14 August 2008

Faith once delivered -- the fundamentalist's best friend

Today there was an article in the London Times about the fourteen fundamentalist bishops who plan to leave the Church of England and take 1,400 clergy with them. They are disgruntled that their “traditionalist” views were “trampled on” in the General Synod vote to allow women to be consecrated bishops.

Signed by three senior bishops - the Rt. Rev’d. John Hind, Bishop of Chichester, the Rt. Rev’d. Nicholas Reade, Bishop of Blackburn and the Rt. Rev’d. Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop in Europe, the letter is to remind Rowan Williams that there is a battle looming in the Church of England.

The Anglo-Catholic bishops have vowed to support clergy who feel unable to remain in the Church, but have pledged to fight for a better deal for traditionalists who do not believe women should be consecrated.

Fundamentalists cannot deal with women, so how can they deal with GLB people whom they barely understand, or transgender people whom they really don't understand. [Edited by site owner to remove an unintentionally offensive phrase. Thank you JCF.]

There is one bit of the letter that made gobsmacked me. Here it is:

[The] current plans would lead to the inevitable exclusion of substantial numbers of faithful Anglicans from the Church of England. [Emphasis added.]

Excuse me, but, what do these bishops think their fundamentalist views on women and GLBT folk are doing, now?

The letter just proves the point that all that matters is “me, me, me.” To acknowledge that third leg, reason, on “our side” there is a certain amount of “me, me, me” too. The difference, as I see it, is that it is not really “me” but “we.” The progressives in the Anglican Communion are “pushing” for the inclusion of all who wish to follow Jesus. The Fundamentalists are pushing for the exclusion of all who do not agree with their fundamentalist views.

Different decisions should be respected and supported, including that of those who have come to believe that fidelity to the faith we have received means that they can no longer remain within the communion of the Church of England. [Emphasis added.]

There is a major difference between fidelity to the faith and what the fundamentalists practice. When they use such phrases, what they really mean is, “I am not open to the voice of the Holy Spirit about the issue.”

Fidelity to what was once believed is not a Christian virtue. It replaces God with men’s traditions. Yes, I mean “men” because when this “faith once delivered” that fundamentalists love was formed, women were excluded from the decision-making.

There is also a difference between tradition and traditionalism. Traditionalism is the faith of a dead church.

The New Testament speaks several times about that “faith once delivered” changing. These two should be enough for us:

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7.6

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17

I wonder what the Jews thought about Paul not sticking to that “faith once delivered.” Like the Pharisees, the modern fundamentalists just want law – law they can use to bash other people.