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Buddhist Bishop-Elect Rewrites Baptismal Vows

Thursday, April 23, 2009 • 9:11 am

As more ‘no’ votes trickle in on the consent Buddhist Bishop-Elect Kevin Thew Forrester’s election, we’ve received numerous inquiries about something that’s emerging as a key objection for several bishops: Forrester’s rewriting of the Baptism liturgy. Here it is.


As more ‘no’ votes trickle in on the consent Buddhist Bishop-Elect Kevin Thew Forrester’s election, we’ve received numerous inquiries about something that’s emerging as a key objection for several bishops: Forrester’s rewriting of the Baptism liturgy. Amid the news surrounding the ACI/CP story, I wanted to make sure that we didn’t lose track of the Forrester consents, and that everyone is able to have a look at the item in question. This is from the 2008 Easter service.

The Easter service booklet from St. Paul’s Marquette in its entirety is here. Take a look also at the program insert here. Both files are in PDF format.

The Presentation for Baptism

Presider: The Candidate for Holy Baptism will now be presented.

Parents and Godparents: I present Harrison to receive the Sacrament of Baptism

Presider: Will you be responsible for seeing that Harrison is brought up in the Christian faith and life?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: Will you, by your prayers and witness, help Harrison to grow into the full stature of Christ?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: Do you seek to awaken to the eternal presence of God, who is your very heart and soul?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of self deceit to dwell in the house of honesty, where eternal Hope reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of all fear to dwell in the house of courage, where eternal Faith reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of all anger to dwell in the house of serenity, where Love reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as the way of Life and Hope?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

Presider: Do you put your whole trust in Christ’s grace and love?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

Presider: Do you promise to follow Christ as the way of life?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

We stand as we are able.

Presider: Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support Harrison in her life in Christ?

Assembly: We will.


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Comments:

wow—the renunciations of the devil, sinful desires of the flesh, and the temptations of the world…completely omitted in favor of:


Presider: God forever invites you to let go of self deceit to dwell in the house of honesty, where eternal Hope reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of all fear to dwell in the house of courage, where eternal Faith reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of all anger to dwell in the house of serenity, where Love reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.”

Amazing

[1] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 04-23-2009 at 10:46 AM • top

I dunno.  The Bishop-elect and his supporters have said that he is walking the path of Buddhism and Christianity together.  His re-writing of the Baptismal vows here sound much more Buddhist than Christian to me.

[2] Posted by more martha than mary on 04-23-2009 at 10:50 AM • top

This is not a Christian baptismal liturgy.  Nowhere is Jesus LORD or SAVIOR and there is not a whit of indication as to what the baptised is being saved from.  No clue here that the believing baptised are qualified, delivered, transferred, redeemed, or forgiven (Colossians 1:12-15, specifically, and context generally of the whole first chapter).

[3] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 04-23-2009 at 11:14 AM • top

Greg,

Thank you for publishing this. It makes public just how KGTF’s actualized beliefs would limit his ability to fulfil his responsibility as a Bishop to

guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church of God.

It is axiomatic that a leader cannot successfully require of others what he is not willing to demand of himself. When, if ever, will the clergy learn this lesson? I would humbly suggest that all seminaries need something along the lines of either a boot camp or a plebe summer, if not the equivalent of a spiritual and theological BUD/S school.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[4] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 04-23-2009 at 11:19 AM • top

Buddhianity…

[5] Posted by st. anonymous on 04-23-2009 at 11:29 AM • top

Forrester seems to believe that Christianity and Buddhism are very similar - especially Buddhism.

If I were presented with a person who had been baptized using this liturgy, I would have to conditionally rebaptize that person.  He did not subscribe to Apostles Creed.  He did not renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil.  He did not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  On a positive note (and this is stretching it), he was baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  So, technically, the right words were used.  However, given what was said before, I doubt very much if the Forrester intended to do what the Church does in Baptism.  So, form and matter are correct, but intent is seriously lacking.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[6] Posted by Philip Snyder on 04-23-2009 at 12:04 PM • top

I am not sure if this Baptism was valid…. Harrison’s parents should have another, conditional, one done.

