Skip to comments.Total Loss File: Prominent Episcopal Leader Denies Need for Bodily Resurrection of Jesus
Posted on 04/04/2013 10:02:05 AM PDT by NYer
It was sad to read the public comments of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington denying the importance, or need for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, going so far as to imply this teaching was “outlandish. ” More on that in a moment, but first some background.
Some time ago I brought a former Episcopalian into the Catholic Church who, after the Rite of Reception gave a great sigh of relief and said, “I know the Catholic Church is not without problems, but at least I know the Bishops actually hold the Christian faith. It is such a relief to be in the harbor of truth.”
I remember at the time wondering with him if that wasn’t a bit of an exaggeration of how bad things were in the Episcopalian denomination (this was about 1990). But he showed me a scrapbook of article after article of dozens of Episcopal “Bishops” denying quite publicly the divinity of Christ, the Virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, that there was any inherent conflict between Christianity and Unitarianism, etc., not to mention a plethora aberrant moral stances.
Most notable among them, but not at all alone, is now retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong who still freely roams the halls of Episcopal parishes and openly calling the Nicene Creed “a radical distortion of the Gospel of John” and declaring that Jesus Christ did not die to redeem humanity from its sins, even going so far to say that we are not sinners at all [*], in outright contradiction to Scripture (e.g. 1 John 1:10) and, frankly, common sense.
The scrapbook was quite thick with painful articles of Episcopal bishops and clergy saying and doing the most incredible things, outright denying basic dogmas. Indeed, when a Christian leader publicly denies the divinity of Christ, or the Trinity, of the redemptive power of Jesus’ death he/she is no longer a Christian at all.
All these memories came back to me when a priest-friend sent me a link to the “Easter” Statement of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, Mariann Budde, who quite plainly states that it wouldn’t bother her a bit if the tomb with the bones of Jesus were found.
Well, pardon me for being a bit old fashioned and “stuck” in biblical categories, But Rev. Budde, it darn well ought to bother you. And further, even to brook the notion that such a tomb could be found and then add it wouldn’t bother you is a pretty explicit denial of the faith . Here is what the bishop says in her own words, (pardon a few Red remarks from me). These are excerpts, the full remarks of Bishop Budde are here: Bishop Mariann’s blog
To say that resurrection is essential doesnt mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down. The truth is that we dont know what happened to Jesus after his death, [But we DO know what happened!] anymore than we can know what will happen to us [Here too I am puzzled, Scripture is actually quite clear as to what will happen after we die: death, judgement, heaven or hell, (likely a pit stop for some purgation for the saved)]. What we do know from the stories handed down is how Jesus followers experienced his resurrection. What we know is how we experience resurrection ourselves. [So their "experience wasn't necessarily real? Then what was it? And if nothing necessarily or actually happened, then how do we "experience" a non-event or a dubious one? What is there to experience?]
That experience is the beginning of faith, not in the sense of intellectual acceptance of an outlandish proposition, but of being touched by something so powerful that it changes you, or so gentle that it gives you courage to persevere when life is crushingly hard…… [Ok, so, the most fundamental Christian dogma, the Resurrection of Jesus, is and "outlandish proposition" which apparently requires no "intellectual acceptance." Yet despite this, it somehow has the power somehow to change our life. The logic is as mystifying as the denial of the faith is deep].
Well, it doesn’t get much worse than this. In fact, let us call this what it is, a total loss.
For one who denies the Bodily resurrection of Christ (and there is no kind of resurrection other than a bodily resurrection) such a person really even qualify for the charge of heresy, one has to be a Christian to be a heretic.
Of a great tragic loss of faith like this, St. Paul says,
If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead….And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain; you are still in your sins….[and] we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep! 1 Cor 15:12-20
Of the historicity of the Bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ the Catholic Catechism has this to say:
The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection”, but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles (1 Cor 15:5).
Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact.
It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold. The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad”) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale”. When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”
Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering.” Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord’s last appearance in Galilee “some doubted.”
Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 642-643).
Thanks be to God for the pure water of faith as expressed by Scripture and the Catechism. Indeed, as my convert friend from years ago said, it is such a relief to be in the harbor of truth.
