Sunday, June 18, 2017

The wrong kind of ecumenism. . .

Read the whole article by Terry Mattingly:
Soumaya Khalifah's sermon fell in the usual place in the Holy Week rite in which Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta clergy renewed their vows – after a Gospel passage and before the consecration of bread and wine as Holy Communion.  In this Mass, the Liturgy of the Word also included a Quran reading, including: "God, there is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep. Unto Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth. Who is there who may intercede with Him save by His leave?"
Khalifah asked leaders from the region's 96 Episcopal parishes an obvious question: Was this an historic moment, with a Muslim woman preaching in a liturgy for an entire Christian diocese?  
After her sermon, Atlanta Bishop Robert C. Wright invited Khalifah to join clergy and others at the altar for the Eucharistic prayers consecrating the bread and wine. As the worshippers stepped forward to receive Holy Communion, the bishop said Khalifah took part.  "She held out her hand to receive the Host and it is not my practice to refuse people," said Wright, reached by telephone. He noted that "open Communion" is common across his diocese, especially with visitors. Khalifah returned to her seat without receiving the consecrated wine, the bishop said.
"They gave me the bread," said Khalifah, in a separate interview. "I am a Muslim. I am not a Christian. … This service was about what we have in common, the work we can do together."
Quite a story.  A Muslim woman not only preaching but receiving the host in an Episcopal Service of Holy Communion.  Whether it should or should not have happened, it did.  The mere fact that it happened should have raised questions, not only within the Episcopal communion but for those who are in fellowship with the Episcopal Church.  How is it possible to offer the Christian pulpit which is there to expound the Word of God and Christ crucified to anyone, Muslim or other, to preach another god and another truth that conflicts with Jesus Christ?  How is it possible to use such a moment to then offer what -- at least some within the greater Episcopal communion -- is not mere bread but the Body of Christ to someone whose faith contradicts this presence?  It is not a mere matter of unbelief but of a faith that refuses to believe the essential, creedal, Christian claim of who Christ is and what He has done. It is a strange kind of ecumenism in which conflicts stand but communion is offered, when competing gospels from competing holy books can be proclaimed in the same place. 

At some point, practice will overpower the claim of faith.  I fear that this time either has come or is soon to come for those who claim to be creedal, catholic  Christians in faith and worship but whose practice casts doubt upon such confession.  I write with deep regret that such as point has come for the Episcopal Church.  It was once a noble communion that produced legendary preachers, teachers, hymnwriters, liturgists, and authors who gave eloquent voice to English words.  I do not see how many more moments like this can come and go without the essential Christian character of such a church being lost, willingly surrendered upon the altar of expediency toward the most shallow and vacuous kind of ecumenism.

And where the Episcopal Church has gone, the ELCA is soon to follow.  Mark my words.  This is why we as Missouri Synod Lutherans continue to have such a conversation about supervision of doctrine and practice and why this is not a theoretical conversation. 

8 comments:

John J. Flanagan said...

It is really quite staggering and indicative of the abysmal decline of a professing Christian denomination, one in which no Christian should be a part. Separation from this false and compromised body should be immediate, yet many will remain and worship in this church. The service in which Muslim participation was invited is in fact and in substance a polluted service. Judgment, as the Bible points out, will begin at the house of God, and those who can see what is happening today and turn away from apostasy are the discerning ones moved by the Holy Spirit. Let such as those who embrace pluralism in the faith go their way, and remember they have chosen the wide path over the narrow way, and the way they are traveling is to spiritual destruction.

Carl Vehse said...

The Episcopal religious body is now a tool of Satan. Lutherans, including those in the Missouri Synod should baptize any Episcopal convert to Lutheranism because an Episcopalian baptism is a mockery and invalid, just as no baptism done in the apostate XXXA, or by Mormons, should be regarded as a valid sacrament.

Padre Dave Poedel said...

And you are surprised by this? When Jewish speakers are invited to the Eucharist, why not everybody? Oh wait....I got into a very naive and heated debate with an ELCA Pastor who told me that everyone is invited to Holy Communion, whether Baptized or not. After all, he told me, it wouldn't be polite to invite a guest to your home when you are serving dinner and not invite them to the table, would you?

Yes, I am as appalled as any LCMS clergyman should be, but also know that for whatever reason some choose to stay who also profess faith in Christ.....

Kyrie eleison

Joanne said...

You do still remember the flap that was occasioned by an Anglican Priestess in Canada giving the host to a pet dog that was brought up to the altar? She said the dog looked hungry. Her superiors talked to her and made her promise not to do it again, even though it was just some bread, there was strong symbolism involved. Here in this instance, as the nice muslim lady said, "they gave me some bread." Well, one can give some bread to most anybody and to most animals. If the person is a visitor it would be hospitable to share your grub with them. The Episcopalians and many Lutherans have changed the sacrament of the body and blood into a rite (and right) of hospitality. The rule of faith for hospitality is "Miss Manners' guide to excruciatingly correct behavior." One of the first rules is, serve food to all your guests. The Episcopal superior in this instance declares that he never refuses the hospitality snack to anyone. If we could convince those who hand out altar bread to "tout le monde", to refrain from consecrating the bread, we'd all be a lot happier. After all, hospitality bread has no need of consecration. A simple blessing will do.

Anonymous said...

The unconsecrated bread line forms on the left and is served with your favorite beverage. What a fine kettle of fish the Western church is in. That's not global warming you feel, it's God's holy wrath heating up.

Anonymous said...

The ECUSA is all about "feeling good" about oneself, not about following Jesus Christ. That all passe' doncha know? The Episcopal Church has been in open heresy since the 1970s, and there is no sign that it will turn away from that path.

Fr.D+
Continuing Anglican Priest

Joanne said...

Speaking of lines forming, the Greeks have an antidoron (instead of the gift), a little cube of bread that is cut from the same loaf as the sacramental bread, but not consecrated. At the end of each Liturgy, all the attendees form up in lines on both sides of the church and file forward to receive the cube of antidoron. One always leaves a Greek church munching on a cube of bread. It's really good bread and anyone (probably not dogs though) can have it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antidoron

Anonymous said...

"I do not see how many more moments like this can come and go without the essential Christian character of such a church being lost, willingly surrendered upon the altar of expediency toward the most shallow and vacuous kind of ecumenism." It is neither uncharitable nor inaccurate to say that such actions ipso facto point to the "essential Christian character of such a church" being long lost.

Kirk Skeptic