Why Liberals in the Church of England and Progressives in The Episcopal Church Cannot be Trusted
Liberalism has morphed into progressivism and progressivism brooks no opposition
By David W. Virtue
January 22, 2013
Once upon a time liberals were nice agreeable people. That's what made them liberals. Even when you disagreed with them, they were generous enough to allow disagreement without being disagreeable. All sat at the same table. It was clubby and warm. Today, the term liberal no longer exists. Orthodox Anglicans must now call liberal Anglicans by their true name - progressives.
We do so because we are accused of being homophobic, lacking inclusion and diversity but also because the faith has been "revisioned" to the point that it is no longer recognizable by a large swathe of global Anglicans. It is now unrecognizable by the great Orthodox Churches of the East and West, by Roman Catholics, and even Southern Baptists. Bishop Mark Lawrence called it by saying the Presiding Bishop and the national church are spreading a "false Gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity." That's being generous.
That "indiscriminate inclusivity" has resulted in the ecclesiastical beheading of dozens of priests. A large number of bishops have been forced into ecclesiastical exile because they refuse to bow the knee to the PB, the House of Bishops and her "inclusive" theology that has questioned the deity and uniqueness of Christ, his bodily resurrection and the exclusive claims of God's salvation in Jesus with the public recognition of other religions having similar salvific value.
For several decades, TEC's apostasies spread only as far as Canada and Mexico with a few hot spots in Central and South America and southern Africa.
No more. TEC's revisionism has spread across the Atlantic and is now firmly embedded in the Church of England, Scottish Episcopal Church, Church of Wales and Church of Ireland. It was made possible by a theologically ambivalent Archbishop of Canterbury, a Synod that seems bent on prostrating itself before the state while pressing theological and moral relativism. It is also manifesting itself among once diehard Baptist evangelicals like the popular British evangelist Steve Chalke who now believes that compassion for homosexuals must, by definition, mean Evangelicals should roll over to their way of thinking and behaving. (My old Baptist professor H.D. McDonald must be rolling over in his grave).
So let's examine what has and is transpiring in the Church of England now that TEC has successfully exported its ecclesiastical Culture Wars to the UK.
Before the Measure in November to introduce women bishops in the Church of England, there was much placating of "traditionalists" by telling them that they were "valued", that they should be "enabled to flourish", should be treated with "respect" and so on.
Blogger John Richardson of Ugley Vicar fame recalls the videos on the website of the Archbishop of Canterbury who spoke to this effect. We were all going to "journey together" into the future, and so on.
"Unfortunately, when the vote went the 'wrong way.'. what we saw was not an acknowledgement that the flourishing of traditionalists would have to be sought another way, but an outbreak of something little short of rage and the heaping of opprobrium on those, especially those evangelicals, who had dared to mess things up."
Richardson goes on to write, "The vote of 'no confidence' in Dr. Philip Giddings, the chair of the House of Laity, (his chairmanship was recently upheld) is just one example. Another is the member of the House of Laity who wrote that the doctrine of 'headship', which lies at the heart of the evangelical objection... is to be seen alongside a number of similar major historical issues where prejudice and discrimination have been justified by selected biblical references. These include slavery, national socialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Male headship has its roots in the same soil of prejudice and discrimination. (Gavin Oldham, email to members of the House of Laity)"
Following the vote, there was much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth with pictures of women priests crying on Rowan's shoulder. A disconsolate Rowan told the Church that we were somehow accountable to the state and secular authorities for such a vindictive vote.
The bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell chimed in saying, "There's a risk the national church will become a national embarrassment." Really. An embarrassment to whom exactly? With 59 million Brits (out of 60 million) who never bother to darken the doors of church on any given Sunday, the news left most Brits yawning. (There are more practicing Muslims in the UK than practicing Christians)."
"Would that Williams had been so clear in his understanding in the run up to the vote, but then if he had, it might presumably have added to the pressure to vote against the Measure," wrote Richardson.
While orthodox Anglicans regard supporters of the ordination and consecration of women as largely mistaken, liberals regard orthodox Anglicans as IMMORAL. Immorality in the Church is something which cannot be tolerated, a now enlightened Richardson observed. Truth has been turned completely on its head. Once upon a time sodomy was deemed immoral, now opponents of sodomy are the immoral ones.
TEC liberals and revisionists like PB Frank Griswold were always fond of telling everyone to "listen," have "conversation," allow and admit for reasoned and gracious debate, have an openness to change and have respect for diversity. But it was always a ruse to buy time so everyone would fall in behind his doctrine of inclusivity and Affirming Catholicism.
It is the Rodney King approach of "why can't we all just get along" despite our differences. Would that we could.
Just when you think there might be an opening for genuine "conversation", the word "justice" is thrown into the mix. Once again orthodox folk are made to feel guilty for not seeing the injustice of their positions. Justice has been used as a weapon against anybody orthodox who might have a different viewpoint from revisionists and progressivists.
Wrote Richardson, "This is the difficulty with elevating a point of view to a matter of 'justice'. Of course some things are just such matters. But we should be careful not to attach the plea for 'justice' to our position, unless we recognize that by doing so we exclude the contrary view from the Christian church - as indeed we ought to exclude it from civilized society.
