Skip to comments.To Come Unto Me: the Episcopal Church Endorses Abortion
Posted on 02/05/2006 5:52:56 PM PST by sionnsar
Many who support recent innovations in the Episcopal Church do so on the ground that our church should strive to be more inclusive. But what precisely, does it mean to be an inclusive church? A recent devotional reading from Forward Day by Day advanced the reappraising vision:
Many prefer the path of conforming their lives to the Christ of faith and to the catholic doctrine and practices of the church. Some choose other ways, their spiritual journey marked by a different perspective, some even pushing the edges of accepted faith and practice. The church needs both witnesses--needs all--the staunch defenders and the prophetic voices that may, at times, make us uncomfortable.
The church faces heartache and schism only when sides emerge, when people refuse to respect and honor those with a differing understanding of the truth of the Gospel. Are you open to listening to someone with a different point of view? Can we agree at times to disagree, yet still love one another, and remain faithful to our Lord?
Forward Day by Day, January 25, 2006.
Recently, the ECUSA Executive Council clearly told us that in its inclusivity our church does not make any room for a pro-life point of view. With respect to the emotionally-charged issue of abortion, the Episcopal Church categorically rejects any viewpoint other than unfettered support for abortion on demand. At its January 9-12 meeting in des Moines, Iowa, the Executive Committee formally made the Episcopal Church a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a group that works against abortion restrictions and opposes the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito.
According to The Living Church The Episcopal Church Center joined the organization on behalf of the Episcopal Church in 1986, despite a 1978 vote by the Executive Council to decline such membership because the organizations position is inconsistent with positions taken by earlier General Conventions. Not satisfied with the ambiguity this situation created, the Executive Committee saw a clear need to take sides.
George Vanderstar, a member of the Executive Council, claimed that the churchs position on abortion is, Unequivocal opposition to any federal or state legislation that would interfere with a womans right to make a decision on terminating a pregnancy. The ECUSA web page for Womens Ministries ("Working for gender justice in the Church & the World") characterizes our membership this way: While our members are religiously and theologically diverse, they are unified in the commitment to preserve reproductive choice as a basic part of religious liberty.
Thus, if you are an Episcopalian, you now belong to a church that officially opposes any legislation to limit or restrict the availability of abortions, an organization that believes the right to an abortion is equivalent to the right to worship God. The same organization that calls itself inclusive because it proudly has individuals involved in sexual relationships outside of marriage among its clergy and Episcopate has formally renounced the views of those whose religious beliefs and consciences require them to oppose the unrestricted availability of abortions. The message of the Executive Committee, indeed, the message of the Episcopal Church, to its pro-life members is simple: we dismiss your beliefs as being utterly without theological merit. We give you no credit for the faith behind your beliefs. Our big tent has no room for your point of view. You and your money are welcome here, but if you give an unrestricted pledge to your parish, some part of your treasure will be used to advance our point of view. We are going to represent to the world that our part of the Body of Christ believes that women should be free to have an abortion whenever they choose. Inclusive means that we speak for you.
Having followed the activities of the Episcopal Church for the past few years, I suppose this kind of arrogance from our top leadership should not have taken me by surprise. After all, some of our leaders have called consecrating a gay bishop a prophetic action. Some have characterized as poaching the willingness of Southern Cone Anglican provinces to provide oversight to departing members of American parishes, as if those dissatisfied parishioners were game animals living on a hunting preserve owned by their ECUSA bishops. But to have taken such an action six months before the upcoming general convention, to have flatly defined the position of the church in a way that is clearly offensive to so many of its members, to have jettisoned any attempt to accommodate those with other views - well, it just takes my breath away.
For many years, there have been pro-life and pro-choice organizations in the Episcopal church. They existed together, if not in harmony, then at least without the need to see one anothers existence as a need to leave, or necessarily to reform, the church as a whole. They were able to respect one anothers faith. They agreed to disagree. But this was apparently unsatisfactory to the Executive Committee, which determined that the church must take sides and declare that one side is wrong and the other is right. This is the action of an Executive Committee that is hell-bent on imposing its will on the church with no possibility whatever of compromise.
