Marilyn McCord Adams Preaches on Sinning Against the Holy Spirit

Two weeks ago, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) replayed the scenario, to its–at any rate, to my–shame. Evidently, their conversations with the Archbishop began by celebrating the uniqueness of the ”˜79 prayer book’s baptismal covenant in which, besides renouncing Satan and turning to Christ, besides pledging faithfulness in common prayer and Christian service, we promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.” The Presiding Bishop reports that while the majority interpret this to mean that gays and lesbians are deserving of “the fullest regard of the church,” the House of Bishops showed itself “willing to pause” in “its consideration of full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life and ministries of the Episcopal Church.” Bishops reaffirmed 2006 General Convention resolution to exercize restraint by withholding consents to episcopal elections of persons whose lifestyle would pose a serious problem for other members of the Anglican communion. Bishops went further by promising not to authorize rites for the blessing of same sex partnerships until the communion is of a different mind or a future General Convention decides otherwise. (The American House of Bishops has no authority to bind future General Conventions.)

For some bishops, these resolutions were a matter of conscience. It’s no secret that I disagree with them, but that is not my point right now. My focus is instead on the spiritual danger of “going along to get along,” of willingly sacrificing what one believes to be the dignity and well-being of real and present persons on the altar of institutional objectives. The lust for institutional harmony and stability is strong. It repeatedly seduces us, whether the issue is race, gender, sexual orientation, fair trade and wages, immigration and asylum, or something else. But Jesus Christ did not show Himself “willing to pause”: Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, the woman with scoliosis, the lame and the blind on the Sabbath day! Jesus warns, “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven!”

Happily, the bible’s God does not observe pop-psychological parenting rules not to threaten without following through. Repeatedly, the bible’s God prophesies doom and ruin to wake people up and win repentance. In the midst of present church controversies, one thing is certain: Jesus’ pronouncement should shock us out of our complacency, chasten our behavior, and keep us on our knees!

Read it all.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

13 comments on “Marilyn McCord Adams Preaches on Sinning Against the Holy Spirit

  1. James Manley says:

    So ho-hum, why bother bringing up Jesus’ admonition if he really didn’t mean it?

  2. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Which Holy Spirit? The One informing the Anglican Communion en masse, the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox? Or the one alleged by ECUSA/TEC?

  3. John Wilkins says:

    Excellent sermon. I think we would need to discern the feeling of hurt and actually being hurt, but that is a different discussion. Admittedly, I don’t see how going slow really hurts gay people – IMHO the church has – in practice – moved forward faster than their words, just as I don’t see how what we do here, hurts people who are conservative. People can feel like being victims without being victims.

  4. Jeffersonian says:

    Thus continues the phoney shell game of pretending B033 actually means something. As we’ve amply seen, it does not and not a single SSB has been or will be so much as delayed by anything the HoB has done. The revisionist scribblers wail as if an arm has been lopped off, yet even they can see that barely a mosquito bite has been inflicted.

  5. Philip Snyder says:

    It is not the “blessing” of homosexual couples that hurts conservatives. That is a red hearing. It is the underlying theology (or lack thereof) that hurts the entire church. It is the theology that culture does not just inform our reading of Holy Scripture, but norms it. It is the theology that we don’t need the Church catholic if they disagree with us. It is the theology that we know better than 3000 years of moral teaching and that we know more than the rest of the Church.
    What hurts the “conservatives” is the arrogance and stridency of the “liberals” in rejecting the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship. I’ve ask for this before and never have received a satisfactory answer. Where in the Apostles’ teaching do you find homosexual sex being blessed or spoken of in any terms but negative. Please don’t give me the other red herring of “mutually monogamous homosexual relationships were unknown in the ancient world.” That is simply not true. There were several “marriages” recorded in the greco-roman world of Paul’s time.

    In the Church, “institutional harmony” can have a great use. It can tell us when we are moving beyond the bounds of the Truth (as understood by the Church). Just as Paul tells the Church at Corinth to expell the man who is married to/sleeping with his step mother for his own benefit, the rest of the Communion telling us to “stop!” is for our own benefit and we ignore it at our peril.

    Phil Snyder

  6. chips says:

    Day is night and night is day. An alternative universe exists for our worthy opponents.

  7. DaveW says:

    In the words of Woody Allen, it just goes to show you how some people can be highly intelligent and educated and yet still have no idea of what’s going on.

    Is Marily saying that it amounts to blaspheming the Holy Spirit if we believe and accept biblical teaching on sexuality? I think we may have a winner, ladies and gentlemen: the cake goes to Ms. Adams.

  8. Irenaeus says:

    “My focus is instead on the spiritual danger of ‘going along to get along'” –Marilyn McCord Adams

    Orthodox Anglicans know plenty about the dangers of that.

  9. Jeff Thimsen says:

    Oddly enough, I agree with part of her argument. The HOB should have had the integrity to clearly state its position and not equivocate in order to insure the member’s invitations to Lambeth.

  10. Dave B says:

    “extravagant interpretation is that we should so enter into our enemies’ point of view, so understand who they are and where they are coming from, that we would attribute to them no unworthy motive” So we are to turn a blind eye to the evil that befalls people because we suffer from the paralysis of analysis? How do empathize with Hitler’s concentration camps, or Stalin’s galugs? If you view the failure to call what God calls sin in his scripture evil, can you turn a blind eye to it?

  11. Larry Morse says:

    Would someone identify Marilyn McCord Adams for me? This is an astonishing piece of rhetoric, a saopbox rather than a pulpit. LM

  12. Christopher Hathaway says:

    So is she saying that her lord (the Devil) won’t forgive those (real Christians) who call the Devil’s children (apologists for sodomy and other wickednesss) tools of the Devil?

    Hmmm….fear the Devil or fear God…that’s a tough one.

  13. Larry Morse says:

    I appreciate the wikapedia address. Her writing here is so very bad – that is, careless in thought and exposition – that I was astonished to read her vita.
    I hope this is not characteristic of her other writing.