Home > Bp. Breidenthal, Fisks, Theology > Uh .. Did Bp. Breidenthal just say, what I think he just said ??

Uh .. Did Bp. Breidenthal just say, what I think he just said ??

12 May 2010

[H/T Anon. and Pearls]

From the May 2010 Interchange Archives  (p2):

Total Surrender to God:  Exploring Salvation

..Respondents to the Around One Table questionnaire did not place a high value on salvation as a key value of Episcopalians. This may be because the question asked us to rate the church as a source of salvation. Put this way, I’m not sure what I would have said…

Nevertheless, when I was asked to get us talking about this, it got me thinking. It is probably true to say that very often we Episcopalians avoid putting salvation front and center when we talk about faith in sermons, in pastoral conversations, and in public discourse. Why might this be the case?

Here, I direct the reader to a list of possible reasons why salvation might be low on a typical Episcopalian’s totem pole, that the bishop lays out  (I have bulleted for everyone’s benefit):

(a)  Perhaps we embrace the notion of rescue and healing, but avoid the term salvation, because it has taken on overtones that sound exclusive and fear-inducing. We avoid talking about the saved, lest we be heard to be saying that some are damned..

(b)  Or we may want to avoid linking eternal well-being to specific belief in Jesus..

(c)  Again, we may wish to avoid approaches to Jesus that are too individualistic (“Are you saved?”) ..   

And now I direct the reader to the bishop’s comments regarding items (a)-(c):

All this is good. It is good to be clear that God loves everyone.  It is a good thing to enter into dialogue with other faith communities, respecting their own life-giving experience of God. It is good to keep in mind that the primary object of salvation is the human race as a whole, along with the physical universe.

Let’s rewind that last bit:

It is good to keep in mind that the primary object of salvation is the human race as a whole, along with the physical universe.

Hm, sounds like Universalism.  Doesn’t really come out and say it, though.  But it sounds an awful lot like it.

Believe it or not, it actually gets worse.  For Bp. Breidenthal then preceeds to decry the attitude of the typical Episcopalian towards salvation,

Nevertheless, our avoidance of the word salvation may alert us to a spiritual problem we need to look at. If salvation means rescue, protection and healing, it means that we are dependent on God for these things.

but conflates salvation with assurance, something entirely different:

Could it be that we don’t want to think of ourselves as dependent on God?

Hm… just a thought, but if heretics are telling me from the pulpit that I don’t need to worry about my salvation, and I believe their heresy, then .. perhaps .. just maybe .. I won’t rank salvation high on my list of important things.  Like uh, the Around One Table questionnaire results, indicate. 

Here is the icing on the cake:

I am reminded of the Sunday School teacher who said to me when I was in sixth grade, “I don’t need to be saved. God knows I’m just fine.” It took me a long time to sort out that depending on God did not mean I was of less value. It took me even longer to learn that total surrender to God was the only way I would ever discover my infinite value in God’s eyes.

Got that?  Let it sink in for a minute. 

Ready for more from the bishop?  Here we go:

Talk of salvation also keeps us from forgetting that we are not in charge of our mission. 

Okay, now my eyes just glazed over. 

– Elder

PS – Later this week, I will be responding to Bp. Breidenthal’s “propositions” at the end of the article, and at least answering one of his three questions.

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  1. Pearls Before Swine
    12 May 2010 at 2:23 AM

    Hmm… but doesn’t this quote also shout out universalism? “It is a good thing to enter into dialogue with other faith communities, respecting their own life-giving experience of God.”

    Has anything been posted that would indicate the HoB’s responses to this? That would most likely be some really scary stuff, but could be yet another clincher that TEC is no longer even remotely Christian! I wonder if there is a way to get Bishops Lawrence, Howe or Love to expound on what was discussed?

  2. Elder Oyster
    12 May 2010 at 10:06 AM

    RE: “Has anything been posted that would indicate the HoB’s responses to this?”

    It’s probably passe’ by HoB standards.

  3. 12 May 2010 at 1:00 PM

    I think this should put him at the head of the line to be the next P.B.

  4. 12 May 2010 at 5:34 PM

    [Comment deleted without animus. In the future, please forward such information to me offline. My current policy is that I will not publish anything that is not already in official electronic or paper form.]

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