Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Episcopal Church bishop says: "God has given us a new revelation"

"God has given us a new revelation not shared with our forefathers in the church."

According to Fr. George Conger in an article written for Anglican Ink, this is what one bishop said about the move towards embracing same-sex marriage in The Episcopal Church.

Regardless of where one stands on this matter, this is a striking statement to make.  

"A new revelation not shared with our forefathers."  

In other words, God has given The Episcopal Church a revelation that cannot be found in Scripture or Tradition, a revelation that Jesus, St. Paul and the rest of the New Testament writers, the Church Fathers, the Reformers, the Anglican Divines, etc., did not have access to.  Because only in our time has God been gracious enough to share it.  And God has given this new revelation only to a select few among all the Christians currently living in the world.

But how do we know this is truly revelation from God?  By what authority and what criteria does a claim to new revelation get checked out and determined to be true or false?  

To his credit, this bishop apparently told Fr. Conger that "we must proceed slowly and with generosity of spirit" in case it turns out that the majority of bishops and deputies at General Convention are wrong.  What might be the signs that we've got it wrong?  How would we know?

I note that this bishop made this statement in the context of Salt Lake City, a city founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders.  Seeing as Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, claimed a new revelation not shared with our forefathers in the church, Salt Lake City may strike some as a fitting place for an Episcopal bishop to make a similar claim.

It's possible that this bishop's take on what's happening in The Episcopal Church correctly represents a prophetic vision of how God is doing something new and unforeseen in our time through the actions of General Convention. 

It's also possible that what this bishop said expresses the hubris and false teaching, perhaps even the heresy, of General Convention's actions.

I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to decide.


Peter Carrell said...

It is so awesome that God has chosen TEC for this special task of receiving this new revelation not given to our forefathers. Not even to Mary. We could puzzle away for centuries as to why God has chosen TEC of all the churches of the world, but like Israel accepting its destiny, we must acknowledge that God's election is inscrutable as well as an act of sheer grace. Those of us who belong to other churches, not so blessed, must find new depths of humility as we accept that God has bypassed us on the matter.

It is impossible to imagine what the Roman Magisterium is feeling at this point. Disappointment would be an understatement.

I am puzzled, however, as an Anglican, why this revelation did not come to the ABC? Do you think his spiritual antennae need a tune up?

underground pewster said...

TEc has been hearing revelations for decades now. There is a medication for this you know.

Fr. Bryan Owen said...

All of this brings to mind the claim to private revelation shared by Bishop Shannon Johnston of Virginia in a piece he wrote back in July 2011 entitled "Surprised By Prayer."

I note that many Episcopalians scoff when evangelical televangelists like Pat Robertson or Oral Roberts claim that God has clearly and distinctly spoken to them in prayer. (How loony is that?!) But when an Episcopal bishop says the same thing (without bothering, apparently, to "test the spirits"), it has the status of revealed truth and thus provides a definitive warrant for acting against the grain of classic Christianity and global Anglicanism. We've looked within ourselves and heard the voice of God speaking, revealing to us a new truth. It all has more of a quasi-gnostic, quasi-montanist ring to it than the marks of authentically Christian discernment.