Norah M. Joslyn: On being Christian and Muslim

After an introduction to a Muslim prayer practice in early 2006, [the Rev. Ann] Redding knew she had been wrestling with a call to Islam. She approached a Muslim woman and told her so, and the woman replied, “Christianity has been good to you and you to it, and you don’t have to choose.” That made all the difference in Redding’s choice to practice Islam.

“What Islam has done for me is shed this light on Christianity and shown for me anew what a glorious way Christianity is,” she explains.

“We Christians, in struggling to express the beauty and dignity of Jesus and the pattern of life he offers, describe him as the ”˜only begotten son of God.’ That’s how wonderful he is to us. But that is not literal,” she continues. “When we say Jesus is the only begotten one, we are saying he’s unique in some way. Islam says the same thing. He’s the only human aside from Adam who is directly created by God, and he’s different from Adam because he has a human mother. So there’s agreement””this person is unique in his relationship to God.” Christianity also says that we are all part of the household of God and in essence brothers and sisters of Jesus. Muslims take the figurative language of “only begotten,” make it concrete and contradict it: God “neither begets nor is begotten.”

“I agree with both because I do want to say that Jesus is unique, and for me, Jesus is my spiritual master,” Redding says. “Muslims say Mohammed is the most perfect. Well, it depends on who you fall in love with. I fell in love with Jesus a long time ago and I’m still in love with Jesus but I’d like to think my relationship with Jesus has matured.”

She added that what Islam does is take Jesus out of the way of her relationship with God, “but it doesn’t drop Jesus. I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam, and he didn’t drop me off at the door. He’s there, too.”

Read it all (page 9) .


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Other Faiths, Theology

55 comments on “Norah M. Joslyn: On being Christian and Muslim

  1. Nikolaus says:

    This poor woman has become lost, her statements are so full of error that the only place to begin is in prayer for her!

  2. m+ says:

    At one point, the Rev. Dr. Redding states the renunciations and affirmations made at baptism do not contradict the content of Islam, with the implication being that this means Islam is an acceptable option for Christians. The problem is that the Faith once delivered to the Saints does not begin and end within the confines of the Baptismal covenant. The Athanasian Creed (which is traditionally read today) contradicts Islam in plenty of places. Not to mention that whole “Jesus is the Son of God and one third of the Trinity” thing. There’s thousands of years of Tradition that directly disprove the Rev. Dr. Redding’s premises.
    My concern is that in testing “how big God really is”, Rev. Dr. Redding and her parishioners are actually ignoring Him. I sincerely pray that she, and they, are not.

  3. Deja Vu says:

    She was baptised by an African Methodist Episcopal minister but the only Sunday School she attended was Episcopal. She attended a Unitarian youth group in high school when the Episcopal group disbanded. She was influenced by a cooperative community near where she grew up that was comprised of mostly Quakers, Unitarians and Jews. Her father was a prominent civil rights lawyer …

    Sunday School and Youth Group matter!
    Looks like the Unitarian youth group won out in the end.
    The Episcopal Sunday School curriculum failed. This suggests a need for strong units at every grade level on the Trinity.

  4. Karen B. says:

    I confess even after growing up in the diocese of Newark and hearing John Spong preach many times, this still has the capacity to shock me.

    It’s not so much that an individual Episcopalian (albeit a clergywoman) could come to the belief that Islam and Christianity are somehow compatible and not mutually exclusive. What troubles me MUCH more greatly is that a diocesan publication would promote this as some kind of model or example!!!!! I’m just floored. Truly.

    And I’m wondering, since this is somehow co-published with Episcopal Life, does 815 vet the contents? Is this going out with official NATIONAL imprimatur, or is it just the diocesan editors who approve the content for the diocesan materials?

    In either case, to have such completely misguided and false teaching without any kind of refutation in an official diocesan publication is one of the worst evidences yet of the absolute theological bankruptcy of so many leaders within ECUSA when it comes to defending the faith once delivered.

    As someone who is devoting my life to sharing Christ with Muslims, my heart is breaking tonight that the church I grew up in is now taking a stance that completely opposes the work of missionaries throughout the Muslim world.

    May the Lord have mercy on Dr. Redding and all in Olympia and elsewhere who are being exposed to her denial of Christ, paraded as Christian Gospel. May the Lord open eyes and hearts that are blind, and bring those who are lost within ECUSA’s clergy and leadership to a saving knowledge of Christ, and a confession of Him as the true Lord, Savior and Redeemer of the world.

