Democracy requires common ground on which all can stand,
but that ground is sinking beneath our feet, and democracy may be going
down the sinkhole with it.
I grew up in a very large church in a rather large denomination in an
increasingly large city.
The Cathedral of St Philip.
A beautifully large Episcopal, southern Gothic, church reminiscent of something that
should have been found somewhere in the UK rather than Atlanta, Georgia.
The Cathedral is the diocesan seat of the North Georgia chapter
of the Episcopal Church in Georgia.
The Episcopal Church of America, in a nutshell, is a part of the World Wide Anglican Communion and is basically a sibling to the The Church of England.
Many consider the Episcopal and Anglican Churches kissing cousins to the Catholic
Church. And perhaps there is a good bit of truth to that as we are each liturgical
churches that follow a similar service format with very similar
creeds and doctrine.
Yet whereas the cousins are related, they are also different.
The cousins have a pope and we have the Presiding Bishop in American and the
Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK.
It is not my intention to give a history lesson here as I’ve done that in the past.
I don’t want to have a theological discussion as I’ve done that in the past as well.
But what I do want to do is share a bit of sad frustration that just might have
finally found a slight ray of hope.
Have you ever found yourself on a sinking ship?
Probably not, but stay with me for a minute…
It is a ship that is actually on fire.
In the middle of a moonless night out upon a vast body of water.
You know the ship is burning as well as sinking…
plus you know you need to get off ASAP!
Problem is there are no lifeboats, no fire extinguishers…
the water is dark and cold as well as shark infested.
Your options are limited.
Things just aren’t looking too good.
I have felt this way for a good many years now.
Both The Episcopal Church and the Church of England have become that sinking
It’s a long story which I suppose got really going in the late 60’s
and early 70’s.
We may remember that we were coming off a very difficult time in the country.
Vietnam had been a mess, women were burning bras,
demanding equal rights, demanding the right to abortions,
while the youth had enjoyed a “season” of open and free love as we had witnessed
the demand for birth control and open sex.
That was also about the time women were wanting into the priesthood.
Then came the openly gay and practicing clergy.
Then came the approval of same sex marriages within the church.
Ad nauseum it goes.
I’ve spent my life as an ardent Christian and ardent church member who has always
clung to God’s word…as in His word is actually the final word…
As His word has been and will continue to always be that final word….
Yet that Word is basically being chopped to bits by the church…..
while the sinking has been hard.
That is part and parcel as to why I quit attending long ago as
I found it increasingly hard to reconcile myself with leadership of a church body
that made decisions that I believe run counter to the Word of God.
Yet my heart remained with the liturgical church.
I am a person who has always liked, as well as admired, those lone voices among
Being a person who actually yearns for such voices.
Because I believe those voices speak of our hope.
The voices of those who stand alone in the desert while shouting to the moon
and back as to what is Truth.
Those who speak Truth while the entire world is losing its mind and running
like freaking lemmings to the cliff.
Think John the Baptist.
Think the early Christians persecuted by Rome.
Think even Winston Churchill in our more modern times.
Think anyone who has seen the reality of the times and dares to speak up
by saying so.
I’ve just recently happened upon the blog of an Anglican priest who just so
happens to be one of those lone voices.
A single thread of sanity found in the middle of the madness.
His name is Gavin Ashenden and he is the former chaplain to the Queen…
a position he held until he could no longer support the direction in which the
Anglican Church was going…
that being to the cliff with the other lemmings.
Yesterday Father Ashenden posted a column by the a catholic priest, Fr Ed Tomlinson,
which has hit the nail squarely on the head for both these kindred siblings and cousins.
For you see what is happening in the Episcopal and Anglican Churches is just
a reflection of what is actually taking place on a larger stage.
It is a reflection which mirrors what is actually happening in both the
United States and Great Britain as a whole…
as we are currently watching both our Governments capitulate to all things
Politically Correct, those things deemed holy only by man and a blatant
refusal to acknowledge the Christian foundations of Western Civilization.
The ship is on fire, it is sinking fast and those of us who know better,
have got to get off ASAP but there are no lifeboats….
Below are a few key points from Fr. Tomlinson’s column along with a link to the
“Highly political synods shattered Anglicanism’s fragile unity.
Catholics should take note”
“A former Anglican Chaplain to the Queen, the Revd Gavin Ashenden,
is spearheading a revolt in the Church of England Synod over the thorny issue
Anglicans are talking openly about schism.
