A Man For All Seasons: Mark Lawrence

We who believe in true Christianity as passed to us over 2000 years, said the Reverend Mark Lawrence to the Mercury two weeks before his consecration as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, are like a struggler against the tide in a rowboat. Our duty is to continue rowing to home port, never stopping, because in time the tide will turn and again we will be in that majority in our country who will join the current of sound doctrine. The Diocese of South Carolina seems to be in the Episcopal minority in our view of God’s plan for mankind, Jesus’ mission and human salvation. We are in the minority in the U.S.A., he said, but we are in the majority in the worldwide Anglican Church and in worldwide Christianity. We have no need to be defensive. In the end we will prevail as the Christian church has done for two millennia.

The current crisis in mainline Protestant denominations in the U.S. involves not only Episcopalians but also Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, even a small portion of Baptists and others. Bishop Lawrence says we now have an opportunity to become more global in our ecclesiology (the study of church doctrine). Never in history have so many Christians populated the world as today, and never before have we had so great a proportion of Christians to non-Christians. If we keep rowing against the tide, which is now flowing toward the sea of liberal theology, the tide in time will turn toward correct conservative theology and take us toward the safe harbor for which we long.
As we man our oars, he suggested, we need not be reactionary, only to act like Christians, not to react fractiously to liberal interpretations but to spread the true faith as always, to “preach the word in season and out of season,” as St. Paul commands Timothy. The need now is to have faith, to be optimistic, he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

13 comments on “A Man For All Seasons: Mark Lawrence

  1. wvparson says:

    After the past few years of leaders suggesting that we throw in the towel and rush for the lifeboats it is so heartening to find a bishop who believes, as did the earlier Evangelicals and Tractarians, that the church may and can be recalled to its first love. Surely this is the mark (no pun intended) of an authentic prophet.

    So many of our orthodox bishops, other clergy and leading laity have hidden and been mute fearing to be associated with more radical and perhaps misguided people and thus contributing to such people’s radicalism with their solutions which offend against Anglican ecclesiology. The peddlers of new religion have shamed many into silence with the taunt of bigot or “Networker.”

    I hope and trust that Bishop Mark’s consecration and Bishop Hathaway’s sermon, the input of the Bishops of Durham and Winchester, Dr, Michael Poon, Fulcrum, the Covenant-Communion contributors and many others will be an inspiration to more and more to “let their light so shine before men that they may see (their) good works and glorify their Father who is in Heaven.”

    There’s a new generation out there that knows not the 60s. If we continue with the leadership of TEC to live into retrospective “conservatism” we will not be heard. The Gospel is able to fill the present intellectual and spiritual void. Next to a thinly blessed programme of MDGs, good and salutary, necessary but not salvic, the fullness of the Gospel as the Anglican tradition has received it is feast indeed.

  2. Jim Workman says:

    What a fabulous, intelligent vignette of Bishop Lawrence. Kudos to James Rembert–the reporter. Let the Get Religion website take note, sit back in their chairs, and relax.

  3. CanaAnglican says:

    Dear Parson,
    I was not blessed to be in a diocese in SC or WV, but I am really, really happy to be in a lifeboat called CANA. I am as positive about the tide turning as is +Mark, but it is a tide for Christianity and that is what I want to be part of.

    I have zero hope that TEC will catch the wave. It has centered its focus squarely on the desires of man. It will obtain all the good that man can provide.

    My prayer is that God will bless +Mark’s ministry. He has his face pointed toward Jesus, so I do not think he will go astray.

  4. Cennydd says:

    I get the feeling that Schori & Company are going to have to keep an eye on +Mark Lawrence; he might make them a bit nervous!

  5. Terwilliger+ says:

    Wonderful article and so refreshing. I have to admit that initially I had my doubts that such a man could be found and confirmed in TEC. I am so glad this true Bishop has arrived upon the scene before us.
    We will all be watching and praying that his missional mind is applied as that begins to tide shifts.

  6. jeff marx says:

    There are two approaches to TEC. The Moses way, leave Egypt for the Promised Land, and the Jeremiah way, stay with apostate Israel and preach. Both Moses and Jeremiah served faithfully. I am glad for the various Anglican options available to those who have felt called to leave. I am also glad for Bishop Lawerence and others like him who remain behind to proclaim the Gospel in season or out of season. As one who has chosen that path, Bishop Lawerence is a great source of hope and consolation. Whether or not TEC turns around in one year, ten years, fity years, or NEVER; for some of us, it is not the point. Our call is to preach. It would be helpful for those who have left to pray for us. It would be helpful for us to pray for those who have left. In the end, The Triune God will be glorified by our faithful service.

