Saturday, November 3, 2007

"For the authority of Scripture"

Christian bodies of believers have several modes of organization. Baptists and some others have what is known as a "congregational" polity in which the local congregation calls its pastor, owns its property, and determines its affiliations. Others are more centralized, with the most centralized placing most authority in a hierarchy. There are advantages to centralized authority, but the disadvantages are most evident when the central authority is itself heterodox.

American Episcopalians who insist on the authority of Scripture and orthodox doctrine, and who are no longer willing to cohabit with those who don't, are apparently in for a fight. From the New York Times:
By more than a two-to-one vote, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted Friday in favor of separating from the national church because of a theological rift that began with the consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003.

The vote sets the stage for what could become a protracted legal battle between the diocese and the Episcopal Church U.S.A., which had warned Pittsburgh’s bishop not to go forward with the vote.

After passionate appeals from both sides of the debate, clergy members and lay people voted 227 to 82 to “realign” the conservative diocese. ....

“What we’re trying to do is state clearly in the United States for the authority of Scripture,” Bishop Duncan said after the vote, taken during the diocese’s annual convention in this city about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh.

The vote was necessary, he said, because the more liberal bishops now in the majority in the national church “have hijacked my church, and that’s how most of the people here feel.” ....

....Bishop Duncan said he was willing to face whatever action the national church takes.

“We may face more legal action, and I may face action myself, but it is clear from our leaders that they’re willing to pay the price of their position, and so am I,” he said.

Pittsburgh joins one other diocese, San Joaquin in Fresno, Calif., to have a preliminary vote to separate from the national church. San Joaquin’s annual convention is in December, when it could vote a second time to make its decision formal. At least one other diocese, in Fort Worth, is considering a similar preliminary vote. ....
Thanks to HolyCoast for the reference

Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese Votes to Leave the Church - New York Times

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