[7] Posted by A Senior Priest on 04-23-2009 at 12:09 PM • top

On reading the so-called rite in its entirety I note that it appears that there were no Scripture readings. Am I wrong? Sure I must be. I have grave misgivings about the possible validity of *any* so-called sacramental actions performed at this conventicle.

[8] Posted by A Senior Priest on 04-23-2009 at 12:13 PM • top

Thanks Greg.  I’d seen this before, but it’s good (albeit tragic reading) to have this posted so prominently and clearly.  Kudos to SF for getting the materials out there for all to see.  It’s making a difference.

[9] Posted by Karen B. on 04-23-2009 at 12:17 PM • top

This is taking revisionism to a new level.

[10] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 04-23-2009 at 12:31 PM • top

Sr Priest,
If you look at the whole service, you will see what are, recognizably, the propers for Easter.  However, I don’t recognize the “Eucharistic” prayer nor is the service from the Book of Common Prayer.  Also, I do not believe that “The Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures” or “The Inclusive New Testament” are authorized by the All Powerful, Infallable General Convention (peace be upon it).  Nor do I believe that the Canadian Book of Common Prayer is authorized by the APIGC.

Of course the Consitution and Canons of this Church are only there to restrict Christians, not Buddhists.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[11] Posted by Philip Snyder on 04-23-2009 at 01:00 PM • top

Another thing,  In the Eucharist, the Gospel is proclaimed, not read.  The deacon is to say:  “The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to ....” not “A reading from Gospel of ....”

The high point of the Liturgy of the Word is not the sermon (sorry to you preachers out there) but the conclusion of the Gospel where the deacon (at least in higher church liturgies) raises the Book of the Gospels up and proclaims:  “The Gospel of the Lord!”  This is to mirror the action of the Celebrant in raising up the consecrated Bread and Wine at the end of the Eucharist Prayer.  Thus, we have a mirror of Word and Sacrament.  The Gospel is liturgically different because it is the story, in the Word of God, written; of the Word of God, incarnate.

This just shows me that Forrester is even less likely to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[12] Posted by Philip Snyder on 04-23-2009 at 01:09 PM • top

Grasshopper….

[13] Posted by Scott Boykin on 04-23-2009 at 01:45 PM • top

Wow, some folks out there have been trying to defend this as a minor tweak here or there.  Now that I see it, it’s pretty much a wholesale substitution of a Buddist philosophy into our Baptismal format.

By way of constrast, when I was baptised (back in the days when dinosaurs walked the earth), these were my vows:

DOST thou, in the name of this Child, renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow, nor be led by them?
  Answer. I renounce them all; and, by God’s help, will endeavour not to follow, nor be led by them.
  Minister. Dost thou believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith, as contained in the Apostles’ Creed?
  Answer. I do.
  Minister. Wilt thou be baptized in this Faith?
  Answer. That is my desire.
  Minister. Wilt thou then obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life?
  Answer. I will; by God’s help.

Sorry, but try as I might, I see no area of overlap between the two sets of vows.

[14] Posted by Dorpsgek on 04-23-2009 at 01:52 PM • top

Am I missing it or did he even dump the “peace/justice/dignity of every human being” clause upon which TEC hangs its “Baptismal Theology of LGBT Ordination”?

[15] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 04-23-2009 at 02:10 PM • top

Ooops, never mind.  He keeps it in, even adding it in an extra place (the entrance rite).

[16] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 04-23-2009 at 02:12 PM • top

How about:  “when you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.” 
Bishop Genpo

[17] Posted by Scott Boykin on 04-23-2009 at 02:13 PM • top

subscribe

[18] Posted by AndrewA on 04-23-2009 at 02:39 PM • top

Let’s see, he has us “dwelling in the house of honesty”, “dwelling in the house of courage”, “dwelling in the house of serenity”...absolutely nothing about “dwelling in the house of pancakes”.

I could get behind something like that.

DoW

[19] Posted by DietofWorms on 04-23-2009 at 02:55 PM • top

Oh, Lord help us…instructions on how to maintain a holy silence.

A period of silence for reflection follows each lesson and the sermon. Allow your attention to drop in and down and rest upon your breath. When distractions arise – such as thoughts and sounds and smells – simply notice and return to the breath.

I’m speechless.