Catholics the world over should be watching very carefully.”
Anglicanism’s real problem has always been a theological schizophrenia –
the result, perhaps, of it having formed to appease a lusty monarch rather
than to preach a creed with clarity. Ask a hundred Anglicans what
Anglicanism actually is and expect a hundred answers.
The Church of England isn’t, really, one Church at all.
It’s an Erastian umbrella organisation holding together,
by virtue of the Crown, a huge range of competing theologies.
“And it didn’t take long for the liberal lobby, strengthened by trends
in society and over-represented on the bench of bishops,
to realise synod worked in their favour.
Did the Holy Spirit say no to women priests in July’s Synod?
Fret not: table the motion again in February, then repeat ad nauseum,
until the Holy Spirit finally gets the message!”
The second development which disrupted Anglican unity occurred when the
Book of Common Prayer became optional not mandatory.
You are what you pray: lex orandi, lex credendi.
With the shackles removed, parishes started to go their own way.
Today, there is almost no common ground between an evangelical parish
on one side of town and its liberal counterpart on the other.
This represents a massive problem for the Church of England:
how can you bring people together in love when there is zero shared praxis
The situation has become so grave that the Lambeth Conference can no longer be held,
due to deep divisions even at the level of the episcopacy.
So it is that the Revd Gavin Ashenden finds himself embroiled in this final
battle for the soul of modern Anglicanism. He and a few others are making
their last stand against the powerful modernist liberal consensus
that dominated the most recent Synod.
So I am somewhat hopeful when I read the tales that there are a few lone
voices still out there that have yet to be silenced by the masses…voices who
know the truth for what it is….
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever.”
Your quote from Revelation today caps the bits I just quoted on my blog. 🙂 I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
All these separate crises, sinking ships, point to one worldwide apostasy. The world urgently needs to repent and turn back to the Creator.
Amen Sarah, AMEN!!!
[…] via sinking ships — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]
I have seen this in the Lutheran church as well. We have split into so many synods over time, because the Word of God becomes corrupted and emotions take its place. The changes are subtle, but they occur and eventually make the original doctrines and tenets unrecognizable. I feel blessed that my church adheres to the Word as truth and isn’t concerned about political correctness. Unfortunately the world doesn’t want to hear about sin anymore. Conviction makes folks feel vulnerable and everything today is about feeling good. Our only hope is that Jesus returns soon.
I was going to mention the Lutheran Church also. The biggest group, the ELCA, has gone down the road as the Episcopalians, the United Methodists, and the other “mainline” denominations. But there are other Lutheran synods that are faithful to the Bible and that also maintain the historic liturgy. Those who discover that their own church has wandered from the Lord and his Word may find a new home in one of those synods. J.
You and Kathy are on the same page!!!
Living in a smaller community as I do now, it is a bit more difficult finding the committed faithful—as there are very conservative Anglican branches of the Episcopal church here in the US but finding them outside of a larger metro area is not as easy…
And by the way—I enjoyed your piece on Yalta—I commented, adding my Churchillian perspective, but my comment went straight to moderation as it has before when I’ve tried adding on your posts—so you may find me a bit in WP purgatory otherwise known as your spam bucket 🙂
We have been lifetime members of the WELS & ELS synods. Both churches are ‘Bible based conservative.
here a synod, there a synod…everywhere a synod synod 🙂
I KNOW RIGHT? So much derision over small details, but I feel confident that my church is preaching God’s truth and is not afraid of telling us we need a Savior, because of our lousy condition.
If the WELS and ELS are not established in your neck of the woods, I should think you would be able to find an LCMS (aka Missouri Synod) congregation. A few of them can be a bit squirrely, but for the most part they are solid Biblically and liturgically. J.
I am not shocked by this, Julie, and I am sorry it is happening around you. In our work, we are often accused of being narrow minded and too doctrinally bound. Well, this would be why. It is like the proverbial frog put on a stove in a cold pot of water, then the heat turned on slowly. The frog, being a cold blooded animal, never knows he is being boiled until he is cooked. We stand as narrowly as we do on many things because the danger of slipping into falsehood is very real. It’s not that we are narrow minded necessarily, but that we understand reality.
no, I’m not shocked either Wally, just sad—the church is merely mirroring society—there was a time when the church stood up to society as the guiding light… working to redirect the misguided—now she is just as misguided….
and poor frog by the way…
Yep, the frog never knew he was boiled. Rather like the church.
so true Wally—which is so frustrating to those of us who through a blessing and even gift of discernment, have seen the writing on the wall so to speak.
