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CLERGY CONUNDRUM

Frederick Meekins
Nov. 27, 2001

In light of the need for in depth coverage of the ongoing terrorism crisis, it has been necessary to divert attention away from issues whose destructive potential is not quite as imminent. However, that in no way means that these forces seeking to undermine America in a far more subtle fashion have gone on hiatus in this time of national tragedy.

Even though dramatic events have a way of abruptly changing the course of history, other changes as equally profound quietly transpire in more reassuring settings and employ rhetoric designed to soothe and comfort rather than agitate and offend. Yet their purpose still remains the elimination of the Judeo-Christian values upon which this country was built.

Loyal readers of my columns might recall the case of an Episcopal congregation in Accokeek, Maryland divided over the installation of Rev. Samuel Edwards as rector there. Rev. Edwards sparked considerable controversy for questioning the liberal orthodoxies regarding the ordination of women and homosexual marriage prevailing within his denomination. For standing by his beliefs, minions of the episcopate filed suit against Rev. Edwards in federal court which ruled in favor of the bishop to terminate Edwards and issued an order instructing him to vacate the premises.

Particularly interesting are the attitudes expressed by those aligned with the victors of this case. One parishioner lamented to the Washington Post, "We have husbands and wives split apart. There's been a major divide, even in families and marriages. That should not have been."

While family discord is regrettable, especially when disagreement leads to disagreeableness among the involved parties, unity is not always the primary objective when fundamental principles and beliefs are at stake. Christ Himself says in Matthew 10: 34-36, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword. For a 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. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

Any division evidenced at Christ Church in Accokeek is not the fault of Rev. Samuel Edwards but rather represents a festering of the failure to address elementary doctrinal differences, often the result of those pandering for peace and unity above all else in the first place.

At a service meant to assuage hard feelings between the factions, Bishop Theodore Eastman told the congregation as reported by the Washington Post, "Jesus is passing through Accokeek." Interesting choice of words, especially being there are those among Episcopalian ranks supporting female ordination and homosexual marriage such as perennial apostate John Shelby Spong who question whether or not Jesus even rose from the dead, much less be able to muster the strength needed to trek through a southern Maryland town. This is the kind of nonsense faced by Rev. Edwards and those like him struggling to keep the Episcopal Church from finishing its continuing headlong slide into the bowels of apostasy.

As disturbing as these heretical doctrines may be, perhaps even more so is the insistence that those currently bucking the tide towards mandatory radical dogmatic tolerance quietly fall into line or else. One partisan endorsing this line of thought told the Washington Post, "The supporters of Father Edwards are going to have to embrace us, let the past be the past and look to the future."

Who says? Does this congregation not belong as much to those who support the Biblical values espoused by Father Edwards as those advocating the churchly endorsement of moral degeneracy and perhaps maybe even more so? If nothing else, at least we have stated for the record that the platitudes hailing tolerance and invoking unity serve as little more than a smokescreen for a crafty yet pervasive form of ecclesiastical despotism.

Those backing Rev Edwards' clerical banishment warn that those holding traditional Biblical beliefs regarding these controversies must change or will bring about the end of Christ Episcopal Church in Accokeek. So what?

While church splits no doubt spark intense emotions among those involved, it's not like they send the entire edifice of Christendom tumbling down. Often in they end such disagreements can stimulate doctrinal integrity and vitality of conviction among the faithful. After all, who are the Episcopalians and Anglicans to rant about schismatics when they themselves owe the origins of their own denomination to another disagreement less than completely upright in its motives traceable to the love life of Henry 8th?

Christians of conscience can reasonably disagree as to the proper course of action the remnant of believers at the Accokeek church ought to take.

One side of this discussion would advise the counsel of II Corinthians 6:17 admonishing, "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." In other words, the best thing the faithful there could do would be to withdrawal from that congregation and let it sink under the rot of its own stinking heresy. Even rats know to flee a sinking ship.

Others would rather stay and fight. After all, if the saints of God don't draw a line somewhere it won't be long before these same harbingers of heterodoxy show up in the vestibules of more spiritually healthy fellowships purveying their intoxicating theological wares.

Either way, true believers cannot sit back and obsequiously embrace the perditious status quo as dictated by the forces bent on marching Christ Episcopal Church down the broad path toward corruption and ultimately its own spiritual destruction.


Copyright 2001 by Frederick B. Meekins

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