Presiding Bishop Lashes out at Internet Communication

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Sat May 5 01:36:04 EDT 2001

The Episcopal Magisterium of Frank Griswold

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church lashed out this week at
what he called "dubious communication that is making its way around the
world," in an address to a group of Georgia Episcopalians, following a
meeting of 38 worldwide Anglican province leaders.

Griswold urged his hearers to "take the high road" and accused unnamed
persons of "serving highly partisan ends and serving also causes of
division and conflict, characterized by untruths and

Speaking to more than 200 people gathered at Atlanta's Commerce Club,
at a benefit for the Episcopal Media Center, Griswold said, "this makes
it all the more important to be clear about our communication, be
wise...and take the high road."

Allow me to unspin this.

The "dubious communication" Griswold is talking about emanates from
myself, an evangelical Episcopal communicator who stands in direct
opposition to the theological and moral stances, resolutions and
positions the Episcopal Church has taken and continues to take on
issues that are, in short, unbiblical, unAnglican and unhistorical.

Is it "dubious communication" to say that the Episcopal Church believes
in and allows in the pulpit, ordained, non-celibate homosexuals, and a
new generation of sexualities called Lesbitransgay because we can't
find enough words to describe all the sexualities ECUSA adheres too?

Is it "dubious communication" to state that Griswold himself ordained
openly non-celibate homosexuals to the priesthood when he was Bishop of
Chicago? That he absolutely opposes a godly traditionalist priest
because that priest doesn't believe in women's ordination and has
written some less than charitable things about the direction  ECUSA is
taking? That is "dubious communication?"

What happened to inclusivity, a notion that all positions are welcome
to the table, but no criticism please because I, Frank Griswold am too
thin-skinned to take it and I won't listen to any voice that opposes my

Is it "dubious communication" to say that the three remaining
traditionalist dioceses that don't support women's ordination are going
to be visited by a group of feminist, pro-gay women from Episcopal
Women's Caucus who just have so much "pain" because a small handful of
godly bishops just want to hang onto a position that doesn't meet with
their post-modern understanding of church history?

These dioceses, like Fr. Edwards would just like to be left alone, but
no, they won't be. They will be hounded and berated and asked why they
are not ordaining women, as if this was some big mystery. Trust me
these women could save themselves a lot of time and money, all they
have to do is ask for a position paper from Bishop Ackerman or Dr.
Peter Toon and read it over coffee and they would have all they need to
know. Bag the visit, it's unnecessary. Furthermore it's a complete
waste of money that could be better used for mission.

Now, personally I'm for women's ordination, if anyone is interested,
but what is going on here is nothing more than the tyranny of the

Why doesn't Frank Griswold have a squad of evangelicals go around and
check on who is ordaining avowed homosexuals to the priesthood and stop
them. No General Convention resolution has ever approved of the
ordination of non-celibate homosexuals to the priesthood; it got
brokered in through the Righter Trial because the church said it had no
canons on homosexuality.

Where are Griswold's squad of holy men and women willing to face down
the Cronebergers, the Bennison's, the Shaws, the Dixons (oh, God yes)
and tell them that they are the ones violating 2,000 years of church
teaching, Holy Scripture, the Church Fathers and most of contemporary
Christendom including the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern
Baptist Convention on theology and morality.

Do we see Griswold's truth squad upholding the one true, apostolic and
Biblical faith? Not on your life.

Griswold again: "[I am struck] by the absolutely separate worlds the
churches of the Anglican Communion live in and how little authentic
communcation there is between them."

Really. Cast your mind back to Lambeth 1998 Frank. There was plenty of
authentic communication going on and the vote came in 526 to 70. The
vote was so overwhelming I thought the wooden beams holding up the
Sixth Century parish in Canterbury would shake and fall to the ground.

How about Oporto 2000 and Kanuga 2001? If there was no "authentic
communication" going on it was because Griswold managed to get it
quashed and spun off into a commission so it would all, hopefully,
disappear down a theological bunghole. No confrontation on sexual
issues, please, I'm Frank Griswold and I feel a lot of pain for
disenfranchised homosexuals in my church. They desperately need "safe

This is a crock. It's not Episcopal homosexuals who need "safe places",
it is the diminishing Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals who need "safe
places" free from the tyranny of homosexuals like Louie Crew and
Michael Hopkins, and bishops like Bennison and Dixon, Harris and Shaw
who wish that "breeders" and evangelicals like us would, to use Jane
Dixon's words, "just leave".

