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The Presiding Bishop’s Challenge Has Been Met

Monday, January 7, 2008 • 5:05 am

There is no mention in the article if the bishop in question continues unrepentant in the alleged acts; only an implication that having participated in homosexual acts, it is now hypocritical to take an Orthodox view or support others in their stand for Biblical Authority.  If one follows this logic, it means once you have sinned, you may never condemn that particular activity as a sin.  Every bank robber must condone theft, every unfaithful spouse must embrace adultery.  Repentance is never even considered.  Since we are all sinners in desperate need of the redeeming grace and salvation of Our Lord and Savior, this would be bad news indeed. 


Clarity was our prayer as General Convention 2006 approached.  No one can dispute that prayer has been answered in spades.  In fact the actions of General Convention combined with ever unfolding events have given notice to the world that The Episcopal Church refuses to draw back from its allegiance to self. 

Last week the Presiding Bishop gave an interview to the BBC that was a blatant attempt to change the subject from the problem with what is being done to who was doing it.  Anyone hearing it knew she was issuing an invitation for open season on those who would oppose the revisionist agenda of The Episcopal Church. 

BBC:  It must be a pretty lonely place though to know that no one else quite like you is now going to be elected to be a bishop.
KJS:  Well perhaps not in the immediate future.  But he is certainly not alone in being a gay bishop.  He is certainly not alone in being a gay partnered bishop.  He is alone in being the only gay partnered bishop who’s open about that status.
BBC:  In your own church?
KJS:  Within our own church and within the Anglican Communion as a whole.

What parent hasn’t heard this sentiment from an angry teenager stomping her foot and saying “All my friends are breaking the stupid rules and not being punished, so why am I in trouble?”  Nevertheless, you just knew that someone would take her words as a challenge to be met.

It didn’t take long.  A revisionist blogger has published some information about alleged sexual exploits of a bishop in the Church of England which, if true, is very distressing.  I won’t link to the site but you can find it on your own if you are so inclined.  The blogger offers no proof evidently assuming that his word alone is sufficient.  The blogger insists that he would normally never stoop to such a low level as to “out” another individual, however, based on the Presiding Bishop’s recommendation he is making an exception for this bishop.  The reason for this sudden need to come forward?  Well, it certainly wasn’t the 15 year old sexual exploits detailed by the blogger.  No, it was anger that the English bishop dared hold a conservative point of view. Even worse in this blogger’s eyes was his support of others who hold to that view, especially, Bishop John-David Schofield. 

Make no mistake, the anger of the revisionists is real and it is deep and it is boiling over.

There is no mention in the article if the bishop in question continues unrepentant in the alleged acts; only an implication that having participated in homosexual acts, it is now hypocritical to take an Orthodox view or support others in their stand for Biblical Authority.  If one follows this logic, it means once you have sinned, you may never condemn that particular activity as a sin.  Every bank robber must condone theft, every unfaithful spouse must embrace adultery.  Repentance is never even considered.  Since we are all sinners in desperate need of the redeeming grace and salvation of Our Lord and Savior, this would be bad news indeed. 

Of course, this is really not news, is it?  The revisionist are simply taking a page out of the LGBT playbook which says you are welcome to your sins provided they do not interfere with their agenda regardless of how morally depraved those sins may be.  From a secular point of view that is bad enough but when you seek to apply that same standard from a Christian standpoint, the clarity becomes overwhelming.  The message has become a threat, spiritual blackmail, if you will – the only way to escape seeing your sins in neon lights is to uphold the liberal agenda or don’t sin.  It’s a little fuzzy as to whether it is the liberal view that gives you a pass or whether embracing your proclivities keeps them from being sins.

Just to be clear if the things the blogger accused the bishop of are true and he has not already repented of these actions, then he needs to be held accountable.  It would not matter whether it was heterosexual indiscretions or homosexual or any of myriad sins that separate us from the love of God.  There are sins aplenty to tempt us out there.  Exactly, how are we fulfilling our Christian duty if we turn a blind eye to our brother’s sins unless, of course, the person in question makes you angry?

Others are speculating on the various reasons this anger has boiled into rage.  One blogger discusses the Anglo-Catholic rage theory in the Church of England.  (If you are interested in the URL, you can send a request through the Stand Firm email.  To those of you who are familiar with the Anglican blogsphere, it’s where vulgarity and bad taste rise to a new level.) 

