Following a post below re TEC I have been criticized in a series of robust comments which have included a detailed, knowledgeable critique of the failings of my own church, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. It has never been my view that TEC is beyond hope of transformation and this excerpt from an article from Christianity Today - about the failure of Thew Forrester's nomination to be Bishop of Northern Michigan to secure sufficient confirmatory votes - notes the possibility of that hope being realized (see especially words I have emboldened):
"In addition to rejecting orthodox Christian teachings about the Cross, Thew Forrester denies that Satan exists, calls the Qur'an the Word of God, describes sin as being blind to our own goodness, and questions whether Jesus is truly the only begotten Son of God. A student of Zen Buddhism, Thew Forrester took Buddhist lay ordination vows and adopted a new Buddhist name—Genpo—meaning "way of universal wisdom."
Critics charged that Thew Forrester had also altered Christian liturgies to add Buddhist, Unitarian-Universalist, and New Age principles.
In a message posted on his blog, Bishop of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Paul V. Marshall warned that the denomination's failure to uphold historic Christian teachings had made it an embarrassment.
"As a Church we are increasingly a laughing-stock … because we do not consistently proclaim a solid core, words as simple as 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,' yet 'God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,'" Marshall wrote.
Thew Forrester's theological and liturgical innovations are too extreme for a majority of the Episcopal Church, said Greg Griffith, founder of the conservative Anglican website StandFirmInFaith.com. But that doesn't mean that the Episcopal Church is ready to embrace the faith once delivered to the saints, he added.
"All the Episcopal Church has done is to say that someone who is clearly not a Christian may not be one of its bishops," Griffith said. "It may be history in the making, but it's hardly a grand or noble achievement, and certainly not a signal that the Episcopal Church is returning to orthodoxy."
"In any other church—evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal—this person wouldn't get to go to seminary, let alone be able to lead" an entire regional body, said Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. The fact that a diocese chose Thew Forrester and that nearly 30 standing committees have voted to confirm him is troubling, Harmon said.
Harmon and other theological conservatives also noted that the opposition to Thew Forrester is fragmented. A few oppose him because he was the only candidate for bishop on the ballot. Others say he should have gone before the proper channels before rewriting the Apostles' Creed and baptismal covenant. Only a minority oppose Thew Forrester because they believe the changes are contrary to Christian teaching, Harmon said.
"This is not something to celebrate. It's something to be sad about. It reveals a deeply, deeply unhealthy church," he said.
But Bill Carroll, rector at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Athens, Ohio, says the vote may be a turning point for his denomination. "I think history will remember this as the point when the Episcopal Church began to show some backbone about basic Christian doctrine," he wrote in a comments thread at EpiscopalCafe.com. "For too long, we have allowed our respect for difference to mean anything goes. There are boundaries.""
So, what about ACANZP? I have disagreed with the commenter about his precise description of our failings (e.g. I would not use the word 'chaos' to describe our liturgical diversity) but we are far from perfect, and many parishes are in decline as measured by falling numbers and/or an aging congregational profile. What could our turning point be?