Statements from Bishops Duncan and Stanton Prompt Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth.
If you haunt the Reasserting Anglican blogosphere, you may have noticed that Network bishops Duncan and Stanton have issued statements the past few days that have prompted many orthodox in the Episcopal Church to respond with some unhappiness as you can see for yourself on the two links.
Although the bishops’ statements are by no means easy to interpret, to at least some they mean the bishops intend to stay in ECUSA no matter what happens at the General Convention this year.
I frankly don’t yet know what to think about the two statements and have no desire to prejudge their meaning. But, for now, I do have two hard big picture questions to ask:
1. If the bishops indeed intend to stick it out and stay in ECUSA, one motivation for them surely is that they don’t wish to abandon that branch of the Church. It therefore must be asked – is there a point at which a branch of Christ’s church so strays from Christ and His word that it is no longer a part of his church?
Like I said, a hard question. But I think the answer is yes. And I think a good case can be made that on a national level, ECUSA is near or past that point. If it’s past that point, then the most Christian thing an individual or parish can do is to witness to the truth and serve as a warning to the apostate by leaving.
2. A cause that prompts some to advocate staying in ECUSA is Christian unity. And that surely is a cause bishops Duncan and Stanton are considering. But if continued unity with an apostate or nearly apostate church would shatter unity within the orthodox, then which unity is more important?
I would assert unity with orthodox Christians is more important. And if the comments to the two statements are any indication (not to mention past statements from overseas orthodox leaders), the bishops simply staying in ECUSA (which isn’t necessarily what the two propose to do) would indeed shatter that unity.