Thinking Anglicans

PB visits Pittsburgh

Updated Tuesday morning

The Diocese of Pittsburgh reports: Presiding Bishop Visits Calvary Episcopal Church, and the full text of her sermon is available here (PDF file).

Press reports:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Top Episcopal leader visits troubled members by Ann Rodgers

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Episcopal leader says exodus ‘tragic’ by Bonnie Pfister

There is a further diocesan announcement: Bishop Jones To Make First Parish Visit.

Update

ENS has a full report by Mary Frances Schjonberg All involved in Pittsburgh split are saints, Presiding Bishop tells Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Part of that report:

Many of the questions concerned the tensions in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion that led to the October 4 vote. More than once, Jefferts Schori suggested that those tensions would ease in the next few years. She said that more bishops across the communion have a better understanding of the complexity of the issues. Those bishops have said “‘we don’t agree, but we recognize you are called to follow where you believe the Spirit is taking you, and we are called to try to understand that,’” according to the Presiding Bishop.

Others questions addressed theological matters, including the issue of whether Jefferts Schori had suggested there are ways to salvation other than following Jesus.

“That’s not what I said,” Jefferts Schori said, explaining that she has noted in the past that “most Christians believe Christ died for all, as savior for the whole world.”

She said she has also cited the Bible’s record of God’s promises to the Jewish people and other promises that “were not broken by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.”

“Therefore, Jews have access to salvation without consciously saying ‘Jesus is my Lord and savior.’ I didn’t do that; God did it. I also see that God made promises to Hagar and Ishmael, whom Muslims claim as their ancestor,” she said. “I don’t think God broke those promises when Jesus came among us.”

Jefferts Schori had touched on the question during her sermon, noting that “Episcopalians and other Christians wrestle with how broadly to understand the family of God, and whether non-Christians are included, for we can certainly point to holy examples who show us what God at work in the world looks like — people like the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi.”

She suggested that “it seems more fruitful to remember that Jesus’ saving work was and is for the whole world, and that our baptismal promises are about living holy lives, together, in community.”

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Cheryl Va.Göran Koch-SwahnecryptogramFord ElmsFather Ron Smith Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Sometimes the Press does seem to get it right – at least, in the first few words of this snippet from the ‘Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’:

“The schism is playing out nationally, as conservative Anglicans resist the U.S. Leadership’s support for keeping abortions legal and the 2003 openly-gay pastor V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire”

The word ‘schism’ is actually attributed here to the actions of the re-Asserters – and not to the leadership of TEC – which is what the conservatives would probably have preferred.

“Out of the mouths of babes …..”

BillyD
Guest

I really am puzzled by the PB’s assertions that God has entered into some sort of covenant with Muslims, based on promises supposedly made to Hagar and Ishmael. As far as I can see, the only thing that resembles a positive promise in the Hagar and Ishmael story is the promise that God would make a nation of Ishmael, because he was Abraham’s offspring, and that Hagar would have more descendants than she can count. Not really a salvific promise, is it? Am I missing something?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

BillyD:

And what promise did God make to Abraham and Isaac? The same one, right? With the addition that all of Canaan would be theirs. There’s nothing in God’s promise to Abraham about salvation…salvation is Jesus’ promise to the whole world–including the descendants of Isaac, Ishmael, and everybody else.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

BillyD, re your comment on Bishop Katherine’s statement about covenantal relationships: Remember that Jesus was a lineal descendant of the Patriarch David (through his foster-father Joseph’s line). King David was guilty of adultery with Bathsheba, but this did not affect the salvific charism of the Jewish Jesus, who went on to include Samaritans and Gentiles into his loving embrace. God’s promise to Hagar was given – despite the fact that she was only a make-shift ‘wife’ to Abram. Remember also that, as Jesus said, “God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones”.(Matt.3:9) Cannot God then raise up chidlren… Read more »

Columba Gilliss
Guest
Columba Gilliss

I welcome the trusting and generous words of our Presiding Bishop. My own belief is that just as God creats all people — not just those who chose to call Hun Creator or even acknowledge their own dependence on Him — even so in Christ all are Redeemed whether they call Jesus Savior and Redeemer or not.
I find support for that in John’s prologue — who lighteneth every man that cometh into the world.
[KJV used deliberately.]

