"we don’t have to water down the Gospel"

A front-page article on those pesky fundie ‘piskies appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post. It’s yet another article in the anthropologic vein, down among the savages type of thing.

The central point is that Episcopalians, especially from the two parishes featured in the article, The Falls Church, and Truro Church, are not usually associated with fundamentalism or pentecostals. At least not in the eyes of those who write for the secular media.

Well, to borrow a phrase, Falls and Truro are not your grandfather’s Episcopal church. They are both now independent of the liberal Virginia Diocese, and are both accused of “reading the Bible as the wholly true word of God.” And believing that Christ is King, God incarnate, who died on our behalf, and was resurrected from the dead.

All things that would seem to be definitional for a Christian church, if not necessarily for the political activist clubs that many Episcopal churches have become. In fact, this is remarked on, in the negative, by the skeptical authors of the Post article:

Unlike many Episcopal churches nationally, neither Truro nor The Falls Church was active in supporting the civil rights movement or in protesting the Vietnam War.

Oh, the humanity! Were not active in supporting the civil rights movement! Did not protest the Vietnam War! All they seem to do in these churches is thump their Bibles and believe in strange things, like pig farmers in Arkansas or, even, in hideously backward places like Nigeria, whose Anglican primate has taken The Falls Church and Truro Church under his pastoral care.

What has caused these two old-line Episcopal parishes, among several others, to sever their ties? From the Post, a root cause appears to be the lack of Christian belief among the Episcopal Church:

Many say the rift involves something deeper — whether the Bible is the word of God, Jesus is the only way to heaven and tolerance is more important than truth. When he was a newly ordained priest almost 20 years ago, Wright said, he talked with several other priests about how to respond to a teenager who asked, “Do you really believe in the Resurrection of Jesus?”

“The rest of the priests agreed that it was a sticky question, and they felt that way because they didn’t believe in it, but they didn’t want to say so,” he said. “That’s where the Episcopal Church has been for the last 20 years. It’s not where we are [Rev. Rick Wright, associate rector, The Falls Church].”

It is incredible to me that a priest of a Christian church, any Christian church, would think that the Resurrection of Jesus was a “sticky question.” And, as Rev. Wright said, diplomatically, to say the least, is “It’s not where we are.”

I should hope and pray not. One may believe as one’s conscience dictates. But do not claim to be a Christian if you can’t answer in the affirmative to the simplest of articles of your faith. If you don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, died for your sins, and was resurrected to join with God the Father, then do not call yourself Christian.

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