Bishop Tom Breidenthal of Southern Ohio Votes No on Northern Michigan

Why is Thew Forrester’s teaching troubling to me? Because it flies in the face of what I take to be the conviction at the heart of our faith tradition, namely, that we are in bondage to sin and cannot get free without the rescue God has offered us in Jesus, who shouldered our sins on the cross. Our tradition certainly declares God’s closeness to us and God’s love for us, but insists that this is solely due to God’s gracious initiative, made known to us in Jesus. In other words, Jesus in his singular closeness to God is as much a reminder of our alienation from God and from God’s ways as he is God’s word to us that we are loved despite our collective wrongdoings.

I would not worry about this so much if Thew Forrester were merely speculating about alternative ways of understanding the Christian faith. I would not even worry so much if it were simply a matter of the content of a number of sermons (although I think we should expect to be accountable for what we preach). But, as his revision of the Baptismal rite makes clear, he appears to be settled in his conviction that our relation to Christ is not about salvation from a condition of objective alienation from God, but about a more realized union with God.

What is encouraging here is not only does the Bishop vote the right way, but he does so for the right reasons. This is about a lot of things, but primarily it is about Christology, the Trinity, salvation and atonement. Read it all–KSH.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Atonement, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan, Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)

6 comments on “Bishop Tom Breidenthal of Southern Ohio Votes No on Northern Michigan

  1. Henry Greville says:

    Exactly, Kendall. The understanding that the gap between God and us we are not capable of closing on our own, simply due to self-conscious and sensual human nature subject to time and space, is fundamental to Christianity. One does not have to wallow in Lutheran/Calvinist/Jansenist self-degradation to acknowledge the truth of sin’s blinders and anxiousness and the divine mercy that enlightens and frees us through the obedience and exaltation of the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ.

  2. RichardKew says:

    I got a heads up on this from a friend in the Diocese of S. Ohio recently, and am delighted by the sturdy way in which the bishop defends an appropriate understanding of the Godhead and the atonement.

  3. Hursley says:

    Things are starting to heat up. This could become interesting.

  4. Words Matter says:

    No-snark question: what will the diocese do if this fellow gets rejected? The diocese has maybe 1900 members and ASA of around 700 and shrinking: how many people would be interested in such a job?

    Slight snark question: is TF’s theology that different any more offensive than denying the Resurrection, or the Incarnation? How many bishops have brought Bishop Spong into their dioceses for clergy retreats? Or theologians like him?

  5. Brien says:

    Although the rejection is based on orthodox theology, it looks to me like the motivation is not so much a defense of orthodoxy but…with respect to those voting no…because the illusion of christological orthodoxy in TEC needs to be upheld for appearances to the rest of the Anglican Communion. I wonder if this election would have slipped by unnoticed but for the TEC bishops needing to backup their claims about the Lordship of Christ being unequivocally accepted (e.g. Southern Ohio’s references to what was said by TEC at Lambeth about the Baptismal Covenant being the proof). I welcome the rejection, but I’m not sure this can be seen as a new day for orthodox Christology in the Episcopal Church.

  6. Brien says:

    Here is the quotation that shows the motivation that concerns me (in my post above):

    [blockquote] I cannot emphasize enough that clarity about our relationship to Jesus through our baptism is especially important as we move on from the Lambeth Conference, where the bishops of the Episcopal Church pointed repeatedly to our Baptismal rite as evidence of our commitment to Jesus as Lord.[/blockquote]