Opening Comments 10-9-2001
DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Tue Oct 9 01:15:37 EDT 2001
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
America is at war.
The Anglican world is divided over how to respond to this new reality.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Frank Griswold has called
on his bishops to "wage reconciliation." He is in league with Rowan
Williams the Primate of Wales and other leftist bishops who feel sure
that if we could just sit down with Osama Bin Laden we could exchange
pluriform truths, drink tea and go back to our corners and continue as
civilized folk, maintaining our religious traditions, careful not to
offend, and, of course don't even pretend to evangelize because we just
don't do that sort of thing.
Griswold thinks that kind of evangelism is proselytism instead and runs
a mile from telling anyone the Good News in case it might offend him or
her. Inclusivity means never having to hurt or convert anyone. By its
very definition it means "no outcasts" a much bally-hooed notion of
former ECUSA Presiding Bishop Ed Browning. The WCC acting general
secretary Georges Lemopoulos also said: "We do not believe that war,
particularly in today's highly technologized world, can ever be
regarded as an effective response to the equally abhorrent sin of
terrorism." The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of 342
churches in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually
all Christian traditions including The Episcopal Church.
So the Episcopal Church wants to "wage reconciliation." But nowhere in
the New Testament is such a thought envisaged. In the few instances the
term reconciled is used, one has to do with a wife being reconciled to
her husband (1 Cor. 7:11), another has to do with reconciliation
between brothers and sisters before gifts are made at the altar, with
the most significant examples in Paul's letters having to do with being
reconciled to Jesus through his shed blood, with perhaps the most
profound statement on the Ministry of Reconciliation recorded in 2
Corinthians 5: 11-21. This has nothing to do with "waging
reconciliation" but the call to "be reconciled" is a command not an
invitation with an absolute demand that "as ambassadors for Christ,
since God is making his appeal through us, we entreat you on behalf of
Christ, be reconciled to God."
The Episcopal Church of course has a problem with this, as it demands a
certain exclusivity of thought alien to the current leadership. Vague
talk of reconciliation just after Sept. 11 was not only ludicrously
stupid, it mocked the thousands of innocent people who died, defying
all norms of decent human behavior. Frank Griswold preferred to have
breakfast with Rowan Williams to find a middle way around an obviously
difficult question for him as to just how evil this event really was
and what should be an appropriate Christian response.
Apparently America's leaders know more than Griswold and so we are at
Mercifully Griswold's voice is not the only Anglican one and a wiser
head in the person of the Rev. John Stott, perhaps the world's best-
known evangelical Anglican has now been heard and this is what he said.
"America and its allies will have to use force if they are to combat
the terrorists who shattered the peace in New York and Washington, John
Stott argued in an interview with The Church of England Newspaper.
Speaking as an evangelical elder statesman, Stott said: "I do realise
that there is also a Christian pacifist voice. There has always been
this voice, and I respect the so-called peace churches, the Mennonites,
the Anabaptists. But I think they are wrong. I think it is clear from
Romans 13 that the state does have authority to punish evil, and you
can't punish evil without using force."
There you have it. Stott, who recognizes evil for what it is and
recognizes further that the state has the right to retaliate in order
to restrain evil already committed and would undoubtedly continue if
not restrained, while Griswold has some wifter notion of peace, love
and tea with the Taliban and why can't we all just get along.
One man understands the true nature of evil, while the other doesn't
really understand evil at all, because you see if he (Griswold) did
understand the true nature of evil, he would have to have a much
clearer understanding of the cross and its salvific purpose. He would
have to entertain such old fashioned notions as substitutionary
atonement, propitiation and reconciliation through (gulp) the blood of
the Lamb. But then if he entertained these ideas he would get publicly
smacked by Jack Spong, and as Griswold fears being publicly humiliated
by Spong more than he fears what some Third World bishops think, he and
his 70 revisionist bishops would sooner live with their lies and follow
a policy of appeasement.
But Griswold is wrong, as he is about so many things ranging from
homosexual misbehavior to his hatred of the diminishing Anglo-Catholics
in ECUSA and his scorn of Evangelicals and their literalist approach to
But it is equally clear that he and his liberal and revisionist bishops
are out of sync with the vast majority of Episcopalians, and the only
question is how long they will tolerate The Pluriform One who wants to
make over historic Christianity to suit his own post-modern mind.
