Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bishop Iker: 10 Reasons Why Now Is the Time to Realign

Bishop Iker has written to his Diocese of Ft. Worth with “10 Reasons Why Now Is the Time to Realign.”

Some time back, I made a number of “No Safe Place” posts on why staying in the Episcopal Church is a very doubtful option for orthodox Anglicans. I think Bishop Iker’s letter merits reflection from all orthodox who still remain in TEC, particularly these points:

4. If we do not act now, we will lose our momentum and lose our God-given opportunity. Many laity and clergy who have been standing with the Diocese, as a beacon of hope, will give up and leave for other Anglican bodies. We will never be stronger than we are right now! We will never have another chance to act with such a strong majority. The Episcopal Church many of us were born into or became members of many years ago no longer exists! It has been replaced by a liberal, revisionist sect that does not deserve our allegiance or support any longer.

5. TEC is not turning back and matters will only get worse. General Convention is out of control and beyond reform. The Deputies seem to think that they can do whatever they want as long as they can muster a majority vote, even if what they propose is contrary to Holy Scripture. We will not accept majority votes of the General Convention that compromise the Christian ?faith. The more they change the teachings of the church, the less tolerant they are of dioceses such as ours. By the time I retire (in the next 7 to 13 years), this diocese will be unable to elect an orthodox bishop to succeed me.

6. TEC is coming after us, and they are the ones that brought on this crisis. In October 2006 the chancellor to the PB wrote a letter to our diocese demanding that we change our Constitution to remove the clause that says that we will not accept General Convention dictates that are contrary to the Bible and the apostolic teaching of the church. In addition, we were instructed to remove provisions stating that all church property in this diocese is held in trust for the use of our congregations and to state instead that our property ultimately belongs to TEC. If we don’t make such changes, the letter asserted that the Presiding Bishop would have to determine what actions she must take “in order to bring your diocese into compliance.”

7. At this time there is nothing in the Constitution or Canons of TEC that prevents a Diocese from leaving. Oh, I know that General Convention officials claim that dioceses cannot leave TEC, but you will not find that anywhere in the Constitution and Canons as they presently stand. So we have this window of opportunity to do what we need to do, for you can be sure that the next General Convention will close off this option by adopting amendments that will make it even more difficult to separate in the future.

In short, the Episcopal Church is very soon coming to the point, if it’s not already there, where it will not allow you to be an orthodox Anglican in peace.

Let me again say that I respect those orthodox who, out of conviction (and without undercutting those who leave TEC), feel they should stay in the Episcopal Church and contend for the faith within it. But I do think they are mistaken. There is a time for separation, and it is now.

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