Jul 2, 2006

The Future is Now

Observations

In just the past few weeks...
  • Pittsburgh - South Carolina - San Joaquin - Ft. Worth - Springfield - Central Florida appeal for new bishop
  • Christ Church Plano exists the Episcopal Church USA
  • Trinity Church expresses their wish to exit the Episcopal Church USA
  • Martyn Minns of Truro Church (VA) is consecrated a bishop by African leaders
Churches are seeking new episcopal leadership, an evangelical priest is consecrated a bishop, two evangelical churches are out. All of this comes on the heels of the consecration of a new liberal Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church and a General Convention that failed (unsurprisingly) to heed the call for repentance and regret from the larger Anglican Communion over the consecration and ordination of gays.

Many years ago when I reconsidered reaffirming my membership in the Episcopal Church, following my evangelical conversion, I came across an article on the web about Bishop Stanton's (Dallas) Presentment against clergy and bishops who had ordained a gay priest. A Presentment is a formal charge among the House of Bishops for an action that is deemed wrong on canonical and scriptural grounds. The article went on to say that nothing came of it, which means that the liberal bishops in the majority didn't care. That was 1998.

In the ensuing months and years the impasse between the conservatives and liberals has grown insurmountable based upon fundamentally different hermeneutical presuppositions and worldviews regarding Scripture, the gospel and the purpose of the Church. Things went from being bad to worse. Most on the conservative side have said, "Enough is enough!"

In the meantime, groups like Anglican Mainstream in the UK, the Anglican Communion Network in the US (and UK?), the American Anglican Council and other groups, clergy, and lay people have networked, convened, written letters, debated, prayed and grieved about what the future must hold. For many of us the future now looks foreseeable. It appears that the structures are in place for us to merge into a new community of faithful Anglican Christians. It appears that the de facto opinion of Canterbury and other global bishops would authorize US conservatives going their own way. The one thing holding us back, it appears, has been caution and careful proceeding so that we would give the "other side" every conceivable opportunity of playing fair, changing their minds and acknowledging their sinful actions. It appears very clearly to us now that they will not. Enough is really enough.

I think it's time for all faithful Episcopalians to exit ECUSA, link up with our like-minded brothers and sisters in the AMIA, the REC, and other Anglican churches that want to join. I think we should hold a national convocation as soon as possible to express our intentions to more forward for the Gospel together. Obviously, much more would need to happen in the following months and years to focus our vision, define our theology, establish our ecclesiastic ties with the rest of Anglicanism, iron out various trouble spots, etc. But it must unquestionably be time to act.

The future is now.

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