Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Heresy from the Episcopal Church, USA

US Episcopal Church votes to lift ban on consecrating gay bishopsEcumenical News InternationalDaily News Service15 July 2009
By Daniel Burke

Anaheim , California, 15 July (ENI/RNS)–The U.S. Episcopal Church on 14 July overwhelmingly voted to lift a three-year-old moratorium on consecrating gay and lesbian bishops, despite warnings that the ban was necessary to preserve unity in the wider Anglican Communion.
A large majority of Episcopal bishops, priests and lay delegates gathered here for the church’s triennial General Convention asserted that “God has called and may call” gays and lesbians in lifelong committed relationships “to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.”
More than 70 percent of lay and clergy delegates in the church’s House of Deputies approved lifting the moratorium on 14 July; the church’s House of Bishops had approved it the day before by a 2-to-1 margin.

While the resolution clears the way for gay and lesbian bishops, it does not mandate that dioceses must consider them, nor does it guarantee that, if elected, they will receive the necessary ratification votes to serve.

“This is a day to rejoice for the Church – no, let me be more specific, this is a day to rejoice in the Episcopal Church, which once again has stood for the full inclusion of all,” openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire wrote on his blog.

Robinson also wrote that bishops who voted to lift the ban “will pay a price for opening their hearts, much as gay and lesbian people in this Church have paid a price for their exclusion. I applaud them for their courage and will stand with them in the consequences of their vote.”
Also late on 14 July, Episcopal bishops debated a resolution that would begin the development of liturgical rites to bless same-sex unions, and enable bishops in states where gay marriage is legal to change marriage rites in the Book of Common Prayer to be gender neutral.

The resolution, if passed by the bishops, would also need the approval of lay and clergy delegates before it could become church law. Robinson’s consecration in 2003 caused a furore in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, which counts the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church as its U.S. branch. Many Anglicans, particularly in the Global South where their numbers are growing rapidly, say homosexuality is sinful and unbiblical.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide, warned in mid-2008 at a meeting of more than 600 bishops from around the world that the communion would be in “grave peril” should the moratorium on gay bishops be lifted.
Addressing the General Convention as it opened last week, Williams said, “Along with many in the communion, I hope and pray that there won’t be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart.”

Since Robinson’s election in 2003, every key intra-Anglican body – from leading archbishops to international councils – has warned the Episcopal Church not to consecrate or elect any more gay bishops.

Already, several archbishops, particularly those in the Global South, have severed ties with the Episcopal Church over its gay-friendly policies. In the U.S., four dioceses opposed to those policies and dozens of parishes have seceded from the denomination and formed the rival Anglican Church in North America.

The Anglican Communion Institute, a think tank, said that “The Episcopal Church is already out of communion with the majority of the world’s Anglicans,” and predicted that more dioceses would leave the church.

Bishop Henry Parsley of Alabama, who voted against lifting the moratorium, said, “I long for us to be an inclusive church, but not a polarised church,” according to Episcopal Life, the denomination’s official news outlet. “We need to be part of the larger Anglican Communion in what we do in this matter.”

Urging fellow delegates to reject the resolution, Zack Brown, a lay youth delegate, said, “Please don’t vote in a way that makes more conservatives feel the way I do now: like I’m the only one left.”

The resolution on gay bishops also encourages Episcopalians to “participate to the fullest extent possible” in the Anglican Communion, and reminds the global church that the Episcopal Church contributed more than US$660 000 – almost one-third of the budget – to funding the communion’s bureaucracy in 2007.

While some Episcopalians argue that their church never enacted an official moratorium on gay bishops, it voted at its last meeting, in 2006, to urge dioceses to “exercise restraint” by not electing bishops “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and willlead to further strains on communion”.

No gay bishops have been elected since that resolution was passed at the urging of the church’s then-newly elected Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, though several dioceses have considered gay and lesbian candidates. Jefferts Schori voted on 13 July to lift the moratorium.
The Rev. Susan Russell, president of the pro-gay Episcopal group Integrity USA, said the resolution “was another step in the Episcopal Church’s `coming out’ process — and it sends a strong `come and see’ message to anyone looking for a faith community where God’s inclusive love is not just proclaimed but practiced.” [855 words]

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While I believe there is a faithful remnant left in the Episcopal Church, this just adds to the list of false doctrines and practices being put into action by the bishops of the church body. While I pray that TEC (The Episcopal Church) may yet repent and turn back to the Truth, the time is drawing nearer (it may already be upon us) that we must declare TEC to be a heretical sect.
Kyrie, eleison!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Podcasts, Theology, and Bears, oh my!

Just downloaded about 2 days worth of podcasts from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. For listening to in my free time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Sword of Flame is No More! Eat Ye of the Tree of Life!

"Hold on a minute", you might find yourself saying. "Isn't that a bit of a heretical statement to make? I mean, didn't God set the angel to guard Eden with a flaming sword forever?" Yes, yes He did. But that doesn't mean we don't have access to the Tree of Life.

41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" - Luke 1: 41-42

Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking on the part that says, "Blessed is the fruit of your womb". Now, that is referring to Jesus. Now, as that is an expression, one shouldn't take it to far, right? Unfortunately (or perhaps not) my mind likes to delve deeper into issues. And here is what it came up with.

Jesus Christ is called "the fruit of thy (Blessed Virgin Mary) womb". Well, He lived a perfect life. Then, He willingly allowed Himself to be offered up on the Cross of the sins of the world. The Cross is also called the Tree.
On the night He was betrayed, Our Lord instituted the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the Eucharist. In this great Mystery, He gives to us His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

When we partake of the Sacred Supper, we consume His Body and Blood (though how this happens is beyond our comprehension). We eat that which was offered up on the Tree, He who is the fruit of the Virgin's womb.

It was by the Cross that Christ won for us eternal life. Eating of the Tree of Life in Eden would have granted Adam and Eve immortality. Do you see the connection? We eat of the New Tree of Life, the New Fruit of Immortality. We are given this by the Savior- we are given this Meal that we might have eternal life. The Most Holy Eucharist is the New Fruit. For in it, we partake of the very One who turned a Tree into the Tree of Life- Jesus Christ!

I admit that I am not likely the first one to have thought of this, but I was so excited to make the connection that I just had to share it!