Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Why did Jesus die, Bishop Schori?

Katharine Jefferts Schori continues the litigation road show by setting up a shadow diocese in Illinois last Saturday with four churches and a hand-picked bishop. The real Episcopal Diocese of Quincy voted to separate from The Episcopal Church according to the canons of their diocese.

While in Peoria, she answered a question that sort of makes Holy Week rather pointless, doesn't it?

In response to a question, Jefferts Schori said that to insist Jesus is the only way to God is to "limit God." She said that God is certainly at work in the lives of people in Jewish and Muslim communities.

"God is, at the very least, a mystery," Jefferts Schori said. "God's intention is for a restored relationship with all humanity. My job is to proclaim the good news of Jesus, but I cannot deny God is not at work in other ways."

This kind of logic is like saying "Yes, I've found the cure for cancer, but if people want to use a different treatment, I can't deny that they could be treated in other ways."

The Presiding Bishop continues to appear to have no deep conviction that Jesus is her savior or an understanding that Jesus said that the only way we can approach God is through Him. God does want to save the world, but it's all through Jesus - our redeemer, the savior of the world - not just bits. How He accomplishes this is an amazing work, but that's what Jesus said. How can she be a bishop of a church, of the Episcopal Church, and not believe it? Did Ridley and Cranmer and Latimer die for nothing? And for that matter, then, why did Jesus die? Who's idea was that?


Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Although the PB does not need me to defend her, I have found the attacks on her rather modest way of talking about the Christian faith disturbing. While I am clear that it is by God's grace through faith in Jesus the Christ that I have been given life, I do not presume to say that God could not provide life to others another way.

BabyBlue said...

Fr. Daniel, what does Jesus actually say about it? What claims does He make about Himself? What actually got Him killed?


Perpetua said...

Hi baby blue,

I think your post is incorrect. Jesus said the only way to the Father is through the Son. As Trinitarians, we affirm that both the Father and the Son are God. God in three persons. Jesus Christ is God. Schori's thinking reveals that she does not believe that Jesus Christ is God.

Please don't buy into that.

Love you.

BabyBlue said...

That may be true. And I'm not sure they like all that "Father" stuff either. I used "God" instead of "Father" because that's what she does.


Perpetua said...

Hi BB,
I think you are right that she uses the word God to only refer to what Christians who affirm the Nicene Creed call "God the Father". By doing this she demotes Jesus Christ to less than God, less than "God the Son". Her language use implies that she really doesn't believe in Jesus Christ as God the Son.

I think we need to point this out.

BabyBlue said...

Yes, I agree.


Andy said...

Thanks for the thoughts and the video BB, you're a champion.

Ed said...

"God is, at the very least, a mystery," Jefferts Schori said. "God's intention is for a restored relationship with all humanity.

I say that as long as she continues this blab, God will remain a mystery to her .... which is unfortunate for her and the ones that buy into her heresy.

BB, you have made the perfect post on this and will link it out to my blog.


Ed said...

ok i can't type ....



Anonymous said...

It's always been my understanding, that Christ was the new covenant, and thus the path to God. That was what God was telling us, now the PB and a few others want to infer that we're to ignore what Christ said, and just pretend he really didn't meant that. It's not disrespectful to those of other faiths, to accept our own and live by it. If the PB and others like her wish to uphold the beliefs of others, she and they should convert.

Andrew said...

Didn't know know? Jesus was killed because he alienated the religious conservatives of his day with his message of radical inclusion!

Or not.

John said...

Why does this blog continue to spread misinformation about PB Schori?
Her position is well known, i.e. For Christians, Jesus Christ is the way to salvation. She has said so on many occasions.
How, non believers, those ignorant of Christ's message of salvation in the Bible and even those who disagree about interpretation of Biblical truth will be judged, is beyond her pay grade.
I remember well having that discussion with one of my RC priest educators. He said "we do not know." Jesus came to save sinners. "How He will judge we do not know."

Allen said...

I would just feel better if she would say:

"Jesus is the supreme revelation and incarnation of God and the hope of the whole world. God's mercy works in many ways, but we are to proclaim Christ and Him crucified and leave His judgment to Him."

But. No.
Too convincing. Too exclusive. Leaves out too many nice people.
Plus: I don't think that she believes it....or else she would have said it without so much quibbling and dodging.

Anam Cara said...

I sort of agree with John.

Except that I would say for ALL people Jesus is the only way to salvation. I would also affirm that "to man it is appointed once to die and then the judgment" meaning that after death, it's too late.

Where I differ from the traditional Protestant thinking is that I am convinced that every person, at some time in their lives, perhaps at the moment of death, WILL see Jesus, the risen Savior. And many who have rejected Christianity all their lives (probably because of the poor witness we who call ourselves Christians have provided by our uncharitable actions - and in fact, God may commend them for not joining up with such a bunch) but who have tried to live good, honest lives (as we Christians are supposed to do!) will see Jesus and say, "Yes! YOU are what I looked for! YOU have been my heart's desire!" And we will see them in heaven.

