Generous Orthodoxy  

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Why are they surprised?

According to a report from the Episcopal News Service in The Living Church, August 31, the Bishop of New York, Mark Sisk, and the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, expressed surprise at the worldwide "lack of understanding" of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

"I was surprised at questions about basic theological tenets and whether we really believe them or not," Bishop Jefferts Schori said. "It's a reminder that even though we may think all Anglicans believe the basics of the faith, not everybody believes that we believe them."

Why would anyone think we believe the basics of the faith? For many decades now, the refrain from pulpits and in clergy conclaves has been wink-wink, nudge-nudge about "the basics of the faith"? I have a copy of a sermon that was delivered on Easter Day by a leading bishop, calling the entire Resurrection proclamation into question. Last November, when the churches traditionally read passages of judgment prior to Advent, I heard with my own ears a Yale Divinity School graduate say from the pulpit that judgment has no place in our faith, essentially repudiating the lessons that had just been read. We don't have to look at the "theses" of the ineffable Bishop Spong to find widespread undermining of the foundations throughout the church. The takeover of the churches by "liberal" theology has been so complete that few, whether in the hierarchy or in the pews, have even noticed. That's the real issue, not the argument about homosexuality which is a "presenting symptom," not the underlying problem.