So what’s the real story here?  That a priest has fallen short of the glory of God?  If so, it won’t be the first time and most likely not the last.  No, the headline here is that the anger of the revisionist has turned into rage.  You can be certain this is a shot across the bow of those who hold to a conservative, traditional view.  What makes it even worse is that all it would take for an all-is-forgiven-return-to-the-fold welcome would be for their victim to embrace his sins and condemn as fundamental extremist those who hold to Scripture as the Word of God

We would all do well to remember that it is not the sin that makes the man.  It is our willingness to repent of our sins and submit our lives to the Kingship of Christ that determines who we are.  We should also ask if it is a matter of hypocrisy or the beginning of wisdom when one recognizes a sin in one’s life and refuses to call it holy?

Regular readers of Stand Firm will probably recognize the following words.  They were written by a commenter at Stand Firm.  They seem especially appropriate right now.

God loves us all very much, exactly as we are, and the Christian life is one of joy, celebration, and fulfillment. But I think the call to conversion is also an invitation to place ourselves, our very lives, between the hammer and the anvil as God undertakes the serious business of forging us into new creatures in Christ, to the extent that we will allow Him to do so. There is a real sense in which we simply must “count the cost” of discipleship if we are to become Christians at all. (And I have tremendous respect for the honest pagan who says, “No, I simply cannot believe any of this, and I am not prepared to live this way.” Such persons can be safely entrusted to the “Hound of Heaven.” I am confident that He too appreciates their honesty, and manages to catch up with quite a few of them!) We are always free to decide for ourselves that the cost is too great, but we are never free to decide on our own just what that cost is going to be. Ultimately, we must accept it upon God’s terms or not at all. He seems to want all of us, all that we are, and all that we have, and, unless we turn Him away, He simply will not settle for anything less. Our sexuality doesn’t change a thing.

Considering the Presiding Bishop’s challenge, we can only surmise this is the first of many such revelations.  What should our reaction be? 

Prayer.  Prayer for the Church.  Prayer for her leaders.  Prayer for the ones releasing the information.  Prayer for the ones about whom the information has been released.  Prayer for all concerned.  Let us pray that this becomes an opportunity to seek redemption and transformation from the One who knew us in our mother’s womb - the One who loves and forgives and saves.

 


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Comments:

This website prayer came from St. Dunstan’s Church of the Highlands Parish, Shoreline, Washington.  A good prayer for all of us in the blogosphere.

Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices; Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[1] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-07-2008 at 09:56 AM • top

Thank you, Jackie, for this post.  I have three comments:
1. Clarity continues as we knew it would once the internet began to disseminate the facts on the ground.  Continued reported behavior like this should make it easier for our brothers and sisters who may be wavering to make important decisions. Reminds me of most toddlers who have to be taught repentance: first the anger and foot stomping and then the rage, throwing things and maybe even biting the nearest human object.
2. I learned my lesson from the Gay Pride Day link.  I will not be going to the Anglican blogsphere.  I am grateful for the heartier souls who monitor this stuff and keep us informed in a generic manner.
3. “(And I have tremendous respect for the honest pagan who says, “No, I simply cannot believe any of this, and I am not prepared to live this way.” Such persons can be safely entrusted to the “Hound of Heaven.” I am confident that He too appreciates their honesty, and manages to catch up with quite a few of them!)”
I bolded the last sentence because that sort of confidence coupled with lifting up thousands and thousands of prayers will make the difference.  Let us thank God for what has happened already!

[2] Posted by Petra on 01-07-2008 at 10:25 AM • top

Matt

Your article reminded me of the the power of the the AAC, “God’s Love Changed Me” campaign for GC 2000 (http://www.americananglican.org/site/c.ikLUK3MJIpG/b.681539/k.BD65/Gods_Love_Changed_Me_Campaign.htm).  The willingness to be open about the sin from which Jesus has saved us (through repentance and forgiveness) disarms the enemy and removes the power of the PB’s implied threats. 

During the 90’s, the willingness of reasserters to stand up before Diocese of Virginia council meetings to confess what they’d been saved from frustrated the LGBT forces.  One of their leaders complained that she’d been subjected to stories that only confessors should hear.  This not only denies the opposition the opportunity of outing someone, it also demonstrates God’s power to save us.

