Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Point of All This Church Stuff

The only reason I respond to the writings of those who run my former church is to try to reach them with the Gospel.

Here is something I posted over at Stand Firm. It's not the best. But it's what I think.

What the above commenters wrote. When I use the word ‘heretic’ I do not use it lightly. Can you honestly say that Archbishop Cranmer would be in accord with your theology? Or Archbishop Laud?

You see, we’ve read your writings and we’ve heard your talks. We read the HoBD mailing list. Greg’s foray into investigative reporting was not news to me (and no I wasn’t one of the ones who relayed Ann’s post to him).

To be explicit, you are a heretic. You are in a position of leadership of a church that purports to be Christian and that used to be so. That is bad. Most of those who comment at StandFirm do so because we are concerned about that sort of thing.

My ideal resolution to this conflict between the heretics in power and the Christians who are opposing them is that you lot will repent of your sins, confess your errors and convert to Christianity. The very reason I, and others, engage in dialog is to reach that resolution.

Some of us had hoped that the impaired or ruptured communion tat the Episcopal Church is in with a large portion of the world’s Anglicans would have been a wake up call for our leadership. Instead of repentance, we saw self-justification, rage and denial. None of those emotions are the fruits of the Spirit.

You and your fellows have set yourselves up as arbiters of who God is, what He is like and how He operates. You have corrupted the word ‘Love’ to serve your ends, and you presume to tell God that He must change to conform to your vision of the world.

On a more personal level, nothing would make me happy than to know that you have stopped telling God what He is, what His limits are and how He should operate in this fallen world. If you could repent of your pride and ask God what He would of you, and seek to serve Him in humility and charity, then any conflict we might have would end.

We are the unworthy servants, and He is our master. He will not allow any other God before Him. And He loves you and me and all of us too much to allow us to continue in our sin.

I will continue to pray for you, Tom Woodward. I fear for your soul as well as the souls of your fellows.

There is a similar conversation over at Dr. Mabuse's Kraalspace. In fairness, here are the links to Tom Woodward's blog and Lisa Fox's.


Perpetua said...

Hi Matthew,
I just read your comment over at Dr. Mabuse's place. I look forward to reading posts on your decision process as you decide what church to join.

Dr. Mabuse said...

I wonder what Cranmer would have thought, if he could have foreseen what it would turn into, that candle he and Ridley lit with their martyrdom? Would he have thought it was worth it, if the end result would be pampered, petted heretics offending even common human decency? Would Rome really have looked that bad to a man of that era, compared to early 21st century Episcopalianism?

Matthew said...

It's a fair question as far as what Cranmer what would have wished. As for me, I have a fairly earthy view of why he was a Protestant in the first place.

I've always thought Cranmer more than anyone, was the quintessential Anglican martyr. He truly was a man with a lofty mind and clay feet.

Perpetua, I'm interested in where we will turn up as well. Every time we come close to a decision, something comes up.

In all likelihood we'll decide not on theology or on worship, but on convenience and driving distance. I wish I could be more high-minded, but there you are.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matthew,

Interesting blog and commentary. I followed the links from StandFirm to Dr. Mabuse to here - was half expecting to find TWBSF and friends in hot pursuit.

I'm not sure whether this is an option where you are located, but please do consider crossing the Bosporus. There are a significant number of former Episcopalians in all of the Eastern Orthodox churches - the OCA now has a Metropolitan (Jonah) who is a convert and a former member of ECUSA. Some of the churches have a western rite (Antiochian, ROCA). The EO churches are not without their problems, but theological incoherence is not one of them, and the sheer beauty of the entire Orthodox package more than offsets the unfamiliarity and loss of some reference points in the worship.