November 28, 2014

March 31, 2009


Buddhist Bishop-Elect’s Line-by-Line Denial of the Nicene Creed

The Buddhist bishop-elect of the Diocese of Northern Michigan, Kevin G. Thew Forrester (the “G” stands for “Genpo,” the name he took at his Buddhist lay ordination), has been busy issuing statements insisting he is not a Buddhist, despite years of studying and practicing it, despite his receiving of Zen Buddhist lay ordination, despite his taking the name “Genpo,” despite the seminars and retreats he’s conducted, the articles he’s written, his and his former bishop’s declarations that he “walks the path of Zen Buddhism and Christianity together,” and so on.

His denial of being a Buddhist, despite piles of evidence to the contrary, is only half of his new public-relations effort to obtain the necessary consents to his election from the House of Bishops and the diocesan standing committees. The other half is to convince enough voting bishops and committee members - that in addition to not being a Buddhist, he is also in fact a Christian. Neither assertion is very credible.

Up to now we’ve focused mainly on Forrester’s association with and practice of Zen Buddhism, and no reasonable survey of his history, writings or statements can support the conclusion that he is not, in fact, a Zen Buddhist.

But there has been some discussion among Episcopal “progressives” to the effect that, while Forrester may indeed “walk the path of Zen Buddhism,” that fact in and of itself is not reason enough to deny him consent as the next bishop of Northern Michigan. The “reasoning” goes that so long as Forrester is “sufficiently” Christian, that is enough. So now we turn to that question.

Below are the lines of the Nicene Creed, interspersed with various statements from articles and sermons written by, or signed onto by, Kevin Forrester. Our hope is that those readers so inclined might forward this information, along with any of the other article we’ve posted, to their bishop and standing committee members. The link for this article is:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/21466

You can copy it as you would in a word processor and paste it into an email.

You can also use the “Print-friendly” link in the box at the bottom of this article to print it out.

The research for this article was done by several members of the Stand Firm community. Thank you to everyone who contributed.


I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

“One of the amazing insights I have found in the interfaith dialogue is that, no matter what you name that source, from which all life comes—you can name that source God, Abba; you may name that source Yahweh; you may name that source Allah; you may name that source “the great emptiness;” you can name that source many things, but what all the faiths in their wisdom have acknowledged in the interfaith dialogue is that, you and I, we’re not the source.” (Trinity Sunday sermon, May 18, 2008)

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,

“Everyone is the sacred word of God, in whom Christ lives.” (Already One in God, response to Dar es Salaam communiqué, to which KTF is a signatory, The Church in Hiawathaland newsletter, Sept 2007)

“We affirm the sacramental gift of all persons, their Christ-ness…”  (Already One in God, response to Dar es Salaam communiqué, to which KTF is a signatory, The Church in Hiawathaland newsletter, Sept 2007)

“In other words that we might learn to be still and know that we are in the presence of God. We might learn to be still and know that God is present in us and as us.” (Eucharist sermon, April 6, 2008)

begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.  Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven,

“I would ask us to explore that Jesus does not make us one with God.  Jesus reveals, and this is incredible mystery, incredible good news—Jesus reveals to us, and it is why we say that he is the Messiah, he is an anointed one, he reveals to us that we are already at one with God - and why?  Because God is always at one with us.” (Eucharist sermon, April 6, 2008)

“I see now a Jesus who does not raise the bar to salvation, but lowers it so far that it disappears.” (Finding a Place in East and West, The Church in Hiawathaland newsletter, July/August 2004)

and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man;

Presider: The fire of your Spirit kindled a love between Mary and Joseph; a fire that became the roaring flame of eternal compassion – the heart of Jesus.

Assembly: Here was a child, like all your children, woven into life by the Spirit.  (Kindling the Ancient Fire, Sharing Stories of Life-Death-Rebirth, Receiving the Sacred Fruits of Earth, Easter Vigil booklet)

and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;

“Here’s a man in the desert [Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness] talking to His own passions, and He says, ‘You know, I am none of those things.  I will not identify with any of those things.  I am the beloved.  I am the beloved.’  And resurrection begins to happen. “(Easter sermon, March 23, 2008)

and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father;

“So, what does that mean? Well, we heard in the gospel today in Matthew that, for His community, Jesus says that all, what all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. That’s what we heard today, right? All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Well, we could slightly rephrase that and keep it, keep its true meaning, I think, if we would say: Jesus realized that all that He is, He had received from God. Jesus is the one that realized all He is, ‘all I am, I have received from God.’” (Trinity Sunday sermon, May 18, 2008)

and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

“And then Julian [of Norwich] says these words which perhaps are the most important for us when we are afraid and when we are angry: ‘For it was a great marvel constantly shown to the soul’ – her soul in all these revelations, her experiences of God ‘and the soul was contemplated with great diligence this, that our Lord God cannot in his own judgment forgive’ – let me read those words again – that God cannot in his own judgment forgive us because he cannot be angry, because God cannot be angry said Julian. This is the Gospel of John. That would be impossible for we are endlessly united to God in love and it is the most impossible thing which could be that God might be angry, for anger and friendship are opposed. That’s the Gospel of John, I’ve called you friends. (Pentecost 22 sermon, Oct 5, 2008 - download audio in MP3 format here)

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

“The Trinitarian structure of life is this: is that everything that is comes from the source. And you can name the source what you want to name the source. And our response to that is with hearts of gratitude and thanksgiving, to return everything back to that source, and there’s a spirit who enables that return. Everything comes from God. We give it back to God. And the spirit gives us the heart of gratitude. That is the Trinitarian nature of life.” (Trinity Sunday sermon, May 18, 2008)

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

“We are the very enclosure of God.  Why does God care for this vineyard that is you?  Why does God care for the vineyard that is me?  Why does God care for the vineyards of those who are Buddhists or Muslim or Hindu?  Because God dwells in them and they dwell in God even when we don’t know it.” (Pentecost 22 sermon, Oct 5, 2008 - download audio in MP3 format here)

“We seek and serve Christ in all persons because all persons are the living Christ. Each and every human being, as a human being, is knit together in God’s Spirit, and thus an anointed one – Christ.” (Already One in God, response to Dar es Salaam communiqué, to which KTF is a signatory, The Church in Hiawathaland newsletter, Sept 2007)

I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;

“We do harmful and evil things to ourselves and one another, not because we are bad, but because we are blind to the beauty of creation and ourselves.” (Already One in God, response to Dar es Salaam communiqué, to which KTF is a signatory, The Church in Hiawathaland newsletter, Sept 2007)

and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


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159 comments

New Age!!!

[1] Posted by Goughdonna on 3-31-2009 at 10:40 AM · [top]

And there are still people who insist that because he says “I am a Christian” then there is no conflict with his Buddhism. 

Unbelievable.

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

[2] Posted by libraryjim on 3-31-2009 at 10:47 AM · [top]

There is little to nothing that is actually new in the bishop-elect’s theology. They call it New Age to keep the masses from realizing that it is actually Old Hat.

Excellent job of pointing out the flaws in the Rev Thew Forresters syncretistic xtianity.

[3] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 3-31-2009 at 10:59 AM · [top]

Convicted by his own words. Like that bothers TEC - not a bug, a feature.

[4] Posted by Dilbertnomore on 3-31-2009 at 11:05 AM · [top]

How can we expect one to comprehend the Holy Trinity whose heart overflows with such ungodly duplicity?

Lord, have mercy on Your Church!  Send us wise priests, honest bishops, and hearts to know You in truth!

[5] Posted by Robert Easter on 3-31-2009 at 11:19 AM · [top]

It’s gotten near the point that Forrester could deny every aspect of the creed but if he said, “I think recycling is a waste of time”, he would be branded anti Gaia and summarily dismissed as a candidate for TEC Bishop.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-31-2009 at 11:30 AM · [top]

At best, the man is terminally incapable of expressing anything with clarity, such that most of what he has to say about key points is subject to being heard as contradictory to the faith once received, even if his intent was otherwise. Not a good trait for a leader. And I don’t think the best is in fact the case…

[7] Posted by ears2hear on 3-31-2009 at 12:07 PM · [top]

The best case, (in any case) is no case. I don’t think he can successfully pass himself off as a Christian. 

The ‘faith once delivered’ did not come from Buddha.

[8] Posted by doogal123 on 3-31-2009 at 12:32 PM · [top]

This fellow has been out in the sun too long, has hummed “Oommmm” too long, and has watched too many movies featuring kindly Buddhist sages who say things that have been obvious to human beings forever as if they are new and brilliant thoughts that have been imparted to him alone (from somewhere on high?). The Great Emptiness has spoken. Sad, sad, sad. Gullibility has no limits in the Episcopal Church. Sounds good to them!

[9] Posted by our eyes are upon Thee on 3-31-2009 at 12:35 PM · [top]

He seems so confused in his own thinking, how can he possible be a teacher and guardian of the Faith? He certainly wouldn’t understand what it was that he was supposed to be guarding!
desertpadre

[10] Posted by desertpadre on 3-31-2009 at 12:45 PM · [top]

The best case, (in any case) is no case. I don’t think he can successfully pass himself off as a Christian. 

Semi-disagree.  He has “successfully passed himself off as a Christian” enough to be ordained to the diaconate and priesthood, and to be nominated as a bishop, albeit in an off-track version of Christianity.

[11] Posted by Goughdonna on 3-31-2009 at 12:45 PM · [top]

#10. desertpadre,

He certainly wouldn’t understand what it was that he was supposed to be guarding!

I think you have an outstanding point here padre. Would you be willing to take him out in the desert with you and straighten him out? Doesn’t he sound like a good candidate to sell all that he has and buy the pearl of great price? As I prepare the Homily for Palm Sunday I am struck how well the Epistle lesson lines up with the OT lesson from Isaiah. “To me(Jesus) every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear [that Jesus Christ is Lord]. And that is simply it, isn’t it? Until next time Lord willing,

[12] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-31-2009 at 01:21 PM · [top]

Yuck! Reading that made me feel nasty.  That is the most befuddling pile of bull pucky (that which came from KTF) as to amaze me.  Sounds like someone who has smoked a little too much of something or has dropped a little something and started stringing together incoherent thoughts.

My first thought is that to remain even a priest he needs to go completly back through an education cycle of university/seminary.  On second thought, he needs serious counseling if he is even to remain in an orthdox branch of Christianity as a lay person.

[13] Posted by BillB on 3-31-2009 at 01:25 PM · [top]

If he doesn’t make Bishop, he might make a fine Dean of the EDS some day.

[14] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-31-2009 at 01:42 PM · [top]

Sadly, he will be elected as the next TEC Diocese of Northern Michigan by the consent of his election from the House of Bishops and the diocesan standing committees. This process is just semantics, the real question does Kevin G. Thew Forrester have a relationship with Jesus Christ as his only Saviour? It’s not a relationship with just “God”. Since all religions attempt to establish some sort of a transecendental relationship with a “Higher Power” but it’s only through Christ Jesus, John 14:6 where any individual can come to God and to know the power of his resurrection. This is affirmed through the Christian Church and exhorted by the Nicene and Apostalic Creeds. This is an another example of how far TEC has moved from the Christian Faith.

[15] Posted by gatorrok on 3-31-2009 at 02:05 PM · [top]

Is anyone keeping a running tally of consents and non-consents.  I think that the deadline for having 56 ordinaries and 56 standing committees assent is mid-June.  I am glad for those bishops who have voted against ratifying the election - but has anyone affirmed it?

[16] Posted by AnglicanXn on 3-31-2009 at 02:09 PM · [top]

While these quotes are all suggestive, the only article of the Creed he explicitly contradicts is the Virgin Birth. Everything else is wide open to interpretation.

In general, I would say the quotes paint a picture of theological minimalism or reductionism, but such tendencies are inherent in all modernism - and, dare I say, protestantism. I don’t think Forrester’s reductionism is even pushing the envelope.

I still think the best reason to oppose him is the Bolshevik process by which he was “elected.” If he is allowed to get away with this, the groundwork will have been laid to sweep away the last vestiges of TEC’s constitutional, democratic polity.

[17] Posted by Roland on 3-31-2009 at 02:33 PM · [top]

The thing that has struck me ever since the matter of the Buddhist Bishop-elect became news is that the blame (if I may use that word) for where he is does not ultimately lie with him.  The ultimate responsibility for a Buddhist Bishop-elect and a Muslim Episcopal priest (and countless other permutations of syncretism and unbelief among clergy that simply haven’t come to light) belongs to an Episcopal Church where probably NO ONE along the path of their journies ever said to them, “This is wrong.  Here are the claims of authentic Christianity, and you can’t reconcile them with Buddhism or Islam.”  In fact, Kevin Thew Forrester’s late Bishop even commended him publicly for walking the path of Zen Buddhism and Christianity together.

The most tragic dimension is that Kevin Thew Forrester and Ann Holmes Redding learned Buddhism and Islam from people who were true believers and enthusiastic practioners of those religions, while they learned a deconstructed, demythologized, desupernaturalized version of Christianity from teachers who had long since surrendered their belief in authentic Christianity (if indeed they ever believed it) in the face of challenges from Christianity’s “cultured despisers” (to use Schleiermacher’s term).  (The lesson here is that liberal Christianity is no match for the challenge of other religions.)

So, presented with an eviscerated version of Christianity on the one hand, and a sincere expression of Buddhism and Islam on the other hand—in the midst of a pluralistically, multiculturally-oriented church where merely being a “spiritual person” is enough to become a priest, and you have what we are seeing in Kevin Thew Forrester and Ann Holmes Redding.

But the ultimate responsibility for these two examples (and, to repeat myself, countless others like them that aren’t in the spotlight) lies with the parishes that raised them up, the clergy who mentored them, the discernment process that sent them toward ordination, the seminaries that trained them, and the Bishops who ordained them.  You cannot raise up true leaders in a faith that you yourselves do not possess.  And that is the real tragedy of this whole affair.

