Monday, June 8, 2009

Episcopalianism vs. Christianity

In a recent Christianity Today post, ‘Too Unorthodox Even for the Episcopal Church?’ we learn the following:

Thew Forrester, who has rewritten the church's baptismal covenant, the Apostles' Creed, and the Book of Common Prayer's Easter Vigil liturgy to remove historic Christian doctrines, would be the first bishop-elect to be vetoed by denominational leaders since at least the 1930s, according to the church's Office of Communication.

The 2.3-million-member Episcopal Church has had bishops who have denied core Christian doctrines like the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection of Jesus. But the most prominent bishops to make such claims (such as John Shelby Spong and James Pike) reportedly did not do so until after they had been made bishop.

Critics on the theological left and the right said Thew Forrester's abandonment of church doctrine and liturgy, as contained in the Book of Common Prayer, placed him too far outside the mainstream to serve as a bishop and a successor to the Apostles.

According to Thew Forrester, Christ's blood doesn't wash away sin and Christ's death doesn't redeem and restore humanity. Jesus doesn't make us one with God, but simply reveals to us that we're already and always one with God, the bishop-elect maintains.

But a Thew Forrester supporter, Wyoming Bishop Bruce Caldwell, said Thew Forrester's theology "stretches us, but not to the point of breaking."

The bishop-elect defended his liturgical and theological changes, saying they reflected the "continually evolving" Christian faith.

"What we've done is quite responsible and appropriate, and indeed the church needs to do it in order to stay relevant in the 21st century," he said.

In addition to rejecting orthodox Christian teachings about the Cross, Thew Forrester denies that Satan exists, calls the Qur'an the Word of God, describes sin as being blind to our own goodness, and questions whether Jesus is truly the only begotten Son of God. A student of Zen Buddhism, Thew Forrester took Buddhist lay ordination vows and adopted a new Buddhist name—Genpo—meaning "way of universal wisdom."

Kent Comments:

I wonder what, if anything, Wyoming Bishop Bruce Caldwell thinks would or should stretch Episcopalians to the point of breaking?

I wonder why John Shelby Spong and James Pike remained bishops after denying the faith? There are a couple of questions implied here. One is: why did the Episcopal Church allow them to continue to be bishops? The answer appears to be: because the Episcopal Church now seems to allow bishops to believe almost anything, just so they don’t announce it until after they are bishops!

Another questions is this: why call yourself a Christian if you deny most or all of the historic Christian faith? Why bother? Is it just the cushy life of a bishop? Do these people really think that Christianity remains Christian no matter what its doctrinal content? What if an Episcopal bishop announced that he (or maybe she) thought the whole idea of any kind of God was ridiculous, and that being the case, might makes right? That is a stretch, but why think it is a stretch that ‘breaks’ the Christian faith?

If, as bishop-elect-who-probably-won’t-be-elected Thew Forrester believes, the Christian faith is ‘continually evolving’ then why couldn’t it evolve into some form of, let’s say, Nazism? I realize that it’s not exactly Buddhism, but if anything goes why not some good old Nazi teachings?

And who is named ‘Thew’ anyway?

Here is some advice for Episcopalians who have even a hint of the historic Christian faith left in their hearts and minds. Allow me to use to a Start Trek analogy. The Borg have taken over most of the ship. It is time to initiate the destruct sequence and abandon ship in the escape pods.

There is no future with the Borg, or in this case, the Thews. Red Alert! Get out while you still can.


jjwil said...

Yes , bail and look for the church that pleases God . Look for a church like the church in the Bible !

kjc said...

I understand a certain amount of modernization in church, elsewise we would still be doing sacrifices, but this is crazy. Why would a church of the Christian faith allow a Buddhist follower into a Deacon position? That was just asking for trouble to come about! I agree with jjwil... BAIL! A church willing to accept someone of another faith to try to teach them the way of God is clearly doing what God wants, but a church who puts that same person in a position of power knowing they follow the other faith and not Christianity needs help.