Discipline and the Bishops in a Time of Confusion and Discernment: The Case of Bishop Duncan

Anglican Communion Institute

by Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner  
Wednesday, 23 January 2008

As Anglican Christians, both within and outside TEC, what are we to make of the disciplinary process against Pittsburgh’s Bishop, Robert Duncan, now initiated by the Presiding Bishop?  In brief, I would urge TEC and other Anglican bishops to pray for and take action so that this process pauses indefinitely.  They should do this for the sake of genuinely seeking discernment and resolution as to the ordering of our common life as Anglicans.  There is nothing that legally demands that the process be carried through at this point and in the manner now laid out.  There is every Christian reason to work for some other outcome.

I.  First, the engagement of the process itself appears to have been inevitable, at least once the various positions regarding the actions of General Convention 2003 were laid out, adopted, and embraced by different parties in the church.  That is not in dispute.  And once the complainants against Bishop Duncan formally made their charges to the Review Committee, an examination and determination as to Bp. Duncan’s adherence to the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons was necessarily demanded. 

II.  Second, the use of Title IV.9 - “abandonment of communion” - was reasonably applied in this determination, since at issue in the charges was whether Bp. Duncan was actively and deliberately working to disengage himself and his diocese from the legally organized life of the Episcopal Church, and the canon in question is aimed at a bishop who makes an “open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship” of the church.  “Discipline” certainly includes such legally organized life and an “open renunciation” might well be interpreted as including active, articulated, and hortatory efforts at effecting a formal disengagement, for himself and his diocese, from such a life.

III.  However, third, it is an open question as to whether “the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this church” are in fact being upheld and/or embodied by the current executive offices of the Episcopal Church. (Myself, I believe they are not; but that is not the point here.)  The question is “open” because it has been in dispute, at least since General Convention 2003.  It has been disputed in the explicit mind of a series of TEC bishops, theologians, clergy, and laity, as well as in the explicit mind of other formal leaders and members of the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is bound, by its own Constitution, to be a “constituent member”.  The dispute has been openly engaged, and has continued unabated, and in fact with growing force, despite attempts by General Convention 2006 and meetings by the TEC’s House of Bishops to answer, in certain respects, charges as to the constitutional integrity of its executive life. 

IV.  Fourth, and to further explicate the previous point, this dispute is not an artificial or tendentious construct insofar as it touches the “Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of this church”.  The matter of “discipline” is bound up with a host of extensive theological and practical realities that, as we know, include liturgy and liturgical form, teaching, moral behavior, and the more narrow “disciplinary” matters of how clergy and bishops are directed, admonished, and corrected.  When, as has happened in now literally hundreds of cases among clergy (and some bishops), an ordained Episcopalian declares that it is no longer possible to “keep” his or her “ordination vows” given the formal teaching, decisions, and actions of the executive leadership of the Episcopal Church itself, and on grounds that have been concretely enumerated in a host of cases and with respect to a host of matters, just insofar as this, the question of whether that leadership itself has openly renounced the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of this church has been formally raised.  Raised and asserted, furthermore, by the departure of many thousands of the faithful.

V.  Fifth, the Title Review Committee that received the charges against Bishop Duncan and formally “certified” his “abandonment of communion” simply and irresponsibly ignored this serious dispute in question and its constraining implications for their decision-making.  They did not even make an attempt to assess the nature of the charges brought to them and argue for their pertinence to their judgment. 

VI.  Sixth, there has not yet been an agreed upon method for resolving this dispute both as to what amounts to the “Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of this church” and as to what constitutes its “open renunciation”.  There has certainly been no method accepted where each party to the dispute accuses the other of such a renunciation, and the very instruments of (quite limited) disciplinary adjudication within the church are governed by the very executive leadership who is an accused party to the dispute.  If “interested parties”, in the sense of those who actually stand so accused by one party or the other of such “open renunciation” were to recuse themselves from a decision in this matter, much of House of Bishops itself would need to stand aside, let alone a host of other members in leadership positions within the church.  This fact makes the failure in acknowledging and analyzing our church’s dispute and of carefully arguing a case by the Title IV Review Committee particularly suspect and egregious:  they have failed to engage the actual disordered life of the church whose order they are duty-bound to uphold.

