Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm sorry, but we still think they're too...sniff...Reformed

I've posted about the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (here are three sample posts), and I've posted about the recent unpleasantness in the Episcopal/Anglican community in the United States (here is a sample post on that).

So this post warranted a chuckle:

Issue #3 of our Steadfast Quarterly is printed....Included in the “Church Watch” section is a derisive comment that editor Jeniffer Jordan dug up about the new conservative Anglican denomination which mocks the new church as “The Episcopal Church Missouri Synod” because of its [Scriptural] approach to the authority of the Bible.

It turns out that the phrase was also used, again derisively, in a 2006 post by the Rev. Grant Gallup:

The high mountain of metamorphosis is where we as Church find ourselves today -- it is the place where we may be in this moment transfigured, it is our chance for a miracle of change. But as with Peter, some of disciples today are stuck, wanting to settle down into irrelevancy, into the last century or the last decade, with "personal" religion, with The Prayer of Jabez and prosperity religion, with the Anglican Mission to 19th Century America, into "the Episcopal Church Missouri Synod." They're into fixing up tomorrow with the blueprints of yesterday. Jesus makes it clear that his ecstasy, his mystic moment of truth, is for the purpose of seeing into the deepest meaning of the historical project of God's people, the Exodus to be accomplished. In our own moment, we must see there on the Mount with Jesus not only Moses and Elijah, but Muhmmad and Gautama and the Hindu pantheon there as well, for there can be no human future which does not make room for new departures, a new Exodus, a new despedida for all of humankind, and new summit meetings to chart the future of the species.

But before you reach the conclusion that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Anglican Church in North America will band together against the Grant Gallups of the world, note that even when Gene Robinson is not involved, the LCMS has significant issues with Anglican theology:

While there are a number of significant theological differences between the LCMS and the Episcopal Church (e.g., the issue of authority in the church, especially as it relates to the doctrine of Scripture as the inspired and inerrant Word of God; the nature of the sacraments as means of grace; the precise understanding of the doctrine of justification; the question of what it means to be a "confessional" church), perhaps the most obvious difference has to do with the Episcopalian view of apostolic succession (which pertains equally to more "conservative" offshoots from the Episcopal church). This difference is summarized as follows in Lewis Spitz's booklet "Our Church and Others":

Episcopalians attach great important to the theory of the apostolic succession. They insist that the apostles ordained bishops, these in turn ordained their successors, and so down through the centuries, so that the present-day bishops are the successors of the apostles through an unbroken chain. Scripture knows nothing of such a theory. Episcopalians hold that only bishops who have received their authority in this way can properly ordain ministers and that without such Episcopal ordination a minister cannot validly perform the sacraments.

Or, in Lutheran terms, the new Anglican church is not the true visible church.

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