New York City where he resides is not the same New York City after
Sept. 11. Rough and tough workers are seeing crosses made out of steel
in the rubble of the World Trade Center and they pause, bow their heads
and pray. They confront absolute evil not with pluriform Frank's pseudo
Christian rubbish but with the One who was lifted high upon those
crosses and who continues to draw all men unto himself by his own shed
blood. Now that makes all the difference in the world.
One even finds South Africa Bishop Tutu's call for forgiveness and
reconciliation troubling. He says we should "acknowledge the essential
humanity of the perpetrator and to give that perpetrator the
possibility of making a new beginning."
No doubt Tutu has the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in mind,
which extended official forgiveness to many who admitted their guilt in
the years of South Africa's Apartheid. But in this case he was dealing
with two groups both claiming, at the minimum, to being Christian. Bin
Laden is a Muslim fanatic who has declared Jihad and open season on
Americans, Christianity and the West. How would Tutu go about
implementing what he calls a "capacity to change" when Bin Laden (even
acknowledging his humanity) is not one bit interested in changing
anything only annihilating Americans and their predominantly Christian
Faith. One suspects that Tutu, who has also embraced homosexual
behavior as normative, has lost his theological moorings in his general
acceptance of evil men without the call for change and repentance. None
of this bodes well for Anglican Christianity. They get the headlines
and 'peace,' while the laity gets the pieces.
Someone with a sense of humor, more warped than my own, offered a Final
Solution for Bin Laden. Killing him, they said, will only create a
martyr. Holding him prisoner will
inspire his comrades to take hostages to demand his release. Therefore
the following is suggested.
Let the Special Forces, Navy Seals, or some other group covertly
capture him, fly him to an undisclosed hospital and have surgeons
quickly perform a complete sex change operation. Then we return her to
Afghanistan to live as a woman under the Taliban. They could, of
course, consult the Bishop of Oklahoma and take a course in same-sex
tolerance, he has a lot of experience in that.
And so it is with some irony that the deep thinkers in ECUSA believe
they can, like some pyramid scheme scam artist make the Episcopal
Church miraculously grow and double by 2020. There are some fictions
just dying to be exposed and today I do that for you.
Now a very mysterious development occurred at the recent meeting of the
House of Bishops in Vermont involving a letter brought by the CAPA
bishops of Africa and read by David Gitari Bishop of Kenya. It was
given to Frank Griswold and just snippets of the letter have appeared
in the Anglican media. What was in that letter and why has its full
contents not been made public? Virtuosity is working on that story and
hopefully we will have some answers for you in the next digest.
With the host of stories you are undoubtedly receiving on the current
war footing the nation is on, I am posting just one that I feel sure
most of you will not have seen. It is by a Dr. Jamie Glazov, a Russian
expatriate, and it is simply titled, "The Sexual Rage Behind Islamic
Terror." New ground is broken here.
While our leaders and much of the media wants us to believe that this
war is not about Islam they are wrong. It is. Andrew Sullivan wrote in
The New York Times Magazine this past Sunday; "The Osama bin Ladens of
the world-like the leaders of the Inquisition and others before and
after them-demand that all embrace absolute faith. Individual faith and
pluralism were the targets Sept. 11, and it was only the beginning of
an epic battle."
It is interesting to note that while our war is going on, Christians
are being slaughtered in central Nigeria in the city of Jos for not
obeying Sharia laws upheld by Muslims. And this is a country that has
more Christians than Muslims and the president is a Christian.
It is also a country where the Anglican Church is deeply entrenched.
I am posting a number of stories for your interest and reading and I
hope to expand more on the nature of Islam itself in the coming days.
Readers in the Continuing Churches will learn with sadness that Archbishop
John T. Cahoon, Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) since
1999, died this week from brain cancer. He was 52. Bishop Cahoon was bishop
of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic States, and rector of the parish of SS
Andrew and Margaret of Scotland, Alexandria, Virginia. He is the third
metropolitan of the ACC, a leading Continuing Church body, to die in office
in the last four years.
ERRATUM. In my story on the Orthodox churches exclusion from the prayer
service at the national cathedral recently, I said that Fr. Kondratick
was the Chancellor of the "Orthodox Patriarchate." There is no
Orthodox Patriarchate of America. He is the Chancellor of the Orthodox
Church in America.
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David W. Virtue
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