Robert S. Munday+

[18] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 3-31-2009 at 02:41 PM · [top]

Hi Roland,

Not quite. His Trinitarian formula [“The Source, Us, and the Spirit who helps us give back to the source”] does not even meet the bar of basic theism much less Nicene Christianity. From his sermons and writings it is clear that there is a panentheistic blurring of the God-Humanity distinction that the Creeds of Christendom, especially those that deal with the Trinity and the dual natures of Christ, are very careful to preserve.

[19] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-31-2009 at 02:44 PM · [top]

May I ask why this news about him only comes out at the point of election to the episcopate? 
This does not seem to be a secret revealed, so why has this not come forth from Northern Michigan long ago?

[20] Posted by BravoZulu on 3-31-2009 at 02:55 PM · [top]

Thank you, Robert Munday.  The problem is indeed systemic.  I suspect that the system itself contributes to the pathology.  For example, how many leaders look to the Episcopal News Service as their only source of information?  How many bishops have been restrained from speaking out by the rules of conduct within the House of Bishop?  How many people (discernment committees, seminary faculties, bishops, clergy search committees)actually examine the beliefs and the spiritual disciplines of their incoming priests?

[21] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 3-31-2009 at 03:08 PM · [top]

TangoBravo, the diocese is small and geographically remote.  Persons who have listened to the sermons of some of the other clergy in the diocese report that their theology is comparable.  His former bishop approved of his theology.

[22] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 3-31-2009 at 03:13 PM · [top]

I have heard of stretching things to a point, but this is absurd.  The so-called line by line denials of the Nicene Creed are far from that.  If anything, they add more support for them.  Some have no connection to the particular part of the creed at all.  Some folks really do need a life. 

Jesus told us not to judge, lest we be judged in the manner that we judge.  I have not and do not plan to pass judgement on the faith of any on this list.  It continues to baffle me why so many feel it their prerogative to judge in the way that this represents.  But having been there before, I am not surprised. 

God has given each of us a brain with the expectation of us using it.  That means that we utilize a variety of resources to strengthen our faith.  Based on this “illucidation” , Julian of Norwich is made to look like a heretic, somethiing I suspect many among all Christian denominations might find a source of irritation.

Bruce Garner
Atlanta

[23] Posted by Bruce Garner on 3-31-2009 at 03:35 PM · [top]

Bruce,

Riddle me this, what good comes from a buddhist becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church, I would love to hear you defend this fact. Also that is taking inclusivity too far.

[24] Posted by johnnyreb on 3-31-2009 at 03:44 PM · [top]

Hi Bruce!  Long time no hear, hope you are well.  Had a chance to spend some time in Hot-Lanta with my Sister and my son a few weeks back, that new aquarium is AMAZING! 

Just for my own edification, are you suggesting that what a minister says publicly, in sermons, teachings, or in his own writing, should not be used to determine what the essential elements of his own beliefs are?  And that those elements should not be considered when elevation to the position of Bishop is upon us?

I’m just curious.  If yes, what parameters should the search committees and concurring dioceses use to determine fitness for the position?

KTF!...mrb

[25] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 3-31-2009 at 03:45 PM · [top]

Thank you very much, Dean Munday, for #18, a Profound Truth.  The last paragraph describes concisely the process by which orthodoxy rotted away, enabling the ultra-left highjacking of TEO.

[26] Posted by Long Gone Anglo Catholic on 3-31-2009 at 03:51 PM · [top]

The Bishop of Albany announced publicly that he voted “No.”

[27] Posted by Woodie on 3-31-2009 at 03:59 PM · [top]

Ah, Atlanta. That bastion of orthodoxy. That city of expert theologians. The folks who run this website would do well to learn from them.

I actually disagree that the folks who run this site are judging KTF. It’s more like they are prosecutors, whose responsibility it is to set the evidence before earthly judges, the bishops and standing committees who are canonically charged with the weighty responsibility of deciding whether this man should be ordained and consecrated as a bishop.

The VGR fiasco shows with clarity that diocesan election results should not be rubber-stamped.

Three bishops do not ordain and consecrate another bishop. Whatever they do in that service is the church’s affirmation, based on careful discernment, that God has already ordained and consecrated the ordinand.

I personally think that there is enough evidence to suggest that he be formally examined by a committee of expert theologians.

[28] Posted by Ralph on 3-31-2009 at 04:03 PM · [top]

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
NKJV 2 Tim 3: 1-7

[29] Posted by Anam Cara on 3-31-2009 at 04:22 PM · [top]

Robert S. Munday+,
It is abundantly clear that you speak out of love for others, and I couldn’t agree more with your observations.  I look forward to my seminary education at an institution which will train and educate its students biblically and in orthodoxy.

[30] Posted by AnglicanTeen on 3-31-2009 at 04:24 PM · [top]

“One of the amazing insights I have found in the interfaith dialogue is that, no matter what you name that source, from which all life comes—you can name that source God, Abba; you may name that source Yahweh; you may name that source Allah; you may name that source “the great emptiness;” you can name that source many things, but what all the faiths in their wisdom have acknowledged in the interfaith dialogue is that, you and I, we’re not the source.”

Well, ISTM that his path has taken him to a place outside of Christianity.  If I’m incorrect, then I would respectfully suggest that a Christian witness shouldn’t be so hard to discern in the words of a priest.

In Christianity, we were authorized by God to name some of the creatures of God, such as animals, not manifestations of some eternal, deific “source.”  The Lord named us, not we Him. His name is holy. 

When we reconfigure the naming of God to something of human origin, we simply reject the revelation (e.g., we wrote the Bible, so why not?) 

How can the thing we name be the God of Christianity?

I agree with [19], and would add that each time I have read the above words, they communicate to me idolatry.  This is the worship of created things, or at least the product of created things: a spiritual theory.  The source, like a golden calf, is a creation of man – and these words point us to the “source.”  The name of the calf is the Source.

: - |

[31] Posted by tired on 3-31-2009 at 04:36 PM · [top]

I was asked “what good comes from a Buddhist becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?”  That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.  The good that I see coming from anyone who sees the world with a broad lens is that we all benefit.  We get nudged out of our comfort zones about all sorts of things.  We are not always able to maintain stereotypical thoughts and ideas about those who might be different from us. 

That’s a difficult concept for most of us, myself included.  I grew up in the segregated south where African Americans were viewed as less than equal to whites (actually less than human in many eyes).  It wasn’t until I actually truly got to know some folks of color that I realized what a complete jackass I had been.  The same principle applies to how we engage with anyone who is different from most of us.

Almost a year ago, my cousin, who was raised as a devout Jew, died.  Over the last few years he had become involved with a Buddhist community and their forms of prayer and meditation.  He was one of the most spiritual people I have ever known.  His faith and trust were in God.  I would match his faith against anyone on this or any other list.  I was privileged to commit his ashes to a river in Montana and I knew he was at peace and he was with God.

So what good can come?  Go look in a mirror.  If all you ever knew or encountered looked, acted, thought and felt like you, what would your life be like.  What would your life be missing?

This past Sunday’s Gospel included the passage from John where Jesus speaks of drawing ALL to himself when he is lifted up on the cross.  He did say how or through whom, He just said ALL.  There is a message and lesson for us all in that: God acts in ways we can never fathom and we are not in a position to evaluate them…at least in this life.

Bruce Garner
Atlanta

[32] Posted by Bruce Garner on 3-31-2009 at 04:42 PM · [top]

#18. ToAllTheWorld,
Outstanding analysis and diagnosis. Unfortunately, there is an even worse scenario then since you are basically saying that KTF is really a symptom of a larger problem. If the failure is systemic, then is there even a prescription for TEC? Since you are an administrator at Nashota House and evaluated by the same accrediting body as EDS, it must seem frustrating to you that they can be accredited by the same body that accredits you. Obviously the evaluation metrics don’t reveal the real problems. What then guards the orthodoxy of the professors when the Bishops of TEC itself are in large part, no longer orthodox? In an unrelated note, I’m sorry I never visited your place since I lived nearby in the Eagle WI. area and taught at U.Wisc. Whitewater.

[33] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-31-2009 at 04:52 PM · [top]

With all due respect to your brother-in-law, he was not trying to be a Bishop in the Episcopal Church which is supposed to be a Christian denomimation and its theology is expressed in the creeds. Another woman here suggested that her deceased father who was an Episcopal minister was very interested in Buddhsim. Kevin TF is neither of those people and would have oversight over the entire church. From what I read by and about Forrester he is a kind and thoughtful man. Bishops are under vows as are parish clergypeople. If he wants to be a Unitarian, that’s fine, but he should not try to be that and an Epicopal Bishop with Buddhist leanings at the same time if he takes vows regarding he cannot in all good conscience accept and agree with, IMO.

[34] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 3-31-2009 at 05:10 PM · [top]

Whoops; Meant your cousin.

[35] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 3-31-2009 at 05:12 PM · [top]

#32.Bruce Garner,

The good that I see coming from anyone who sees the world with a broad lens is that we all benefit.

Just how broad a lens would you accept for a Bishop in TEC? For example, how about an atheist Bishop? If Thew Forrester can be a Bishop why couldn’t someone like Ann Holmes Redding remain a priest in TEC?

[36] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-31-2009 at 05:13 PM · [top]

Good point. At what point do people say “enough is enough”??! As long as they are “spiritual” think Jesus was a groovy guy and are panentheistic, and would like to be an Episcopal minister or any other type of Christian minister, why o, why can’t be just ordain them??!! Note sarcasm. ;^)

[37] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 3-31-2009 at 05:25 PM · [top]

“Good point. At what point do people say “enough is enough”??! As long as they are “spiritual” think Jesus was a groovy guy and are panentheistic, and would like to be an Episcopal minister or any other type of Christian minister, why o, why can’t be just ordain them??!! Note sarcasm. ;^) “

It is comments of this sort that make it so difficult to engage in any meaningful discussion on this list. 

Bruce

[38] Posted by Bruce Garner on 3-31-2009 at 05:32 PM · [top]

[32] Bruce Garner

We get nudged out of our comfort zones about all sorts of things.  We are not always able to maintain stereotypical thoughts and ideas about those who might be different from us.

The unstated assumption being that any objections I might raise to a homosexual bishop or a buddhist bishop are not the result of consistently principles consistently applied, but are rather the result of misunderstanding and narrowness of vision.  In other words, I would never make those objections except that there was something wrong with me that needs to be fixed.  Mr Garner, your faith in your own enlightenment is touching, but perhaps you could establish it with something besides your own ipse dixit. 

carl

[39] Posted by carl on 3-31-2009 at 05:36 PM · [top]

#38, it’s not at all hard to engage in dialog on this forum. Just state what you think clearly and honestly, be patient, be straightforward and be prepared to defend any perceived faulty thinking.

Given the people who have been consecrated bishop in my lifetime, it is a legitimate question to ask what criteria should be used. It is all the more pertinent since the difficulties Bishop Lawrence had.

So, in your opinion, should the Rev Thew Forrester be confirmed in his election? If so, why? And if not, why not?

[40] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 3-31-2009 at 05:40 PM · [top]

subscribe

[41] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 3-31-2009 at 05:41 PM · [top]

Bruce-

I am sarcastic, but it’s a legitimate question. At what point is someone’s doctrine just not acceptable for them to ordained to the priesthood? What SHOULD the standards be?

And if you want to completely avoid any sarcasm by any poster, it’s probably best not to come on this site. ;^)

[42] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 3-31-2009 at 05:50 PM · [top]

Jesus reveals, and this is incredible mystery, incredible good news—Jesus reveals to us, and it is why we say that he is the Messiah, he is an anointed one, he reveals to us that we are already at one with God - and why? Because God is always at one with us.” 

Here and I’d thought we’d dealt with Gnosticism as a heresy years ago…  This sort of Gnostic/Buddhist/Christian mish-mosh reminds me of Marcionism, except that Marcion at least acknowledged, or perhaps recognized, what he was doing.

I fear that this man really does believe that there are no contradictions between Christian faith and the teachings of the Gautama Buddha… implying that he doesn’t truly understand either.

There’s a vast difference between looking for what’s useful in certain Eastern prayer <u>techniques</i>, as Thomas Merton did regarding contemplative prayer, and in believing that the techniques therefore have the same ultimate goal.  I can use the same wrench to fix my leaky faucet or my bicycle, but the fact that the wrench fits both doesn’t mean that the faucet isa bicycle.

Since he apparently doesn’t understand that, then to make this man a bishop of the Church is, at best, a travesty.

[43] Posted by Cónego on 3-31-2009 at 05:54 PM · [top]

Oops.  Only the word “techniques” was supposed to be underlined.  somehow my “end underline” sign didn’t make it…

[44] Posted by Cónego on 3-31-2009 at 05:56 PM · [top]

subscribe

[45] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 3-31-2009 at 05:58 PM · [top]

Speaking of Ann Holmes Redding The Seattle Times has reported that she has lost her collar for a year.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003776947_redding06m.html.

[46] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-31-2009 at 06:03 PM · [top]

I have a question. What is it with people who put “subcribe” as their post and nothing else? Are they indicating they are supporting the site, or what? Sorry if this is a foolish question, but I keep seeing “subscribe” and have no idea what it means.

Thanks

[47] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 3-31-2009 at 06:05 PM · [top]

For her part, Redding said she didn’t feel a need to reconcile all the differences between the two faiths but felt that at the most basic level, they are compatible. She believes she has not violated any of her baptismal or ordination vows. And “since entering Islam,” she said, “I have been, by my own estimation, a better teacher, a better preacher and a better Christian.

This was done by Bishop Wolfe, However,

Redding’s bishop in Seattle, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner of the Diocese of Olympia, who accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, said Wolf’s decision is a good compromise.

[48] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-31-2009 at 06:12 PM · [top]

Roland, even if it were true that:

While these quotes are all suggestive, the only article of the Creed he explicitly contradicts is the Virgin Birth. Everything else is wide open to interpretation.

Then with that denial KTF, in one fell swoop, denies the eternal existence as the second Person of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus.  His altered litany (alone sufficient reason to deny consent and even to serve him with a presentment) makes Jesus the child of Joseph and Mary by sexual intercourse and so inheriting the sin nature of Adam like all of us.

