POSTED: Friday, December 11, 2009 - 10:18pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 3:10am
The Episcopal Church is in a crisis. The election of a second gay bishop has many wondering about the future of the denomination…
More US Presidents have been Episcopalians than any other faith, but the modern church us splintering fast.
I’ll confess upfront, I am what is known as a cradle Episcopalian. And I like many Anglicans, wonder where the church is going…
In 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire selected an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, and ignited a firestorm in a denomination formed from the old Church of England right after the revolution.
“90% of the Anglican Communion is doctrinaire in faith and morals,” says David Virtue, leading church critic and editor of the website virtueonline.org. “It’s only a small cross section of pan-sexualists, liberals and revisionists who do not.”
Parishes began leaving, then whole diocese’s until over 700 have departed to form the breakaway Episcopal Church of North America.
"All the mainline denominations that have accepted pan-sexual behavior,” Virtue says, “will wither and die even faster than they were in the 50’s and 60’s. If you don’t have any sound theology, sooner or later you are indistinguishable from the world. In which case, why bother going to church.”
And now they’ve done it again as the Los Angeles Diocese chose a lesbian, Mary Glasspool, as Assistant Bishop.
Behind me is Good Shepherd Reformed Episcopal Church. The reformed church broke away over 100 years ago. And as an Episcopalian i can tell you, we’re outnumbered. There are about 2.2 million Episcopalians in America. there are 6.6 million Jews, 16 million Southern Baptists and over 70 million Catholics. the church can’t afford to drive people away.
But they are…
“I’m not surprised. Los Angeles is a very liberal diocese,” says the Reverend David Luckenbach of Christ Church in Tyler. “The Diocese of Texas supports the traditional teachings of the church relative to marriage. And the diocese of Texas will always support the traditional the teachings of the church relative to marriage.”
But Luckenbach says that like Southern Baptists differ from northern ones, we’re not New York or LA…
“There are Baptist congregations in the north that are gay churches,” he points out. “The Southern Baptist convention would profoundly reject that kind of teaching. The Episcopal Church in East Texas is a conservative church.”
The Archibishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams asked the American church to reconsider gay ordination, but the American Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefforts Schori says no…
“Well,” Virtue concludes, “When you believe as little as she does, you have to defend as little as she does.”
Other denominations have split before, the Baptists over slavery, the Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians. even the original Catholic church split east and west.
But with its tiny numbers dwindling, and both sides dug in, one wonders if the Episcopal Church can survive this storm.