Church undergoes a ‘family argument’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Kentucky Episcopalians heard a combination pep talk and Bible study yesterday from one of the leaders in efforts to keep the fragile Anglican Communion together despite what seem irreconcilable differences over sexuality and theology.

The Rev. Katherine Grieb told the annual meeting of the Diocese of Kentucky that divisions in the church are as old as the church itself, and Bible passages offer differing models on whether to split or stay together despite differences.

We're having a family argument," said Grieb, a Virginia Theological Seminary biblical scholar and a member of a team drafting a "covenant" to hold together the Anglican Communion, which consists of the Episcopal Church and other national churches descended from the Church of England.

"There never was a golden age when everybody in the church agreed about everything," she said at the gathering at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in southwestern Jefferson County.

And the problem with this argument is-say it again after me--there are different kinds of differences. Read it all.

Update This is worth rereading also, it includes this:

It is so very sad to see a ...[Church leader] once again parlaying the ECUSA hierarchy’s offical party line which is: to be Episcopal means to agree to disagree agreeably, we have been through struggles before, and this is yet another struggle through which the church will find her way.

The problem is the hidden theological assumption here that all theological differences are the same. They are NOT.

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Posted February 25, 2008 at 6:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Adam 12 wrote:

TEC doesn’t disagree agreeably anyway. It is political correctness with an iron fist.

February 25, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd wrote:

“Family Argument?”  Don’t be silly!  It’s a civil war!

February 25, 9:11 pm | [comment link]
3. Nikolaus wrote:

Further proof that you don’t have to be the brightest bulb in the lamp to be a “scholar.”

February 25, 9:45 pm | [comment link]
4. Larry Morse wrote:

Her argument will succeed only as long as she can make it clear that there are few if any standards that must be held rigorously. This will allow(a) an identity of no identity and (b) all manner of belief to say, “I am an Episcopalian.” T he difficulty is that church goers are not willing to accept her argument. Church is about a set of standards that must be kept and about a specific identity growing from these standards. Multiculturalism has become the sci-fi horror, the universal solvent.

February 26, 9:38 am | [comment link]
5. Rick D wrote:

“There are different kinds of differences.”  That’s certainly true insofar as every argument is about something.  So why is blessing same-sex unions or consecrating a gay bishop the defining issue?  It seems to me that this issue is not at all Biblical or scriptural, but rather one of simple old-fashioned bigotry.  I probably fit Nikolaus’ definition above—not a scholar—but the “standards” argument presented above ...

Church is about a set of standards that must be kept and about a specific identity growing from these standards

...could probably just as well be applied to defend, for instance, slavery.

February 26, 3:16 pm | [comment link]
6. Rick H. wrote:

It trivializes the objections of reasserters to call this a “family argument.”  This fight is not about who gets to host the Thanksgiving dinner, nor about which sibling gets the heirloom china.  It is about standards—whether there are any, what they are if there are any, how they are to be enforced once we figure out what they are, who, if anyone, gets to change the standards, and what they should have to do in order to change the standards. 

Rick D., just because it “seems” to you that this issue is one of “simple old-fashioned bigotry” does not make it so.  To call the issue bigotry is to assert that those who oppose the innovations of the Episcopal Church are necessarily unprincipled.  The fact is, the Scriptures DO condemn homosexual behavior.  The fact is, the Christian Church in its entirety condemned homosexual behavior from the inception of the church until late in the 20th century.  The fact is, the vast majority of Christians today belong to denominations that condemn homosexual behavior.  Are the Scriptures purveyors of bigotry?  Is every Roman Catholic who accepts that church’s doctrinal positions thereby a bigot?
What you seem to be saying is that the arguments of anyone who may disagree with you should simply be ignored, rather than addressed on their merits, because anyone who asserts that homosexual behavior should not be condoned by the church is, by definition, guilty of iniquitous prejudice.  You are making a very broad and sweeping accusation against me and many millions of other people.  I would ask you to support it with at least some evidence.

February 26, 5:07 pm | [comment link]
7. Bob Lee wrote:

Jesus said that HE came with a sword….which may divide families. Maybe if they opened their Bibles and read a little they would understand what it’s all about.

February 26, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
8. First Family Virginian wrote:

Are the Scriptures purveyors of bigotry?

In that the Scriptures have mankind’s imperfections written into them right alongside the Holy ... if one reads them too literally and without an open mind ... the answer is yes.

May 26, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
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