Friday, February 21, 2014

If I had it to do all over again


On August 1, 2001, I became Dean and President of Nashotah House Theological Seminary.  I had spent the previous fifteen years as a faculty member at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, where I had directed the library, been an associate dean in three different capacities, and gone from assistant, to associate, to full professor in Systematic Theology.  Trinity had been formed in 1976 because a growing number of both Evangelical Episcopalians and those who had been involved in the Charismatic movement were convinced that none of the existing Episcopal seminaries could ever be reclaimed from the heterodoxy into which they had fallen or produce biblically faithful clergy who were capable of leading congregations in spiritual renewal.

From the beginning, people associated with Trinity realized that, if they were to be part of a spiritual renewal in the Episcopal Church, they would necessarily have to be somewhat counter-cultural to it.  One could not seek to be part of renewing the Episcopal Church while buying into the status quo.  Although I never heard it explicitly articulated, I think there was an implicit understanding on the part of some that, if the Episcopal Church could not be spiritually renewed and returned to biblical orthodoxy, an alternative would have to be found--or created.  This explains why so many Trinity alumni were among the early members of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), and John Rodgers, the Dean/President under whom I first served at Trinity (and one of the wisest and godliest men I have ever known), became one of the first two bishops consecrated for the AMiA.

During my years at Trinity, I happened to meet the professor who was then teaching Systematic Theology at Nashotah House (around 1994).  We were discussing which textbooks we used for teaching theology, and he remarked that he used John Macquarrie's Principles of Systematic Theology.  I gulped, and explained that, at Trinity, we treated Macquarrie in a separate course on Contemporary Theology where we did apologetics against him.  (I should add that this theology professor left Nashotah House before I began as Dean, and I had the opportunity to select his successor, who is thoroughly orthodox.)

Macquarrie was originally a Scottish Presbyterian who eventually became Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford (from 1970 to 1986), but who, in 1965, had become an Episcopal priest in the United States while teaching at Union Theological Seminary.  Timothy Bradshaw, writing in the Handbook of Anglican Theologians, described Macquarrie as "unquestionably Anglicanism's most distinguished systematic theologian in the second half of the twentieth century."

After I moved to Nashotah House I discovered that the House had made Macquarrie an honorary Doctor of Canon Law in 1986.  But the fact is that Macquarrie's understanding of God is best understood as panentheism, "the belief that the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole universe."1  Macquarrie is a bridge between the existentialism of Martin Heidegger, the pantheism of Paul Tillich ("God is being-itself, not a being.") and Process Theology.  This existentialist and panentheistic foundation underlies the metaphorical theology of Sallie McFague, quoted approvingly on a number of occasions by Katharine Jefferts Schori.  I mention all this merely to make the point, once again, that ideas have consquences; and the current state of the Episcopal Church and other Western mainline traditions is the consequence of academically respectable theology that has gone from speculative, to heterodox, to pagan.

Both prior to joining the faculty at Trinity and throughout my tenure there, at various times I studied with and had good collegial ties with a number of faculty in other Episcopal seminaries, some of them legends from whom I learned a great deal But these professors, all of whom are now retired or deceased, were the exceptions, and the Episcopal Church isn't likely to see their kind again.  If I may be excused a bit of hyperbole, theological education in Episcopal seminaries for most of the past 50 years has been like the Curate's Egg--excellent in spots, but, on the whole, rotten.  To be more precise, Episcopal seminary education has concentrated on preparing men and women for a career in the Episcopal Church (note my choice of words) but has been utterly incapable of equipping them for biblically-faithful, Gospel-centered, Spirit-empowered ministry.  In short, I experienced first-hand, through my own studies and relationships, the precise reason why the founding of Trinity School for Ministry was necessary.

