Likely Prospects For The Anglican Communion: Continued Sluff And Obfuscation

Every once in a while I get a little hope that clarity might come around in the Anglican Communion regarding the Episcopal Church and its actions. But, that has been dashed again. Seems the game is now kicked down the road to this Spring regarding the Anglican Consultative Council and a Primates Meeting regarding the Anglican Covenant, and this will put a draft covenant before GC2009. The covenant will be treated like a salad bar where TEC will take parts of the covenant and reject other parts, yet they will avoid outright rejection of the same and the ABC and the rest of the Communion will equivocate over TEC’s legislation. TEC will pretty much go on doing what they want to do, and the border crossings will not cease. The schism of the Anglican Communion will take a generation to sort out.

Many folks I talk to still want to stay in the Episcopal Church, to call the liberals to account, stand up for truth, what have you. During the Kairos board meeting, I think Jesus told me the same thing. Andrew Carey even said the same thing to me at the end of GC2006. Another friend of mine who had long advocated leaving the Episcopal Church told me I needed to go to GC2009. Okay, Lord, I get it.

But, the truth of the matter is, I don’t want to.

I’m tired of arguing with the likes of the Anglican Bishop in the Great Divorce. They don’t get it, they don’t want to get it, and don’t even see there is a problem. So, why be a part of this mess, this continued sluff and obfuscation?

Jonah had to go to Ninevah. I guess I have to go to Anaheim. But, Lord, why?

I wish I could talk to the spirit who had the dialogue with the Anglican bishop in the Great Divorce. Or to Jonah post-Nineveh.

The only answer I come up with is that no institution of man is immune to heresy, apostasy, and unfaithfulness. In the Lord Jesus, restoration and reconciliation is always a possibility. I have to live like I really believe that.

25 Responses to “Likely Prospects For The Anglican Communion: Continued Sluff And Obfuscation”


  1. 1 Joe Roberts August 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Brad,

    Were there only a place to go! Your post strikes a nerve and so here goes.

    I, too, find myself rationalizing my continuing this struggle within TEC (and with the Anglican Communion as well) and I sometimes do so with the hope that divine intervention may yet occur. And yes, with my whole heart I do believe that in God all things are possible including restoration and reconciliation. And also I know full well that all institutions of man are flawed because we, each of us, are flawed and fallen. But, how do we in good conscience continue to act as if we are not fully (albeit painfully) aware that the 900 pound gorilla standing squarely in the middle of the path leading to the cross (let me be clear I speak of TEC as represented by 815 Second Avenue, New York) has no desire at all to even acknowledge that there is a need for reconciliation, much less to work toward it?

    As I await an official statement from Bishop MacPherson regarding his intentions for our diocese in advance of our diocesan convention, I find myself very much in conflict over an acceptable balance between my genuine belief that the current path being pursued by TEC is contrary to the teaching of Scripture and the historic traditions of not only the Anglican way, but the one, holy and apostolic church universal, and my continued submission to such a church. I find myself less and less able to look at myself in the mirror and say that I, as an Episcopalian but because of my openly defending orthodoxy, am being “faithful” to that which I know that I believe (and that, which until the recent past, my church has believed, publically professed and taught) when at the same time by my presence and through my financial contributions (to the extent that the funds are allowed to reach the national church treasury), I am enabling a church to continue to function that does not adhere to, or universally proclaim, my beliefs; not to mention one that is systematically and aggressively persecuting those within the church that seek to stand up and fight for the historic faith.

    I have always taken comfort in the passage from Joshua that Bishop MacPherson frequently cites, “… but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). That remains my desire and my goal and it is what keeps me going, but absent taking very strong positions that clearly and publically reject the public agenda of TEC that is tantamount to a new and false gospel, and absent our refusing to provide support to that agenda, financial or otherwise, I find myself asking, “Am I really serving the Lord?”.

    May God through his grace grant each of us the wisdom to hear his voice and to know his will, as well as the strength and courage to obey. And, may he grant unto us all, his peace. Forgive my rant.

    Joe <

  2. 2 Tregonsee August 17, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Brad, Joe, and ???,

    It is painful, but also promising, to see those who have stayed for all the best reasons are coming to the realization that there will be no epiphany in TEC. It doesn’t sound as if either of you are quite ready to leave, but since you are there, by all means stay a bit longer. Watch what happens this fall within TEC, outside TEC at the Primates Meeting later this year or early next year, and then finally what happens at the next CG. (The Market Place should be particularly entertaining.) By then, however heavy the heart, you will be able to leave with a clear conscience, and shortly there after, a sense of relief and liberation.