  5. Christopher Hathaway says:

    What is there is say to this?
    I feel Sylvester the Cat’s son. I should walk around with a paper bag over my head and a sign reading “Please don’t ask me about the Episcopal Church”.

    Maybe we should start a new 12 step group:
    Episcopalians Anonymous.

  6. Dave B says:

    Islam cannot accept that salvation is only throught Jesus and is dead set against the Trinity. This women has a doctorate in New Testament and she doesn’t understand the gulf between Islam and Christianity? Where is her Bishop in all this?

  7. Christopher Hathaway says:

    Dave, she understands Islam as well as she understands Christianity. I’m sure her “bishop” rises no higher in understanding.

    The breaks are off the crazy train, folks.

  8. drjoan says:

    This is the same woman who wrote an article for the “Voice” (in February or March, I think) entitled “Is Jesus the only way?” (I questioned it in a letter to the editor the following month.) She is also one of three priests who were “laid off” from the Cathedral of St. Mark because of budget problems (where the Dean, our resident non-celibate gay man, receives a salary package of more than $200K.)
    I am really depressed over the Diocese of Olympia!

  9. The_Elves says:

    Dr Joan, if you have a copy of the earlier article and your response, we’d love to see them. e-mail us at:

    Also, can you clarify: Is Dr. Redding currently serving somewhere in the diocese following her departure from the Cathedral?

  10. drjoan says:

    According to the bio at the end of the article, Dr. Redding is worshipping at both the Al Islam Center and St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, both in Seattle. She is also anticipating teaching graduate courses in theology at Seattle University.
    I can’t see how Bishops Warner and Rivera could NOT be aware of her activities. Moreover, Nora Joslyn, the author and editor, works at Diocesan House where the Bishops and their staff work.

  11. Karen B. says:

    I am re-reading this now more carefully, trying to get past my first anger and disbelief about its publication to analyze it more specifically and critically.
    No matter how I try, I just can’t get past this one section. It leaves me utterly dumbfounded at the breakdown of logical argument:

    Muslims take the figurative language of “only begotten,” make it concrete and contradict it: God “neither begets nor is begotten.”
    “I agree with both because I do want to say that Jesus is unique, and for me, Jesus is my spiritual master,”

    Forgive me, but all I can say in response is “HUH?” In one breath Dr. Redding flat out admits that Muslims deny the doctrine of Christ as God’s only begotten Son, which she says she professes to believe as a Christian. Than she goes on to say “I agree with both” after admitting that one contradicts the other.

    In fact, the Quran has many other passages which deny Christ and His divinity beyond the reference above to the Surah that states God neither begot nor was begotten. Check out these references found on the great website Answering Islam:

    How anyone can read these and think that one can be both Muslim & Christian is beyond me:

    O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His apostles, and say not, Three (thalathatun). Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. S. 4:171

    They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? Allah’s is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things. S. 5:17

    They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s son.’ For the Messiah said, ‘Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.’ They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Third of Three (thalithu thalathatin). No god is there but One God. If they refrain not from what they say, there shall afflict those of them that disbelieve a painful chastisement. Will they not turn to God and pray His forgiveness? God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; Messengers before him passed away; his mother was a just woman; they both ate food. Behold, how We make clear the signs to them; then behold, how they perverted are! S. 5:70-75

  12. Philip Snyder says:

    May God have mercy on this poor woman and even more mercy on the clergy who have “formed” her in the Faith.

    To believe that Christianity and Islam are compatible is the height of madness.

    For Christianity, we beleive that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God – indeed, Jesus is God incarnate. For Islam, the ultimate revelation comes from God through an Angel to Muhammed. The two statements are mutually exclusive. Only one can be true.

    Phil Snyder

  13. NewTrollObserver says:

    It’s possible that some African-American slaves had come to a similar conclusion, since about ten percent of them were Muslim, and since many had concluded that the Christianity practiced by their masters left something to be desired. Rev. Redding obviously has discovered how mutually enriching Christian and Islamic practice can be. She’s not alone.

  14. Philip Bowers says:

    Karen B. wrote

    How anyone can read these and think that one can be both Muslim & Christian is beyond me

    Well, of course, she is not a Cristian.

  15. Philip Bowers says:

    Nor is she a Christian. 🙂

  16. Ross says:

    #10 drjoan says:

    According to the bio at the end of the article, Dr. Redding is worshipping at both the Al Islam Center and St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, both in Seattle. She is also anticipating teaching graduate courses in theology at Seattle University.

    So she is… in fact, it looks like I’ll be taking one of her classes in the fall. Small world.

