Incoherent Ramble By Bishop Shipps [Retired] Further Demonstrates Why Diocese of Georgia So Bad Off
Over at the St. Paul’s, Savannah parish website—garden variety raving revisionist parish—Bishop Shipps, former bishop of Georgia—has weighed in on the departure of two more parishes from the Diocese of Georgia.
It’s a trivial little piece and not worth a genuine fisking, but I thought I’d give it a few minutes:
It is a pity (and a sin) that Christians find it so hard to bask in the Shalom, the Peace of God.
[Yes, isn’t it. But what that has to do with Bishop Shipps, et al, one cannot imagine.]
We have so many convictions about what is paramount in our faith, and what is secondary. The differences keep Christians apart, rather than in the unity that Christ wills for his Church, and that Paul pleads for in his Epistles.
[Sure, differences keep Christians in separate churches—but again, what has that to do with Bishop Shipps, he of the special, unique, custom-built TECusa faith?]
Just recently two congregations of the Diocese of Georgia divided.
[Um, bishop? “Divided” is an interesting word for it. For example, if I promised to “divide” a chocolate chip cookie with you, and then proceeded to offer you a crumb of it, while I swallowed the cookie whole, one might call that “divided” . . . but it’s not quite . . . er . . . accurate. The “congregations” went elsewhere. They left you. Why try to spin this fact when your main point is to moan about how “Christians” [sic] are “apart.”]
In both instances, individuals left their parishes . . . “
[Heh—“left their parishes” . . . sure, it’s the “TECusa-parish” type of parish—you know, “parishes that have no people.”]
. . . to form new congregations in response to current issues. We will miss them, our dear friends, as they go their separate ways.
Such divisions may be understood as resulting from differently held faith priorities.
[Well, no—such divisions may be understood as resulting from differently held faiths. One group of people believe the Gospel, and you and your fellow Bishops who have torpedoed TECusa into the ground with your special little custom-made faith, do not believe the Gospel.]
One, that individual salvation is the chief purpose of being a Christian: “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” The other that bringing peace and security to humankind is the first priority: Jesus told his disciples that what they fail to do “for one of the least of these, my brethren, you failed to do unto me” (Matthew 25).
[And what a smashing job all of you revisionists have done with your asserted “faith priority” of “bringing peace and security to humankind.” What an incredibly portentous and silly, not to mention, impossible “faith priority” for human beings to fulfill. And how spectacularly “unpeaceful” your church is too.]
Both are biblical, both reflect levels of human longing. But are they mutually exclusive?
[Looks like it. TECusa’s current leadership’s definition of “peace” is obviously antithetical to Christ’s Gospel, so I guess they are “mutually exclusive.”]
Is it not fruitless to try to set personal salvation over the welfare of society, or the societal good over the personal? Can we not embrace both through our Christian discipleship? The Christian relig- ion is neither tidy nor is it unchanging. Nor do good works bring us salvation; check out Martin Luther. It is through our shared faith commitment that we are bound together in unity with Our Lord.
[And with an incoherent, internally contradictory five sentences, we have a perfect demonstration of the gospel of Bishop Shipps. For everything about Bishop Shipps’ personal, customized little gospel is about humans doing good works, humans striving for Bishop Shipps’s interesting definitions of “peace” and “security,” which then brings human-made “salvation.” Then he has the bald-faced brass to wander over to Luther, and hector us about good works not bringing us salvation, I suppose to try to demonstrate his credibility by proving he’s read a theologian once, somewhere. And then he proceeds to make salvation all about a “shared faith commitment” which is precisely a works-based vision of salvation. Salvation is about Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, His resurrection, our justification by Christ’s act, and the indwelling of Christ’s Spirit in the lives of the regenerate.
Even if our being “bound together in unity with Our Lord” were solely about a “shared faith commitment” we don’t have that same shared faith, so it’s all moot anyway. One group of Episcopalians has one “faith commitment” and another has an entirely other, antithetical “faith commitment.” The two faith commitments are different faiths, and mutually exclusive and the result is that we are not “bound together in unity with Our Lord” which would explain why there is so little peace and unity in The Episcopal Church.
If I made up an Episcopal bishop caricature and had him say those sentences, I’d be accused of being a purple-prosed exaggerator. But Bishop Shipps is a Real Episcopal Bishop—more’s the pity.
But to reiterate, those who believe the Gospel within TEC and those who do not are not “bound together in unity with Our Lord.” We do not share the same faith, although we do share the same organizational entity.]
It is not profitable to castigate the Church for failing to meet personal priorities. The Church is not infallible, nor is it without ambiguity.
[None of us are castigating “the Church;” we are, however, castigating leaders of the organizational entity known as TEC who have demolished it utterly.]
Historically, humble servanthood has attracted many, while arrogant superiority alienated many.
[Well, I suppose Bishop Shipps would know best about that.]
Christ-like love should permeate all our endeavors and our togetherness in Christ’s body, the Church, priorities notwithstanding.
[Christ-like love should permeate all Christians wherever they are working. People of different faiths are not “in Christ’s body” together, however, even though they may be in the same organizational entity—such as TEC.]
Gracious tolerance and the spirit of Shalom befits us. Believe me, the search for the pure church will be unending this side of the kingdom!
[I wonder if Bishop Shipps could lever more spiritual cliches and tropes into these two lines. I’m guessing no. But at any rate, what these have to do with people who believe the Gospel departing from an organizational entity led by people who do not believe the Gospel, one does not know. Presumably the departed recognize that their church won’t be pure. Nor will it be led by people who do not believe the Gospel, which is always a plus.]
In the meantime, we all are under the judgment of God. Pray, brethren, for the Church.
[Finally, a sentence I agree with. Boy, are we under judgement—and given that Bishop Shipps was a bishop of Georgia, it appears that we were under God’s judgement quite a number of years ago.]
+H W Shipps
Folks, this exhibit of inanity, incoherence, and vacuous twaddle is from the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, serving from 1985 through 1995—one of TEC’s former leaders.
No wonder TEC is such a mess today.
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