    Treg

  3. 3 B. J. Kennedy August 17, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    As for me, no Communion Partners Plan, or any other inside strategy scheme will work. I will not remain an Episcopalian under any circumstances, unless a dramatic reversal of course takes places at 815. Lambeth couldn’t produce anything of substance, because the Archbishop of Canterbury designed Lambeth in a way to be devoid of substance and resolution (even moral). If I continue to “wait” I will be waiting the rest of my life on the possibility that something of substance may pan out (Anglican Covenant), which could possible mean something to me. Too much time has been spent on dreams that have never become reality. No more! Our own bishop has even said that the Communion Partners plan is not a final solution. Why waste a minute on it, in my opinion.

    My future journey, as a spiritual man, remains unclear, but I am certain of my point of departure, and that is the Episcopal Church. I may end up in a GAFCON safe harbor, or swim the Tiber. That is unclear. All I know is that I will follow the voice of the Lord and I can’t hear it anymore in the Episcopal Church.

  4. 4 Sarah August 18, 2008 at 12:26 am

    RE: ” are coming to the realization that there will be no epiphany in TEC . . . ”

    Why the strange verbal tense in that statement?

    I came to that “realization” years ago, but as I and many others have pointed out countless times, that has nothing to do with God’s will for our lives within TEC.

    I believe that what Brad may have been saying is that he’s called to fight even in hopeless situations — not that he’s slowing “coming to the realization” that TEC won’t change.

  5. 5 Rob Eaton+ August 18, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Brad,
    Over the years, having come to the awareness of the same kind of calling you are sharing here, I have collected a few more biblical images for what the calling looks like.

    A few of them are downright messianic in nature, unless you remember (with relief) that the Messiah job is already taken.

    It is the power, the splendor, the glory, Kingdom authority of That Messiah that will assist you to live into His calling upon your life. “As the scripture says” (I’m quoting +Rowan Williams), “Don’t worry about what to say…….”

    Best bet to make sure that happens, Be filled with the Holy Spirit.

  6. 6 Canon Gregg L. Riley August 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Brad

    Philippians 2:12

    Canon G+

  7. 7 Festivus August 18, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Brad – it’s more than staying in TEC. The Communion has now entered the reception process about homosexuality. Joe asks if there is a place to go? There is – but it’s not in the Communion as presently structured. Sorry – but that’s the ugly truth.

  8. 8 Perpetua August 18, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Brad,
    My reading of this post is quite different from Sarah’s. Sarah seems to thing that you share her belief that the situation n TEC is hopeless. But I see you thinking you could be like Jonah at Ninevah or you could be like the spirit arguing with the Bishop in the Great Divorce. While the situation in the Great Divorce was actually hopeless, Jonah thought the situation at Ninevah was hopeless, but he was wrong. So, although you might “think” it is hopeless, you feel called by God to stay.

  9. 9 Rick Arllen August 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Dare I say Laodicean?

    If one tries to believe in everything, one actually believes in nothing. (I think someone greater than I really said that.)

  10. 10 maxxjazz August 19, 2008 at 8:30 am

    “Jonah had to go to Ninevah. I guess I have to go to Anaheim. But, Lord, why?”

    I know you already gave a longer answer to your own question, but I believe that there is a one-word answer: obedience.

    Obedience that responds to the LORD’s calling for you at this time. Obedience that yields to His specific direction. Obedience that flows from the process of submitting your will to His will.

    Obedience that has kept me within the Episcopal Church when my own reasoning would tell me that the time to leave has long past.

    I don’t understand why I have been called to stay for as long as I have stayed. I don’t see any difference my presence has made. I fear for the spiritual well-being of my children. I am regularly saddened or enraged by what I hear our bishops and priests speak in the name of the LORD. And yet … I have prayed on more than one occasion asking if the time to leave has come, and the answer (so far) has been “not yet”. I must wait for His perfect timing and direction.

    I don’t know how much longer I could stay if I rely on my own strength. With God’s help, however, I will seek to stay for as long as I am called to do so. I pray that you may do the same, to His honor and glory.

    Max

  11. 11 teddy mak August 19, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I know better than to get in a text proofing exchange with the Canon, but Phill 2:12 is not the only passage I would read when confronted with the heretical apostacy that now is the heart of TEC. I remember stuff like “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and the like.

