Monday, March 11, 2013

Truro Anglican Church Vestry releases statement on marriage, nuptial theology, and missional strategy

From here:

“And By This Beauty, The World Shall Be Saved”
March 10, 2013

Sunday morning worship at Truro Anglican Church.
Truro Anglican Church remains as Christ-centered and committed to biblical orthodoxy as the day it voted to leave the Episcopal Church on Sunday, December 17, 2006. By any fair reading of our teaching and ministry, we have only deepened in our orthodoxy since that time. Under the leadership and teaching of our rector, Tory Baucum, Truro Anglican is growing in its understanding of the ancient resources of our tradition and deploying them to strengthen teaching, discipleship and missions, especially as these resources relate to issues of sexuality, marriage and family.

We are firmly committed to the “no” of God as it relates to homosexual behavior and, by extension, the erroneous concept of “same-sex marriage,” which Scripture, Christian tradition and human physiology render antithetical to God’s unitive and procreative purposes for sexuality and marriage. For the purposes of teaching, discipleship and mission, however, we believe this “no” is but a small fraction of what God has to teach us about the meaning and potential of human sexuality. Beyond this “no” is the profound “yes” of God to the one-flesh union of man and woman. We believe the male-female relationship, sealed in marriage by the Holy Spirit, mirrors and models the total self-giving love of the Trinity. It is through biblical marriage that God makes us participants in the love he expressed in creation and through which he acts to heal and renew the world. Marriage is God's sign of our ultimate union with him and thus a gift to all persons - married or unmarried.

This nuptial theology lies at the very heart of Truro's mission and its evangelistic outreach. It is the basis for our vibrant marriage and parenting education programs that are bringing the Gospel to growing numbers of people who previously had no contact with any church. It is why we are partners with our Bishop John Guernsey’s diocese-wide initiative to better equip our parishes in marriage preparation and divorce prevention. It is why we are investing extensive resources in building our understanding and application of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, including three parish conferences devoted to the topic since 2011.1 In all of Truro Anglican’s life and mission, the "no" of God is fully and faithfully presented but always as part of the equally adamant “yes” found in the “great mystery” of Christ and the church that the Apostle Paul teaches in Ephesians 5.

One outgrowth of Truro’s teaching and missional outreach has drawn considerable comment: the personal friendship between our rector and Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. This outreach has been undertaken with the full knowledge and support of the vestry. In public and private conversation with +Shannon, Tory has been frank about his and the parish’s conviction that the Episcopal Church is schismatic, that +Shannon is engaging in false teaching relative to sexuality, marriage and nuptial theology, and that he needs to repent. The friendship Tory has pursued with +Shannon is personal and in no way portends institutional reconciliation between Truro Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church. In light of these facts, we offer this reassurance to our brothers and sisters across the Anglican Church of North America: we are unalterably and irrevocably committed to biblical orthodoxy and equally opposed to the heresies and self-deceptions that permeate the Episcopal Church. The personal friendship and exhortation Tory is extending to +Shannon is one expression of what the vestry believes the image of God, as manifested in every person, calls forth from us and is consistent with our larger missional strategy to communicate truth in love to a world that is in deep confusion and pain.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25


The Underground Pewster said...

Thanks Vestry for spelling it out more clearly. Your priest had me worried when it appeared that he was not being as clear.

BabyBlue Anglican said...

Thanks so much for your post!


Brent R. Orrell said...

Our rector and vestry are completely united. He didn't write this statement but he gave us the theology, teaching and pastoral support to be able to write it.

Brent Orrell

Anonymous said...

That's nice, but appearances matter, and the appearance is that Tory is playing the role of "useful idiot" to the wolves in TEC and CoE. It's great to be innocent as a dove, but you cannot forget the shrewd as a serpent part or you will be devoured by the ravenous wolves and heretics in TEC.

Brent R. Orrell said...

Thank you, Anonymous. In fact, I think we're called to be both at the same time (wise as serpants and innocent as doves). No one at Truro is under illusions about the nature of the battle we are waging. Put simply, there's more than one way to fight.

BabyBlue Anglican said...

I remember when we were preparing to vote on whether to leave the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia - we heard a talk about how the American Revolution was fought. We know of course that George Washington was out there on the battlefield - but where was Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin through most of the war? And even more fascinating perhaps, all things considered - where was that hothead John Adams?


RalphM said...

While I have had concerns about the relationship with DioVA, I also recall how Truro was at the forefront of supportiong the smaller churches in the long litigation period.

The VA CANA and ACNA churches all have members who remain friends with those "on the other side". It's time to take Truro at its word and move on.

Steven in Falls Church said...

BB -- I heard by way of the grapevine that DioVA has asked for Truro to renew its lease for two years, and has offered not to collect rent in return for Truro paying for maintenance costs. It seems that DioVA, which now owns the property and is responsible for upkeep, is finding that money for maintenance does not spring from the same unendingly copious source as it does for legal fees.

RMBruton said...

It seems as though SF will not be satisfied until they drive Rev. Baucum and perhaps Truro out of the ACNA. Why have their been statements from either Guernsey or Duncan? Are they simply envious that he, and not they, was invited to the ABC's enthronement? Many of the notable characters posting criticism of Truro are not even members of ACNA, they are still in TEC themselves. It hasn't taken very long for the situation to devolve.

BabyBlue Anglican said...

Surely He took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Dale Matson said...

I sure wish you would clear up the status of your rector Tory Baucum+.
Is he not a member of the ACNA but licensed by the ACNA bishop to serve in your church?

BabyBlue Anglican said...

In the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic there are clergy - including rectors - who are residents of an Anglican province in the Communion, but licensed in the Diocese to serve.

Tory preceded many others in leaving the Episcopal Church (he in fact left TEC before Truro did), when his TEC bishop in his home diocese (in a mid-West diocese, can't remember exactly which one right now) graciously transferred him to the Diocese of London (Church of England) while Tory was a professor at Asbury Seminary and worked part time in an Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Lexington. This outraged Bishop Stacy Sauls, then bishop of Lexington, KY, that he banned Tory from serving in any Episcopal church in the Diocese of Lexington.

Later, Bishop Sauls viciously and publicly attempted to ban him from standing in the election of bishop for the Diocese of Albany (until Bishop Sauls received decisive public push-back from then Albany Bishop Dan Hertzog (see here: as well as from other quarters.

By the way, Bishop Sauls is now the Chief of Staff for Presiding Bishop Schori and was one of the major architects of the Episcopal Church litigation strategy, former lawyer and graduate in political science that he is.

Tory continues his residency in the Diocese of London under Bishop Richard Chartres but is licensed to be rector of Truro under Bishop John Guernsey, the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.

Many other clergy and rectors enjoy a similar type of arrangement in the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic as well as throughout the ACNA.

For example, some are resident in the Church of Nigeria through the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and are then licensed in the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic to serve under the authority of Bishop Guernsey. Some are resident through other provinces and dioceses in the Communion, including, as in Tory's case, the Church of England.


Anonymous said...

I'm more worried than ever. This just shows how many at Truro have drunk the kool-aid.

As has been posted elsewhere:
Either Shannon Johnston is a false teacher or he is not. Either the issue over which Truro split from Virginia is a gospel matter or it is not.

If it is the former then it is outrageous that Truro/Baucum should all promote Johnston in any way at all. If it is the latter then Truro/Baucum ought to repent of splitting over a secondary matter and return to TEC.

I do not understand at all how Truro could leave over a particular teaching and then go so far out of their way to promote one who teachs what they say is false. It would seem that the Vestry is blindly following whatever Tory says because what he says must be the Truth.

Poor poor Truro. They began so right. And yet they have gone astray just like the Church of Pergamos. They held "fast to His Name", they "did not deny" the "faith", but then they "put stumbling block before the children ... to commit sexual immorality" by exhalting a false teacher so that those who see this union will think it is all okay.

