Griswold Condemns Edwards as "schismatic". Presiding Bishop Silent on Spong

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Sat May 5 01:36:57 EDT 2001



By David W. Virtue

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has publicly condemned
traditionalist priest and former Forward in Faith executive director,
Fr. Samuel Edwards calling him "schismatic" for his writings about

In more than 30 years as priest, bishop and Presiding Bishop, Griswold
has never once uttered a word of such calumny and condemnation against
his fellow Bishop John Shelby Spong whose 12 Theses publicly repudiate
every known doctrine of the Christian Faith. For Griswold's
understanding of Spong's "truth" falls within his acceptable guidelines
of pluriform thinking. Ironically in his autobiography, Here I Stand,
Spong calls Griswold a man "lacking in commitment and courage." (pp.
433.) On the latter he may be right.

Griswold himself is a signatore to the Koinonia Statement that openly
supports homosexual behavior and says heterosexual and homosexual
behavior is "morally neutral". The Koinonia Statement affirms that the
ordination ranks of the church should include non-celibate homosexuals
as well. None of the other 37 Primates of the Anglican Communion have
signed the Koinonia Statement.

Furthermore when the Primates met in Oporto last year Griswold was
asked to unsign his name from the Statement by the other Primates, as a
first step towards a more orthodox biblical morality. Griswold refused
to do so. Within days of returning to the US he told the House of
Bishops that local option would continue and he saw no change from
those bishops who would continue to pursue a course contrary to the
Lambeth resolution on human sexuality. Griswold had no intention of
disciplining them either.

While no Primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion has ever signed
the Koinonia Statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey,
roundly condemned Spong himself for his "hectoring and intemperate"
remarks  made prior to the Lambeth conference in 1998. Spong declared
to the entire world that African Evangelicals were "primitive" in their
beliefs, one step away from animism. He got a mild slap on the wrist
from Griswold. Spong's wrist failed to notice.

Now Spong's Twelve Theses which were met without so much as a peep by
Frank Griswold include the following: Theism, as a way of defining God,
is dead. God talk is meaningless. As God can no loner be conceived in
theistic terms, Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity is
meaningless. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation
form which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and
post-Darwinian nonsense. The Virgin Birth, understood as literal
biology, makes the divinity of Christ, impossible. The miracle stories
of the NT can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as
supernatural events. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the
sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of
God that must be dismissed. Resurrection is an action of God, who
raised Jesus into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical
resurrection occurring inside human history. The story of the ascension
assumes a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being
translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age. There is
no external objective revealed standard writ in Scripture or on tablets
of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time. Prayer
cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history.
The hope of life after death must be separated forever from the
behavior-control mentality of reward and punishment. All human beings
bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is.
Therefore, no external description of one's being, whether based on
race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, can properly be used as
the basis for either rejection or discrimination.

Now contrast Edwards statements regarding the Episcopal Church, not
Christian theology.

Consider the following:

"General Convention has 'passed judgment upon itself' and 'become the
Unchurch.' National church's leaders now promote a worldview 'derived
from the kingdom of sin and death' and, instead of presenting the
church as the bride of Christ, appear anxious to model something 'off
the rack at Frederick's of Gomorrah'."

Now if, in fact, The Episcopal Church has accepted, de facto and
probably de jure Spong's statements without public repudiation, then
what Edwards writes is true. If the derived worldview of The Episcopal
Church is not drawn from scripture but from multiple (read pluriform)
sources then it is indeed coming from a source other than 'God's Word
written'. Edwards cannot be condemned for telling the truth. After all
Spong can still remain a Bishop in good standing in ECUSA and deny all
the central tenets of Christianity.

Edwards further says that Bishops of the Episcopal Church Practice
"Institutionalized lawlessness." Now that's interesting. Several
bishops who have complained to Dixon about her behavior towards Edwards
have used much the same language. They have said that her behavior
indicates "lawlessness" because she refuses to recognize the canons
that tell her she cannot back down from the 30-day deadline in which to
challenge Edwards right to stay.

Father Edwards' has further taught that the Episcopal Church is "Hell-
Bound". Can there be any doubt about that? Fully 70 percent of the
House of Bishops are men and women who no longer believe in or practice
biblical evangelism. They don't preach salvation by grace through faith
from sin and judgment. They preach inclusivity of persons with
aberrational sexual behavior without demanding they repent, and Spong
himself openly leads people astray, a sin, that Jesus condemns so
bitterly he confines such persons to the deepest part of the ocean with
a millstone around their necks.

The fact that the Bible affirms the existence of both a Heaven and a
Hell and Griswold doesn't want to believe that anybody would make the
latter place largely because he holds universalist thinking that God
will save all mankind, one can truly understand why he would resent
Edwards' comment. However history and theology is on Edwards side. The
Christian Church for 2,000 years has affirmed the existence of Hell and
it has never doubted that a good number of clergy might one day wake up
there. Many of us happen to believe that Spong will be among that
number. Consider our Lord's own remarks about the Pharisees and
Sadducees, the spiritual leaders of his day! What is there to argue
about in what Edwards says?

