Thursday, 14 August 2008

George Conger interviewed on the Lambeth Conference aftermath

In the aftermath of the most recent Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church, Albert Mohler interviewed Rev. Canon George Conger. He is an Episcopalian Priest with the Diocese of Central Florida and the Chief Correspondent of “The Church of England Newspaper.”

[...] Mohler: It is very interesting to look at what is going on here. I’m looking at Times magazine’s coverage. It has here a statement from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, U.S., Katharine Jefferts Schori. She said the Anglican Communion “Is suffering the birth pangs of something new.” Now, I’m familiar with her. I’ve covered her for some time. This is the presiding bishop who clearly believes that history is in the direction of normalizing all homosexuality, and that eventually the Church is just going to have to go along.

Conger: Yes, that’s how she thinks. She believes that the science—the revelation is unfolding, and that the Church in this day and age has a new revelation conditioned by scientific discoveries, and new moral insights that allow the Episcopal Church and other denominations to affirm homosexuality as being a morally good thing.

Mohler: You also have bishops who would just as clearly make absolutely transparent their opposition to homosexuality based upon the clear teachings of scripture. So I ask you to fast forward to 2018. Let’s imagine the Anglican Communion meeting together, the bishops in the Lambeth Conference of 2018, is there going to be an Anglican Communion to be represented together at a conference like that 10 years from now?

Conger: No, and I don’t think there will be one within a year’s time. Right now the Anglican Communion is already broken—it’s fractured. And the clearest sign of that is that its leaders will not sit down and receive Holy Communion together. They are unable to receive the Eucharist—or the sacraments—at the same service, because they do not hold the same beliefs. Some believe that Jesus is a way, that there are many ways to salvation, that theirs is Christianity, Christianity is their way and that’s good. But they believe that other faiths may lead to salvation. Well, the vast majority of bishops say that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

That is just one issue, but there is a tremendous division on all sorts of issues—Christology and moral issues, and doctrinal issues, and the basic words of the Nicene Creed that are not commonly shared. The Communion is already broken and this meeting did nothing to fix that. And in fact, it just solidified the position of the two sides.

Mohler: Where do you see this leaving the Episcopal Church, U.S.?

Conger: I see it in the law courts over the next 10 years, frankly, as Evangelical parishes or Anglo-Catholic parishes who are the traditionally-minded members of the Episcopal Church either pull out and join new denominations, or take shelter and refuge under the leadership of bishops from overseas churches.

This is going to spark litigations over property, and who gets to call themselves an Episcopalian, who’s an Anglican. It’s a mess, and there is no short-term solution that I see to fix this problem save for one side giving up and going away.

Mohler: Now you are affiliated with and a priest of the Diocese of Central Florida, that’s known as more of the conservative of the regions of the Episcopal Church. I would compare that to San Francisco, or Washington, or Los Angeles. In what sense are you really part of one church at this point?

Conger: We’re not part of one church in the sense that I could not function… A priest from, say, San Francisco who was a gay man or had been divorced and remarried, for example, could not come to where I am near Orlando and function as an Episcopal Priest. I could not get a job or license because of my theological views in many parts of the Episcopal Church. There is no interchangeability of clergy. It’s become Balkanized along doctrinal and theological views. Read more

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