Thursday, November 30, 2006

From Bishop John David Schofield to Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori
The Episcopal
Church Center
815 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10017

Dear Bishop Schori:

Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ.

I am in receipt of your letter to me and wish to make clear from the outset that I have always remained faithful to my vows as an ordained bishop in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At my consecration, I vowed to "guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God." I was charged by my chief consecrator to "Feed the flock of Christ committed to [my] charge, guard and defend them in his truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word and Sacraments." I carry out my vow by defending and propagating "the historic Faith and Order" which The Episcopal Church commits to upholding in the preamble of its own Constitution.

In 2003, the General Convention committed itself to a theological path that is irreconcilable with the Anglican faith this Church has received and has torn the fabric of the entire Communion. The Primates repeated calls for repentance have not been heeded. More than half of the Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion have declared themselves to be in impaired or broken communion with The Episcopal Church. Beyond our Anglican Communion, relations throughout Christendom have been profoundly strained. With obvious reference to innovations and novelties introduced by The Episcopal Church, last week Pope Benedict XVI publically stated to Archbishop Rowan Williams that recent developments, "especially concerning ordained ministry and certain moral teachings," have affected not only the internal relations within the Anglican Communion but also relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.

The Episcopal Church, as an institution, is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God's Word are forced to make painful choices.

At a diocesan level, the choice is between continuing membership in an unrepentant, apostate institution or following Holy Scripture and the Anglican faith. Whether or not the Diocese of San Joaquin will continue its institutional membership in The Episcopal Church is a choice that will be made by the people and the clergy and not by me. They will express their collective will as provided in the diocesan governing documents which were approved by the General Convention when the diocese was first admitted to membership.

It is important to point out that the vote at the Diocesan Convention in December 2006 is neither final nor irrevocable. Should the Constitutional amendments being proposed pass the "first reading," then the diocese will simply have positioned itself to make a final decision at a second consecutive Annual Convention in 2007 if that proves God's call.

Under our diocesan constitution, the second and final reading is automatically scheduled for October 2007. The setting of the exact date may be advanced or delayed by the bishop. There are some significant factors that would influence such a decision.

First, at the meeting with the leading Primates of the Global South in Virginia, November 15-17 this year, the Global South Primates Steering Committee encouraged us by supporting our faithful stand and commitment to Christ, and they expressed a desire to be of help to us to relieve our untenable position. They have promised assistance, the form of which they will bring to the entire Primates meeting scheduled for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007. In the meantime, in keeping with the goals of the Windsor Report and positioning ourselves to accept the Primates' help, we are responding to the Primates who called upon us to remain flexible until the details are worked out.

An additional consideration was your letter to me. I believe you have shown wisdom and restraint by not issuing an ultimatum. Instead, you have invited further discussion which could possibly lead to some degree of reconciliation. In recognition of what you have proposed, I, too, will exercise restraint by not advancing the date of what could be an historic and final act. However, should proceedings be instituted against me as threatened in your letter, I would not feel obliged to exercise restraint. My prayer is that neither of us takes action which upsets the delicate balance which now exists until the Primates have given us direction at their February 2007 meeting. Until then, powerful forces will be at work that will ultimately shape the future.

I pray that God's will be revealed to us all.

You may be assured of my prayers for the Holy Spirit's wisdom and guidance.

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, SSC
Bishop of
San Joaquin

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Holiday Bowl - Here We Come!

- that is the OT prophet, not John the Baptist's father, who lived in the early 6th century BC after the return of the exiles to Jerusalem. I'm going to offer some thoughts on this book which I hope to preach on this Advent. (Better figure this out pretty quick since Advent is upon us.)

Zechariah 1:2 in the ESV is this:
2 "The Lord was very angry with your fathers.

The Hebrew is 5 words, and two of them are the word angry. Thus, it could be rendered "Angry was the Lord with your forefathers with anger." (New Bible Commentary).

The Lord was angry with Zechariah's forefathers, but why is he angry with Zechariah's contemporaries?

