Robert Munday's 5 part Series–Edward Salmon Invites the TEC PB to Preach at Nashotah House

Please take the time to read them in order (from bottom to top). An excerpt follows:

My experience at both Trinity and Nashotah House has led me to conclude:

1. You can be an Anglican seminary outside the control of the Episcopal Church and still survive.
2. You cannot be a seminary in the Episcopal Church and remain orthodox.

In witness to that, I point to the following news I received today: Bishop Iker Resigns in Protest From Nashotah House Board (because Bp. Salmon has invited Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in Nashotah House’s Chapel), an event that is shocking and tragic to many alumni.

Just as my “getting the House in Trouble” by reaching out to the AMiA and the ACNA and starting a congregation in the seminary chapel may have been the low point (as some would reckon it) of my deanship, the scandal of inviting Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in the seminary chapel will probably go down as the low point of Bp. Salmon’s deanship. I can only say that I would put the low point of my deanship up against the low point of Bp. Salmon’s deanship any day. (I would also gladly compare the high points of my deanship with the high points of his.)
In Bp. Salmon’s first interview as Dean and President, Doug LeBlanc reported:
Salmon said he plans to strengthen relationships, both among seminary faculty and staff and between the seminary and bishops of the Episcopal Church. (Emphasis added.)
Well, now we see where that has led, don’t we? Salmon is further quoted as saying,
“The name of leadership is relationships – people connecting with each other and working together,” he said. “Our broken relationships in the Church are a testimony against the Gospel.”
No, Bishop, the heterodoxy of the Episcopal Church, in general, and of Katharine Jefferts Schori, in particular, are a testimony against the Gospel. We are called to separate ourselves from false teachers; and a shepherd, whether of a diocese, a parish, or a seminary, is called to protect his flock from wolves. In the words of the ordination vows Bishop Salmon took: “Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to do the same?” To lead a seminary like Nashotah House in these days, and to fail to keep that ordination vow, is to see your seminary turn into another Seabury-Western, or General, or worse.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

51 comments on “Robert Munday's 5 part Series–Edward Salmon Invites the TEC PB to Preach at Nashotah House

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    This whole incident troubles me deeply. I agree with ++Bob Duncan that this well-intentioned, but foolish decision by +Salmon gravely endangers the future of Nashotah House. These are perilous times for traditional, residential seminaries, no matter where they fall on the theological spectrum as the whole system of theological education is in turmoil and transition. I would hate to see Nashotah House collapse, not just because of all the usual external pressures that all seminaries must contend with these days, but because its own dean, a man of unimpeachable orthodoxy and courage, made a disastrous and tragic decision that just might prove suicidal for the school. Personally, I hope the board of trustees steps in and demands that the foolhardy invitation to the nefarious PB be withdrawn, and promptly.

    Bob Munday is right, after all, in his ominous conclusion. He is spot on when he sums it up this way:
    1. You can be an Anglican seminary outside the control of TEC and still survive (and even thrive as TSM has done).
    2. More importantly, you cannot be a seminary in TEC and remain orthodox. Sad, but true.

    The dilemma is clear and undeniable, no matter how unpalatable it is to many leaders in Anglicanism. Yes, the Anglican tradition is a roomy, “big tent” sort of tradition. But it simply isn’t big enough to include open heretics like the PB and orthodox, biblical Christians.

    The grim principle known as Neuhaus’ Law is all too true. The founder of First Things, Richard John Neuhaus was absolutely correct when he coined his famous (or infamous) maxim that whenever and wherever Christian orthodoxy becomes optional, it will inevitably, sooner or later, be proscribed and prohibited.

    +Salmon is a good man and a great leader. But he suffers from sheer self-delusion in this case. It is folly to suppose that Nashotah House can function as a sort of neutral place within North American Anglicanism, a kind of religious Sweden or Switzerland. That is a mirage. It is an illusion. There are no such places.

    David Handy+

  2. Ralinda says:

    Exactly — the via media isn’t a middle ground between belief and unbelief!

  3. Ralph says:

    I can only imagine the tears that Dean Munday and others have shed in recent years, knowing that something was coming, and not being able to prevent it. I’d speculate that they are second-guessing things that they did do, or did not do, wondering if it could have made a difference.

    Hopefully God will open the eyes and unstop the ears of the full board, since they have the authority and power to stop this train in its tracks, and reverse the engine.

  4. sandlapper says:

    At the risk of being wrong, I must say that my first impression is that the invitation was not necessarily a bad thing. It is possible to extend courtesies without compromising. There is a time for shunning, but discerning that time is not easy.