So, when I became Dean and President of Nashotah House, I had the same perspective.  It was not enough to prepare people for careers in the Episcopal Church.  It was vital to prepare them to be faithful to Holy Scripture and the Catholic faith and order of the Church, and to enable them to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Though I make no pretense to Solomonic wisdom, upon becoming Dean and President at Nashotah House, I did pray Solomon's prayer:
Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (2 Kings 3:9)
To understand much of what happened during my time at Nashotah House, it is necessary to look at trends that have occurred in the Episcopal Church in recent decades and to understand some trends--what futurists such as John Naisbitt call "megatrends" that are having an inevitable impact on the Episcopal Church in the US and the larger Anglican Communion.   

There have been two competing (and irreconcilable) trends in the Episcopal Church for the past fifty years:  A growing spiritual renewal and a growing theological heterodoxy.

Most observers generally agree that the Charismatic movement in the Episcopal Church began with the Rev. Dennis Bennett's experience of the Holy Spirit while he was rector of St. Mark's Church in Van Nuys, California, in 1960.  The next thirty years saw a remarkable spiritual renewal that included leaders such as the Rev. Terry Fullam, from St. Paul's Church, Darien, Connecticut, and a list of other leaders and parishes that is much too long to list here.

Alongside that Charismatic renewal, Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church, which had long been a small and beleaguered minority, began to find new life and strength, and a sense of their own identity.  They were aided in their self-discovery by Evangelicals from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere.  There were organizations dedicated to promoting renewal in the Episcopal Church, but there were numerous, seemingly spontaneous examples of spiritual renewal popping up all over the Church as well.  Several entire dioceses began to take on the character of the renewal movement.  Those who had been touched by the Charismatic renewal and the Evangelical resurgence came to grips with the realization that no existing Episcopal seminary was capable of training biblically faithful, Spirit-filled clergy to serve and lead parishes.  This realization led to the founding of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry.  

Increasingly, those affected by spiritual renewal and those being led in the direction of theological heterodoxy began to diverge.  In large part, this divergence occurred as theological liberals in the Episcopal Church became even more radical and began to act in ways contrary to the biblical and historic faith and order of the Church.  The Rt. Rev. Thad Barnum chronicles the liberal trajectory of the Episcopal Church and the orthodox response in his marvelous book, Never Silent.

During the 1990's and 2000's, I was a Deputy to the General Convention five times and observed this trajectory first hand--a growing rejection of biblical authority, a growing acceptance of departures from historic Christian norms in faith and morality, and a complete unwillingness to discipline those church leaders who departed from these norms.  In addition, I witnessed the growing marginalization and persecution of orthodox Christians in the Episcopal Church.  In the space of a few years, it seemed as though the Episcopal Church had become an environment that was toxic for an orthodox Christian.  The formation of the Anglican Mission in America (in 2000) and the Anglican Church in North America (in 2009) were the inevitable result.

In 2008-2009 two things happened that affected Nashotah House: (1) The Great Recession; and, more significantly, (2) the departure from the Episcopal Church of four of Nashotah House's most supportive dioceses: Fort Worth, Quincy, Pittsburgh, and San Joaquin.  They would later be joined by another diocese that sent a considerable number of students to the House: South Carolina.  

During my time as Dean and President, I tried to make Nashotah House a place where Anglicans of whatever stripe could prepare for ministries in the Church.  Students from TEC, AMiA, ACNA, continuing Anglican churches and other jurisdictions worshiped and studied side-by-side.  Jurisdictions didn't matter; students were there to become the best clergy and lay leaders they could be and to prepare to serve wherever God called them.  The House was a wholesome and peaceful place.  It was a time one faithful Bishop referred to as the "Pax Nashotah."  But it was not to last.

