Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Catholic's View of Episcopal Feminist Theology

A bit tardy, perhaps -- but since she is still giving sermons, and will soon once again be teaching at a school of divinity (this time not as its head, but as the Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry),  some might find this worthy of watching. A Roman Catholic bishop takes note -- as so many others did at the time -- of the strange feminist twist given to Acts 16:16-34 by the former Presiding Bishop of ECUSA in a sermon at Curaçao, Venezuela, and uses her message to point up the limits of Christian tolerance:


  1. Thank you for sharing this video. Thankfully, there are others who read the Scriptures with their hearts, minds and souls on the Godly meaning of love.

    I think many people are confused with the meanings for both love and forgiveness. Joel Osteen's wife, Victoria, for example, said that she thought forgiveness was to relieve yourself of hatred and malice toward others when they wrong you or someone else. Even C.S. Lewis wrote an essay once about forgiveness and, I think, he confused it with love.

    "It is laid down in the Christian rule, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Because in Christian morals 'thy neighbor' includes 'thy enemy', and so we come up against this terrible duty of forgiving our enemies." - 1952 (Book 3) Mere Christianity Chapter 7. Forgiveness

    If we love our enemies then forgiving them if they don't repent does nothing to help them or ourselves. For if we feel better to forgive them when they don't repent then aren't we being self-centered in the extreme?

    1. Love your enemies; forgive them when they repent. To forgive people when they have not repented may encourage them to continue harming themselves/others. I will forgive Jefferts for what she has done after she repents. Meanwhile, I will love her and pray for her to repent for the harm she has done.

    2. Although this is an older item, I'd like to pursue my attempt to view the video or at least read the comments of the RC bishop. Regrettably, I see only a black screen on the post, likely the result of my Operating System's refusal to install a particular drive. I've done an online search to try and find the RC bishop in the video but turned up nothing and would appreciate the name of the RC bishop and the approximate date of his comment and/or video.

    3. Williamp, the video is of Bishop Robert Barron, and is one of the segments of his program called Word on Fire, the episodes of which you can view on YouTube. Here is a link to the same video at YouTube.

    4. Mr. Haley, you've delivered as usual in the most helpful manner and I'm grateful for your reply.

    5. It's interesting to examine the thesis of the sermon in Curacao relating to the referenced section of Acts 16, in the light of a potential parallel as a proceeding at the bar of justice. The issue: is the pertinent thesis based on anything other than mere conjecture by its proponent? The result in a potential proceeding noted above appears all too obvious. Any attempt to advance such a thesis before the bar of justice in a civil proceeding would be expected to be rejected in view of the apparent absence of the thesis' support by any evidence at all that is clear and convincing in nature. Thus, a vote to reject the argument of the proponent with regard to the referenced section of this sermon.

  2. I've been chided for not being forgiving on a couple of occasions. My response has been that if a dog bites you, you can forgive it all you want, but that doesn't change the dog and you should still be extremely careful in it presence.

  3. Sometimes it is necessary to "forgive" someone who has hurt you, in order to relieve your pain and get on with your life. Yes, that is self-centered, but so is a lot of things we do to protect our bodies and emotions from harm.

    1. God is not self-centered, he gave us life. He requires our loyalty which means when we wrong Him we must repent to Him. He doesn't forgive us when we are unrepentant. This truth is Gospel-centered, and it is not disputable.

      We must not forgive the unrepentant, regardless of the Christian tendency to believe that forgiveness means the version of the word forgive.

      Biblically, forgiveness is given when the remorseful ask God and their neighbors (or Kings, enemies, etc.) to forgive them for a debt that is owed or for a crime that was committed (a wrongful act (sin) that has occurred.)

      Just think about Jesus dying on the cross, and the two criminals dying next to Him.

      Does Jesus forgive them? Yes or No? Why or Why not?

    2. MI, and Marie: by coincidence, this morning I just happened to read this little exchange, which discusses the Biblical treatment of forgiveness.