[20] Posted by GillianC on 04-23-2009 at 03:06 PM • top

I keep expecting to turn the page and read, “We gather around a low stone table…”

[21] Posted by Greg Griffith on 04-23-2009 at 04:31 PM • top

What if I don’t recognize the distractions, but the snoring is noticed by other parishioners or the preacher? Is there anything I can do about that? {insert several winkies here}

Blessings and regards,
Keith Töpfer

[22] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 04-23-2009 at 04:33 PM • top

This isn’t Buddhism. It’s a form of liberal Christianity. At least get the theology right.

[23] Posted by NewTrollObserver on 04-23-2009 at 04:35 PM • top

NTO,

Of course it’s not Buddhism, but neither it is Christianity, liberal or otherwise. You get YOUR theology right.

[24] Posted by Greg Griffith on 04-23-2009 at 04:37 PM • top

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
  I am a new member on this site so, I’d like to backtrack if I may.  I am an Anglican, and I am also a student of Japanese history and culture of which Zen is a rather large part.  I am sorry but Mr. Kevin Forrester (I use mister, because I don’t belive that he is worthy of the titles “Father” or “Bishop.”) has forgotten what being a Christian truly means, and he clearly has skewed Buddhist ideas quite a bit.  These religions do appear similar on the surface.  Both preach goodwill towards people, the abandonment of earthly things and desires, honor of parents, prohibit murder, and foul speech.  This laundry list of morals is where similarities end.  If we examine the theology of Christianity and the spiritual discipline of both the religion, and the Eastern philosophy, we see a vast gulf of difference between the two. 
  First of all, the path to heaven is through the saving grace of God, extended to us via the blessed sacrament, which is “(...)The Body and Blood of Christ, shed for the remission of sin.”  This means that man can do nothing, except accept Christ as his or her Savior, to achieve salvation.  In Mahayana Buddhism of which Zen is a sect, man achieves salvation via his own physical and mental discipline, and his ability to cast out desire for all things.  The second determinant of Buddhist salvation is “Karma” this is a celestial tally of good and bad deeds committed by the adherent.  The more good deeds done the more likely you are to reach enlightenment and the “Pure Land.”  This is a religion centered on man’s own personal power and works.  This does not meld with Christianity at all.  In our faith, it is faith, and a total belief that Christ is Savior of all human beings, coupled with works that brings the Christian salvation.  Work alone, physical and mental discipline alone cannot save you.  Turn to the Book of James for support “,James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
  In closing, Mr. Forrester as your brother in Christ, I beg you and implore you as earnestly as I am able. please stop this, reccant this bizzarre beliefs, and return to the Church.  If you will not stop this for your own sake, then please, think of the flock that is in your care, do not confuse them to satisfy or aggrandize your own beliefs or intellect. 
                    Pax Vobiscum,
                            Xavier2009

[25] Posted by Xavier2009 on 04-23-2009 at 07:48 PM • top

Well, I wasn’t doing too badly with it (given that, absent any creed, it’s not actually a baptismal vow) until I got to the end and found out “Harrison” was a girl.  I realize that requiring a kid to be baptized with a saint’s name is out now (not sure if it was ever an Anglican requirement) but there’s got to be some eccesiastic rule that forbids giving “hip” male names to girls.

[26] Posted by Catholic Mom on 04-23-2009 at 07:50 PM • top

Quite apart from the theological issues, I am having trouble getting past the name “Harrison” being attached to a girl.

I wonder if these folks know what a Harrison was, or why someone would be named that?  (Colossal giveaway hint: a harrison was the the spiked trap in the moat of a medieval English castle; Harrison became the family name of those unfortunate peasant souls dragooned by the lord of the manor to keep it functional and free of filth, bodies and whatnot.  It was the one of the least desirable stations in feudal life.)

But, hey, who am I to judge?  Carry on!

[27] Posted by Fine Young Calvinist on 04-23-2009 at 07:54 PM • top

By the way, the surces used for the Buddhist thought in the previous comment are from Tamura Yoshiro’s Japanese Buddhism, a cultural history, Buddhist Books, Tokyo, Japan: 1998, and and Matsunaga Daigan’s, The Foundations of Japanese Buddhism, Kosei Publishing Co., Tokyo, Japan: 1987.  Bible verses are from the King James Version.