VII.  Seventh, there are difficult and maddeningly slow formal attempts unfolding, yet unfolding nonetheless, within the Anglican Communion as a whole to begin to identify a means of getting through this adjudicatory impasse.  It involves a host of synods, including the Lambeth Conference, and a proposed “covenant”, among other things.  Since no one has offered an agreeable alternative to these unfolding attempts, they remain the primary means, indeed the only means available to all parties in the dispute to move forward.  They are, furthermore, in keeping with the long traditions of catholic order and deserve a presumptive respect. Yet because they are both slow, still imperfectly defined, and legally of untested strength, the ultimate usefulness of these unfolding attempts must depend on a host of other Christian realities that - most would agree - actually define the Church of Jesus Christ far more essentially, primarily, and profoundly than do simply the Constitution and Canons of this or that province or diocese (indeed, that latter are, in a Christian sense, legitimate only to the degree that they embody these prior realities).  These realities touch upon the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit and the powers thereof that permit a clear following of the Lord Jesus Christ’s own straightforward calling to specific forms of relational behavior.  They touch upon matters of humility, patience, longsuffering, honesty and transparency, self-control, and much more.  That is, both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion of which it is still a part and which it has, rightly or wrongly, so disturbed through its executive actions, have been thrown upon a complete dependence upon these gifts and fruit, in a way that must transcend, even while respecting for the sake of the world’s order, particular rules and regulations. 

VIII.  Eighth, and proceeding directly from the above, it is a vocational imperative incumbent upon the executive leadership of TEC as well as upon those questioning its legitimacy, to defer to the burden and grace of these gifts and fruit during this time.  This is a large part of what it means to be a “Christian leader”.  This must mean setting aside the legal - including canonical - strategies and manipulations designed to create new formal relationships of what used to be called “dominion” - “lordship” over property, goods, and persons.  Ad hoc arrangements are inevitable during a “truce” - and the tradition of a “truce of God” (treuga Dei) for the sake a temporal space for resolution has real, if historically ineffective, roots in the Christian Church. But ad hoc arrangements should not trespass into areas of final legal and structural determinations. The poison of property’s enslaving demand, transferred to new areas of personal “dominion”, has long ruined most reform movements among Christians, and, whatever need there may appear to be to lay the legal groundwork for property “claims” through structural and formal disciplinary actions taken immediately and ruthlessly, such a pursuit of this need as we are now seeing is an affront to the Holy Spirit’s own restraining, and thereby ordering and fruitful mission.

XI.  Finally, and in view of the above, I would urge the bishops of TEC, when the matter of Bp. Duncan’s status and discipline is raised before them, as now it must be, to vote to table it indefinitely.  That is within their power; and it is demanded, I believe, by the evangelical needs of this church and her people.  The bishops might then use the disciplinary energies and resources of our church, instead, to pursue and submit in patience to the task and outcome of our larger Church’s resolution of our dispute.  Having fulfilled her canonical duties in forwarding the Review Committee’s decision, however ill-formed, to the House of Bishops, the Presiding Bishop herself should now use her persuasive and parliamentary powers to accomplish just such a vote to table the matter. 

TEC is embroiled in a territory of adjudication precisely to the degree that her official leadership has pressed forward to “do a new thing” for which there is no disciplinary direction apart from what, in the past and within current Anglican Communion teaching and direction, has clearly forbidden this very thing they have done. As the Anglican Communion Institute has consistently argued, TEC’s leadership cannot do this and then say they are in a position to judge anything, except by an intrinsically novel, and therefore communally questionable, standard. 

21 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    This is very good assessment of what needs to be done and in what spirit it should be done. It supposes, as Dr. Radner has written that TEC’s leadership should “to defer to the burden and grace of these gifts and fruit during this time. This is a large part of what it means to be a ‘Christian leader.” But we have no evidence that TEC’s leaders are Christians.

  2. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner,
    Greetings, love and peace be with you always
    Thank you very much for analyzing TEC and Bishop Duncan’s issue for us. This gives us a better understanding of the situation along with the frame of mind of the sitting Moderator and her lobby. We do know that this is a shameful attitude of the TEC’s ruling class because she is not thinking and acting alone.
    I must share that I personally feel that this is an attempt on the part of the Moderator to intimidate Bishop Duncan and many others and force them to keep quite. It strengthens me as from their action I can see they are scared to face the situation, which GAFCON has created for them. They had never thought that they would face such a situation and now they know the entire world involved in the debate would yield results to those who believe in the Bible.
    We all know those who stand for the Lord have to suffer. Look at all the prophets, the apostles and countless giving their lives and suffering for their faith and witness over the last two thousand years right from the days of the apostles.
    This is the system of the world, which is in the hands of Satan about which the Lord Himself said that the ruler of the world stands condemned along with those who work for him and with him. To deceive the religious, Satan has further hijacked the system of the church in so many denominations, countries, Provinces, Dioceses and parishes. Those working for the systems are certainly not working for the Lord although they use His name and preach Him. All that is in disguise of church workers and officials.
    I feel the time has come to find the true Church from within the church system and in this case the Anglican. Believers from all over the world are joining in to raise their voices and yet there may be many more who are praying quietly in their chambers for the Lords victory over these systems and His authority over them.
    Therefore I would add to your appeal whereby you asked, “I would urge TEC and other Anglican bishops to pray for and take action so that this process pauses indefinitely” adding and asking “that every Christian believer must pry and lift Bishop Duncan and others like him for victory against the exploiting systems of the church, here in this case TEC”.

