Friday, July 18, 2008

They still don't get it

It really is hardly news, these days, when Episcopal sorts show their complete ignorance of matters Scriptural and theological. Given what sort of garbage their seminaries have been teaching for the last few decades, that's hardly surprising.

Nevertheless, I'm still amazed at their periodic attempts to defend their lunacy and apostasy by ignorant appeals to Tradition. This particular swine pearl caught my eye just now:
The Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has vowed to ask Dr Williams "to encourage other parts of the Communion to cease their incursions" while they are together at Lambeth.

She said: "It's totally opposed to a traditional Christian understanding of how bishops relate to each other. That's the biggest difficulty. They're setting up as something else in the same geographical territory."
That's a lovely institutionalist sentiment... but it's not "a traditional Christian understanding."

You see, the Christian understanding is not that bishops form some arbitrary corporation, each with a bailiwick in which he can do whatever he likes. (And Schori herself obviously doesn't believe this... after all, she illegally deposed +Schofield when he and his diocese did what they canonically and legally chose and imposed her own illegal and uncanonical shadow diocese which is, by any reasonable measure, even more irregular than those parishes or dioceses which have sought alternate oversight!) Rather, the Christian understanding is that the bishops represent Christ to their people, and their authority as head of the people and their relationship with their peers is grounded in that unity in Christ. A unity which involves preserving the faith that is His will and teaching. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments..." THIS is the "traditional Christian understanding" of the bishop -- take a look at what St. Ignatius of Antioch, who died less than a century after Christ's resurrection, wrote on the subject:
I have therefore hastened to exhort you to set yourselves in harmony with the mind of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable Life, is the Mind of the Father, as also the bishops, established in the furthest quarters, are in the mind of Jesus Christ. Hence it is fitting for you to set yourselves in harmony with the mind of the bishop, as indeed you do. For your noble presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted to the bishop, as the strings to a harp. And thus by means of your accord and harmonious love Jesus Christ is sung. Form yourselves one and all into a choir, that blending in concord, taking the key-note of God, you may sing in unison with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father, that He may hear you and recognize by means of your well-doing that you are members of His Son. Therefore it is profitable for you to live in unblameable unity, that you may be also partakers of God continually.
Sure, there is a tradition that established diocesean boundaries should be preserved. You can point to canon 15 of the Council of Nicaea for example. But the more fundamental issue, indeed the context, for understanding "bishop" and "diocese" and "jurisdiction" is that this is among the "communion" of bishops who share, preach, and defend that same catholic faith. And the same Ecumenical Councils which condemn certain persons for boundary-crossings are exactly those which excommunicate heretical bishops and replace them with orthodox ones.

Those who now come as missionary bishops, or extend their jurisdictions into, Shori's "territory" are not crossing diocesean boundaries... not "setting up shop" in someone else's jurisdiction. They are, rather, extending their authority into territories which no longer have valid bishops. This is precisely what GAFCon said:
We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.... We recognize the desirability of territorial jurisdiction for provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion, except in those areas where churches and leaders are denying the orthodox faith or are preventing its spread, and in a few areas for which overlapping jurisdictions are beneficial for historical or cultural reasons.
Which is, in fact, similar to what the Continuing Church movement said (rather more strongly and expressly) decades earlier:
We affirm that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, by their unlawful attempts to alter Faith, Order and Morality (especially in their General Synod of 1975 and General Convention of 1976), have departed from Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church... We affirm that all former ecclesiastical governments, being fundamentally impaired by the schismatic acts of lawless Councils, are of no effect among us, and that we must now reorder such godly discipline as we strengthen us in the continuation of our common life and witness... We affirm that the claim of any such schismatic person or body to act against any Church member, clerical or lay, for his witness to the whole Faith is with no authority of Christ's true Church, and any such inhibition, deposition or discipline is without effect and is absolutely null and void.
THESE are the sentiments which reflect "traditional Christian understanding" of bishops, their responsibilities and their inter-relations.

Because, you see, it is not that these alternate non-Lambeth jurisdictions are coming in to "set up as something else in the same geographical territory."

It is, rather, that they are coming in to preserve in that territory the faith and order which Shori and her cronies are replacing with SOMETHING ELSE.

It is these missionary actions (those condemned by ++Williams and Schori) which truly represent fidelity to "traditional Christian understanding." As Williams himself, scholar of the Arian crisis, knows full well.