  5. David Keller says:

    #4 I just read all five reflections, and if you haven’t please do so.

  6. Sarah says:

    If it were an invitation to provide a “lecture” or engage in discussion as an interfaith or academic exercise, it could be understandable. Preaching at a eucharistic chapel service, though, is entirely different. It still boggles my mind. Why not have John Shelby Spong or Dominic Crossan or the Dalai Lama to preach, then?

  7. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Let me clarify my #1, if I may, lest it be misunderstood. In saying that there is no such thing as a neutral place within North American Anglicanism, and that the idea that any seminary (or diocese) can be a sort of religious Sweden or Switzerland is a mirage, I was by no means implying that the so-called “Pax Nashotah” when Bob Munday was dean was merely illusory. There is a big difference between ignoring what diocese students come from or will return to serve in as long as they are committed to the same essential faith and inviting a notorious heretic like the PB to preach in the seminary chapel. The two things aren’t comparable at all. the first doesn’t compromise the integrity of the school, the second does. It’s that simple and stark.

    Contrary to #4, the time for shunning that wolf in sheep’s clothing who is the PB has already come. She is a false teacher of the worst sort, an enemy of the gospel. Thus, shunning her, and other “progressive” bishops of her intolerable ilk, is fully appropriate (ala Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; Gal. 1:8-9; and Rev. 2:19-23). Indeed, it is long past time to say to her and her like, “Anathema!” Let them be accursed.

    And I mean that literally.

    David Handy+

  8. Ralph says:

    #4, as has been observed elsewhere, when Jesus taught, nothing in Holy Scripture suggests that He extended to His opponents the “courtesies without compromising” of presenting other views.

    While I personally think it would be interesting to study the devil’s take on the Sermon on the Mount, for example, the fact is that the Sermon on the Mount wasn’t a rabbinical debate, or an exercise in scholastic theology.

    The PB is an expert at spiritual warfare. The only way that this could be a good thing is if her sermon preparation leads her to repent and ask for forgiveness.

    Otherwise, the invitation is at best temporarily divisive, and at worst, completely destructive. Dean Munday’s blog postings, which had to have been unbelievably painful to write, reveal that Nashotah House is more vulnerable than folks not recently associated with the House might think.

  9. Katherine says:

    Pursuant to Dean Munday’s point #2, what is the legal position of Nashotah House? Is it owned by deed by the Episcopal Church? Is it owned by a Board of Trustees and its affiliation is therefore at their direction?

  10. Milton Finch says:

    Great question, Katherine.

  11. Milton Finch says:

    Where is the exact area where the students come from? Can the house stand a reduction of, say, 40% of it’s paying customers? Secondly, what are “customers” and from what areas of the Anglican Communion do they and their tuitions arrive? If customers were being served from enemy territories, why wasn’t there such a ruckus from the orthodox until someone orthodox was properly compromised?

  12. Milton Finch says:

    Until we figure these questions out, I say “Off with everyone’s heads from my corner of God’s earth.” (Because I am important)

  13. tjmcmahon says:

    Katherine (#9)- Nashotah was originally a land grant by the then territory of Wisconsin to form a seminary. While I believe the Protestant Episcopal Church is named as the Church which would operate the seminary, if I understand correctly, the deed is in the name of the seminary itself. Of course, whose name is on the deed is irrelevant to 815 and its legal team. The board was established as a self perpetuating board. Which I believe (pending some correction from Dr. Munday or others with greater expertise) means when there is a vacancy, the current members elect a new board member of their choosing. That is, the board is not chosen by GC or 815. From early in its history, its board has been dominated by Anglo Catholics, but in more recent years, there has been a stronger Evangelical influence. In recent years, there has been I think a conscious effort to balance the board between ACNA and the “Communion Partner” end of TEC. The current board has bishops and clergy from both, and a number of lay persons, whose affiliation I don’t know, but would think are also divided among ACNA and TEC. From time to time, I think some “Continuum” members have also served on the board.

  14. Katherine says:

    Thank you, TJ. This means that both the problem and the remedy are political. The Board needs to mind its business and stop trying to play all sides, and it probably needs to move to remove Bp. Salmon, if he won’t rescind this invitation or turn it into a lecture-only event.