  3. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Yes, dear Bishop, the time has come to stand for Christ Jesus, our Lord, and for His Gospel. TEC’s leadership has 3 characteristics that are also found among liberals in the Church of England.  These are: homosexualism, one-world-religion, and what is called in the West “realpolitik”. These have become so interwoven in TEC and the C of E, that right-believing Anglicans and the historic Christian Faith no longer have a place. These leasers should be ashamed that they serve Satan’s causes, but instead they arrogantly regard themselves as “prophets”.

  4. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    “Realpolitik” refers to decisions that advance one’s power without concern for what is right, good or virtuous. Certainly in these leasers we see no concern for doing God’s will as it is set forth in the Holy Bible.

  5. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Very dear sister Alice,
    Welcome back.
    The bystanders

    While here is a situation, as beloved brother Steve puts in his words the Church is becoming, “increasingly more liberal, anti Scriptural and pro homosexual”, which we are facing, and it is time to deal with this situation for the sake of OUR Church and show in clear word what ought to be a Church headed by the Lord.

    Her I point out my observation, which had been the root cause of leading to the present working of the Church. The Church had a vast majority of “bystanders” in our columns that did not speak at all while the defenders of faith were protesting in the Forums of the Anglican Communion.

    My personal assessment of the GAFCON is that it will take out the bystanders from their shells to participate and voice their concern, in the correction of the hijacked system of the Church by the evil one who is using the offices of the Church to distort the image of the Church.

    The ABC presided over a Communion service a few days ago in the Diocese of London for the Gays and Lesbians. To me this was shocking to know though the service was supposed to be kept secret. It would not be out of place to mention the 144 pages report about the promotion of Gay and Lesbian Movement on WWW. Anglicanspread.com and would refer to its page 131 where strategies of the organizers to keep the protesting Bishops away in the Lambeth has already been pointed. I have a feeling that the ABC and his team will also try to send persons from his own lobby to attend the GAFCON for putting in some sort of pressure for getting something for his face saving.

    Here I feel our efforts for the awareness drive are going to play an important role and I urge the bystanders to put in their share by speaking out what they owe to the Lord and His living Word.
    I feel we must also try to highlight the Christian heritage, which the believers own due to faith in the living Lord and it is Satan’s plan to use the offices of the AC and CoE to misguide simple Christians who are already office oriented and do not try to understand that it is a matter of life and death for the believers. .

    I do know a lot of bishops are about to make announcement of not going to the Lambeth in protest, and would try to attend the GAFCON in order to identify with those who value the Word of God.


    The issue of Bishop Bob Duncan will surely invole more in this dialogue for better.

  6. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Dear Bishop Inayat, I agree that defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is hindered by complacency of “bystanders”.  For too many years in TEC we allowed heretics to gain ground and not the whole is in decay.  But God is greater!  HE makes the dry bones tolive again.  That is how we should pray.

    Since I left TEC I find I am able to pray in confidence that my requests are made known by the Holy Spirit to God. There is spiritual oppression among people in TEC, as well as complacency.
    This is another reason why we must pray for one another daily.

  7. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    “THE MISSING ELEMENT OF THE CHURCH”

    While reflecting today on the condition of the Church (TEC, AC and GAFCON and our Church fo Pakistan) the following thoughts over took me, which I want to share with the all my sisters and brothers for their prayer support keeping in mind that “prayers change” and help to achieve goals.