Columba Gilliss

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“If that makes me an “Inclusivist”, then I can only claim that Jesus died for the world – not just the Church. That is what is so wonderful about the Christian Gospel, of which I am glad to be called a minister: not just to ‘Christians’, but to everyone.”– Fr. Ron Smith

Amen! Amen!! Amen!!!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the only thing that resembles a positive promise in the Hagar and Ishmael story is the promise that God would make a nation of Ishmael” That’s a promise, isn’t it? I don’t see that she was implying there is anything salvific in the promise to Hagar. What about what she said about sainthood, justification by faith, the universality of Christ’s sacrifice, etc.? Surely that’s more important than acknowledging that God made a promise to Abraham’s cast off slave woman that her descendants would become a gerat nation, a promise that has mainfestly been fulfilled. At the very least, her comments… Read more »

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Father Ron, I’m afraid I’m not understanding your comment about “exclusive” and “inclusive” Christianity. You bring up John 3:16, which does say God so loved the world, but finishes with “Whoseover believes in Him(Jesus) should not perish….”Doesn’t sound “inclusive” to me. Around here, when people are being “inclusive” it means they don’t tell Jews or Muslims about Christ because they have their own way to god, no conversion is necessary and thus no evangelism, which is uncomfortable and pushy. They’re the ones who liked Bruno’s apology for converting Hindus in India, because evangelists are shoving an alien god on people.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“They’re the ones who liked Bruno’s apology for converting Hindus in India, because evangelists are shoving an alien god on people.” I believe it was based on Christians having routinely considered coersion, threat, trickery, and bribery as valid, in many instances the only forms of “evangelism”. You DO know what “rice Christian” means? And it isn’t telling people the Gospel that people find pushy but an approach that threatens people with Hellfire and damnation if they do not believe, fear of what God will do to you if you don’t believe in Him is a poor reason for becoming a… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“And what promise did God make to Abraham and Isaac? The same one, right? With the addition that all of Canaan would be theirs. There’s nothing in God’s promise to Abraham about salvation…salvation is Jesus’ promise to the whole world–including the descendants of Isaac, Ishmael, and everybody else.” God promised much more to Abraham and his descendents. As an example, take a look at Genesis 17: “I will maintain my covenant between Me and you, and your offspring to come, as an everlasting covenant throughout the ages, to be God to you and to your offspring to come.” Or Genesis… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

1 John 4:14 (New International Version): “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

You see, Chris, Jesus is not simply the Savior of the Christians, (or, Savior of the evos!) but THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD!

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Chris H: “They’re the ones who liked Bruno’s apology for converting Hindus in India, because evangelists are shoving an alien god on people. (How does Bruno feel about the Hindus and Muslims killing or driving away all the Christians?)”

What has one got to do with the other? Both are wrong; obviously one is far worse, but why do you link both together? Is this a weak attempt to besmirch the word “inclusive”?

Go and create your own exclusive religion and the only thing you’ll ultimately be worshiping is yourself.

Vicki McG
Guest
Vicki McG

It is important to remember that all the way through the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament one finds both exclusive and inclusive claims for God and responding to God in faith. The juxtaposition of Matthew’s and Luke’s telling of Jesus’words are only one small example: “Those who are not against us are for us” (Matthew) vs. “Those who are not for us are against us” (Luke). This tells us that God is both inclusive and exclusive. God claims everything from us – heart, soul, mind, strength – time, talent and treasure; and we are not to be dallying with… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Chris, you may just not be up to date with the Gospel outreach by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the English Hindu Community at Diwali. If indeed Christ is the Saviour of All, we need to demonstrate by our love of ALL, that everyone comes under the grace of Christ’s salvific action on rhe Cross. God redeems; we do not. God has given everyone the gift of free-will – a very dangerous gift you might say, but a gift, nevertheless. God will never force anyone to believe in God. What God wants is for those who do believe in God… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I believe a reading of KJS sermon reveals that she acknowledges the believer dilemma of discerning saints in a very broad sense. (People whose manner of life shows us something good, which to that extent can be discerned as something of God?). Such saints may live and witness to us believers, outside of Christendom proper? Thus, KJS to my ears and heart and mind connotes a vivid sense that we can always entertain strangers, who might later be revealed as good angels to our understanding. God already knows – indeed sponsors via the sheer mystical goodness of God’s Trinitarian personhoods… Read more »

