My Blog List

Monday, December 01, 2008

Old News

Ask any of the dwindling number of traditionalist Episcopalians (or the increasing number of former traditionalist Episcopalians) just what led to ECUSA's present barren and dessicated state and most will point to the church's famously refusing to deal decisively with heretics in her past. The two most likely cited will be Pike from the 60s and Spong from the 70s, ever drearily to the present day.

Good calls both yet it seems (and should come as no surprise) the miscreants Pike and Spong were hardly the first in ECUSA leadership to embrace heterodoxy. Consider this item from Time Magazine concerning Bishop William Lawrence, who haled from one of the church's most stalwart families.
...In 50 years of priesthood, says the Massachusetts bishop, he has seen most revolutionary changes in the thought of mankind. This has taught him that change is an element of human life. It is not to be feared. It is to be used. "No discovery of science has taken from us our faith," but "when we realize how our conception of the universe has been enlarged ten thousand times, we have a conception of God ten thousand times greater, nobler and more spiritual than was that of our fathers." Hence, although he believes in the usefulness of creeds, Bishop Lawrence refuses to insist on the literal interpretation of any creed, or of the Bible.

For example, although he is personally inclined to accept the traditional idea of the Virgin Birth, he says it is not essential to Episcopal faith.

Before conservatives in the Episcopal Church can begin to purge it of so-called "heretics" they must settle with Bishop Lawrence.

..."Permissive Creeds," in place of obligatory, is the proposal of the Faculty of the Episcopal Theological School, of Cambridge, Mass., of which Bishop Lawrence was once head. Thus, creeds with and without affirmation of the Virgin Birth, would be accepted by the Church. "The Church is greater than the creeds." This idea coincides with Bishop Lawrence's famous utterance : "I cannot define the Triune God," and, from a different point of view with Voltaire's remark: "I will believe in God if you will stop trying to define him." Liberals contend that the spirit of Jesus cannot be caught and perpetually held in any immutable creed.
None of Bishop Lawrence's utterances or proposals would seem at all out of place coming from Katharine Jefferts Schori or her satraps yet they were reported in a story that first appeared in Time January 14th, 1924.

No comments: