Sunday, October 31, 2004
The Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity
GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Friday, October 22, 2004
What our Anglican Brethren in Africa Need to Know about the Church in
the United States
The Rev. Dr. Louis R. Tarsitano, St. Andrew's, Savannah
October 19, 2004
As our Anglican brethren around the world, and especially in the vital
and faithful regions of Africa, contemplate the Windsor Report, it may
be useful to outline a few relevant facts about the situation of
faithful American Anglicans.
First and foremost, while the illegitimate consecration of the
homosexual Gene Robinson to be a bishop in the Church of God has had a
galvanizing effect on world-wide Anglicanism, this offense against the
Holy Scriptures and the moral law of God is not the beginning of such
offenses, but only the latest in a series of departures from Scripture
and Anglican faith and practice, dating back to the 1970s.
It is easy to forget, for example, that Mr. Robinson, despite his
self-professed practice of homosexuality, was a functioning priest in
the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) before
his election as bishop. Furthermore, there are self-professed
homosexuals active in the ministry of ECUSA, even as seminary
professors, in many other dioceses. Mr. Robinson's consecration may
have come as a shock to our foreign brethren, but for those of us
living in the United States it was simply "business as usual."
Nor should we forget that through selective legislation and selective
enforcement of the canons regarding Holy Matrimony the blessing of
same-sex "unions" is becoming something of a commonplace in many ECUSA
dioceses. Many ECUSA bishops have publicly backed the recognition by
the civil governments of the various States of same-sex unions or even
The true problem in America, however, is not the adoption of a
homosexualist agenda by the official structures of the Episcopal
Church. That denial of God's Word Written is only one symptom of a
greater disease—the complete breakdown of Christian order and of
Christian doctrinal authority. The greater part of the officials of
ECUSA have made themselves the enemies, not just of Anglican faith and
practice, but of historic Christianity itself, of which our Anglican
Way is only one household.
As Presiding Bishop Griswold observed after Mr. Robinson's
consecration, that event was the culmination of thirty years of
effort—the effort to abolish traditional Christianity within ECUSA and
to replace it with a man-made, highly political alternative religion.
Those thirty years of effort that led to Gene Robinson began with the
replacement of the historic Anglican formularies that unite Anglicans
with each other and with our Lord Jesus Christ with much more flexible
documents that made room for endless innovation.
Yes, for example, a faithful minister could present the services in
the 1979 Prayer Book of ECUSA in a Christian way, but the services
were designed to permit every activist and revisionist with an axe to
grind against the Scripture and historic doctrine to impose his own
opinions on the people in his charge.
Similarly, the adoption of the ordination of women was not
accomplished according to the process of "reception" proposed in the
original Eames Report. Instead, except for a few noble exceptions,
diocese after diocese used this innovation as a hammer to force clergy
and congregations into the new mold of the new religion. Reception was
never given a chance in ECUSA, so that now it is canonically necessary
for all office holders, clerical or lay, to give their forced assent
to the ordination of women as a requirement of their serving the
Church in any capacity.
ECUSA, furthermore, attacked the sanctity of human sexual relations
and marriage long before attention was drawn to same-sex partnerships.
Remarriage after divorce, as well as divorce for almost any reason
imaginable, has become the rule, rather than the exception in ECUSA.
This false freedom to divorce and remarry has been used repeatedly as
a justification of homosexual unions, on the basis of the false
principle that all are entitled to the partner of their choice and to
personal sexual fulfillment.
The canonical power of the Church has been used by ECUSA, not to
maintain order, but to punish even the most tentative questioners
about the direction of the American Church. It is an absolute scandal
that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal
Church, once meant to pursue the conversion of the world to our Lord
Jesus Christ, has been transformed by the current regime in ECUSA into
a secular real-estate holding company that sues dissident
traditionalists and conservatives for the control of their church
property as a means of punishment and of the enforcement of the new,
revised doctrines and morality.
Nor are these predatory and punitive lawsuits a recent development in
ECUSA. They have been used against your Anglican brethren in America
since the 1970s. The pose that the turmoil in ECUSA is a new
phenomenon is exactly that—at best an act of disingenuousness, at
worst a straightforward lie that American bishops have been telling
their fellow bishops around the world.
The American bishops have, likewise, been less than honest when they
refer to the American Continuing Churches, the Anglican Mission in
America, the Reformed Episcopal Church, etc. as "splinter groups" or
eccentrics. The members of these bodies are Anglican refugees and
victims of outright religious persecution.
