Since his site "That We May All be One" came online in January of this year, The Rt. Rev. Christopher Epting, the retired Bishop of Iowa, and our Church's Bishop for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, has no doubt reassured many that our Church is very well represented before other religious bodies. His posts are faithful, insightful, and often offer compelling commentary on Scripture. The sense that we get when reading him is that here is a true servant of the Lord, who seeks to have Him in his heart and who does so humbly.
Bishop Epting's latest piece is called, "The Word of the Lord?" He notes Bishop Spong and his recent comments on the use of the concluding statement after a reading. Bishop Spong is not sure that the use of "The Word of the Lord" is always appropriate--or at least, not always the most comfortable response for him. Bishop Epting says,
I must say I have some sympathy with Jack’s position on this. I have no difficulty declaring that I believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God. In fact, I have declared that publicly at least four times — once at each ordination and once by voting for a General Convention resolution attesting to the same.
But that is different from saying that every verse, story, and chapter of the Bible is “the Word of the Lord.” The Bible itself contains progressive revelation and is, in some sense, self-correcting within its very pages.
The Rev. Tobias Haller also recently addressed (once more) the issue of Scriptural authority, in a sermon called "The Way." He says in part,
But if we look closely at our church, the church that survived the controversies, that was formed out of these tensions, the strange thing is that our surviving church quite often represents the forces of change and development, not the orthodox defenders of what they think of as the faith once given. Yesterday’s heresies become today’s orthodoxies, and presto chango: who is the heretic? If nothing else, none of us Gentiles would be here if the Circumcision Party had had their way. Even though they had scripture and tradition on their side, the church moved on.
As has a way of doing. Because the church is not so much about taking up a position as in being a way. The Spirit moves where it wills, leading a pilgrim people. And to follow the Spirit, and to follow Christ, means pulling that cross from the ground and carrying it every day of your life, not knowing where it will be planted next. If the church is to be true to its own best self, it must always be on the move, and follow the one who is the Way.
He is certainly a candidate for world's cutest cat. Get well soon!
Lisa also writes of the recent Pride event in St. Louis.
Friends who were there tell me we had over 240 Episcopalians marching in the parade -- by far the biggest turnout ever. A lot of us -- gay and straight -- felt it was especially important to get the word out that there is a church where gay folks are welcome and happy; I'm grateful for those who marched when I could not.
On the Web
That We May All be One
In a Godward Direction
My Manner of Life
The Episcopal Majority