    1.Love and the importance of the “love letter”.
    The entire work of the Lord for mankind is based on His love for all of us. In return He expects us to love Him with all our heart and all that is within us (Ps. 103). If we (all the Christians) were in true love with Him, we would value His love letter (BIBLE) as the most important asset of our lives.
    The idea of turning away from the Bible and bringing in alien ideas reflects that either we (who have extra-Biblical) statues are not in love with Him or we do not have any regard for His love letter to the Church.
    2.Awareness about the relationship with Christ.
    The Church including the AC and C o E is the “Bride of Christ” according to the Word of God, which in the language of the world and that of the Bible means “life partner”. Academically, each and everyone agrees to the concept, [but] the behavior and theological statements of the leadership (the part of the Church with extra-Biblical practices) reveal they do not subscribe to the obligations tied with the relationship, which is expected of a bride.
    A Christian bride is tied to the groom through a sacrament of covenant in the presence of the witnesses (in this case the two witnesses would be God the Father and the Holy Spirit) resulting into a union called “one body”. 
    Most part of the (western church would like to be like a girl friend (forgive my language) Church seems unaware of the relationship and also about the obligations attached with it.
    3.Unaware of the inheritance.
    The spiritual position given to the “Repentant Christian” is either “Children of God” or the “Bride of Christ”. In the spiritual world it is an elevated position as against the fallen mankind. Saint Paul prays for the Christians that eyes of their hearts (Ep. 1: 18) may open so that they may see their inheritance. Further an elevated position (Ep. 1: 3, 20 and 2: 6) is eternal, given as from now and sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ep. 1: 13-14) called as the deposit guarantee. No other religion or belief has that provision.
    I wish and pray the heretic church should know about this inheritance.
    4.Sacrifice.
    All living relations of the world demand sacrifice of one sort or the other. That is the basic element of love, may that be for the country, relations, for art, literature or for the Lord. Just see how much we sacrifice for our children and spouses in our daily lives. Since God loved the world He gave His son as a complete sacrifice so that the world is saved from death. If we claim to be in love with the Lord, then the Word of God wants us to be a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God (Rom. 12: 1).
    Most part of the present day leadership of the Church along with those in the pews seem to lack the love and sacrifices linked with it.
    5.Fear of the Lord.
    In Divine language and sense “fear of God” is key to wisdom, which come from heaven from the Father (Jm. 3:17) and is holy and loving. This fear of the Lord is not based on the fear of His wrath (although it is there for the rebellious on the day of judgment) [but] it is based on the essential concept of love, which we see in our daily lives thinking about hurting our loved ones due to our deeds. Meaning that we should be concerned about bringing sorrow to the Lord due to our words, thoughts and deeds.

    The present situation in TEC could be due to these missing elements from the part of the Church resulting in the disciplinary process against Pittsburgh’s Bishop, Robert Duncan, now initiated by the Presiding Bishop.

    Let us all pray for him and the TEC so that the Lord turns this evil against him into goodness.

  8. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    The following is the major part of something I wrote on our local Anglican website here in New Zealand I think it touches on what Bishop Ijaz Inayat is saying as well as being prompted by Ephraim Radner’s thoughts.

    Surely, the tragedy of the Anglican Communion at present is quite simply the failure to be able to hold key figures accountable. Many folk were unhappy about the pronouncements of Bishop Spong .. but all we heard in response is, “He’s an Anglican Bishop in good standing in the church.” We appear to have no way of making our leaders ‘accountable.’ I had hoped after the Advent letter, that Lambeth might be an answer, that hope has gone since the public announcement by THE leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury about that conference two days ago. I don’t think any longer that there is ANYONE who is prepared to sort this matter out.

    I suppose in one way it doesn’t matter. I’m a member of Christ’s church, and I always will be, nothing will take me from His hands. But He called me to this Anglican church, and I would have liked to see more done to try and hold it together.

    I wasn’t very keen on the idea of the proposed Covenant, believing that we should be able to sort out our problems with the formularies we have. But I was willing to give it a go .. that idea too has come to a crashing halt as I read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s latest.

    Ephraim Radner said today on the Anglican Communion website .. “This dispute is not an artificial or tendentious construct insofar as it touches the “Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of this church”. The matter of “discipline” is bound up with a host of extensive theological and practical realities that, as we know, include liturgy and liturgical form, teaching, moral behavior, and the more narrow “disciplinary” matters of how clergy and bishops are directed, admonished, and corrected.”

    I think we all know that the thousands of faithful Anglican’s who are leaving the Episcopal church in America, have done so because it has proved impossible to call their own leaders to account. So although they are a tiny church with hundreds of Bishops, they are not just losing whole parishes, but whole Dioceses .. and the results of their actions will lead to the same schism not just there, but here as well.

    I MUST accept that this is what the majority of our church want too .. but I didn’t realise it would hurt this much. I hoped we would heed God’s call for repentance.

    Silly me, if anyone knows how hard it is to repent, to turn from our wicked ways and follow Him .. it is me.

    I’ve written many letters in my head to the Archbishop of Canterbury, most of them begging and pleading with him to do something that he apparently cannot do .. mind you, I don’t really believe that he cannot. I also lost hope when GAFCON was announced, whatever the organisers say, that feels like a ‘separatist’ move to me. I understand it … but hoped for more from our leaders.

    I still had hope after the Advent letter, where the Archbishop of Canterbury made it so plain that the ‘mind of the communion’ had been expressed at Lambeth 98 .. but after the latest announcement it is plain that he’s going to continue the ‘waiting game’ that has been played by so many for so long .. to such little benefit. So be it, as I say, nothing will remove me from Jesus’ church. The captain of this particular ship is telling the passengers that all is well … but in reality, the ship is sinking. He calls ‘peace, peace, when there is no peace.’ Well the lifeboats will hold a few .. for a while, and one or two will make their way to another ship. Not to safety … there is no safety outside of the arms of Our Lord, but live to fight another day.