This is about more than Truro. What is the world seeing? Do they see "love your enemy" or do they see "hey, it's okay, we can be friends"? Christians are to call sinners to repentance, not cozy up and say we're buddies.

Tory (and I guess the Vestry) see ++Shannon as just another Christian brother because they voice the same creed. As BB pointed out many times int eh past, words have meanings. The question is, do we define them int he same way? Are we using the same words to have different meanings?

I just have to ask who is this Jesus that ++Johnson proclaims? He certainly isn't the same Jesus that Truro has been preaching.

++Johnson's Jesus does not believe that there is anything wrong with homosexual behavior. He does not see marriage as something instituted by God between one man and one woman. Is this the same Jesus that those at Truro know? Or could it be someone else using that name?

Jesus tells us in Matthew that many false Christs will come. How can we distinguish the true from the false? The true will never contradict what we have already been given.

the Vestry of Truro has made it clear which Jesus they are following. Why are they so happy to promote someone who preaches a different Jesus?

Galatians 1:8-9 says: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Isn't what ++Shannon is preaching a different gospel? Does no one else see that?

Just what does Truro think their witness is to the world in this?

Brent R. Orrell said...

Dear Anonymous -

Difficult to respond to so many questions but there is one I'd like to address.

A number of years back a Catholic writer from Canada, Michael O'Brien, published a very popular novel, "Father Elijah: An Apocalypse". Fabulous book, can't recommend it highly enough.

Father Elijah is a Carmelite priest, a Jewish convert who survived the Holocaust, who is called to Rome on urgent business. The business is that the Pope believes he has identified the Anti-Christ and needs a priest to preach the Gospel to this man. Not to attack him publicly, proclaim him a false teacher and declare the end is nigh but to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hope of bringing about his repentance.

Shannon Johnston is not the Anti-Christ but he is a bishop engaged in false teaching on sexuality. Tory Baucum, with the support of the Truro Vestry, is preaching the Gospel to him and helping him to see the love of God through their relationship. He has frankly told Bishop Johnston that he needs to repent, publicly and privately. This is what love - tough love - looks like and it is what Tory is engaged in as he tries to both proclaim and persuade.

BabyBlue Anglican said...

I am thinking there may be much confusion between what we mean when we say forgiveness and reconciliation. In order for any of us to be reconciled to God and to one another there must be repentance.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me."

Our reconciliation to God is through the cross of Christ and what we bring is our repentance. No repentance, no reconciliation.

Forgiveness is another matter. We begin with the forgiveness God has for us, again through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. We are forgiven not on our own merit, but in the merits of the Son of God who gave His life that we might have life. He has paid the debt we could not pay.

Forgiveness is something we extend to others in response to the forgiveness that we have received. It is not the same as reconciliation. Bishop Festo of Uganda was quite clear on that in his own teachings - he could forgive Idi Amin for what Amin did to him, but that is not the same as reconciliation.

I think we do underestimate the power of forgiveness - of what can happen we forgive others for what they have done to us. When we ask forgiveness of others, we begin our own journey of repentance. But even that is not reconciliation.

We pray every time we pray the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." But even that is not reconciliation.

Tory Baucum and Truro as are so many of us who were once in the Episcopal Church - we may be walking out forgiveness, even mutual forgiveness - but that is not reconciliation.

I do think it's important that we all be careful about our words - our words have meaning and they have power. We do need to be careful that we say forgiveness when we mean forgiveness, that we say trust when we mean trust, but that we don't reimagine reconciliation to be either - reconciliation includes forgiveness and trust, but it also includes repentance.

One of the best ways to teach is to model the teaching, to be a disciple, to live out the teaching in one's life, even when we fail. It seems that when trust has broken - and God knows that trust was destroyed between Truro and The Episcopal Church and remains so even no, what we learn from Bishop Festo is that we learn to forgive. Forgiveness is not repentance, forgiveness is not reconciliation - but forgiveness is what Jesus instructed us to do and it is so powerful thing that when we forgive another, indeed their sins are forgiven.

