those who would oppose their will.

    But there are cracks in the structure. Those primates declared that their provinces would not attend Lambeth. Some bishops defied that fiat and went secretly.

    There are western missions providing aid in those provinces. Through that contact we learn that the laity often know nothing of the outside world, the AC or even their primate's actions. They know nothing of the issues and truthfully have much more important things about which to worry.

    Please stop making these global statements about tearing the fabric of the Communion. They are baseless. It is hard to be out of communion with someone about whom you no nothing. It is hard to be in disagreement about issues of which you no nothing. It is hard to be in accord with the action's of leaders you never elected and with whom you are unfamiliar.

  32. 50 years sounds like a nice, round number. It also encompasses the Bp. Pike affair. I suspect that's the intent here.

  33. One thing that's happened in the past 50 years (34, to be precise), is the lifting-up of Imago-Dei-made-female to the holy priesthood.

    I don't see this (particularly) as "means" to something else, good or bad---simply an inestimable value (the greater praise of the Glory of God) in and of itself! :-D

  34. In the Anglican Communion, every Province is on an equal footing.

    Brother Billy, that is not completely true. All provinces are equally represented in the Primates Meeting by their primate, but in the ACC larger churches have more representatives than smaller churches.

  35. Oh, my, it's the latest incarnation of 'NP' and 'Sharon', come back to plague us. Same old canned material. You can taste the preservatives.

  36. Oh, whatthehell, I'll say it once more...

    Inhibiting and deposing these men is a lovely looking move on the part of the church, but it's entirely without any teeth, since these men don't recognize the very church to which they took vows. I feel that ++Katherine might look into ways of inhibiting not only their orders, but their pensions as well. It's un-Christian, I know, but needs must; we're not dealing with people who have any real use for ethics.

    I feel very strongly that since these men (and they are all men) have seen fit to steal whole swatches of property, not to mention "sheep," a whole legal pandora's box has been opened. I hope that 2nd Avenue has taken all due precautions to protect TEC's considerable financial resources.

    I don't believe that this is a fight over theology, morality or anything like it. Those are the excuses for invasion, much like Hitler's invasion of the Sudentenland.

    This, after all is said and done, is a fight to gain access to the resources of TEC. Once the Southern Cone (small and poor) and the Africans (huge and poor) have their mitts on that, they will likely discard all the other "booty," including the people.

  37. I agree with Robert way up there on the thread.
    The Night of the Long Knives begins in January, and may already have started over the issue of women clergy.

    GAFCON needs enemies to survive, and without the gays and liberals, they will turn on each other.

    I also agree with Padre Mickey and others who say that this is all clergy driven. The churches that make up GAFCON are not, and never were, democratic. Most of the members of those churches are preoccupied with more immediate matters, and if asked, would probably produce as broad and complex a range of opinions as can be found anywhere else. But no one is asking them, and they are not volunteering, so who knows.

  38. Nom de Plume7/12/08 9:32 PM

    I don't believe that this is a fight over theology, morality or anything like it. Those are the excuses for invasion, much like Hitler's invasion of the Sudentenland.

    Bill B. I think you have just violated Godwin's Law and thus lost the argument.

    At any rate, the Third World interlopers will not see more than a small fraction of the resourcs you allude to. They will get the crumbs. The real prize is the influence gained is hearst and minds are successfully controlled, which is a dubious proposition.

    The Third Worlders are simply being bought and used.

  39. The"democratic church?" Didn't the crowd call for Jesus to be crucified? Did the Apostles vote on whether to evangelize the nations or did Jesus instruct them to go? Did you put the nicen creed up for a vote at your last annual parish meeting?

  40. "Didn't the crowd call for Jesus to be crucified?" Interesting you bring up this point George, because this is something I raise when the Secessionists start playing the "Numbers Game" (a game whose rules omit, for some reason, counting membership of the province of the Southern Cone or the diocese of Quincy - except,of course, when they can be counted three or four different ways to help bring a total to 100,000).

    It was the majority who yelled for the release of Barabbas and howled for Christ's crucifixion. So enough of this "X million folks in GAFCON" nonsense.

  41. The"democratic church?" Didn't the crowd call for Jesus to be crucified? Did the Apostles vote on whether to evangelize the nations or did Jesus instruct them to go? Did you put the nicen creed up for a vote at your last annual parish meeting?

    Doesn't the cry of the people in the Eastern Orthodox service for the consecration of a bishop - "Axios!" ("He is worthy!") - point back to the very early tradition of bishops being elected by the entire Church, including the laity?

  42. Counterlight hit the nail on the head. Organizations that exist because of a dislike of "them", whoever "them" are, once removed from "them", turn on each other in search of the next "them."

    That holds true whether it is a church, a political movement, or the mob...

    (aside: I like my verification word below...taist...sounds very "tao"!)

  43. "The"democratic church?" Didn't the crowd call for Jesus to be crucified? Did the Apostles vote on whether to evangelize the nations or did Jesus instruct them to go? Did you put the nicen creed up for a vote at your last annual parish meeting?"

    We could, of course, go back to the good old days of "as the Prince believes, so believes the realm." It would be much more efficient and less messy than leaving these matters to the mercies of individual consciences.
    Bishops are no more divine (and certainly no more holy) than any other public official. And as I recall, the Holy Spirit frequently plays havoc with hierarchies of all kinds.
    There was a time when our rulers, secular and sacred, were believed to be appointed by God, and were duly anointed with holy oil. Their commands had the force of law. We all bowed reverently before their sacred persons.

    And then a radical incendiary document that was banned from publication all over the world, and was on the Roman Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books until well into the 20th century came along and said:
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

    Among the founders of the Episcopal Church were signatories to that document who felt that the same applied to ecclesiastical polities.

  44. David....pls deal with reality....

    Anyone reading your posts could be forgiven for thinking that TECUSA has the support of most of the AC for its revisionist views and is a strong church in the US attracting millions of Americans on a Sunday.....none of these things are true - do you realise that?

    David - in 2003, ALL the Primates asked TECUSA not to "tear the fabric of the Communion"....you really want to argue that TECUSA did not ignore them? Splitting hairs to try and avoid the truth does not make strong arguments, David.....better to say that TECUSA leaders disagreed with the Primates and despite their warning of the Communion being torn, ignored it and went ahead with - their actions ... that would be truthful and much more convincing than trying to pretend TECUSA did nothing to precipitate the current crisis in the AC.

    Also, in a post GAFCON world, splitting hairs and playing with words does not work....GAFCON ain't interested or easily fooled....and the ABC needs them back (tiny 0.7m TEC does not really cut it when 30m Anglicans are in GAFCON, get it?)


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