Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Woman King

Earlier this year, in June, the Episcopal Church voted Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori as the first female leader of the entire church. She will now be the presiding bishop at the National Cathedral in Washington, becoming the first female priest to lead a national church in the nearly 500-year-old Anglican Communion.

I have some concerns about that alone, and many of you may agree or disagree with me on those matters (complementarianism or egalitarianism). However, my main concern is this church leader's view of the Gospel. From a Time magazine interview with Ms. Jefferts-Schori:
Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven? We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.
That's a very politically correct attempt not to offend anyone with the Gospel; Ms. Jefferts-Schori's answer regarding this Gospel presents Christ merely as a means (among others, she infers) to an end. In reality, we need not assume anything about how God saves people, for God has already made it clear that salvation is in Christ alone.


goodwillhiking said...

this is really hard to read.

Katharine calls it putting God in an awfully small box. most Christians would call it believing what God says about himself. (see John 14:6)

and Jesus is "a vehicle to the divine"? carefully chosen words, no doubt. not the Saving Son of God and object of our devotion and worship but "a vehicle". not Yahweh, the creator of the universe and One and Only God but "the divine".

why would she say such things? what were Jesus' death and resurrection and what did they mean if these things are true? what is the quality of your faith if you truly believe these things--seriously?

can you be a Christian and believe these things? i don't know.

Allie said...

Suggestion: Please go to the Falls Church Episcopal website. Listen to the sermon from Sunday, November 5th. Pastor John Yates addresses this very incident: I was there for the sermon. It was incredible.

Allie said...

I dont know what you mean by first woman to lead a national church, however. The Episcopal Church has been ordaining woman for several decades.

van.diesel said...

Good Will - i like your observations and i think your questions are very thoughtworthy.

Good Allie - I will check out that sermon, thanks for the reference.

It's true - the Episcopal church has been ordaining women as priests and bishops for years. Her distinction is as the first woman ever to be elected to the office of "Presiding Bishop" over the entire Episcopal Church, not just a state diocese. She holds the head office as "Chief Pastor" over the entire denominationin the U.S.

It probably would be more clear for me to have said that she is the first woman serving as national leader of the Episcopal Church.

goodwillhiking said...

thanks for the link. i listened to the sermon and it was refreshing to hear some truth spoken in a thoughtful and humble way. the pastor (bishop?) did say, "this is not Christianity". and he asked a very important question: if this is what we are building our churches on today--the idea that Christ is just one of many possible ways to God--what do we expect the church to look like in the coming decades? he also said that Episcopal church declared the 1990's a decade of evangelism and then saw their membership numbers decrease significantly during those years. why? how active or effective will we be in evangelism if we believe other religions are equally valid ways to God?

i don't want to presume to judge this woman's faith but i do wonder, can you believe these things and be a Christian? not least because i have friends and family that would profess similar pluralistic ideas and call themselves Christian.

theRoyal said...

thats is why I always said the pope is burning in hell

Anonymous said...

This is very concerning to have someone in a leadership role for the church expressing this belief.

I agree we must be careful not to put God in a box, HOWEVER, if His Word says something as clear as the way to salvation has been stated, don't we have to take it at face value? This is NOT putting God in a box, this is believing what He has very clearly spelled out for us in His Word.

Allie said...


it is really concerning. it may be helpful for readers to catch up on the ongoing crisis in the Episcopal denomination today: the church is divided over the issue of ordaining gay clergy. Falls Church falls on the more conservative end of the spectrum on that issue; other American Episcopal churches that do will most likely begin a new division in the denomination that still holds Anglican liturgy and beliefs (Apostle's creed, etc) but will not allow gay clergy.

Interestingly enough, the two Episcopal churches I have attended that fall of the more conservative end of the spectrum are two of the best churches I have been to, period. I have heard some of the best teaching ever from the pulpit at Falls Church from John Yates, Kim Swithinback (he's a dude, go figure) and his wife (I forget her name, but she gave a sermon on the prodigal son that blew my mind).

Jason: Thanks for clarification about what you meant cuz I wuz confused.