orfanum
Guest
orfanum

I am struggling to find the words to say it eloquently but the reasons why I came to be drawn into Christianity through Anglicanism – that Church of childhood remembrance that was all cold walls, regimentation, and mounted banners of imperial and other wars – is all laid out here in glory.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“God promised to be in relationship to Israel, and that they would be a blessing to the peoples of the world.” Yes. But God also made a promise to Hagar. And again, the promise to Israel was of a covenanted relationship between God and His people, with the hope of salvation to come. It came, but it was for the whole of creation, not just Israel. I’m not sure what your issue is here, unless it’s that you see +KJS as saying that the promise to Hagar was on a par with that of Israel and that it was a… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“What God wants is for those who do believe in God to act so lovingly and kindly towards others (who may not know God, as well as those who do) that they want to know the God we believe in.” Based on experience here, I don’t think any of the Evangelicals in our discussion group can understand this as Evangelism. It seems that, for them, Evangelism is about making people see they are sinners and far from God so that they will “accept Jesus” can go to Heaven when they die. They are also required to amend their lives in… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

Ford, here’s the quote from the PB: “Therefore, Jews have access to salvation without consciously saying ‘Jesus is my Lord and savior.’ I didn’t do that; God did it. I also see that God made promises to Hagar and Ishmael, whom Muslims claim as their ancestor,” she said. “I don’t think God broke those promises when Jesus came among us” I think that the juxtaposition of the Jews and Muslims can be viewed as putting the two promises on a par. It’s also not clear what Jesus’ coming among us would have to do with a promise to make Ishmael’s… Read more »

Columba Gilliss
Guest
Columba Gilliss

Another thought:
What about Matthew 25.31ff? In this passage judgement depends on how we act towards those in need.
Columba Gilliss

Cheryl Va.
Guest

To continue Ford’s arguments. Do a word search in the bible for nationS – there are far too many to cite here. Jews were never meant to be the exclusively saved, they were always meant to be the vehicle for salvation of all the peopleS of all the nationS e.g. Zechariah 8:23 ““In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’ ” This passage explicity acknowleges that “others” will seek… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

BillyD,
Fair enough, I see your point, though I don’t necessarily agree with your conclusions.

Malcolm+
Guest

Some of the criticisms presented here regarding the Presiding Bishop seem to say that God does not (cannot?) work outside the Church – or at least outside the Christian revelation. Such arguments seem, to me, to be dangerously Manichaean. They also seem to forget about Paul’s speech at the Areopagus, among other scriptural acocunts. There is nothing in orthodox Christianity to suggest that God does not (cannot?) work outside the limits of Christian revelation. Indeed, Paul’s comments seem to suggest that Athenian worship of the unknown god was, in fact, rooted in divine revelation. Does that mean that “all religions… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Jews were never meant to be the exclusively saved, they were always meant to be the vehicle for salvation of all the peopleS of all the nationS” – Cheryl Va – Cheryl, Yes indeed, I believe you are right here. We can perhaps better understand this from the passage in the Gospel of Luke, where, in the words of the old priest Simeon (one of the Anawim, who were wating for the redemption of Israel) Jesus was greeted as The Light of the World: “Now, Master, you can let your servant (Simeon) go in peace – just as you have… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“There is nothing in orthodox Christianity to suggest that God does not (cannot?) work outside the limits of Christian revelation.” Is it not the case that, going back at least to Augustine, Christians have believed that God reveals Himself first in part to the pagans, then moreso to the Jews, then fully in Christ to the whole world? Wasn’t it Augustine who said “There is nothing new in Christianity”? Wasn’t it the case that the early Evangelism of Europe tried to see the glimpses of the Truth in the pagan traditions so as to expand on them to teach the… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Ford writes: “Is it not the case that, going back at least to Augustine, Christians have believed that God reveals Himself first in part to the pagans,” It goes back at least to the 2nd century, when Justin writes of seeds of the truth in all men, but the whole truth incarnate in Jesus, and Origen in the 3rd century writing of logic spirits and of the Logos. Platonism (as Goran will remind us!) understands reality in terms of a heavenly pattern and earthly sharings in that reality. Thus, pagans can have a share, however remote, in the Logos. Some,… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

And, moreover, all scriptures may teach Gospel.

To Us…

Depends on us. NOT on the character/not of the scriptures in questions.

How is that for a suggestion?

Cheryl Va.
Guest

There’s not a problem acknowledging that there were other religions and faiths before Christianity/Jesus/Judaism. Just as there is not a problem acknowledging there were dinosaurs before humans, or that there is sentient life on other planets. God exists throughout all of Creation, and God can be found in all of Creation. It’s just that some messages are clearer than others. It is also important to remember that God comes from context. For example, both Moses and Jesus had such a big impact because that which they proposed was fundamentally relevant to the paradigms of their time that they were confronting.… Read more »