This summer the worldwide Anglican communion is coming apart at an accelerating rate . The “presenting issue” was Gene Robinson’s consecration to the office of Bishop in the autumn of 2003. You see, Robinson divorced his wife and took up “married” life with another man. The negative reaction of the rest of the Anglican communion – mostly concentrated in the Southern hemisphere – and the Episcopal church’s repudiation of their objections are combining to fracture the Anglican communion as I write these words.
But, Gene Robinson’s consecration was merely the presenting issue. The real madness is much deeper. Here is how one Anglican described it recently. Read Peter’s parable first, and then I’ll connect a dot or two for you:
OK, so here it is. We as a church have had a wasps nest of heresy and apostasy on our porch and, rather than doing the painful but necessary thing (which, by the way is mentioned as both necessary and painful in the Bible – y’know that book that…oh never mind) we have decided to ignore and tolerate it.
So, what happened? Well, funnily enough that wasp’s nest, over the course of the summer, grew, expanded beyond the confines of the box and suddenly, rather than a tiny little wasps nest we have a great big wasps nest – on our porch, stopping us getting in and out, getting the kids stung and generally making daily life difficult.
We tolerated it, and look what we became: the spectre of Catholic bishops tolerating ‘Catholic’ politicians supporting abortion and other innovations of the zeitgeist.
Simply put, you don’t tolerate wasps, you don’t tolerate sin, because if you do it just grows.
But wait a moment, where do Anglicans fit into all this, you may ask? Well, for the record I am not a good Anglican. If I was a good Anglican I would have taken that wasp’s nest inside and placed it at the centre of the mantelpiece. I would have watched it grow with pride, congratulating myself on my diversity and tolerance, glad that I had found it in my heart to be so inclusive. I would have been stung, and watched my children being stung and have rejoiced in this new relationship that the spirit was working within us.
Welcome, friends, to our world. Welcome to the Anglican Madhouse.
A madhouse indeed, with the inmates in charge. Evangelicals have been running the same sorts of institutions for 20 or 30 years now. And, they all started out with exactly the same conviction that the Anglicans embraced when they first ordained women back in the Seventies, namely, the egalitarian premise that sex has nothing to do with church order, church offices, church ministry, or the ordering of marriage. It’s the feminist premise baptized and installed in the evangelical magisterium (i.e. seminaries, publishing houses, and mission boards).
Now, what’s wonderful about religious madhouses is this: they usually appear utterly normal. All the psychic (or, theological) horrors are well hidden behind the visible veneer of civility, piety, and bible-babble. Stained glass, well-polished and padded pews, tasteful colors and the soft rustle of choir robes or clerical vestments render it all so … well, staid. If a stranger to the Episcopal madness were to wander into Gene Robinson’s Prayer Book Eucharist and didn’t pay very close attention to what was said outside Prayer Book texts and responses, he’d likely have no idea that he was worshiping in an Episcopal madhouse.
No doubt, the scene was also quite staid, civil, and effused with somber joy where this happened:
Synod 2007 made a historic decision last night, voting to remove the word “male” as a requirement for holding ecclesiastical office in the Christian Reformed Church. This opens the way for any CRC congregation to ordain women as ministers, elders, deacons or ministry associates.
Today, synod will take up two remaining proposals that include opening the way for women to serve as delegates to synod.
The decision last night also reflected synod’s desire to maintain unity in the church by respecting the convictions of those who believe the Bible prohibits women serving as office bearers. It allows classes to set restrictions on women serving as delegates to classis meetings.
The pastoral psychosis embedded in this event is a tad easier to see in the remarks of two supporters of the change, reported in the Kalamazoo Gazette :
The Rev. Joel Boot prayed that God help the CRC’s “disagreeing and sometimes disagreeable people to be one.”
That already is happening, said elder Henry Baron. He said the 150th anniversary celebration Sunday gave delegates a motivating vision of a more-inclusive future. “This is a wonderful, exhilarating step toward togetherness, reconciliation and healing,” Baron, a Synod clerk, said of the women’s decision.
Even those who oppose women clergy hope the CRC will benefit from moving beyond a decades-old conflict.
“Animosities should vanish and people should be liberated to freely move forward and live for Christ,” said the Rev. Joel Nederhood. “There’s no reason why conservative people can’t develop their full potential in this denomination.”
Clearly, the disagreeable people Rev. Boot has in mind are those opposing women clergy who are, nevertheless, going to benefit from moving beyond a decades-old conflict. Whether they like it or not, those conservative people WILL develop their full potential.
For a really well-developed look at what this potential becomes, revisit the modern Anglican madhouse. They’re about 50 years down the road from the CRC and other evangelicals. The future for today’s egalitarian-infatuated evangelicals appears to be no less deranged than what the Anglicans are already enjoying. There are even pockets of this madness within Roman Catholicism, that ostensible bastion of male privilege and power.