Saturday, October 6, 2007

"The Demands of Being an American Congregation"


The quote is from the response to the New Orleans House of Bishops' Statement (by American Episcopalian Bishops) which in turn is in response to demands from the southern Primates that the Americans make a definitive statement regarding blessing same-sex unions and other shenanigans. Whew. Here is a bit longer quote, for context:

"...the demands of being an American denomination triumphed over the disciplines of belonging to the Church Catholic."


The demands of being an American congregation. What does this mean?

In the case of TEC, it means they have generously opened their gates to ideas and practices that do not correspond or agree with their own orthodoxy. It has gotten to the point where you can read quotes such as this coming from leaders in TEC:

"If Christ Jesus wasn’t crucified because he was being true to his authentic self, so that we, like him, might be able to live our lives with integrity, then I have completely misunderstood the message of Jesus and I have no right to call myself a Christian, much less an Episcopalian in the Anglican tradition. "
(This from Elizabeth Kaeton, an official of the Episcopal diocese of Neward, NJ.)

The demands of being an American congregation mean something in Lutheranism as well. While conservative Lutheran synods are not as far down the road as ELCA, for example, the challenges to our orthodoxy remain, mostly from neo-evangelical, praise-based worship practices (rather than from peace and justice issues). Is there a relationship between the kind of off-the-wall, unorthodox theology and practice apparently found in many Episcopalian churches and what confessional Lutheran conregations face? In other words, is the same spirit at work in both? Unchecked, is it likely that the confessional Lutheran churches of today already hold the seeds of like apostasy? Are we on the same continuum?

I don't know. But I know a pastor who for some time has been predicting that in his lifetime confessing Lutherans would be forced out of their church buildings and into their homes to worship. Secretly.

Whaddaya think?

13 comments:

Lutheran Lucciola said...

That quote from Keaton makes me ill. This is this "be authentic to yourself" baby boomer feel-good garbage.

No offense to you boomers who are NOT like this. ;-) Thank goodness for those of you!

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Wow, that woman's site is exactly what I described! I probably should stay away, because I may be listed as a "troll" if I don't embrace her grandiose definition of Christianity.

These Episcopalians make me mad. I think it's best I avoid them for awhile.

Bruce Gee said...

I'm sure she'd accuse me of taking her words out of context. But they aren't. Her argument is completely devoid of Christ as savior, and can only refer to Christ as example. To reduce Christ to mere teacher, especially in the context of the cross, is just the problem these folks seem to have in their theology. Where is the vicarious atonement? I don't find it in their writings.

Yes, when Christ is reduced to mere example, then we have churches whose teaching is only therapeutic. Everyone's job is to work toward being authentic. "You've got your example, now get to work!" I've spent a lot of time around such people, and they make me crazy.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

"To reduce Christ to mere teacher, especially in the context of the cross, is just the problem these folks seem to have in their theology."

You got it, man. They are all about the secondary stuff, and putting it in the primary position. It's the placement.

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