As most know by now, the recent Episcopal House of Bishops voted to support the judgment that the See of Pittsburgh, Bishop Robert Duncan, has given up his “communion with this Church.” The Presiding Bishop signed his disposition and has removed him from his See after the vote of the House of Bishops.
Information from the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s is found here. The diocesan Standing Committee is
not(oops) now in charge of the diocese – here is a statement from the Committee. Of course, all this is in the game-plan. The leadership, bishop, clergy, and laity, of the diocese know that this would be the outcome when they started down the path. Nothing unexpected, IMHO, and they have their responses and plans all laid out. We shall see how it all plays out.
There is a link to “Statements of support for the bishop and the diocese are coming in from all over the world.” Such support came from a group of leaders from renewal movements within North American Mainline Protestant denominations. For example:
(Press Release) More than twenty Executives and Leaders of renewal movements and ministries within the mainline denominations of the U.S. and Canada sent a letter of support today to Bishop Bob Duncan, Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh who was “deposed” Friday by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church at the insistence of Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori. In their letter they also issued a strong rebuke to The Episcopal leadership. Bishop Duncan has been a faithful advocate for Biblical Christianity in the Episcopal Church for over two decades.
The mainline renewal leaders wrote to Bishop Duncan, “We stand with you in solidarity as you endure this trial of your faith. Your patient, courageous, and steadfast witness has been an inspiration to all of us who desire to see our Lord Jesus Christ glorified in his church.” They went on to say, “It grieves our hearts to see those entrusted with church leadership such as Bishop Schori and the Episcopal House of Bishops, engaged in such divisive and destructive behavior. Like other denominational officials in the North American mainline denominations, they have acted with callous disregard for the authority of scripture, the witness of the historic church, and the sanctity of human life, sexuality, and marriage. We are most deeply grieved for the millions of Christian believers who have been forced out of the churches of their childhood by those they trusted to lead.”
Association for Church Renewal President, David Runnion-Bareford said, “This action is tragic for the whole ecumenical church. Katherine Schori and those who voted to depose Bishop Duncan are emerging as the new fundamentalists of the left. Their legalism and separatism appear to be birthed from much the same defensiveness that marked the fundamentalists on the right in a previous generation. Their disregard for faithful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the authority of scripture, the unity of the church and holy living has divided and torn the church irreparably.”
Signatories included church leaders from the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church USA, The United Church of Christ, The Church of the Brethren, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Disciples of Christ.
This is all very sad, but seriously, all Bishop Duncan had to do is say (and mean) that he will not attempt to lead the diocese out of The Episcopal Church, whether he personally decides to stay and fight or resign his See due to the condition of this Church. There are those who try again and again to make this an act of Churchâ€™s leadership purging it of â€œconservativesâ€ or Bible-believing-Christians. It isnâ€™t. It is about a bishop who intends to end his relationship with the Church that ordained and consecrated him, but retain all the stuff of the diocese of that Church. I respect his theological position and his willingness to sacrifice for it, but I do not respect his attempts to act like a Congregationalist rather than an Anglican.
Of course, when it comes to the term â€œBible-believing-Christian,â€ for certain groups within this Church – and the renewal groups within the other Mainline Protestant denominations mentioned – that term means agreement with particular interpretations of the Bible. If certain other people or groups do not agree with that specific interpretation of the Bible, then those other people are not considered â€œBible-believing,â€ regardless of how those other people or groups claim to regard and handle Scripture. This is not the Anglican way, but the way of the American Culture Wars.