We should always be ears up when The Episcopal Church speaks of heresy. Here’s the presiding bishop of the TEC coming out swinging at the recent general convention.
The crisis of this moment has several parts, and like Episcopalians, particularly ones in Mississippi, theyâ€™re all related. 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. Itâ€™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 all being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention.
Not being a confessional church, this sort of thing isn’t quite as surprising as it would be if a Baptist said it, but it still underlines why the rifts in the Anglican Communion are about truly significant issues. I can spin these words to where they are better or worse, but what’s actually being said here? Let me suggest it’s something like: “Those of you forming the ACNA are no longer real Anglicans. You’ve become fundamentalist revivalists.”
My lowest of the low ecclesiology has the following essentials: 1) Keep the truth about Jesus safe, especially from smart Christians. 2) Constantly encourage me to be a Jesus follower in my sphere, not your church. 3) Assist me in those aspects of following Jesus that can’t be done alone, like baptism and the Lord’s Supper. 4) Know your place in God’s missional playbook and don’t act like you’re the whole show. 5) Don’t make stuff up to justify what you’re doing, then carp at me for not buying it.
Discuss amongst yourselves.