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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Conductor on the Tiberian Shuttle-Interesting David Warren piece (thanks to Bene Diction for the links) on his bolting from his Anglican (he's Canadian, IIRC) faith to the Roman Catholic Church
There was a great schism behind our history, which involved the Reformation of the western churches; a huge tragedy, as the earlier division between East and West. I still think the Protestants walked away with particles of the one Catholic church; and between Greeks and Romans the indivisible was likewise divided. Yet God has his plans, and it is beyond human comprehension to know what purposes we have finally served. All devout Anglicans could wish there had been no need of a separated Anglican order in the first place; and I was among the many within who longed for communion with Rome. I see now it can never happen. The split has been widening until it is unbridgeable, as the Anglicans, along with other "mainstream" Protestant congregations in Europe and North America, go on one doctrinal bender after another in their desperate pursuit of "relevance" to a post-Christian society. No babies left, and precious little bathwater.
That puts devout Anglican/Episcopals at a crossroads. They can either join up with evangelical Protestants who still take the Bible at face vale but don't have the tradition and apostolic succession of the Catholic Church or go Catholic where they have the tradition and linkage to history but might be a bit ligher (in practice) on doctrine (duck, incoming).
It is said that rats leave a sinking ship, but in my own defence I must say that I boarded HMS Anglican against a tide of rodents running the other way. I have always been rather slow in detecting a leakage; or rather, quick to see the leakage, but slow to join the crowd. I shall not be the last rat through this particular plughole, however.
What may happen is that some of the rats might form a functional Anglican church that is true to Scripture and a worthy home. However, not everyone is willing to wait for that to happen.
I realized that our ship was no longer, as it were, sinking, but now, as it were, sunk, when I saw a statement from one of the hierarchy of Episcopal Church USA, "reminding" Anglicans that their authority is not founded on Scripture, but rather on the operation of the Holy Ghost within the communion. This was a doctrine I had already detected, under layers of deceit, in the meandering verbiage of Dr. Rowan Williams, the new, fanatically liberal, Archbishop of Canterbury. It is the characteristic doctrine of utopian revolutionaries and violent heretics from many centuries -- this idea that God is speaking to them directly, and that they may now ignore scripture, history, and tradition, and do whatever feels good.
When you stop taking the Bible at face value, it opens up the floodgates for any number of heresies. God does speak to people today, but He doesn't contratict Himself. If you hear God telling you something different from what's been laid down in scripture, it's a fairly safe bet that you're not hearing from God.
The Anglican Church will probably be at more pains to conceal than to reveal this doctrine in the immediate future, for it is too obviously the work of the devil. Yet the doctrine becomes absolutely necessary, in the moment when a church decides that, for instance, it will ordain as "bishop" some vile man who has left his wife and children to explore sexuality with a younger male. It is all really too disgusting to go into, and besides you may have seen the media accounts. The Anglican hierarchy had already been driving me up the wall; this pushed me right through the ceiling.
Many people think that the Anglican/Episcopal defectors are driven by homophobic hatred, as the Gene Robinson bishop appointment was the straw that broke the faithful's back;Case in point is this Jeff Jarvis piece-
Warren's words are hateful -- that is, full of hate. His words are bigoted and spiteful. He calls a man of God, a creature and creation of God, a "vile man." He put himself in the position to judge his fellow man. And why? Because this man, now a bishop of his church, is gay. Warren is leaving his church, the Anglican, because it embraced a gay man as a leader. I left my church, the Presbyterian, because it rejects gay people from leadership. We are both within our rights to hold and state our opinions, both within our rights to act on them, both within our rights to disagree. And, oh, I do disagree. I am appalled at "Christians" judging and rejecting people because of who they are, because of the way God made them.
A few quick points at Jarvis. If you take the Bible at face value, homosexual behavior is sinful, and while all of us fall short on perfecton, to tell God that he got certian parts of the Bible wrong is heresy. The new Bishop of New Hampshire meets that description. The first definiton of vile in my office dictionary is "morally base or evil; wicked; depraved; sinful." If you take the Bible at face value, Bishop Robinson fits that description and the people who voted him in as Bishop are enablers in that vileness. However, there was a lot of disregard of Scripture over the years that led to this, and the Robinson case was merely the tipping point that made schism the only remaining option. This might have been the case of boiling a frog in cold water; the faithful didn't quite sense the slow theological drift to the universalist left until it was too late. Each change was incremental but added up to serious apostacy at the top. Warren concluded his piece with a mournful eulogy for the Anglicans-
Yet I do not look back in anger, but in heartbreak, at the wreckage remaining from what was a fine, four- or five-century run. Within the ruin of the Anglican Church, we will find so many beautiful things, embodying noble aspirations. We will not, however, find the Catholic succession -- for Anglicanism has become one of those channels of history that runs out, as so many of the churches of the past, which lost their way, and sank into the sands.
I don't think it has run out. It will likely split into two camps, an orthodox, African-centered Evangelical Anglican (for lack of a better term) movement and a liberal, US-Canada-UK baced liberal wing, although many Anglicans in the north will slide over into the Evangelical Anglican camp.

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