Thursday, June 05, 2008

Look Who’s Teaching Youth in the Episcopal Church

A Corpus Christi Continuing Anglican priest relays the following about a conversation he had with an Episcopal youth director. I post it with little comment (and modest editing) because I think it says volumes about the Episcopal Church and who is teaching youth in that denomination.

Today I was out working and I came across a sign that is outside one of the local Episcopal churches. It said, "We're tired of hypocritical churches, too."

Well I got a quick laugh and then it dawned on me that the statement was directed probably at those of us who take the Bible seriously. I thought about it and I decided that the only way for me to find out what was meant by the sign was to just phone the church and ask, so I did.

The man on the phone who answered said that he was the youth director and I asked him about the message on the sign, saying that it was a strange message for a church. He said that all are welcome to his church no matter who they are or what they are or what they do.

I said, OK so that's nice. So what do you mean by that? Are you saying I can do anything and its OK?

In the course of conversation, he said that the only sure witness of truth is only found in the words of Jesus, specifically in the Sermon on the Mount. I asked, Are you saying that all the bible is not the word of God?

He said we can’t be sure that the words of St Paul are accurate since they were redacted and the canon of scripture wasn't known till the late 3rd century at the council of Nicea. I said, REALLY that's a new one on me. I asked him then if we can’t be sure about the validity of scripture how can we know the truth?

He said unequivocally that we cant know anything for certain that all we have is "the spirit" to lead us. I said oh so how can we be sure about that, he said we can’t. I asked him about the 39 articles of religion he said I am not ordained and that he is not bound by them...just the spirit of course.

There was more to the conversation these are the lowlights.

And remember, this is not a report from New York or Californicate. This is from South Texas in the *relatively* orthodox Diocese of West Texas.


texanglican said...

Indeed, Newbie. In the diocese of Fort Worth we are relatively solid, with the exception of two staunchly TEC congregations and four or five "split" ones. Two weeks ago I was asked to speak at one of these "split" parishes on behalf of the position that we should depart from TEC in the Fall.

It quickly became apparent that the TEC loyalists in the crowd were motivated by precisely the views that this youth director expressed. It is, in short, the Episcopal religion. Scripture is not reliable--what matters is what the Spirit personally tells me the REAL Jesus wold have done (and He was radically inclusive, unlike the Gospel Jesus). No one can actually know anything with certainty, so whatever I may believe in good faith is just as valid as the witness of 2000 years of Sacred Tradition. To claim certain knowledge--of either doctrine or morality--based on the plain meanin of Scripture and the unwavering voice of Tradition is arrogant and hypocritical. We are so much better informed today (about the role of women in society and the nature of consensual, "monogamous" homosexuality, for example) than the authors of Scripture and the Fathers of the Church were that we can safely overrride their opinions whenever justice or love (as enlightened thought in today's America understands them) demands it.

It quickly became clear to me that we have entirely different understandings of what matters, where authority lies, and what constraints--if any--God may have placed on our whims. There is no meaningful way, regrettably, that a traditional Anglican can talk with adherents of this TEC faith. We live on different spiritual worlds.

Jason Miller said...

Not sure if the priest or the youth director misspoke, but of course the Council of Nicea was in the fourth century and it is highly unlikely that they talked about the canon of Christian Scripture (there are some legends to that effect, but the source documents say otherwise).

Anonymous said...

Texas Anglican,
What can you tell me about the diocese of Dallas? My family is members at a UMC, but the wife & I attended a plant church and loved the priest, and the "down-to-earth" feel of the congregation.
Plus it rang true with my RC upbringing...

Mark said...

Dave, I'm not Texanglican, but I'm familiar with the Dio of Dallas.

In short, the best churches have already left. If you like an Anglo-Catholic church, then St. Matthias on Forest Lane is for you. It's my favorite church in the Dallas area, and they do know how to worship. It's now under ++Venables. (I've mentioned it on this blog under my nickname "Smokey Matt's.)

For those who prefer a more evangelical flavor, then Christ Church Plano is excellent. They are now AMiA.

Both used to be in the Diocese of Dallas.