My Blog List

Thursday, July 16, 2009

O Go, All Ye Faithful

This past week at its triennial General Convention the Episcopal Church has been busy resolving itself out of business. Much of the doings have received national attention via media (if you'll excuse the pun) and require no repetition here. There was, however, one resolution not much reported on and the fate it suffered speaks, louder than all the splashier stuff in the headlines, how transmogrified the Episcopal Church is from even a few decades ago and what a bleak future it faces.

Following the lead of the Church of England earlier this year, a priest at the General Convention introduced a resolution that affirmed
the conclusion of the Church of England at its February General Synod and direct[s] the House of Bishops' Committee on Theology to report back to the 77th General Convention on "their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in the United States multi-faith society, and offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none."
You would be forgiven thinking that resolution, seemingly boilerplate and non-controversial, would pass quickly, by voice vote even; that stressing the uniqueness of Christ for salvation and the need to preach the Gospel to all nations is kind of the raison d'ĂȘtre of a Christian institution, isn't it?

Think again. Not only did the resolution not pass, it didn't even make it out of the Evangelism (sic) Committee, to which it had been referred. "The Evangelism Committee objected strongly to the resolution and said they thought it was the language of proselytism and exclusivism and they objected to any talk of Christianity superseding Judaism. I was blown away," said Fr. Peter Cook, the resolution's sponsor, to David Virtue. Later at that same session, as if to make manifest their feelings toward Fr. Cook's resolution, the Episcopalians trotted out "a group of ecumenical and inter-religious guests... More than 20 visitors, representing Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’is, and Sikhs..."

Protestant progressives are continually inviting representatives of other religions to take part in their services and even incorporate elements of those religions into theirs. You never see the favor returned, however; the faith of most Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'is and Sikhs being sturdy enough it is unnecessary for them to invite the Christians over to play, nor to lard their services with pastiches of Christianity (which they would surely consider heretical). Episcopalians and their brethren in the protestant mainstream who preach fungibility of all faiths in effect confess their own lack of faith. Who wants to hear that every Sunday? No wonder their pews are emptying.

No comments: