Friday, July 18, 2008


If there's one thing worse than bad theology, it's bad theology over and over and over again.

Which makes me think yet again, not surprisingly, of Dr. Schori, Presiding Apostate.

In a recent emission about "What we're here to do and be as part of the Anglican Communion", Schori once again riffs on her theme of "reconciliation", telling us all about
the ways in which you and I live out our baptismal covenant and engage in God's mission of reconciling the world (Book of Common Prayer, page 855)
Of course, she needs to check her BCP (no doubt she's already working off the martini-stained pages of a draft of the more eco-friendly BCP we've been promised), which actually says "The ministry of lay persons is... to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world". (Of course, the BCP itself rather selectively reports the Bible's own words, which speaks of reconciliation to God... but we don't want to talk about God, but focus on "in the world." But the perversions of the Episcopal 1979 BCP are too many and varied to examine here.)

Anyway, does Schori on "reconciliation" sound familiar? It should. This has been a pet theme of Schoria Law for years now. It showed up in her comments upon her election as Presiding Apostate, as she described what the mission of the Episcopal church is:
Having the experience of sitting down face to face with a broad spectrum of viewpoints in the Episcopal Church over numerous days gave us the opportunity to build relationships with people who on the surface we might not choose to have relationships with. That kind of relational work, of reconciling work, is what this church is about.
And the theme has come up over and over again... it's the mantra she chanted when some Virginia parishes fled PEcUSA for a Christian jurisdiction:
Our mission as a Church is the reconciliation of the world. We will continue to feed the hungry, house the homeless, educate children, heal the sick, minister to those in prison, and speak good news to those who have only heard the world's bad news. That is the work to which Jesus calls us, and that is the work we shall continue - with a priority of peace and justice work framed by the Millennium Development Goals.
Do a google search and you'll come up many more examples.

Skim a few, and you'll see (as from the above) that for her, this mission of "reconciliation" apparently equates caring for the "least" and the "left out" -- i.e. the poor, the oppressed, the minority (but loudest) deviant sexual practices, etc. In other words, it appears to mean, in the world, the Millenium Development Goals of which she's so fond... and, in the church, supporting the pro-lesbigay-activity lobby. This is her "reconciliation of the world."

Now, caring for the poor; healing the sick; &c all these are good things. Make no mistake. But are they the "ministry of reconciliation"? Is gay marriage, and adultery, and toleration of heresy & apostasy what Scripture really means by this "ministry of reconciliation"? Can it even support this interpretation?

I realize that what Scripture actually says is of very little interest to Episcopal bishops... but if you're one of those antiquated knuckle-dragging brain-dead oddball (like myself) who actually is interested in Scripture, perhaps we should take a quick look at it to appreciate just how far from divine truth and revelation this Episcopal goodspeak has fallen.

Presumably, Dr. Schori and the BCP are referring to 2 Cor 5 when they talks about a "ministry of reconciliation".
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

So, what is Scripture's view of this "ministry of reconciliation"? Well, first it is fundamentally the ministry of Christ - reconciling us to God. We needed reconciliation with the Father because we were separated from him by our sin, and the death which is its wages. Christ reconciled us to the Father when He "made Him to be sin who knew no sin" -- i.e. to take our sins upon Himself and suffer for them, paying their price (archetype of the OT's "scapegoat")... our sins, which prevented the reconciliation, being thereby removed.

This is why the passage describes us, having been reconciled, as being "a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come." In other words, this ministry by Christ results in the destruction of sin and our transformation into the likeness of Christ by the law of Grace. (A process described throughout the NT; if the Presiding Apostate isn't familiar with this it's time for some remedial Bible study. Instruction by a child with a fifth-grade reading level who hasn't ever been corrupted in an Episcopal Sunday School class might be a good place to start.)

The Father, in turn, has given Christ's "ministry of reconciliation" to us: "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation".

In fact, this "ministry of reconciliation" isn't, strictly speaking, something we do -- rather, it's something God does and to which we invite people: "So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." It is Christ who performs the ministry of reconciliation... we are ambassadors, urging others to be reconciled to Him.

Now, is this "ministry of reconciliation" to celebrate homosexual marriages and ordain active homosexuals, so they don't feel left out? No. Is it to reduce bovine methane emissions or use more sporks? No. Is it even to address the urgent needs of third-world poverty? No. Is it, in short, any of the things that Schori describes as the church's "ministry of reconciliation"? Not a one.

Rather, this ministry of reconciliation is to reconcile man to God through Christ by abandonment of sin, by God's forgiveness, and by a life of righteousness. And the destruction and abandonment (not the celebration) of sinful activity is at the heart of this "reconciliation" -- it is what Christ accomplished for us as the prerequisite for our reconciliation to the Father.

The Church's "ministry of reconciliation", in short, is to beseech the sinful world to repent and be reconciled to God through Christ. Which is the opposite of PEcUSA's self-appointed ministry, which is to reconcile the laity to the sinful practices of the world, thus alienating them from God.

Let's quickly look at a few other instances in which the New Testament speaks of "reconciliation" (both 'katallasso' and 'apokatallasso') to make sure that this reading of 2 Cor 5 hasn't been taken out of context.
For in him all [Christ] the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel. (Col 1:19-23)
I.e. we are "reconciled" by removing, through His body and death, the "evil deeds" of our sin, that we might be "holy and blameless" before the Father... provided, of course, that we continue in the faith!
But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:8-10,21)
Once again, that which separated us from the Father -- our sin -- is removed by Christ that we might be reconciled to Him.

In summary, then, what the Presiding Layperson has done is to bandy about the Scriptural notion of "ministry of reconciliation"... but using the vague reference to pervert and invert its meaning. For when she says that the "ministry of reconciliation" means advocating social justice in this world, particularly in promoting the homosexualist heresy and persecuting Scriptural Christians, she reveals she doesn't have the first clue about what the Scriptural meaning of "ministry of reconciliation" actually is.

And, in fact, she uses it advocate the exact opposite of its Scriptural meaning: i.e. the alienation of man from God's righteousness -- the rejection or abandonment of the reconciliation which Christ offers us -- by reconciliation with sin, with the "old man", and with the world.

But, then again, as Episcopal bishops keep telling us by word and deed... we can always rewrite the Bible. I guess Schori's ignoring and perverting of the plain meaning of the passage is just part of that well-established Episcopal process.