Devastating.
Then we would have had no sinless, perfect and sufficient sacrifice offered for our sins (of which sin KTF denies the exixtence also) and we are all bound justly for an eternal hell banished from God.

Then Jesus is a liar for all He said about Himself for which the crowds deserted Him and the Pharisees had Him crucified and for which the apostles and all the other martyrs died in faith.  Devastating.

Then Christianity is the biggest fraud that has ever been perpetrated upon the human race and blasphemy against god, if there is one, and we are complicit in that fraud.  Devastating.  Damnable.

Then Mary was a liar when she cooked up that story about the angel and all to convince Joseph not to have her stoned, much less marry her.  Joseph was a liar for carrying the lie further to say that an angel told him in a dream to go ahead with the marriage.  Sordid.

Sorry, Roland.  The selection process was a sham and a farce, but if you try to use it as the only real and substantive objection to KTF’s consecration, then you have no choice but to implicitly or explicitly accept and assert the logical consequences above.  Do you really want to stand on them?
—————————————————————
Bruce Garner, you can finally just grow up and get off the color-gender-same-sex-attraction hobby horse that you ride in rocking back and forth on with nearly every comment you make here, no matter what the issue.

God has given each of us a brain with the expectation of us using it.

Great advice!  Now take it yourself and see that it only takes half a God-given brain to discern that KTF has gutted anything uniquely Christian and salvific from his “Christianity”, reducing it to niceness and self-affirmation worthy of Stuart Smalley.  How I do wish that KTF’s apologists and advocates would have their lobotomies reversed!

PS Yes, Bruce I am angry!  ANGRY!!!!!!  To read this blasphemy and denial of all for which Jesus the Son of God, the Son of Man, the eternal and divine second Person of the Trinity shed his human blood after utterly humbling Himself to become a man yet with divinity cloaked in flesh, the more I think about it, the more angry I become.  I plan to praise Jesus with a grateful heart for all eternity for all He was and is and always will be and for what He did for me that only He could do, and it riles me to see it thrown in the mire and trampled underfoot.

[49] Posted by Milton on 3-31-2009 at 06:15 PM · [top]

BG, several of us are vying for the coveted title of Meanest Commenter Ever on the Internet. We love it when the site hosts come around and send us warnings, edit our comments, or delete them altogether. That means, as “Nasty, Brutish & Short” has pointed out elsewhere, that we are very close. We’re always pushing the envelope. I’m very proud that my use of the English word, “b*ll*cks” once got edited out. I’ve since cleaned up my language.

The kind of debate seen here would never be tolerated on the progressive sites. Nothing here is politically correct.

The devil feeds on our anger. It does not like to be mocked. So, we mock it.

Tell us:
1. Do you really support the ordination and consecration of KTF to the historic episcopate?
2. Should a self-avowed, practicing, and unrepentant sinner be a candidate for Holy Orders?
3. What about an openly homosexual, feminist, pro-abortion activist individual, calling herself a “priest,” and having no academic pedigree, becoming dean of a seminary?
4. Is damnation a possible outcome of unrepentant sin?
5. Where are the 815 leadership, and the “progressive” diocesan bishops taking us?

We await hearing solid theological answers from Almighty Atlanta.

[50] Posted by Ralph on 3-31-2009 at 06:21 PM · [top]

Bruce, you are getting responses that are hard to address because that which you posted was absurd.

Trotting out the tired old white patriarchal arguments in this setting is a non sequitor. We are talking about a bishop’s theology, not gay marriage.

Posted from my BBerry.

[51] Posted by Paul B on 3-31-2009 at 06:34 PM · [top]

Bruce,

I’m with Paul B - you get what you give, and when you give nonsense, don’t be surprised if you don’t know how to respond to what you get.

Yes, Jesus called ALL to Himself when he lifted up his cross, but He didn’t mean that ALL were to keep on doing what they had been doing and believing what they had been believing. Remember what He was lifting up: HIS CROSS, BRUCE. Jesus died on that cross to save men from the death of sin. Could a Swell Guy have saved you from death in sin? No - only the true Savior can do that. Jesus didn’t call all to him in the hope that they would continue believing in emptiness; He called all to Him in order that they might believe in Him and be saved.

That you could come on here and insist that Jesus died on the cross so that Buddhists could go on continuing to deny his divinity is… what’s the word I’m looking for? Ah yes: IDIOTIC.

And you’re on the Executive Council of TEC, are you not?

Good grief.

[52] Posted by Greg Griffith on 3-31-2009 at 06:53 PM · [top]

RE: “It is comments of this sort that make it so difficult to engage in any meaningful discussion on this list.”

Well, no—it’s comments like this one that make it so difficult to engage in any meaningful discussion between revisionists and traditionalists: “I was asked “what good comes from a Buddhist becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.”

You really can’t have meaningful discussions—other than inter-faith dialogue—with people who don’t share the same gospel or foundational worldviews.  And that’s why the “meaningful discussion” almost never happens between the two mutually opposing groups.

Just for kicks:

I was asked “what good comes from an [atheist] becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

I was asked “what good comes from an [Incan priest] becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

I was asked “what good comes from a [druid] becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

I was asked “what good comes from a [polytheist] becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

I was asked “what good comes from a [Hindu] becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

I was asked “what good comes from a [Kluxer] becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

Oh wait . . .

Simply.  Incoherent.

And that’s what one can expect.

[53] Posted by Sarah on 3-31-2009 at 07:07 PM · [top]

#43 Cónego’s Thew quote brought something to my attention.

“he (Jesus) is an anointed one”

Isn’t that a open denial of the uniqueness of Christ? Bruce?

[54] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-31-2009 at 07:22 PM · [top]

Bruce:  You said

I was asked “what good comes from a Buddhist becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church?” That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but Forrester IS a white, heterosexual, male who is a U.S. citizen, is he not?  So how is your point relevant?

You get upset that folks here are judging Forrester’s fitness for being a bishop in TEC.  You judge this all the time.  Or might I ask, which of the following purported depositions (or virtual depositions) issued by KJS do you disagree with?  Schofield, Iker, Duncan, Scriven?  That involves judging.  That involves declaring that a certain person is not fit to be a bishop in TEC.

Folks here are asking you what your boundaries are TEC bishops.  I note that you did not adopt the line “oh, well, Forrester is not really a Buddhist at all, he merely uses some Buddhist meditation techniques and his lay ordination into Buddhism wasn’t really what it appeared to be” as have most of Forrester’s defenders.  No, YOU adopted the line that it is GOOD for a BUDDHIST to become a TEC bishop.  You argue that simply having faith in something should be sufficient to be a TEC bishop.  That sounds pretty much Unitarian to me.  Then when you are legitimately challenged to explain yourself, you get upset.

What I observe from you Bruce is that you very much DO have standards by which you believe TEC bishops ought to be judged (and I would suggest that your support of KJS’s purported depositions prove that), but that holding to a non-Christian belief system is NOT one of those things that you think is disqualifying.  And I think THAT explains why TEC is currently in the midst of such turmoil.

[55] Posted by jamesw on 3-31-2009 at 07:29 PM · [top]

Bruce,
Unless your cousin gave up on the Buddha and his own blood-line, and turned by grace through faith unto the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world as his only hope and salvation, he is not with God now.


No one who denies the Scripture merits consideration for any office in the Church, much less a bishopric.

While the Judge Not warning (with its given consequence of equal measure/standard applied to one’s self) has application in many circumstances, one must not teach one part of Scripture so that it becomes repugnant to another.

Remember the Good Samaritan?  What if he had not judged his neighbor to be in need?

Remember the penitent malefactor on the cross?  He is in paradise,  even though he did not hesitate to tell his partner in death that he deserved the punishment received.  (And I hasten to add, admitted of his own guilt).

Remember the Bereans?  Did they not test things against Scripture before accepting them into their worship?

As for the ‘same question can be asked’ line of yours:

The questions raised here about the candidate are of theology, not of colour, sex, or means of sexual gratification. 

I’ll admit that the same question could be raised about any Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, or Pagan candidate, but this candidate, KTF is a self-proclaimed Buddhist, and it is about him that we are asking the questions.

[56] Posted by Bo on 3-31-2009 at 07:41 PM · [top]

I’d be very interested in hearing what Bruce Garner thinks about Bishop Howe throwing his hat in the ring for the Executive Committee.

[57] Posted by AndrewA on 3-31-2009 at 07:42 PM · [top]

jamesw,

Bruce’s point, such as it is, is that being a Buddhist should no more disqualify one from becoming a bishop than being a woman, or black/brown/yellow, or being gay, should disqualify one from being a bishop.

The problem here - which, I have to say again, utterly astounds me that Bruce seems incapable of comprehending - is that one can be a woman, or black/brown/yellow, or homosexual… and still be a Christian. The same is not true of a Buddhist. One cannot be a Buddhist and also be a Christian. And, you know, call us intolerant and uninclusive, but we have this thing about our bishops in this Christian church BEING CHRISTIANS.

This is beyond parody, by the way. It is, rather, BEYOND SANITY, that here we have a self-declared Buddhist not only a priest in the Episcopal Church… not only a candidate for bishop in the Episcopal Church… not only the winner of an election for bishop in the Episcopal Church (if you call a one-candidate slate an election)... no, it’s even worse than that: You have a member of the church’s own Executive Council saying that being a Buddhist bishop-elect in a purportedly Christian church is no different than being a black bishop-elect in a purportedly Christian church.

IN. SANITY.

[58] Posted by Greg Griffith on 3-31-2009 at 07:46 PM · [top]

Bruce, if you have a hard time understanding us, perhaps you can call up Bishop Ted Gulick and ask him why he thinks that Mr. Forrester should not be a bishop in TEC, or maybe ask Bishop Wolfe what she has against Muslim priests.  Maybe they can explain it in terms you can understand. 

BTW, as for the “judge not”, Bruce clearly wants to say that the Bible verses in question means that we should never, ever say anything negative about someone’s theology, leadership qualities, actions as a leader in the church.  Therefore, I presume that a review of Bruce’s public and private statements, comments and blog posts would find not a single bad word being said about Bishop Duncan, Bishop Iker, etc.

[59] Posted by AndrewA on 3-31-2009 at 07:53 PM · [top]

As an aside, I wonder if Bruce is aware of the fact that the recent Kennedy Canon passed by the Executive Committee of Stand Firm has placed Bruce’s property in trust for Stand Firm.

[60] Posted by AndrewA on 3-31-2009 at 07:59 PM · [top]

That could be posed about anyone who isn’t white or male or heterosexual or a US citizen.

Well, in that case, lets go with someone that isn’t white and isn’t a US citizen.  My vote is for Akinola.  Presumably you have nothing negative to say about Akinola and would be thrilled to have him a bishop in your church, perhaps even as your primate.

[61] Posted by AndrewA on 3-31-2009 at 08:09 PM · [top]

Hey Folks,
My posts on #46 and #48 were from 2007 so please forgive my putting these up. I looked b/c I believe her deadline was yesterday.
What a maroon!

[62] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-31-2009 at 08:15 PM · [top]

Bruce,
  Have read all the comments by you…against you…etc. One comment…. I am the way and the Truth and the Life. NO ONE comes to the Father but by Me. As Sarah might say… Game…Set…Match.  God Bless

[63] Posted by Gordy on 3-31-2009 at 08:16 PM · [top]

Sorry…. meant to say Sarah the meanest, rottenest, heartless blogger in all the universe… :o)

[64] Posted by Gordy on 3-31-2009 at 08:20 PM · [top]

You have a member of the church’s own Executive Council saying that being a Buddhist bishop-elect in a purportedly Christian church is no different than being a black bishop-elect in a <strike>purportedly</strike> Christian? church?.

Reform This!*

*With apologies to Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Harold Ramis, and others associated with the movie, Analyze This.

[65] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 3-31-2009 at 08:23 PM · [top]

Greg #52:  That’s the bottom line!
All the people discussing “judging” forget that we are not called to judge OTHERS, but we ARE called to judge OURSELVES.  We are told time and again to judge OURSELVES before God does it!  When HE does it, that’s it!  If WE do it, change is possible.  Our treatment of others INSIDE the church is dropped on us time and time again by Paul in his Epistles.  We are just not called to judge those OUTSIDE the church of Jesus Christ.  Kevin Thew whatever has CHOSEN to be judged INSIDE the church of Jesus Christ!  We ARE free to say whether he is preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ or not, and our yardstick for measuring is the Holy Bible.  The rest of it is earthly organizational “barn floor covering”.

[66] Posted by Goughdonna on 3-31-2009 at 10:16 PM · [top]

One among you has criticized me for not responding to “all of you” and indicates that I am being evasive.  My apologies if you think I am being evasive, but the reality is two fold:  There is one of me and considerably more of you and I have a very full life that doesn’t allow me to spend as much time at the computer as I would like.

My perception of the differences between us is in the interpretation of Scripture.  I do indeed believe the Holy Scriptures to be the word of God and to contain all things necessary for salvation.  However, I do not believe the Scriptures to be the WORDS of God.  In other words, I do not believe that God dictated the texts into someone’s ear as they wrote. 

The Scriptural texts were originally part of an oral tradition that was subsequently written down in ancient languages.  From that point they began to be translated and retranslated into other languages.  There are limits to their for lack of a better term “accuracy” created by the differences in the world of then and of now.  Literally thousands of concepts were not known to the writers of either the Hebrew Scriptures or the Christian Testament.  We have also learned over time that some of what we thought was translated correctly was not.  In short, there are incosistencies at the very least and errors in other areas. 

There is also a problem with consistent application of Scripture.  There are many rules outlined in the Old Testament that Christians do not follow.  The Levitical Purity Code is not something that gets parsed out and applied in a piecemeal fashion.  We either apply it all literally or we do not.  I doubt that any of you have stoned disobedient children to death.  Nor do I think there are any who have refused to share their bed with their wife during her monthly cycle and subsequently gone through ritual purification before going to church again.  There are other examples and I think most of you are probably aware of them.

Other than the Gospels, the Christian Testament is an interpretation of other issues/events/etc.  Even Paul is not always consistent as anyone who has studied him for any length of time will know.

