Comments: documents from Eastern Michigan


If ECUSA has a problem, it's that too many of its bishops have been *doormats* for too darn long (that "liberal guilt" thang, I suspect?).

They've already got the property. Depose Reverend Geromel already, and be done with them all (as *Episcopalians*, which is to say as "Anglicans". As just another Fundamentalist church with which to have cooperative relations---for a food bank or such---that's fine).

"Depart in peace"

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 6:23am BST

J. C. Fisher writes:

> FIVE YEARS??? :-0


Is it me or is there some feeling that the St Bart's acted a little underhand here? What's wrong with openly approaching your bishop and saying "sorry dude, we want to go our separate way", in a polite and honest kind of way without having to default on your tithe as the first they know of it?

Counting the steps from "legal entity" to 1 Cor. 6:, now...

Posted by Tim at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 10:12am BST

It's really all about money, now isn't it. Everything would have been hunky-dorey if they had just paid those diocesan tithes. The liberals are possibly acquainted with the notion of a "higher good," a moral imperative which transcends human statutes, even (horrors!) Canon Law. If that concept is acknowledged, why should St Bart's pay "tithes" (Melchisedek must be laughing) to an organization which runs up big legal bills suing churches?

Posted by Laurence K. Wells+ at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 1:58pm BST

I have a wonderful friend who's a great priest. He's a strong, Bible-based evangelical preacher, he celebrates the sacraments with grace and integrity, upholds the disciplinary canons, and cares well for the people under his pastoral care. I don't receive the sacrament from him, of course, because he's Roman Catholic.

He's not part of the Anglican Communion and shouldn't be. He rejects our orders as invalid and believes we err in not acknowledging the bishop of Rome; our table fellowship is thus limited to beer and pizza rather than bread and wine.

So often when stories of these depositions appear, the same rhetoric appears. FiF and others are shocked, shocked I tell you because the priest in question is a good Bible-believing, sacramentally grounded Christian. Whenever this is asserted I really don't doubt it; I take them at their word. But--being a good Bible-believing, sacramental Christian does not make you a priest in the Anglican Communion as my friend would be most happy to tell you.

St. Bart's left the Episcopal Church openly. They bought and paid for their parish--(and I can barely find a single-family house for that price let alone a whole church!)--in what seems to be a good-faith move on the parts of both the vestry and the diocese. But now people are surprised that this priest is being deposed *from ECUSA* after serving a church that *left ECUSA* for five years? I don't get it...

Posted by Derek at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 2:32pm BST

Another bishop and standing committee with delusions of thinking that they count.

Posted by Padraic at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 2:46pm BST

Derek has made an excellent point about a bit of nonsensical "spin" that gets thrown out *way* too often in these matters. Being an Episcopal / Anglican clergyperson involves behaving by a certain set of rules. Indeed, they make a solemn promise to do so before God.

Following those rules and being "a good Christian" are not sets that overlap very much. One can be a good, faithful Christian and not like those rules nor choose to follow them, just as one *can* follow them and be faithful. But if you want to be an Episcopal / Anglican clergyperson, then by definition, you *must* agree to play by the rules.

Don't like it ? Then go be a Methodist minister, a Baptist preacher, or ??? No harm, no foul.

Posted by David Huff at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 2:53pm BST

Hard to make the case that a man has abandoned a church completely when he is at the same time licensed as a priest in 7 of its dioceses.

Posted by Murray at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 3:23pm BST

While agreeing with the posters who see some overreaction to this event from traditionalists, I have to take issue with several of them who equate Anglicanism with Episcopalianism.

Episcopalianism nationally has become what King's Chapel, Boston, has been since 1789: Anglican in liturgy, Unitarian in theology. Congratulations; we've finally caught up...


Posted by Craig Goodrich at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 3:29pm BST

This seems to be the key section from the statement read before deposition: "...a day when there might be a canonically appropriate way for Geromel to transfer to another duly recognized Anglican jurisdiction that was recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has upheld a long standing principle that a priest can only be transferred to another Diocese if they are called to physically work and live in that Diocese. A Priest may not function in a diocese other than their own without the other diocese’s bishop’s permission."