In 2010, in response to a growing number of Episcopalians in the Milwaukee area who were feeling alienated from their parishes, I led Nashotah House to begin holding Sunday morning worship services that were open to anyone (as were all of Nashotah House's daily services).  Several parishes in our area had been decimated in the years following the consecration of Gene Robinson as a bishop in TEC.  One local parish went from an Average Sunday Attendance of nearly 300 to only 100 in the space of a few years.  The parish my family and I attended had gone from nearly 150 ASA to 35 in the same period.  Another local parish went from 160 ASA to 60.  The Diocese of Milwaukee didn't seem to care where these departing Episcopalians were going; they were just upset that a portion of them started worshiping at Nashotah House.

The Sunday morning congregation, which took the name St. Michael's (after the historic bell tower on Nashotah's campus) did not start out to be an ACNA parish.  Despite rumors to the contrary, it was never my intention for it to be an ACNA parish.  As with students who came to Nashotah House, I was not concerned about jurisdictions, I was merely concerned to create places for faithful worship and teaching; and I thought that a congregation that was, to some degree, integrated into the life of a seminary could be  beneficial for both students and congregants.  In fact, members of the Sunday morning congregation did not become an ACNA parish until after I stepped down as Dean and left St. Michael's to work with another congregation in the Milwaukee area.  It was only then that St. Michael's formally organized as a parish separate from Nashotah House, called another priest to be their rector, and affiliated with the ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh.  

The opposition to my remaining as Dean was driven ostensibly by Bishop Ed Salmon's contention that I was getting Nashotah House in trouble by being too closely allied with those who were outside of TEC.  The reason I use the word "ostensibly" is that it should have been apparent to all concerned (and should be doubly apparent in retrospect) that Bishop Salmon was using his position as Chairman of the Nashotah House Board of Trustees to undermine my position as Dean and President and to take the job for himself.  

Bishop Salmon could point to the fact that in the period 2009-2011 we saw a downturn in enrollment and contributions.  In answer to this, it should be obvious that four of our most supportive dioceses in terms of students and contributions had left the Episcopal Church, experienced a reduction or even a freeze on new postulants for holy orders, had their parish and diocesan funds frozen by the courts, and were having much of their current income consumed by litigation costs.  In addition, the US was experiencing the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. 

In my last year as Dean and the year following, a majority of the student body at Nashotah House came from ACNA dioceses.  The downturn we were experiencing was a temporary one as the ACNA found its legs and began to take off.  The House could have weathered this period and emerged as a seminary that, while continuing to train any students from TEC who wanted an orthodox seminary education, was free from TEC's unwholesome influence.  As proof of this one only has to look at Trinity School for Ministry, which took Episcopal out of its name and the Episcopal shield out of its logo.  In  recent years, Trinity has had no students from TEC in their incoming classes.  Yet, they have not only survived, they are thriving.

My experience at both Trinity and Nashotah House has led me to conclude:

1.  You can be an Anglican seminary outside the control of the Episcopal Church and still survive.
2.  You cannot be a seminary in the Episcopal Church and remain orthodox.

In witness to that, I point to the following news I received today: Bishop Iker Resigns in Protest From Nashotah House Board (because Bp. Salmon has invited Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in Nashotah House's Chapel), an event that is shocking and tragic to many alumni.

Just as my "getting the House in Trouble" by reaching out to the AMiA and the ACNA and starting a congregation in the seminary chapel may have been the low point (as some would reckon it) of my deanship, the scandal of inviting Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in the seminary chapel will probably go down as the low point of Bp. Salmon's deanship.  I can only say that I would put the low point of my deanship up against the low point of Bp. Salmon's deanship any day.  (I would also gladly compare the high points of my deanship with the high points of his.)


In Bp. Salmon's first interview as Dean and President, Doug LeBlanc reported
 

Salmon said he plans to strengthen relationships, both among seminary faculty and staff and between the seminary and bishops of the Episcopal Church. (Emphasis added.)
Well, now we see where that has led, don't we?  Salmon is further quoted as saying, 
"The name of leadership is relationships - people connecting with each other and working together," he said. "Our broken relationships in the Church are a testimony against the Gospel." 
No, Bishop, the heterodoxy of the Episcopal Church, in general, and of Katharine Jefferts Schori, in particular, is a testimony against the Gospel.  We are called to separate ourselves from false teachers; and a shepherd, whether of a diocese, a parish, or a seminary, is called to protect his flock from wolves.  In the words of the ordination vows Bishop Salmon took:  “Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to do the same?”  To lead a seminary like Nashotah House in these days, and to fail to keep that ordination vow, is to see your seminary turn into another Seabury-Western, or General, or worse.