Edwards again: "When the ship has fallen completely under the control
of pirates and mutineers who with supreme confidence are driving it
onto the rocks, the only way members of the crew who remain loyal to
its captain and his mission can stay and 'work within the system' is by
gumming up the works and bringing it to a halt."

Now no one has done more to "gum up the works" than Jack Spong. He has
slammed, ridiculed, and verbally abused anyone who has stood against
him. He has defied all known authorities both human and scriptural and
intimidated anyone who dare opposes him. He has threatened to sue me
for daring to suggest that, as the new vicar of cyber porn he has done
more to discredit Christianity than anyone else in the world in the
last 30 years in the US (and now around the world) following the
failure of German Higher Criticism to provide a coherent worldview.

The works were "gummed up" long before Edwards uttered those words. He
only stated what most of us have known for years; that the Episcopal
Church is several headstones short of a full theological graveyard.

As for bringing it to a halt, what does Griswold think the Primates
have been trying to do and say for the past two years. The books To
Mend the Net and The Way of Faithfulness  state quite openly what is
gumming up the works - ECUSA's rampant disregard for Holy Scripture,
pluriform sexuality and a tacit acceptance of Spong's 'truth'.

Edwards again: "There are no reasonable grounds for expecting that the
current heterodox trajectory of the institution is going to be
interrupted, part form a miraculous intervention...we must plan on the
grounds of known and foreseeable realities. Those diocese,
congregations and clergy who can sever their connection with the ECUSA
should prepare to do so, if they haven't begun to do so already."

What does Frank Griswold and Jane Dixon think the AMIA is all about?
They are doing precisely that. Now the irony is that Edwards has not
fled neither have any of the Forward in Faith parishes or dioceses,
they are still hanging in there. It is the evangelicals who have been
walking away from ECUSA. Only two parishes, one in Michigan and the
other in Philadelphia that are openly Anglo-Catholic have left ECUSA,
the rest are still hanging in there...including Edwards and the parish
at Accokeek.

Edwards says, and there is no reason to disbelieve him, that he took
the parish because he did not want to run FIFNA anymore and he wanted a
quiet rural setting that largely befits his personality. It absolutely
does. Edwards is almost textbook English country pastor without a pipe.
Give him a beer and the 1928 Prayer Book and he's in heaven.

And this man poses a threat!!!  And Spong doesn't!!!

Dixon and her lawyers then argue that "Father Edwards' teachings
demonstrate that he is not fit to be a rector".

By what colossal stretch of the imagination do they come up with that.
I doubt there are 20 percent of the clergy in the Episcopal Church
today who would know how to lead a single soul to a saving faith in
Jesus Christ. It is not only not on their agenda, they would be too
embarrassed to attempt it.

They then accuse Edwards' of being willing to break his ordination vows
by not acknowledging the validity of Dixon's consecration as bishop.
Let me remind the powers that be, that the Church of England still has
not done so and Carey is keeping his head way down on that one because
he knows it would upset 10,000 traditionalist priests and a score of
his bishops if he tried it on and it might even promote a crisis that
even he could not contain.

Now Edwards has said he would be willing to accept her as an
administrative bishop, but not an ecclesiastical one, but that's not
good enough for Griswold or Dixon, but when you bear in mind that this
is trivial next to Spong who says that "theism is dead", that the
incarnation is nonsensical,  and the cross as a sacrifice for the sins
of the world is "barbarian"; this is straining at gnats and swallowing

Finally the white glove law firm accuses Father Edwards of his lack of
commitment to keeping Christ Church property in the Episcopal Church.

Edwards has said, from the beginning, that he did not take the job to
take the parish out of ECUSA. Either he is lying or telling the truth.
You choose. Now if the parish did choose to leave because Dixon makes
it so unpleasant to stay it would not be Edwards decision anyway. It
would to be a palace revolt with the people and vestry leading the
charge. Edwards would have to do there bidding.

Now this is a colonial church that is not owned by the Diocese and
Dixon's fear is that if they left they could take the property with
them and she could do nothing about it. Now if she continues to push
that button it is she who will provoke a crisis, not the other way

Griswold's condemnation of Edwards but his failure to condemn Spong is
disingenuous at best and hypocrisy at worst. It is sheer double-
mindedness on Griswold's part to condemn an orthodox priest and let
Spong run off at the mouth without so much as a word of condemnation or

Edwards has been presented, tried and convicted of schism without
benefit of trial, while Spong gets off Scot free traipsing around the
world selling his heresies for fat fees, book royalties and command
performances at big name universities.

Heresy pays. It titillates and excites like a kid with a new toy, and
in Spong's brand, commands a prominent place on an Internet sex site,
and all this with not so much as a raised eyebrow by Frank.

A plodding rector, on the other hand, who believes all the right stuff
is being tossed out on the street because a venal bishop can't stand
the fact that he believes more than she does.

And you wonder why Fr. Edwards and a large portion of the church still
believes in Hell...because a lot of  Episcopal bishops will be there.


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