For example: let's aay a rather secular person is concerned about the poor and helps at a soup kitchen and gives to a crisis pregnancy center but only sees "Christians" who fritter time at work, and justify it when they are undercharged at a store, and think it's okay if they or their kids "shack up" because it saves rent money, and gossip about others, and maybe even go so far as to sue each other over church property. Let's say that person wants GOODNESS and MERCY and LOVE for mankind, but all he is exposed to are people who act differently. (Your life may be the only Gospel some people ever read!) So He never "meets" Jesus in this life. But at death, Jesus comes to him and he KNOWS THIS IS THE TRUTH HE HAS LONG SOUGHT! Do you think that at that moment of death, Jesus would reject the one who always longed for him, but never found him? On the other hand, if at that moment he says, "Oh, not another one..." I'd say he's toast.

And the same is true for those who live in lands where the gospel has yet to be preached. I do not believe that God is sending to hell all those people who NEVER had a missionary or any Christian enter their lives. Many of those people, too, try to live good charitable lives, lives Jesus would commend. I believe that they will have an opportunity/option to embrace Him if only at the moment of death.

The bottom line is, we are to preach the good news, in season and out, to live lives that SHOW the gospel to those who don't or won't read it. We are to bring Christ to others through our love. And we are not to decide, because we cannot know what is in another's heart - hence the admonition: Judge not lest you be judged.

Anam Cara said...

As for what the PB said:

I agree that God is a mystery. And I believe that He can/does work in the lives of people other than Christians. However, it does not limit God to say that Jesus is the only way. He himself said that: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light" not "a particle of the Light, a portion of the Truth, and one of many equally good Ways."

If she preaches anything except Christ crucified she is misleading people and allowing them to believe the lie that there is another way.

(For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2)

BB, John was right that this blog does sometimes seem to go overboard. There are times she very plainly says things that call into question her commitment to Christianity. (like the above comment about limiting God if you proclaim Jesus as the only Way) I just think that too many times you read between the lines to MAKE her say things that she perhaps doesn't mean, attempting to make her statements appear more scandalous than they are. Like any other reporter, you have a particular world view.

Anyone who reads anything must take the author's predilection into account as it is impossible for anyone to give a completely unbiased report no matter how hard one might try.

(Can you tell from the length of my post that I have the day off?)

BabyBlue said...

I do believe it often comes down to considering two questions: Who is Jesus and why did He die?

When we listen carefully to folks like Christopher Hitchens, it does get down to these two questions. The questions are hard. In fact, in a "discussion" Hitch had with Christian theologians at a conference sponsored by Christianity Today, he quoted C.S. Lewis that if Jesus is everything He said He is (or Hitch would say, was), then he's either telling the tells us he's God or he's a crazy man. There's no middle way, unless we redefine what the word "Christ" and "Jesus" and "God" mean.

What do we mean when we say that Jesus is the Door, He is the Way, He is the Truth, He is the Life, He is unique - and He died as a ransom for many. That's what the Bishop's ordination service says, that Jesus died as ransom for us all, including those of other faiths.

And as Hitch would say, what kind of God would let this happen? Many tiptoe around that by redefining what the words mean, words like "Jesus" and "Christ" and "resurrection." Often what we notice is not what's there but what is missing - over and over again, it's missing, like the cross.

There are no crosses on Christian Science churches, for example, for a reason - even though they carry the name "Christian." The cross presents a problem. And of all people, Hitch nails that problem. What kind of "loving" God would let that happen?

It is a mystery how Jesus works today through His people - and many of "His" people could be a big surprise, perhaps even to them. He reaches out long before we are aware of Him - long before. And we respond as we are able, that's one reason why it's such good news.

Jesus is the mediator for us all - for the whole world - and He is at work long before we are aware of Him, I say it again. Like Paul pointing to the statute of the "Unknown God" what we proclaim is His name. We bear his Name.

No one can knows the heart of another, no one. That's the territory that belongs to God alone. But words are powerful and actions even more so. They are the windows to our heart.

The zeal that Jesus has for us is so illustrated by his actions in the Temple when He overturned the tables and threw out the moneychangers. That's the zeal He has - not just for a particular place, but for us - whatever our country, creed, religion, or nationality. He stirred things up that day and He stirs up things today.

Of course, it didn't turn out so well from the disciples' point of view at the time. It got a little messy and even messier because Jesus made claims about Himself that either made Him a crazy man or God.

Many leaders in the Episcopal Church use the same words as Christians around the world, only the meanings have changed. What do those words mean?

And what of the words that go missing?


Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Jesus said, "I am...the Truth...." (I know that he didn't use upper case for the T!) One of the temptations for us is to think that our theology, our understanding of Jesus, even the Bible is the Truth. They are not, anymore than my understanding of my wife is that incredible person. I am, therefore, very wary when someone tells me that I have to accept a certain understanding of Jesus or I am damned.
Jesus said that no one could come to the Father except through him. I think it important to recognize his choice of "Father" in that, and not "God". If we desire to know God as Father, then Jesus is the way. However, I would not limit God and deny that one might come to know God in other ways, while stating my own conviction that the fullest revealtion of God is as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fr. John McCuen said...

John wrote, "I remember well having that discussion with one of my RC priest educators. He said 'we do not know.' Jesus came to save sinners. 'How He will judge we do not know.'"

Ah, but we do. "[34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [35] For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: [36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
[39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Could someone shed some light on what Fr. Daniel means when he says, "I think it important to recognize his choice of 'Father' in that, and not 'God.' If we desire to know God as Father, then Jesus is the way. However, I would not limit God and deny that one might come to know God in other ways..."

Fr. John McCuen
Holy Archangels Orthodox Church