Saturday, July 18, 2009

He Beat Me To It

I had been thinking for the last couple of days how ironic it was that Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, had actually come out and called something heresy. I mean that she could even in good conscience (or bad, take your pick) label something as heresy. I mean how intolerant of her. Never mind the fact that she says:
The overarching connection in all of these crises has to do with the great Western heresy – that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God. It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention. (source)
Let's set aside, say for example Ephesians 2 which teaches individual salvation and reconiliation with God also brings corporate reconciliation with man. How dare the liberal left actually use the term heresy. Is this not-well I have to say it--a heresy against their own beliefs. How quick they are to denounce the heretics who cry "heresy" when someone breaks something that is truly the orthodox. The term is anathema in their midst--at least until they need to use it to denounce something with moral repugnance.

Al Mohler beat me to making this point. Of course he is far more brilliant and articulate than I, not to mention people actually read what he writes:

There it is -- that word so recently denied entry into any discussion. But note carefully that the Bishop identified as heresy what the church -- throughout all the centuries and in every major tradition -- has recognized as central to the Christian faith. The confession that "Jesus Christ is Lord" has been central to biblical Christianity from the New Testament onward. In every tradition, some individual profession of this "specific verbal formula" has been understood to be essential to Christian identity...
Indeed, her assertion of heresy was directed to the very idea of individual conversion to faith in Christ -- the faith that has always and everywhere defined authentic Christianity...

The irony of all this was not lost on many Episcopalians and other observers. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church finally summoned the determination to apply the word heresy --- and then applied this most serious term of odious rejection to the Gospel itself.

Of course, this reality is far more tragic than ironic. It does not take long for a church that is severed from Scripture to move from recognizing genuine heresy and denouncing it, to denying the very possibility of heresy at all, and then to reclaiming the word only to use it as an instrument of attacking the very heart of the Christian faith....

This whole affair should serve as a warning to those who are "evangelical" and felt that they can somehow have a 'can't we all just get along approach'. We are willing to dialogue and accept other beliefs as if they are not contrary to the gospel. The side opposing the gospel cries "peace, peace" and "unity, unity"--they scurry into the camp waving a white flag until they are in a position the thrust swords into their opponents. When the issue of division is over the gospel, the answer is: "no we can't just all get along." I hasten to add, this is not to spew hatred at the persons only at those ideas so radically opposed to the gospel.

Machen's Christianity and Liberalism has long since reminded us that these things are two different religions. Liberalism does not truly desire to coexist with historic Christianity, it's end game is to subvert and replace true Christianity. This is true not only of old school liberalism but its current fadish reincarnations that go by a whole host of other names.

These events along with the true, but unstated, goals of new theological agendas reminded me of this parable recounted by Kenneth Bailey in an entirely different context:

"Once there was a bedouin who had a camel. On a cold night the camel said to the bedouin, "My nose is very cold. May I put my nose in your tent?" The bedouin said, "Tafaddal" (please go ahead). A bit later the came said, "My ears are very cold. May I put my ears in your tent?" The bedouin said, "Tafaddal". Then the camel said, "My neck is still in the cold wind. May I put my neck in your tent?" The bedouin said "Tafaddal". The next of the camel is very strong. When the camel had his neck in the tent he jerked his powerful neck upwards and struck the top of the tend with his head, and the tent collapsed on the bedouin and the camel." Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels, AJT 5:1 (1991) p.47.

Perhaps in this case, the camel got his feet in the tent and has kicked the bedouin in the rear.

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