1/16/2010

Is there no end of rotten theological analysis of Haiti's plight?

Pat Robertson is an ass. Most notably he repeated a few days ago the sort of propaganda that arose in the United States, particularly in the slave holding states, that Haiti could not have succeeded in its revolution if it had not made a pact with the devil and that Haiti would forever be plagued by its fall from grace. The word was that Haitians are ignorant black pagans and unworthy of independence. That same propaganda continues even now. Aid will too easily be accompanied by the underlying message that Haitians cannot govern themselves or make it as a nation or a people.

So it is no wonder, although immensely sad, to see a more learned but similar response reported by Ruth Gledhill in an article, "Voodoo faith 'could hinder Haiti's recovery from quake'. The article is built from comments by Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, who no doubt loves Haiti and its people. He unfortunately is given to yet another rotten bit of theological analysis.

Gledhill reports,

"Lord Griffiths said: “The Haiti people have had so many batterings that when something terrible happens, they just say, “Bon dieu bon", or “God is good”, whatever happens. In other words, it is God’s will, we must accept it, there is nothing we can do about it.

“The task for Christian evangelism is not to make voodoo worshippers into Christians but to help deal with the fatalism that does not allow voodoo worshippers to see themselves as agents of their own improvement.

"The problem is the competition between these two mindsets, the fatalism that says they can do nothing and the right perception that they can do a lot. That is the spiritual struggle.”

God is good, by the way. It is not fatalism to believe that that is true, even in the midst of terrible suffering. And, if my own observations from more than fifteen trips to Haiti over the past forty years are at all true, the high energy and amazingly creative efforts for survival of Haitians in the midst of poverty and calamity is not a sign of fatalism or lack of a sense that they can be agents of their own improvement.

The instant analysis that Haitians are somehow deficient because they practice voodoo is another charge in the line up that suggests that Haitians cannot govern themselves and that they are impoverished because they are evil, foolish or dumb.

The real charge against Haiti and its people is the unforgivable sin of revolt by black people against their oppressors and that charge creeps back in to the religious analysis of those who would offer aid, but with the caveat that aid is needed because the poor Haitian is incapable of salvation or recovery without the advanced aid of Christian belief and white people.

The whole thing is sick, and the beginnings of that sickness is the notion that God did this to the Haitian people. But the next bit of the sickness is that because Haitians are not "good" Christians they will fail at recovery.

I do not believe God did this to the Haitian people. I do believe that God is good. I don't believe that practicing voodoo (whatever that means) makes people fatalistic and unable or uninterested in improvement. I do believe we should offer all the support we can for the people of Haiti and help them recover. But dear friends it will be THEY who recover.

Perhaps we one day will also recover - from the belief that those who have are somehow better blessed by God and that purified and rarefied protestant Christianity is somehow breeds positive action.

Meanwhile, perhaps we could do without the rotten theological analysis of Haiti's plight. There is enough to do without having to deal with such foolishness. Give - through Episcopal Relief and Development and other sources.

Pray for the people of Haiti. And let's try not to forget them when the next crisis averts our eyes once again from this amazing people whose only international crime was to be black and free.

61 comments:

  1. Every time these 'theodicy related comments come out they undermine themselves. It's unfortunate but true that we sit on top of a dynamic and chaotic world that does these things as part of its way of proceeding, and it is all self-generated.

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  2. Earthquakes don't kill people. People kill people. What does it say about our current global economic and political systems that we are so obscenely rich yet people just a few thousand kilometres away don't even have the resources to build buildings that can withstand the inevitible earthquake or tropical storm?

    As Martin Luther King said:

    "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which
    produces beggars needs restructuring..."

    The finger of judgment is pointing at us, not God here.

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  3. And even more theological hatred, this time from the leader of the 16 million member Southern Baptist Convention.

    Albert Mohler: Does God hate Haiti?

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  4. Voodoo is simply alternative health care. There's nothing bad about it, and often it does a lot of good.

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  5. "Pat Robinson is an ass." Fr. Harris

    You can say that again!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  6. Excellent comments, yet I would revise one bit of wording. Pat Robinson is not an ass. Rather, Pat Robinson says some asinine things.

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  7. Mark, I'm sure that Pat Rob*ert*son is an ass. I'm not so sure about all the Pat Rob*in*sons out there.

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  8. You had me at "Pat Robertson is an ass."

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  9. susan s. again, I am pleased to have friends who can actually catch these things! Thanks.

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  10. Deacon Charlie Perrin16/1/10 4:38 PM

    First off, let's not offend all the asses of the world by comparing them to the likes of Robertson. Like Judas in Dante's "Inferno" Pat's in a circle all his own.

    Secondly, that guy Mohler apparently has no grasp of irony when he writes: "The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger."

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  11. I was really angry when I first heard of these comments from Pat. I have finally come to the point when I can pray, hope and know that Pat (and all us) will find much more mercy in the next life than we have shown in this life. I know that God loves Haiti because they are his children, and I thank God that I am one too! I hope we can all learn to love each better and heal this broken world.

    Peace Mark! Thank you for all your word of wisdom! Peace!
    Jason <><

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  12. toujoursdan...

    "...even more theological hatred..."

    Would you mind elaborating how what Mohler wrote amounts to theological hatred?

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  13. Dear Mark, I quoted you this morning in my sermon. I also greeted the Haitian Baptists, who have called Grace in Norwalk CT home, with "Bon Dieu bon!" It was wonderful - they lit up. Thank you so much.

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  14. Dan,
    earthquakes do actually kill people. They did for thousands of years before we had the technology for buildign strong housing, and they still do when they are very strong or the epicentre is too close to populated areas.

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  15. David Ould:

    Using God's word to single out a particular group as sinners is absolutely abuse of scripture. Yes, Jesus did call upon individuals and nations to repent. But when faced with current events, he discouraged the idea of God singling out specific populations or individuals.

    Luke 9:51-56 - Jesus rebukes his disciples who as if they should "...command fire to come down from heaven and consume..." a village of Samaritans who refused hospitality on his final journey to Jerusalem and the cross.

    Luke 13:1-5 - Jesus specifically rejects the tragedy of a group of Galileans pilgrims as an example how God judges mankind.

    Yes, I am guilty of biblical pull- quoting, but most of Mark's readers have enough sophistication to put these verses in the context of Luke's surrounding text.