    There is apparently no way of calling our leaders .. of all description and all sides .. to account for their manipulation of the church they were called to protect. I know exactly how the children of dysfunctional families feel .. helpless and yet screaming for help. Worthless .. and yet hungering for worth. Unloved .. and yet begging for acknowledgement.

    Surely we must ALL get on our knees and beg Our Lord for mercy.

  9. Gerry OBrien Says:

    Dear Rosemary & Dear Bishop Inayat:

    I have been very quiet this last few weeks, mainly because the discussions have become so very civilized, I didn’t realize that I could find adequate words to speak as well as read.


    Bishop Inayat: 

    What a wonderful delight to see a Bishop writing with such Holy Wisdom!  Your words are like the Balm of Gilead to my weary soul, I do hurt so much for the Anglican Churches Worldwide.  TEC is gone…...nothing there but remnants and if those do not leave they will be scorched remnants.  Anglican Church of Canada is very quickly catching up to TEC and I am confident that when I say Primate Fred Hiltz and Presiding Bishop Jeffers-Schorri are of absolutely LIKE MINDS and their agendas have been set for a very long time.  Liberalism has carved a deep niche in the North american churches and only by going to Global South and Southern Cone Leadership will any of the faithful come out of it all still within an Anglican Communion.

    Rosemary: 

    I know that New Zealand is in as bad a condition as the North Americans and your letter Number 8 above is heart wrenching.  Stand Firm in The Faith you faithful anglicans in NZ. 
    Know that the wolves in New Zealand are wearing the same sheeps clothing as in North America and no matter which Diocese or Tikanga (sp)they are in, they still will keep trying to wear down the faithful.

    It is obvious that we who are faithful to the Holy Scriptures will be under much more severe attack than in the past and yes, we will be very much persecuted in this liberal world…...BUT, the prize that we race towards will be ours and we will receive our Crowns in Heaven to place at our Savior’s feet.  Amen.!!

    Blessings to all on this site,

    Gerry O’Brien,
    Newfoundland, Canada

  10. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    ACCOUNTABILITY AND SOWING WITH TEARS

    Yes, dear sister Rosemary,

    Thank you for putting up the missing element of accountability, which I had missed in my comment # 7 up there.

    Yes, a very large portion of the Church including the leadership and very specially those in robes are missing the element of accountability from their thought, word and deed.

    I feel all of us are accountable at three places for everything.

    1.In the court of our conscious.

    Each one of us is accountable in the court of our conscious for every action. Every time we think, speak or act [specially when we are deciding things which effects others] we have to seek the guidance of our conscious and if it is alive, good results will be seen (Proverbs 20: 27), The Urdu translation (I like it as it is more meaningful) reads, “A mans conscious is, God’s lamp”. [and] I also like it because the Lord wants the lamp to remain always lit and giving light(Ex. 27: 20).

    One of the punishments of the Lord to the Church is the removal of the lampstand (resulting darkness) from its place, [along with the lamp] (Rev. 2: 5) and the reason of the punishment is fallings down from the original place. The major portion of the Church is not bothered about the absence of the lamp (conscious with Divine wisdom) from their lives.
       
    2.Accountable before people whom we serve.

    We are accountable before the people whom we serve, because we serve Lord’s bride, which is not a very simple task like other worldly jobs where we work according to the rules of business. We are just stewards (1 Cor. 4: 1) and not the masters of Lord’s people; therefore we must follow the instructions, which can only be found in the Word of God. Since the Bride of the Lord enjoys special place in the entire economy of God, this service must be done in utmost spirit of reverence and fear of God.

    It seems that most of the servants of the Lord have fabricated their own rules of service to serve themselves rather then Lord’s Bride.

    3.Last “Day of Judgment”.

    The love of God has made provisions for the believers for the final “Judgment” (from whom no secrets are hidden), which is bound to come upon everyone. It is also God’s love that He left the door opened for each and every one to enter in His Kingdom through the door of repentance. Anyhow all of us including the leadership of the Church pushing their extra-Biblical thinking upon the rest of the Church shall come before the thrown of the Judge and dealt accordingly.

    Dear brothers and sisters who are now sowing with tears for [The New Jerusalem] shall reap with joy (Ps. 126: 5). Remember Jesus also wept twice and on both occasions over death of those He loved. Your tears for the present Church shall bring Lazarus and the New Jerusalem to life. Sure they (your tears) shall remain before the Lord to be answered maybe through GAFCON.

    The Lord bless you all.

  11. teddymak Says:

    Dr. Radner suggests that Schori “should now use her persuasive and parliamentary powers to accomplish just such a vote to table the matter.”