'Forgive our sins as we forgive,'
you taught us, Lord, to pray,
but you alone can grant us grace
to live the words we say.

How can your pardon reach and bless
the unforgiving heart,
that broods on wrongs and will not let
old bitterness depart?

In blazing light your cross reveals
the truth we dimly knew:
how trifling debts are owed to us,
how great our debt to you.


Brent R. Orrell said...

bb - just beautiful

Anonymous said...

So, why does it look to outsiders that Tory and ++Johnson are reconciling? And what does ++Johnson expect Tory to repent of? (would ++Johnson think there is reconciliation if Tory doesn't repent of something?)

And rephrasing the above post:
If what ++Johnson is preaching is heresy, then there should be forgiveness, but wouldn't it be better to work on reconciliation privately rather than give
the appearance of accepting his teachings? And if it isn't heresy, why did Truro leave?

Tory may well be doing all the things you say, but to the eyes of the world, he (and the Vestry) are saying false teaching doesn't matter.

Forgiveness does not require becoming buddies. And a friendship with a false teacher might be better done less publicly to save those of weaker faith who may be led astray thinking that the buddy- buddy relationship means things they previously thought were important really aren't at all. In the attempt to "save" ++Johnson, how many people are being led to stumble?

Anonymous said...

++Johnson may say what he wants, but he professes a Jesus I do not know. One of us is wrong, or both of us is wrong. We cannot both be right. And for Truro to promote him to the world in any way means that she participates in his sin. Truro will need to repent of the people led astray by her actions.

Dale Matson said...

I don't believe the reconciliation you have defined and that I agree with is the 'reconciliation' that ++Justin Welby is promoting. To me that is an important issue here. I think ++Welby is either intentionally misleading people about what constitutes reconciliation or he is woefully misinformed about his own specialty. Last Sundays BCP Gospel is about the Prodigal son and is a true example of reconciliation.
Also, thanks for answering my question about the status of your rector.

Anonymous said...

It is true that TEC's Diocese of Albany dodged a bullet when Tory Baucum was a controversial nominee in the episcopal election of 1996. I would say that diocese's position on human sexuality is much clearer today under Bishop Love than what I've read here about Baucom/Johnson-gate.

BabyBlue Anglican said...

BabyBlue Anglican said...
As I understand it from Justin Welby's blog, he defines reconciliation as "The journey of transforming conflict." We do have conflict with God and reconciliation with God is the journey of transforming that conflict into reconciliation with Him.

There are many in the church and the world who do not believe or do not want to believe that there is conflict - not only in the Church but with God. Conflict is to be avoided. Have we not witnessed this - not only on the large scale but within our own church families.

Recognizing that there is conflict - for example, my will vs God's will - is no small step. Some believe that our will is God's will, and of course there are others that say there is no conflict because there is no will of God.

None the less, as I hear Justin Welby, he recognizes that we do have conflict. Once we recognize that - then what?

Forgiveness, receiving it and giving it, is a first step of acknowledging the conflict and walking out our prayer, "and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." But I would think that for many - even getting to the point of forgiveness is a journey in itself.


Anonymous said...

Sorry. I know I said I wouldn't post again but with this breaking news ( I have to.

At last! Someone understands! Thank you +Guernsey!

Now maybe some of you will understand what I have been saying: +Johnson is NOT a brother in Christ as you would like to define him. He worships a different Jesus! There can be no reconciliation until there is a common faith. Perhaps +Guernsey has issued the wake-up call that will return him to the faith by telling Tory to quit this nonsense and end his grandstanding on what should have been private matter.

We can only hope.... (and pray)

BabyBlue Anglican said...

Some are inquiring now that it is 2014 - the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum is now resident in the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and a priest in the Anglican Church in North America.