September 18, 2008
The Heresy of Orthodoxy
Update: Deposed Episcopal Bishop Duncan accepted into South American province.
Friday, 19 September 2008
The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone has accepted Pittsburgh's deposed Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan into episcopal ministry. This is a widely anticipated move and represents further evidence that Anglicanism, as a global religious entity, is now amid its greatest historical crisis.
The following statement was released today by Archbishop Gregory Venables, of the Province of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, of the Province of the West Indies, and Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, of the Province of Kenya:
"In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen. We the undersigned are grieved at the violation of catholic order in the declaration of deposition of The Right Rev. Robert Duncan by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church and consider it to be invalid. Legitimate actions of catholic order must rise from Biblical catholic faith. Actions such as this continue to alienate countless Christian people not only within, but beyond the limits of the Communion. We continue to recognize the fidelity and validity of Bishop Duncan's orders, role, and ministry. Without reservation, we continue in full sacramental communion with him as an Anglican bishop. We thank God that by the vote of the Provincial Synod he has been given membership in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Our fellowship and shared ministry with him is not disrupted."
The next steps may be the Episcopal Church moving to take control of diocesan assets. This could end up in court as early as next week, but not be fully resolved for some years to come.
This afternoon, Episcopal Presiding Bishop K. Jefferts Schori will hold a press conference. Stand by for further updates late today.
* * *
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, 6:40 p.m
Episcopal House of Bishops deposes of conservative leader, Bishop Duncan
Here's a statement from Bishop Duncan:
"I offer my deepest thanks to the company of saints all around the globe who have sustained me, my wife and all who are dear to me in these days." It is a very sad day for The Episcopal Church. It is also a sad day for me, a faithful son of that church. Nevertheless it is also a hopeful day, hopeful because of the unstoppable Reformation that is overtaking the Christian Church in the West. It is also a hopeful day for me personally as I am unanimously welcomed into the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, an act applauded by Anglican archbishops, bishops, clergy and people all around the world. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will move forward under its new Ecclesiastical Authority, its Standing Committee. That body will carry the diocese through to our realignment vote on October 4. With the success of that vote, it will be possible that we be joined together again as bishop and people. I offer my deepest thanks to the company of saints all around the globe who have sustained me, my wife and all who are dear to me in these days.On October 4, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will vote for the second time on plans to leave the Episcopal Church and join another part of the Anglican Communion.
Click here for details.
From the official church news agency, there is this word:
The House of Bishops is meeting in special session in Salt Lake City, Utah (Diocese of Utah) September 17 ? 19, 2008. Today, the House of Bishops by a vote of 88 yes, 35 no, 4 abstentions consented to the removal from the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, by authorizing the Presiding Bishop to "depose" Bishop Duncan. The House of Bishops voted after lengthy deliberations, reflections and discussions in both the morning and afternoon business sessions. This followed an open discussion session on Wednesday evening. Throughout the discussions, the gathering was quiet, prayerful and respectful as the bishops listened to one another. There was a great appreciation for the beliefs and viewpoints of the bishops from all perspectives. Ample time was provided for all bishops to speak. It was clear that the bishops were aware of the weightiness of their decision. The vote to depose was not based on speculation about what might occur at Pittsburgh's upcoming diocesan convention. Rather, it was based on the evidence of Bishop Duncan's record of actions and statements, and was the culmination of a process that began in 2007. The evidence that was presented pursuant to Title IV, Canon 9 of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, which provides that "an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church" constitutes "Abandonment of the Communion of This Church." By the action of a majority of the House of Bishops, it was agreed that Bishop Duncan was actively attempting to remove the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh from the Episcopal Church in violation of the Constitutions and Canons of the Diocese and the Episcopal Church. The majority concluded that Bishop Duncan's actions constituted a renunciation of the Discipline of the Episcopal Church. Evidence of abandonment of communion was presented to a Church body known as the Title IV Review Committee from clergy and laity of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Presiding Bishop in November 2007. On December 17, 2007 the Title IV Review Committee presented its report to the Presiding Bishop. As a member of the House of Bishops, Bishop Duncan was expected to attend this HOB meeting and had the opportunity to address the assertion that he had abandoned the communion. However, he chose not to do so. This daily account was prepared by bishops who cast their votes on different sides. Their personal comments are noted here. Those available for media interviews are noted. Bishop Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina is available for phone interviews. "This is one of the most somber, sober experiences I've had in the House of Bishops. It is a time for all of us to be praying for each other - especially for Bishop Duncan and the Episcopalians of the Diocese of Pittsburgh." Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia is available for phone interviews. Bishop Gary Lillibridge of West Texas "As difficult as this decision is for me and many others in our Church, it is important to realize that the decision in the House today was not based on the theological convictions of Bishop Duncan, but rather on the evidence presented regarding statements and actions concerning moves to take the Diocese of Pittsburgh out of the Episcopal Church.". Bishop James Mathes of San Diego "Today's decision was difficult and emotional but a necessary action to care for the order of the Church, the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the collegiality of the House of Bishops." Bishop Porter Taylor of Western North Carolina "Our decisions today were very difficult and came out of our deep love for our Church, a commitment to honor our ordination vows, and a desire to strengthen the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh."
* * *
Certainly, one of the biggest concerns is whether TEC, the Episcopal Church, is knowingly violating its own canons (church laws) in purging Bishop Duncan under the allegation of "abandonment of communion."
To conservatives, this kind of charge is yet another tragic twist of fate for Bible-believing, Bible-following Christians in the Episcopal/Anglican church. When you start tossing the orthodox over the side because they are orthodox, the rules have changed.
Here's what one commenter said:
On Friday [Sept. 12] the Presiding Bishop notified the House of Bishops that she would seek the deposition of Bishop Duncan next week. This announcement was contrary to other public statements by her office and the published agenda of the upcoming meeting. Any bishops wishing to speak against this unprecedented use of summary procedures against a sitting bishop of the church were given five days notice. She also served notice that she intends to run roughshod over the canons in seeking to depose Bishop Duncan and that only a two-thirds vote of those present and voting will deter her. It will take two-thirds of the bishops present to overrule her gross misreading of the canons, but only a simple majority to remove without presentment or trial a diocesan bishop who even today is fulfilling his responsibilities as the bishop of Pittsburgh.
Click here for the entire article in PDF.
There's going to be a press conference later today about Bishop Duncan. Stand by for updates.