    I am simply stunned by such reasoning and statements. Mrs. Schori is the originator, the prime mover, behind this attack on +Duncan. Do we actually think that she, with her extensive record of such acts, will now suspend this particular assault? It will never, never happen. What can the good Doctor be thinking of?

    There has long been an air of unreality in the
    work of the Dr. Radner and the ACI. We are contesting genuine Biblical evil and they constitutionally unable to understand that.

    “The world is too dangerous to live in-not because of people who do evil, but because of people who sit and let it happen.”
    Albert Einstien.

    We must not enable such unChristian acts as the assault on +Duncan by issuing fanciful and just completely unreal statements about it. Instead, harness the extraordinary communicative talents of the ACI to the genuine movement to reform the Anglican Communion by recognizing, and confronting, the powers that have nearly destroyed it.

  12. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Dear Brother,

    So you agree that the “bystanders”, and in this case the ones in the forums of AC have caused more damage.

    If they trust the Lord for their bread and butter they must stand up and raise their voice for they shall answer to the Lord for their stand or compromise. The Lord surely feeds those who had to suffer for their honest and Biblical stand, even through the crows like Elijah.

    We do pray for them to take a firm stand for their own lives and the lives of so many innocent people who would not be saved because of the misconceptions created by those who did not speak when they were expected to do so. The simple people take for granted what the people in the robes are telling them about the Word of God. [Because] They some how trust them and feel that the Assemblies and Forums were wise enough to have reached correct decisions. Those who are bystanders will be held responsible for the lost souls.

    Here we urge the Bishops and Archbishops to stand up for the issue of faith for which the Lord commissioned them and gave them the positions.

  13. Gerry OBrien Says:

    It seems to me that here in the North American Churches (Epicopalian and Anglican), that the “JOB” is now spelled “god” and that “JOB” has replaced God in it’s place of importance in the minds of the Bishops and Priests in the church.

    I am more and more becoming of the mind that one must TURN TOTALLY AWAY from the liberal minded and also from those that keep saying, the time is not right yet for us to leave.  The time has never been more right than right now…..

    You Bishops and Priests that remain in your “Jobs” have some very odd ideas about serving God (in my opinion) and if you think you are serving Him by staying in TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, then you are making very sad mistakes.  Unfortunately, the mistakes will lead to eternal consequences that you will not like.

    Having said all this, I know that I am no less a sinner than any others and I must ensure that I do my very best to enter into the Kingdom of God.  It is one thing to accept Him as my Saviour and be given the guarantee by His Blood…BUT it is a totally different thing to do that and then turn right around and keep living the life of sin…...It doesn’t work that way!! And, by the way, standing up for the sinner and allowing them to continue on sinning is the same as being an accomplice to a crime…..just as guilty.

    Please,  .....  give up this terrible path that you have chosen and turn back, turn back, turn back…..before it is to late. 

    If you die tonight and you haven’t turned back… well…. will it be too late?  That is my question,  Will it be too late??

  14. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    Very quickly Gerry,  because there is a HUGE amount to be said about your post,  yes some clergy could run from the place Jesus has called them,  and remain ‘safe’ in His arms,  but what about the people in their care?  And what about the wider communion of people who haven’t heard what you have heard?  And if there is schism of some kind ..  where will that stop?  The history of schism’s is that it continues and continues.  We already have some 23,000 protestant churches,  all convinced THEY have the truth,  schism would just add to that number.  Besides,  doesn’t Jesus commend those who still labour for the truth in churches where the truth is hard to find?  [Rev]

    I’m not in fact saying you’re wrong,  just saying it isn’t as easy as you seem to think to be faithful to your calling.

  15. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    Each must do as the Lord directs and that will mean different actions for each person. I asked the Lord to show me when I was to leave my parish and He did so. When the conflict reached the point where no one could hear me, I began to pray and fast. After a day and a half of this, I awoke after a restless night and heard the Lord say, “Sunday will be your last day.”  This was Friday morning. So I called the members of my Vestry and asked that we meet before the service on Sunday. I submitted my resignation, telling them that I couldn’t go the direction that Bishop Sauls wanted to take the parish and the diocese, but that I would continue to pray for them. That was my last Sunday in parish ministry. It was the Sunday that Vicky Gene Robinson was consecrated bishop of New Hampshire, the first Sunday in November 2003. Today is January 30, 2008. How long, Oh Lord, must Anglicans be in captivity to those who spit upon your word?

  16. Gerry OBrien Says:

    Dear Rosemary:
    I’m quite sure you are right and that it is not so easy as what I am saying.  I must say that I am what one would call a very “black & white” type of person on this issue.  That is not to say I have always been that way because I have not always thought this way.

