Dr Timothy George: Beware the Well Worn Path

There is an intrinsic connection between spiritual vitality and theological integrity. The debate over homosexual practices within the mainline denominations is not the root cause, but only the most visible issue in the devolution Ross Douthat has described so well. At the heart of this issue is a broken doctrine of biblical authority, a loss of confidence in the primary documents of the Christian faith. The patina of pietism, and the lushness of a well-rehearsed liturgy, are no substitute for what the Thirty-nine Articles calls “the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures.” Absent a commitment to this truth, it will not be long before other cardinal tenets of the Christian faith become negotiable, including the Trinity, the full deity and true humanity of Jesus Christ, and redemption wrought through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
The trajectory from Friedrich Schleiermacher to John Shelby Spong is a well-worn path. As Peter Berger once said, “He who sups with the devil had better have a long spoon.”

The continuing saga and approaching collapse of mainline denominations should prompt us to pray. Within each of the mainline denominations, there are many faithful believers who have not “bowed the knee to Baal.” Often they face harassment, discrimination, and litigation. Pray that they will remain faithful in the face of such assaults, and pray that they will find communities of love and support in what for many will be an increasingly isolated position.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

3 comments on “Dr Timothy George: Beware the Well Worn Path

  1. AnglicanFirst says:

    Dr. George makes an important point.

    The attack on the mainline churches is about more than the GLBT issue.

    It is long term humanistic, a man-centered, attack on God centered theology by persons using man-created ideas that attack the very roots of Judeo-Christian theology.

    It is an attack by those who ‘have no Faith’ in the Word of God on those who ‘accept by Faith’ the Word of God.

  2. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “But while we pray for those who remain as faithful witnesses swimming against the tide, we should also lift to the Lord in our prayers those who have responded to the Spirit’s leading to establish new communities of faith and ecclesial alignments. There is no place for self-righteousness on either side of this divide.” [/blockquote]
    Amen. The act of leaving to form a new church is a very hard road to hoe. Its also one where it is easy to spin off into extreme sectarianism. It is to the credit of those in ACNA, and the Global South Primates, that they have worked so hard to maintain and restore worldwide Anglicanism.

  3. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “Going back even further, Catholics of the West have been separated from Orthodox believers in the East since the Great Schism of 1054.” [/blockquote]
    Or even further: the Schism of 1054 was only the second great schism. The first was in the 5th century AD, when the Oriental Orthodox churches split from the Eastern Orthodox, and they remain so to this day (the OO include the Coptic, Ethiopian, Syriac, Indian and Armenian Orthodox Churches).