Saturday, August 29, 2009

Episcopal Head Clarifies 'Heresy' Comments

From Christian Post-

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori released a statement Thursday defending an address she made last month in which she called individualistic salvation "the great Western heresy."

Acknowledging the national attention and criticism her comments from The Episcopal Church's General Convention drew, Jefferts Schori said the varied reactions came from people who weren't there or who read her statements out of context.

"Apparently I wasn't clear!" she wrote on Episcopal Life.

"In my address, I went on to say that sometimes this belief that salvation only depends on getting right with God is reduced to saying a simple formula about Jesus," she said. "He (Jesus) is repeatedly insistent that right relationship depends on loving neighbors – for example, "those who say, ‘I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars."

In her opening address to the General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., in July, Jefferts Schori spoke about the crisis facing The Episcopal Church as its members remain divided over the authority of Scripture and homosexuality and as its relationship with some Anglican provinces overseas is impaired.

She said the "overarching connection in all of these crises has to do with the great Western heresy – that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God."

"It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus," she told Episcopal delegates. "That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention."

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