In conclusion, let me point to three overarching conclusions:

1.  There is no movement today in the Episcopal Church capable of sustaining orthodox Christians or fostering the growth of orthodox congregations.

2.  In the absence of any movement designed to promote repentance, renewal, resurgence, and revival among orthodox Christians in the Episcopal Church, those Christians who remain in TEC are fighting a holding action and will ultimately lose through attrition.

Which leads to a third conclusion (which I say with great sadness):

3.  You can have orthodoxy or you can have the Episcopal Church, but you can't have both.

"Wait," some will say, "I am still in the Episcopal Church and I am orthodox, so I have both."  If that is true, then you are part of the remnant that is involved in fighting a holding action (whether you realize it or not).  So while your present situation may be safe for the moment, apart from divine intervention, the faith you hold, and the parish or diocese to which you belong (if they are still orthodox) will be lost in the next generation, if not in your lifetime.   

There are some, like Bishop Salmon, for whom relationships are more important than orthodoxy; and, in their cases, my words will fall on deaf ears.  History and the Righteous Judge before whom we both will stand will have the final say.  But, if I had it to do all over again, I would gladly, proudly, do the same.

-----------------

[Postscript:  I originally wrote the autobiographical part of the material in this post months ago but did not publish it because I was determined not to criticize my successor.  I wrote it mainly for my own journaling and reflection.  It is only this latest news of Bishop Salmon's decision to invite Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach at the House that has caused me to change my resolve.]

23 comments:

Unknown said...

Robert+,

Well stated as always. Your points 1, 2 & 3 formed the argument which resulting in me leaving ECUSA in 2005.

Blessings on your new work,

Carl Eyberg+

Galletta said...

Hi Fr. Munday, I read your post with great interest knowing that you had been Dean at Nashotah. A couple of small things- The Diocese of South Carolina still sends students to the House ( there are a couple of current students from SC) and +Mark Lawrence is still on the Board of Trustees. +KJS' invitation is indeed a sad and troubling decision. I hope that the invitation will be used to further orthodoxy at Nashotah. However, if Nashotah has stepped on the slippery slope to heterodoxy (as you point out when comparing textbooks), the slide may be quicker than we all might think. Very,very sad indeed.

underground pewster said...

You can't say that you didn't try. The time is approaching for the few remaining "orthodox" Episcopalians to scrape the mud from our boots. It will be sad to leave so many naive, under informed, or misled pewsitters behind when in our hearts we feel that if they could just hear the Gospel preached and be taught by a Biblically and theologically well grounded priest that many would be led away from the heresy that infects the Episcopal church today.

The Rev. Robert G. McBride said...

Well said, Well articulated. Lack of orthodoxy in The Episcopal Church was primarily the reason I left the Episcopal Church and became a member of ACNA in the Diocese of Ft. Worth under Bp. Iker. I appreciate your sharing your feelings at this very sad time for the House.
The Rev. Robert G. McBride
Nashotah House 1987

LouieCrew said...

Isn't Bishop Iker behaving just like Jesus? Didn't Jesus always avoid the company of those perceived as sinners? Wasn't he nailed to the cross because he stood his ground for the orthodox Sanhedrin?

— Louie Clay (nĂ© Louie Crew)

BabyBlue Anglican said...

Praying for you and for the community of Nashotah House. Thanking God for all your work in training up the next generations of leaders in the Church. http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-good-day-to-pray.html

Robert S. Munday said...