These extra-mural Anglicans, along with the struggling and faithful
remnant within ECUSA, are the only Anglicans in America with which our
brethren in other national Anglican churches share a common bond of
Scripture, faith, and Anglican tradition. The officials of ECUSA,
starting with the Presiding Bishop, have every intention of trying to
convince the world that these faithful Anglican Christians are
"non-persons," unworthy of attention or aid.
After almost thirty years of struggle for the honor of Christ and the
integrity of the Church, these faithful American Anglicans cannot help
but view the Windsor Report as "too little, too late." The Windsor
Report leaves them, as well as all faithful Anglicans everywhere in
the world, at the mercy of ECUSA and its outlaw leadership. These
tyrants will not voluntarily restrain themselves, let alone give
themselves to the spiritual reform of the American Church.
It is up to our brethren in other national churches to do and to offer
more for the salvation of the Anglican Way, not just in America, but
throughout the world. If the Windsor Report is the "final word," it is
a death sentence for our common faith, common hope, and common
identity as an Anglican household within the One Church of Jesus
Christ our Lord.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Saint Luke the Evangelist
ALMIGHTY God, who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist, and Physician of the soul; May it please thee, that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity
O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
NEW TRINITY DEAN INSTALLED IN PITTSBURGH CATHEDRAL
By David W. Virtue
PITTSBURGH, PA. (10/9/2004)--The new Dean of Trinity Episcopal School
for Ministry, told 600 orthodox Episcopalians at his installation in
Trinity Cathedral that he would have an orthodox, undeviating commitment
to the faith once and for all delivered in both faith and morals which
would remain "unexceptioned and unqualified".
"We are standing on the foundation of apostolic, catholic, scriptural
orthodoxy and we will not allow an "impermeable ecclesiasticism" to
trump the substance of the gospel," said the Very Rev. Dr. Paul Zahl in
accepting his new role as the fifth Dean and President of Trinity.
"We are launching out into a fluid ecclesiastical landscape where there
is much voluminous transition, but we should never allow "geographical
or canonical considerations" to be trumped by biblical considerations,"
said the former dean of Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham,
"It is time for Anglicans to reclaim a bona fide triumph of substance
over form, focusing on spiritual power, weakness and redemption," he
said Zahl said that orthodox students today were carrying the wounds of
Jesus in their side for the sake of the gospel. "What lies ahead of us
is to job train men and women for normal real coal face humble service
in parishes and church plants. We are not training people who are
panting to be in fancy suburban parishes".
The youthful Dean received cheers and prolonged clapping from the
assembled orthodox glitterati of The Episcopal Church which included
seven bishops, as well as an African and an AMIA bishop, dozens of
clergy, seminary faculty and laity from across the country.
"It’s a big day because at this particular point in the Episcopal
Church’s history, the stakes feel high because the conflict in the
Anglican Communion is very real. In the midst of that conflict, it is an
enormous source of hope and joy that God has called Paul Zahl to be the
Dean and President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry at this
historic juncture," said the Rev. Paul Nelson Walker, in a sermon.
"The range of his [Zahl's] intellect is matched by the depth of his love
for others. Dean Peter Moore [outgoing Dean] says, “Paul is an unusual
mix of both scholar and pastor,” said the 30-something priest who had
been mentored by Dr. Zahl.
"We praise God for appointing a man like Paul to this work, but it must
be said that the task before him – the task before all of us – the task
of taking the real gospel to the real world - is fraught with conflict,
uncertainty, trouble and suffering."
Critiquing contemporary versions of peace, which he described as having
a "flawed anthropology" Walker said, "The task of taking the gospel to
the world is fraught with conflict, uncertainty, trouble, and suffering,
we shall need more than the peace the world gives to keep our hearts
untroubled and unafraid. We shall need the peace that Jesus gives.
"If the hippie peace is a peace apart from suffering, and the Tony
Robbins peace is a peace in the face of suffering, the peace the Jesus
gives is a peace in and through suffering. It is a kind of peace that
the human heart could not dream up. This is why Paul calls it a “peace
that passes human understanding.” (Phil 4:7) It is peace found within
and because of conflict, uncertainty, trouble and suffering. And this
peace is the only peace that will “guard your hearts and minds in Christ
Jesus.” (Phil 4:7), he said.
Former Pittsburgh Bishop Alden Hathaway read the letter of institution
and said that 24 years ago Trinity represented the evangelical
tradition, and then as now it sought earnestly to contend for the faith
Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan welcomed the orthodox crowd and said the
vision given in the 1960s that Pittsburgh might be as famous for God as
it is for steel was still the vision today. "We receive Paul Zahl as
fifth dean and president of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry."
For more stories go to www.virtuosityonline.org. VIRTUOSITY has more
than one million readers in 45 countries on six continents. You can
receive a free weekly digest of stories by signing up today.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity
LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.