[28] Posted by Xavier2009 on 04-23-2009 at 07:55 PM • top

Holy Baptism is the sacramental foundation of the Church, grounded in our Lord’s commandment to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).  What Forrester has done by rewriting the baptismal vows is not merely a violation of his ordination vow to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church (which is serious enough for defrocking); his new liturgy is also a sign of apostasy.  Forrester has abandoned the close connection made in our Lord’s ‘Great Commission’ between using the right words for the administration of the sacrament on the one hand, and the intention to teach the baptized to obey everything our Lord commands. 

Phil Snyder in #6 is right to note:

... technically, the right words were used.  However, given what was said before, I doubt very much if the Forrester intended to do what the Church does in Baptism.  So, form and matter are correct, but intent is seriously lacking.

[29] Posted by Creedal Christian on 04-23-2009 at 08:07 PM • top

FYC,

Note that the pronouns used throughout the service change from “he” to “she.” Looks like some sloppy cut & paste.

[30] Posted by Greg Griffith on 04-23-2009 at 08:14 PM • top

You know, for a fellow who bases his entire theory of holy orders on

THE Baptismal Covenant

Rev. Thew Forrester does not seem to have much respect for

THE Baptismal Covenant

[31] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-23-2009 at 08:16 PM • top

My own favorite part is this:

May we always know
that all creation rests eternally
in the compassionate arms of God,
the Mother and Father of all,
who ceaselessly gives new birth by water and the Holy Spirit,
who forever bestows upon us the forgiveness of sin,
and who graciously keeps all creation forever in eternal life,
living in the heart of Christ.

Let’s see, that would be God the Father, God the Mother, God the Christ, and God the Holy Spirit.  So much for Trinitarianism.

[32] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-23-2009 at 08:21 PM • top

#26, Catholic Mom:
“there’s got to be some eccesiastic rule that forbids giving “hip” male names to girls.”

That’s beneath you, I think, talking about the child’s name like that.  I don’t think that’s funny.

[33] Posted by more martha than mary on 04-23-2009 at 08:24 PM • top

The irony of Thew Forrester’s being rejected largely because of these baptismal vows is that I would bet that in 20 years the TEC baptismal vows will look more like Thew Forrester’s than like the current vows. The renunciation of the world, the flesh and the devil is sure to go at the next revision. It us too evocative of a mindset that TEC now actively combats: one acknowledging the reality of sin, the necessity of holiness, the personhood of Satan, the need for separation from the world (i.e. from worldliness).

[34] Posted by Toral1 on 04-23-2009 at 08:30 PM • top

re: #33
more martha than mary makes a good point.  Please remember that there are about 1800 Episcopalians who are nominally members of this diocese, and those who still attend church have to live with this kind of thing every Sunday.  I personally have received almost unending support from clergy and laity around the world, and I have shared what support I could with people in the diocese I have contact with.  But there are many others who are being led down a road they have no wish to travel, by Rev. Forrester and others who are presenting themselves as the “mainstream” Episcopal Church.  Please resist the temptation to ridicule these people.  They are doing their best to maintain the faith they were brought up in.  It is the church which has allowed this to happen, and a handful of activist clergy, that are at fault, not the laity of the diocese.

[35] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-23-2009 at 08:33 PM • top

Note that the pronouns used throughout the service change from “he” to “she.” Looks like some sloppy cut & paste.

Oh thank God.  I mean, it’s bad enough for the poor kid to go through life thinking they’re baptized when they’re not, but at least some poor girl doesn’t have to go through life named “Harrison.”  Or, or course, given that they keep switching the pronouns for God back and forth from male to female, perhaps they’ve decided that “Harrison” (poor child) should be referred to alternately as male and female.  This will keep Harrison from a too-early gender fixation. smile

(Martha—I think it’s OK to poke a little fun at the name of what amounts, for purposes of this discussion, to be an imaginary person.  Also—if you’re the kind of person seeking out trendy names for your daughter (I actually know of a girl named “Camden” which, if you’d ever been to my home state, you would not give to ANY child) you are way beyond caring what some middle-aged Catholic woman thinks about it.)