Louie, I am glad you commented. Your comment illustrates something that has perplexed me for a long time, namely that liberals and conservatives can read the Bible and get totally different things out of it. Consequently, I have a hard time finding your comparisons to Jesus to be apt.

Yes, Jesus associated with those who were considered to be sinners; and I am not suggesting that Bp. Salmon no longer have any contact with Bp. Jefferts Schori. But Jesus didn't bring in those he considered to be false teachers to give a guest lecture to the disciples.

Two passages, one from Jesus and one from Paul, seem relevant:

Matthew 7:14-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?"

Acts 20:28-30, "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them."

And, finally, one more from Paul: "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them" (Romans 16:17).

Don Armstrong said...

It has long been the case that the Charismatic renewal people have had a bit of a hair trigger in judging others and rushing to their own solutions, not watching at all to see how the Spirit is moving over the whole church and not just with their chosen few.

As the AMiA has proven, one could question if the Charismatic movement really is of the Holy Spirit given its destructiveness.

The AMiA jumped the gun in leaving TEC, basically willing it to become apostate simply by depleting the ranks of the orthodox with their departure, and even some of their leaders voting for KJS election as PB to further force the issue.

Virginia seminary was in fine shape when John Rogers, with a certain level of arrogance and no sense of common and councilor life, jumped to Trinity. He rather offended most everyone in the VTS community with his pronouncements

Trinity from the get go has had a perspective on John MacQaurie that has simply not been widely accepted or advocated...thus the view expressed in this article is something of a minority opinion.

All in all, I think this article bases its authors conclusion on false assumptions, and is more of a self-justifcation than an explanation...not to mention the fruit of his thinking bearing such false and ugly witness against the current Dean...which undermines his thoughts by his plain vengefulness.

Karen Anglican in United State said...

So brave orthodox faith and action article. The soul can not have two true masters. These viruses are now spreading to all The House Alumini. .. The existence of Religion and the Purposes of Religion are so different.

Curtis Christensen said...

Mr. Crew . . . a simple laymans answer to your post is this . . Jesus was nailed to the cross as the blood sacrifice required for salvation of us sinners. And as Father Munday noted . . HE (Jesus) is the ONLY path to our salvation. It is an amazing thing that God has provided us ANY way to salvation - we need to acknowledge His word. As much as it pains me, I will be obedient to Him and pray for you and for Ms Schori.

Curtis Christensen said...

Mr. Crew . . . a simple laymans answer to your post is this . . Jesus was nailed to the cross as the blood sacrifice required for salvation of us sinners. And as Father Munday noted . . HE (Jesus) is the ONLY path to our salvation. It is an amazing thing that God has provided us ANY way to salvation - we need to acknowledge His word. As much as it pains me, I will be obedient to Him and pray for you and for Ms Schori.

Robert S. Munday said...

Don, I don't want this exchange to mar the respect I have had for you, but let me see if I understand the essence of your comment:

The Episcopal charismatic renewal was wrong.
The AMiA was wrong.
Virginia Seminary was right.
John Rodgers was wrong (and arrogant too--which will strike most people who have known him as laughable).
Trinity School for Ministry was wrong.
John Maquarrie was right.
I am wrong.
Bp. Salmon is right.
Katharine Jefferts Schori is a suitable preacher for an orthodox seminary pulpit.
Have I left out anything?

Now you are a priest in CANA? So apparently it became okay to leave TEC at some point. Would you like to know what Bp. Salmon thinks of CANA? Ask him sometime.

Don Armstrong said...

Robert,

I don't want to be too difficult with you either...we have shared many of the same views, although from different perspectives, over too many years to fight among ourselves.

I was a student at VTS and John Rogers was my advisor when he left. He was dear to me...but I thought his departure undermined others like Fitz Allison and Reg Fuller and Dick Reid at a crucial time in the seminary's life...which as we can now see rendered VTS an enemy of the gospel.