Unfortunately, we don’t give as much attention to the Gospels as perhaps we ought, since we believe these to be the most direct narratives about Jesus.  John’s Gospel account differs from the other three.  Jesus is the way the truth and the life for me, but I will not be presumptuous enough to advise God that others may not reach God through different paths.  I also see no evidence that the Covenant between the people of Israel and God has ever been rescinded.  John’s Gospel tends toward the antisemitic.  I suspect the more accurate translation was not “the Jews” as is so often read, but rather “the people” or some other identifier or even perhaps the religious zealots of the age.

As far as my cousin not being with God, that is your opinion based on what I have shared above.  I don’t believe that.  He is with God and was welcomed home with open arms. 

My issues with Bishops Duncan, Schofield, and Iker have nothing to do with their theological positions.  Anything I have posted about them was related to their failure to adhere to the canons and constitution of the church as they pledged to do.  We may not be all that far apart on theology as you might think.

And yes, I would have an issue with Akinola, but only for his psuedo governmental support of killing lesbians and gays in his province.  There is no concept in Christ’s teachings that would support such an attrocity.

I appreciate some of your anger.  I get angry too.  My anger is at the number of people who get turned away from our doors because of small, closed minds that leave no room for the work of the Holy Spirit in the world or in the life of Christ’s Body.  If you recall, Jesus warned his disciples and therefore us that there were things He could not reveal because they would not be understood.  He was leaving it to the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.  I’m inclined to believe than much more than most of the other options related to so-called literalistic interpretation of Scripture. 

I doubt that this will address has so many knickers in a twist, but it’s all I can offer.  But I offer it knowing in my heart of hearts that I have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus and reborn with water and the Holy Spirit and feeling the fire of that Spirit in my heart.

Bruce Garner
Atlanta

[67] Posted by Bruce Garner on 3-31-2009 at 10:17 PM · [top]

Someone asked why Thew Forrester’s Zen Buddhust leanings never came to the fore until now. Simply put Thew Forrrster packed every committee at the Diocesean level with his cronies. Not until a ruckus was raised about how they collectively saw to it that only his name could be placed in nomination for Bishop and that no one other than his cronies could be nominated to his “steering committee” did people begin to understand just how secretive they had been about his Buddhist faith or how they had consolidated their control over all aspects of Diocesean life. 

Thew Forrester met with a group within the past two weeks to discuss finances of the Diocese. Total income from all sources is such that only about three priests plus a Bishop can currently be funded. Oddly enough election of Thew Forrester from the pool of 4 seminary trained priestsin the Diocese reduced the number of priests to three and preserves employment for all four.

Oh yes,Thew Forrester also predicts bankruptcy for the diocese within 7 years.I wonder where Thew Forrester will be then, not Bishop of Northern Michigan, if there is one left by then.

[68] Posted by ruauper2 on 3-31-2009 at 10:31 PM · [top]

Bruce,
About your cousin, I put in the only needed qualifiers.
 
If he has the Son, he has life.  If he has not the Son, he has not life. ( 1 John 5:12-13 ).

That’s not an Opinion.  That’s Scripture.

[69] Posted by Bo on 3-31-2009 at 10:34 PM · [top]

Thank you all for a fascinating field of rants and wisdom all mixed together. I think Robert Munday’s take is best: the fault is in all of us who have been permissive and allowed our beloved denomination to come to this truly ludicrous pass. We say a General Confession, and while I could fill all available space with reciting my sins, here is an instance where we can best repent for our community and those who will not, and being in darkness now cannot repent. So prayers for the Church have been my more-than-ever concentration this Lent, exacerbated by this shameful situation in No.Mich., and were not the Lord so sure, it would be darn disheartening to continue to pray as a devoted Episcopalian.
Don’t you feel sorry for this man who would be Bishop and is so, so out of touch with “his” Faith?

[70] Posted by sejanus on 3-31-2009 at 10:39 PM · [top]

Thanks Bruce for taking the time to respond.  I agree that blog discussions can become heated and easily derailed so I appreciate anyone willing to stick at it.  I just wanted to make a couple of observations.

1) I agree that the primary issue is Scripture and its interpretation.  However, it is worth pointing out that may “conservatives”, such as myself, do not believe in plenary verbal inspiration either.  We simply hold that scripture, including the Epistles, is authoritative in matters of Faith and Morals.  Emphasize the Gospels as much as you wish.  Their theological content is sometimes woefully neglected, but note that they are often watered down into something Jesus wouldn’t recognize.  His Kingdom was not of this world and cannot be achieved by social reform no matter how well intentioned.

2) You seem to be saying that their should be no doctrinal test for a bishop.  This sounds absurd to many of us because it turns TEC from a denomination into social club.  Indeed many here would support denying communion to those who are demonstrably outside the historic Christian faith, let alone assign them to leadership positions in the Church.  If it is not a common faith that binds us together than what is it?  History, Anglophilia, ritualism, politics?  None of these are substantial bases for a church.  And at least in my case most of them don’t apply. 

3) You said, “We may not be all that far apart on theology as you might think.” but I think this glosses over a huge gap in regards to damnation and the necessity of salvation.  Your comments suggest that you, like many people and the majority of TEC’s leadership, discount the possibility of personal damnation, at least for apostasy.  But for many here, including myself, to do so undermines the reality of God’s salvation and calls into question the necessity of Christ’s death on the Cross.  The “good news” or Gospel that we preach is Christ and Him crucified, the atoning sacrifice for our sins that makes us righteous before the Father and saves us from the wages of our sins.  If Forrester or someone else says “We do harmful and evil things to ourselves and one another, not because we are bad, but because we are blind to the beauty of creation and ourselves,” and thus denies that we are, in our natural state, before we have received salvation through faith in Christ sinners, doomed to damnation, then we simply do not preach the same faith.

4) And lastly in regard to “I would have an issue with Akinola, but only for his psuedo governmental support of killing lesbians and gays in his province.”  What the <redacted> are you talking about?  Akinola supported the passage of a law criminalizing homosexual behaviour, but the penalties it called for are much less harsh than execution.  If their is any evidence that he has called for or condoned killings of those people accused or suspected of homosexual practices I would like to see it.  And no quoting Romans 1 doesn’t count.

Pax tecum,
Eluchil

[71] Posted by Eluchil on 4-1-2009 at 12:01 AM · [top]

Bruce,

This is not about “interpretation” of Scripture, but the most simplified, fat-magic-marker version of the Gospel. It’s not about whether you believe God breathed the actual words and others don’t. It’s not about ancient-vs-postmodern cultural context.

This is about the simple matter of: Is Jesus Christ the only son of God, who died on the cross to save us from our sins?

Everything else you’ve brought to this thread is angels on the head of a pin. I’m fine with a bishop who wants to talk about the debates over how the books were written and how the canon was assembled, but I’m not fine with a bishop who embraces a contradictory faith, rewrites the liturgy (remember - we Anglicans are supposed to “do” our theology in our liturgy), and can’t sign onto the most basic tenets of Christianity.

After that, biblical scholarship is just minutiae. We’re talking essentials of the faith here.

I think you honestly believe that everyone here really doesn’t know that there is an entire field of intellectual inquiry devoted to the authorship and provenance of the scriptures; that there are significant differences of opinion in that field; and that there are differences between John and the synoptic Gospels. I assure you… we do. So please can the attempt to baffle us with bravo sierra.

Here, though… thankfully… is all we need to know:

Jesus is the way the truth and the life for me, but I will not be presumptuous enough to advise God that others may not reach God through different paths.

You are not advising God how things work, Bruce. GOD HAS ADVISED YOU, in John 14:6 among other places.

Jesus did not say “I am the way, the truth and the life… for some.” So either Jesus was misquoted, He was wrong, or you reject the uniqueness of Christ. I’m going with door #3, which means: You are not a Christian, Bruce. End of story.

And once again, I note that you are on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.

[72] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-1-2009 at 12:01 AM · [top]

This issue makes absolutely no sense to me.  A man who has practiced Buddism wanting to be a Bishop in the Episcopal Church?  A practicing homosexual confirmed as a Bishop in the Episcopal Church?  These things have forced many of us to question our role in the Episcopal Church.  I am a biblicly based Christian that is still a member of the Church.  But with all this action or proposed action I seriously question if I am in the right place.  I have taken a “sabbatical” from attending my church on a regular basis even though I have a wonderful Anglican rector.  I continue to pray and read scripture on a daily basis.  But I am sick and tired of these continuing liberal assaults on our church.  Our church believes in the bible and continues to use it as our main resource.  If you disagree, go find a church that meets your needs.  Be a founder of your own religion and beliefs.  So many of the responses on this site are afraid to just come out and say what they believe.  Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and lifestyles but don’t force them on the rest of us.  I don’t believe that a practicing homosexual or someone that is not a Christian has any business being a leader in our church.  Thank you for the space and time for me to rant and rave about the concerns I have for the Episcopal Church.

[73] Posted by logicalinTN on 4-1-2009 at 01:24 AM · [top]

Greg (post 58): Yeah, I knew that was Bruce’s point.  I was simply pointing out to Bruce that the bishop he was defending fulfilled all of Bruce’s list of horrors - he is white, heterosexual, U.S. citizen, etc., and so clearly Bruce’s hobby-horses don’t apply.  He can’t claim that opposition to Forrester is based on his victimization list.

I am relieved to know that when Bruce writes

...small, closed minds that leave no room for the work of the Holy Spirit in the world or in the life of Christ’s Body

he is not being judgmental.  No not in the least.

[74] Posted by jamesw on 4-1-2009 at 02:26 AM · [top]

John 10:1

There are atheist ‘pastors’ now in the Netherlands, agnostic and unregenerate pastors in TEC and the mainline denominations, and now secular humanist congregations led by atheists up in the US.

Let Holmes-Redding and Forrester, Shori, Ragsdale (religion of death) build their own congregations and practice their own religion - but not use the Name and Church of Jesus Christ to promulgate it.  Who knows what RW believes (a global pansexual syncretistic economic political religion?) but it’s sure not orthodox Anglican Christianity.

[75] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 06:24 AM · [top]

Bruce says: “I doubt this will address so many knickers in a twist.”

Bruce said (earlier) “It is comments of this sort that make it difficult to engage in any meaningful discussion on this list”

In the second quote Bruce wasn’t talking about his own words , but looking at quote number one, a reader could think so. ;^)

My knickers are not in a twist, Bruce. I merely asked what are your standards for the selection of a Bishop and is is o.k. for any Epicopal minister (and potential Bishop) to be a Buddhist, a .  a Muslim or a Druid)? I’m with Greg griffith. I’m funny that way-in that I think that Christian clergy should BE Christians-Christians who accept the vows that they took when they were ordained and no crossing of fingers behind one’s book as The “Wrong” Reverend Bishop John Shelby Spomg suggested.

Come out of the closet-secret Muslims, secret Druids, secret Unitarians, Buddhists. Stop posing as Episcopal Christian ministers.

[76] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-1-2009 at 07:09 AM · [top]

I suppose this comes down to what being ‘in Communion’ means.  I have read through the sermons linked and it is worth the effort to understand what is going on. 

I leave on one side the issues of polity of this bishop election as well as the pastoral and personal issues.  Indeed there are a great many nice and caring Unitarians, people of other faiths and indeed of no faith; that is not the issue and no reflection is made on the character of Rev Forrester.

As far as I can see it there is a denial by Bishop-elect Forrester of the traditional Trinitarian foundation of Anglicanism [Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost] which we share with the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics and almost all Protestant Churches, a denial of Christ’s divinity as the church has always understood it; a denial of the Atonement for Sin, the Resurrection as we have traditionally understood it, the virgin birth and Joseph has been substituted as the biological father of Christ in place of the Incarnation.  Further there is a Gnostic assertion that God is in us and we are God.

At what point does someone’s personal theology become unrecognisable as Christian, let alone Anglican?

Further, does TEC by the decisions it is now making, continue to wish to be recognised as Christian, let alone Anglican while asserting an isolationist right to consecrate as a bishop of the Whole Communion, someone who denies the most basic tenets of Christianity, let alone the understanding of Anglicans through the ages.

It will be interesting and rather telling to see how TEC does or does not step up to the mark on this issue.

TEC was a fine church, perhaps in some respects it still is.  Where are you going TEC?  Your attendance figures are down the pan.  Your funds have been spent on litigation and your name has been dragged through the mud and our name as Anglicans round the world with it.  Will you grasp the task of putting your house in order or will the Gyre continue to widen?

[77] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 4-1-2009 at 07:17 AM · [top]

#72. Greg Griffith,

Jesus did not say “I am the way, the truth and the life… for some.” So either Jesus was misquoted, He was wrong, or you reject the uniqueness of Christ. I’m going with door #3, which means: You are not a Christian, Bruce. End of story.

Just for the sake of argument here Greg, can someone hold to false doctrine and still be a Christian? My answer would be, “Yes”. If you asked Bruce, “Is Jesus Christ uniquely your Lord and Savior?” My guess would be that he would say, “Yes”. The fact that he believes that others may have a different path denies the uniqueness of Christ for those people in salvation and is false doctrine but does that make Bruce a non Christian? He who believes and is baptized is saved and he who believes not is condemned. (Mark 16:16)Having a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ is what is necessary for salvation. What one believes about others may be false but does not rule out one’s relationship to Christ. You have basically said that KJS and most of the liberals in TEC are non Christians. Are you really prepared to hold to this?

[78] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-1-2009 at 07:36 AM · [top]

Heh.

RE: “the most simplified, fat-magic-marker version of the Gospel . . . “

No no no, Greg.  No no no. 

There is no such thing as “fat-magic-marker” version—there is highly nuanced, highly contextualized, deeply complex and metaphorical precepts into which the sterling minds of the Bruce Garner’s of this world must introduce us.  Only he—and his friends of course—can understand this rare and subtle intellectual world.

You cause me to swoon when you say words like “simplified” and “fat-magic-marker version”—that’s really too too bad and merely reveals the primitive nature of your patriarchal mind.

[79] Posted by Sarah on 4-1-2009 at 07:37 AM · [top]

Who knows what RW believes (a global pansexual syncretistic economic political religion?)