Do pray for the kindly episcopal bishop of Washington. Pray too for good Episcopalians of Washington. May the truth one day reunite us all that there may be according to Christ’s will, one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16).
Careful with the comments. This is a great sadness, a tragedy really. Pray before submitting comments.
‘Crossing the Tiber’ is an anglican term that can work for any mainline protestant who wants to ‘come home’ to the church of Peter.
It’s a wonder that this empty shell of a “church” even pretends anymore. They are simply not of Christ at all.
The Episcopal Church lost me long ago.
The Roman Catholic Church needs the Episcopalian Church as a place to send Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, lesbian nuns, and others of their ilk.
"I don't care what denomination you are ... that's funny." < /Larry the Cable guy voice>
I am very amused by the phrase “crossing the Tiber.” The original connotation was that the Tiber lay between the pilgrim and Babylon. The problem is that the Vatican is on the opposite of the Tiber from the ancient city of Rome, the metaphorical Babylon. Therefore, one who “crosses the Tiber” to the Catholic church is LEAVING Babylon to go to the Vatican. In other words, the ‘piskies are calling the ‘piskie church, “Babylon!”
This is precisely the kind of pro-Catholic propaganda thread to which I referred you earlier, Mr. Ex-hippie. Notice, this has almost nothing to do with the ridiculous claim of the Episcopalian who sees no reason for the resurrection (as the title might imply), but rather simply a “Gee whiz, it is a good thing that the RCC is so pure and unadulterated.” Goebels-message. Who exactly is being nasty and demeaning whom here? Read carefully...
This kind of godless apostasy is why I left the Episcopal church at age 14. Thank God for the real Church of evangelicals who actually believe the Bible and taught me the truth of faith in Christ alone that set me free.
I guess they deny the 500 + witnesses that saw him after he was resurrected and the account where Thomas saw the nail holes in his hands and the two witnesses on the road to Damascus?
Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. He died to pay for our sins. He was resurrected that we may all be resurrected. As in Adam all die, as in Christ all are made alive.
If you can't believe that much why bother believing anything?
when you go with the bible alone, and me and jesus is all i need...THIS IS THE END RESULT, time and time again....
Why try to make an issue of it? We all know the Episcopalian Church has fallen low.
Why try to make an issue of it? We all know the Episcopalian Church has fallen low."
No question most of the Episcopalian organization has gone off the reservation. That was not the point. You would have had to read the thread elsewhere to catch the point.
His comments allow us to show a stronger faith in Jesus and to evangelize our faith to others to bring them to follow Christ.
False statements are always countered by the Truth and the Light.
May we help the unenlightened by living a Christ-like life.
The Episcopalian creed:
And, when you abandon the Bible and go with Rome, you end up with...
"Pope John Paul II slipped off his shoes to sit quietly and solemnly with a supreme patriarch of Thailand's Buddhists at a Buddhist monastery in Bangkok...
The Roman Catholic pontiff later praised the "ancient and venerable wisdom" of the Asian religion."
So do you deny that there is wisdom to be found in Buddhist thought? Your quote shows nowhere that the pope worshipped the Buddha (which even Buddhists do not do). Nor did he say that Catholics should believe in or prefer Buddhism. He simply, courteously acknowledged the ancient wisdom of this way of thought and life when visiting. What did you expect him to do when visiting? Exorcise them? Lift his staff and blast them all like Gandalf?
And who told you that the Catholic Church has abandoned the Bible?
I would just ask you, raygunfan, If the RCC is so vehement in her defense of the need for the Bodily REssurrection of Jesus, why doesn’t she take Jesus OFF her crosses, and preach the REASON the Resurrection is NECESSARY to believe? The Resurrection is of Christ is NECESSARY because it is God’s GUARANTEE to us that Christ’s death for ALL our sins were paid for, on the Cross. Otherwise, He would NOT have been justly able to raise Him from the dead. Even if there was ONE sin not fully paid for at Calvary, He would still be laying in the tomb, paying for our sins for us. SO....why does the RCC keep Him hanging on the Cross and why does she even bother to note the resurrection, if she doesn’t believe that we are saved the moment we trust in His FINISHED work on our behalf, not maybe, or someday. NOW.
but that's me...
That's why I'll never be Catholic. I belong to the Church of Jesus.
