Careless talk

The Anglican Scotist rigorously debunks the unsupported charges of apostasy advanced by Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin against the Episcopal Church. One key passage (boldfacing mine):

As with accusations that TEC is heretical following the acts of GC2003, we see–I believe–a propensity among TEC’s high-profile critics to assume the worst without cogent argument. Namely, their pronouncements of heresy and apostasy imply–as astounding as it may seem–they belileve TEC recognizes (say) that an active homosexual man should not be ordained, and does it anyway, or that TEC has knowingly abandoned the Christian religion.

TEC’s critics are on thin moral ice here. Their sustained imputation of the worst to TEC–in the face of what seems to me absolutely overwhelimg evidence to the contrary–could be merely innocent ignorance. Maybe, just maybe they really do, incredibly, in their hearts see TEC as proclaiming what it takes to be false or willfully abandoning the Christian religion. In doing so they rule out the possibility that TEC simply made a mistake, or is doing the best it can and has stumbled, or is just being sincere even if in a misguided way–all this conceding for the sake of argument that a theological mistake was made at GC2003, which I think is far from clear.

On the other hand, if these critics are being cynical, if they are not making these inflammatory imputations in innocent ignorance then we are witnessing the exercise not merely of vices contrary to faith, but of vices contrary to charity: Hatred, Discord, Contention, and dare I say Schism. The hardening of any “theological vices” is a matter of grave, even ultimate concern, but vices contrary to charity are are dispostions opposed to the very nature of God, and merit extremely close attention.

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