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Real Answers™
gh88
Copyright: © 2006 Gary Hardaway
575 words

TRADITIONAL EPISCOPALIANS OUT OF OPTIONS

By: Gary Hardaway

According to most informed observers, the Episcopal Church, America’s version of the Church of England, is on the verge of splitting. The cause: irreconcilable differences. The opposing parties have apparently exhausted all options. Numerous talks, study panels, conferences, et. al., have failed to resolve the core issues. Divorce seems imminent.

Dissension and division generally embarrass any Christian community. The New Testament takes a dim view of troublemakers in the church. For example, the apostle Paul tells his lieutenant, Titus, to “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that have nothing to do with him.”

Even more significantly, Jesus, in his final recorded prayer, asked for solidarity for all his believers. “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me . . . .” Some today view the proliferation of denominations as an offense against God and a sordid testimony to the world. No doubt some who might otherwise find Christian fellowship appealing are sickened by this phenomenon.

However, the New Testament also demands unyielding resistance to false teachers and their false propaganda. The apostle Jude feels compelled to “write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Contending for the faith means opposing those who would dilute, pollute, compromise, or deny the basic teachings that were “once for all” declared and handed down.

The modern or postmodern individual rejects a great deal of that original doctrine issued “once for all.” He assumes that theology and morality have to change with the times. What seemed true years ago may no longer apply.

According to the modern sophisticate, Scripture may have meant one thing to Paul or Jude (or Peter, who decried those who “secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord”) but today we know better. We now understand that the early teachers were limited by their primitive culture – before psychology, sociology, and multiculturalism enlightened us. Our new awareness makes us far more tolerant. It enlarges our capacity to accept diverse ideas, beliefs, lifestyles, and definitions of the Christian self.

Ironically, this new openness to almost any religious invention does not tolerate the person who keeps on believing the Bible. That person is a “bigot” or an “intellectual Neanderthal.” Openness is a ferocious doctrine that brooks no dissent.

Those Episcopalians who continue to hold the Bible as the final authority in matters of faith and practice are no longer welcome in the Episcopal Church. Not unless and until they accept homosexual bishops and priests who cohabit with their partners. Not until they endorse the cultural agenda of the secular left. Not until they abandon Scripture as their primary source of faith and morality.

Some years ago the Southern Baptists became engaged in a somewhat similar (though not quite as serious) intramural dispute over fidelity to Scripture. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky, comments that “The leaders of the denomination simply didn’t agree with the confessional stance of virtually all Baptists at all times on matters such as biblical inerrancy . . . .” (Emphasis mine).

That sums up the Episcopalian situation, except that the leaders in this case control all the levers of power. The dissident minority have no hope of replacing the current heresy with rigorous, robust biblical orthodoxy. In such cases, the Apostle quotes the Old Testament: “Come out from them and be separate.”

 

Gary Hardaway has taught in universities in the USA, Lithuania and Canada. He holds a Ph. D. in foundations of education. "Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; amyfoundtn@aol.com

 

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