  4. Thanks for sharing the Dear Ester/Dear Struggling link:

    "Jesus commanded us to forgive others in the Disciple’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12). Once we do that there is nothing more we can do."

    In 2013, my husband and I agreed with our daughter-17 and son-16 to read one Gospel book at a time beginning with Matthew, a chapter per week followed by a discussion about the chapter. The discussions would often morph into other subjects. We wrapped up all four books in 2015. All of us had read the Bible previously book-by-book and chapter-by-chapter. So, we were excited about reading together. It proved to be such a good bonding experience that we decided to read them again. It is 2016, and we are now reading Luke's Gospel. We even decided to record our reading and discussions.

    (Background NOTE: In 1994, my husband and I read the Gospel books together when I was about to become a confirmed Episcopalian and had no clue 'how I was to follow Jesus!' Even reading the Gospels only once led me to two conclusions: the church's leadership was collectively sinning and I was still clueless about the Bible.) I'm not a priest nor am I an expert of the Bible, but I am much more knowledgable and confident about the meaning of Scripture at this point in time.

    All four Gospel accounts have led the four people living in my home to a conclusion about love (as the good Bishop precisely describes in the video) and about forgiveness (this word, people seem confused about.)

    When we pray to God to ask Him to forgive us, we're being repentant; our repentance is required. Jesus gives his readers numerous examples of how to go about this business. We know and God knows when we are not truly repentant. (In Matthew Ch 18, what happens when a guy is forgiven by the king and then doesn't forgive another?)

    We're expected to gently rebuke people and to privately ask those who sin against us to repent, and then He commands us (the Lord's prayer) to forgive them when they repent.

    We are inspired every day by the Biblical idea that there are no people on this earth to fear, nor do we have to fear natural disasters or hardships; these problems are not as serious as the notion of eternal hell. The theme of the Bible says wisdom is the fear of God. Naturally, we try to prepare ourselves for the ups and downs in life, and to keep ourselves alert and safe. But prioritizing God’s word, praying, and joyfully sharing the Gospel truth are the pathways to a good life. Our family fully embraces reading and discussing the Bible together.

    Since 1998 (when we left TEC/ECUSA), my husband and I have been reading the Bible together daily, and we plan to do it for the rest of our lives. We're now reading each morning before work and at night before we sleep (daily we read ±chapter).

  5. Our whole duty as Christians is to love God above everyone (including ourselves), and to love our neighbors (everyone, even our enemies) which means to treat them mercifully (the way God treats us).

    Christ said that we must forgive everyone when they repent, not just once but repeatedly when they repent. He also wants us to confront those who we think have wronged us, to ask them to repent; and then He wants us to love them even when they don't repent.

    Additionally, Jesus expects us to be as clever (wise?) as serpents, but gentle as doves because there are tricksters and scammers out there who prey upon the innocent.

    Finally, He expects that we should do God's will here; one way toward doing His will is to pray and to read the Scriptures in order to know how to apply them in our lives.
    Obviously, the case with the female Bishop gone bad is a clear twisting of the stories and words in the Bible. These so-called leaders were somehow led to doing their own wills instead of God's will. And now they're are leading entire congregations and generations astray or away from God's Truth.

    The Bible does not say that forgiveness is meant to bring peace to the forgiver, but we often feel peaceful when we are able to truly tell someone that they are forgiven for any hurt that they brought upon us.

    This is what causes me the greatest joy: to help others to know and love Christ!

    1. Re forgiveness: I couldn't help remembering the old Moravian teaching concerning the "trinity" of our salvation: God saved us (past), God saves us now (present), and God will save us (future). There's also a language aspect in biblical Greek with a little different "trinity" of tenses: a completed tense, a continuing tense, and a tense more context-based (but not actually irrelevant as to time). I like to think of a forgiveness "trinity" that would say: God forgave (completed), God forgives now (continuing), and God possesses the essence of forgiveness (not solely completed or solely continuing). I also believe it doctrinally sound to understand that there can be a place in forgiveness for discipline/teaching/doing what is just.