    I understand where you are coming from and have gone through the same dialogue with a woman in the Parish which I am still a part of although only hanging on by a fingernail.  I really feel this way.  All the people in the parish have been around for many years, some for more than my 64 years and some for less…....BUT all have been Baptized and Confirmed in the Faith…true, not all have heard the message of Truth (Shame on the Church for having drifted too far from the shore)but, living in the Country we live in, I believe the largest percentage have and will be able to base their decisions on eternity with some grounding of the Word and in the Word. 

    I feel more for those in Countries where the Truth has not been revealed and where the Societies have been so against the Church that many have been oppressed.  Those are not the ones that I speak against or to.  I am speaking to the educated, exposed and knowledgeable Christians who remain where they are because of inordinate attachments to a building or to some people in the Parish and will remain regardless of their eternal health.  these people have the option of choice and it is with these persons that I ask “If” they die tonight, will their decisions have affected their eternal home?

    Rosemary, I am aware that my statements may upset some and will not be accepted by others.  We each must make our decisions based on our hearts and our thinking and the teachings that we have had. 

    I believe that we all, in the final analysis, must make that one decision all by our lonesome selves in concert with Jesus Christ and with the question in our hearts, What Would Jesus Say?
    Where would Jesus go to check his answer?  Would God give Jesus the wrong answer?  What does the Holy Bible say about our decision?

    Right or wrong, these are my thoughts, written here for the world to read.  Some will agree, some will disagree, some will argue, some will not argue….... 

    In Christ,
    Gerry

  17. Rosemary S Behan Says:

    Alice,  Gerry ..  just so.  Amen.

  18. Gerry OBrien Says:

    Dear Rosemary:

    I’m not sure about the thought “If there is a schism”.....It appears to me that here in North America, there “IS” a schism, full blown, thanks very much to Bishop Michael Ingham of Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada (Backed up by Primate Fred Hiltz & the ABC) and thanks to bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, USA (Backed up the most liberal Jezibel (whoops… meant to say Presiding Bishop Katharin Jeffers-Schorri of the Episcopal Church)....

    These people and their backers and liberal supporters have forced the Primates of the Southern Cone and the Global South into taking the stand they have in offering Primatial oversight to the Faithful in Canada and the USA.  God Bless them all.

    Your Country has not yet quite reached the point that we are at, but you are getting there.  We will, all around the world, keep NZ in our prayers. 

    Rosemary, You are most fortunate to be in the position that you are in as a Vicar’s wife and not just a parishioner.  Obviously Your husband is a faithful Christian who does not lean at all towards the liberal side in NZ.

    I left a parish here in Newfoundland that was vibrant, charismatic and evangelical….A beautiful Church until the Rector decided to become a wrector and came out of his closet to inform the parish that he had decided he was gay and that he had suspected such since he was 18years old.  When he decided to tell us, he was married, with children and had been hired as Parish Priest based on the fact that he claimed to be a happily married man (5 years before) and into his 40’s.  This man had lied to the Vestry to get the job and then destroyed this vibrant parish with his selfishness in not caring enough about the parish (he should have resigned).

    The carnage that this one person caused to a vibrant parish was not one that is easily forgiven n’or is it an act that will get him an easy pass into heaven.  IF he confesses, repents, and then turns from the homosexuality then I don’t have a problem with him…..BUT, as it now stands, he is there….teaching false doctrine and leading people away from the truth.  Should I stay in a Church that not only turns a blind eye to such behavior but also is now encouraging it?  I don’t think so….AND, I think any Bishop, Priest or lay person that stays in such a church is encouraging false doctrine also.

    nuff said..

    God Bless,
    Gerry

  19. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    My valuable and dear ones,

    God bless you all for your concern about His Kingdom.

    I am in debt to all those who contribute to the debates. Firstly, I feel I am going through a refresh year course of my Bible studies and faith. Secondly, that many others would be reading it and viewing their stand in their daily lives according to the Word of God.

    I value the comments of sisters Alice and Rosemary along with those of brother Gerry and respect their views about remaing in the rotten system or not. I do agree with sister Alice that it varies from situation to situation and that in every situation we need the Lord guidance to reach decisions.

    There may be times we would have a role inside the system while at other times one might feel the Lord saying, “stay away from them”. 

    I personally feel those who have the knowledge of the Word of God have a prophetic role in both cases and that does not end in any case. The important thing is to convey your concern about the understanding that you get from the Bible regarding faith, life, relationship with God through Jesus and the way a Christian must live according to the will of God.

    The “MISSION” of the Lord is to be accomplished by us who will always be week, but need to remember the strength of the Lord is manifested in our weaknesses. 

    GAFCON would provide us the opportunity to think collectively.

  20. Steven Berry Says:

    Dear Rosemary,

    I understand your concern and hear your broken heart when you say “And if there is schism of some kind ..  where will that stop?”, but Rosemary it isn’t a question of “if” anymore, schism has already taken place.