No wonder we follow each other. We are truly kindred spirits from the same background.
exactly Don—as the miserable love company 😉
Dear Julie, I’ve been reading your Word Press blog for a little while. I have found a Sunday morning program on my laptop to be helpful. It is Moody Church Hour, Sunday morning program. It comes from Chicago. Pastor Erwin Lutzer. He has been there thirty five years. One can listen live via internet or on recorded sermons. I hope this may be a blessing for you!
Thank you Thomas, I will certainly look into Pastor Lutzer’s offerings!!!
Watching our civilization dissolve right before our eyes and ears is rather disconcerting.
But I believe the solution is for Christians to do what they have always done:
1. Live the “good life,” that is, follow the Ten Commandments.
2. Take the Gospel message into the secular hinterland as courageously as the early Christians did in their own pagan hinterland.
Luckily, the Catholic Church is a rock upon which to stand.
Even with the maniac popes of the Middle Ages (Borgia & Medici et al) and our leftist Pope Francis of today, daily community worship continues as it always has since Jesus and the Apostles walked the earth.
It seems that the life of the Church is out in the hinterland with the people, not in Rome.
You’re right my silent friend but just as Fr Tomlinson warns…the Catholic church must pay attention as trouble looms on the horizon….think of our Argentinian pope
The history of the Catholic Church is fraught with similar social upheavals.
During the Pelagian heresy which began at the end of the 4th century AD, there were more heretics among the bishops and the laity than actual Catholics throughout all of Christendom.
But over time, and with great evangelical efforts by Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine, the Church was set right again.
Knuckleheads like Pope Francis serve to stimulate the faith true believers and God usually sends a saint or two, to erase the Pope Francis from the face of the Church.
I’ve always said that when God finally pushes me, I’ll most likely head home to Rome—by the way, the book Rome Sweet Home was a great book and story
Catholics don’t have synod. As you say, Catholics have knuckleheads popes. Fortunately, many have been decent men.
I don’t have lots of advice. silenceofmind certainly provided better than I would have.
Just remember you are not alone in a lifeboat barely afloat in raging seas. There is our Lord who calms the waters. As Elijah learned (1 Kings 19), our Lord reserves a remnant, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him, for Himself.
The Catholic Church has Councils.
The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The Council of Trent beginning in 1545 AD. And the Second Vatican Council beginning in 1962 just to name three of many, many.
These councils bust the myth that the pope just acts on whim and fancy.
Yes, but the are relatively rare, and I believe the Pope calls them into session.
Council are not rare.
They are called whenever there is a crisis that threatens the Church.
There have been many, many councils since Peter and the other Apostles called the first ones (read Acts).
Everything is relative. The General Synod appears to meeting several times a year.
It also operates differently, and its membership is selected differently. I think it is safe to say the pope generally exercises more control over the Catholic Church than church councils, whereas the General Snyod routinely exercises control over the Church of England.
“table the motion again in February, then repeat ad nauseum,
until the Holy Spirit finally gets the message!” so much easier than taking a stand for truth. I was one time told that I was a lone voice that would not be heard. It was true. I’m thankful for the ray of hope you see. My husband, the Englishman, claims the Church of England as his upbringing. I’ll just say it has not helped. You are a light, Julie. May your readers continue to be enlightened and blessed by your words.
I knew I loved you for a reason Oneta!!!!
It’s that lone voice, never say never, tell it as Truth till the cows come home tenacity!!!!!
Julie, thank you; however, I do apologize for the husband/Church of England remark. I appreciate the Christian foundation and ethics of my husband from his family and background. My remark relates to my feeling that that church does not teach much about a growing relationship with the Lord. Of course, I do admit that my husband gets all “wiggly toed” when he watches Jesus-type stories. He has some feelings along with his staid teaching. Now if I’m not careful I’ll blow it and have to apologize again! 😀
Oneta- you don’t ever need to apologize to me — I got exactly what you were saying as it even made me smile in complete understanding. My mother use to always threaten to take us across the street to the baptist church as the episcopal church was not known for its wealth of biblical teaching—and we see that that has only grown more negligent with time —