I think this goes too far, as I don’t think this is in any way reflected in ++Rowan’s sermons or other public statements.  He does compartmentalize a bit between his religion and his politics, but I suspect that is true for most of us- certainly it is for me.  Where I think we differ with him is over what he is willing to tolerate in the Church- which appears to include more “diversity of opinion” than is healthy for the Church.  The only way to keep the Church together is to determine what the boundaries are.

[80] Posted by tjmcmahon on 4-1-2009 at 07:45 AM · [top]

BG writes, “The Levitical Purity Code is not something that gets parsed out and applied in a piecemeal fashion.  We either apply it all literally or we do not.”
One wonders where that odd statement comes from. The Church certainly has the authority to decide which parts of the Law are applicable in the post-apostolic world, and it has always done so. In the case of homosexual practice and many other aspects of the Law, the modern Patriarchs have stood firm with Scripture and Tradition in affirming that these things are certainly sinful. Period. The closest thing that Anglicanism has to a Patriarch is the assembled bishops at Lambeth. And what do they say? They reject “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.” Period.

[81] Posted by Ralph on 4-1-2009 at 07:45 AM · [top]

TJMcMahon,  I’m looking at his actions not his words.

[82] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 07:49 AM · [top]

Pageantmaster,
Thanks for your thorough and accurate analysis.  This is indeed a watershed moment in the history of TEC.  When was the last time a bishop was rejected to doctrinal reasons?  Early 1900’s?  (Oddly, 1912 sticks in my head)  But this is really a question of whether the bishops of the church will, indeed, defend the faith as they received it.  What is perhaps most unfortunate is that the issue is still in debate, and was not settled in short order at the HoB meeting.  It is also unfortunate that it had it not been for the blogs, the bishop-elect would never have received the necessary scrutiny.  How much better off would the church be if bishops had actually done the research on Spong or Jefferts Schori before giving consent.  And why is it that a bishop or standing committee is allowed to give consent without doing their homework?

[83] Posted by tjmcmahon on 4-1-2009 at 07:53 AM · [top]

#8 - Because homosexual practice is contrary to and violates the Truth, Word and Will of God, it is sin and sin can always be translated, ‘harmful’.

Homosexual acts are sinful and harmful; homosexual feelings are learned responses and symptoms of harm and deception (mis-beliefs).

[84] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 07:55 AM · [top]

Fenelonspeaks, I’m not sure if anyone responded to your question about what comments saying “subscribe” mean.

Basically, it means someone is interested in following the conversation more closely and receiving all the comments posted on this thread by e-mail.  Typing “subscribe” in such cases is optional, but one needs to leave some comment and check the little box underneath the comment box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments?”

[85] Posted by Karen B. on 4-1-2009 at 08:11 AM · [top]

Thanks, Karen for responding. No one had before. Now I know. :^)

[86] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-1-2009 at 08:14 AM · [top]

#83 - There is also the distinct possiblity that the bishops, standing committees and vestries also believe in and promulgate the PC sexual/social and/or syncretist agendas and actually want the kind of priest or bishop they have selected.

[87] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 08:14 AM · [top]

would never have received the necessary scrutiny

John 3:19

[88] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 4-1-2009 at 08:19 AM · [top]

Excellent comment, Pageantmaster in #77.  You’ve said everything much better than I could.

The discussion in #78 about believing false doctrine yet believing in Christ as Lord & Savior is interesting.  I don’t want to take the thread off on a tangent, but that question fits in well with some of what I and my teammates here in Africa have been discussing recently about the difference between “fire insurance” and discipleship. By “Fire insurance” I mean saying the “sinner’s prayer” to be “assured of salvation” but not then producing fruit in keeping with repentance.  Is such a person “saved?”  I think we in the West make too much of the “decision for Christ” ala Billy Graham, etc.  (no slur of Billy Graham’s amazing ministry intended!)  As long as you pray the prayer you’re ok.  [In TEC that translates to as long as you’re baptized you’re ok - though now even baptism has become optional for many, it seems!]  The NORMAL pattern (obviously there are some exceptions - the thief on the cross, death bed conversions…) and expectation for Christians is that true saving faith will produce fruit and that there will be evidence of a transformed life, we can’t just go about living for ourselves and doing what we please or believing what we please.

Too many in TEC, and I’d include Kevin Thew Forrester in this want to define for themselves what it means to be a Christian and what beliefs they will hold, rather than recognizing that there is a faith “once-delivered” for all (Jude 3), that there is a “foundation of what the apostles and prophets taught” (Eph. 2:20) - and if you are not standing on that foundation, you are not of Christ. 

Of course we all initially may have many errant beliefs and false understanding of the faith that hopefully good teachers will correct.  But that is the point.  There are standards for teachers and overseers.  They need to hold to and teach sound doctrine.  And Forrester does not.

[89] Posted by Karen B. on 4-1-2009 at 08:27 AM · [top]

87- Granted, my experience is limited, but as I recall one election some years ago, the real criteria (as opposed to what they released publicly) were:
1) Male, because if the diocese lost any more big money Anglo Catholics, it would go down the tubes.
2) Ex Roman Catholic- because they know about religion and incense and cassocks and such.
3) Divorced (the reason for #2)- ‘cause then we can get away with our own little peccadilloes.
4) Politically liberal so we don’t find ourselves at odds with the national church.
5) Adequate administrator- because the last 3 bishops chased away so many big money Anglo Catholics that the diocese is in financial trouble.
6) Smart enough to lose by 2 strokes when playing golf with rich guys on the standing committee.

Of course you are correct that with so many standing committees, and now sees, in the hands of progressives bent on their agenda, said agenda is pushed by means of installing more progressive bishops.  However, I don’t remember this sort of debate over any bishop other than VGR over the course of my lifetime- and the debate over VGR did not hinge on his doctrine (although shaky, can hardly be seen as out of the mainstream-compared to KJS or Forrester- for the modern TEC).

[90] Posted by tjmcmahon on 4-1-2009 at 08:34 AM · [top]

One of the difficulties that will have to be dealt with if Forrester is denied consent is that his theology is entrenched in this diocese.  He has trained almost all the dozens of auxiliary volunteer priests. ALL the remaining missioners (paid priests) of this diocese have signed on to his various statements (the “Dar” statement with its affirmations, the subsequent New Orleans statement, and the errr….analysis of the Covenant- all of which contain specific denials of the Trinity and aspects of Christology).  The only missioner to voice any objection to the course of the diocese was given her walking papers last year.
And, of course, we still have to deal with the 12 member “Episcopal ministry support team”- the mostly self appointed, self perpetuating group that will divide among them the powers of the bishop’s office.
What is needed up here is someone who will clean house and restore the BCP to the pews of all the churches.  And give some real instruction in both theology and ecclesiology to both the paid and unpaid clergy.

[91] Posted by tjmcmahon on 4-1-2009 at 08:44 AM · [top]

Dcn Dale,

To deny Christ’s uniqueness forces the question of why He had to die on the cross. It forces the question of exactly what dying “for the whole world” means. But before you get to those and other questions, it forces the question of what to do with John 14:6.

If Bruce is right, then either

a) Jesus was misquoted (in which case Scripture is dead wrong on a key tenet of the whole faith); or

b) Jesus was mistaken about who He is (in which case he was probably insane, but certainly NOT the son of God)

This is like asking if you believe in marriage if you say, “Yes, my wife is the right one for me SOMETIMES, but I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to say that other ladies don’t need them a little Dcn Dale from time to time!” I’d say that, no, when it comes right down to it, you don’t really believe in marriage at all. Similarly, I don’t believe one is a Christian if one believes in the divinity of Christ but not His uniqueness.

We don’t come to Christianity through any other text but Scripture. It’s not as though we have one version in which Christ is unique, another version in which He’s not, and so on, and we choose the one that suits what WE think the truth is. God is sovereign. He is what He is independent of what WE think He is. He doesn’t change who He is when I look at Him, vs when Bruce looks at Him. So one of us is wrong about Jesus.

We have before us ONE version of Christianity, in which Jesus unmistakably, unequivocally declares Himself to be unique, to be the ONLY son of God. There is no other version in which Jesus says something different. So my question to Bruce and people who believe as he does, is “By what logic, by what authority, do you divide what you’ve found in Scripture, declaring one part to be true and the other to be false? I’m not talking about 7-day creationism, and I’m not talking about whether this story or that might be a parable as opposed to history. I’m talking about the very basic, asking: How is Scripture - or even Jesus Himself - right about His being divine, but wrong about His being unique? By what possible reasoning do you arrive at that conclusion?

This would be like me picking up the only translation dictionary of English to a language that has been completely forgotten by the entire world, learning the language solely from the dictionary, then declaring that everything in sections A-L was correct, while everything from M-Z was wrong. How do I do that? And how does Bruce Garner conclude that the part in Scripture about Jesus being divine is correct, but the part about his being unique is not?

It’s not because there’s anywhere in Scripture where Jesus’ uniqueness is declared or even called into question. There’s not another version of Christianity out there, with Bruce having chosen one and me having chosen the other, like two different TV’s on a department store shelf.

The answer is: Bruce Garner has decided that Jesus was divine, but not unique, because Bruce Garner wants it that way. his experience tells him it needs to be that way. In other words, he and his experience are the final authority on what the Bible is, who Jesus is, and what the church ought to be. And that, folks, is the heart of the Anglican crisis in a nutshell.

[92] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-1-2009 at 08:46 AM · [top]

Executive Summary:

In Greg Griffith’s church, God changes you.

In Bruce Garner’s church, you change god.

As for me, I prefer a more steadfast Deity.

[93] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 4-1-2009 at 08:51 AM · [top]

Karen B #89 wrote:
“Too many in TEC, and I’d include Kevin Thew Forrester in this want to
define for themselves what it means to be a Christian…”
Too many want to define God, Christianity, male, female, marriage, family…ultimately God.

However, it is God, Christ and the Scriptures that must define and give us God’s views and intentions for His people. 

God is the One who gives us our identities, our definitions of male, female, love, truth, life, Christianity. 

Scripture, Worship, Prayer, the Body of Christ through power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, re-defines and forms us and our thoughts, words, deeds, transforms us into the likeness of Christ.

[94] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 09:04 AM · [top]

What could I say, ladies and gentlemen?  It would not matter.  A couple of closing comments and I am off to be about the daily chores of life as I prepare for a very busy Passion Sunday, Holy Week and Easter.

Greg, you don’t have the authority or the right to say I am not a Christian.  That is not a power given you by God.  And I don’t need to come to your church to be changed per mousestalker.  I was changed BY the church when I was about 8 years old and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior (in a Southern Baptist Sunday School classroom).  I was further changed BY the church at age 16 when I was baptized and confirmed into the Episcopal Church.  I was further changed BY the church at a healing service in 1986 in an Episcopal Cathedral.  I was further changed BY the church in August 2007 on the first Sunday following my Mother’s death.  (I will not share the details of the last two changes because I can’t trust the people on this list to respect the sanctity of what took place by the grace of God and action of the Holy Spirit.)  I will note however, that none of the changes were actually BY the church.  They were the work OF the Holy Spirit.  And I pray, Gteg, that it is also the Holy Spirit that changes folks at your church as well.

I haven’t changed God….God is unchangeable.  I have come to know God as much as we can as human beings.  We have no conception ability when it comes to God.  If we attempt to describe, then we are applying human standards that cannot describe the divine.  I remain in regular communication with God as I travel the path of life knowing I was never promised a life without strife or problems, but I was promised I would never make the journey alone.

Per floridian: “Homosexual acts are sinful and harmful; homosexual feelings are learned responses and symptoms of harm and deception (mis-beliefs).”

I became aware of my sexual orientation at the age of 8 years old.  There had been no opportunity for “learned responses” as there had been no experiences.  Nor had I been abused or mistreated in any way.  I had two very loving parents, both present in my life.  Mother was not domineering and Dad was never “absent.”  The erroneous stereotypical “truisms” remain floating around despite not being true. 

I wonder sometimes about becoming saved and coming to the realization of sexual orientation during the same year of my life.  Was God sending me a subtle message that I was indeed OK?  As my relationship with God has deepened during the subsequent 52 years, I can only confess that the answer is yes. 

I do indeed wish for each of you a most Blessed Sunday of the Passion and Holy Week, followed by a glorious Day of the Resurrection.

Bruce Garner
Atlanta

[95] Posted by Bruce Garner on 4-1-2009 at 09:33 AM · [top]

#92. Greg Griffith,
Thanks for the response. I guess that I have trouble with what you stated from a personal perspective. At one time I believed that Jesus Christ was Divine and Unique for me but was willing to say that this may not hold for others(of course this puts a real crimp in Evangelism doesn’t it). I have since come to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way truth and life for me AND for others. Now Greg, I may be more edified about things now but did my previous understanding mean that I was not a Christian?
I believe I had a saving relationship with Christ before I came to a more complete and Scriptural understanding of His Divinity and Uniqueness. That is where we would disagree. That is why I would question not your doctrine but how you have chosen to apply it.

[96] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-1-2009 at 09:45 AM · [top]

MP,
I’m glad we agree on the result.
Carl,
Unity in Liturgy, tends toward a unity of understanding, as long as the Liturgy is considered normative.  MP appears to consider it ‘normative’ (Would that the whole of Scripture he so resepcted).

If the reader doesn’t value the BCP as a ‘rule of practice’ then it doesn’t matter what it says, and like KTF it is a triffling thing for them to rewrite it. 

But as long as it does matter, then a common liturgy will at least limit the divergence of understanding and theology.

For example our own differences in theology are limited because we both understand the Scriptures to be the ‘final authority’.  We may have deep differences on the meaning of certain passages, but neither of us can deny the plainly stated positions of scipture.

MP’s position, at least limits ‘diversity’ to that which can be ‘accomodated’ within the parameters established by the BCP.

[97] Posted by Bo on 4-1-2009 at 09:48 AM · [top]

Bruce, According to Scripture, you are following your own feelings and desires and have held your sexual feelings back from God and above God…you are therefore in rebellion. 