[36] Posted by Catholic Mom on 04-23-2009 at 08:35 PM • top

Catholic mom, Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought Harrison was this child’s actual name, not some imaginary name Greg dreamed up.  Secondly, maybe it’s a regional thing, but I don’t look at Harrison as a trendy name.  I mean it’s not like the child’s name in the post was Suri or Apple or Moon Unit!  Down south where I live, females are many times given ancestor’s names as a given name.  Or better yet, as part of a double name!!!

Though I don’t always agree with your posts, I usually can see where you are coming from.  This one, however was different.  Maybe I have just misjudged you.  No big deal!

[37] Posted by more martha than mary on 04-23-2009 at 09:07 PM • top

Martha, You are right—it may be that there was an actual child named Harrison and this was taken from something printed out for a baptisimal service for this child.  (I have actually never seen myself something printed out with the child’s actual name in it, but of course it’s possible.)  That said, I think it’s still OK to have some lighthearted fun with the name.  This is not the name that some poor person from the ghetto would name their kid.  This is exactly the type of upper-middle class trend-seeking name that somebody gives their daughter when they’re hoping to outdo all the “Sarahs” and “Emilys” in their pre-school. And that’s what I’m poking a little fun at.  And I get that you all in the south have some “strange” (to us) names for your kids and I think it’s OK to poke a little regional fun at that too. I mean, I come from NJ.  Even worse, I grew up here.  If I couldn’t take a little regional humor, I’d have had to move a long time ago.  However, I apologize if I crossed the line into nasty or offensive.  I certainly didn’t mean to.

[38] Posted by Catholic Mom on 04-24-2009 at 05:59 AM • top

I also meant to say that I assume that “Harrison”‘s parents are not reading this anyway. 

Just FYI, when I went to name my first son, I wanted to name him an Irish (male) name which (as with so many male names) has been taken as a female name in the U.S.  So much so that (as with many many male names) Americans have no idea that it is actually a male name.  Once a name is taken as a female name is automatically becomes poison to name a boy that and everybody immediately stops.  And it’s really deleting the number of Irish names that Americans can give their kids because, there is a big trend to give kids Irish names and a big trend to give girls boys names, and the intersection of that is just a disaster for Irish boys names. 

Anyway, the amount of heat I got when people would say “what are you thinking of naming the baby” and I said my “boy” choice was unbelievable.  In fact, as I lay in bed recovering from labor my (female) obstetrician came over and said “what are you going to call him” (I had already learned to cringe when I responded to that) and I said what we were thinking of calling him and she made a face and said “Oh, I wouldn’t do that.”  I mean my obstetrician said this to me 15 minutes after the kid was born!  Anyway, we gave it to him as a middle name and maybe somebody he’ll use it as a first name when he becomes famous (there ARE famous Irishmen with this name) and just give people a hard steely stare when he introduces himself.

PS I used to work with a big black guy—well over 6 feet—who was an officer in the reserves and use to go off to military camp a couple times a year.  His name was “Hillary” (which was ALWAYS a male name long before the girls took it) and I just it loved it that NOBODY ever thought that it would be amusing to tease him about his name.  He is my hero!  (His mom too.)

[39] Posted by Catholic Mom on 04-24-2009 at 06:13 AM • top

As far as I can see the child is validly baptised properly in the usual way “in the name of the father and the son and the holy ghost” whatever the shortfalls in following the rubrics of the liturgy of the Episcopal Church and its “baptismal covenant”

So let us place the child and parents on one side in this thread, welcoming Harrison as a new member of our church into our midst and praying for their future growth in Christ.

The parents have nothing to worry about.  Now the liturgy on the other hand…....

[40] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 04-24-2009 at 06:24 AM • top

I also meant to say that I assume that “Harrison“‘s parents are not reading this anyway.

Please make no such assumption.  There is a very good possibility that you are wrong.  I can assure you as a matter of FACT that friends of Harrison’s parents are reading this. A number of people have been working tirelessly to awaken the laity of the diocese, and I can tell you from certain knowledge that a fair percentage of the laity in Marquette do read SF- at least the “Forrester” threads.  You had better believe that people at the diocese are reading it, and will pass along every negative they can find to discredit the “liars and malcontents”.  Although, if they are reading, I can assure them there are more than 5.