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 27, 2006

We outscored em!

A&M 12 tu 7

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who is going to win? I'm not speaking about A&M and tu either. It is the showdown between Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori and Bishop John-David Schofield of the diocese of San Joaquin. Bp. Katherine is not going to tolerate Bp Schofield's faithfulness to the Bible and his desire to see his diocese in line with its teaching and the teaching of the catholic church.

No, by george. He must bow down to corporate episcopalianism, or he must be banished.

I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I wouldn't want to bet against John-David.
Deer Bishup Shorey,

I see from the news that you have sed that Episcopaliums are smarter than us catholics because you don’t have so many babies as we do. I guess that must be true. I have never thought of it like that before. Gee you are smart! Do you not have more babies becuz you don’t like babies or becuz you believe abortion is okay so you kill them before they are born or is it just becuz many of your peepul are homosexuals and they can’t have babies? Or maybe the numbers of Episcopaliums are dropping off becauze they are fed up and voting with there feet.

Anyway, thanks for putting me straight on that!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

From Bishop John-David Schofield...

The Spiritual Crisis In The Episcopal Church. Much has been said and written about the controversy over the revisionist teachings of TEC. The truth is that TEC (1) denies the unique divinity of Jesus Christ and (2) takes a position on human sexuality which undercuts marriage and is destructive to the family unit designed by God and revealed in Scripture. These are not positions and teachings which are merely "revisionist" or "liberal." These are positions of those who have abandoned the Christian faith.

Jesus says in the Bible that "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ( John 14:6) This is a cornerstone of the Christian faith and Anglican worship. It is what we believe in the Diocese of San Joaquin. It is our mission, and that of the Church, to bring all people into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

TEC at GC 2006 refused to pass a resolution endorsing John 14:6. By extension, TEC questions the validity and authority of Holy Scripture. According to the leadership of TEC, Jesus simply represents one of many ways of coming to a relationship with the Father. According to the leadership of TEC, the mission of the Church is "social justice" and "world peace" and not the Great Commission as set forth in Matthew 28.

TEC's unrepentant adherence to these heresies has wrought havoc within the American Church and throughout the world-wide Communion. At least 22 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion have declared impaired or broken communion with TEC. Vast numbers of faithful Anglicans have left and continue to leave TEC on a daily basis. Major parishes across the country have left and continue to leave in record numbers. (We are not immune in this Diocese having lost one parish already.) The statistics are staggering and clearly demonstrate that TEC is disintegrating. This is not surprising given that TEC has chosen to walk apart from the Christian faith.

Does This Spiritual Crisis Really Affect Us? You already know the answer to this question: it's "YES". Heresy is insidious by nature and, over time, the victim becomes desensitized to its effects. There are four recognizable stages from prolonged exposure. Initially, there is condemnation of the heresy; then it is tolerated; then it is accepted; and, finally, it is practiced. TEC is currently preaching and practicing heresy and the majority of TEC's leadership will not repent as evidenced by, among other things, TEC's refusal to comply with the Windsor Report.
Continuing in communion with TEC poses a clear and present danger to the spiritual health of the Diocese and its parishioners. TEC's continued membership in the Anglican Communion is tenuous and excommunication or isolation is a reality which, in turn, threatens the Diocese's place in the Anglican Communion. We must remember, we are Anglicans first and Episcopalians second.

What Does Scripture Tell Us To Do? When faced with unrepentant and public false teaching, Scripture is very, very clear. Christians are called to withdraw from Eucharistic fellowship. There are many biblical references directly on point, among them: "If anyone comes to you bringing a different doctrine, you must not receive him in your house or even give him a greeting. To greet him would make you a partner in his wicked work."(I1 John, 10-1 1. Also Mt. 8: 17, I Cor. 5:11-13, Gal. 1:8, 2 Thes. 3:6, Rev. 2:20; BCP, p. 409.)


Monday, November 13, 2006

Simul Justus et peccator - at once righteous and a sinner.

We have Luther to thank for this expression!

