Monday, 22 September 2008

Of Schism, Heresy, Duncan, Spong and Thoroughly Modern Bishops

Joe Walker…

asks an interesting question over at his excellent felix hominem:
If I wake up in the morning to discover that, say, bishop Robert Duncan has been deposed for veering toward ecclesiastical realignment, but that bishop John Spong remains in good standing despite veering toward theological realignment, what should I think?  To put it bluntly, let us say, just pretend now, that the former is veering toward schism, while the latter is veering toward heresy.  I am sure the Episcopal Church has its excellent reasons for proceeding as it does, but to simple folk like myself it looks like a rather selective double standard.  
It does to me, too. Read it all, illuminated by the ancient and wise writings of St Cyprian, here.

The reason for this double standard and this fine mess?

Harald Haugan, in "Rebellion and the House of Bishops," an As Eye See It piece over at VirtueOnline, reckons this is the problem:
There are two kinds of bishops in the Episcopal Church, biblical bishops and secularly modernized bishops. The first have a personal relationship with Jesus and believe in the authority of Scripture. The second compromise with secularized thinking and standards reinterpreting Scripture to accommodate contemporary culture. The first are in the minority.

Modernized bishops have arrived through the present world's methodology of corporate career advancement. They would bristle at being accused in such a way but Scripture is clear when Jesus says you are either for Him or against Him. Biblical bishops do not question the authority of Scripture or attempt to reinterpret it. They know the injunction not to add or subtract from it.

These two groups live in two entirely different worlds, two different mindsets, with two totally conflicting beliefs and missions.  
We have the same kinds of bishops and the same mess in Canada although, I am happy to say, my bishop is one of the first kind. Read the rest of Haugan's piece here.

Is it just me? Or…

was St Paul addressing something very similar when he wrote:
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Cor 11.4, ESV)
Is that what we're doing by accepting and not challenging the leading of thoroughly modern bishops…too readily putting up with another Jesus, a different spirit, a different gospel?

And could these thoroughly modern bishops really be…

false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. (2 Cor 11.13-15, ESV)
Servants of Satan? Strong words. I think not, at least not intentionally. And yet the enemy so often tempts us with, "Did God really mean that? Come, be reasonable. Be tolerant. Do the 'loving' thing."