Thursday, September 08, 2005

Stop Frank Before He Gives Another Interview!

Courtesy of Fr. Jake, we have this pronouncement from Frank Griswold:

We all claim the authority of scripture. The ancient creeds, the doctrine of the trinity, the nature of Christ -- all these things are not up for negotiation. ... I would say if sexuality becomes the ground on which division occurs, then it means that sex is more important than the doctrine of the holy trinity and the divinity of Christ, which is a very sorry situation to find oneself in. Isn't it ironic that people can overlook Jesus' words about divorce and remarriage and claim biblical orthodoxy and become hysterical over a reference in the letter to the Romans about homosexual behavior? The Bible, of course, didn't understand homosexuality as an orientation. It only understood it as a behavior. Clearly, the biblical writers presumed that everyone was naturally heterosexual.

Right now, I don't have any interest in fighting the homosexuality battle. But +Frank is full of nonsense here. It isn't within his powers to assign meaning to the grounds of the current division.

First: marital scandals of ordinary kinds are rife in the House of Bishops-- and bishops get off for doing them. Well, except the ex-bishop of Montana, who by some coincidence was considered a conservative. So if we are supposed to be resorting to scripture my volume, the liberals are failing.

Second: If a line has to drawn in what passes for teaching in the Episcopal Church, on one level I don't much care where it is drawn. Yes, carping about Robinson, on one level, looks like Donatism. It isn't really, because if that were to be taken seriously it implies that one cannot screen for any sort of moral turpitude. But it isn't really about Donatism; it's about the limits to disagreement within the communion. Now, Frank says that the creeds, the trinity, etc. "are not up for negotiation." The implication is that any kind of moral teaching is up for negotiation, and the rest of the communion-- and for that matter, a large part of his own church-- rejects that. And anyway, as long as Spong isn't officially condemned, must we believe that even the basics aren't up for negotiation? At this point it is being argued within ECUSA in particular whether clerics are required to assent to the statements of the creeds! Not in public, mind you, but priests will remainat their posts and yet assert that saying the creed on a Sunday doesn't imply that they agree with it. Me? I'd fire them on the spot, if I were their bishop.

Griswold likes to claim that things are healing. This is an utterly partisan claim which should be discounted entirely. It's a very safe bet that, within three years, the communion will see a division between the ECUSA (and while I'm at it, Canadian) liberals and the bulk of the communion. And I think it's a pretty safe bet that the CoE, led by Rowan Williams, will go with that bulk. And while I wouldn't bet on this one, a division of ECUSA is also in the cards, because there are enough "conservative" bishops to make a new national church. And thus, it's delusional to think that Frank speaks for his church when he speaks.

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