And what exactly is the "high road" that Griswold talks about. He never
says, but let me tell you. He wants you to take the high road of
paneverythingism, pan-sexualism, diversity, inclusivity and Zen
Episcopalianism, and then wrap it all up in "why can't we all just get

It's the great theological Episcopal stew pot that he wants us to climb
into, mix with whatever spirituality spice is at hand, stir vigorously,
bring to the boil and then climb out and do the Circle Dance of
Dispossession together, preferably naked.

Now if some narrow minded evangelicals and the even more narrow minded
Anglo-Catholics should happen to squeak that this might not be
authentic Via Media Anglicanism then set upon them with truth squads
and beat them over their heads till they see the Griswoldian light that
cometh from above or 815.

Griswold (quoting Louis Schueddig), "I have long dreamed of a church
that speaks with a common voice...I echo that dream...a common voice
that attends to what is clearly part of the common heritage, that which
builds up, that which illumines and inspires, that which is clear and
relevant, that is intelligent, that speaks the truth uncompromisingly
and weaves into it the divergent dimensions of truth that exist among

Buckle your seat belts.

If there is no common voice who is out of step with whom? The vast bulk
of worldwide Anglicanism is solidly evangelical. They believe in sin
and salvation and they preach it and millions get converted. Not so
with Frank's brand of Christianity. No one gets converted because
there's nothing to be converted too.

Griswold wants two things; a "common voice" which "weaves divergent
dimensions of truth." Now these two things are mutually exclusive. A
common voice implies a common and distinct theology, a theology that is
at once biblical, not pluriform, that recognizes only one sexuality
(heterosexuality) not Lesbitransgay or any mix of sexualities thereof.
It  also means a deliberate call to biblical evangelism that stresses
that mankind is lost in sin and needs a Savior not a Zen therapist. It
means calling the Trinity by their real names - Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, and it means we take responsibility for our behavior (HIV/AIDS)
and stop blaming pharmaceutical companies and governments for not doing
enough. In short we take responsibility for our own lives and repent
when we break God's commandments.

If Griswold thinks he can have "divergent dimensions of truth" (read
multiple sexual options) he's breathing smoke out his ears. That won't
play in Peoria or Lagos.

Then Griswold delivers the biggest fiction of all. He says this: "I see
the Episcopal Church as alive and well and not wracked by controversy
and conflict, as some choose to believe." Really. What planet is Frank
living on? The Church is loaded with conflict.

Try this.  The formation of the AMIA came about largely from fed up and
spiritually starving Episcopalians. The vast sea of Continuing Churches
that have all fled ECUSA for its apostasy. The continued beating up of
three dioceses that won't ordain women. The not so subtle persecution
of evangelicals who won't get placed as priests if they don't study at
VTS, GTS or EDS and who won't get priested in liberal dioceses if they
go to TESM. The packing of most House of Deputies committees with
liberals, homosexuals and revisionists to push the church's liberal
agenda, and how about the bullying of parishes to accept politically
correct priests rather than those of their own choosing? Even better,
what about Frank Griswold defaming a recognized traditional Anglican
leader as "schismatic" without so much as a by your leave let alone a
fair trial. Trial by ambush isn't controversial for Frank Griswold -
it's just good communication.

Do you really believe that the newly anointed president of the House of
Deputies George Werner will honestly cut evangelicals a break? I'd
sooner believe that Bishop Otis Charles had sex with the tooth fairy
than believe that Evangelicals will ever hold a majority on any
committee loaded by Werner. Louie Crew would scream homophobia from the
rafters and demand salt is put at the committee's feet.

And now we see the open persecution of a single orthodox priest by a
revisionist bishop who is not remotely Christian and who, under normal
circumstances wouldn't be selling shoes at FootLocker for a living. She
is mean, venal and unbelieving and what we have surfacing here is but
the tip of the iceberg. What is beneath the ocean surface, and unseen,
is far worse. And Griswold wants you to believe that all is well in the
House of ECUSA if we just had eyes to see it.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

And here's the Griswoldian clincher. "There are some estranged people
that need to be ministered to in a pastoral sense." Now who has Frank
got in mind?  The Lambeth resolution made the suggestion that it was
the church's homosexuals that needed "pastoral care". But Griswold does
not have them in mind you can be sure. Trust me.