  17. Karen B. says:

    And I can’t get beyond the next paragraph without being absolutely astonished again:

    She added that what Islam does is take Jesus out of the way of her relationship with God, “but it doesn’t drop Jesus. I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam, and he didn’t drop me off at the door. He’s there, too.”

    Take Jesus out of the way?
    He is THE WAY to the Father.
    He is the only reason she or any of us CAN have a relationship with the Father. He is the DOOR and the GATE as well.

    Of course there is the infamous John 14:6

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    But also Acts 4:11-12:

    This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

    And Romans 5: 2, 8-11

    2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith [2] into this grace in which we stand, and we [3] rejoice [4] in hope of the glory of God. […] 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

    And these passages from Hebrews which are emphatic in Christ being the only way to the Father:

    From Heb 7: (emphasis mine)

    22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

    And Hebrews 10:

    19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

    Note how Scripture is explicit in talking about the PERFECTION and COMPLETENESS of Christ’s sacrifice. There could be no other. There need be no other. Hallelujah!

    Islam SPECIFICALLY sets itself in opposition to Christianity in declaring Mohammed as God’s final messenger. Whereas the Bible declares Christ to be God’s perfect FINAL WORD. These are mutually exclusive claims. They cannot both be true.

    As I read Dr. Redding’s words, and re-read these passages of Scripture, I’m now realizing exactly how and why Dr. Redding can arrive at this point of claiming to believe that she can be both a Christian & a Muslim. She appears to have no doctrine of sin, no sense of a need for REDEMPTION.

    Because it is in the issue of forgiveness, redemption and atonement that Christianity and Islam differ most radically. If we are just talking about embracing a system of ethical teaching and following the example of various prophets, it is possible to understand how she could remotely equate Jesus and Mohamed and Christianity and Islam. There are similarities since much of the Quran is taken from the Bible.

    But only Christ and Christianity deal with our sin and provide a means of atonement and redemption: the CROSS. Which Islam specifically rejects.

    Do you all remember Kendall’s speeches at Plano and Plano East. One of the things he focused on was the Cross. I’ve just been rereading what he said. He nailed it, absolutely. You’ve just got to re-read this after reading Dr. Redding’s interview above. The juxtaposition is so startling:

    We will be people who unapologetically will be about the Christ, proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ. We will also be people, next C, of the cross.

    I’m not giving up on the Rite I language of the prayer book. “By His one oblation of Himself once offered, the full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. By the merits and death of Thy Son, Jesus Christ and through faith in His blood.” What is it that Paul says in Galatians 6? “Far be in from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” It’s got to be centered on the cross, brothers and sisters; the cross is the center of it all.

    To be a Christian means not to think from the world or from one’s self to the cross but to place one’s self as Luther did every single morning at the foot of the Cross and to think and to pray out from there to one’s self and the world.

    Two quick comments by way of reminder about the cross. The cross is the final statement of God about the depth of the problem. To think from the cross out is to be reminded of the horror of sin. In his wonderful book Compassion Henri Nouwen tells the moving story of a family whose name are Joel and Nida Theartiga that he knew in Paraguay. And this family in the course of their life and ministry the father who was a physician becomes increasingly critical of the government in Paraguay. The military is becoming increasingly abusive and the father can’t take it anymore and he speaks out more and more boldly. Finally the government acts and they take their revenge on this physician and his wife by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. The enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but as Nouwen tells the story, as they said their prayers and thought about it, they chose another protest, a more cross-like, biblical lament. And as Nouwen describes the funeral, what they chose to do was to take their son and to take his body exactly the way they had found it in the jail: naked, scarred by electric shocks and cigarette burns and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress that it was on in prison when they found it. It was the strongest protest imaginable, because it put the injustice of human sin on total display.

    My dear brothers and sisters, that’s what happened on Good Friday. The Cross in all its ugliness, exposed the world and exposed our hearts for what they are breeding grounds for violence and injustice; for arrogance and pride; yes, for sexual sin and immorality; for moral cowardice, personal greed, and self-interest, and all else. The cross of Christ is offensive because it exposes and condemns our rebellion and rebelliousness.

    But the other thing about the cross, the great thing about the cross if we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, is that in the mystery of God’s working on the cross, God at that moment in history, the judge of history, comes into history and absorbs the judgment upon himself. PT Forsyth put it this way: “The cross of Christ is God’s only self-justification in a world such as ours.” Karl Barth put it this way: “God, by the decree He made in the beginning of all his works and ways, has taken upon himself the rejection merited by the man isolated in relation to him.” Total exposure of human sin, total absorption of human rebellion, he himself has born our sins. God made him who knew no sin to be sin, brothers and sisters, so that in him we may be the righteousness of God. Do you believe that?