The deposing bishop refuses to countenance the idea that he could have transferred Fr Geromel to another (more orthodox) diocesan without the priest physically leaving Michigan, since that would mean Fr Geromel was only answerable to an orthodox bishop while still functioning as a priest inside Eastern Michigan's territorial jurisdiction (even if the parish in question isn't ECUSA anymore). But the orthodox bishops are increasingly unwilling to let diocesan boundaries stand in the way of ministering to orthodox Anglicans in need. An inevitable clash--territorial integrity vs. doctrinal solidarity. This will happen more and more in the lead up to GC2006.

Posted by texanglican at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 3:52pm BST

Sorry, Craig, that troubles me a bit. I'm a UK layman and not that familiar with american anglican/episcopalian theological trends. Bless the unitarians, but as a 'liberal' UK anglican, I regard unitarianist theology as being as close to my faith as Mauritanian frog juggling (and yes, I'm sure a traditionalist might quip, 'oh, that's what I thought you were following -ho ho).

What can you tell me, where can you direct me, that shows exactly how episcopalian theology in the US has become akin to unitarian theology. I need to know. This is important, it would change things for me.


Posted by matt at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 4:30pm BST

matt: Many people have commented on the effective unitarian character of Ecusa theology. There is little clear assent to Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Chalcedonian orthodoxy in Ecusa circles and much that denies it: e.g. a non-incarnationist, adoptionist christology and an impersonal doctrine of the Spirit. That's why the charge of unitarianism is often made and rarely denied. How could it when Johannine theology is often repudiated in liberal circles? Spong is the most outstanding example of this trend, though even theism is a bit of a stretch for some of his pronouncements.
+Chane of Washington is almost certainly a unitarian, to judge from his sermons, where I can find no clear affirmation of the incarnation of God the Son.
If I find other links I'll post them.

Posted by Martin Hambrook at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 5:32pm BST


Using the word "Unitarian" the way you have done is not accurate (I'll ignore that fact that you also meant it in a derogatory manner).

My mainline Episcopal parish is firmly Trinitarian, and we can say the Creeds w/o crossing our fingers behind our backs. So, therefor, we are not "Unitarians."

Posted by David Huff at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 5:36pm BST

Craig, what do you know about unitarianism? Is this an insult? It's clearly not accurate. We say the nicene creed, and our entire theology is trinitarian.

You might mean "universalist," but some evangelicals are universalists also. Be precise.

Perhaps you are making a cultural statement.

Posted by John Wilkins at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 6:27pm BST

Aren't conservatives usually the ones who exalt authority and obedience, and decry situation ethics? ...who declare that the decline in personal responsibility, and refusing to accept the consequences of one's own actions, is morally reprehensible?

Let's say, hypothetically, that we have a president who lied us into a war, and whose economic policies oppress the poor and shift wealth to the rich. I'd consider such leadership to be immoral, perhaps even evil, perhaps even out of step with the principles on which this country was built (i.e. the Ten Commandments)!

So I decide to stop paying income taxes, and watch only Canadian television (which is better anyway), until a day I hope will come where the evildoers are no longer in power and I can smile again and start paying my taxes again.

To my surprise, federal agents presently come to my door to collect the bill for my share of the federal deficit! Persecutors! I have friends in Canada who support me! Look! They wrote me a letter that says they've extended their shields* around me and I don't have to listen to you and you no longer have moral authority to ask that I abide by your laws!

(*Star Trek reference)

Posted by Jay at Friday, 5 August 2005 at 7:30pm BST

John asks:

".. what do you know about unitarianism? Is this an insult? It's clearly not accurate. We say the nicene creed, and our entire theology is trinitarian."

John, my sister's funeral was held in a Unitarian church (in King's Chapel, as a matter of fact); a family friend of long standing comes from three generations of Unitarian ministers; and I've done a great deal of reading on the origins of liberal theology in the US, which involves a lot of discussion of Channing, Parker, and other Unitarian luminaries.

The King's Chapel service is beautiful and thoroughly Anglican in format. Their BCP is actually only slightly modified from the 1662 English BCP; the most notable modification is the removal of the creeds -- this was in 1785, long before it was realized that instead of bothering to remove them they could simply "reinterpret" them. Contemporary "orthodox" Unitarians have, of course, reinterpreted Communion and other sacraments in accordance with Transcendentalism's view of the Divine as existing within the individual and in nature.