    I am more concerned with the absolute fact that if this Diocese remains under Kate Schori and TEC in ANY WAY WHAT SO EVER we have seen our last conservative bishop. They will walk in and take all those wonderful buildings, trust funds and pensions that seem to be so important. We have now the narrowest window of opportunity to position this diocese firmly with 2/3 of the Anglican Communion and the magnificent saints of the Global South. If we fail, we are finished.

    Forget about fighting them through another GC, Covenant and the like. I am incredulous at the prospect of otherwise reasonable Christians giving Lucy the football one more time.

    Listening to Rowan Williams is akin to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto listening to Heydrich. When they finally caught on and rose up, they were slaughtered, irrespective of the fine talk of them having their own enclave, safe from the nasty Polish. The more I see of the actions of Schori, O’Neill, Bruno and the rest, the more apt the comparison becomes. You cannot possibly trust these people to do the right thing.

    Like Theophile Boudreaux said when offered a sick horse at a bargain price ” I was born at night cher, but not last night.”

  12. 12 Canon Gregg L. Riley August 19, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    teddy

    No Philippians is not the only one I would use either. I was merely offering it to my friend Brad. I agree with your assessment that +Bruce will be the last of his kind in WLA or anywhere else in TEC. Ask yourself, and the diocese needs to ask itself, where do you want to be in 5 years?
    +Bruce will be gone before then, and KJS and company will remain in place.

    Canon G+

  13. 13 revrhino August 20, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Brad, Hang in there buddy! I have come to the conclusion that this will not be resolved in our lifetime but that should not be an excuse for leaving. In fact it is exactly why leaving is not an option. Ten years ago I was rady to bolt because I foresaw exactly where we are right now. Ironically, a priest who I don’t necessarily see eye to eye on the hot-button topics challenged me by saying, “How do you expect to be a part of the solution if you don’t participate.” That resonated with me and I stayed, and then I finally quit running from the call that I received 33 years before and went to seminary and now a priest in my third year of parish ministry. This is going to get fixed through perseverance, one congregation at a time with people like you and I who are willing to stay in the trenches and do our part to grow the kingdom. That’s not a judgment against those who choose to go elsewhere; we all have to be true our principles. But I sense in you, the same thing I have discovered about myself, and that is we stay and fight! Yes, it’s frustrating, and I am a minority in a diocese that is quite left of center but it’s the diocese that I grew up in and have grown to love (as yours is to you) and I am going to continue being a gadfly as long as the Lord wills to use me. I am constantly reminded of Athanasius, who began in the minority against Arius, was exciled several times but continued to argue for the truth, and in the end, God prevailed. And that took a long time. Just because we have more tecnologically advanced communication doesn’t mean that things get fixed rapidly. Think of God! He’s been dealing with our foolishness for eternity, and He hasn’t given up! It took usmost of lifetime to get where we are and it may take as long to get back where we need to be. As one the comments stated above, it’s about obedience, obedience even unto death. The way I figure it, if it was good enough for the Boss, it’s good enough for us! Take a deep breath and keep up the good fight and I hope that we get a chance to meet some day so we can trade war stories. Bless you, Brother!

  14. 14 R. Scott Purdy August 20, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Brad,

    Your queries revolve around discerning a call.

    1. It is clear you have a realistic perspective of the situation.
    2. It is clear you will obey a call.

    So the question is, is this in fact a calling?

    I am most suspect of purported “calls” if they:
    1. Fulfill the desires of the one called; or
    2. Otherwise impart gain or prestige.
    This does none of these – it entails cost.

    While not a fully dispositive response to the question of discernment around this particular call, this one has passed at least an initial test. Your question of “why” may never be answered – then again the answer might become clear in ways you could never anticipate.

    As Brad knows, but other readers may not, I was called to leave TE”c” and plant. I encourage all who have not received a clear call to stay in TE”c” to fulfill a ministry aimed at converting it to Christianity, to depart and join a Christian denomination. Unfortunately, many remain behind – not to fulfill a call, but because of various forms of inertia.

  15. 15 Bry H. August 21, 2008 at 3:50 am

    2 Corinthians 6:14 – one of the most foundational doctrines of the Bible. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers…”
    It is past time to get out of the Episcopal church. You say that you believe the Bible, but where are the actions that go with your words?

  16. 16 R. Scott Purdy August 21, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Bry H.

    Is being a missionary proclaiming the Gospel among pagans, and the lost being “bound together with unbelievers”?

    I think not.

    I believe that is the call Brad is struggling to discern – whether he is called to remaing a missionary to TE”c”.

