Friday, July 6, 2012

The Episcopal Church is not a Hierarchical Church

The Hackney Hub feels the need to address an issue (which I have written about before) but especially in hearing the news that nine bishops in the Episcopal Church have been charged with misconduct due to their involvement in an amicus curiae motion in a Texas court (the case is a bit more complicated but I am no legal expert), including my diocesan bishop, William Love.  Besides the topic of this post, I will briefly comment that it is beyond my understanding how anyone could bring charges against these bishops.  They have expressly and openly declared their intent to stay in the Episcopal Church, despite the (now blatantly) obvious prejudice, hatred, and persecution against them.  I add a personal note that I don't even think Satan himself could discourage Bill Love in his Christian faith and witness.  Having a personal respect and admiration of my godly bishop, I say, shame on these anonymous persons who have brought these Title IV complaints against these bishops, not only will you have to testify against the saintliness of these men but also against the wrath of God Almighty who protects his shepherds against cowards like you.

In regards to the subject matter, it is plainly obvious to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the history of the Protestant Episcopal Church or the English language that the Episcopal Church is purposely not a hierarchical Church, in the sense of a hierarchical Church such as that of our mother Church of England.  The Episcopal Church is obviously a "hierarchical" Church in some sense, in contrast to a Congregational Church, for example.  The debate is over whether the Episcopal Church is a hierarchical Church in the historic, Western understanding of hierarchical ecclesiology.  The Episcopal Church is a Church of dioceses.  The Episcopal Church is governed by bishops, as in our title.  The Episcopal Church is a voluntary association of dioceses united by a general convention.  This is evident in the history, such as the founding of our Church and in our Constitution and Canons.  For example, General Convention does not create dioceses, it admits them to union with Convention.  Bishops are not appointed to our dioceses, they are elected by our dioceses (only with the consent of the other Bishops and Deputies).  In respect to metropolitical authority, our Church has none.  Metropolitical authority, or the idea that some bishops have authority over other bishops, was explicitly rejected by the Protestant Episcopal Church by the adoption of a presiding bishop, after the practice of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which elects a Primus, from the Latin, primes inter pares.  The Presiding Bishop has no metropolitical authority in the sense that the Archbishop of Canterbury does.  No bishop swears allegiance to him.  The purpose of that office is to preside (imagine that!) over the House of Bishops, much as the President presides over the House of Deputies.  In addition, the Presiding Bishop has sacramental duties to be the chief consecrator of bishops in the Church and make visitations to the Dioceses.  The idea that the Presiding Bishops is some sort of archbishop is clearly against the plain intentions of our founding fathers and against the Constitution and Canons.

This "authority" the Presiding Bishop believes herself to have is paper thin, manufactured out of the evil desires of her own heart and, because of this lack of foundation, will come crashing down.  Hopefully, for her sake, in this life, so that she may have a chance to repent of her heresies and persecution of the people of God.

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