  15. tjmcmahon says:

    “enemy territories”???
    If what you mean is- do some liberal bishops send postulants to Nashotah, yes, they do. Not many, but a few. Often when they have some truly conservative parishes in their dioceses, and they would rather keep them paying their tithes to the diocese, but there are also some true liberals (in the sense of supporting civil liberties as well as their own causes) who see some value in actual diversity.
    I would guess that the strongest supporters/providers of students of Nashotah are those bishops who are on the board, both from ACNA and TEC.

  16. tjmcmahon says:

    I personally think there is more to the invitation than we have been told so far. Very difficult for me to believe that the Dean would rank a request from 3 students as such a high priority that it would outbalance the resignation of 2 board members and put at risk large sums from contributors, not to mention rubbing salt into the wounds of hundreds of graduates who have been deposed by the invitee. That part just does not make sense.
    And, frankly, how did it not occur to him to have a chat with +Jack Iker?

  17. Milton Finch says:

    Enemy territories seems to be the real sticker. I say off with some heads until we can figure out a more Christian way of handling this mess. I say all orthodox be properly trained in the home church that attempted to send someone there. All TEC contributors can do whatever they want because …. They do whatever they want. Until then….off with everyone’s heads and I am sticking to that because I am more orthodox (because I say and reason myself thusly) than anyone else. There. I am comfortable with my statement to the masses.

  18. Milton Finch says:

    Bishop Dean Salmon has NEVER been owned or operated by anyone human. That much can be said. He did run the Diocese of South Carolina very well. There were many that attempted to run it for him…but he stuck to his guns. Collateral damage was the least of his worries. A Godly man with kind eyes doing the very best in a disparate situation. And he led through the constant pipeline of prayer.

  19. Milton Finch says:

    And disparate is not a misspelling. When one is leading the Church, one is dealing with spiritual elements and materialistic elements. We know the difference. But, me being more orthodox, thank goodness I can discern and share my wisdom with those less…collared.

  20. Milton Finch says:


  21. sandlapper says:

    #4 here, checking back in after reading Fr. Munday’s narrative comments. I regret skipping them, thinking they were somewhere in the current comment string. Anyway, it is obvious that the history here is loaded with issues much deeper than my quick comment. I will be praying for divine guidance to the leaders involved.

  22. Milton Finch says:

    Most excellent, Sandlapper. Divine guidance is MOST desired. [Comment edited by Elf]

  23. aldenjr says:

    Didn’t Bishop Lawrence try the same thing with KJS a few years back in the DoSC? Wasn’t she given an opportunity to preach and debate? It didn’t change anything in SC.

  24. Milton Finch says:

    No, aldenjr, she tried to snakelikely, say they were in discussions and conversations…all the while planning to depose Bishop Lawrence. It was VERY evil what Schori attempted.

  25. aldenjr says:

    Did she come over the protestations of Bishop Lawrence? I remember him as welcoming her to DoSC.

  26. Milton Finch says:

    They were basically speaking through the auspices of Waldo from upper SC. He, to me, is just as much a snake as Schori. She wasn’t running amuck through SC by any means.

  27. Milton Finch says:

    being Waldo.

  28. aldenjr says:

    I think you are mistaking a different time. I am referring to her visit to DoSC in 2008 or maybe it was 2009.

  29. Milton Finch says:

    Aldenjr, it doesn’t matter. She, Schori, attempted to say she deposed a sitting bishop in a diocese she was never elected to nor was her own, using a canon the Diocese of SC never agreed to accede to. [Comment edited by Elf]

  30. Milton Finch says:

    I speak through a power attributed to myself completely honored by my being. Off with their heads…via certain sites standards.

  31. Sarah says:

    Hi aldenjr,

    I wasn’t aware that she was invited to *preach* but merely to “dialogue” and present some kind of lecture. That’s what I recall anyway.

    I mean . . . obviously it did no good other than revealing to more clergy just how dreadful her theology was. But that’s a very different thing from inviting someone to preach within a eucharistic service and lending her the mantle of authority and credibility as a person representing the Christian faith and Gospel.

  32. Milton Finch says:

    Lending the mantle of authority. Got it.

  33. aldenjr says:

    I personally know both men; Bishop Lawrence through my family and Bishop Salmon who was our parish priest in St. Louis for six years. Both are Godly and gracious men. Both have invited KJS in their own respective roles as leaders to come to their place of leadership to present her views. Both have been attacked by KJS and her legions at 815. In fact, as recently as two years ago, Bishop Salmon was being praised by this site as part of the nine attempting to uphold the historical collegiality / heirarchy of the church. Bishop Salmon has been able to remain in a place where he can still fight for reconciliation and I applaud him for it. [Comment edited by Elf]

  34. Milton Finch says:

    I will leave you two to yourselves. Have fun!