Thank-you for reprinting episcopalienated’s comment - it reminded me of how much I resisted the paying the price (giving up sexual promiscuity and drug use), how the Hound of Heaven would not leave me alone and how much more I have gained since surrendering

Thanks again

[3] Posted by Sandy on 01-07-2008 at 10:35 AM • top

Oops - should have been addressed to Jackie Sorry

[4] Posted by Sandy on 01-07-2008 at 10:36 AM • top

I read the blog of the man who “outed” an English bishop.  It was a spiritually frightening article to read—there was indeed a great deal of rage.  And there was the assumption that the bishop in question was still a homosexual person—either hypocritically acting out sexually, or suppressing his desires with a fierce and dreadful self-will that would be bound to blow up at some point.  There was no indication that the author even thought that change might be possible, and that the bishop had repented of past misdeeds, been washed clean through the blood of the Lamb, and been empowered to be chaste and content, even joyful.

The reappraisers have no clue about the power of the Cross and the Resurrection.  They think that it is all about rules—and that God has relaxed his standards considerably, if we are but enlightened enough to see his changes.

[5] Posted by AnglicanXn on 01-07-2008 at 11:12 AM • top

Even more disturbing than the blog itself is the comments section.  I realize not all posting on there may be Christian, but many profess to be, and some of their comments are simply vicious and vile, full of hate and disdain for anyone who dares to differ with them.  And yet they wonder why the “schismatics” wish to leave this toxic swamp of hatred.  Incredible.

[6] Posted by st. anonymous on 01-07-2008 at 12:50 PM • top

St. A - I agree - the comments are quite toxic.  This is yet one more example of why we are now two churches preaching two separate gospels.

[7] Posted by JackieB on 01-07-2008 at 12:55 PM • top

can someone who is a titus one nine member give daybyday sue the link for selecting her windows media player? i can never change anything or join there because I have no idea what is my password here. i just, er, stay connected.

the interview is completely toxic. the whole atmosphere is becoming so very putrid under this leader of ECUSATECinc. Whoda thought it would get this bad this fast? the leader is certainly clear on what she is about.

yeah, happy new year.

[8] Posted by southernvirginia1 on 01-07-2008 at 01:22 PM • top

It should surprise no one that there is hatred and anger expressed by those who persist in wallowing in sin.  We forget these days that to continue in sin is to give the devil a foot hold.  This is true not only of sexual sin but of all sin.  There is no such thing a neutrality in this battle and when we allow sin to pitch its tent we must expect a visit from its commander.

[9] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 01-07-2008 at 02:02 PM • top

southernvirginia1,

Your Stand Firm login and password work at TitusOneNine, and vice-versa. They run on the same system.

[10] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-07-2008 at 02:52 PM • top

There seems to be much in common between him who outed this Anglican bishop and him who outed Ted Haggard. The issue for the outers was the hypocrisy of the two and both had acted in the manner they did for professional gain.

There is no reference here or anywhere as to whether or not the allegations in regard to the bishop are fact.  Has the bishop involved been offered the opportunity to deny the allegations?  The author states in the content of his “story” that he, as a gay man,  was warned about the sexual practices of this bishop.  It would appear that if the charges are true, then the burden of proof is on the one who made the charges.

[11] Posted by EmilyH on 01-07-2008 at 03:11 PM • top

It would appear that if the charges are true, then the burden of proof is on the one who made the charges.

Exactly! 
And what of repentence?  The one who made the charges left no room that the bishop had repented of those alleged 15 year old acts.  I’m sorry but I don’t believe hypocrisy was the reason for the individual to out him - not using 15 year old information.  It was anger that the bishop had dared to reject the agenda of the LGBT.

[12] Posted by JackieB on 01-07-2008 at 03:16 PM • top

Jackie, I guess we will have to disagree on the motivation issue.  I’ll take the man’s word on that but I would prefer proof on the former.  He has made an allegation.  If true, maybe the bishop has changed his ways.  Possibly the bishop’s superior , is that +Chichester? will ask the bishop for clarification. As I think about it, if it is true and is on going, maybe the bishop involved would be hopeful that evidence of it not be revealed?

[13] Posted by EmilyH on 01-07-2008 at 03:52 PM • top

Emily H - Go read the blog.  He clearly articulates his motives.

[14] Posted by JackieB on 01-07-2008 at 04:40 PM • top

I guess we’ll have to start calling this sort of thing Schoriism.

[15] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 01-07-2008 at 05:00 PM • top

It kinda reminds me of what a Ukrainian colleague of mine told me about Joe Stalin.  A toady would bring up a name of someone suspected of disloyalty or ambition and Uncle Joe would say, “Ah yes, Sergei Ivanovich…is he still alive?”  The lackey would smile and soon Sergei Ivanovich would become a statistic.