[41] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-24-2009 at 06:55 AM • top

Personally, I would be a lot more upset to read that people were suggesting that my child was not validly baptized than that they were chuckling over the trendy name I picked out.  On the subject of which—I don’t know what the Episcopal church says specifically about it but the Catholic Church, as Phil Snyder points out, states that a person is validly baptized when the Trinitarian formula is used and the person baptizing the child “intends to do what the Church intends to do when she baptizes.”  That would be 1) joining the child to the Body of Christ and 2) expressing (on the child’s behalf) belief in the teachings of the Church.  It is not stated that a baptism is invalid if those two points are not verbally articulated, but they must be intended.  Were they intended here?

[42] Posted by Catholic Mom on 04-24-2009 at 07:40 AM • top

#42 Catholic Mom
The child is validly baptised.  Why not take the hint and in good taste and as a Christian leave the child out of it.  The child, its name, and its parents should not be discussed on a public blog thread IMHO.

[43] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 04-24-2009 at 07:55 AM • top

Catholic Mom,
The child was baptized “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  That much is apparent in the service leaflet if you read the whole ceremony.  We cannot know the intentions of the parents and godparents, but let us assume a charitable stance.
The question put before Episcopalians is not whether the child is Baptised. The question is whether the priest in question violated canon law, and prayer book rubrics, by authoring his own Baptismal Covenant, and replacing the one authorized by General Convention, the Canons of TEC, and indeed his own diocese.  Whether all his claims to “baptismal ministry of TEC” do not fall flat when he uses a different Covenant than the rest of the Episcopal Church.

[44] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-24-2009 at 08:23 AM • top

I don’t know whether this has been mentioned previously, but I notice that the Bishop-elect, in open violation of the Canons of the Episcopal Church, practices open communion:

The Breaking of the Bread
Presider: We break this bread
to share in the Body of Christ.
Assembly: We who are many are one body,
for we all share in the one bread.

Presider: The Gifts of God for the People of God.

All are invited to God’s table.

[page 10 of linked Easter Day service bulletin]

[45] Posted by Pigeon on 04-24-2009 at 09:58 AM • top

I too thank you, Greg, for highlighting this notorious rewrite of the baptismal liturgy by devoting a separate thread to this matter.  It’s good to give it such visibility.

Let me make two points that I don’t think anyone else has made yet in this discussion of what’s wrong with what Keven “Genpo” Forester has done.

First, note that in the part of the Baptismal Covenant where the Apostles’ Creed is affirmed, Forrester substitutes the lnaguage of Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  As we’ve already seen in the earlier thread critiquing his Trinity Sunday sermon, Forrester openly, explicitly, and brazenly departs from the doctrine of the Trinity that is at the heart of the Christian faith.  But his adaptation of the Creed implicitly does the same.  By equating God the Father with the Creator, and God the Son with the Redeemer, and God the Spirit with the Sanctifier, Forrester implicitly teaches the heresy known as modalism (i.e., seeing the three persons of the Godhead as mere modes of existence by which an undifferentiated God manifests itself to us).  And the same politically correct, “inclusive” substitution occurs in the body of the baptismal prayer, where Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier is again used in place of true Trinitarian language. 

This is a much bigger deal than most people tend to think, for it’s further evidence that Forrester is an idolater, who prefers a god of his own imagining to the biblical, true God.

Second, it’s telling that in his radical rewrite of the prayers of the people for the baptismal candidate, Forrester repeatedly uses the language of “May Harrison know…”  For example, may she know that she’s sent into the world in witness to your love, etc.  I find that so revealing because it’s a clear sign of the Gnostic flavor of Forrester’s religion.  That is, the essence of his whole theology is that we are saved by KNOWLEDGE (Gnosis in Greek), particularly by discovering that we have the spark of the divine in us all, blah, blah, blah.  Thus, Forrester fittingly and accordingly has everyone pray that Harrison will KNOW the spiritual truths that amount to enlightenment in his eyes.

As noted above, Forrester is neither a good Buddhist nor a Christian worthy of the name.  So what is he?  As this revealing and outrageous liturgical rewrite shows, he is in fact a Gnostic.  He likes to portray himself as a cutting edge, progressive thinker.  But he’s fallen for one of the oldest and most dangerous heresies of all time.

