Lest anyone accuse me of caricaturing the "Conservative Episcopalians" and their kind in my 2004 article, The Gay Divorcé, they may see for themselves the convoluted reasoning of one of the chief spokesman of that party, in the third part of his 2006 series, Has the Episcopal Church been “Falsely Accused” Part III. Matt Kennedy, an Episcopal priest married to another Episcopal "priest" (just like the confusing and confused Ephraim Radner), actually proved the accuracy of my analysis. The problem is, to this day he no doubt continues to think that his position was clever. Kennedy wrote:
In yesterday’s article I argued that that the “accusations” of heresy and apostasy against the Episcopal Church do not rest on the presence and/or influence of John Shelby Spong or Dr. Marcus Borg, but on the historical fact of the election, consent and consecration of V. Gene Robinson to the office of bishop in the state of New Hampshire. By this official legislative and sacramental act, the Episcopal Church crossed the boundary between right and false doctrine, orthodoxy and heresy. The transgression was confirmed, officially, at GC2006.
He follows with more of the same bizarre reasoning:
The case against the Episcopal Church is not that there are influential false teachers in the church and therefore the Church is heretical. Nor is it that “hundreds or thousands” of parishioners hold beliefs consistent with the heretical teachings espoused by the false teachers above and therefore the Church is heretical.
The Church is in error because the election, consent, and consecration of V. Gene Robinson officially moved the Episcopal Church beyond the limits of orthodoxy.
The orthodox emphasis on the influence of Spong, Dr. Borg, +Pike, +Righter, et al ... is not intended to “prove heresy” but to explain the root origins and causes of the heretical acts of 2003.
In other words the assertion is that the Episcopal Church officially stepped away from orthodoxy and into heresy in 2003 because the false teachers and errors above, over the course of thirty years, significanly influenced the collective body of the Episcopal Church and played a major, if not definitive, role in the decision to give consent to the election in New Hampshire.
The point...is that the “embrace” occurred in 2003, the seduction leading up to the embrace was long, drawn out, and, in fact, did and does include alien and pagan forms of religion.
This reminds me of the meeting that I described in my own article, published over two years before Kennedy decided to prove me right.
My article included this:
Last August (2003) the Episcopal Church’s General Convention approved the election of V. Gene Robinson to be the bishop of New Hampshire. Many protests have been made, meetings held, resolutions passed, and stands taken by conservative Episcopalians and other Anglicans because of this man’s open and unrepentant life of homosexual sin. In protesting [Robinson's] elevation to the episcopate on these grounds alone, many conservatives have only advanced the agenda of his supporters, and have shown that their understanding of the issue is little better than that of the liberal wing of the Episcopal Church.
I saw this at a meeting held by and for Episcopalians who were trying to deal with the practical effects of this latest crisis. These well-meaning and very sincere people were concerned only about his homosexuality. It is for them the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the point of no return. What I heard that night has been said over and over again: “We cannot allow the consecration of an openly ‘gay’ man to the office of bishop.”
In a comment a while back, a defender of Kennedy insisted that the issue of contention on Stand Firm was not only the homosexualist heresy, but "the authority of scripture." It seems that this commenter had either not read Kennedy's 2006 blog entry, or had forgotten it. What Matt Kennedy wrote perfectly summarizes the position of the "conservatives" who pretend to stand firm, all the while being blown about by every wind of doctrine even if tossed a little slower or not quite as far as other heretics. Perhaps they did not get carried all the way to OZ; nonetheless, they are not in Kansas anymore.
What does it take to be in heresy? What is communion breaking? For the very polite, reasonable Canterbury Crowd, adopting an English temperament even if they are not English, it does not do to get excited and overreact. Putting up with all manner of abuses while maintaining a stiff upper lip, but remaining always polite, it can be all too easy to let things go by. Such people need a bit of help in realizing that right doctrine required a break in communion quite a long time ago. Faithfulness to the Gospel cannot live with these things.
It was necessary to break communion because this put souls in peril, since two of these sacraments are "generally necessary to salvation."
It was necessary to break communion when no clear stand could be taken on moral issues, such as abortion, etc.
We are the ones who, by the grace of God, try to stand firm. Our principles are eternal and defined by the unchanging standard of Heaven. We must never merely react to the latest turn the Devil has taken on a twisted path, and that is possible only if we have not been following him at all.