Thursday, November 6, 2008

None dare call this orthodoxy!

Here is the Presiding Bishop of TEC, Katherine Jefferts Schori, on matters salvific:

"Others questions addressed theological matters, including the issue of whether Jefferts Schori had suggested there are ways to salvation other than following Jesus.

"That's not what I said," Jefferts Schori said, explaining that she has noted in the past that "most Christians believe Christ died for all, as savior for the whole world."

She said she has also cited the Bible's record of God's promises to the Jewish people and other promises that "were not broken by Jesus' life, death and resurrection."

"Therefore, Jews have access to salvation without consciously saying 'Jesus is my Lord and savior.' I didn't do that; God did it. I also see that God made promises to Hagar and Ishmael, whom Muslims claim as their ancestor," she said. "I don't think God broke those promises when Jesus came among us."

Jefferts Schori had touched on the question during her sermon, noting that "Episcopalians and other Christians wrestle with how broadly to understand the family of God, and whether non-Christians are included, for we can certainly point to holy examples who show us what God at work in the world looks like -- people like the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi."

She suggested that "it seems more fruitful to remember that Jesus' saving work was and is for the whole world, and that our baptismal promises are about living holy lives, together, in community." "

Does this mean, dear Christian sisters and brothers in the Islamic world, martyred for your faith, that you have died in vain? The PB seems to imply, dear Islamic brothers who have given your life for the cause and taken the lives of others, including, on September 11th 2001, several thousand fellow citizens of the PB, that Jesus respects your soteriology and will honour it according to the promises made to Hagar and Ishmael. And, should the PB and St Paul ever have a conversation, does this mean she would say to him, 'Nice work in the Mediterranean, but you did not need to go to all the synagogues ... fancy not understanding the full implications of your own thinking in Romans 9-11'?

The error in the Presiding Bishop's thinking about salvation is a misunderstanding of the fullness of God in Jesus Christ. 'Salvation' is not an inoculation which ideally is taken by injection but some can receive it through ingesting pills. It is a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ, in whom God alone has dwelt in all fullness, in whom God became incarnate and through whom alone salvation is received, because salvation is new life in Christ. The glory and scandal of the gospel is the calling to follow Christ, and Christ alone.

Will ++Rowan, the ACC, and other Anglican Communion leaders see and understand? TEC is a different religion, promoting 'another gospel', at each and every turn diminishing the uniqueness and status of Jesus Christ.

Will TEC implode under its theological confusion? Possibly ... though we should note that Unitarian Churches in the States have shown a surprising resilience over the years!

POSTSCRIPT Interesting that the PB has a confident view of what God has said according to the Pentateuch, "I also see that God made promises to Hagar and Ishmael". I recall God saying some other things in the Pentateuch which are not so confidently affirmed by TEC!!

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