Thursday, 9th July 2009. 4:31pm
By: George Conger for Religious Intelligence
US Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori has denounced as a “heresy” the proposition that individual believers can find salvation through Jesus Christ.
The grace of God is a gift to the community of believers, not for the individual believer, Bishop Jefferts Schori said in her opening statement to the 76th US General Convention, meeting in Anaheim, California from July 7-17. The presiding bishop set the tone and the agenda for the 10-day meeting of the US church’s triennial synod, loosening a broadside against conservative evangelicals, while calling the church to engage in social action.
While offering strong dollops of rhetoric to her supporters among the politically dominant left-wing of the Episcopal Church, the presiding bishop, however, is quietly pulling the Episcopal Church back from direct confrontation with the wider Anglican Communion --- pursuing a policy of consolidating the left’s internal political gains within the Episcopal Church while pursuing an entente with the wider Communion over the question of gay bishops and blessings.
Support for relaxation of the ban on gay bishops and blessings remains high among lay and clergy deputies to convention, but the mood of the House of Bishops at the start of convention was somber --- with little enthusiasm evident among the bishops to repudiate the call by Lambeth 2008 and the ACC for forbearance.
[. . .]
The few remaining traditionalist members of the House of Bishops were less encouraged by the presiding bishop’s remarks, with one bishop musing that the presiding bishop’s words were hard to reconcile with Paul’s statement that if one confesses with his lips and believes in his heart that Jesus is his Lord and Saviour; he will be saved, as found in Romans 10:8-10.
[. . .]
The Presiding Bishop’s “ignorance of the Bible and Christian theology is nothing short of breathtaking” the Dean of Moore College in Sydney, Dr Mark Thompson told Religious Intelligence.
[. . .]
For evangelicals “more serious still” was the presiding bishop’s “caricature” of a confession of faith that she said made salvation dependent “ on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus’,” Dr Thompson said.
The confession that “Jesus Christ is Lord’ was “certainly a form of words,” but “they are never simply words,” he explained. “They represent a fundamental orientation of life which includes a willingness to have our thinking and behaviour shaped by the One we acknowledge has such a supreme claim upon us,” he noted.
“Perhaps more time should have been given to considering how idolatrous is an institution which demands loyalty to itself above faithfulness to the word which God has spoken,” Dr Thompson said..
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