    My last C. Not only the Christ, and not only the cross, but finally, and here I think I get to my most heartfelt cri de coeur about the situation in which we find ourselves. It’s about conversion for crying out loud. A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century in the Episcopal Church: The 1979 prayer book! The full theological measure of its ethos has yet to be completely felt but we are now at a place of enough distance from it to begin to reflect with each other about its real impact on our common life and if we do that, and very few people are doing it, the results are deeply disconcerting.

    Think with me just for a second. A prayer book that has an underemphasis on God’s transcendence and holiness and judgment, combined with a very weak sense of sin, combined with a liturgical practice that actually makes confession of sin optional, combined with a strong emphasis on baptism, combined with a baptismal covenant which is decoupled from its trinitarian and scriptural mooring so that apparently the nearly everything I read in the Episcopal church what it actually means to be baptized ONLY is revealed the last two questions in the baptismal covenant: namely, loving your neighbor as yourself, and to striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being, combined with the predominant ethos of the American Episcopal Church which is liberal catholicism combined with the predominant ethos of America which is this weird post modern miasma of malnourished pluralism masking as real community, it leads to this, and I need to say this as clearly as I can: we have a theology in practice which moves straight from creation to redemption! A nearly universalistic or in fact completely universalistic worldview in which the fall and sin have in essence disappeared!! To be created in the Episcopal Church is apparently to be redeemed (at the most you need to be baptized) and so, think about this for just a second – what are the two most recent trends worthy of mention since Convention? Some people are arguing Gene Robinson was baptized, therefore he should be consecrated a bishop. It apparently trumps everything else. If you are baptized everything else follows, and then the even more important one which really flew under almost everybody’s radar screen, the huge growing practice in the Episcopal Church of open communion. So that at All Saints Pasadena the Rector gets up and says “who ever you are, where ever you are in your spiritual journey, I invite you to come forward for grace and consolation along the way.” Any reference to God the Father? Uh-uh. Any reference to God the Son? Gone. Any reference to the Holy Spirit? Nada. Now think about this for just a second.

    Over against this barely Christian ethos, if you actually place what it means to have a biblical world view, you find yourself shocked, shocked because when you read the scriptures, Luke 19:10, the reason that the son of man came was to seek and to save the lost. God comes to Abraham and says, “Go to a lost world so that through you they will be blessed because they are not blessed now.” Jesus tells in Luke chapter 15 not one, not two, but three parables. The lost coin, and the lost sheep, and then–just in case we missed it–the lost son. And Paul can cry out in 2 Corinthians 5 “I beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The overwhelming conviction of historic Christianity is: If you don’t have Christ you’re lost! Which is why number one on your sheet is to declare the great commission the first priority of our life and work. I don’t want to know when you come to see me whether you’re a good Episopalian, I want to know how many people in your parish have met Jesus Christ and are being transformed by His love.

    One more Simeon story just about the lostness of the lost. I need to say this so strongly because it just is so rare in the Episcopal Church to see people that believe the way Simeon believed. I love this story. This is a first hand description of one of his sermons and the text on this particular day when Charles Simeon, a vicar at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge England, who lived from 1759-1836. Simeon is preaching and his text is “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people,” that is his text. Listen to this eyewitness description. “And after having urged all his hearer to accept God’s offer of mercy, he reminded them that there were those present to whom he had preached Christ for more than thirty years, but they continued indifferent to a Savior’s love; and pursuing this train of expostulation for some time, he at length became quite overpowered by his feelings, and sank down in the pulpit and burst into a flood of tears, and few who were present could refrain from weeping with him” When was the last time anyone of us really cried for the lostness of the lost who are all over our parishes and our lives. God cries. The gospel calls. Do we?


    Most importantly and finally, at Minneapolis [General Convention 2003], the will of the Father to draw all people to himself through the cross of his Son, get this now, was replaced with a new and different gospel where a therapeutic Jesus embraces people where they are. It is a gospel of affirmation rather than the gospel of salvation. We have moved from sinners in the hands of an angry God to clients in the palm of a satisfied therapist.

    So the Episcopal Church is now a church where people are officially led away from Christ. …

    And there you have it. Episcopalians being led away from Christ to Mohamed. By an Episcopal clergywoman and theology professor. In an official ECUSA diocesan publication. It really is as bad as Kendall and others have been telling us it is, just in case anyone was still doubting…!

