Tuesday, August 18, 2009

David Stoney's Synopsis

I've no doubt left out some important things, but this hits what to me seemed to be the main points. I used the copy that Cheves sent and printed it out to get the page numbers - David

Synopsis of Bishop Lawrence’s Address to the Clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina – August 13, 2009

“This is a call to action; of mobilization of clergy, parishes, and laity.” (p10)
“I see struggle and suffering before each of us.” (p1)
“To risk – and to lose everything. This may one day come to us.” (p10)

I. Bishop Lawrence complains:
The Episcopal Church (TEC) is associated with “pluralism and false teachings.” (p2)
Orthodox clergy have often felt themselves “driven, if not out, then to the margins of this church.” (p2)
“[S]trands of false doctrine” and “a multitude of false teachings” have coalesced into a “false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity.” (p3)
False teachings include
Too little reference to “God the Father” and the Trinity; lack of “Eucharists according to the rites in the Book of Common Prayer” at General Convention. (p3)
Repeated “irresponsible” comments by the Presiding Bishop regarding the “Uniqueness and Universality of Christ.” The Presiding Bishop has failed “to proclaim the saving work of Jesus Christ and to teach what it is the Scriptures and the Church teach,” namely that anyone who wants to go to heaven must “delight in, celebrate, and worship him before whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord.” (p3)
Scriptural authority has been compromised because “there is too little confidence expressed in its trustworthiness; the authority and uniqueness of revelation.” (p4)
The “faithful’s trust in God and his word” has been damaged by inappropriate argumentation. (p4)
Baptismal theology (“All the sacraments for all the Baptized”) has been incorrectly used to argue for the full inclusion of the of partnered GLBT persons to all the orders of the Church – deacons, priests, and bishops.” (p4)
Confounding arguments have been used in the “debate regarding Human Sexuality and the establishment of an inclusive moral equivalency of GLBT sexual unions with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and a woman.” (p5)
· Bishop Lawrence concludes that the examples above illustrate how the “new Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity that began as a denigration of the Holy Scriptures,” has “step by step has brought the very core teachings of the Christian faith under its distorting and destructive sway.” (p5)

II. Bishop Lawrence warns and admonishes:
Clergy (and Bishops) may become involved “in more struggles and suffering.” He sees “struggles and suffering before each of us.” (p1)
Something dangerous “is inexorably coming upon us all.” (p2}
“It is not TEC that is the problem,” (p4) nor is it TEC that must be engaged and fought against. (p2)
“There is an increasingly aggressive displacement within this Church of the gospel of Jesus Christ’s transforming power by the ‘new’ Gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity which seeks to subsume all in its wake.” (p5)
This diocese should thoroughly engage “this destructive ‘new”’ gospel,” that “we are called to speak forthrightly to The Episcopal Church and others, but even more specifically to the thousands of everyday Episcopalians who do not yet know the fullness of this present cultural captivity of the Church.” (p5)
Leaving TEC will not “free us from having to engage this challenge.” (p6)
“Clearly the clock for many of us is loudly ticking. Few of us doubt that there will be a strong push to make what is now de facto, de jure in GC2012.” (p9)
“As events unfold, it will be necessary for us to put risky facts on the ground...” (p9)
No one in this Diocese should encourage prejudice or deny dignity to “any person, including, but not limited to, those who believe themselves to be Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, or Transgender... so few of us are free from scars of sexual brokeness.” (p10)

III. Bishop Lawrence concludes and suggests certain resolutions and actions:
“[R]esolution CO56 was passed contrary to our own order of governance and common life – thus one by one the Holy Scriptures, the teaching of the Church, the Anglican Communion, the Ecumenical relationships with the other bodies of the Church Catholic, and now even our own Book of Common Prayer and Constitutions & Canons are subjugated to this ‘new’ gospel.” (5)
A “Special Meeting of Convention” is called for Saturday, October 24th “to deal with several concerns that need to be addressed.” (p6)
One such concern is the need to approve a letter to be read prior to any ordination that would repudiate the recent resolutions of GC’09. (p6)
Since the resolutions passed by GC’09 are contrary to the Constitution & Canons of TEC,” their adoption is null and void.” Therefore, “any diocese or bishop which allows partnered gay or lesbian persons to be ordained in holy orders, or allows blessings of same sex unions or ‘marriages’ is in violation of the Canons.” (p7)
A resolution to begin withdrawing “from all bodies of governance of TEC that have assented to” such actions. (p7)
Congregations in the Diocese of South Carolina should work toward creating “missional relationships with ‘orthodox’ congregations isolated across North America.” (p8)
The Diocese of South Carolina should “sign on to the Ridley Draft of the [Anglican] Covenant as it presently stands in all four sections” and vote on this decision in October 2009 or March 2010. (p9)
Establishing relationships “with a broad array of Provinces within the [Anglican] Communion,” under the Anglican Communion Development Committee, is “one of the most important activities we should do,” including “GAFCON and ACNA from within TEC to further gospel initiatives. (p9)
“This is a call to action.” (p10)
“Should a parish find it needs to be served by alternative Episcopal care I will work with them toward that end....[T]hese are challenging times, and if I am called to lead in such an assertive manner as I have suggested here, pastoral sensitivity suggest I should give space to those who feel they need it.” (p9)

Prepared by S. David Stoney, August 20, 2009

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