David Handy+

[46] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-24-2009 at 11:57 AM • top

Just as an FYI, this appears to be from Easter 2008, not 2009.  And seriously, this should be about KTF, not about the name someone gave to their child… I think it is HORRIBLE for anyone to judge that!  Maybe it is a family name or something, but we should respect that it is none of our business.  (after all, I would NOT have named myself Lillian if I had a choice, but it was my grandmothers name, so I was blessed with it)  smile  I am very glad to see that this election does not seem to be going full steam ahead. 

I think they should combine the Diocese of Northern Michigan with one from Wi, perhaps.  The U P is a huge area to cover, but very few people there.  Would make sense to just combine with another area.

[47] Posted by LilFairie on 04-24-2009 at 02:54 PM • top

I really like the name Lillian, LilFairie.  I had a great aunt named Lillian!

[48] Posted by more martha than mary on 04-24-2009 at 03:15 PM • top

more martha than mary…. thanks!  I don’t mind it so much now, and usually go by just Lil or Lillie, but growing up in the 70s, I was usually the only one with such an oldfashioned name!  But it is more popular now and I even have a niece named after myself and my grandmother, so that is nice.  But I really hate to see people making snide remarks about a little boys name!  God bless!

[49] Posted by LilFairie on 04-24-2009 at 03:40 PM • top

Well, we wanted to name our son MoonDog, but in the end we went with William.  We’re such cop-outs.

[50] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 04-24-2009 at 09:44 PM • top

Lil, not that it makes much of a difference in your argument but the little boy in question is a little girl.  She is Harrison.  That said, many common female names started out as male names…Leslie, Frances, Ashleigh, etc.

[51] Posted by renzinthewoods on 04-24-2009 at 10:05 PM • top

Is there a way to contact any of the people in the Diocese of Northern Michigan to get their views on this whole thing?  Maybe there is more to KTF than meets the eye.  Does he completely have the “wool pulled over their eyes?”  I don’t understand how a congregation could allow things to get this far out of hand without some major problems going on.

[52] Posted by LilFairie on 04-25-2009 at 06:06 PM • top

LilFairie, several people from the diocese have been posting to SFIF.

[53] Posted by oscewicee on 04-25-2009 at 07:26 PM • top

Is there a way to contact any of the people in the Diocese of Northern Michigan to get their views on this whole thing?

The officials of the diocese have not been shy about posting their opinions on the HoBD listserve- a forum where those in the diocese who oppose consents have no voice.  I am sure the ministry developers and standing committee members will be more than happy to respond to you should you send them an email.

Several of my views are posted above, but you are welcome to address any question that you like to me over the PM or email via Stand Firm. If you read through, you will also note some other N. Michigan posters on the thread above. (Given that the diocese is actively working to identify who we are, I will leave it to others as to whether they wish to self identify)

I am pretty sure that the opinion of the officials of this diocese is that the attempt to pull the wool over my eyes has been less than successful.  There are several other posters here also from N. Michigan. I had email last week from several current and former members of the diocese who are quite aware of what is going on.  A sizable portion of Rev. Forrester’s congregation left since he was made rector, I don’t think they are naive.  Nor the delegates who voted against him.  Nor the people who are currently very upset about his election.  The diocesan representation that there are only 5 “malcontents” stirring up trouble is a gross underestimate.

One of the real problems of TEC is that if you don’t like your bishop or priest and his or her theology, there is precious little you can do about it.  There are no recall petitions.  So the tendency is for people to either leave or decide to stick it out. There is not much the average person can do to “fix” such problems.  You can mismanage finances and drive people out of the church for decades without the national church lifting a finger.  Now, of course, if you are 85 years old, and perform a confirmation at the request of an Anglican primate without permission of the local TEC bishop, you can be deposed tomorrow.

My own opinion is that KGTF might make a great college professor if he cleaned up his speaking style a bit and organized his thoughts better.  I think he is a genuinely caring individual. But to be a priest or bishop requires a deep understanding of Christianity that he clearly lacks.  It also requires a willingness to submit to Christ and the church that Rev. Forrester also lacks. I also think the congregation has a hard time fitting into the church when it is occupied by his ego.

[54] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-25-2009 at 09:22 PM • top

Is this level of messing around with the liturgy a normal part of Total Common Ministry?

[55] Posted by elanor on 04-26-2009 at 06:26 PM • top

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