Anglican Enablers, Spreading Poison in the Name of Peace
Fr. Baucum leads off with a series of quotes from orthodox Anglican leaders around the world who support his endeavors. The first is one of the most depressing:
We are so looking forward to welcoming Bishop Shannon Johnston and Tory Baucum to our Leadership Conference in London. Our prayers are with them –and all our brothers and sisters at Truro Anglican Church and throughout the diocese of Virginia – as you work together to bring peace, unity and healing.
Vicar, Trinity Brompton
Nicky Gumble is the creator of the wildly successful “Alpha” program. It’s a shame he’s lent his name to this.
But Gumble’s is just the first. Fr. Baucum produces quote after quote from prominent orthodox Anglicans including Bishop Richard Chartres and Bishop Justin Welby (both of whom are in the running, Fr. Baucum hastens to tell us, for the Archbishop of Canterbury) falling over themselves to praise Fr. Tory. Bishop Graham Cray writes:
I warmly applaud the deep and patient commitment to peacemaking, and a continued relationship, that Truro Church and Bishop Shannon Johnston of the diocese of Virginia have made. When Christians profoundly disagree they are still to relate to one another as Christians. Rector Tory and Bishop Shannon, and all those who have worked with them during this painful and demanding process, have set a vital example of what this can mean.
It is true that they have set an example. But may it be a warning to others rather than a model.
I’m not sure what exactly Fr. Baucum believes these quotes accomplish. Does the support of prominent men mean that his efforts are necessarily correct? Is it an effort to marginalize those who oppose him?
Here’s what Fr. Baucum says about them:
These quotes represent not only our most orthodox leaders in Anglicanism but those who are evangelistically effective leaders, the ultimate test of orthodoxy. (Those on the right and left who remain coiled for action and are riven in spiritual sterility are seldom as orthodox as they claim.) But these leaders walk the talk of obedience to Jesus.
So “evangelistic effectiveness” is the ultimate test of orthodoxy? Really? What does he mean by that? Numbers? Is that his measure? If so, then Jesus’ earthly ministry was perhaps the most “sterile” of all. He preached to crowds of tens of thousands for a year in Galilee and only managed to cobble together a hundred or so disciples at most. But when he preached sermon a referring to himself as the true bread from heaven, even the tiny band of one hundred melted away and he was left with only the Twelve…one of whom was a traitor (John 6:60-71). Does Jesus meet Fr. Baucum’s “ultimate test” of orthodoxy?
Note also the attempt to triangulate and position himself in the middle between two “coiled” extremes. On the one side are, apparently, those who have criticized his efforts to legitimize Bishop Johnston’s status as a Christian leader and brother and promote his ministry. On the other side are those pushing the same sex agenda in the church. Between the two stands Fr. Tory the peacemaker together with his brother Bishop Johnston (who, after all, believes the Nicene Creed), healing divisions, mending wounds and getting on with the Great Commission
The only problem for Fr. Tory is that the New Testament does not provide room for the middle way he’s attempting to construct. The real measure of orthodoxy is not “evangelistic effectiveness” but biblical faithfulness. The test for orthodoxy is the Berean test (Acts 17:11). And by that measure Bishop Johnston is not a brother but a wolf. And by that measure Fr. Baucum’s own actions are revealed to be dangerous and deadly both to his own flock and to the wider church.
As we’ve noted at Stand Firm in the past, Fr. Baucum’s “reconciliation” initiative involves far more than merely befriending Bishop Johnston. Reconciliation for Baucum means opening doors for mutual ministry, seeking ways to cooperate across the aisle, and describing Bishop Johnston’s advocacy for same sex blessings and the ordination of priests in same sex relationships as a disagreement between “brothers”.
The effect of all this reconciling and mutually ministering and “healing” is to push the question of faithfulness to biblical norms for human sexuality into the realm of adiaphora. The conflict over sexuality becomes a “non-essential” disagreement.
How does this affect the Church? Fr. Baucum, Fr. Nicky Gumble and all those who support this initiative legitimize and enable the ministry of an unrepentant false teacher. They believe they are effecting reconciliation. In reality they welcome a wolf into the fold. Fr. Baucum may enjoy his mutual ministry with Bishop Johnston and the accolades he receives but he endangers the souls and lives of the flock of God. Those who are struggling with homosexual attraction at Truro and Trinity Brompton are now confronted with the confused and confusing image of known orthodox pastors who believe homosexual behavior to be sinful embracing and calling brother a leader who believes it is blessed.
Sin is deadly to the soul but Fr. Baucum makes peace with this purveyor poison and calls it healing and unity.
This precisely what St. John warned about in his second epistle.
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him stakes part in his wicked works.”(2 John 9-11)
There can be no dialog with false teachers. I pray that Fr. Baucum will heed John’s apostolic warning and turn back from his present course. His actions represent a participation in Bishop Johnston’s wicked work and they open the door to ecclesial chaos and dissolution.
I also hope that those with influence and authority will intervene. Truro Church is under the authority of Bishop John Guernsey who has, in the past, indicated support for Fr. Baucum’s version of reconciliation. I pray he will change his mind. Unwillingness to defend the flock is precisely what led the Episcopal Church to ruin.
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