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Layman writes Bishop Lee Regarding His Recent Actions

AS EYE SEE IT: Layman writes Bishop Lee Regarding His Recent Actions

Dear Bishop Lee;

Please read this carefully through until the end. This is a
hard e-mail, tough love, and I know that you have been getting many
hard e-mails, sadly even hateful e-mails. This message is not one of
hate but words of one man speaking straight to another. I have labored
long on this message in love believing that you are an adult and old
enough to take hard truth. Please prayerfully consider what I have
said. Time is short.

Much has happened in the life of the church since I shook
your hand at Olivet Episcopal Church's 150-year anniversary earlier in
2003. As part of our family's ministry to historic re-enactors (see
www.historicfaith.net ), Rev. Harper
had asked us to help with preparations and we were there in 1850
clothing (I have attached a photo from the event). I was touched when
you stated that you found a power in the old (1845 vice 1928) liturgy,
but was not convinced. There has been twenty years for me to judge
your words by.

In 1984 as bishop, you received me into the Episcopal Church.
I believe that this confirmation service at Truro was your first
confirmation service as bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. Later, you
were the Bishop that licensed me as a lay preacher when my family and I
were at Christ the Redeemer. You were the bishop who I looked to when
I began the local discernment process for ordination. While talking
with you at a dozen after-church receptions does not make a deep
friendship, you have been my bishop since you became bishop in
Virginia.

As you have been my bishop, I have carefully read much of
what you have written and listened carefully to what you have said.
You are an intelligent and articulate man and I believe that you have
some love for the Episcopal Church. From what I have read, heard, and
seen, I am deeply concerned for your soul. It seems clear that you
have valued the game of church politics and opinions of fellow bishops
over your sworn duty to uphold the faith outlined in scripture and our
catholic tradition.

I shook your hand at Olivet but I was a little guarded for I
believed that when the clear decision point came to choose between the
Apostolic faith and the progressive, world loving, rationalistic
apostasy that has come into vogue within ECUSA, you would choose the
latter. I was right.

Years ago, you wrote in the Virginia Episcopalian that you
saw your duty as Bishop to "avoid clarity" (what I call "fuzzing up")
on issues that would divide, such as the immorality of homosexual acts.
This is not the position of a bishop defending the faith. Your duty is
to make spiritual truth clear not to obscure it. You have acted like a
shepherd that will not divide wolves from sheep. I could give you many
scriptural references including the words of Jesus that show that light
should not "unite" with darkness. Lovingly, and actively, we are to
engage the world so that those who sin are come from darkness to light
but that is not to have common cause with them. Scripture set a
different course for those who are believers and even higher standards
for those who are leaders among Christians.

Some time after that article on your commitment to be "fuzzy"
in the Virginia Episcopalian, I believe around 1997, you instituted the
"Call to Holy Life" at Virginia Theological Seminary to open the school
to active homosexual partnerships in lieu of the previous policy that
forbade "sexual intercourse outside the bonds of marriage, adulterous
relationships, and the practice of homosexuality." By this action (and
actions do speak louder than words) you clearly demonstrated that even
within your own diocese, you would be "go with the flow" even it that
meant jettisoning the moral teachings of Jesus. You used your skill at
turning phrases to "fuzz up" this issue. At the time you instituted
the "Call to Holy Life" you stated you were seeking a policy "more in
keeping with Anglican comprehensiveness than the previous statement and
more in keeping with the biblical balance of the Christian tradition."
Fine words, as I would expect from a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke
Law School, but VTS, since your action and under your leadership, has
become a hotbed of homosexual activism.

VTS is the place in your Diocese where church leaders are training and
you are responsible for the type of leaders you train there. At the
time of "A Call to Holy Life," in my deep concern and as part of my
discernment process, I exchanged a series of e-mails with you in an
attempt to find out where you stood on the authority of scripture and
the nature of sin, in particular on the sexual sin, which was being
promoted by the apostate. It was not easy to get a clear answer from
you to this fundamental question - "did you believe that homosexual
practice was sin." I was at first hopeful when you read my e-mails and
took time to reply.

The ongoing exchanges with you, as courteous as they were, eventually
convinced me that you did not have a moral compass that would enable me
to seek ordination under your leadership. In my heart, I knew then
that when a vote on accepting same-sex immorality would come, you would
choose Sodom rather than Zion. Thus, I left off the ordination process
and after subsequent statements and actions by you, left off active
life in a local Episcopal Church for a couple of years, moving instead
to support our non-denominational ministry. Recent actions of yours
has shown that I made the right decision. Since you put"The Call to
Holy Life" into place, VTS students who hold the orthodox faith have
told me repeatedly how they feel under siege for their beliefs.

