Monday, December 18, 2006
New Church Aborning ???
New Church Aborning ???
Just a note on those 8 Virginia Episcopal parishes, which voted this weekend to leave ECUSA (Episcopal Church in America) and join with the more conservative convocation of Anglicans… I have been close to this story since the mid eighties and I have watched this unfold up to this point. I an absolutely delighted at the actions of the churches in Virginia, yesterday, and I am certain it is the tip of the iceberg. Many Episcopal parishes, I feel, would like to make the move but are afraid they will lose their church property including the building(s) land, and all, to their diocese. In most Episcopal parishes, the parish does not own the building(s) even though they paid for it to be built and have kept it up many years. They are, in fact, holding all that property “in trust” for the diocese. This is a HUGE stumbling block for those smaller parishes, which would like to leave ECUSA but cannot afford to begin anew. A court battle is likely to establish, once and for all, who exactly owns the property. My guess is the diocese will ultimately own everything.
This has been coming for some time as ECUSA moved farther and farther to the left and as they became more and more secular in their teachings. By consecrating a homosexual bishop, they didn’t just shoot themselves in the foot. They shot themselves in the heart. It was a deathblow.
Unfortunately, my own church the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is standing on exactly the same precipice and is facing the exact same reaction from it’s parishes as ECUSA is facing today. Many of us (Lutherans) feel our church has been hijacked and we do not recognize the church many of us were raised/reared in today. It is but a shell of it’s former self.
My personal opinion about all this is simple. This is a part of that eternal struggle for the souls of men and women. Some of us will say no, we will not turn our backs on the faith of our fathers… and some will reluctantly go along rather than cause a ruckus. I submit to you it is time for the people of God to cause a ruckus, a huge ruckus!
Over the history of the church it has cost many lives to stand up for what is right. Some faced the lions in Rome rather than submit to the pagan religious practices of their day. I dare say, losing a church building, or a parsonage, or a rectory is anywhere near akin to losing one’s life for the cause of right.
Our fellow Christians, in Virginia, have shown the way. They had the courage of their convictions and it may very well cost them their beautiful houses of worship. But, their souls, dear reader, are untouchable.
I salute those faithful Christians for standing, as did Martin Luther, in the face of adversity and refusing to submit. That is what we are called to do. That is what they did.