Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

7/05/2006

Church Lite?


Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas wrote a column called Church Lite which said in part,
Anglicanism has suffered from probably irreversible corruption since the days of the late C.S. Lewis and John Stott, who is still with us. These men combined intellectual heft with orthodox belief and had little regard for trends, fads or cultural diversions. They have been replaced by theological dim bulbs that are less concerned about proclaiming truth and conversion than in not offending anyone.
The Rev. Robert Fain, Rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Augusta, wrote a response to Thomas' column for the July 2 issue of the Augusta Chronicle which said in part,
I doubt Mr. Thomas meant to impugn either the faithfulness or the integrity of all Episcopal Christians across America, but the tone of his column may very well have had just that effect on his readers, causing them to believe that all Episcopalians don’t know what they believe, or that there is no such thing as sin and brokenness in our church’s understanding of humanity and the world we live in. I do not believe that to be the truth about the Episcopal church.
The full response as published in the newspaper is found here at The Episcopal Churches of Augusta Blog with Cal Thomas' full column here: Church Lite.

I second Fain's commentary to say that I can't be accountable for all Episcopalians or every Episcopal Church. No one in any denomination would care to take on that particular burden of accountability. But I am more than willing to be held accountable for our congregation. At King of Peace we take the Bible seriously through our readings from the Old and New Testament in worship, our scriptural sermons, and in affirming that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation. In all of this we are very much like other Episcopal Churches I know and with whom I have worshipped.

But we make no apologies for emphasizing God's love even as we acknowledge the reality of sin. Sin is falling short of the mark set by God. We know that our church is nothing but sinners looking to live more and more closely conformed to God's will.

In working toward God's will for us, I don't feel the need to beat people over the head with what terrible persons they are. This is classical evangelical preaching, but it has nothing to do with the sermons Jesus preached or the way he lived his life. Jesus emphasized love and he wasn't wishy washy about it. Jesus reached out in love and brought people into community. Then a person was challenged to change, but only after he or she knew they were loved. In fact, the particular way he preached about and lived out love got Jesus killed as a threat to society.

In conforming our lives to Jesus' life, we too work to emphasize love, costly love. As we emphasize the love of God rather than God's judgment, I guess we are bound to occasionally seen by others as lightweights. I'm more than willing to take that hit for the sake of love.
peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

PS: For a look at what it is like in a concrete way to emphasize love in preaching, the archives has the sermons:
One Simple Truth
Nothing Can Separate You From God's Love
Accommodation vs. Love
A Still More Excellent Way
and
All Whom God Loves
among others.

3 Comments:

  • At 7/05/2006 9:47 AM, Blogger Celeste said…

    The way I see it is being in His presence and surrounded by His love is what creates in us (or me at least) the desire to change. How else will we know what He wants of us without coming into fellowship with other Christians who seek the same thing? If we are turned away from our churches, how will we ever get to know Him any more? I agree that we have to stand with open arms without pointing out everyone's sin and let God do His work. Who wants to hear how awful and unworthy they are? Most of us already know that.

     
  • At 7/05/2006 11:57 AM, Blogger Victoria said…

    AMEN Frank and AMEN Celeste . . . "Judge not lest ye be judged . . . " and if you feel that someone is pointing the finger at you, there's always that grand old standby, "Bless them, change me."

     
  • At 7/05/2006 12:54 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Church Lite??? That's not what I've found at King Of Peace... Church Light is more accurate!

    Peace,

    Matt <><

     

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