"And this is also why the "liberalism" of liberals cannot be trusted, even when the "liberal" himself affirms those who hold contrary views. For the liberal who extends liberality to those with whom he disagrees on an issue of justice is either deceiving himself (which is perfectly possible) or seeking to deceive others."
Blogs like Thinking Anglicans or Integrity or Changing Attitude or Inch at a time (Susan Russell's blog) are clear in their contempt for orthodox Anglicans and public hatred for conservative evangelicals, traditionalists and other "low lifes". They are quite open about the fact. They hold orthodox Anglicans in total contempt yelling "fundamentalism" and worse at anyone who dare oppose the pansexual agenda of a newly enlightened progressive Anglican Communion.
Furthermore discussions about "headship" usually lead to charges of "elitism" and more. They have open and public contempt for the orthodox. They will rejoice and throw the biggest party imaginable when the last orthodox Episcopalian or Anglican leaves or is thrown out of the church. That is no longer the generosity of liberals. It is the heavy fist of revisionism and progressivism.
There was a time when liberals would have been upset at this possibility, perhaps for reasons of altruism and perhaps because mega evangelical churches provided the funding for liberal dioceses. Not any more.
Now liberals are illiberal and they will brook no opposition. We used to call that Fascism, but that might be too polite a term, except that Fascism was ultimately destroyed. In the end, orthodoxy will survive even if, for the moment, it is under siege and looks like it is losing.
When women's ordination was first brokered illegally into the Episcopal Church, it was done so with the consciences of those who disagreed, acknowledged, and accepted the act of ordaining women to the priesthood even if was illegal. All that changed when Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris demanded and pushed through a General Convention resolution demanding that all dioceses must ordain women or face the wrath of General Convention and whatever canon she and others could find to bring recalcitrant bishops to heel. So it no longer mattered to her and other revisionist bishops if bishops like Jack Iker, Keith Ackerman, William Wantland, John David Schofield, Ed MacBurney, Donald Davies and others disagreed theologically; they must conform or else. (NOTE: Today not one of these bishops is still in The Episcopal Church.)
Welcome to the realpolitik of Western pan Anglicanism, Mr. Richardson. You have learned the lesson we learned in TEC a long time ago. There is no such thing as a moderate or a liberal Anglican, just revisionists and progressivists who learned how to play political hardball to their total advantage; any faux tears they weep for you are pure crocodile. You will conform or else you will be made to feel less than a mangy dog, publicly humiliated like Dr. Giddings and former Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan before TEC's HOB.
Had Church of England liberals won the vote for women bishops, no provision would have been made for opponents. None. You will conform, that is, accept a woman bishop or face being expelled from the church.
Tolerance is a sign of weakness. Drawing lines in the sand has never worked for orthodox Episcopalians in The Episcopal Church. We learned that lesson a long time ago. The revisionists will push and push till they get their way. We know. We saw what Louie Crew started 40 years ago. It has now come to full fruition with a gay and lesbian bishop; 95% of the HOB has long since rolled over. The result is the Episcopal Church is slowly being destroyed, one diocese and one parish at a time. Do you think they care? Of course not.
Last summer at General Convention they passed a revised resolution Title IV which now includes several new offenses for which a Member of the Clergy may be subject to discipline which had never previously been included in the Canons of the Episcopal Church. In addition to the Offenses under the old Title IV, a Member of the Clergy may now face disciplinary proceedings for (a) "attempting to violate, directly or through the acts of another person, the Constitution or Canons of the Church or of any Diocese;" (b) failing to "cooperate" with any Title IV investigation or proceeding; (c) bringing a false accusation or providing false testimony or false evidence in any Title IV investigation or proceeding: and (d) failing to report all matters "which may constitute an Offense" under Canons IV. 3 or IV.4.
While this may include the possibility of a liberal bishop caught in a serious sexual offense its primary purpose is to eradicate those of orthodox persuasion and conviction.
And what of the next generation? Some dioceses, the wealthier ones like Massachusetts are trying to "fix" the problem, but with liberal seminaries like Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts run by an avowed lesbian churning out liberal clergy, they have no discernible message different from that found in society or the pages of The New York Times. Most bishops don't care about the next generation because in most dioceses there won't be one - only juncturing for survival. HOD president Gay Jennings is trying with all her heart to restructure the church with the new economic realities. Many believe she will fail.
So to if CofE bishops lift the ban on same sex blessings, it will result in deep divisions of a kind that has not been seen in the Church of England for centuries. It will ultimately force disestablishment and bring the church down. That's your future, Mr. Richardson. Get used to it.
This is what is going to happen: sooner or later the evangelicals and traditionalists in the CofE will have to come together and form a new church just like the ACNA in the US and the ANIC in Canada. People are already close to setting up an alternative Church, a senior cleric in the Church of England is whispered to have said. Think Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA.)
So the real lesson from all this, Mr. Richardson, is this: the Church of England, like the Episcopal Church, is reaping what it has sown and is continuing to sow. Unless there is real metanoia, that is true repentance, it will continue to slide into the abyss where there is no eye to pity, no arm to save...and where priests like you have no future.
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