Please do not waste keystrokes pinging me. Based on past performance,your contributions have no interest to me.
If they would only go.
If one doesn’t believe that Christ was resurrected, one should be skeptical of the entire Gospels. What is the point of calling yourself a Christian at that point?
"I would just ask you, raygunfan, If the RCC is so vehement in her defense of the need for the Bodily REssurrection of Jesus, why doesnt she take Jesus OFF her crosses, and preach the REASON the Resurrection is NECESSARY to believe?""
Obviously you have a stumbling block.
1 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 1
23 "But we preach Christ CRUCIFIED (Thus Crucifixes in Churches), to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Gentiles, foolishness:
24 But to them that are called, both Jews, and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God, is wiser than men: and the weakness of God, is stronger than men."
We believe in the Universal Language that pictures speak a thousands word.
John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things(Creation) to myself."
We will never deny Christ with our Crucifixes.
You may want to be a Stumpling block and a foolishness but not us.
What a foolish statement.
I pray the Peace and wisdom of Christ for you.
Absolutely I deny that there is any wisdom to be found in pagan religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Confuciansim, Zoroastrianism, or any other "ism". If you would visit with those who have been freed into Jesus Christ, alone, you would realize these demonic cults are both deadly and wrong. To grant any "wisdom" to them is to legitimize (and thus participate in) their error.
"And who told you that the Catholic Church has abandoned the Bible?"
If you stick around here for a while you will get to read of the many forms Rome's abandonment of the Scriptures takes.
but that's me..."
Well, it would have been him, too, had he known this Gospel.
She gets some mighty fine digs by being the Episcopal bishop of Washington, DC. What has faith got to do with it?
Sadly, you’re right. In order to SPREAD the Gospel, one must first KNOW the Gospel...
thanks for your post..I couldn’t even begin to respond.ha.
Hysterical anti-Catholics are on a real tear every Catholic thread. sometimes they just say something nasty in the name of their “truth”.
As I like to say to them..”Go in peace my child...just go.”
Ha! the cross IS what it is about for us...To remind us of what he did for us and be grateful, and to remind us of our sinful nature that we need to repent and try to become more Christlike.
The cross was also the “secret “ sign among early Christians when they were persecuted. It identified Christians.
One of the most famous Christian preachers focused EVERY sermon on The Cross..Billy Graham ( btw, he wasn’t Catholic.)
Well, guess then you didn’t like Billy Graham either who also gave “respect” to other people and did not confront them. He was pretty secure in his faith, preached his faith, but was able to interact with others not of his faith without screaming at them.
You responded way better than me. Thanks for your post.
Where's the Gospel of the Grace of God in that? It is completely missing. And worthless without the FINISHED work of Christ. That is what saves.
And I’m supposed to be impressed, why? Billy Graham began the work of an evangelist, and preached the Word of God and the finished work of Christ for salvation. And then, over the years, he began to compromise. In order to “get along”, I guess. He’s not one I would hold up for kudos. Sorry.
The phenomenon fascinates me almost as much as it horrifies me. I was a Protestant myself until three years ago, and I had NO idea how much hatred there was for the Catholic Church and for Catholics. I never heard anything as vicious as I read on FR on a daily basis. When I was growing up, my devout (and very well-read) Protestant mother just explained that Catholics were Christians like us, but believed slightly different things; the point, she said, was “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved,” and clearly Catholics too believed in Christ, so no harm, no foul.
We put a corpus on the cross to remind us that it was on the cross that Jesus—the sinless one—felt the effects of sin that we experience at every moment. It is the blood of the Lamb of God on the wood that makes the angel of death pass us by.
It comes from their tradition. The Reformation was like a divorce, where each of the parties must persuade themselves how awful the other is. In the worse cases, of course, it is more like a murder.
Abandon the Bible and go with Rome?
Which version of the Tanakh are you using?
How did that Bible get to you?
Well, the Jews gave us the Torah, w'Nebiim, w'Kethubim. The early believers gave us the four gospel accounts and the Acts of the Apostles and other epistles. Paul wrote 14 of the 27 NT letters/books. This all occurred long before Rome promoted itself to the "look at me" organization it is today. Perhaps you would care to read real history, not party propaganda?