Alice C. Linsley
There is no conciliar spirit in the Episcopal Church USA. ECUSA/TEC has consistently set itself apart from the received Tradition by its dangerous innovations. It does not care about the Anglican Communion. It acts on its own impulses like an undisciplined, rebellious child.
Rebellious actions are evident in the way TEC has progressively distanced itself from the core beliefs and practices of Christianity. Catholicity and ecumenical consensus play no role in the body’s decisions. TEC was the first to break the back of catholic orders when it unilaterally began to ordain women to the priesthood. Then came the ordination of partnered gay and lesbian clergy, and the consecration of partnered gay and lesbian bishops. This was followed by same-sex “marriages” and experimental liturgies and prayers that ooze political agendas and leftist ideologies.
Consider this collect circulating on Episcopal social media sites:
before the violence of your passion
no separating wall can stand:
may your unseen Spirit
pour herself upon young and old,
male and female, gay and straight,
throw our borders into confusion
and give us a new language of love;
through Jesus Christ, the Image of God’s Being.”
The wording is reminiscent of the 2019 American Socialist Convention slogan: “No Borders, No Bosses, No Binaries.” The borders are indeed thrown into confusion.
Now the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is to consider a proposal to eliminate Baptism as a prerequisite to receive Holy Communion. Resolution C028 reads:
Resolved, That the Diocese of Northern California requests that 80th General Convention repeal CANON I.17.7 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church (2018 Revision, page 88), which states: “No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church.”
If TEC's definition of "inclusion" takes precedence over Baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know what the decision will be. The debate has been heated and there have been some excellent observations by a few orthodox clergy. Now there is a rumor that the decision will be postponed. The Episcopal Church cannot afford to lose more people and people leave when they are angry.
We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News of Jesus' death and resurrection. The proper order is articulated by the Apostle Peter. “Repent, be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2). If passed at TEC’s General Convention, this canon change will overthrow the Apostolic order, endanger the souls of many people since the Blood of Jesus both saves and condemns, and put orthodox Episcopal clergy in an extremely difficult position. Some will leave TEC. Probably the inclusion activists want exactly that.
Speaking as an anthropologist, every society, religious group, clan, and tribe have boundaries that preserve their identities. The Scriptures indicate that for members of the Body of Christ the boundary is set at Baptism into the Lord's death and resurrection. Having put off the old and put on Christ, the new member receives His Body and Blood, the medicine of immortality. Paul says that it is spiritually dangerous for the unregenerate to receive the sacrament. Whether we agree with the Apostle or not, those who are to protect the soul and edify the Body should not take this decision lightly. The Lord holds them accountable for the spiritual injuries they inflict.
The Hebrew (long before Judaism emerged) were a royal priest caste, probably the oldest known caste. The Hebrew ruler-priest caste protected its identity by marrying only within their caste, not eating with non-caste members, circumcision, etc. Peter applies this to the Church, saying that those who serve Jesus Christ are a nation of royal priests. The Church has every right to protect its identity. Indeed, this is a sacred duty.
If you are an Anglican who believes that the Anglican Way is Protestant, rather than Reformed, you likely will not object to the ordination of women to the priesthood. It was the “Protestant Episcopal Church” that first introduced that innovation. The Protestant view subsumes the priest’s unique role at the altar to a generalized pastoral ministry which can be done by any baptized Christian. However, that position denigrates the received catholic tradition of the Eucharist, it raises doubt as to the Real Presence of His Body and Blood, and it eliminates the necessity of a priestly consecration of the elements. The logical outcome is lay presidency.
While I agree with very little in Dr. William G. Witt's book Icons of Christ: A Biblical and Systematic Theology for Women's Ordination, I nevertheless recommend it as the best treatment of the pro-women's ordination position available. Most Protestant Anglicans will find it satisfactory.
My main concern is that it fails to recognize the binary references of the Bible in which one entity of the binary set is regarded as superior in evident ways to the other. His section on Trinitarian theology (p.281ff) misses the point that the Trinity is the superior entity in the Creator-creature binary set.
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