    But do we look at scripture with the eyes of God's love, or man's fear? In the context of the new covenant, or the old?

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  16. Proud Syncretic Christian18/1/10 3:20 PM

    How vile indeed that the leader of the Southern Baptist Convention sees this as an opportunity to evangelize a broken and hurting nation in its hour of darkest grief and misery while at the same presuming that many, if not most, Haitians are in need of Christian evangelization.

    My children and I sent a Shelterbox from ShelterboxUSA. There are no bibles in the box. There is a safe shelter and basic items to allow survival for up to 6 months.

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  17. Lynn,

    "Using God's word to single out a particular group as sinners is absolutely abuse of scripture."

    Yes, I do agree - and your citation from Jesus (in particular Luke 13) makes that clear.

    However, I'm not certain how you think Mohler did that. Could you point out how he did? Just a simple quote of his words.

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  18. Pat Robertson is a businessman. He says outrageous things for the same reason Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh do - they build ratings. Robertson is a billionaire. His public statements about (Gay people, abortion, take your pick) have the same calculation; fork over your money.

    They have the same motivation at Stand Firm.

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  19. To Josh,

    Yes, but Stand firm does not preach hatred. I believe this is a thing Beck, Limbaugh, and Robertson revel in doing, businessmen or not. It is that obscene relish that moves them and their ilk from the ranks of "businessmen" to the ranks of hate-spewing amoralists. Also, I'm not sure when the fact that someone is in business has ever been an excuse for vile behavior.

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  20. David, I have a strong suspicion we view the Gospel in a different way if you find nothing troubling in Mohler's statement. I don't think this is the forum to argue such a fundamental difference, but you deserve a response even though I don't want to trade quotes from Mohler.

    It is true that Jesus spoke of God's judgment at the end time, and I think it is wrong to use that portion of the Word in this terrible human crisis. Mohler says that isn't what he is doing - after a lengthy recitation of possible sins committed by the Haitian people. He has his audience, and I am not a willing member of such.

    Let's redirect. Let us pray for the people of Haiti, and all the wonderful volunteers that are helping them. Those on the ground, and those working hours upon hours to support them. Lord, hear our prayer.

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  21. They have the same motivation at Stand Firm.
    bawahahahaha!!!

    oh no, wait. You were serious!

    Got to say, if we're in it for the money then something has gone very wrong with the plan.

    Elsewhere, can anyone actually cite what Mohler said that was "theological hatred"?

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  22. Stand Firm does not preach hatred?

    Must be a different Stand Firm then the one I've seen. Those allowed to post on that blog spew some of the most malicious bile I have every read.

    But perhaps it's all in one's perspective.

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  23. Lynn,

    With the greatest respect (and I do mean that) it's a bit of a cop-out to not back up your claim.

    Talking generally about what Mohler said doesn't answer the question.

    Of course, you don't need to. It was toujoursdan who made the claim.

    Nevertheless, if no-one is able to actually substantiate the charge of "theological hatred" on more than the fact that people have "different views of the gospel" then why don't we retract the charge?

    Otherwise it looks increasingly foolish to brand someone with such a terrible charge without actually backing it up.

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  24. This is clearly a Luke 13 moment in play here and no one outside of the Pat Robertson, Jack Chick, Westfield Baptist circles are saying that Hati was smote by the Almighty. The resilient people of Hati are no more fallen than those who walk the good earth elsewhere. Perhaps the greatest "curse" that they live under is the curse of a Government that is corrupt to its core. This corruption has sired the twin children of grinding poverty and lawlessness.

    I'm confident that the gentle readers of Father Mark's well produced blog subscribe to a Christian Consensus. If so, why are we so loathe to acknowledge the fact that the aministic faith and practice of vaudou is broken? And too, why are we loathe to point these towards that "more excellent way"?

    Erol Josue, musician and vaudou priest had, in an interview with NPR, asserted that vaudou was the "national religion" of Hati. The great tragedy here is that millions of earnest souls are calling out, and there's no one on the other end to take their call.

    In the meantime, we pray for the physical deliverance, the spiritual liberation, and the ecconomic empowerment of these folk who've been taking it on the chin for far too long.

    Deacon Andy

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  25. David, since you will not stop tooting this particular horn I will rise to your "challenge". In a peculiarly protestant, evangelical way, Mohler manages to talk out of both sides of his mouth. I give you this one particular passage, which I find full of theological hatred:

    "We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening.

    God's rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

    The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake -- at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for its spiritual darkness? Of course."

    How clever! No, he says, we can't DEFINITIVELY say that Haiti was hit by the earthquake as a punishment from God. But we can't say is WASN'T either.

    He then goes on to claim that "God hates sin," Really? If his god is omnipotent wouldn't that mean that he created sin? And then to claim that god loves and cares for and controls all of his creation (including the sin he created?) creates logical circles that the most limber contortionist would have trouble wrapping a working mind around.

    The fact that Mohler, the national representative of a denomination that was formed for one single purpose: to ensure the continued repression of African-Americans and as a protest to the move toward total equality is stunningly tone deaf. The fact that the SBC only got around to apologizing for this monstrous position a couple of years ago doesn't help his case at all.

    To pontificate about the spiritual state of an island whose population consists of the descendants of slave and whose skin color still makes the majority of the SBC members to cringe is the height of theological stupidity, if not hatred.

    Hate the syncretism of Voudon African religion and forced Christian conversion if you wish, but do not presume to sit in judgement and take on the role of advisor to people whose lives you little understand and who never asked you to tell them anything about who and what they are. Hubris personified.

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  26. Priscilla,

    Thanks for commenting. I have to say, I find your response a little confusing. You appear to reject quite openly statements that the Scripture makes.

    So, you reject the concept that "God hates sin" as incompatible with a doctrine of creation. That would be an interesting discussion.

    But I think more challenging to me is the fact that your critique of Mohler's words could very well be also levelled at Jesus Himself in Luke 13.

    Jesus, in that dialogue, makes it clear that we ALL face God's wrath for our sin, whether a tower falls on us, or a Roman governor mixes our blood with the sacrifices or we live in Haiti or the "civilised" West. If you're going to criticise Mohler for holding out such a tension then perhaps you might rethink your position when you consider what Jesus said.

    As for your veiled comment here:
    to ensure the continued repression of African-Americans

    I think that speaks for itself. You clearly don't know Mohler's position on race at all. You may not like portions of his historically conservative theology but branding the man as a complicit racist simply as an add-on of your dislike it unacceptable.

    It makes one want to revisit how carefully and generously you have read any of his material.

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  27. David, I answered your call and gave you the opportunity to continue and for that I apologize to Mark and to all the readers here.

    No, David, i am not a biblical literalist. No, I don't see any parallel at all between Jesus and Mohler. That you do is disturbing to me in many ways.

    No, I was not being subtle. I will say it outright. The Southern Baptist Convention is a racist, homophobic, hate-filled organization. I've been fighting them for the better part of 30 years.

    You are tone deaf to the fact that spouting scriptures and preaching salvation/damnation during and immense tragedy such as Haiti is experiencing is about as far from Jesus as you can get.

    Hundreds of thousands of people died horrible deaths, being crushed and left to die under rubble. An entire nation has been decimated beyond belief. Yet you continue to wax rhetorical about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    Good to know that your god hates. Mine is the one that John proclaimed "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." See, I can proof text too. Yawn.

    There is little point in continuing this beyond this point. The blogs are filled with millions of words of debate between those who worship a god of hate and punishment with salvation as a hoped-for end and those who worship a god of light and love and forgiveness with the punishment being our separation from that love.

    It is clear we are in opposite camps here. That's fine. I wish you well. Moreso, I wish the people of Haiti well and I pray for them to be delivered from "rotten theological analysis" as Mark so aptly put it.

    Namaste

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  28. David,
    I would like to go back to what was said by the Rev. Mark Harris, the host of this site, in the article that preceded the comments. He said, "I do not believe that God did this to the Haiian people. I do believe that God is good. ...I do beleive we should offer all the support we can for the people of Haiti to help them recover."

    I find it hard to understand why any writer or clergyman in the Christian faith would find a need to bring God's judgement and wrath into a discussion of the enormous suffering in Haiti. Do we turn to God becaue we fear God's wrath, or because we have "known" and experienced God's love and mercy?

    I pray each week for forgiveness for "things I have done," and for things "left undone," and I am so thankful for God's mercy and love as I begin anew each time.

    Some in Haiti may continue to reject God after this experience, and some may find God's love in the love, comfort, and human response to their needs. If any turn to God, I believe it will be because they feel the love. If it is because they fear a vengeful God, then I do not know how long the conversion will last, but I hope that is not what they will preach to others.

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  29. As for your veiled comment here:
    to ensure the continued repression of African-Americans


    The continued repression of blacks through support for the institution of slavery was one of the main reasons for the split among US baptists and the creation of the SBC in 1845. So it is not a veiled threat David, it is historic fact.

    So now that you know it is a fact and not a threat, go back and reread what she said, because every word of it was true.

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  30. David, I appreciate your acknowledgement that my sins and yours are no less, and also no more worthy of condemnation than those of the people of Haiti.

    Of course, that doesn't address Mohler's implicit connection between the earthquake and the practice of vodoun; and it is implicit. His statement that "We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake -- at least not so directly," quite clearly suggests that we can still trace it. Nor does his comment (nor your defence of him, if not his comment) address the great many Christians who suffered as well.

    On the other hand, while in Luke 13 Jesus certainly says, "unless you repent you will all likewise perish," he also suggests strongly that the disasters themselves aren't evidence of sin, which appears to have been the assumption of his listeners. Jesus also goes on to say, in the parable of the unproductive fig tree, that God goes to great lengths to accept and forgive us, rather than to destroy us in wrath.

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  31. If Dr. Mohler had said something like "Pat Robertson's statement is hateful and all persons of good will should deplore it," that might have scored him some points with the typical readers of this blog, but it would have gotten him nowhere with his target audience: evangelical Christians, many of whom watch the 700 Club "religiously" [double entendre intended] and admire Pat Robertson.

    Instead, he carefully refutes Robertson's premise. Right after the portion quoted by Priscilla, he writes: "Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim to understand in this sense -- in the present? No, we are not given that knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of presumption.

    "Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?

    "Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God's perfect righteousness. God does hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts -- there would be no hope."

    Most non-Christians (and many Christians) disagree with some aspects of his theology. I personally have trouble with the idea of God judging and punishing entire nations for the sins of individuals, but that's at least partly because I come from a culture where individualism is valued. But while we might disagree with his theology, when read with his target audience in mind, I don't see it as "hateful."

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  32. Priscilla, I laid out an argument and asked how what Mohler said was different to Jesus in Luke 13

    Answer: no reply. Just a restatement of assertions already made.

    Fine, if you consider that to be a "dialogue" then so be it. But the charge remains unsupported that Mohler is "spouting bile" and now also that he is racist. Do you want to add another unsubstantiated charge to the list?

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  33. Beryl:

    I find it hard to understand why any writer or clergyman in the Christian faith would find a need to bring God's judgement and wrath into a discussion of the enormous suffering in Haiti. Do we turn to God becaue we fear God's wrath, or because we have "known" and experienced God's love and mercy?

    I think we all naturally do it because the questions raised are valid.
    So that, I assume, is the point of the dialogue in Luke 13.

    What is surprising is that Jesus does not shy away from the fact that we all deserve the wrath of God and thus need to repent. Again, if anyone can point out how Mohler said anything different then please do so.

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  34. So it is not a veiled threat David, it is historic fact.

    So Mohler is now culpable for something that happened in 1845? That seems a little harsh, wouldn't you think? Especially since he speaks out against racism. But let's not let that small fact get in the way of throwing some good mud.

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  35. David, I appreciate your acknowledgement that my sins and yours are no less, and also no more worthy of condemnation than those of the people of Haiti.
    Not my acknowledgement - simply repeating what Jesus said.

    Of course, that doesn't address Mohler's implicit connection between the earthquake and the practice of vodoun; and it is implicit. His statement that "We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake -- at least not so directly," quite clearly suggests that we can still trace it. Nor does his comment (nor your defence of him, if not his comment) address the great many Christians who suffered as well.
    Honestly, I don't think its "quite clear". In fact I read him as saying the opposite - that we should not be hasty to draw such immediate conclusions.

    On the other hand, while in Luke 13 Jesus certainly says, "unless you repent you will all likewise perish," he also suggests strongly that the disasters themselves aren't evidence of sin, which appears to have been the assumption of his listeners.

    Well, no. He says that the disasters themselves are not any more consequences of sin than the final judgement.