  18. Karen B. says:

    Oops. Meant to include the citation for Kendall’s Plano speech. It’s on the old CaNNet version of Titusonenine of course:

    And I probably should have also included that famous quotation from Richard Niebuhr (cited often by Kendall and other orthodox leaders) where Niebuhr defines modern liberalism:

    “A God without wrath led people without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

    — The Kingdom of God in America (p. 193) by H. Richard Niebuhr

    That’s almost certainly the type of theology that influenced Dr. Redding. Once one throws away the cross, there is very little left that would separate Islam & Christianity.

  19. drjoan says:

    Karen B.
    It’s no surprise that she took Jesus “out of the way.” She’s the one who wrote in the February issue of the “Episcopal Voice” (Dioces of Olympia Newspaper) that:

    “Simply to ask the question, ‘Is Jesus the Only Way to God?’— as we are doing in one of our Epiphany series—challenges the
    stereotype of Christianity that many Pacific Northwesterners are
    fleeing, one that claims an indisputable monopoly on salvation. To
    suggest that following Christ is one path among other paths offers
    space to those who previously may have seen Christianity as a
    dead end.”

    If anyone has the next issue of the “Voice,” there is a letter from me in it questioning her position.

  20. Steve Perisho says:

    #8 (drjoan):
    Would you be willing to contact me offlist?
    Steve Perisho
    Diocese of Olympia

  21. Paula Loughlin says:

    Dear Titusonenine,
    I note with dismay the necessity of sending you a bill for a new computer monitor. No matter how hard I have tried I am unable to remove the indentation from my forehead wacking against it after reading the above article. I did clean off the spittle but the dent is there to stay.

    Oh and this woman’s explanation about no conflict with the profession of ( Christian ) faith sure uses a lot of words to say what could be said in two ” I LIE”.

  22. Steve Perisho says:

    What struck me most about St. Mark’s the last time I visited it (as a convention delegate) was this: that far and away the most prominent symbols were those for six of the world’s religions, Christianity among them, but only among them, and not singled out in any way: six flags on a par. (At the lectern was an icon of Christ, along with, I think, a crucifix, but this wasn’t what first caught my eye, nor what was most prominent.) Things may have changed since then, but that is what I remember being the case a couple of years ago.

  23. Jeff Thimsen says:

    So she is going to Teach at Seattle University? Seattle U is (at least nominally) a Jesuit college. How far the stain has spread!

  24. Karen B. says:

    Ok, one more comment from me. I’ve looked at the Quran, and Scripture. One more document to look at:
    The service of Holy Baptism:

    Note she limits her focus to three affirmations:

    She says the reverse is true for her; the renunciations and affirmations Christians make at their baptism do not contradict anything in Islam. “The renunciations [of Satan, evil powers and sinful desires] any Muslim can say,”

    Note how she conveniently omits the following questions in the examination of the Baptismal candidates:

    Question Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your
    Answer I do.
    Question Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
    Answer I do.
    Question Do you promise to follow and obey him as your
    Answer I do.

    And these are of course the declarations which are exclusive to Christians. No Muslim could or would say these.

    Christians are those who trust Christ (and Him alone) for salvation. Christians are those who put their WHOLE trust in Christ and His grace & love. Christians are those who follow and obey Christ as Lord (exclusive, total allegiance.)

    Yet by her own words, Dr. Redding is trusting in someone and something besides Christ.

  25. The_Elves says:

    Dr Joan was kind enough to send us elves the Feb2007 edition of the Episcopal Voice. We’ve now also found it online.

    Dr. Redding’s article “Is Jesus the Only Way to God?” is on Page 6.

    Here is a snippet:

    The longer I have lived here [Pacific NW], the more often I have noticed that there is a specifically anti-Christian bias in this environment. These observations illustrate the context for our decision at St. Mark’s and other congregations to offer interfaith classes. Simply to ask the question, “Is Jesus the Only Way to God?”—as we are doing in one of our Epiphany series—challenges
    the stereotype of Christianity that many Pacific Northwesterners are fleeing, one that claims an indisputable monopoly on salvation. To suggest that following Christ is one path among other paths offers
    space to those who previously may have seen Christianity
    as a dead end.

  26. The_Elves says:

    And here is the March 2007 Episcopal Voice

    And Dr. Joan’s letter to the Editor, page 8:

    <blockquote>“XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ. For Holy scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.”

