We still do not know what the fallout numbers will reveal when COVID is officially declared over, and who will return to their parishes once Zoom is no longer the weekly parish attendance means test for ASA. Recently, the Presiding Bishop allocated up to $40,000 in pandemic relief for each diocese that requested it — no formal application necessary, no strings attached. The emergency relief totaled more than $4 million if all 109 dioceses and mission areas requested the money. This is not a good sign. Throwing good money after bad comes to mind. It is also a short-term fix. Money will not save TEC. It needs people which are in short supply.
TEC is losing more than it is winning. The recent loss of the Diocese of Ft Worth to Bishop Ryan Reed and his Episcopalians was a wrenching experience for the handful of remaining parishes, but a super ego loss for PB Michael Curry and central casting who believed the courts would see in their favor. They didn’t. This was a $100 million dollar kick in the cassock to TEC that they will not soon forget. TEC has fought relentlessly in state courts for over a decade to win properties back, spending millions of dollars in legal fees in order to get their way. The Diocese of South Carolina is the last remaining legal hold out. TEC has steadfastly refused to cut deals to stop the litigation except in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In property disputes, TECs true face was revealed when former PB Jefferts Schori said she would sooner sell parishes they won in court battles to saloons rather than fellow Anglicans. Even selling them to Muslims takes precedence over an Anglican congregation. That pretty well says it all.
Michael Curry’s much ballyhooed “beloved community” came apart when fleeing Episcopalians in Ft Worth stripped their churches right down to the bare walls including the pews and pipe organ, revealing a contempt for their fellow Episcopalians unmatched by any other denomination. The rout was ugly, undignified, unchristian, vicious and nasty, mocking Curry’s “beloved community” talk, revealing that all his “love” talk was just that…talk.
Curry believes the church suffers from systemic racism. Nonsense. With less than two percent black in TEC, most churches have never seen a person of color come through their red doors. The most public racist was John Shelby Spong, former Bishop of Newark who referred to African Christianity as “a very superstitious kind of Christianity” just before the 1998 Lambeth. He was made to apologize for his remark by then PB Frank Griswold.
I don’t know of a single priest who has been outed or ousted from his parish accused of racism. People of color are pouring into America looking for work opportunities. They don’t see America as racist. America itself voted for a black president not once, but twice. There are individual acts of racism, but it is not a systemic problem. Members of the Presiding Bishop’s staff have curated lists of resources for racial justice and reconciliation, but no can identify who exactly are the racists in TEC!
Curry’s understanding and agenda of the Jesus Movement is really about racism and its attendant “sin” — White Privilege. Racism lies at the heart of his call to evangelize and he has a built-in audience of 98 percent whites in The Episcopal Church. With less than 600,000 whites, he can rail at them and charge them with white privilege, hoping that, loaded down with guilt, they will atone with large gifts for their hidden racism. One bishop, Dan Martins of Springfield said of a meeting of the HOB that it felt like one “anti-racism training” center, which translates into “white privilege” guilt.
Taking the matter further, Black evangelicals in the US do not accept homosexuality and they say to people like Curry, “Don’t confuse your sin with my skin”. This apparently is lost on the Presiding Bishop.
Curry’s understanding of the gospel is at best semi-Pelagian. He will not state with clarity that Christ died for our sins, that Christ’s substitutionary death is necessary for salvation. This is what he thinks; “One of the things that I’m aware of is that we hear the word evangelism and think automatically about someone telling somebody something so that they’ll change. But the truth is that evangelism is as much listening as it is sharing. It involves two people actually sharing their lives with each other. They share their stories and a new story gets written.” No that is wrong; two men (homosexual or heterosexual) sharing their sex lives over coffee is hardly the gospel. Evangelism is sharing the Good News about Jesus that results in repentance, conversion, and discipleship. Curry’s understanding of the gospel falls short of the Biblical story.
TEC has taken the low road on this issue. The Episcopal Church recognizes an individual’s right to make an informed decision about abortion. The Church is a pro-choice denomination and belongs to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. TEC and Curry believe that women have the right to an abortion even though the taking of life has clear scriptural prohibitions on the ‘right to life.’
Whatever one’s views on the ordination of women, one thing is clear; women priests and women bishops in TEC have not made churches grow or thrive. Revisionist women bishops have simply replaced male revisionist bishops with no substantial change in theology. For TEC, it was an issue of “justice” not “sound teaching.”
Justice has become the woke word of leftist bishops. Justice for homosexuals, blacks, the poor (though TEC can hardly claim to know much of that as TEC is basically a white wealthy denomination) but you can officially rail against it, in the name of justice. Particularly prominent in the rhetoric of left-of-center political movements and organizations, social justice is the lodestar of modern progressive politics and politicians, not including TEC’s bishops, led by Michael Curry. While TEC’s bishops are mostly Democrats, its wealthy laity veer more to the right.
Nothing has undone TEC more than the issue of homosexuality. From Gene Robinson’s consecration going forward, it has been a lose-lose proposition for TEC. It resulted in the formation of the ACNA and globally, GAFCON. It has ruptured the entire Anglican communion, pushing the body of 80 million Anglicans to the brink of schism.
The push for full inclusion led to the passage of Resolution B012 and homosexual marriage. For their sin TEC lost five bishops, a humiliating slap in the face to Curry and the HOB.
The rise of the LGBTQI+ movement was inevitable once the Pandora’s Box of sexualities opened. Nothing could close it, so transgenderism became inevitable, with several priests attempting to change their given sexuality. TEC absorbed the cream puffs and became the Church of Puffery.
Under the guise of striving to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person, transgendered folk got a powdered foot in the door. In 1976, both the House of Deputies and House of Bishops voted for a fully inclusive Episcopal Church, stating, “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the church.” Canon law includes “gender identity or expression” in its list of persons who are assured full access to the ministry of the church. The law further specifies that administrative forms must include options for both preferred and legal names, and for gender identity and pronoun preference. A number of evangelical African Anglican prelates opined that not even animals behaved like this.
The Episcopal Church supports non-discrimination and has canon laws specifying that everyone has access to the governance of the church and lists “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” as specifically protected from discrimination. In 2018, the church committed to oppose all legislation that restricts public restroom, locker room and shower access for transgender and gender non-conforming people.
The Episcopal Church does, however, discriminate against orthodox Episcopalians to the point that they are no longer welcome in TEC if their views conflict with TEC’s new-found orthodoxy. The most recent example of that discrimination is the resignation of Bishop William Love of Albany, whose biblical stand on marriage was not welcome. Deals were cut to oust him while saving face for TEC and Curry.
The schism in TEC which resulted in the formation of the Anglican Church in North America clarified forever that orthodox Episcopalians were and are no longer welcome. They did not leave The Episcopal Church; The Episcopal Church left them. As a result, revisionists have driven the Church into the ground. TEC is reaping what it has sown. Today it is reaping the whirlwind.
WHY THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IS WRONG ON JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING!
By David W. Virtue, DD
May 17, 2021
It should be apparent by now, even to those suffering from spiritual macular degeneration, that The Episcopal Church is on the wrong side of history and Scripture on most issues. It cozies up to the culture in the hope that in making itself relevant to the times, it will grow and thrive.
Sadly, the evidence is that the reverse is happening, with a Church that is shrinking year over year with decreasing average Sunday attendance, confirmations, young people, membership, marriages, with an uptick in deaths and columbaria. Income is flat, with some dioceses doing marginally better than others.
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