Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Irenaeus Desperately Needed

One of the Church Fathers of the Second Century AD was Irenaeus of Lyons. One of the great treatises he wrote was Adversus Haereses in which he defended the orthodox Christian faith from both heretics and gnostics who were preaching and teaching contrary to the Apostolic witness. Many of the heresies he attempted to combat were affronts to the Nature of Christ and his full-divinity and full-humanity. We need another Irenaeus today.

Earlier this week the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a Pentecost letter in which he made some of his strongest statements yet regarding the apostate and heretical actions of the Episcopal Church in the consecration of Mary Glasspool as a bishop in Los Angeles. Even though there is allot to be discussed, at least the Archbishop admitted that there needed to be consequences for these actions. How that will all play out remains to be seen.

It didn't take long for Ms. Schori to get her feathers ruffled with this letter, and has since written a pastoral letter to the church in response. She claims that the Archbishop's letter has an authoritarian tone that is unAnglican in attempting to establish some norms for what is "in" and what is "out" regarding Christian ethics and morals at least from the perspective of homosexuality. At one time the Creeds helped with that, but since Jack Spong is still wearing a collar and flouting his credentials as a retired Episcopal bishop, we've had to move to more drastic measures.

Several times in her letter, Ms. Schori alludes to what I think sensible readers would deem to be gnosticism. She and the leadership of The Episcopal Church apparently are the sole proprietors of some sort of special knowledge and insight into the Spirit (notice she never says Holy Spirit), and what this "Spirit" is up to in our distinctively American context.

Also, the tag line phrase appears once again like clockwork, "The baptismal covenant prayed in this Church for more than 30 years calls us to respect the dignity of all other persons and charges us with ongoing labor toward a holy society of justice and peace. That fundamental understanding of Christian vocation underlies our hearing of the Spirit in this context and around these issues of human sexuality." When are the folks in the Episcopal Church going to wake up and realize that the "baptismal covenant" and the revisions of the '79 Prayer Book regarding baptism and confirmation is nothing but 21st Century Pelagianism. This is a works righteousness, make a deal with God mentality that has no ground or warrant in either Holy Scripture or church teaching. Rather, this is feel good, warm fuzzy, existentialism wrapped up with a little Eastern mysticism, and the trappings of something that appears Christian. In actuality its nothing more than white washed tombs full of dead men's bones.

We need another Irenaeus in our time, and we need one soon.

May God have mercy on us all.

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