  27. Lutheran-MS says:

    Dr. Redding should have the inside track to be the next Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA. The ECUSA tolerates Bishop Sprong and now her, what else is the ECUSA going to tolerate?

  28. Christopher Hathaway says:

    what else is the ECUSA going to tolerate?
    the total loss of raison d’etre

  29. Suzanne says:

    My question is how come she still remains a priest in TEC? I find this very disturbing that her bishop allows her to be both a priest and a Muslim at the same time. Perhaps when Sept. 30th comes a time of cleansing will take place, and we will feel the power of God’s refining fire upon us, and we will be restored to the “faith once delivered”.

  30. David Fischler says:

    Re #13:

    Just because syncretism is taking place in Nigeria doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable anywhere else (nor for that matter is it acceptable there). It doesn’t matter how “mutually enriching” (sic) Christianity and Islam can be, to confess Islam is to repudiate Christ as He has revealed Himself to us. Period.

    Re #21:

    Paula: LOL!

  31. Irenaeus says:

    Would you believe . . .

    -o- Redding preached in St. Mark’s Cathedral 3 times this year (Jan. 21, Feb. 21, and March 18): Etc/sermons.htm
    She was the Ash Wednesday preacher. She entitled her Jan. 21 sermon, “Did You Hear the Good News?”

    -o- The Human Rights Campaign lists Redding as “a straight supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

    -o- The HRC bio describes Redding as a “New Testament scholar” who has taught at seminaries in New York City and Atlanta—all the more remarkable in view of her abysmal understanding of New Testament teaching about Jesus.

    -o- You can examine Redding’s toxoc-chemical profile (with photo):

  32. Irenaeus says:

    The Nigerian syncretism [#3] is evidently occurring in Lagos, not in Muslim-controlled northern Nigeria—where the sharialogues would have ways of . . . manifesting their disapproval.

  33. Irenaeus says:

    “My question is how come she still remains a priest in TEC?” —#29

    OK, let’s get this right. When Fr. Mark Hansen of Trinity Church in Bristol, Connecticut, took a supposedly unauthorized sabbatical, he “abandoned the communion” of ECUSA.

    But when Redding became a Muslim, she remained a priest in good standing and even continued to preach at the diocesan cathedral.

    And then ECUS-niks like Bp. Chane preach about the rule of law!

  34. robroy says:

    KarenB, thanks for the KH essay, and thanks to Father Kendall for writing it!

  35. Larry Morse says:

    Bludgeoning Redding’s theology is pointless as the above criticisms demonstrate. They all are meaningless to her since she is operating an a radically different principle: My religion is the objectification of what I want. This is the result of 40+ years during which the focus on individual desires created a solipsistic universe, quite private but, by extension, universal. The isolate says to himself: What I believe is by definition the truth; the truth by definition is a universal, therefore….
    The logic is sound, after all, and if you grant the opening premise, the rest follows. The commenters above do not grant the opening premise, but to Redding, such objections are irrelevant. Redding’s virtual reality is encompassing, and an enormous number of Baby Boomers and their children believe exactly what Redding believes, that what they wish is infinitely extendable. Strange: If one’s interior states are taken to be perceptions, then it is perception that creates the reality, and we have heard this latter phrase so often, we forget its ramifications and its source. Butm as I have remarked befor, this is a race of people whose primary teacher was television, and who therefore, to use E.B. White’s phrase, have substituted the distant and secondary for the near and primary. If insanity is the radical discontinuity between perception/response and the external world of cause and effect, this woman is, in an important sense, insane. We enter science fiction here, people. Read it and despair.

    However, this gives the best sense of what we are fighting against and what we are fighting for, better than anything Schori has presented. Redding is lost and does not know it, could not believe it even if explained, in a coherent world that exists only in her own mind. LM

  36. Steve Perisho says:

    I have not read the comments above, so I’ll probably repeat much that has already been said. But here goes anyway:

    “Islam says the same thing”, namely, that Jesus is “unique in some way”. What Islam means by this is in part that he was “directly created by God”. Since what is important to Christianity is only the “in some way” (!), “there’s AGREEMENT”: the uniqueness of Christ is his having been “directly created” (along with his having had “a human mother”).

    But wait: “Muslims take the figurative language of ‘only begotten,’ make it concrete and CONTRADICT it: God ‘neither begets nor is begotten.'”

