Such sermons are rarely spoken these days in the Episcopal church. We are more often treated to vague interpretations and extra-scriptural speculations some of which can be traced back to heresies that have infiltrated many Episcopal seminaries and minds of unsuspecting Christians in formation.
I once incurred the wrath of the rector when I protested against a planned "Faith Formation" series based on a book by Marcus Borg. When I called Borg a heretic, I pushed one of the rector's buttons. Fortunately, I was not alone in that protest, and that "Faith Formation" event was never held.
Nor am I alone in my belief that modern "theologians" like Borg are the purveyors of false and heretical teachings.
An excellent article from the retired Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina puts it far better than I can. Read it all here.
+Fitz takes on the modern heretics, Crossen, Borg, Spong, and the current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal church. Here are some excerpts:
"Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan are two remarkably popular theologians who teach a version of Christianity that reduces the Christian faith to contemporary secular assumptions. For Crossan, Jesus was an illiterate Jewish cynic. No Incarnation no Resurrection. The Easter story is 'fictional mythology' (p. 161,Jesus a Revolutionary Biography). Borg claims that Jesus was only divine in the sense that Martin Luther King and Gandhi were divine. Borg dismisses the creeds (p.10, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time) Jesus was a 'spirit person,' 'a mediator of the sacred,' 'a shaman,' one of those persons like Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Mohammed, et al. (p. 32)"The teachings of Borg and Crossen have been insanely popular in the Episcopal church for a number of years. It is obvious that their beliefs have infected much of the leadership of the church as Bishop Allison points out.
"Christian faith, but not secular faith, now effectively banned from schools, colleges, and universities, has been relegated to the private and subjective arena. The result is the growing popularity of any who eliminate from Christian faith all that secular trust finds incompatible: miracles, the radical nature of sin and the consequent radical nature of grace, transcendence, holiness, and our human desperate need for God’s initiative action in Jesus.
The consequence of this secular replacement of Christianity over the years is that otherwise educated people can be bereft of any substantial grasp of scripture. One glaring example is Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori who tells us that Marcus Borg 'opened the Bible to me.' (Acknowledgements A Wing and a Prayer). The Christian creed’s affirmation, to which she has repeatedly sworn, (but Borg negates) is that Jesus Christ is:
'the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made . . .'”
"Borg has not opened the scripture for Bishop Jefferts Schori but closed its revelation of Jesus’ divinity."How did we get to this sad state of affairs? What makes false teachers so attractive? Is it because their supposed wisdom lets us off the hook and relieves us of the responsibility of checking their assertions against scripture? Off the top of my head I can rattle off a dozen or so other causes, but I think it ultimately boils down to what scripture teaches us about our fallen state. We are a stiff necked and stubborn people. We are too quick to wander off the path, and we are too quick to worship whatever new false idea or idol someone cooks up. If all this sounds a bit like historical doctrine, well, yes it does, and the fact of the matter is that today the historical doctrines are ignored, or reduced to a muddled mess by endless pages of theological argument, and the end result is a church with no foundation, a church that is fertile ground for heresy.
"One must ask how such apostasy has come about in the Episcopal Church. One answer is given by the new bishop of Connecticut, Ian Douglas. He accurately claims, 'The Episcopal Church does not readily think in terms of doctrine.' As one thinks carefully about this statement the spiritual pathology of TEC becomes apparent."+Douglas has it partially right. The Episcopal church readily thinks in terms of doctrine but usually comes up with an answer that a doctrine can be interpreted in many different ways by different individuals at different times. Or, as Bishop Allison points out:
"The Episcopal Church does indeed think in terms of doctrine: doctrines of litigation, abortion, divorce, sexual behavior outside of marriage and all kinds of current politically correct doctrines, as well as teachings that Jesus is reduced from the Son of God to a 'subversive sage.' (p. 119, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time)
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church personifies this sad reduction, this shrunken Jesus, this betrayal of Christian faith. Her claim that 'salvation is attained by many ways – Jesus Christ is a way, and God has many other ways as well. . .'(italics provided) (Interview, Time Magazine, July 10, 2006) is a violation of her ordination and consecration vows regarding the church’s creed (p. 519, Book of Common Prayer, , 1979). It is also sadly bereft of the Good News that salvation is never attained but freely given to those who believe. As to her belief in eternal life, she is unsure it exists and she contends that Jesus was more concerned with heavenly existence in this life. (Arkansas Democratic Gazette, Jan. 7, 2007)"
As we read these strong words of warning from +Fitz Allison, one has to wonder why the Borgs and the Schoris of the Episcopal church have not themselves been accused of "Abandonment" and referred to the disciplinary team (headed up by our former Bishop of Upper SC, +Henderson).
Oh, I forgot, Bishop Henderson is too busy investigating the charge of "Abandonment" leveled against someone who is the antithesis of the heretics cited above. Heretics run rampant while those who protest are charged with abandoning the church. This church has demonstrated in prior times of trial that it cannot effectively charge anyone with heresy. In fact, such a charge would seem to be a positive feature on one's resume and could quite possibly lead to election to a high position in the church (to say nothing of the money generated through the sale of books and from being out on the speaker's circuit). Unable to fight heresy, heresy reigns, and heretics and apostates reign terror on those who oppose them.
Bishop Duvall remains on the speaker's circuit, but his generation is fading away. Who will be available to preach to future generations of Episcopalians?
I am afraid the future of TEc belongs to the Borg collective.
Captain Picard, where are you?