    Jesus also goes on to say, in the parable of the unproductive fig tree, that God goes to great lengths to accept and forgive us, rather than to destroy us in wrath.

    On the contrary - surely Jesus' point there is that the time has ended when he will put up with the unproductive fig tree that is Israel. It is not about unending grace but, rather, the imminent judgement brought about by the incarnation - hence the date for cutting down the fig tree is firmly set.

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  36. Could it be possible that catastrophes like earthquakes are the result of completely impersonal natural causes? It may be that the Caribbean and North American plates slipped, and Haiti had the bad luck to be in the way.

    Could this entire discussion really be about moral agency in the universe, or is it just more of the timeless tendency of people to blame the victims, to say that they had it coming?
    Perhaps this discussion of who or what is to "blame" for the disaster is another way of defending ourselves against that basic condition of mortality that crap happens for no reason and we are all vulnerable.

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  37. Well, David, you and I clearly appreciate Luke's 13th Chapter, and especially what Jesus is saying about God's intent, differently. By God's grace and in God's time we shall both know more clearly. In the meantime, let's pray that the Holy Spirit continue to inform both of us.

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  38. Counterlight,
    I think your assertion sound, by and large. But I have to believe that there were no quakes in eden and the disasters (quakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, et al) are a byproduct of living in a fallen world. We're reminded that it rains on the "just and unjust". Consequently, the citizen of Haiti were no more (or less) cursed than the citizens of North Ridge, or other spots under fault lines.

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  39. My father died from lung cancer ten years ago. He never smoked a cigarette, cigar, or pipe in his life.

    I remember the constant questions about how much he smoked. People meant well, I suppose, but that line of inquiry was very annoying. People, religious and not religious, always want reasons for things that have no reason.

    His cancer didn't mean anything except that he was mortal and vulnerable to chance. That realization consoled him, and me, in the end.

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  40. Plate tectonics are a result of the Fall. How far does the Fall extend? Is this entire Universe fallen because of the sin of a literal Adam & Eve on this tiny speck of a planet? Is it just this star system? Or maybe just this planet and its satellite? Or just the planet?

    If we were to detect plate tectonics on other planets that also have earthquakes, is that the result of The Fall, or could an [Adam & Eve] x 2 also have suffered a Fall that accounts for plate tectonics somewhere else?

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  41. "Stand Firm does not preach hatred?"

    I didn't used to think it did.

    But, after reading Reverend David's forceful, although not particularly convincing, support for Mohler's remarks and, then reading the StandFirm thread on this same topic, I'm beginning to believe StandFirm does have a greater degree of tolerance for theological hatred than most anglican blogs.

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  42. But, after reading Reverend David's forceful, although not particularly convincing, support for Mohler's remarks and, then reading the StandFirm thread on this same topic, I'm beginning to believe StandFirm does have a greater degree of tolerance for theological hatred than most anglican blogs.

    Elihayu, I have to comment that this doesn't actually make any argument.

    What is it I actually wrote that you think betrays a "degree of tolerance for theolgical hatred"? Can you point to a specific statement? What did Mohler write that is "theological hatred"?

    Just repeating the claim goes no way to proving it.

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  43. David,

    Well, perhaps there actually is no tolerance at StandFirm for "theological hatred".

    But you sure could have fooled me.

    Take, for example, your fellow StandFirm blog-master Matt Kennedy’s blistering declaration of the simple act of tithing to TEC parishes that don’t happen to meet StandFirm's particularly insular definition of “traditional anglican” to be a grave act of "heresy",
    since, according to Father Kennedy’s charmingly facile, and evidently self-satisfying, theology,
    (1) the TEC “has embraced heresy”,

    (2) “Satan uses heretics to lead souls away from Christ and toward eternal damnation”, and

    (3) funding the heretical ministries constitutes a participation in the heresy itself”
.

    Wow !

    Maybe, in the increasingly narrow confines in which you and The Reverend Kennedy circumambulate, declaring hundreds of thousands of devout TEC congregants as heretical tools of Satan isn't even considered to be bad manners, much less anything particularly hateful...but, to the rest of us, it crosses the line over to ugly...

    What a marvelous license the Lord hath provided to MK and his fellow clergy at Stand Firm to smite and consume the theologically less discerning !

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  44. Thanks for your comment Elihayu.

    I have to admit to being confused.

    Is your complaint that Matt is actually making a charge of heresy? In which case is it simply the principle of making such a charge (which confuses me, since the New Testament speaks in very clear tones about the dangers of heresy) or is it the nature of the heresy he claims (in which case, it would be helpful if you could point out specific charges Matt has made and why they are incorrect)?

    As for you claiming that he has charged "hundreds of thousands" with the brand, I would suggest that you have been far too hasty in reading him. I say this because I assume you would not be dishonest in seeking to misrepresent him.

    Of course, if the latter is true and you are simply clutching at words that he writes in order to tarnish him then what point is there in this conversation?

    So, it would be helpful for you to back up your charge with actual facts. I note that the hubbub over Mohler has died down since I asked for the same courtesy to be done to him. Strange that.

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  45. David,

    I’m delighted to hear that you would like some “facts” to “back up” my assertions about Matt Kennedy’s sweeping condemnations in your StandFirm blog.



    To refresh your memory, here again are the “facts” (direct quotations) from Matt Kennedy’s series of bold statements in his powerful manifesto about
    “when, if ever, it is appropriate to discontinue tithes and offerings toward an heretical body”:


    (1) “The Episcopal Church has embraced heresy.”


    (2) “Satan uses heretics lead souls away from Christ and toward eternal damnation.”


    (3) “Funding the heretical ministries constitutes a participation in the heresy itself.”



    I can’t figure out any way to conclude from Rev. MK's reductive formula that tithing to a “heretical body” like “The Episcopal Church [that] has embraced heresy” doesn’t constitute “participation in the heresy itself”.


    

[When I first read that analysis in StandFirm, I alerted my wife that, according to the Reverend Mr. Kennedy, she was participating in “heresy” and risking damnation by giving any more money to our local TEC parish. She totally freaked out. It wasn’t pleasant at all.]

    Matt Kennedy seems to enjoy spending much of his life expressing in very carefully chosen words his views on virtuous ‘traditional anglicans” (good !) and the heretical Episcopal Church (bad !).