    “Contradict” is precisely right. When Islam said that God “neither begets nor is begotten”, that was EXPLICTLY ANTI-Trinitarian language. It was directed at Christianity VERY specifically, as an out-and-out REJECTION of its theology and Christology both. And the Christian language of begetting, in its turn, was directed (though long before the rise of Islam) against every claim to the effect that the Son was created. No, he was not created; he was was begotten. And that’s a category as unique, as sui generis, as God himself. Just as there are within this world no instances of creation (but only infinitely remote analogies), so there are within this world no instances of either procession or spiration. To say that the Son is the “ONLY begotten” is to say that all language of “creation” is completely inappropriate. He is CreaTOR.

    “what Islam does is take Jesus [(THE Way)] OUT of the way”: wow.

    All caps mine.

  37. Irenaeus says:

    “Be not like those who parted in sects and disagreed after there came to them manifest signs; for them is mighty woe, on the day when faces shall be whitened and faces shall be blackened. As for those whose faces are blackened, ‘Did ye misbelieve after your faith, then taste the torment for your misbelief. But as for those whose faces are whitened, they are in God’s mercy, and they shall dwell therein for aye.” —Koran III: 101-03

  38. Steve Perisho says:

    Oops. I meant generation, not procession (“either generation or spiration”).

  39. Steve Perisho says:

    My diocese picked a great month to publish this one. Could it have placed it any closer to Trinity Sunday?

  40. Lutheran-MS says:

    The ECUSA has really lost it way when the deity of Christ is denied. This being Trinity Sunday, how does Redding and others subscribe to the Athanasian Creed?

  41. Katherine says:

    According to Bernard Lewis’s history “The Middle East,” pp. 68-69, The Dome of the Rock, the mosque built on the Temple Mount in 691-692 A.D., carries within it the Koranic verse: “There is no God but God alone, he has no companion.” The mosque was raised in deliberate competition to the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and on the very spot where the Tabernacle once rested, and where rabbinic tradition held that Abraham had nearly sacrificed Isaac, in deliberate triumphalism over both Judaism and Christianity. Chrisitianity and Islam cannot both be true, and she who claims to accept both understands neither.

  42. Karen B. says:

    Irenaeus, your #33 was a bit of an “Aha moment” — I’d been mostly reacting to this story on its own terms. I hadn’t thought about it in the context of or in relation to all the various faithful priests brought up on terms of abandonment. When yes, here we have real abandonment: A priest embracing a faith other than Christianity. And yet she remains in good standing.

    Absolute blinding clarity, I’m afraid. (Sometimes I regret praying so often for clarity prior to GC06. It’s been painful to get it.)

    And Katherine, #41, your closing line is masterful:
    “Chrisitianity and Islam cannot both be true, and she who claims to accept both understands neither.”
    Indeed. Thanks for saying in one line that which I hadn’t been able to put so clearly in 5 prior comments! 😉 EXACTLY.

  43. APB says:

    I wish I could be as outraged at this as I should be. However, TEC had a couple of bi-vocational priests/Druids, and CofE has, or had, a priest who is a practicing Hindu. TEC has, alas, lost the power to shock.

  44. Karen B. says:

    APB, yes, I thought I was past being shocked too. But still the fact that this is published in the diocesan newsletter as if it were normal, everyday, mainstream, a GOOD THING still just amazes me. (I wish there would be some way to read any/all letters to the editor on this, not just those Dio. Olympia may choose to subsequently publish.)

  45. Larry Morse says:

    #42: oof course they can both be true. As I said earlier, their “truth” depends on your point of view, where you are standing. In the case of Redding, she views both religions from where she is standing and therfore what she alone wants from each religion. She has the power to choose, she believes. The choice does not lie with God or with scripture

    From where you stand, God?Scripture is where the choosing is done; what we want is irrelevant. But this is not the only possible position. For the solipsist, all relationships (and their truth) flow out from the individual’s wishes and desires.Both can be true because the truth is determined by what one desires for oneself.

    But you ask, how can anyone think he has the power to pick and choose in the case of a religion?
    The truth is outside the mind. Change now you attitude: There are no universals outside the mind, but the mind, understanding universals, understands things outside the mind. Is this proposition false? If true, then Redding, knowing her own mind, can know what is outside her mind, and what is outside her mind is the objectification of what she wishes. She is on good ground here, if you are a nominalist, as she apparently is. LM

  46. BJ Spanos says:

    Karen B. Thank you for your comments. They are very helpful to me in becomming a better apologist. I have some family members who have similar feelings about Christianity as does Dr. Redding, though they are not embracing Islam. I am an Orthodox Christian, and each time I read articles like this, I am thankful for being in faith community that has a stable, well defended doctrine that embraces the fullness of Christianity.