You are denying the Truth and disobedient to God’s Word.  Moreover, you are leading others astray.  That is more serious.

All the religious posturing and activity in the world cannot change the facts.

[98] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 09:49 AM · [top]

Hmmm, I was really hoping that Mr. Garner, from his seat on the Executive Counsel and just as a person who has had the guts to show up and oppose us here at SF, would have the time/energy/courage to tell us what qualification he does think a Bishop should have.  He can’t of course fall back on the Prayer Book descriptions, as there are several quickly disqualifying statements there.

AS I asked (I thought quite politely) way back in Post 25, I am still left wondering:

Just for my own edification, are you suggesting that what a minister says publicly, in sermons, teachings, or in his own writing, should not be used to determine what the essential elements of his own beliefs are?  And that those elements should not be considered when elevation to the position of Bishop is upon us?

I’m just curious.  If yes, what parameters should the search committees and concurring dioceses use to determine fitness for the position?

You know, I’d really like to know what you think on this Mr. Garner.  I think most of the posters here (without painting us with too broad a brush) would share a historically coherent version of the Prayerbook (28?) or scriptural definitions of what qualifies someone to be a Bishop.  I guess I’d like to hear another opinion.

Or do you take the Linus Van Pelt position on the Elevation of a Bishop (It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you’re sincere.)  smile

KTF!...mrb

[99] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 4-1-2009 at 09:53 AM · [top]

Hi Dcn Dale,

I think the question of Identity is really important here. Mormons and Jehovas Witnesses all profess a faith in Jesus Christ. The question is whether the Christ they profess is the Christ who saves or an idol—an “angel of light”—with Jesus’ name slapped on the front.

Justifying faith requires: 1. Right knowledge of Christ and his Work. 2. Assent to the right knowledge that you have been given 3. Surrender to Christ and trust in his work.

I think if you do not have #1 you cannot come to #3.

[100] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 4-1-2009 at 09:54 AM · [top]

Dcn Dale,

I distinguish between people on - pardon my use of this over-used word - a “journey” that involves, at some point, perhaps not completely understanding the proposition of Christ’s uniqueness, that proceeds to a sufficient understanding of that proposition, and finally an acceptance of it; and people like Bruce, who do come to a sufficient understand of the proposition of uniqueness but reject it anyway. Those are two very different situations.

It’s quite different for a new believer to say, “I believe that Jesus saves me from my sins by His death on the cross,” and for us to say, “Yes, but do you understand also that Jesus is the ONLY one saves you from your sins?” The new believer says, “Oh… I didn’t realize that was part of the deal. Let me think about that.” Later they profess believe in Christ’s uniqueness as well as Hid divinity. Quite different from Bruce Garner’s saying “I believe that Jesus saves me from my sins by His death on the cross,” and for us to say, “Yes, but do you understand also that Jesus is the ONLY one saves you from your sins?”, only to have Garner say, “Yes, I understand the proposition, but I reject it.”

[101] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-1-2009 at 09:55 AM · [top]

For the record, I’m working on a compilation of the votes re: Forrester’s consent.  Here is my initial effort:
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/21475/#350096

I’ll try to update this list weekly or more often if there is a big burst of news.

[102] Posted by Karen B. on 4-1-2009 at 10:09 AM · [top]

[77] Pageantmaster,

While I entirely concur in your analysis, I have a separate issue which I don’t recall anyone addressing in much detail (although I am come late to this thread, and have not read even a majority of its comments). The issue is one of authority and leadership.

The bishop-elect in TEC makes the following promises as part of the rite of Ordination of a Bishop<sup>1</sup>:

<ul><li>In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I, N.N., chosen Bishop of the Church in N., solemnly
declare that…I do solemnly engage to
conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The
Episcopal Church.</li>


<li>You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant;
….
Are you persuaded that God has called you to the office of
bishop?</li>

[103] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 4-1-2009 at 10:16 AM · [top]

#100 Matt Kennedy, #101. Greg Griffith,

Quite different from Bruce Garner’s saying “I believe that Jesus saves me from my sins by His death on the cross,” and for us to say, “Yes, but do you understand also that Jesus is the ONLY one saves you from your sins?”, only to have Garner say, “Yes, I understand the proposition, but I reject it.”

I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t hear him say this. Rather than call it a willful rejection of the full and complete Christ, I’m going to pray that he and all of us come to a fuller understanding of Christ.

But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

Tincture of time my brothers.

[104] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-1-2009 at 10:20 AM · [top]

Bruce Garner is holding out on Matt’s #1,2, and 3 of justification by claiming an exemption or denying that homosexual activities and desires are sinful. 

If Bruce can do that he does not love Christ sufficiently to obey Him, to surrender, crucify the flesh, to follow and live in the Truth.  (John 14:15-21; John 21:15)

It is questionable that Bruce Garner has been fully converted and should not be in a place of leadership in the Church.  (I John 1:6-7)

As for experiences, I had several powerful and sweet experiences with the Lord before I received the Revelation that Jesus is Lord…and knew with conviction that the Cross was for my sins. 

As I entered into the teachings of the apostles, praise and worship, I discovered that
Christ’s Holy Presence and love are above and beyond the gratifications of the flesh.

[105] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 10:25 AM · [top]

I certainly would not opine that Bruce Garner is not a Christian nor that the worthy heathen cannot meet Christ even though he has not heard the Word preached to him.  There are a number of things I do not know, but I don’t think that the issue here is about sexual ethics as we are all sinners or about the position of non-Christians, about which even the Catholic Church as I understand it does not regard the position as closed.

No the issue here is about who we say that Christ is and I would pull up Bruce Garner for not engaging with the content of KTF’s theology as expressed in his sermons and writings.  This is the key: “Who do YOU say that I am” as Christ asked Peter in Matthew 16:13-20 and to which Peter replied as I do “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

If we are not able to answer this are we Christians?  Further if we are not able to embody our doctrine in the Creeds are we really truthfully describing ourselves as Anglicans?

[106] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 4-1-2009 at 10:25 AM · [top]

Dcn Dale,

Check Bruce’s comment at [67]:

“Jesus is the way the truth and the life for me, but I will not be presumptuous enough to advise God that others may not reach God through different paths.”

[107] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-1-2009 at 10:31 AM · [top]

#107. Greg Griffith,

only to have Garner say, “Yes, I understand the proposition, but I reject it.”

And I maintain that he doesn’t truly understand the proposition. Sometimes we think we know something when we don’t. What is your desired end result here Greg? Mine is that Bruce would come to a fuller understanding of who Jesus Christ is and that will be my prayer.

[108] Posted by Fr. Dale on 4-1-2009 at 10:42 AM · [top]

In response to Mike Bertaut’s request:

The Book of Common Prayer, Canons and Constitution of The Episcopal Church outline the qualifications for being a bishop and I ascribe to those.  Then of course there is also the small amount of info in the Christian Testament that, if memory serves me correctly (and such is not always the case), calls for the bishop to be a good steward of one’s own household, steadfast in prayer, and the husband of only one wife.  There’s probably a bit more but the exact text has slipped my memory at the moment. 

Of course we do have the times in the history of the church when bishops were less the result of matters spiritual more the result of things political and economical.  We have a rather dubious history for the office if we are honest with ourselves.  How many seats in the apostolic succession were literally purchased by their occupants?  We may never know….yet the church continues.

Sorry to be negligent in answering your question Mike.

Bruce Garner
Atlanta
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth..” John 16: 12-13a

[109] Posted by Bruce Garner on 4-1-2009 at 10:49 AM · [top]

NO problem, Bruce.  I know to post here for you is to risk inundation.  Pretty swamped myself right now.

KTF!...mrb

[110] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 4-1-2009 at 10:52 AM · [top]

Dcn Dale,

If Bruce were new to the faith, that would be one thing, but he’s a veteran. He’s on TEC’s executive council. This is not someone who doesn’t understand the uniqueness proposition. This is someone who understands it quite well, but has rejected it. I’m not saying he can’t or won’t have a change of heart, I’m just saying that as of now, that’s where he stands.

[111] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-1-2009 at 10:55 AM · [top]

Apologies to all, hit the Submit button in error.

[77] Pageantmaster,

While I entirely concur in your analysis, I have a separate issue which I don’t recall anyone addressing in much detail (although I am come late to this thread, and have not read even a majority of its comments). The issue is one of authority and leadership.

The bishop-elect in TEC, by affirmative responses to the following questions, binds himself to the following during the rite of Ordination of a Bishop<sup>1</sup>:

<ul><li>In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I, N.N., chosen Bishop of the Church in N., solemnly declare that…I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.</li>


<li>You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant;
….
Are you persuaded that God has called you to the office of
bishop?</li>


<li>Will you guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church?</li>

Further, the Canons of the Episcopal Church<sup>2</sup> state:

Title II, Canon 3, §8 It shall be the duty of the Ecclesiastical Authority of any Diocese in which any unauthorized edition of the Book of Common Prayer, or any part or parts thereof, shall be published or circulated, to give public notice that the said edition is not of authority in this Church.

and

  Title III, Canon 9, §5(a)(1)  responsibility for the conduct of the worship and the spiritual jurisdiction of the Parish, subject to the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, the Constitution and Canons of this Church, and the pastoral direction of the Bishop.

Therefore, given the established testimony that Forrester repeatedly and persistently revised the liturgy without proper authority, including the replacement of portions of the liturgy with words composed by himself and removing the Nicene Creed over the objections of his parishioners, the following single question stands paramount.

If he, as a priest, did not conform to the Canons, the example of his own nonconformity nullifies any authority he might attempt to exercise over his ecclesiastical subordinates in fulfillment of his vows as a Bishop and the Canons cited above. Stated another way, he as preemptively ceded all moral authority to attempt the enforcement on any subordinate who might wish to follow Forrester’s own example. He cannot rule as a sitting bishop, particularly in his own diocese. No person can lead effectively unless he requires of himself, at bare minimum, everything he expects of his subordinates!

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer
________________________
<sup>1</sup>—Book of Common Prayer, 1979, from a link this web page: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/formatted_1979.htm
<sup>2</sup>—From the following web address:
http://www.episcopalarchives.org/e-archives/canons/CandC_FINAL_11.29.2006.pdf

[112] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 4-1-2009 at 10:56 AM · [top]

#122 Martial Artist
Being English I am not qualified to opine on TEC’s position, but thank you for educating me.

[113] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 4-1-2009 at 11:02 AM · [top]

That unregenerate, unrepentant sinners and sin proponents are on the Executive board, named dean of EDS, bishops and priests in TEC…Spong is invited to teach…and that TEC will spend 1,300,000 per day to hold the GC and present its foul slate of resolutions is sickening and is an insult to our Father and to Redeemer, the Son of Man, The Lord Jesus Christ, Who is THE MAN and to His Name and His Church.  Their agenda is also an insult to Mary, His Mother, the New Eve, The model of holy womanhood, the Icon of the Church. 

But, thankfully, there is an alternative:
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=9161

[114] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 11:09 AM · [top]

#114 Tell us how you feel Floridian.

[115] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 4-1-2009 at 11:15 AM · [top]

Why, Mistuh Pagentmastah, suh, I buh-leeve ah jus’ diyid.

[116] Posted by Theodora on 4-1-2009 at 11:21 AM · [top]

#16 Bless you Floridian.

[117] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 4-1-2009 at 11:23 AM · [top]

[97] Posted by Bo on 04-01-2009 at 09:48 AM
Bo,

I took the liberty of posting a response on the thread about Bishop Gulick voting ‘No’ on Forrester’s confirmation.  I reasoned that you intended the comment to be posted on that thread, and so decided that thread was the proper context for a response.

carl

[118] Posted by carl on 4-1-2009 at 12:35 PM · [top]

Greg you are very good at putting words in the mouth of others and/or putting quotations around words that were not theirs.  See 107, 108 and 111.  I didn’t reject anything.  I clearly told you where I stood.  By adding the comment as to how others might reach God, I didn’t reject, I simply noted that I didn’t have the authority to determine for God how others might reach God. 

Dale (and Greg) I do have a very full understanding of who Jesus is, both in my personal relationship with Him and through His work in the world.  MY prayer is that we might learn to respect the fact that we are each called into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  What makes it “personal” is that it is between each of us and Jesus.  That relationship will manifest differently in each of us as well, and has through out the history of Christianity.  We gather in communities of faith for the corporate expression of that relationship, even when maintain our relationships with Jesus.  We are not called upon to determine the validity of the relationships our sisters and brothers have with our Savior.  We are called to honor them.  So let that be our prayer, or to paraphrase Jesus, we need to learn to love one another as He loved us.  Or as my rector frequently says:  We have been created by Love for Love.

I continue to note in many posts to this list a seething anger bubbling just below the surface.  That anger seems to get directed toward anyone who thinks differently from the group here.  That is, of course, the privilege of all.  It just seems to me it would be more productive for us all to keep in mind that we can not and are not called to repent anyone’s sins but our own.  I don’t know about others, but my life is very busy and full, mostly with working toward God’s mission in the world.  There isn’t much time or energy left to evaluate others’ who are on the same journey.  We all hopefully have the same ultimate destination.  I do suspect that some of will be surprised at who we will encounter when we get there. I actually hope to see all of you there and am confident I shall.  Maybe I will finally know who is behind the posting monicker that provides no clue to who is part of the conversation.

Bruce

[119] Posted by Bruce Garner on 4-1-2009 at 01:01 PM · [top]

Greg you are very good at putting words in the mouth of others and/or putting quotations around words that were not theirs.  See 107, 108 and 111.  I didn’t reject anything.  I clearly told you where I stood.  By adding the comment as to how others might reach God, I didn’t reject, I simply noted that I didn’t have the authority to determine for God how others might reach God.

Bruce, this is simply another way of saying that you reject Jesus’ uniqueness. And I said earlier, you don’t determine for God how others might reach Him - He has already done that, in John 14:6 for starters. Either you believe that Jesus is unique, or you don’t. If you do, then say so. If you don’t, that’s fine, but you can’t believe that and be a Christian.