Ironically, at the same time the news was breaking in the Anglican blogosphere about this Executive Committee action, Jan Nunley, a national spokesperson for the Episcopal Church, got into a heated blog discussion with Stand Firms Greg Griffith about the unarguable fact that ECUSAs membership is declining. After first insisting that ECUSA is not shrinking, she then offered an explanation for the phenomenom: "[T]he sectors we attract historically--white, affluent--dont have big families. Result? *Numbers go down.*"
Note the implications. How do we grow a church? By evangelizing and bringing people to Jesus Christ? Well, not exactly. Actually we can only grow if our existing members have children. Apparently, the expected usual path to the Episcopal Church is to inherit ones membership. Our church is meant to be for rich upper class Caucasians who practice birth control, not those indigent minorities with lots of kids. So the fact we are shrinking, even the fact that we are shrinking at a faster rate than any other mainline Protestant denomination, is no cause for alarm.
So here, unveiled, is the grand liberal strategy to double ECUSAs membership by the year 2020. We tell our gospel-believing, evangelical-minded members that we have adopted a new theology, encompassing ideas that are vastly superior to ancient notions of sin and repentance. Those notions (gasp!) make our members feel guilty and unworthy and reduce their self-esteem and keep them from self-actualizing. We eschew any need to actually make new disciples for Jesus Christ by such worn-out and tired methods as proclaiming a Gospel of salvation to unbelievers. We add new Episcopalians mostly when our female members become pregnant, but only when they exercise their God-given right to choose whether to have their babies. (Heaven forfend that we should tell them it is wrong to kill their unborn children, even if those children might be future Episcopalians!) At the same time, we will vigorously court that vast untapped reservoir of homosexual Christians who are just aching to find a church home but dont feel welcome elsewhere, even though, with the exception of a few adopters and a few more in vitro fertilizers, those recruits are biologically certain not to bring new children into our church.
The leaders of ECUSA have definitively proclaimed the meaning of inclusivity, and it is an inclusivity that brooks no opposition and tolerates no dissent. The term, inclusive, includes you and me only to the extent that the Church as a whole speaks with a single, revisionist voice. I wish I could say I have a brilliant strategy to turn this situation around, but I cannot. Certainly those of you who are concerned about having been unwillingly drafted into the pro-choice movement should write to your rectors and bishops, run for the vestry, talk to the people on your vestry, and talk to your diocesan convention delegates. If you are giving an unrestricted pledge to your parish, and your parish is using part of your money to support the diocese and the national church, consider whether this is good stewardship of the funds God has given you.
We do however have one powerful tool at our disposal. We can pray. We can pray for mercy for our church leaders and for all of us. We can pray for repentance. We can pray for Gods intervention. We can pray for a miracle.
All, I have posted many more links to recent articles from the Anglican world at http://trad-anglican.faithweb.com/#articles.
The leadership is preaching and operating under a strong dillusion IMHO.
What is happening here? It just seems unthinkable!
The liberals have taken over the top command in the church.
When Christ returns, I believe he will have the greatest condemnation for the "Christian" churches who call him "Lord" but do not keep his commandments. He said as much himself!
Jesus opened my eyes to the abortion stance of the Episcopal Church one fine Sunday in the fall of 1992. I never looked back.
Abortion is the intentional murder of a baby.
It is the work of Satan.
Support for abortion is advocacy of Satan.
The Episcopal Church made me a Jew.
Having no Authority and having disdained the Deposit of Faith, these rootless organizations must be subject to interminable dissolution, with each shade of disagreement breaking off a part to form a "new" church. Where there is no Authority and Deposit of Faith everything is admissable.
I attended an Episcopal Church for awhile until I found the ever accommodation of that “interminable dissolution” described above. The other key within a system without authoritativeness is the problem that although the majority of Christian Churches - Mainline and emergent alike know the Scriptures to be the infallible Word Of God without error.
The Episcopal and Anglicans believe that “Scripture contains the truth that is necessary for salvation and is the primary norm for faith BUT must be must be interpreted in light of tradition and reason”
But “the reason” part is determined by a democratic system that can override tradition. If you study Christian history Christianity was always “a theocracy” driven by the bible as the core. An the Bible is pretty straightforward about both the child in the womb and it’s position on two people of the same sex having relations.
Many Episcopalians are turning Catholic! My hubby is one of these who did turn Catholic. The Catholic church stands strong on what Jesus taught! Including very pro life. I converted to Catholicism at the age of 18 from the Protestant church. I have never looked back. I am now in my 67th year!