Your recent vote and past actions are clearly destroying our
diocese. Unless you publicly and proximately repent for your part in
this apostasy, the diocese you claim to love will fall to pieces, to
the despair of the many faithful priest and laity who have stood by you
through your past moral "fuzziness." Through your actions, the
Episcopal Church, USA has become a scandal within the historic,
orthodox, catholic faith. You stated that in your recent votes:

"I had a difficult, even wrenching time deciding. I prayed a lot. I
consulted widely, with clergy and lay colleagues, with other
professionals, more formally with the deans of the regions, and the
Standing Committee. I studied scripture anew. I was particularly
struck by the 15th Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles where the
apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem adapted the requirements
of Jewish law to the reality of the situation of gentile converts in
Antioch. My reading of scripture convinces me that the Gospel is ever-
increasing its power to erase the barriers that we human beings erect
among ourselves."

Did you prayerfully read what the Apostles decided in Acts
15:20? One of the minimum requirements that the Apostles placed on the
Gentiles was to avoid sexual sins - no compromise, no fuzziness. The
requirement for the gentiles was a beginning not the end. The Apostles
decision also had the assumption that God's ministers would teach the
Gentiles to live a life of increasing righteousness through faith, not
a life of wantonness masquerading as righteousness. Again, in your
reading of scripture as in past actions as bishop, you cling to the
politics and ignore the requirements of faith. You also stated,

"I was also struck anew by the centrality of a theology based more on
grace than on law. In Philippians 3:8-14, Paul wrote to the
Philippians yearning for a righteousness that comes not from the law
but "for a righteousness that comes through faith in Christ, the
righteousness from God based on faith." Paul continues, "I want to
know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his
sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain
the resurrection from the dead."

Phillippians 4:9 states, "The things which ye both learned and received
and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be
with you." Do you, a bishop, understand the grace that Paul preached?
Do you understand how repentance, the complete turning away from Sin,
and Grace are related in Paul's teaching? Romans 6:1-7 shows this
clearly:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may
abound? God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live
therein? Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ
Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him
through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the
dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness
of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his
death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing
this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin
might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin;
for he that hath died is justified from sin.

God Forbid indeed!, and you should have done all in your
power to forbid the consecration of Vickie Gene Robinson and the
acceptance of same-sex blessings. What did Paul tell Titus that a
Bishop should do? "Holding to the faithful word which is according to
the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and
to convict the gainsayers" (Titus 1:9). As a bishop you took the vows,
and have been supported comfortably by the Church as bishop, but you
are NOT holding to the faithful word and 2000 years of church doctrine.
You are undermining, not defending the faith. You seemed to stated
with pride:

"Since I was consecrated in 1984, I have consented to the consecration
of nearly 200 bishops. I have not voted against a single one, not
those who were divorced and remarried, not the poor administrators and
preachers, not even those bishops who now threaten to leave the church.
I believe strongly that the people of a local diocese, when the
election is properly and fairly held, are the best people to determine
who will best lead their diocese. Just as the apostles respected the
local circumstances of the people of Antioch, so the General Convention
respected the circumstances of the people of New Hampshire."

The apostles clearly set limits and conditions (faith and
repentance) on God's grace and even stricter conditions for Church
leadership. Why can't you? The Church gave you the vote of consent to
defend the faith as a faithful steward. The pride you have in never
having shown leadership, not once since 1984, in the consecration of
200 bishops is shameful.

If, in 1984, you found that you did not have the judgment or
moral fortitude to vote down unworthy candidates for bishops, then you
should have stepped down then. If you cannot see the problem with your
actions now, you should step down now. A sea captain whom never steers
a ship or a medical board than never denies a medical license to a
medical student is acting criminally, even murderously. Your action or
in this case inaction is killing the Episcopal Church and more
importantly hindering the work of the Gospel to turn people from death
to life. Do you so disrespect the Church and your calling that you
believe that anyone who walks in the door will do as a bishop? Even
the non-spiritual, political wisdom of the business world understands
the concept of checks and balances, and of the criticality of selecting
competent leaders.

Do you understand what apostasy is? Do you realize that you
are joining with those who are actively seeking to turn the Church away
from the authority of scripture and the faith delivered by the
Apostles? Second Peter Chapter Two clearly talks about people wedded to
apostasy. Verses 18-21 (Message version) is especially clear: They are
loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they're dangerous. Men and women
who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to
their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but
they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they're addicted to
corruption--and they are--they're enslaved. If they've escaped from
the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ,
and then slid back into that same old life again, they're worse than if
they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight
road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the
experience and the holy command.

