The Rev. David Simmons on the fantasies of Yates and Guinness

From his blog Ayia Iluvatar:

Who are these revisionists?

As I read articles from the “Extreme Right” in the church these days, I often struck by the dichotomy between what they say the Episcopal Church is like, and the Episcopal Church as I have experienced it. The claim usually runs that the Episcopal Church has abandoned all of the underpinnings of orthodox Christianity, including belief in the Bible as the Word of God, beliefs in the doctrines of the Trinity, Resurrection, Salvation through Jesus, etc. Quite often (as in American Anglican Council videos) the specter of James Pike is brought up as somebody who started the “slide” and then usually John Shelby Spong is cited as one who continues it.

My confusion is that I didn’t know who James Pike was until I started to study the history of Episcopal splinter groups (a couple of years after seminary) and no one I personally know of in the church thinks of JS Spong as a central theologian. When I was in seminary in 2001, the popular theologians were Karl Rahner, NT Wright, Mark McIntosh and John Zizioulas – hardly a line-up of radical revisionists! The priests I know, especially the ones under 50, are more likely to be interested in Radical Orthodoxy than radical deconstruction. I have met very few Episcopalians, liberal or conservative, who are interested in the Pike/Spong type of non-theistic theology. Most people I know, no matter where they sit on the current issues that face the church, would be happy to subscribe to the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral – the best general statement of traditional, expansive Anglican orthodoxy.

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