Area News

Pittsburgh bishop responds to church warning

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

JOHNSTOWN — Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr. invoked the legacy of theologian Martin Luther today in his first public response to being warned Wednesday by the denomination’s leader that the diocese’s continued march to separate from the national church could force him out of his position.

“Here I stand,” Bishop Duncan told clergy and laity at the 142nd diocesan convention. “I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

Those were the words spoken by Martin Luther in 1521 when he was called before the Diet of Worms for his supposedly heretical works. Emperor Charles the Fifth later declared the theologian an outlaw and he went into exile.

Bishop Duncan’s short response to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori came after he told convention deputies that “as a diocese we have come to a fork in the road.”

The convention will vote later today on whether or not to move forward with plans to leave the Episcopal Church.

More details in tomorrow’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First published on November 2, 2007 at 3:14 pm
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MAJOR UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Local Episcopalians vote to leave the U.S. church
Friday, November 02, 2007
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

JOHNSTOWN — Members of the Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese have voted overwhelmingly to break away from the denomination in the United States and align with an Anglican province in another country.

In today’s vote at the 142nd diocesan convention, the laity approved the measure 118-58 with one abstention. The clergy vote was 109-24 in favor of breaking away.

For the break to occur, the diocese must pass the same measure next year and select which Anglican province to join.

In a letter Wednesday to Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr., U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori warned that such a move could result in declaring the Pittsburgh Diocese vacant and ordering Bishop Duncan’s removal.

Bishop Duncan invoked the legacy of theologian Martin Luther today in his first public response to the wraning.

“Here I stand,” Bishop Duncan told clergy and laity at the convention. “I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

Those were the words spoken by Martin Luther in 1521 when he was called before the Diet of Worms for his supposedly heretical works. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V declared the theologian an outlaw and he went into exile.

Bishop Duncan’s short response to Bishop Schori came after he told convention deputies that “as a diocese, we have come to a fork in the road.”

More details in tomorrow’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

100% Amen

Thanks to the Reformed Pastor blog for this quote. I hope the liberals and the accommodationist conservatives who are tearing Christianity apart listen to and heed the words of this Anglican Archbishop.

The address made to the Episcopal House of Bishops yesterday by the Primate of the province of Jerusalem , Mouneer Anis. He was blunt, to the point, and didn’t obfuscate even a little bit:

Anglicans are aware with humility that we are not “the” church but we are one member of the body of Christ, the one Holy Catholic Church. We proclaim this every week in our churches. This places upon us the responsibility to listen to and respect our ecumenical partners.

My friends, you may believe you have discovered a very different truth from that of the majority in the Anglican Communion. It is not just about sexuality, but about your views of Christ, the Gospel, and the authority of the Bible. Please forgive me when I relay that some say you are a different church, others even think that you are a different religion.

I understand that it is difficult for you in your context to accept the standard teaching of the Anglican Communion. That is why you refused to accept Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10. You also ignored all the warnings of the Primates in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Your response to the Windsor Report is seen by the Primates as not clear. You cannot say you value being a member of the Anglican Communion while you ignore the interdependence if the member churches. The interdependence is what differentiates us from other congregational churches. I would like to remind you and myself with the famous resolution number 49 of the Lambeth Conference of 1930 which declares “the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of churches that…are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference.” With respect, I have to say that those who would prefer to speak of laws and procedures, constitutions and canons, committees and process: you are missing the point! It is our mutual loyalty and fellowship, submitting to one another in the common cause of Jesus Christ that makes us of one Church one faith and one Lord.

It is clear that you actions have resulted in one the most difficult disputes in the Communion in our generation. You may see them as not core doctrinal issues. Many like me see the opposite but the thing that we all cannot ignore is that these issues are divisive and have created a lot of undesired consequences and reactions. For the first time in centuries, the fabric of our Communion is torn. Our energies have been drained and our resources are lost and it is difficult for both of us to continue like this.

My friends, if you really believe that the truth revealed to you is different from that shown to the rest of the Communion, then you need to uphold that claim with boldness even at the risk of losing unity. If you think it is right and necessary to ordain and consecrate practicing homosexuals and that you should bless same sex partnerships or even marriages, you should be true to what you believe is right and accept the consequences.

However, if you appreciate being members of the global Anglican family, then you have to walk along side the members of your family. Those who say it is important to stay together around the table, to listen to each other and to continue our dialogue over the difficult issues that are facing us are wise. We wholeheartedly agree with this, but staying around the table requires that you should not take actions that are contrary to the standard position (Lambeth 1.10) of the rest of the Communion.

The Arrogant Western Church

This is what it is all about for orthodox believers. This quote by the Archbishop of Uganda (Anglican) sums up in a paragraph the frustration of many “evangelical” members of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. about those in leadership positions not only in our denomination but liberal mainliners in general:

They regard with dismay the progressive turn of the Western church, its willingness

to rethink the fundamentals of the faith, and its apparent doubt about the plain meaning

of Scripture. “The Bible doesn’t make as much sense to them as it used to, to their

ancestors,” Henry Luke Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, says. “The interpretation of

the Bible is no longer what it was before. And that’s why the church life in America is

so anemic and feeble.” (New Yorker April 10, 2006)

We live in a church that is like chaff in the wind, swaying to the popular perspective of the perceived majority instead of standing like the house on the rock and keeping itself rooted in the word of God. We have been told that a house divided cannot stand but we must look at whether we should rebuild the side of the house that is broken or let it go to ruin because this side of the house that is rooted in scripture and therefore will not fall.

Here is another quote from the same story:

[Bishop Robert] Duncan and his fellow-evangelicals see their Christianity as a religion

of transformation, and liberal Christianity as a faith of affirmation. “One has sin and needs

a Saviour, the other one simply tells you that you’re O.K. as you are,”

(New Yorker April 10, 2006)

http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/060417fa_fact5