[120] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-1-2009 at 01:06 PM · [top]

Bruce-You seem like a nice man, and I am not particulraly angry. :^)

Whenever I hear phrases like “We are created by love for love”
(and I’m sure your rector is also a nice man) I think “love” has been substituted for God which is the therapeutic model of religion.
I find I resonate more with the idea of the Catholic philosopher
and theologian Peter Kreeft in his article, “Perfect fear casts out luv” which stand against the idea of God as “cuddly”. I am not good at posting webistes but one can get the article by putting in a google search.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ

[121] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-1-2009 at 01:21 PM · [top]

As I recall, Scripture states:  “God is Love”  Jesus is the Word, incarnate Word, from the beginning forward.

And again, Greg, you don’t get to determine if I am a Christian or not.  One would have thought that the Inquisition might have taught us a lesson or two….guess not.

Bruce

[122] Posted by Bruce Garner on 4-1-2009 at 01:54 PM · [top]

Bruce, you are confusing a passionate defense of the Truth of God for “anger at those that think differently”.

However, don’t ask me why Kevin should not be a bishop. 

Ask Bishop Tom Breidenthal.

[123] Posted by AndrewA on 4-1-2009 at 01:54 PM · [top]

does the Episcopal church really want to destroy itself with these awful selections or do they do it just because they can?

[124] Posted by ewart-touzot on 4-1-2009 at 02:00 PM · [top]

Bruce, you can get indignant all you want, but I’m just stating a fact: To be a Christian means to believe in BOTH the divinity AND the uniqueness of Christ. You can believe in the former but not the latter, and call yourself a Unitarian, but you can’t accurately or truthfully call yourself a Christian. Jesus said He is it - He is unique. By definition, you cannot refute the unambiguous words of Jesus about who He is, and call yourself a Christian. I can’t make you be a Christian, but I can certainly call a spade a spade.

[125] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-1-2009 at 02:01 PM · [top]

Yes, one particular section of Scripture says specifically that"God is love” but that’s not all God is according to scripture, and is not the same thing as “Love created us for love”, IMO. I find that a little warmy/fuzzy, but then, I don’t have to attend your parish. :^) God is also not “luv”.  But since we won’t get anywhere on this particular subject, I think I’l drop it. :^)

Grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus Christ.

P.S. I’m still not angry, :^) but are you sure you’re not? Your comments to Greg would indicate such.

[126] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-1-2009 at 02:03 PM · [top]

#121 I think Fenelon Spoke was referring to,

God is love. And love is not “luv.” Luv is nice; love is not nice. Love is a fire, a hurricane, an earthquake, a volcano, a bolt of lightning. Love is what banged out the big bang in the beginning, and love is what went to hell for us on the cross.

The difference between love and “luv” is the difference between the prophetic model of religion and the therapeutic model. In the prophetic model, God commands us to be good. In the therapeutic model, people use religion to make themselves feel good.

(Peter Kreeft)
From http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/fear.htm

[127] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 4-1-2009 at 02:22 PM · [top]

Greg, point of order:  Unitarians deny the divinity of Christ.  Pantheists deny the uniqueness of Christ.  Universalits say everyone is saved no matter what.

I don’t think Bruce is a Unitarian.  He is sounding an awful lot like a universalist. 

Bruce seems awfully resistent to the idea that there are any external standards, baring perhaps the Sacred Consitution and Canons of TEC, that limit what can be considered Christian doctrine or acceptable Christian behavior.  A person is Christian because they say they are Christian.  Never mind whether or not the faith they practice and teach has any resemblence to what Jesus and the Apostles taught.  Sexual behaviors are acceptable merely because one one has a deep rooted desire to engage in them. Never mind any external or consistent standard of ethics.  Self becomes the measure of all things.

[128] Posted by AndrewA on 4-1-2009 at 02:30 PM · [top]

Yes, Underground Pewster, and thanks for including the link. :^)

[129] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-1-2009 at 02:36 PM · [top]

As I recall, Scripture states

Bruce, given how all the parts in the Bible about there being no salvation outside of faith in Christ and no acceptable forms of sexual behavoir outside of marriage between man and women are clearly mistakes on the part of the original writers or mistakes in the transmissionm translation and teaching of the Bible over centuries, it seems to me that this Scripture thing you speak of is awfully unreliable.

How do you know the “God is Love” stuff isn’t also a mistake?

[130] Posted by AndrewA on 4-1-2009 at 02:41 PM · [top]

Thanks Carl.

Bruce,
Our God is also a Consuming Fire, ( Hebrews 12:25-29 ) and I expect much of my works to be counted wood, hay, and stubble ( I Corinthians 3:11-18 ). 

Back to the meat, Christ is the way, the only way.
( John 9:41 - 10:12 )  These ‘other means’ of which you speak, Christ has already spoken of them.  He has identified them. You don’t need to (and in fact can not, as you have no authority higher than Christ’s).  They are thieves and robbers. 

Let God speak the truth, and every man be seen as a liar. ( Romans 3:4 )

[131] Posted by Bo on 4-1-2009 at 02:53 PM · [top]

Bruce:  A few things:

1. I quite agree that nobody on earth can decide whether you are “saved” (however you want to define that word), as only God can determine that.  I think that the Church (and Christians) not only have the right, but also the duty, to make judgments on what is heresy, apostasy, etc.  Usually there is an intended equivalence between saying someone is “not a Christian” and saying someone is “not saved”.  Accordingly, I don’t like to say anyone is “not a Christian” if they so declare about themselves, but I have no problem with saying that someone is in gross heresy.  I also don’t necessarily think that saying this indicates some sort of great and abiding anger - it is simply stating a fact.  It doesn’t really bother me when you accuse conservatives of being bigoted or small-minded, or whatever else you have said.  That’s your perspective, but I think you’re wrong, and your opinion of me doesn’t really matter to me at all (perhaps it would if you actually knew me, but you don’t). 

2. I am not particularly angry, though I suppose I might have a right to be.  I actually fully support your right to believe whatever you want, and the right of TEC to believe whatever it wants, regardless of whether that is orthodox Christianity or not.  I just wish TEC would be honest about the “new religion” it is pushing and deal fairly with the consequences.  If TEC’s leadership wishes to be a liturgical Unitarian church, go for it!  Just don’t assume that the rest of TEC and the Anglican Communion wants to come along for the ride.

3. I take it that you believe that Forrester should be confirmed as bishop.  I am curious what your take is on Holmes Redding who has just been deposed?  The former bishop of Olympia (where she is currently situated) was very supported of Redding’s being a Muslim-Episcopal priest, but Bishop Wolf of Rhode Island was not.  If you do oppose Redding’s deposition, it would be helpful to know.  If you support Redding’s deposition, then how do you differentiate between her and Forrester?

4. I appreciate your coming round SF every now and again.  I enjoy interacting and debating with those who hold different views.  That doesn’t mean I am angry or that I hate you.  I have a great friend with whom I very much disagree on religious issues, and we often debate.  He is very clear where he stands and I am clear where I stand.  It is only when we are open to debate that our ideas and perceptions can truly be tested.

[132] Posted by jamesw on 4-1-2009 at 03:50 PM · [top]

AndrewA, the Unitarians and Universalists merged, forming the UU societies. That little nubbin of TEC radical progressives that survives the next few years of reformation, might well merge with them someday. The new entity? EUU. Maybe some leftist Presbyterians will join them: PEUU. Then some apostate Roman Catholics: PEUUC.

KTF could be the first archbishop of EUU.

[133] Posted by Ralph on 4-1-2009 at 04:13 PM · [top]

So, Mr Forrester didn’t deny the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come? Surely he does.

[134] Posted by A Senior Priest on 4-1-2009 at 10:51 PM · [top]

OT-
FS (121)
Thanks for the pointer to Peter Kreeft.  <a > is a sizzling good piece of work.  I needed that to get the taste of mealy revisionist pap out of my mouth.

[135] Posted by Fine Young Calvinist on 4-2-2009 at 12:06 PM · [top]

OK, there was supposed to be a link in there.  I’ll plan-text it: http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/fear.htm

[136] Posted by Fine Young Calvinist on 4-2-2009 at 12:08 PM · [top]

Thought you might find this of interest:

Subject: [HoB/D] Kevin Thew Forrester speaks for himself

http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/bishops/kevin_thew_forrester_speaks_fo.html

Centrality of the Incarnation

Kevin Thew Forrester

There is a pivotal theological assumption to all of my life and
theology, which is quite clear to the diocesan community of Northern
Michigan.

My theological formation is deeply rooted in the theology/Christology/
anthropology of Karl Rahner. Rahner affirms that “Christology is the
end and beginning of anthropology.” The pivotal assumption on my part
is the centrality of the Incarnation – the God-man, Jesus Christ. 
Here, my Incarnation theology is more in the tradition of the Wisdom
literature of the Scriptures, the Church Fathers and the Orthodox
tradition (in contrast to that of Anselm). The Incarnation is the very
reason for creation, so that God might graciously share the Divine
life with the “other”.

The Incarnation reveals the true nature of God as well as the true
nature of humanity. I love the ability of the Fathers to speak clearly
about the sanctifying and saving nature of the Incarnation, 
specifically as it relates to the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. 
Kilian McDonnell, in his marvelous book, The Baptism of Jesus in the
Jordan: The Trinitarian and Cosmic Order of Salvation, explores this
in some detail, drawing upon the groundbreaking research of Gabriele
Winkler. (A fine article by Winker is “The Earliest forms of
Ascetism,” in The Continuing Quest for God: Monastic Spirituality in
Tradition and Transition.) In the baptism at the Jordan, the Incarnate
One is revealed according to many of the Church Fathers as “Spirit-
filled and as Only begotten (First-born) of the Father” (Winkler). 
Gregory of Nazianzus says that when Jesus is baptized by John, Jesus
“sanctifies the Jordan.”

What the Incarnate One touches, he sanctifies and saves. Again, 
Gregory of Nazianzus declares that “Jesus comes up out of the water
and he makes the cosmos, which he carries, to ascend [out of the
water] with him.” Here we come to part of the significance of Rahner’s
statement that Christology is the end of anthropology. But Gregory has
carried it further. The Incarnation has the power to sanctify all the
cosmos. The Father, Jacob of Serugh, speaks poetically of Jesus
consecrating all waters: “The entire nature of the waters perceived
that you had visited them – seas, deeps, rivers, springs and pools all
thronged together to receive the blessing from your footsteps.”

As I understand it, the Incarnation is the living font from which
flows the gracious capacity for our own transfiguration in Christ. 
Fallen and blinded by sin (I would continue to affirm that the
problematic doctrine of “original sin” retains significance) the
sanctifying touch of Christ is a soteriological embrace as well as a
divinizing one. For me, the Wisdom tradition of the Scriptures, the
Church Fathers and their theological lineage embody a theology of
Incarnation with profound meaning for us today.

I don’t plan to continue this discussion any further.  I finally realized something - some days my mind is very sharp and other days, not so much - about this list that will keep me away.

A substantial part of the list demonizes others, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes not so subtle.  Deomonizing someone is just not acceptable to me.  I have done my best not to demonize anyone on this list, regardless of how much of an *sshole I think they are being.

Another part tends to objectify those with whom they might disagree.  Objectifying someone by turning them into an issue makes it easier to be hateful and cruel to others, something followers of Jesus should not be doing.  Objectifying someone removes the human face and we lose the ability to see the face of Christ in each other.

As much as I may disagree with some on this list, I do not hate you, I don’t demonize you, and I don’t objectify you.  I love you as my Saviour commands me to do.

Finally, a substantial portion of the list has created an idol out of Holy Scripture.  We are to worship God and God alone.  The only word we are to worship is the Word made flesh, the Incarnate Word.  Holy Scripture has been the subject of continuing interpretation and re-interpretation since the first pages were created on papyrus centuries ago.  Scripture is not a handbook for human beings.  It is God’s word handed down and interpretted over the millenia as heard by new ears in each generation.  Failure to hear it with new ears in the context of our own time does nothing but smother the beauty of this precious document.  It is the best way I know to kill it. 

So I wish you all well in your life journeys and pray that God will be with us all for the rest of our days.

Bruce Garner
Atlanta

[137] Posted by Bruce Garner on 4-2-2009 at 06:07 PM · [top]

Did he write it, Bruce, or did the newly hired 815 media people compose something for his signature?

The fact is: he took down his sermons from his site when people began to read them.  Ragsdale took down her “Abortion is a blessing” sermon when people began to read it.

You are quick to call all of us fundamentalists who create idols.  At least our “idols” are placed in public where you are free to swing a hammer at them and see if the break.  Your idols seem to need caves in which to hide.

[138] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 4-2-2009 at 06:12 PM · [top]

That’s great, Bruce. I’d have to say that it isn’t always coming across as loving when you say call people “ass***es”.
“Gee, I love you even though I consider you an ass*** doesn’t really fly with me as lovingly Christian.” Call me stubborn that way. :^)


Grace and peace to you in your Christian journey.

[139] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-2-2009 at 06:17 PM · [top]

My guess, Rev. Fountain, is that TEC powers that be newly composed something for Forrester to sign.

[140] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-2-2009 at 06:19 PM · [top]

RE: “I have done my best not to demonize anyone on this list, regardless of how much of an *sshole I think they are being.”

Lol.

Thanks so much for being so gracious and loving and not “demonizing” us, Bruce Garner.  Too funny.

The rest of your objections to StandFirm and announcement that you won’t comment here again is irrelevant. The words you use—“demonize,” “hateful,” “cruel” “Jesus,” “Christ,” “idol,” “Holy Scripture,” “worship,” “God,” “Incarnate,” “beauty,”—simply don’t have the same definitions and amount to meaningless babble.

As I’ve pointed out before—just looking at those words and recognizing how mutually opposing our definitions are of those self-same words merely reveals the two antithetical gospels that are found in the one organization of TEC.

Based on that truth, TEC will experience undying and ever-escalating conflict until one or the other gospels is gone.  And since that won’t be for a long long time, the next decade is going to be simply fascinating to observe and participate in.