    I also liked the comment about the dent on the monitor (not Karen’s) – thanks for the chuckle.

    Blessings –


  47. Irenaeus says:

    Larry [#35 & #45]: I agree with you about the prevalence of solipsism in our culture. But you err in asserting that criticizing Redding’s theology is “pointless” [#35]. We’re directing our comments to each other; we don’t know that Redding will ever read any of them. In criticizing Redding’s theology, we can better understand—and become better able to respond to—some important misconceptions afoot in ECUSA and secular culture.

  48. Larry Morse says:

    Irenaeus: What you say is true right here. I meant pointless in a much larger context. Here, Redding’s view tells us what we have to fight and, in a way, how hard. I guess I said this above. But there is a war on, and there will be blood spilled in every corner. We had better be ready to take the wall because our opponents are so well fortified by society. Make no mistake, we are looking at our enemies and they will crush us if we are not willing to pick up the sword. Love our enemies? Be my guest. Will this keep from them from cutting out throats? Not a bit of it. Make no mistake, this is a war to the death. Those who won’t enter the fight because it is unChristian had better hope there are warriors about who will protect them. LM

  49. Irenaeus says:

    “Make no mistake, we are looking at our enemies and they will crush us if we are not willing to pick up the sword. Love our enemies? Be my guest.”

    This is a titanic struggle, with spiritual, cultural, and intellectual dimensions. Loving our enemies is part of the struggle. Jesus calls us to persevere in love, without expecting reciprocation or earthly vindication, just as he did. The struggle also includes cogently and fearlessly refuting misconceptions.

    (FWIW, I chose the pen name “Irenaeus” because it has overtones of both elements: the irenic root meaning and the example St. Irenaeus set in refuting Gnostic error.)

  50. Sherri says:

    But when Redding became a Muslim, she remained a priest in good standing and even continued to preach at the diocesan cathedral.

    It seems to me that a good many in TEC are extremely uncomfortable with Jesus. Get rid of the Trinity to get rid of Jesus, reduce Him to a mere man – then all becomes simple and it’s no longer necessary to think very hard about yourself and how you choose to live. It is easy, I imagine, to be both “Christian” and “Muslim” if you don’t really believe either one. If her finding the Muslim got Jesus “out of her way” I would suggest that she is only of one faith and that it is not Christianity.

  51. MKEnorthshore says:

    If you’ll read go to the toxic chemical profile link in #31, above, it will all become clear to you.

  52. MKEnorthshore says:

    If you’ll simply go to
    her “chemical profile,” it will all begin to makes sense to you.

  53. Karen B. says:

    #50, and the discomfort about talking about Jesus within ECUSA begins at the top. Here is an excerpt of the notes from PB KJS’s clergy day with the Dio. Virginia recently, as posted on BabyBlue’s blog: (emphasis mine)

    That lead another church planter to ask the Bishop about her sense of the mission of Jesus in salvation. Her answer was:

    PB: Our understanding as Christians is that Jesus is our salvation, that he died for the whole world. That said, we don’t necessarily know the mechanisms by which God saves the whole world … My understanding of idolatry includes the assumption that I can know and comprehend the way in which God saves people who are not overtly Christian. I understand that Jesus is my savior, I understand that Jesus is the savior of the whole world. But I am unwilling to do more than speculate about how God saves those who don’t profess to be Christians. I look at the fruits of the life of someone like Mahatma Ghandi and the Dhali Lama and I see Christ-like features …

    The priest followed up by suggesting the Bishop spent more time saying what she would not say instead of affirming what she could say about Jesus. She responded by describing the difference between what she called apophatic and cataphatic faith:

    PB: “… our tradition includes both a negative way of refraining from affirming that God is more than we can understand, and is beyond our comprehension and there’s a positive part of our tradition that says Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. And I hear you saying that you want a much more positive statement about it and that’s not from where I come. I can only offer what I can offer.”

  54. Larry Morse says:

    Irenaeus: I much prefer Confucius response to the question, whether we should love our enemies. H e said, “If we reward our enemies with love, with what shall we reward our friend? No, we give our friends love, we give our enemies justice.” LM

  55. Irenaeus says:

    Larry [#54]: It’s more fun to be a tiger than a lamb. You can have that hormonal rush of anger and desire. You can be strong, respected, and feared. But Jesus, the Great Lion, came as a lamb to be slaughtered. He will come again in great power as Righteous Judge, but wreaking apocalyptic justice—and defeating the world on its own terms—is not the task he has assigned to us as individuals right now.