King's Chapel says of its liturgy,

"The resulting liturgy is both reformed and catholic. It is reformed because it is based on Scripture and is open to periodic amendment. It is catholic, as the early Unitarians used this word, because it includes a broad spectrum of Christian beliefs and is open to many interpretations."

I will take their word for it.

I would never speak derogatorily of Unitarians; I have a great respect for them. (I believe that their theology, where it isn't near-terminally vague, is mistaken, but that's another issue.) I have no respect whatever for those who take a vow to preserve and defend the Christian faith once delivered and proceed to act as though Christianity was something you could make up as you go along while preserving and defending only the diocese' cash flow.


Posted by Craig Goodrich at Saturday, 6 August 2005 at 1:13am BST

Episcopalians---Left, Right or Center---are NOT "unitarians"!

Enough with this nonsense.

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 6 August 2005 at 7:16am BST

Very well, then, J.C., how about The Church of Jesus Christ of the Modern-Day Nice (see -- given that as a practical matter, our teaching is determined by prophetic revelation to our noisiest bishops, and that we have added to the Scriptural canon the editorial pages of the New York Times?

Posted by Craig Goodrich at Saturday, 6 August 2005 at 4:25pm BST

"First Things", Craig?


If there is *reputable* news about the Anglican Communion (including ECUSA), Simon will have a link to it *here*.

I, and all Episcopalians, stand by the *Trinitarianism* of the BCP. Period.

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 6 August 2005 at 7:36pm BST

Please allow me to publicly apologize for recommending to you so disreputable a source as the Dean of Yale's Berkeley Divinity School, and to express my appreciation for your rejection of most of the proposed new liturgies on the grounds of the modalistic implications of their "inclusive language."

Private matters taken care of, we now return you to the usual melange of imprecations and recriminations...


Posted by Craig Goodrich at Saturday, 6 August 2005 at 9:02pm BST

JC Fisher writes:
'I, and all Episcopalians, stand by the *Trinitarianism* of the BCP. Period.'
I am very glad to hear this - I presume you mean the BCP of 1662? This speaks very clearly of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (not the de-gendered modalism of 'Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer') because it is posited on the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. May I take it that you havwe no problem in affirming these creeds which arer enjoined by the 1662 BCP? You will remember that on another thread I questioned why you seemed to be chary of using the pronouns he/him/his wrt to God, as well as the divine title 'Father'. I wondered if you had bought into feminist 'Sprachskepsis' about the biblical language for God.
Can I assume you also accept the atonement theology of the 1662 Service of Holy Communion?
I aks these questions only because a meeting of minds is only possible when you're fairly sure what the other person believes of means by his words. Thanks.

Posted by Martin Hambrook at Saturday, 6 August 2005 at 10:51pm BST

Hard as it is for me to admit it, after praying so long for the unity of the church--I long for the Akinola's, Duncan's, and Iker's of the world to go off and form their "No One But Us" communion in Alexandria. If individuals want to follow them out of ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, fine--that's their choice. What they don't get to do is ransack the store on the way out and keep ECUSA property. If they are so devoted to what they claim to believe, the property shouldn't be stopping them.

And yet...they haven't left yet. Wonder why??? Hmmm. Could it be property?

Posted by Peter at Sunday, 7 August 2005 at 2:57am BST

On reputation of sources:

Philip Turner is the former Dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He currently serves as Vice President of the Anglican Communion Institute.

(Oh yeah, that "Yale dude" (ooooo, street cred) whose current gig ACI called for the resignations of both +Griswold and +Robinson. Okay. Righteous. Respectable. And too bad about that.)

Like so many reasserter writings, this article actually makes a lot of sense (straightforward evangelical dogma) until the conclusions start being made about 80% of the way into the argument. Then, sudden disconnect from the logic, and the tired slander reappears:

"terms such as 'faith,' 'justification,' 'repentance,' and 'holiness of life' seem to belong to an antique vocabulary that must be outgrown or reinterpreted..."

Say what? May I have another, Mr. Turner (and Mr. Goodrich, his champion)? Or maybe I should just say, HOW DARE YOU? Your flawed hermeneutic is not my problem.

Posted by Jay at Sunday, 7 August 2005 at 5:02am BST
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