    I think we are in agreement that TE”c” leadership is largely comprised of pagans, heretics, and the lost. Someone needs to proclaim the Gospel to the flock they were supposed to be shepherding.

  17. 17 aconservativeblogforpeace August 21, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Nobody asked me and I have no dog in this fight as I’m not in or in communion with any of the factions but…

    It hit me when I read the online Episcopal left’s reactions to former bishop John Lipscomb’s conversion to Rome last year.

    It all hangs on whether you believe in an divinely instituted, infallible church, as Rome and the Eastern communions do and the Tractarians did about their church, or in a collection of godly individuals like the Lutherans and other Protestants do.

    The liberals aren’t really raging against the Pope but against a church with set doctrines that doesn’t let them change what they want, and they believe they’re trying to do God’s will as much as you do. The conservatives are appealing to a set of teachings but on whose authority?

    ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ both sides here seem to say.

    Are they?

    Did Articles XIX and XXI give the ending away long before the first Tractarian wrote anything, let alone James Pike, never mind Gene Robinson?

    (The Elizabethan settlement was bound to come crashing down.)

    All the angst right now about gayness is only a symptom as was that about women’s ordination 30 years ago.

    (‘TEC minus the gay thing’ won’t work either.)

    I believe as long as you hold there is a fallible church you’ll keep getting hurt this way no matter which denomination, left or right, you choose.

    Anyway the Episcopalians have chosen their way, liberal Protestantism, and won’t listen to you.

    With that I’ll sit down and shut up.

  18. 18 John Delmore August 21, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Interesting take, ACBFP.

    Both “sides” think they’re right. One thing is sure, though: God will have HIS way. And that may not be the way EITHER “side” wants it.

    In the end, though, I don’t think we’ll be judged for who we loved…but for who we didn’t…

  19. 19 Rob Eaton+ August 22, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Dear aconservativeblogforpeace,

    If I read you right, your premise, as a word to Brad and, really, all who hold a belief that God is speaking to them directly and definitively, is that
    1) the Church is fallible,
    and 2) members of a Church who believe it is infallible get hurt.
    The conclusion you didn’t articulate was,
    3) people who believe the Church is fallible don’t get hurt.

    Is that correct?

  20. 20 Rob Eaton+ August 22, 2008 at 1:29 am

    No, I must have read that wrong…
    You said that “I believe as long as you hold there is a fallible church you’ll keep getting hurt.”

    So you are saying
    1) There are those who believe their Church is infallible,
    2) members of a Church who believe it is fallible will inevitably get hurt, and so
    3) Members of a Church who believe it is INfallible won’t get hurt, or won’t keep ON getting hurt.

  21. 21 Rob Eaton+ August 22, 2008 at 1:33 am

    You know, I don’t think your comment is about whatever you mean by fallibility. I think it is about you getting hurt.

    The Church, fallible or infallible, is made up of human beings. You can count on getting hurt.

    Now that that’s settled as inevitable, you are free to hear from God and to choose to do His Will for you. As Brad implies, THAT’s the hurt that counts.

  22. 22 Bry H. August 22, 2008 at 3:12 am

    R.Scott Purdy You said: “Is being a missionary proclaiming the Gospel among pagans, and the lost being “bound together with unbelievers”? I think not.”

    Christian history is full of heresies, heretics, and heretical groups. Using your logic, would it be wise as a missionary to worship with a group of satanists in an effort to help them see the truth of God? Proclaim the gospel? YES! WORSHIP WITH THEM — NO WAY!

  23. 23 R. Scott Purdy August 22, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Bry H.

    I don’t understand your question. How could one possibly worship with people who are worshipping a foreign “god”? I think you are arguing against your own straw man.

  24. 24 Bry H. August 22, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    R. Scott Purdy:

    Exactly! If you are Christian,surely you would not worship at a foreign altar. Who are you serving by worshiping in an apostate church–have you considered that the god they worship is not God Almighty?

    “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” Luke 11:23 With Jesus there is no neutral ground. That is the whole point. What remains in the Episcopal church is darkness.

    Let the salt bite and the light shine into the darkness. Ask God to open you eyes and bring you into the truth of where you are sitting.

  25. 25 The young fogey August 26, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    One answer to Rob Eaton then I’ll sit down and shut up again. There is being hurt by church people, who after all are sinners and fallible just like everybody else, and then there’s the angst suffered by people like Brad Drell from trying to stand on the ever-shifting ground of a fallible church. Not the same things at all, or a paradox of Catholic orthodoxy is that the infallible church is greater than the sum of the sinful, hurtful people in it.


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