Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Task Force 10 to Gomorrah: A Little Backtracking From +DUSC

One week after announcing his Task Force on Unity, Bishop Waldo of Upper SC must have heard some protests and sent out the following explanation:

"The Task Force on Unity has been named and will begin its work in late October. In mid-August, I sent an email in to all clergy of the diocese – active, retired, supply, licensed – with attachments that included a letter, nomination form, and biographical information sheet for persons to be considered for the Task Force."
Stop right there. Given the make up of the clergy in this Diocese, people who easily elected Bishop Waldo all the while knowing his position on the major issues of the day, can anyone guess who they might nominate to be part of a task force?  
"After receiving nominations from these clergy and others in Upper South Carolina,"
Whoa! Just who might these "others" be? Folks who didn't get the e-mail? Folks who got it forwarded to them by a friendly priest?
"I asked applicants to respond in writing to several questions about their qualifications. In selecting the members, I looked for five primary qualifications, in the following order of priority:

1. Astute theological acumen;
2. Theological diversity;"
If these characteristics are being sought from the same individual, this would be non-sensical. For one thing, I don't know what Theological diversity means unless the Bishop is actually desiring the group to be "Theologically diverse," but if all members possess "Astute theological acumen" wouldn't the group by definition be limited in theological diversity?  
"3. A desire to find a way forward;"
Forget the diversity talk. This means that all those do not desire for the rite of same-sex blessing to move forward need not apply.
"4. Additional skill sets and experience that would help the Task Force in its work – writing, editing, research, etc., and..."
Spin-meisters will be desperately needed.
"5. Geographical diversity."

Nobody from our neck of the woods was even nominated. So did the Bishop get on the blower and call anyone? I wouldn't think so since he won't even reply to a simple letter from a mere pewsitter.
"I have heard concerns from a few of you in the diocese that there are more participants from the Midlands than from the Upstate. The simple truth is that I did not receive many applications from the Upstate and received none from the Catawba convocation. There are two individuals on the Task Force from the Upstate – one from Greenville and one from Boiling Springs."
So qualification #5 is a bust.
"I have also heard questions about the theological diversity of the group. I assure you that the Task Force participants represent the broad diversity of this diocese, as you will read in the bios each member submitted with their applications."
 All assurances aside,  there is no statement of the members' theological positions in the bios. We can guess from their prior history, and this leads me to conclude that +Waldo's idea of theological diversity is weighted heavily on the revisionist side.
"The diversity and qualifications are important and will guide the Task Force in its work over the next many months. With that said, the more important aspect of the Task Force is the result that comes from it – God willing, a way forward that articulates the boundaries within which all of us can live and serve Christ together, even as we disagree about same-sex blessings."

I think he should re-phrase that "God willing" to read, "Waldo willing."
"This whole process is challenging: the work ahead is hard; some believe we shouldn’t be asking these questions; some believe we can’t get the work done fast enough; many simply want us to do our work with the integrity, compassion, and rigor that it deserves. Much is at stake and we all know it. And yet by our baptism into Christ Jesus, we are called to 'lead a life worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.' –Ephesians 4:1-3

 Oh, those Ephesians... I am glad he brought them up. I think there was something in 1 Timothy about them.

“…stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work–which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about our what they so confidently affirm.” (1 Tim. 1:3-7)
I call it false doctrine when certain men teach that a man shall lie with a man like a woman.
I call it false doctrine when a leader of the Church permits such teaching to be promulgated. 
I call it meaningless talk to teach that two opposing doctrines can be united in one Church.

"So I ask for your trust and for your prayers, as this work is about our unity in Christ. We can and will find a way forward if we stay together and trust in the peace of God that passes all understanding.

The following link ( will take you to my letter announcing the Bishop's Task Force on Unity and offering some details about the Task Force's charge as well as biographical information submitted by each member of the task force so that you might know something more about them. I ask you to support and pray for each member of this group in this difficult work."

Yours in Christ,
W. Andrew Waldo
VIII Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Ultimately, the question boils down to this, "Can a Church remain united in Christ when its leadership fails to stand firm upon the Gospel of Christ, and when that leadership insists on elevating unsound doctrine to the level of sound doctrine and holding both up simultaneously as equal?"

Sound doctrine is like a fire that won't be quenched.

Unsound doctrine is just so much T.P.

Why can't paper and fire live together?  

Because they can't!

Let me close with an answer or two from some reliable sources.

"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law." Matthew 10:35 (KJV)
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.  He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit that was entruted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Tim. 1:13-14).
“They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.  Just as Jannes and Jambres oppose the truth–men of depraved minds, who, as fas as the faith is concerned, are rejected” (2 Tim. 3:1-8).
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep you head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:2-5).
Elders “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.  For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.  They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain” (Titus 1:11).
“Rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth” (Titus 1:13-14).
“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1a).


  1. Friend, you seem to confuse non-essentials with essentials. I do not see the matter of same gender marriage mentioned in the Constantinopolitan-Nicene Creed, nor the Apostles nor the Athanasian Creeds. I see nothing in the 39 Articles of Religion in re the matter either. I note that Jesus was rather straightforward concerning the unacceptability of divorce which Anglicans seem to have forgotten, but not a word on blessing a same gender relationship. For that matter, how is it Anglican clergy continue to distribute the elements to heterosexual folks notoriously living in sin without regard to the Disciplinary Rubric in the BCP?

    We can choose to overlook one another's sins as we perceive them in others or we can choose to make them the basis for even greater sins of lost communion...thoughts?

    1. SFitC

      How the Church handles the problem of sexual sin is symptomatic of how the church approaches the essentials.

      As I have written earlier, the Episcopal church has been wrong on divorce, but you must admit that they have failed to declare it a blessing.

      There is another option regarding how we approach sexual sin, and that is the Episcopal church's choice, we can choose to declare the sin a blessing which probably leads to more harm to the sheep than loss of communion in the Anglican sense of the word.