Friday, December 13, 2013

The Presiding Bishop's Jesus-Free Gospel

Writing at The Sub-Dean's Stall, the Rev. Canon Robert Hendrickson highlights a troubling characteristic of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori: in her feast day messages, she rarely if ever mentions Jesus by name.  Fr. Hendrickson writes:

Whether it is time to consider the Incarnation or the Resurrection, the Presiding Bishop is consistent in her unwillingness to mention the person in whom our whole faith and hope rests. ... 
At this point, with repeated messages that omit reference to Christ, it can only seem intentional that she not actually reference the singular significance of the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ let alone his saving action. ... 
The vagueness of the message communicates an unwillingness to proclaim the most basic tenets of the faith. Her opacity evinces a lack of comfort with the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and borders on gnosticism. 
I use the term gnosticism as her message is so densely worded as to be accessible only to those with an inside knowledge of contemporary theological obfuscative language. I long for a leader with clarity and theological acumen who can articulate the abiding power of the Incarnation such that all who hear might be drawn the the Living Christ.

Using Wordle, Fr. Hendrickson also offers a striking visual contrast between the Presiding Bishop's 2013 Christmas message and Pope Francis' encyclical Lumen Fidei.  

Read it all.

In a previous posting, I have noted the Presiding Bishop's failure to mention the name of Jesus in an Easter message.  There's also her denial of special revelation.  And then there's her May 12, 2013 sermon on Acts 16:16-34 in which she inverts the Gospel by equating the liberating power of Christ with the demonic and the demonic with the Holy Spirit (as one critic rightly notes, this is tantamount to seeing the devil as beautiful and holy).  The list could go on and on.

Given the consistency of her preaching and teaching over the years, it should come as no surprise that the Presiding Bishop continues to proclaim a Jesus-free Gospel.

1 comment:

The Underground Pewster said...

She is perceived by many to be the spokesperson of TEc. Sadly, I suspect she is representative of the majority of Episcopalians in her fear of invoking the name of our Lord. My own upbringing in the Church is testimony to this fear.

I recall the time our new bishop gathered all of his churches to present their stories, their visions, etc. At the end, I stood and said that I had not heard Jesus' name once during the two hours and that we should be ashamed to call ourselves a Christian gathering. Needless to say, that did not go over very well.