    So, when we read what seems like one more typically clear and articulate expression of one aspect of those views in his very own words in his very own blog, we think he actually does mean exactly (or something very close to) what he has actually written.



    You may find it expedient to dismiss the time-honored approach to reading words to ascertain the writer’s views as “simply clutching at words that he writes”, but words are the very medium he has chosen to use to share his ideas in his blog and, perhaps regrettably, are the only way we have to understand him (or, for that matter, you).



    If he understandably would want to retract any of those remarks to “clarify” what may have been an uncharacteristically failed attempt by him to say something quite different than what he actually did say, I’m sure that many would be receptive to such a declaration.

    And, you’ve also asked me, what did MK mean by “heresy” ?

    Gosh, 

I certainly don’t know. 



    He neglected to say anything in that article about what specific heretical acts the “revisionist” (apparently not “traditional anglicans”) TEC clergy have been committing.

    


But he did make the comprehensive pronouncement that “The Episcopal Church has embraced heresy”, so I’ll take his word for it that, whatever it is that the TEC has been doing, it is, in MK’s considered opinion, so profoundly evil that the people that tithe to the TEC are participating in heresy and risking eternal damnation.

    As a “traditional anglican” and friend of Matt’s, it would be helpful if you (or even better, Father Kennedy himself) would let us know which heresy (or heresies) the TEC “has embraced”, so we can become more aware of (and arm ourselves against) its spread.



    And, further, if you (and/or he) could elucidate how we who tithe to the church of our parents, great-grandparents, etc are participating in heresy, that sure would be helpful.

    Plus, if you could let us know what specific level of financial support by us to our local TEC parish triggers serious risk of damnation, we would also be grateful for that information.

    

Preludium is a great forum for you and Pastor Matt to share your views on this important topic (avoiding eternal damnation is a pretty high priority for most of us) with an audience that, for better or worse, rarely makes it over to StandFirm, so I hope you’ll take the opportunity to keep participating in it.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Elihayu,

    cutting through the sarcasm (which, byt the way, doe not make for productive conversation), let me get to the thrust of your comment:

    And, you’ve also asked me, what did MK mean by “heresy” ?

    Gosh, 

I certainly don’t know. 



    He neglected to say anything in that article about what specific heretical acts the “revisionist” (apparently not “traditional anglicans”) TEC clergy have been committing.

    


But he did make the comprehensive pronouncement that “The Episcopal Church has embraced heresy”, so I’ll take his word for it that, whatever it is that the TEC has been doing, it is, in MK’s considered opinion, so profoundly evil that the people that tithe to the TEC are participating in heresy and risking eternal damnation.


    Well, no doubt you have read the man carefully before voicing your opinion. Therefore you will be aware of pieces such as this and this
    and this and this as first examples. I think there is a substantial case there to back up Matt's charge. If you wish to debate any of those points specifically then please do feel free. I would welcome an opportunity to engage with an apology for the promotion of what the church has long considered to be heretical teaching.

    As for the rest of your comment, I am confused as to what you are really asking. Matt made it clear in the words that you cite that he considers ongoing financial support of a body that promotes such heretical teaching as being, well, support of heresy.

    What is not clear about that?

    I don't see him claiming at any time that such financial support makes someone a heretic, unless you can provide evidence to the contrary?

    ReplyDelete
  47. David,

    My response is probably a bit too long (I've tried to boil it down, but concision is not one my strengths), so I've broken it up into three parts for at least visual relief.

    Issue #1

    OK, I dutifully followed up on the citations you posted on all those StandFirm articles by Father Kennedy.

Here are some core MK pronouncements on TEC heresy that I got from them.

    

My understanding now is that Rev. Kennedy concluded that the TEC definitively became a heretical denomination in 2006 at the moment of the GC’s ratification of Gene Robinson’s ordination as Bishop.

    

Intriguingly, MK had earlier identified multiple heresies that the TEC had incubated, including

    1 - Jesus not sole path to God nor sole basis for salvation, 

    2 - accepting sins in addition to accepting sinners, 

    3 - Scriptures viewed as mere relics, 

    4 - feeling good as a basis for authentication of new teachings, 

    5 - heaven and hell only figurative,

    6 - resurrection never occurred, 

    7 - heresies of Spong and Borg (unspecified, but apparently a bunch of them),
    but surprisingly concluded that
    none of those heresies (or even all of them cumulatively) were, in of themselves, sufficiently fundamental or grave to throw the TEC into MK-certified heretical status,
    until an openly-homosexual Bishop was ordained.

    So here’s my question, to be answered by Matt Kennedy: 
 are my summary statements of his views on what constitutes the TEC’s embrace of heresy accurate (or at least fair)... and, if they are not, would MK please tell me what (or the essence of what) he meant to say, in his series of manifestos to which you directed me, about the heresy that triggered TEC’s transformation into a heretical denomination ?

    

[FYI: the reason I’m asking for MK to comment on this (rather than asking for your interpretation of Father Kennedy’s opinion - that would be a sort of a second derivative exegesis) is that, when I earlier asked you that question,
    rather than your simply giving me what seems to have turned out to be the extraordinarily simple, four-word answer to my basic question as to what is the grave “heresy” that the MK believes the “TEC has embraced” (e.g., “consecrating Gene Robinson Bishop”),
    you decided to make me spend an additional hour of my time chasing down, and trying to make sense of, the fragments of MK’s theological opus , rather than your simply taking just 30-45 seconds more of your time to provide Rev. Kennedy’s concise answer to the question .

    

So, I figure that,
    unless you chose to intentionally give me that wasteful run-around
    (perhaps because you
 suffered some sort of momentary and uncharacteristic breakdown in your pastoral compassion and sensitivity, 

    experienced a transient loss of genuine evangelical zeal for, or belief in, your and MK’s message on TEC heresy, and/or

    just thought it would be fun to toy around with some guy you'll never meet whose specific questions about StandFirm’s pronouncements you found annoying or embarrassing to answer),
    
I’ll have to assume you
    genuinely didn’t know what MK thinks constitutes TEC heresy and
    were able to recall no more than some cites to StandFirm articles that you had once read on TEC heresy when that topic was of more than passing interest to you.



    So I’d appreciate it if you could get your blog-brother MK , who has a demonstrated, some might say almost obsessional, interest in heresy and heretics in the TEC, to answer directly this question.