  7. Wilfred says:

    And I recall that the original Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More, went to the chopping-block for opposing the revisionism of his day.

    Saint Thomas, pray for us.

  8. Grandmother says:

    Why does the phrase, “come Hell or high water” come to mind.

  9. libraryjim says:


    Very good analogy. I like it.

    Jim E. <><

  10. JustOneVoice says:

    I’m glad there are Bishops like Mark Lawrence and Schofield, Duncan and Iker. I hope they work together, because if the tide does change and come back, Bishops like Lawrence can lead the way back for those who have been sheltered by those like Schofield, Duncan and Iker. However, if the tide doesn’t change, Schofield, Duncan and Iker can have a place prepared for those like Lawrence who fought the good fight against the odds.

  11. CanaAnglican says:

    #6. Jeff, Please note that Jeremiah served the Lord faithfully and then was separated out from the toxic Jews. When the Jews of Judah were carried off to Babylon in their captivity, Jeremiah did not go. The king of Babylon saw how Jeremiah had honored the Lord and had done His will, so the Lord and the king let him stay in Judah. No longer was he burdened with a people who would not listen.

    Thank you for praying for those of us who left a toxic place. Forgive us for seeing no future for TEC. We do pray for those who are still there that the Lord will protect them. So many of the faithful are entirely oblivious to what is happening in TEC. We have been to a number of churches where the full time occupation of the clergy seem to be to keep the people in the dark. The fact is many of those clergy really want to do the Lord’s work in their parish but do not want to know what is going on at a national level themselves.

    Darkness begets darkness. Let us walk in light, together.

  12. jeff marx says:

    I beg to differ
    In Jeremiah 43 we read that the remnant rejected the message of God from Jeremiah and went to Egypt. They called him a liar (43:2). All the remnant was led away (43:5) including Jeremiah and Baruch (43:6). “So they entered Egypt in disobedience….”
    If God brings disaster (see Jeremiah 44-45, especially 45:4-5) on apostate Israel/TEC then that is the fate. That is my expectation if repentance does not occur. But Jeremiah was not freed from his burden to preach to apostate Israel. Nor is any Christian called to such freedom. If we cannot preach the Truth under such pressures in TEC how do we confront a more radically unhospitable world?
    Personally, I see things at work in the wider society which are more troubling to me than the leaders of TEC. Radical secularism seems intent on outlawing Christian faith. THen CANA or AMIA or any other faithful church will be dealing with the same things all over again….
    But if we glorify God through faithful worship and witness that is our true joy, inside or outside, TEC or Anglican, Catholic or Protestant!!

  13. CanaAnglican says:

    #12 Jeff, You are quite right about Jeremiah and the rest of the remnanant being forced by Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers to go with them to Egypt, following their assassination of Gedaliah. They “led Jeremiah away”. There is no evidence that he went with them willing or that he was able to minister to them in any positive way. When we read how he told them the word of the Lord we can see he did not go in silence. Nevertheless, the word of the Lord, though sought by the rebels, would not be accepted by them and they perished by sword and famine.

    That was not my point, which was that Jeremiah had been spared the Babylonian captivity. He was freed by the commander of the imperial guard and given the option of a post in Babylon or the right to remain in Judah — which right he chose. It is touching to me that the commander then blessed him with provisions and a gift before he let him go. I am not sure if it is anywhere recorded what the gift was, but God had directed Jeremiah earlier to buy land in Judah, so perhaps it was something to help Jeremiah settle there in peace. From the time of the Babylonian captivity until the rebel uprising it is likely that Jeremiah had lived in Judah for several years.

    I think Jeremiah had been freed from his responsibilities to Judah. It was the rebels who pressed him for the word of the Lord. We all should be ready to open God’s word with anyone from TEC and try to help them see it. Right now the top leadership seems quite happy to do without it. Should we feel called to force it on them? Is that possible? Christ’s parable tells us that seed will prosper only when it finds soil that is prepared for it.

    I think Christians can seek where God is preparing the soil for the seed of His word. It is better to spread the gospel there than to cast the seed onto the rocks.

    In any event, we do join you in glorifying God — even from a little lifeboat! That worship and witness are the truest of all feedoms!

    Blessings, — Stan