[141] Posted by Sarah on 4-2-2009 at 06:24 PM · [top]

Ole BG, noted Atlanta theologian, Bible scholar, and member of the Executive Council of TEC writes:

Scripture is not a handbook for human beings.

Ole Rafe, red-neck theological ignoramus (and contender for Meanest Commenter on the Internet), writes: Whhuhhhh? The h*ll you say!?!?!?

[142] Posted by Ralph on 4-2-2009 at 06:42 PM · [top]

Anyone active in the Church in Atlanta is familiar with Mr. Garner.  Being gay is what he’s all about.  His view of the Scriptures suits his obvious intrinsic need to believe he can be actively gay and yet remain obedient to God.  When confronted with the absurdity of his interpretations, he usually dons the victim mantle and washes his hands of us by saying something ostensibly pious yet smug.  The usual template.

[143] Posted by Alli B on 4-2-2009 at 07:35 PM · [top]

For those who might like to further explore Thew Forrester’s current activities go to http://www.stpmqt.org/

There you may find some almost invisible threads that lead to Thew Forrester and his Zen Buddhist leanings almost cult-like as you cruise through everything posted there.

[144] Posted by ruauper2 on 4-2-2009 at 09:47 PM · [top]

Bruce, all Forrester or his ghost writer did here was a variation on the revisionist tack “scholars say” followed by the scholars’ learned demolition of the accuracy, prophecy, authority, universality of time and place, and divine inspiration (as differentiated from your red herring of word-for-word dictation) of the Bible, OT, Gospels, and NT equally sharing in all those attributes.  Somehow, though, the quotations from “church fathers say” all managed to avoid the assertion that Jesus is Lord, before whom one day every knee whall bend, every head shall bow, and every tongue confess such, to the glory of God the Father.  The quotations have a pantheistic, or panentheistic tone and only glancingly brush against any mention of sin, let alone substutitionary atonement.  The reference to Jesus being the “God-man” can still be construed to mean by Forrester, and likely by his TEC supporters, as a restatement of the idea in his Trinity Sunday sermon that Jesus realized, the first human to do so, that he already was God at birth, his only difference from all other humans who also were God from birth but simply did not realize it.  No mention of Jesus’ eternal existence with God as God Himself before the Incarnation and in the pre-time eternal past.  No recantation of the implicit denial of the virgin birth of Jesus in Forrester’s self-composed liturgy for that same Trinity Sunday, itself a violation of his ordination vows and a cause for presentment, far from being a qualification for consecration as a bishop.  Simply sprinkling gaseous nonsense and church father name-dropping with standard TEC revisionist buzzwords like “deeply”, “profound”, “centrality”, “the other” (gag), “cosmos”, together with a smattering of standard theological terms gutted of their meaning into mere silouttes or placeholders or even IOUs does not disguise Forrester’s utter lack of either/both comphrension of or belief in the foundational and defining doctrines of Christianity.  It only brings them into sharper relief and reveals that his supporters and possible ghost writers share them as well.  Frankly, I hope this emission of Forrester/TEC gets its own SFIF post with the proper fisking.
——————————————————
Disagreeing with you is not the same as demonizing you, Bruce.  Unless, of course, you have such a compulsive need for everyone in the world to agree with you that any opinions different from your own, especially opinions backed up by Scripture, sound reason and logic and plain common sense, that you perceive them on a visceral level as a threat to your very existence.  Or maybe you are simply engaging in standard liberal guilting and projection.  Or maybe you have the very human trait of believing your own self-justifying stuff and are totally blind to it.

Once again, you repeat the tired liberal revisionist talking points of Biblioidolatry (in that case we know Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees for that and do our best to avoid it), interpretation and re-interpretation, preferably by the yardstick of our own opinions and pet vices, and reveling in the beauty of our favorite non-demanding passages while ignoring or denying the difficult and convicting passages that are just as valid and inspired and timeless and universal.  Your homage to Scripture sentences it lovingly to death by a thousand qualifications.

As far as I am concerned, and I assume also the site admins and the other commenters here, you are welcome to comment here anytime while following the same rules expected of all, which you have.  But this seems to be the 4th or 5th time you have bid us adieu forever to try to undo the damage we have wreaked on your pschye.  Either you are tougher than you realize, or you have a short memory, or you enjoy attempting to guilt reasserters more than you realize or are willing to admit.  I do hope the Jesus you know is the One of the entire Bible, the same before whom both Daniel and John fell on their faces as dead men in their awe and felt unworthiness, and before whom Isaiah cried out in despair and whose cry was heard and responded to first with purification and only then the comission and the sending forth.  The peace of the awful and thrice holy triune God be with you!

[145] Posted by Milton on 4-2-2009 at 10:24 PM · [top]

Christ asked us not to judge, but he did require us to be discerning, he sought to challenge us, and admonished us to avoid those who refuse to abandon their sin, so as to protect the innocent from being lead to sin. Yes, God has given us a brain, with the expectation of using it, and by following scripture, thinking and questioning we are able to recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing. You need to get your story straight, Bruce, you condemn us for thinking, but then accuse us of refusing to.

[146] Posted by mari on 4-2-2009 at 10:37 PM · [top]

142,
I’m not a contender, but otherwise in full agreement.

The Scripture is of course not Just a handbook for humans, but it most certainly is a library given for our edification and reproof, and is the Standard against which claims are to be tested.

[147] Posted by Bo on 4-2-2009 at 10:51 PM · [top]

Bruce, I’m not being rude, or attacking you, but I’d like to suggest that you take some time and read Colossians 1-3, and contemplate on what Paul was saying.

We’re all imperfect human beings, and as such we are called to seriously contemplate our sins, to be wary of self deception. Christ was very plain spoken on the subject, and Paul emphasizes that in the sections I cited. Yes, we are to read scripture with new eyes, but I disagree with any claim that scripture needs to be reinterpreted to match a place in time. People haven’t changed over time, we are still capable of the same sins, the same emotions and passions, for good or evil. We need to be honest with ourselves, and at times that can be very difficult, but we aren’t called to take the easy road. I say this with all sincerity, no offense intended, but I would like to ask that you consider what I’ve said.

[148] Posted by mari on 4-2-2009 at 11:22 PM · [top]

Oh, uh, Kevin, and your apologist Bruce, I forgot to mention 2 eensie, weensie little things glaringly absent from the Forrester-and-whoever-else ventriloquist position paper.

The Cross.

The physical, bodily Resurrection to eternal, personal life of the same Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died a complete physical death on that cross.

Once the entire gaseous emission had been blown away by the wind of the Holy Spirit and burned away like so much morning mist by the consuming fire who is the living God YWHW, those two realities were nowhere to be found in Forrester’s affirmation of his Christian “orthodoxy”.  Heh. Forrester et al got so busy backtracking furiously on the Incarnation that they forgot all about what paid the price of reconciliation with God from our sins and what prevents us from being of all men most to be pitied.

[149] Posted by Milton on 4-3-2009 at 12:21 AM · [top]

Speaking of the Cross - do not miss Fr. Matt’s talk, The Glory of the Cross, which provides a contrast between true teaching and that of false teachers like Forester:
http://binghamtongoodshepherd.blogspot.com/2009/04/glory-of-cross-of-christ.html

[150] Posted by Theodora on 4-3-2009 at 06:54 AM · [top]

Yes, I can’t wait for the rebuttal paper to Forrester’s little essay on the Incarnation.  You know, the one that will include all his statements, such as “we are each and every one an only begotten child of God”, we are “incarnations of God” and “incarnations of the Trinity.”  Might be difficult to square those with some of the theologians he refers to above. Shouldn’t be too difficult, maybe I’ll write one myself.

The latest Forrester paper reminds me of some essays I used to grade. The ones that had a paragraph about whatever the writer’s opinion was. Followed by several paragraphs which made it obvious the writer had gone to the library (or more recently, Wikipedia) found a half dozen sources on the subject, opened to a random page in each, and found a sentence that might or might not support the writer’s opinion. And concluded with a paragraph stating that the writer had proven his or her point.  As a rule, those essays did not receive very good marks.

[151] Posted by tjmcmahon on 4-3-2009 at 08:32 AM · [top]

I haven’t had the time nor inclination to respond to this thread for a while.
1.  It seems obvious to me (from his sermons) that Forrester’s anthropology, Christology, and sotierolgy are so far off the mark of classical Christianity that he should not be a priest, let alone a bishop.  He neither understands nor teaches the Faith of the Church.  How can he defend what he does not accept or understand?  His sermons seem to teach that we simply need to understand that we are loved to be saved.  That we are “saved” by a higher awareness of our place as God’s “begotten” children.  That is simply not the case.  Sin is not the result of ignorance but of rebellion.

2.  Regarding salvation outside of the Church.  I hold that Jesus is the only means of salvation.  Jesus saves.  Period.  But saying “Jesus Saves” does not save.  Only Jesus saves.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except by Jesus.  That does not preclude someone who is searching for the truth from finding it, in Jesus, after death.  As one of my early Spiritual Directors said to me:  “Everyone will either say to God ‘Thy will be done’ or God will say to that person ‘Thy will be done.’”  I would add to that whether you say it (and enter into heaven) or hear it (and lose heaven) will depend on whether you “practice” saying to God “Thy will be done” or saying to yourself “My will be done” here on earth.

I disagree with Bruce Garner a lot.  We have crossed swords on many occassions.  But I will not say he is not a Christian.  I believe that Bruce loves Jesus (as he understand Jesus), but that he is, sadly, trapped by his own sin and intellectual pride to submit everything to Jesus.  But, then, so are we all.  At Thomas Merton said, we tend to surrender to God last those things we love about ourselves most. 

In short, engage Bruce’s arguments with logic and reason.  Do not question his commitment to the Church or to Jesus.  Question his commitment to what the Church has always taught regarding the Trinity or the Person of Jesus.  Question his understanding of the difference between Moral and ceremonial laws - praticularly in light of Acts 15 where the Apostles laid down the guiding principle of interpreting the OT laws.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[152] Posted by Philip Snyder on 4-3-2009 at 09:29 AM · [top]

[152] Philip Snyder,

Thank you for that sterling Christian advice. If we follow it (not always an easy thing to do) we will be in conformance not only with the cmomenting standards here at SF, but more importantly, with our Lord’s injunction to us to love our enemies, which also includes those whom we see incorrectly as enemies, among the latter of whom I suspect we might find Mr. Garner.

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer

[153] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 4-3-2009 at 10:43 AM · [top]

Well, the Internet just ate my long post so you are spared.  smile  Let’s just say Romans 1,2.  Lord have mercy.

[154] Posted by monologistos on 4-3-2009 at 09:27 PM · [top]

RE: “I have done my best not to demonize anyone on this list, regardless of how much of an *sshole I think they are being.”
This is kind of like, “I’m in Washington and D.C. too.”  Our bi-coastal friends no doubt consider themselves saints to thus have solved the problem of time and space travel simply by trading on a similarity of names.There is an old Dutch proverb that says, “It is not necessary to hope to persevere.”  There is no hope for TEC.  Every building, chalice, man, woman and child will become dust.  The earth and all that is in it will be destroyed.  Our hope is in God, not TEC.  We’ve all been hedging our bets just a bit ... “OK, this God stuff is all fine and good, in its proper place of course”, and meanwhile, we put our faith in real estate, banks, political parties, and children. The Christian hope is something different. Our true home and destination is not this mortal, tragically wounded world but the Kingdom of Heaven. We do not worship life but we worship life Eternal.  Only if we allow God to shrive our hearts of mortal hope are we made fit stewards, for a short time, of the bit of the cosmos where we live and breathe.What then is required of us?  The searing vision of the Crucifixion and of the coming of the Kingdom was overpowering to the apostles and they lived as if the Kingdom was at hand.  And so it is.  Are all called to live as the monastics?  I don’t think so because we are an organic body with different parts but I believe that as the Church requires the witness of bishops, priests and deacons, it also requires monastics to remind us of the apostles’ vision.  It is not a popular vision in these strange, late days.  It is a necessary one lest the religion become a testimony to materialism rather than to God.I’m not at all suggesting that we hunker down and abandon “organized religion.”  Christian ecclesiology is essential to our faith but let’s not mistake this world for the Kingdom of God.  It is very near but it is not “the world”.  We must beware the spirit of despair that would tear from our hearts and from our lips praise and thanksgiving to our Lord this day, this Lent.  But remember in whom we put our Christian hope.  It is not TEC, not the HoB or General Convention nor the Prayer Book.  If you want some sort of worldly solution, it’s not that difficult.  Get rid of those who have failed you.  Get rid of the bankers and politicians whose moral failing and greed has stolen the wealth of the nation.  Get rid of the priests and bishops who, claiming to be wise, have become fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles…lest you also become futile in your thinking and your senseless mind be darkened.

[155] Posted by monologistos on 4-4-2009 at 08:34 AM · [top]

Thanks for the encouragement, monologistis. :^)

[156] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 4-4-2009 at 08:55 AM · [top]

You are welcome, #156!  If we persevere, perhaps our senseless minds will be brightened a bit!

[157] Posted by monologistos on 4-4-2009 at 09:00 AM · [top]

Source discovered for KGTF’s doctrine of salvation:

Lake Superior Zendo [Marquette, MI—KGTW’s town] is organized as a Soto Zen Buddhist Temple….  Our purpose is to support, encourage, and facilitate the practice of Soto Zen Buddhism in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The Temple’s spiritual, charitable, and educational activities are offered to support our mission of enabling all beings to awaken to their true nature[italics added].

The last clause is paraphrased in KGTF’s approving citation of the way of the Buddha:

The way of the Buddha is essentially about waking up to who we are, and what creation is – utterly one and sacred.

http://www.upepiscopal.org/Hiawathaland/CIHJulyAugust04.pdf

If you read everything available from KGTF, you will see that this is his doctrine of salvation—waking up to your natural goodness.

[158] Posted by Gator on 4-7-2009 at 12:48 PM · [top]

Sorry—Didn’t give the link to the sangha in which KGTF can most conveniently fellowship:
http://lakesuperiorzendo.googlepages.com/lakesuperiorzendo

[159] Posted by Gator on 4-7-2009 at 12:56 PM · [top]

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