[16] Posted by Jeffersonian on 01-07-2008 at 05:27 PM • top

Oh my Christopher Johnson! 

I am ROTFLOL!!!!

Too funny.

[17] Posted by JackieB on 01-07-2008 at 05:50 PM • top

Could it just be that there is an opportunity here to share the good news?  The gift of grace and the truthfulness of the church’s teaching can be powerfully affirmed by one who has known the struggle against sin. My prayers are with the Bishop.

[18] Posted by driver8 on 01-07-2008 at 07:20 PM • top

It’s really difficult to comment about spilling beans, without actually spilling more. 

It seems to me that in any case, Christ will be glorified.  Having said that, I hope that the bishop has met that awful, wonderful Grace;  and will share His story within the context of his own life.  Wouldn’t that be a hoot? 

Having imagined the Outer fuming at the thought of his alleged former lover in support of Christian orthodoxy, I should perhaps suppress the urge to chuckle, and pray for the poor soul.

[19] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-07-2008 at 11:14 PM • top

Somehow it seems appropriate to cite 1 Peter 4:3-5 as I read this and another thread regarding the charges and ‘outing’ spoken therein .
It seems that perhaps,if the sequence of events is credible then it is a case that some folks fit the ‘surprised’ or ‘astonished’ (v.4 in Berkeley and Moffatt)that the subject of their ‘outing’ had ‘gotten’ the prior verse (3)‘Time enough has been spent in doing what the heathen would have you do’(Knox)
‘indulging in unbridled lusts,in passions,in drinking parties,carousings,dissipations and forbidden idolatries’(Berkeley)and is not
‘sharing the same life of unbridled dissipation with them’(Berkeley)
‘will not plunge with them still into the same flood of profligacy’(Moffatt)
‘rush headlong into the same welter of debauch’(Knox) as verse v.4 puts it,so the ‘outarian’ Bishop hunters and decryers lapse into what their 1 st century spiritual forbears did,they ‘malign’(NASB)and ‘abuse’(Moffatt).

[20] Posted by paddy on 01-10-2008 at 12:12 AM • top

Prayer. Prayer for the Church. Prayer for her leaders. Prayer for the ones releasing the information. Prayer for the ones about whom the information has been released. Prayer for all concerned. Let us pray that this becomes an opportunity to seek redemption and transformation from the One who knew us in our mother’s womb - the One who loves and forgives and saves.

Prayer is important. Prayer works. Prayers are answered.

But prayers are answered in His way, not our own. There are prayers for protection from those that are afraid. There are prayers for others that they may be successful and God inspired.

But are these prayers alone enough? Are we really praying for the right things? Are we many times just praying that we, personally, do not have to get involved? Is that an appropriate prayer?

When God answers prayers, many times He does it through us, His faithful servants and followers. If our eyes are on others, and not on Him when we pray, we are not available for His call to us. We miss our calling. Our prayers to not be directly involved may be answered, but at what cost?

I humbly suggest that we pray for His guidance in our lives. Humbly pray that He may use us as needed to fulfill His Perfect Plan. Pray for His guidance and strength as we are called to engage in battle as soldiers for Christ, that we may do so according to His Will and not our own. I pray that we may be still and listen when He calls.

We have faithful servants that heed their calling, yet become overzealous and fail to continue to listen once they have received their calling. In their haste to do God’s Will, they confuse their own will with His Will, and are so intent and focused on getting it done that they fail to comprehend that their calling unfolds as even as they move to accomplish it. They do not comprehend that their calling is but one small piece of God’s Plan, and is integrated with His many other callings, many that we may perceive as opposing us or interfering with our own calling.

That is why continual focused prayer is required. We are called by Him to engage, but must be humble and permit Him to lead. Approach others with Christian compassion and thoughtful consideration. Have they also been called, albeit differently and for a different reason?

May God provide us with His guidance as we proceed. May we proceed with God’s Grace and joy in our hearts as we attempt to serve and follow Him more perfectly. May we display His compassion and love as we are called. May we be a positive influence on others and our joy and peace be as a beacon magnetically drawing others from the broad road that leads to destruction to God’s narrow path.

There is work to be done. God is calling us. God will work through us to do what must be done. Go forth with Christ guiding us. With God’s Peace and Grace within us. God’s Will be done.

[21] Posted by Fire_Ready on 01-26-2008 at 04:21 AM • top

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