In Colorado the AMiA left when Jerry Winterrowd, who was without a theological spine, was at least kept in line by the majority conservative clergy presence put in place by Bill Fry. But upon the AMiA's departure the conservatives were out numbered and Rob O'Neill was elected over Ephraim Radner, and Rob has since destroyed the life of the diocese.

So I stand by my statement that the very people to whom you attribute foresight in hindsight were partners in the liberal takeover TEC.

I wouldn't invite KJS to a worm crawl to fire the starting gun. In fact I wrote a list of particulars against her that one of my conservative 'friends' passed on to her that precipitated, along with my funding of ACI, her desire to attack me and my parish, with her willing accomplice and lackey Rob O'Neill.

Certainly, on the other hand, those who did not depart when they had previously agreed to so, including Bishops Stanton, Lillbridge, Love, Wimberly, Howe and a host of others then undermined our larger witness...with the same lack of courage they continue to display within the HoB by not standing up to Schori.

As Conservatives we are our own worst enemy by a sub-dividing and infighting, whereas nothing matters to the free sex TEC crowd, so they all just jump on the self-indulgence band wagon, pure sin, and get along just fine.

The church is a mess in all its iterations, and this affair just points to that truth...and we are all in some way or another the guilty party.

Repent, all of us is the only thing I know to be the solution.

Robert S. Munday said...

Don, that's a good word. I, too, have seen the damage done by those who left TEC at less than ideal times--and by those who didn't leave when they should have.

If you haven't read Thad Barnum's book, Never Silent, I highly recommend it. As Thad makes very clear, the timing of the formation of AMiA was influenced by some dynamics of what was happening internationally. They didn't time it with regard to developments in Colorado, but the effect on the Colorado election was indeed unfortunate. Hosting General Convention (with those awful sexuality task force hearings) in Denver in 2000 also played a big part in the decisions of some in Colorado to head for the exit as quickly as possible.

One of my first visits as Dean of Nashotah House was to call on Bp. Jerry Winterrowd. He said to me (this was in 2001), "I have tried to be fair to my conservatives, but they are all leaving, and I can't figure out why." I said, "I can tell you why. It is the embarrassment factor. I was a deputy to GC2000 in Denver and saw how it was being covered in the local media each night. Conservative parishioners in Colorado got embarrassed to go to work the next day and have their co-workers ask, 'Was that YOUR church I saw on television last night?' They left because they were embarrassed right out of the Episcopal Church."

But I agree with you: North American Anglicanism is very messy right now, and it may get messier before it gets better. But, with regard to this post, I hope you'll understand how upset I am to see a seminary that I worked hard to make into a place that could be of genuine use to orthodox Anglicans being watered down by a successor who values relationships more highly than truth, and who is misguided in thinking that Nashotah House's only future is in courting TEC bishops, when, in fact, that may prove to be Nashotah House's destruction.

My post was not being vengeful, as you said in your earlier comment; I am simply grieving that the current source of most of TEC's problems is being honored by an institution that I prayed would never compromise like this.

I am glad that, despite our differing perspectives, you and I are on the same team.

Fr. Charles Erlandson said...

Dean Munday, thanks for posting this. I, and many others, are very grateful for your years of service in the Episcopal seminaries and elsewhere. You have fought the good fight.

LSP said...

This is excellent -- can we use a (slightly) shorter version in Forward in Christ?

bob said...

When I see the recollection of the 2000 GC that "embarrassed out" some Episcopalians I marvel at the thick hide some of them have. It was over 30 years ago that reading "The Bishop Pike Affair" had exactly that effect on me. I became an Eastern Orthodox layman soon after that, at the same parish Katherine Schori's mother attended. Can it be there are still people who can't see what the Episcopalian religion is?

bob said...