  35. Ephraim Radner says:

    Bishop Ed is a good guy. He’s actually smarter and wiser about these things than I am! He’s proved it, and has my support.

  36. tjmcmahon says:

    Dr. Radner,
    Please understand that I do pray for everyone involved, especially the students and Bishop Salmon himself, because he seems so confused, and has yet to offer a believable explanation for his actions.
    As much as I respect your opinion (and I do respect your opinion), Bishop Salmon owes it to the hundreds of Nashotah grads who have been deposed and sued, suffering emotional and financial damage, families put out of their homes and any number of indignities, to give a complete explanation for his actions. Are we seriously supposed to believe that he wagered Nashotah’s reputation, and its future, knowing full well that many on his board would see the invitation as completely unacceptable, because 3 students wanted him to invite KJS to Nashotah for a day. And THEN instead of just inviting her for a pleasant afternoon, put her into the pulpit of St. Mary’s?

    To date, his explanations have been entirely irrational. Where, if nothing else, is his explanation on how he could issue such an invitation without consulting Bishop Iker?

  37. Ephraim Radner says:

    No doubt an explanation is both due and will be forthcoming. I don’t really know what it is. But that’s my point: he’s someone I trust, and this isn’t the end of the world. Maybe you or I or someone else would do it differently; maybe it was even a mistake! That happens too. But coming after this week’s Gospel reading from Matthew 5, I think we can all manage this with a sense that Jesus is likely to be served, and will honor those, like Ed Salmon, who is without doubt trying to serve Him.

  38. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel says:

    Thank you Dr. Radner! God forbid we don’t have the ability to recognize that the Anglican call, the Merely Christian call, includes striving to be the disciples that Jesus is always seeking to form. Disciples who pray for those who persecute them, who bless the ones who curse them, who love their enemies. As the history of the Church demonstrates in its times of greatest stress, these are the actions that represent Jesus to the world. The blood of the martyrs is indeed the seed of the church.

    I do not doubt that remaining in TEC has been profoundly costly for Bishop Salmon. And having had him as our Supplemental Episcopal visitor at Christ Church Accokeek for the last 5 years, I have never seen anyone better equipped at wending the complex reality of difficult, menacing and even mendacious people, and doing so without gospel compromise. He understands better than any one I have ever known that it is in our relationships with each other that the gospel imperatives are most clearly lived — or not.

    This could be a brilliant tactical move for the sake of the mission of Nashotah House. This could be the biggest mistake he has ever made. It could be somewhere in the middle. But do we trust that God is capable of working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose? I trust this for Bishop Salmon. I trust this for us all.

  39. David Keller says:

    You all need to come down to Earth. It’s all about KJSs Benjamins.

  40. Greg says:

    Interestingly, not one comment from a tenured professor from the House that I am aware of.

  41. MichaelA says:

    “No doubt an explanation is both due and will be forthcoming. I don’t really know what it is. But that’s my point: he’s someone I trust, and this isn’t the end of the world. …”

    Dr Radner, boiled down to its essentials, your post appears to mean:

    “We have survived so far working with TEC. Therefore this won’t be a problem either. Don’t ask questions, don’t criticize anything, just accept it”.

    One could drive a truck through the hole in your reasoning.

  42. Ephraim Radner says:

    No, MichaelA, that’s not at all what it means. (Although I think your point is rhetorical rather than analytic!) It means that I trust the person in charge here, who made the decision, Bp. Ed Salmon. I trust him because I have reason to do so, based on very long and extensive experience. And this is especially the case since the Gospel he has, does, and will uphold, is far more trustworthy and powerful than anything that the Presiding Bishop is likely to muster. And if she does bring the Gospel, God bless her! Does this mean don’t ask questions or criticize? Not at all. Do what you want. But in this case, I am not personally very concerned. Nashotah is in a far better place than it’s been in years. (I can attest to that too!) Alumni and others should feel proud of their institution, of those who teach there, learn there, and administer there. They have nothing to fear or be anxious about with respect to the integrity of its life and witness.