    St. John records for us in John 17:20–21, that Jesus prayed for his followers, “that they may all be one,” but I don’t believe that he was speaking about organizational unity but organic unity. He was not referring to some external uniformity but rather to the visible manifestation of our spiritual unity. If we read these verses carefully we will see that Jesus only prayed that all believers be one.

    Rosemary, Christ’s true followers are, and always will be, one in faith, hope, and love, but not necessarily one in denomination, synod, or jurisdiction. There really is nothing in the above text that speaks to unity of government or organization.

    While you correctly state that “We already have some 23,000 protestant churches, all convinced THEY have the truth…” that is a bit of an overstatement.  While they may differ among themselves about “secondary issues”, there is, amazingly, general agreement on those doctrines which make up what is identified as the “orthodoxy of the faith.”

    Historically, there have been four marks, accepted by Christians of all flavors, which identify the true church.

    The church is one. The church is one because Christ is one. “One body and one Spirit, . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4–5) All agree that the final ground for the unity of the church is not in anything people have done or ever can do for themselves, but in what God has done for people in Christ.

    The church is holy. Indeed, the attribute of holiness seems to have been the earliest term applied to the church, for the earliest version of the creed reads: “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy church.” Now, all Christians would agree that the church is holy, though they may disagree about the specific meaning and content of its holiness.

    The church is catholic. “Catholicity” in its basic meaning simply means universal, and when Anglicans recite the Apostles’ Creed it is in a broad sense, believing that the body of Christ extends to the ends of the earth and encompasses every “tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). Remember, Anglicans developed the “branch theory” concept of the church.

    The church is apostolic. “When Anglicans speak of the church as apostolic, it isn’t referring simply to Apostolic Succession, but rather to its adherence to apostolic teaching. Anglicans have always shown great loyalty to the Scriptures. The church is apostolic insofar as it remains in obedience to the apostolic message in the Scriptures.”

    The schism that I speak of is not between Christians with differing opinions on “secondary issues”, but between those who are maintaining historic Christianity and those who have rejected orthodoxy and are reinventing the faith into something new.

    We hear the constant drumbeat, by those promoting the homosexual agenda within the TEC, that we must continue to listen and dialog and pray, and that they will put a moratorium on same sex blessings, until a new consensus is formed, but that message is completely disingenuous. They have no desire to honor their word. Their goal is to push and push until the opposition simply tires and gives in.

    While sincere Christians are “quilted” into faithfully listening, dialoging, and praying, the enemy continues on with their agenda. They have no fear in lying to the world about their intents. The TEC talks of their commitment and desire to remain within the Anglican Communion, while they openly work to remake it into a new, less narrow minded, less bigoted, and more inclusive religion. One that no longer needs the Scriptures; no, science and psychology are the religion of today. Their new politically correct and tolerant religion is tolerant of everything but the Truth and its faithful proclamation; and once you oppose them, then fully expect to be sued and/or inhibited.

    In spite of Windsor and countless Primate Resolutions, the TEC continues its march.

    Here is one more recent example.

    Church delegates call for gay rights

    newsobserver.com
    Yonat Shimron, Staff Writer
    Jan 23, 2008

    Delegates to the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina adopted a resolution asking the national body to support the full inclusion of gays and lesbians and to encourage development of liturgies to bless same-sex unions.

    The resolution passed by a majority vote of the more than 700 delegates to the convention, which met in Greensboro on Friday and Saturday.

    The diocese, stretching across 39 Piedmont counties, has previously made known its commitment to gay and lesbian inclusion. Bishop Michael Curry voted in favor of the consecration of the denomination’s first openly gay bishop in 2003. He has since allowed pastors to give pastoral care to gays and lesbians, including the blessing of their unions.

    The resolution also calls on the Archbishop of Canterbury—the head of the Anglican Communion that includes the Episcopal Church USA—to allow Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop, to attend the once-in-a-decade Lambeth Conference this July in England. Robinson was not invited so as to avoid division among the member churches who oppose his consecration.

    The resolution was sponsored by priests at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh.

    In other resolutions, the convention backed comprehensive immigration reform while opposing “any governmental action that unduly emphasizes enforcement as the primary response to immigrants.” It also adopted a resolution urging all churches to conduct energy audits and to report the results of those audits at next year’s convention.

    End of story –

    Rosemary, you may not feel the noose tightening in on you in NZ yet, but unless something changes soon, you will be.

    God bless

    Steve

  21. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    Dear Steve, # 20.

    “Rosemary, Christ’s true followers are, and always will be, one in faith, hope, and love, but not necessarily one in denomination, synod, or jurisdiction. There really is nothing in the above text that speaks to unity of government or organization.”

    Thank you and God bless you for the detailed comment.