    ReplyDelete
  48. Issue # 2

    I understand that MK and you agree 

    that the TEC is a “heretical ministry” 
 and 

    that “funding the heretical ministries constitutes a participation in the heresy itself”..

    But, surprisingly, you interpret MK to mean that “participation in heresy” doesn’t actually render the participant in that heresy a heretic
    (I guess, to you and perhaps MK, it all depends whether “participate” does mean “participate" - I also guess your view would be that someone that regularly plays tennis isn’t tennis player ... that’s a fresh approach to language, indeed ... ) 



    Your interpretation will certainly come as good news to clergy and lay-tithing participants in the heresy of the heretical TEC ministry that they aren’t (well, at least according to an influential “traditional anglican”) really heretics after all !

    

But of course, as you’ve pointed out, you don’t really know what MK actually meant by what he’s said about funders and participants and can only posit a supposition.

    

So it would be helpful, if Rev. Kennedy would clarify himself on the issue of the infestation of TEC heretics (that he has carefully researched and on which he sporadically publishes serialized analyses), by sharing with us his considered opinion
    of which individuals
    or what categories of people, if any, that “participate” in the heretical TEC ministry

    (e.g.,
    the PB, 

    the Bishops, 

    the General Convention, 

    our local lay youth minister,

    my devout wife who, of simple faith and unaware of MK’s alarming warnings, continues to tithe to St.Michaels, the Dioceses of Haiti and Jerusalem, and the ERD,
    a $1million dollar octogenarian legacy donor to General Theological Seminary (or, shudder the thought, to Episcopal Divinity School),

    the TEC litigation team, 

    everybody at 815 (except the new cleaning crew),

    everybody,
    nobody,

    etc)
    
and
    that are also the "heretics" of the TEC.



    [David, I just read on your web site that you believe that Spong, Robinson, and the PB are “apostates” - do you think they and, Father Harris who has generously accommodated us in this important dialogue, may be slipping, or have already slipped, into full-on heresy yet ?] 



    ReplyDelete
  49. Issue # 3



    I was surprised to learn in your last comment that you wanted me to throttle back the sarcasm, in light of how unproductive you find it to be.

    

I must confess that initially I did think, based on your dextrous and opportunistic employ of sarcasm, that you were comfortable, and probably preferred operating, with that rhetorical tool at your disposal.

    

And I was also impressed with how stealthily you unleashed such a series of sarcastic sucker-punches that I never would have anticipated from a sarcasm-abstainer:


    “bawahahahaha!!! oh no, wait. You were serious!”, 


    “it makes one want to revisit how carefully and generously you have read any of his material”, 


    “Do you want to add another unsubstantiated charge to the list?”, 


    “let's not let that small fact get in the way of throwing some good mud”, 


    etc.



    That's a pretty impressive array of sarcastic jabs from a guy who believes them to be so unproductive !

    But, I guess my continuing to “clutch” at your written words has again impeded my ability to divine whatever it was (perhaps beyond words) you were trying to convey.

    

So, I’ll layoff (well, mostly layoff) the sarcasm going forward.


    ReplyDelete
  50. ...I’ll have to assume you
    genuinely didn’t know what MK thinks constitutes TEC heresy and
    were able to recall no more than some cites to StandFirm articles that you had once read on TEC heresy when that topic was of more than passing interest to you.




    I find that assumption strange since I have just posted (and you detailed) exactly how I understand Matt to be arguing that the leadership of TEC is heretical. I'm not sure what more I can help you with than direct quotes.

    So I’d appreciate it if you could get your blog-brother MK , who has a demonstrated, some might say almost obsessional, interest in heresy and heretics in the TEC, to answer directly this question.





    I am sure that Matt is reading this and is big enough to decide whether he wants to engage or not.

    I have done what you asked - given you more than sufficient material to demonstrate the claim. You can make this about personalities if you want but I think that would be to actually seek to avoid the presenting issue - that the leadership of TEC has embraced heresy.

    ReplyDelete
  51. comment - part 1

    David,

    Yes, your sending me to Matt Kennedy's articles did provide an extensive list of the TEC heresies he has identified and, importantly, the singularly grave heresy, the ordination of Gene Robinson, that he believes flung the TEC into the pit of "heretical denominations”. 



    Although your offer to post your apologetics for MK's and your position for those charges is definitely a constructive one that I hope you will follow up on (and which can only be of benefit to readers of this blog), please do not feel obligated to do so just for my benefit.


    You might be surprised that I (as someone who instinctively tends to be textual-literalist and a strict-constructionist - that’s where I get my “clutching” at words thing) do think MK’s analysis of what recent activities in the TEC constitute an extraordinary departure from centuries of received interpretations of the primary elements of anglican doctrine does to me seem pretty cogent and would be pretty difficult to rebut by anyone that accepts MK's implicit assumptions as to the modest limits to which those interpretations can be stretched under the never-fully-agreed-upon usage of the "via media" term and under the squishy lens of the "scripture-tradition-reason" theological algorithm that pops up from time to time.


    Of course, we are both aware that some others (that I think are called "revisionists" by “traditional anglicans”) make very different assumptions than does MK about the extent of the license offered to Episcopalians by those uniquely anglican guides to scriptural and creedal meanings to continue to revise and to redefine "orthodoxy" (it is both unfortunate and ironic that the absence of any requirement to swear fealty to a magisterium has always been a core strength of anglicanism but now has also led to the current difficulty in achieving agreement on a straightforward doctrinal litmus test).

    As for me, like Augustine, Luther, Merton, etc., I've run serially through more than a few religious orthodoxies in my life (unfortunately, I've been a bit more downmarket than Luther - more like Jimmy Swaggart, never being able to stay aligned with Jesus as my primary guide for very long, but, nonetheless, still moving forward on a sincere, however chaotic, faith journey and hoping that somehow I might yet be the undeserving beneficiary of a transformational “baptism by desire”).

    And, as much as I'd like to commit myself to an orthodoxy (or even just an orthopraxy) to which I believe I could be steadfast, so far I haven't been able to do so.

    As a result, I'm loathe to interpose my highly questionable judgement to declare either side of the internecine warfare you're involved in to be the justified adherents to the “true” anglican tradition.

    So that’s why I have no reason, or standing, to challenge your charges of TEC heresy.

    ReplyDelete
  52. comment - part 2

    But, as I’ve repeatedly said, I would appreciate it if MK were to address a couple questions relating to MK’s provocative TEC Heresy Manifestos:



    (1) MK says the “TEC has embraced heresy”.

    That raises the most basic of questions:

    
Who are the TEC heretics ?

    Just the PB ? 

    Or the PB plus the Houses of Deputies ? 
 Everybody at 815 ?

    Everybody that stayed in the TEC after it became a heretical denomination in 2006 ?



    (2) MK says that funding a heresy is “participating” in the heresy. In the absence of any further qualification, the common interpretation of that sentence would be that those who fund the furtherance of a heresy are heretics.

    That raises a ludicrously basic question, in two parts:


    How much money does one have to give to the TEC to be participating in the TEC heresy

    
and

    
does participating in a heresy ever actually result in one becoming a heretic (or, as you believe, does accusing one of participating in a heresy bear no implication that they are also being accused of being heretics) ?

    As I said, I’ve got no dog in this hunt...well, not directly, that is.

    You may recall that I’ve mentioned that my wife is a devout Episcopalian whose simple faith is good and pure - light on theology, but heavy on love, community, and joyfully allocating more of our family budget to our TEC parish than I would ever advocate (I keep telling her that her belief in the grace of stewardship is why we’re stuck watching the Olympics on our 26” screen instead of the 42” screen the kids and I are just certain we truly deserve).

    

So, independent of my agnosticism about the merits of cat fight you and Father Kennedy devote so much of your young ministry to and the collateral damage being done to, I’ve been getting increasingly riled up as I realize that you guys have had the cojones to call MY WIFE (and hundreds of thousands like her that naively sit in their pews feeling/believing/knowing that they ought to help pay back the gift of the faith tradition they’ve been given in the Episcopal Church), HERETICS.

    

And you have the nerve to say not to “make this about personalities” ?



    When you’re calling my wife (and the other church ladies on the Stewardship Committee) a heretic (oops - maybe you only actually said that she’s participating in a heresy that’s leading people to Satan...sorry to overstate your slander), you’re getting very, very personal.



    So, Father Kennedy (yes, now I’m addressing you - David has already confirmed that you must certainly be following this thread), would you please stop messing around and relieve poor David from what thus far has been a near-impossible task of explaining the scope of the condemnations that you throw around like frisbees but yet seem to be comprehensible to not even one of your closest, and most dedicated, theological spear-chuckers ?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    ReplyDelete
  53. comment - part 3 (the I-have-a-dream codicil)


    P.S. Of course, Father Kennedy, maybe this discussion is causing you to reconsider whether your condemnation of all funders of the TEC, was maybe just some ill-considered, over-caffeinated hyperbole that, upon sober reflection, you should retract ?

    

Or Maybe you’ve been reflecting on the example of Fra Savanarola, who, after years of trying to throw Pico Della Mirandola (an obstinate neo-platonist, long before it was fully acceptable in “trad” circles to be an out-of-the-closet neo-platonist at the same time as being a Christian) into one of Savanarola’s periodic Florentine bonfires of the vanities and heretics, in his dotage mellowed and welcomed Pico to Savanarola’s Tuscan country home for extended stays filled with wine and competitive apologetics ?


    Or maybe, just maybe, you've imagined that, when you get a little more mud on your flaps, you and she-who-some-trads-love-to-call-the-whore-of-Babylon might very well be able to just kick back and realize that perhaps you both might try to take a second shot at reestablishing inter-clerical comity and respect - wouldn’t that be refreshing !


    ReplyDelete
  54. Elihayu:
    When you’re calling my wife (and the other church ladies on the Stewardship Committee) a heretic (oops - maybe you only actually said that she’s participating in a heresy that’s leading people to Satan...sorry to overstate your slander), you’re getting very, very personal.



    You're being disingenuous. I have explained and Matt's articles are clear enough - if you insist on portraying that position as 'calling everyone a heretic' when it's quite clear that is not what is intended then we're done.

    It betrays a very clear desire to misrepresent for the sake of a cheap debating point.

    That's not a conversation I want to be part of.

    ReplyDelete
  55. David,


    The question that I would appreciate you and/or Matt answering is extraordinarily simple and straightforward and one I know you have considered extensively:

    WHO (OR WHAT CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE) IN THE LEADERSHIP OF TEC (OR THAT FUND THE TEC) ARE HERETICS AND WHO ARE NOT ?


    I understand that you, as an ordained priest, has taken solemn vows before your Bishop, your Church, and God to, in all that you do, nourish Christ's people from the riches of His grace that His reconciling love may be known.


    And it's clear that, as you also swore to do, you have been diligent in the reading and study of the Holy Scriptures to aid you in your discernment of, and willingness to call out, TEC heresy.


    So I ask you, as a man who I wouldn't think would take lightly his vows to be a faithful pastor to all who he is called to serve (whether in your home base of StandFirm or here in Preludium), to please forgive whatever things I have done in the course of this conversation that you have found annoying, mean, or sinful, so that they (and/or I) may cease to be an impediment to your finally being able to feel comfortable in responding in this forum to the question of who, if any, in the TEC are heretics.


    I certainly enjoyed your lead article in StandFirm of just a couple of days ago, in which you bemoaned the lack of substantive theological engagements between "revisionists" and "conservatives" and in which you noted:

    "I was taught that unless you address your opponents' real arguments, and their strongest ones at that, you've not really addressed them at all".


    I hope that at this moment Christ will give you that very courage you were taught, not to just instinctively retreat into silence when questioned about your beliefs, but, as you have reccomended to the readership of StandFirm, to boldly address this fundamental and grave issue and to share with us your interpretation of his Word as it applies to the most basic question of who are the persons that are the heretics in the heretical TEC ministry.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Once again...

    You're being disingenuous. I have explained and Matt's articles are clear enough - if you insist on portraying that position as 'calling everyone a heretic' when it's quite clear that is not what is intended then we're done.

    Let me be abundantly clear. I enjoy a good debate. But this is not one for, as I have pointed out, the question you ask has already been addressed, not least in the articles I cited.

    I have no desire to repeat arguments someone has already made nor pander to your gentle baiting. Thanks for the flattery, but I'm not interested.

    If I've misread you then I apoligise, but you give every impression of asking rhetorical questions and I have long resolved to not answer any of them from whatever source they come.

    ReplyDelete
  57. David,

    I have read and re-read your comments.

    I have read and re-read MK's articles.