Since the believer is justified by grace through faith, and not works, and since justification is not a infusion of righteousness that makes a sinner righteous 'in and of himself,' the sinner is both righteous in God's sight because of Christ and a sinner measured according to his own merits.
(Thanks to Richard A Muller - Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, p 283.)

So close, yet so far...A&M 27, Nebraska 28

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

So, what's Pelagius got to do with me?

Pelagianism: The theology stemming from the thought of Pelagius, which emphasizes human ability and free will rather than depravity and sinfulness. In the view of mostd Pelagians, it is possible to live without sin. The effect of Adam's sin upon his descendants was simply that of a bad example. From Millard Erickson, Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology, p126

Semi-Pelagianism: Rather than Adam simply providing a bad example, this position sees humanity as inheriting a certain weakness of volition from Adam. Although divine grace is indespensible for salvation, it does not necessarily need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the weakness of human choice, the will is able to take the initiative toward God.

Ephesians 2:1-3, however, says And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked...

Pelagianism and semi-pelagianism lead to moralism which comes in a variety of flavors, conservative and biblical; or liberal and secular. Moralism precedes on the assumption that the will is able to meet whatever is commanded, whether these commands spring from the Bible or from the post-modern culture.

Monday, November 06, 2006

"Something more is wanted than merely to din into men's ears what they ought to be, and what they ought to do. Something is wanted more effectually to renovate the heart and move the springs of action. The water is nought, and if you make it flow it is bitter. You want an ingredient to be cast into it that will heal its poison springs, and make them sweet and clear."

What a wonderful and apt quotation from C.H. Spurgeon, posted on Pyromaiacs.

Moralism leads to immorality! We see that in spades in the Episcopal Church where we have more rules than ever before guiding the behavior of clergy, but absent the gospel, we have more immorality as well!
We won the half-time once again! But, we were outscored by OU Boomer Sooners, 16-17 in what appears to have been a defensive struggle, once we survived the 1st quarter OU blitz.

Looks like the Aggies are one season away from being on the same level as TU, but so far so good!
The Ags have lots of talent. They need a little more seasoning!

Friday, November 03, 2006

A&M vs OU at Kyle

Gig-em Aggies. Big, big game against OU. Alas, here in Alaska, ABC will be airing UCLA vs California! Who care about the left coast anyway. One more hardship living in AK.
A great read about our next Presiding bishop.

"Christians understand that Jesus is the route to God. That is not to say that Muslim's or Sikhs or Jains come to God in a radically different way. They come to God through human experience -- through human experience of the divine. Christians talk about that in terms of Jesus."
(Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, in an interview with Robin Young on "Here and Now", October 18, 2006)

Gary L'Hommedieu, canon for Pastoral Care at Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando, Florida give an insightful view of our soon to be 'invested' PB.

Gary says, "As the interview demonstrates, the ascending Primate of the Episcopal Church is a politician of rare polish. By comparison her predecessors are a dim bulb (in the case of Edmond Browning) and a clownish dancing bear (in the case of Frank Griswold). Schori is probably the only member of the HOB with gravitas and (in a word) star power." (The interview can be heard here.)

"Soft-spoken, articulate, urbane, she hits all the buttons that excite the liberal mainstream of the new Episcopal religion: she validates the righteous-rebellion ethos of the Baby Boomer generation that only minutes ago was reported to be on life support."

Gary goes on to show that what Jefferts-Schori is offering is a new gospel. When she says gospel and grace, she doesn't mean what the Bible or even the 39 Articles of Religion (has she read them?) say, for instance in Article 11 Justification, "that we are accounted righteous before GOd solely on account of the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through faith and not on account of our own good works."

No, "We are saved rather through our own experience, through craning our necks toward the Divine, and being "graciously" drawn in by Him/Her/It, AS IF BY NATURE. Here "salvation" (which, on account of its "terrorizing" associations ought only to be placed in quotes) is not really "necessary", but certainly it "helps"."

Grace helps, but it is not necessary.