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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, July 28, 2006

An Open Letter to Bishop Royal Grote

Dear Bishop Grote,

I recently re-read Bishop Cheney's sermon preached on Sunday Evening, December 7, 1873 in which he strongly and severely criticized the Anglo-Catholic interpretation of the Gospel and of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. Honestly, I was first drawn to the Reformed Episcopal Church because I saw that it was committed to the clearly Protestant doctrines as outlined in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. It saddens me that the whole reason for being of the Reformed Episcopal Church is now being cast aside as if it never happened in the first place.

I happen to agree with Bishop Cheney's sermon (see http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/rec/cec_dec1873.html) and I fail to understand how the REC could be in common cause with Anglo-Catholics or even consider merging with a decidedly Anglo-Catholic denomination like the Anglican Province of America. I have visited Bishop Grundorf's parish and I have seen and heard for myself that they are indeed Anglo-Catholic and have a different understanding of justification by faith alone than that which is outlined in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion or in the homilies. Even Richard Hooker's Justification Discourse clearly contradicts the views of the Anglican Province of America (see http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hooker/just.toc.html).

The very core of the Gospel is justification by faith apart from our own merits and to confuse sanctification with justification is to commit an egregious error such that the gospel being preached is no longer the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the Gospel that Paul declared to be his own Gospel. Righteousness is in no wise infused into the heart or inherent but is instead a judicial/forensic declaration whereby the guilty sinner is declared to be not guilty, despite the fact that he is still a sinner.

I feel that the Reformed Episcopal Church has compromised the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is headed in the direction of heterodoxy if not outright heresy. The REC is essentially redefining the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion so that it can accommodate itself to union with those who deny the very Gospel itself. Make no mistake about it--this is a historic moment for the REC. It is in short order becoming just another broad church where doctrine is irrelevant and unity is more important than truth.

Of course, the issues facing the Anglican Communion at large are important. No one wants to see homosexual and women priests or bishops. However, it is just as serious a departure from the faith once delivered to the saints when a communion or province accepts definitions of the Gospel that depart from Holy Scripture and from the Protestant document we know and love as the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.

I feel abandoned by my bishops and by the Reformed Episcopal Church as a whole. It saddens me to see the REC go astray like so many other broad churches of our day. The Evangelical movement has become so confused that the word "Evangelical" has become practically meaningless. In a day and time when the Gospel needs to be honored above ecumenical concerns for unity, the REC has apparently decided that the Gospel is merely some ambiguous and muddy thing that can be shaped to man's views at whim.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Charlie J. Ray

Former deacon with the REC

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