There Is Weeping in the Cathedral
by J. Lee Grady
Sept. 28, 2007
It is a sad day for the Episcopal Church, which has officially traded the truth for a lie.
I don't particularly enjoy writing obituaries. But today I hear the solemn sound of a tolling bell-deep, somber and depressing. For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for a denomination that has died.
I am speaking of the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican communion. Its grand cathedrals still stand in many of our major cities, even though membership is plummeting as its graying congregants pass away and its Bible-honoring members jump ship as fast as they can. Our own National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is a part of the Episcopal Church USA. But it, like most other Episcopal churches, is just an ornate, hollow shell of what it once was.
There was a time when the Episcopal Church thrived. Decades ago it carried the good news of Christ throughout the world. In the 1960s and 1970s it experienced a miraculous charismatic renewal that was accompanied by conversions and healings. But today it preaches another gospel and its leaders have embraced a blasphemous delusion.
"It's clear that the Episcopal Church achieved total desertion from biblical faith in 2003 when they voted to thumb their nose at God."
No one really knows when the church actually breathed its last. Some say it was on a dark day in November 2003, when the denomination consecrated a practicing homosexual, Gene Robinson, as the bishop of New Hampshire. Others suggest that the church might still have a faint pulse-but they compare it to the vital signs of a terminally-ill patient on life-support.
When Episcopal bishops convened this past week in New Orleans for yet another anguished round of discussions about how to keep their church from splintering, they tiptoed around the issues as usual. They seem to love to talk an issue to death without taking decisive action. Any moral backbone in the denomination apparently turned to jelly a long time ago.
These people have deliberated, negotiated, compromised, debated and backpedaled for four years about whether homosexual practice is compatible with Scripture. They claimed to be "studying" whether it's acceptable to perform gay marriages in front of God's holy altar. Yet in all their talking and studying they never arrived at the truth. They exchanged it for a lie. They chose perversion rather than purity. They rejected the true God and fashioned idols that are politically correct and culturally relevant.
As predicted, the Episcopal House of Bishops chose to be cowards when they met in New Orleans. They did not reconsider the mistake of ordaining Robinson. They didn't repent of their rebellion toward Scripture. They didn't renounce their apostasy.
Yes, I said apostasy. That's an old-fashioned word that should be reintroduced into our American vocabulary. Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines it as "an abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion."
It's clear that the Episcopal Church achieved total desertion from biblical faith in 2003 when they voted to thumb their nose at God. After the church affirmed Robinson, a divorced father of two who left his wife for a gay lover, he told reporters that he was part of a sweeping movement that would one day introduce acceptance of homosexuality into America's churches. And when describing his unorthodox views, he dared to suggest that gay Christianity is the "new thing" that was prophesied by Isaiah centuries ago.
Robinson's arrogant words should have triggered an outcry. That any leader in the Episcopal Church would listen to such insidious sacrilege and not demand instant retraction-and Robinson's dismissal-is proof that these people have gone completely off the deep end.
Thankfully there is a ray of hope on this sad day. Amid this chaos, God has raised up some brave leaders who not only have challenged the Episcopal Church's heresy but who have set up alternative churches for those in their flocks who still honor Scripture. Three of these leaders, Chuck Murphy, Martyn Minns and John Guernsey, were featured last week in a front-page report in The Wall Street Journal.
What caught the attention of the mainstream media is that these men left the Episcopal Church and have been ordained as missionary bishops to the United States by Anglican leaders in Africa-where spiritual zeal is still hot, prayer meetings are well-attended and Anglican bishops still honor the authority of the Bible.
Murphy, based in South Carolina, is the leader of the Anglican Mission in America, a newly formed group of former Episcopal churches that adheres to solid biblical faith and plans to establish new churches here and abroad. Murphy answers to the Anglican bishop of Rwanda. The bishop of Nigeria ordained Minns when he bolted from the Episcopal Church. And the bishop of Uganda ordained Guernsey.
"There's a big realignment happening," Murphy told the newspaper. "We sent missionaries to Africa 150 years ago, and now Africa is returning the favor."
The Nigerians, Ugandans and Rwandans cannot fathom the idea of betraying Jesus Christ. The tragic demise of the Episcopal Church USA certainly has challenged them-and hopefully all of us-to be trustworthy stewards of the gospel at a time when many are falling away from the faith.
---J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma
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