When I see the recollection of the 2000 GC that "embarrassed out" some Episcopalians I marvel at the thick hide some of them have. It was over 30 years ago that reading "The Bishop Pike Affair" had exactly that effect on me. I became an Eastern Orthodox layman soon after that, at the same parish Katherine Schori's mother attended. Can it be there are still people who can't see what the Episcopalian religion is?

Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

Fr. Munday, I'm a relatively recent convert to Anglicanism from Lutheranism. I happen to have John Macquarie's "Principles of Systematic Theology" and "Guide to the Sacraments" on my bookshelf. I was wondering if I could trouble you for the titles of other theology books that would you recommend as an orthodox Anglican substitute?

Robert S. Munday said...

Mild Colonial Boy, Esq.,

Maquarrie's book on the sacraments isn't bad. It is his systematic theology that is problematic. Another book you might try on the Sacraments is "Sacramental Theology" by Herbert Vorgrimler. He is Roman Catholic, but he explains the sacraments very helpfully for both Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox.

For a good systematic theology by an Anglican, I prefer Alister McGrath's "Christian Theology: An Introduction," along with the accompanying volume of readings, "The Christian Theology Reader."

If you are new to Anglicanism, you might want to check out, The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Anglican Communion. It is expensive, so you may want to try borrowing a library copy before you buy it. But it gives a great overview of the Anglican Communion with the various chapters written by very knowledgeable contributors.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

^ That is why we are poorer for having lost Dean Munday and the seminary he formed to make more pastor-scholars like him.

The Rev Canon David Wilson said...

Good evening Robert,

Thank you for having the courage to go public with this account. As someone who experienced much of what you experienced in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. I can honestly say, looking back, some important things have emerged for me.

1. I didn't really appreciate at the time the Contemporary Theology class I took from Dr Steve Smith. I was in an orthodox seminary, in an orthodox parish, in a largely orthodox diocese with an orthodox bishop. I thought studying Sallie McFague, John Macquarrie, Bp Spong was just a nice way to pass the time. How wrong I was and I am now glad I took the time to study them.

2. You say about those orthodox believers who have stayed in TEC "Wait," some will say, "I am still in the Episcopal Church and I am orthodox, so I have both." If that is true, then you are part of the remnant that is involved in fighting a holding action (whether you realize it or not). So while your present situation may be safe for the moment, apart from divine intervention, the faith you hold, and the parish or diocese to which you belong (if they are still orthodox) will be lost in the next generation, if not in your lifetime."

If this were only so. My experience with the so-called "Pittsburgh gang of 13", that is, the 13 conservative rectors who stayed in TEC and claimed they were staying to be a witness and to continue the fight against apostasy. Not one of them has publicly stood against anything since we left TEC in 2008. All they do is complain they we destroyed the diocese by leaving it. They were over the moon when Dorsey McConnell was elected bishop of TEC Pittsburgh in early 2012. Yet McConnell has caved to the liberals on SSBs and openly gay ordinations and none of them publicly opposed him on it.

It is not a holding action. It's more like go along to get along. Stephen Noll has it right 10 years ago when he wrote, "It's all about Pensions, Property and Preferments. Keep the cadillac CPF pension plan, the property and the cushy job but it comes at a price. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" Mark 8:36
Ed Salmon, Jim Stanton, John Howe, Greg Brewer, Ed Little, Dan Martins. It's all the same. You cannot have it both ways. Our Lord's word to the Church at Laodicea cries out!

The Rev. John Munson said...

Thank you, Father, for such a complete picture of the recent history of the House. In my years there, it was more like heretics on parade, and in the bottle. You did well, sir. It's a shame you were forced out for upholding the faith once delivered to the saints.

Quoting St. Paul to liberals is wasted, though, as everything he wrote is suspect to them. He supported slavery don't you know? No wonder Mrs. Schorl thought he was simply jealous of the woman with a spirit of divination, and drove out that spirit because he couldn't control it himself. Well, it's enough of an excuse to ignore anything he wrote regarding morality. Without that, anything goes.

Father John Munson
Class of '92