  43. tjmcmahon says:

    Dr. Radner,
    Do remember that many of us feel the same way about Bishop Iker. That he was not consulted on this (nor were the board in general, apparently, on the subject of KJS preaching from the pulpit of St. Mary’s) is indicative that there IS a big problem, since there is no circumstance in which the Dean should have made such a decision without such consultation.
    Bishop Iker dearly loves Nashotah, too. And yet, Bishop Salmon has intentionally taken a step that he knew would divide the Board of Trustees, and which he knew would cause great sorrow for hundreds of alumni. We need an explanation for what huge benefit there is to the seminary that outweighs all the pain and damage inflicted by this decision, and why this decision was made without regard for the people most impacted.

  44. CSeitz-ACI says:

    #38 — yes, they are exercising remarkable restraint. Must be the virtues of prayer and common life.

  45. Ephraim Radner says:

    Obviously, I am not an alumnus of Nashotah, I do not work there, and I am not a member of the Board. I don’t know any more about the ins and outs of the decision than anybody else here. NOr am I trying to defend the decision! (I can’t imagine making it myself.) I am only sharing my opinions about Ed Salmon as a Christian leader. From what I understand — and no more than what has been reported — the Dean has sole authority to deal with the Chapel etc.. The Board discussed this, did not vote on it, and allowed the Dean to make that decision, as was his prerogative. To be sure, not everyone on the Board agreed with this procedure, although the Board as a whole apparently did. Was the Dean’s decision the right one? On that score, I don’t know either. But given what I do know — and that is all I have been basing my very limited remarks upon — I am not particularly concerned by the decision itself, even if, knowing more, I were to determine it to be a mistaken judgment. Ed Salmon is neither heretic nor idiot; just the opposite. Although, like the rest of us, he is also fallible. With grace and good will, it can be dealt with in steady faith. And saying this, I am not trying to bring new strategies to bear, or apply hidden insights; only to counsel some charitable moderation in the midst of strained judgments.

  46. SC blu cat lady says:

    Thank you, Ephraim Radner! For your more reasonable thoughts on this decision. Much too much gossip has been made about the whys and therefores of this decision by Bishop Salmon when truthfully very few of us know all the information that went into his decision. Until the event takes place, not one bit of this gossiping will help the situation at Nashotah. If these gossips were truly concerned about Nashotah, I suggest they pray for the students and faculty at Nashotah House and not insult them with unfounded gossip.

  47. SC blu cat lady says:

    TJ, You are mistaken about the Nashotah board not being consulted. They were indeed consulted and just as Dr. Radner said they could not come to decision so they left the decision up to Bishop Salmon. If you have not watched the interview of Bishop Salmon by Kevin Kallsen of Anglican Unscripted, I suggest you do. That interview is far more informative than any of the gossip I have read here or other places.

  48. MichaelA says:

    Dr Radner, your response at #40 would have been more effective if it had contained some attempt at analysis.

    You have simply restated the same point, in effect: “+Salmon is a good Christian man, so if he invites Katie Schori to preach at a Eucharist, don’t question it because nothing can possibly go wrong”.

    It is not me who is being rhetorical rather than analytical!

  49. tjmcmahon says:

    I never said the board had not been consulted. I said Bishop Iker was not consulted.
    The discussion with the board took place at a time when several board members, including Bishops Iker, Duncan, and Lawrence were absent (along with some other folks, I believe). As far as I know, there are no published minutes of the meeting. There is no evidence, to the best of my knowledge, that a sermon by the PB was ever discussed, and what was discussed was a “visit.” The board was divided. I get that from watching 2 videos of Bishop Salmon. But that is a point in itself, the board was divided.

    Bishop Salmon was quite aware that a number of board members considered even a visit by the PB to be inappropriate.

    I believe that either the Board will deal with this at its next meeting (ie- make major changes in an effort to restore credibility), which unfortunately is AFTER KJS’ speech, or, if it does not, there will be a large scale resignation by the orthodox bishops and others from the Board, which will make Nashotah into a run of the mill TEC seminary.
    The ONLY way I can see to avoid a catastrophe here one way or the other is for +Salmon to come clean on why he did this. Again, I cannot believe he intentionally gambled half of Nashotah’s donation and half his Board members and the peace of mind of several hundred graduates on a suggestion by 3 students. I implore Bishop Salmon to tell us what is going on and why he did what he did.

  50. Fr. Dale says:

    Ephraim Radner,
    “And if she does bring the Gospel, God bless her!” Do you really expect that based on her history?
    “I am not particularly concerned by the decision itself, even if, knowing more, I were to determine it to be a mistaken judgment.” Well, the archbishop of the ACNA and the bishops are concerned. I would say most of the clergy in the ACNA are concerned. Does that concern you?