    I have found in them no answer to this question:

    WHO (OR WHAT CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE) IN THE LEADERSHIP OF TEC (OR THAT FUND THE TEC) ARE HERETICS AND WHO ARE NOT ?

    Please simply answer that quesion.

    P.S. Even though our discussion has, as we would both agree, become tiresome and unpleasant, being required to re-read Matt's articles yet one more time (to see if I had earlier missed something relevant to my inquiry about heretics) turned out to be somewhat rewarding for me (really!).

    I, like MK, was more than a bit shocked by the way the PB fumbled the whether "salvation is found in Christ alone" questions in her first round of mainstream media interviews after her election.

    The encyclopedic RC catechism makes it so much for RC's (and even RC-rejectionists) to understand the RCC teachings that, through the sacrifice of Jesus, God likely has a "plan of salvation" for Jews, Muslims, and even atheists that in "good conscience" (that's a loaded and ambiguous term, of course) follow their own faith traditions (religious and/or secular).

    Perhaps if the PB had simply appropriated some of that RC catechism terminology for use in her early round of interviews, she could have avoided triggering such a firestorm on a subtle issue that typically has been of more interest to theologians than most Christians that are struggling with the often more pressing challenge of how to walk in Christ's path.

    And, no, I'm not being disingenuous in saying that I think that, on that issue, MK did provide a balanced and thoughtful analysis that provides a useful framework for thinking through the issue.

    And, if my recollection is not too flawed, I think that in recent presentations the PB has been more explicit about the centrality of Jesus' salvific role for all.

    P.P.S. But, that digression aside, I'll reiterate my plea that you answer the question of who in the TEC are, and are not, heretics.

    I really can't figure out how there can be a
    "heretical ministry"
    carried out by thousands of clergy in a
    "heretical denomination"
    and funded by hundreds of thousands tithing
    "participants in the heresy"
    without there being at least some heretics iinvolved somewhere in the process.

    If there is some rarely-discussed theological concept about heresies and heretical ministries existing independent of any heretics, learning of it might help me understand how even those "participating in" the TEC heresy have not yet become heretics.

    But my instinct is to believe that you and MK do think there are one or more heretics in the TEC.

    All that I'm asking is for you to explain who is, or isn't, a heretic that's associated with the TEC (or even just to direct me to where "the question ... has already been addressed, not least in [MK's] articles").


    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  58. In case it hadn't occurred to you, shouting at me and laying on the sarcasm is not a productive means of persuasion.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hi Elihayu,

    I have not read all the comments on this thread...I just found out about it today. But you've made it all much more complicated than it is.

    1. Yes TEC has for many years included priests and bishops who promote false doctrine. These have been increasing in number.

    2. At the same time, at an official level, the heresies espoused by these men and women were not reflected, to my knowledge, in official acts of the Church at GC or in the HOB or Executive Council.

    3. That all changed in 2003 when TEC, through General Convention, legislatively rejected revealed truth and embraced heresy.

    4. This decision was reaffirmed both in 2006 and in 2009.

    So, not only are there many many individual false teachers within TEC, the entire "church" itself has departed from orthodoxy and become a heretic organization.

    So, those who fund TEC, in any way, participate in and facilitate the spreading of soul and body destroying lies.

    Now, you did say this:

    "Maybe, in the increasingly narrow confines in which you and The Reverend Kennedy circumambulate, declaring hundreds of thousands of devout TEC congregants as heretical tools of Satan isn't even considered to be bad manners..."

    I do not at all think hundreds of thousands of "devout TEC congregants are heretical tools of Satan."

    The "devout congregants" are not heretics. They are deceived. The heretics are the leaders who are doing the deceiving.

    Hope that clears things up'

    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  60. Matt,

    Thanks for your jumping in here and answering almost all of my question.

    Now, if understand your remarks correctly, you’ve identified
    as heretics

    (1) all of leaders of the TEC
    (e.g., PB, GC, Father Harris, all Bishops, perhaps some priests (?) and even some religious education laity (?), etc. - of course, in the absence of your being more specific, I'm just guessing on your judgement on the priests and laity),

    but

    (2) not all (although probably some) of the merely tithing devout congregants at TEC parishes.

    [That division certainly makes sense to me, in the context of your analysis of the sequence of actions that finally made it clear to you that the TEC had become a heretical denomination.]

    But what I’m still hoping is that you may finally provide your view of

    who, or what categories of persons, if any,

    among the hundreds of thousands of tithing “devout congregants" in the TEC (that are, in your construct, participating in heresy and facilitating the spreading of soul-destroying lies),

    are actually heretics, as well.

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. If, understandably, you may not yet have done such an analysis, perhaps you could just share

    (1) some decision rules and factors (e.g., duration of tithing, awareness of the validity of your summary of orthodox doctrine, dollars contributed to the heretical ministry, etc.) that you would use in making such a determination

    and, based on your substantial knowledge of at least some segments of Episcopal congregants,

    (2) what percentage of the TEC faithful are likely to now be heretics.

    P.P.S.
    And, by the way, this discrete question is not simply polemical (as David seems to believe).

    I recently asked my wife,
    who has contributed sweat equity (a lot over more than half of a century) and money ($75,000+, so far) to the Episcopal Church,
    who tries, as best as she can, to follow the guidance of the Scriptures, and
    who believes in the promises of Jesus Christ,
    to read your summary of the heretical practices of the TEC.

    She thought you were
    likely right on some of your points and
    seemingly unduly rigid in your interpretation on others.

    But she didn't think your analysis, however well-reasoned, was, to her, sufficient to lead her believe she was not doing the right thing by participating in the TEC community.

    So, she's still working at the shelter, distributing the Eucharist, and giving the flawed TEC more of her hard-earned money than I'd prefer her to do.

    So I wonder whether in your view she,
    in her apparent continuing commitment to the church of her great-great-grandfather,
    notwithstanding her recent exposure to your exegesis of anglican doctrine,
    is also a heretic.

    Although perhaps less interested in distilled formulations of Christian doctrine than you, she does display a mild form of troublesome scrupulosity when a religious authority figure like you declares that she is participating in heresy and facilitating the spread of soul-destroying lies.

    But, whatever your judgement, she, like I, is interested in learning of it and will consider it.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Matt,

    Which persons among the lay people in the TEC that you've determined are participating in heresy are heretics ?

    Hope that more concise version of the question clears things up'

    Elihayu

    ReplyDelete

OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.