Perhaps he is thinking of Charles Nalls, canon lawyer, for daring to
stand up to Dixon's white glove law firm who is trying to throw Fr.
Edwards out of his canonically called parish job. Or Fr. Edwards
himself for daring to be biblical and orthodox and who is opposed to
pluriform truths, and wont let the Washington Diocesan political
machinery roll over him, or perhaps it is myself. Well this past
weekend, my wife and I attended  a Freedom in Christ seminar with 30
members of my parish. The weekend dealt mainly with sin, of which I
have plenty, and we had to name it, repent of it and ask God to forgive
us. We even had a real wooden cross where we took our sins (on paper)
and nailed them to the cross. Then we had a ceremony on a beach where
we took what sins we had committed, written them on paper and publicly
burn them. Trust me I have all the pastoral care I could ever ask for
and my rector has no hesitation in telling me what he thinks about my
performance from time to time. That's what he's called to do, and he
does a pretty fair job. I wonder if Frank Griswold or any of the
church's activist homosexuals did anything like that. I'd love to know.

Then Griswold says "we have so many people who are bringing things
together in Christ and focusing on mission and the work of

What mission? Certainly not traditional biblical evangelism a la ALPHA
but some interior version of Zen spirituality and journeys of the soul
that wind up in a labyrinth. And "reconciliation"? Well I know some
good evangelical folk who have tried that with Louie Crew and I haven't
heard a thing lately about what happened. Has anybody been reconciled?
Has Kew and Crew been reconciled? Inquiring minds want to know. This is
another fiction of Frank's. The law of non-contradiction applies to any
idea of reconciliation. Someone is going to have to blink and I don't
see Episcopal homosexuals and revisionists in any mood to do that. And
what about all the parishes flowing out of ECUSA and heading to the
AMIA. This is reconciliation?

Griswold then says statistics show church attendance is up nine
percent. Maybe we are reading and interpreting different sets of
statistics. A layman I know who monitors church statistics says that
actual attendance on a weekly basis nationwide is less than one million
(800,000 to be exact) not the vaunted 2.4 million on the books or in
graveyards, with a pop for Easter and Christmas.

Now if statistics could be shown to be up, let me tell you who is
making that happen. It is dioceses like Pittsburgh, Quincy, Central
Florida, Florida, Dallas, Bethlehem, Albany, San Joaquin...all solidly
evangelical dioceses that have the gospel as the heart of their
mission, not Frank's version of mission in the twilight zone or the
Garden of the Finzi Continis.

Now here's a real corker. Griswold says that "the laws and commandments
given to us are not so much laws and commandments as they are signs of
relationship and intimacy between God and God's people." Really.
Explain that to a few thousand Israelites who disobeyed God at one time
or another wandering the wilderness and then got the death penalty.
That's intimacy?  Perhaps the 10 commandments are mere suggestions with
six only that need be tried. Adultery made a woman barren (Num.5)
that's intimacy? Moses comes down from the mount with the 10
commandment sees the people are practicing idolatry and it is only his
intervention and pleading with Yahweh, that the whole lot are not wiped
out. Moses still gets the Sons of Levi to take out a few anyway.

Griswold says that "communication must go throughout the world on 'a
mission that must be aired out with passion, imagination, and-with a
word...gusto...willing to take risks."

Now what sort of communication are we talking about? What is the
content, what is the message? What mission would that be? If you want
to see communication of the gospel go to Nigeria. That province has
communicated the gospel so successfully there are now 17 million
Anglicans. ECUSA continues to go backwards.

Griswold said he recently appointed a Director of Communication at 815.
Well what's he doing? Pumping out more press releases? Telling Griswold
to go on the offensive with communicators like Virtue who insist on
telling "my truth" perhaps even gospel truth.

Then Griswold capped it with praise for a television project called
"The Episcopal Church Welcomes Hungry Hearts."  Let me say this. If
hungry hearts ever come to ECUSA they won't get spiritually fed, take
my word for it. Your average nouvelle Episcopal clergy wonk doesn't
know Jesus. He has no gospel to proclaim. They've been deconstructed at
Episcopal seminaries like EDS and GTS, theologically neutered, and they
wouldn't know Jesus if he was spotted nailed to a cross. "I say
Witherspoon what in God's name is that man doing up there on a T bar".
Most of them are empty vessels going through the liturgical motions
week by week waiting out their pensions. The "hungry hearts" are going
to the AMIA, and Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic Church and the
Presbyterian Church in America and the Continuing Anglican churches
such as APCK and ACA.

The people look up and are not fed, is more like ECUSA's motto. If you
come spiritually hungry you will be sent away empty, even after you've
walked the labyrinth, joined the United Religions Initiative, read
Spong's books and become an honorary member of Integrity. That's the
truth. Of course there are always godly exceptions.

But Frank Griswold's vision of truth ECUSA-style will convert and save
no one. And where there is no vision of the truth that says, "I am the
way the truth and the life," the people will surely perish.


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