Recent statements by the revisionists, clearly demonstrate that
they have no loyalty to the Christian faith. In his Christmas Day
message, your fellow bishop, John Bryson Chane stated the following
"And what was God thinking... when the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to
reveal the sacred Quran to the prophet Muhammad? And what was God
thinking... when the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to reveal the birth
of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?" (see
http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/worship/jbc031225.html).

Do you really want to through your lot in with the ECUSA
proponents of Islam?; a religion that worldwide continues to martyr
more Christians in its name than any other. This is so much more than
promoting slavery to deviate sexual practice, as terrible as that is;
this is collaborating with those who are anti-Christ. Islam does not
accept that Jesus is Christ and fights against or enslaves those who do
- Muslims are not fuzzy about what they believe. I know of what I
speak. I have read the Qu'ran. I have talked at length to both
moderate and fundamental Muslims. Having preached to and talked with
Sudanese Anglican refugees when I was in Cairo with USAID and here in
the United States, I have heard first hand accounts of what our
Christian brothers and sisters have endured, and this death, rape, and
torture is a worldwide reality, even under "advanced" Islamic
governments. I worked in Jordan, West Bank/Gaza, Turkey, and Egypt. I
have watched Saudi state television present the master plan of
converting the world to Islam and have visited many places where
historic churches were converted forcibly to mosques (they don't switch
back).

I have reviewed government assessments on the views and actions
of Islamic Jihadist (Christian fundamentalist are NOT like Islamic
fundamentalists). I have read the words of American Mullahs and Imams.
Now your fellow bishop has proclaimed the truth of Islam in our
national cathedral and his fellow bishops remain silent. This fact
will not be lost on the Islamic world. It will be used to justify the
murder of thousands.

Would you consent to the elevation of a Islamic Mullah as
Episcopal Bishop if a diocese put him forward? Do you believe that
Jesus would accept the teachings of Islam? Jesus cannot be Lord is
what Muhammad said in the Qu'ran is true and from the Angel Gabriel.
To accept Islam is to deny the Jesus of the Gospels.

Peter, will you choose to be light or darkness?, hot or
cold?, sheep or wolf? There is no more time for sitting on the fence,
no middle way of inclusion with evil, no more time for "fuzz-ing up"
truth. This is not to say that there is not room in Anglicanism for
differences of opinion or understanding but there are limits to how
broad the Anglican road is. It is a wide highway, but you have helped
drive the Episcopal Church through the guardrail straight for a cliff--
an abyss. You must turn 180 degrees immediately to avoid the crash and
the resulting death in flames.

Do you not fear the judgment of God in this matter? Being a
bishop is no defense, if you believe the Gospel accounts and Epistles;
judgment will be stricter for those in Spiritual leadership, whether
they are "legalistic, fundamentalist" Pharisees or "rationalistic,
humanist" Sadducees.

The last time I saw you at Olivet you stated that you were
moved by the power of the old 1845 version of the liturgy. I quote
that liturgy now in the hope that you will be moved by its power to
publicly repent.

I exhort you, in the Name of God, to remember the profession
which you made unto God in your Baptism. And forasmuch as after this
life there is an account to be given unto the righteous Judge, by whom
all must be judged, without respect of persons, I require you to
examine yourself and your estate, both toward God and man; so that,
accusing and condemning yourself for your own faults, you may find
mercy at our heavenly Father's hand for Christ's sake, and not be
accused and condemned in that fearful judgment.

Should you decide that your pride or your convictions will
not allow you to make a public confession of sin and repentance in this
matter, I will no longer be able to offer you the hand of fellowship.
Until I see that you have repented of your recent heinous actions, I
will not accept communion from your hand though this deeply grieves me.
Should you decide to humbly and clearly repent, then I with saints and
angels will rejoice and weep tears of joy.

I will continue to pray for you, as hundreds of others are,
that you will turn back to the faith.

If you wish to meet one-on-one to discuss these matters, I
will gladly work to meet your schedule, come to Richmond, and meet with
you. The one occasion that I feel that I can still break bread with
you is if we came together to privately discuss this issue. As one who
has been saved by grace from my past evils, I am more than willing to
go to some length to see your considerable gifts and talents recovered
for the kingdom and to see our beloved Diocese of Virginia turned from
wreaking at the bottom of the abyss.

Please think twice and pray about what I have said before
hitting the delete key...

Your brother in Christ,
Jim Craft
Manassas, Virginia

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