God’s Acceptance or God’s Redemption? Phil Turner on the Episcopal Church

Phil Turner, here, argues that the current malaise of the Episcopal Church is not simply about morality, but rather about theology, the “working theology” of a church which is not so much found in the church’s official documents, books, and creeds as much as, for example, from the Sunday pulpit, week in and week out. Turner writes:

For those who view the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops and its General Convention from the out­side, many of their recent actions may seem to repre­sent a denial of something fundamental to the Chris­tian Way of life. But for many inside the Episcopal Church, the equation of the Gospel and social justice constitutes a primary expression of Christian truth. This isn’t an ethical divide about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. It’s a theological chasm – one that separates those who hold a theology of divine acceptance from those who hold a theology of divine redemption.”

Acceptance versus redemption. What a wonderful way to put it. Anyone who has been in a real relationship knows that true friendship, true love, involves much more than mere acceptance. It involves things like confrontation and admonition. It involves honest pleas for change in behavior and attitude. Such is the love of God for us. Which is why God’s relationship with his church and his world is best thought of as redemption, not mere acceptance.

And what is most encouraging to me is that two of the men who have taught me this more than anyone else are currently serving as global leaders of the worldwide Anglican communion. Their names are Tom Wright and Rowan Williams, and both would heartily agree with Phil Turner’s diagnosis of the Episcopal Church’s current malady.

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