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Episcopalians Choose Bible or Opinion for Truth Gauge
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
12 October 2003

It comes down to Episcopalians choosing either human opinion or the Bible as related to theology. The clergy has chosen human opinion. How does it get away with ignoring the Bible?

It comes down to Episcopalians choosing either human opinion or the Bible as related to theology. It’s that simple, though in the Episcopal / Anglican way of doing things, it’s never simple. Complexity is the mode they thrive on most.

Nevertheless, for those inside the Episcopal / Anglican communion as well as those outside it, the decisions now being made are based either on the Holy Scriptures alone or church tradition as interpreted by human opinion.

Those who conclude on human opinion delight in stating that their dogma is supported by three legs: Bible, tradition and logic. But when it comes down to reality, for those persons who hold to the trinity of legs, human reasoning holds more sway than the Bible, even tradition.

So when it comes to a practicing homosexual now regarded as legitimate bishop within the Episcopal Church in America, the theological liberals with their trinity of legs consider this a moment for celebration. Nothing wrong with a clergyperson of either gender holding to a practicing homosexual lifestyle as well as ministerial credentials. In other words, blessings upon them all.

The liberals have taken the Bible passages relating to homosexuality and so twisted them for their own apostate exegesis that they have done a powerful job of brainwashing themselves and gullible others. So they will continue.

Of course, when it comes down to it in the Episcopal Church in America, the laity are not all that knowledgeable nor concerned about Bible fine lines nor theological splicing of hairs. They leave most of that homework to the clergy; truly, many within the clergy really don’t bother too much with the fine lines. Politics and human nudges mean more than whether a chapter and verse state this or that.

The Episcopal Church can be quite enamored by lighting candles, preparing altar doilies, arranging tables for a church supper, decorating one’s clergy body with proper vestments, and sighing beautifully over an evensong. But as for following every jot and tittle according to the Bible prescriptions, forget it.

Now for the Bible enthusiasts within the Episcopal Church, that is a different story, though surely they would not want to be known as "enthusiasts." That’s much too Baptist a term. They want to be known as Episcopalian Christians.

They are after all believers who hold to the Bible as eternally revealed truth, not to be tampered with by taking away from nor adding to. They want the Episcopal tradition with its medieval sanctuaries, cathedrals, arches, side chapels, little boys’ choirs, incense, vested clergy, and bean suppers. But they also want the Prayer Book kept intact as well as total allegiance to the Bible as the inspired Word of God.

Consequently, when it comes to referring to God as She, that’s not permitted by a conservative Episcopalian, nor the practicing homosexual lifestyle, nor the lowering Holy Scripture to a low rung. After all, God gave us the Book. Mortals dare not ignore it, belittle it nor scissor up its pages for one’s own politically correct opportunism.

And so the beat goes on.

Right now conservative Episcopalians meet to discuss, pray and decide. They have had time to digest the apostasy of a practicing homosexual bishop well ensconced upon his clerical throne. Now it’s time to do something about it. Either stay with the organization or leave it.

Just as the matter comes down to accepting the Bible as the inspired revelation from deity or a package of human opinions stitched together for revamping if desired, so it comes down to organizational stay or leave.

God bless the Bible-loyal Episcopalians. May they weather every storm with eternity’s values in view.


Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, ME.  He is a a graduate of an accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.  Pastor Swank has been married for 41 years and he has 3 adult children.  He is the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers. He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.  His columns have appeared on,,,,,,,,, among others.

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