Blog Template Theology of the Body: Dear Frank Griswold...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dear Frank Griswold...

An ECUSA priest of a small city in Texas wrote this note to +Frank, bless him, per his interview with Larry King on CNN the other day. I found his message interesting because it reflects the true heart of this church- faithful, unassuming, antique, community-embedded- as against the dangerous and proud posturing of sacerdotal elitism.

June 17, 2006

The Most Reverend T. Frank Griswold
Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

Dear Bishop Griswold,

It made me very sad to listen to your interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" two nights ago. Your responses showed a lack of concern for the things that matter most to me as an Episcopal priest and to many of us at Christ Episcopal Church. I have already received several phone calls and your comments actually hurts my ministry in San Antonio as I try to explain to my congregation why our leader has left the faith for new theologies and new understandings. I was especially shocked by your lack of humility and concern for the wider Communion who has patiently urged you to honor the "bonds of affection."

With a quote from John chapter 16 ("the Spirit will lead you into all truth"), you said that God is leading us to new revelations that are contrary to the plain teaching of Holy Scripture. Is there anything in Scripture that suggests that the Bible would one day be considered culturally bound and irrelevant? Didn't Jesus consistently and always uphold the authority of Holy Scripture, criticizing the Pharisees for missing the heart of its message, and coming to be its fulfillment? Bishop, your statement that we have "progressed" in technology and medicine, so why not progress in theology? reveals your contempt for the Bible as God's unique revelation.

In a weird coincidence, your interview was on the same day that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed a resolution (C001) essentially dismissing the Bible as an anti-Jewish document. It's clear that traditional Episcopalians are now a minority with little sway or influence left. If I was a Primate or an Episcopalian in another part of the world I would now be convinced that the Episcopal Church in the United States is perfectly happy to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.

As I write this, General Convention has not yet acted on the Windsor Report resolutions. This will happen in the coming week. I don't know if the Convention will satisfy the requirements of Windsor or not, or what actions if any the Primates will take as a result. I do know, however, that you could have stopped the madness and did not. By speaking up in defense of the conscience of the wider Communion you could have on many occasions declared "out of order" any discussion that would remove us from the stream of historic Anglicanism. I'm sorry that you did not choose to be a bishop for the whole church, and, instead, led the Gadarene rush into moral and theological libertinism.

I continue to pray for you and for whoever is elected to be our new Presiding Bishop. I pray for our bishops from West Texas with thanksgiving for their faithful witness to biblical Christianity and mainstream Episcopalianism. I am extremely thankful to lead a strong and growing congregation of Christians who honor the Bible as God's Word and who love to worship in the tradition of Thomas Cranmer. I fully trust that on the other side of General Convention and on the other side of the realignment will be an expression of Anglicanism in America that is faithful to the creeds and to the formularies that have always defined us. I am determined to stay and fight for the heart and soul of this church, even as a minority, and even if my Presiding Bishop denigrates the things that matter most to me.

I'm sure you are not in your hotel room in Columbus Ohio just waiting to hear from me. In fact, I doubt seriously that you will get this email or care about it. But I needed to write it anyway.

God, in your mercy, save our church.

Rector, Christ Church
San Antonio, TX