Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Ecclesia Gnostica vs. The Episcopal Church

Why do (post)modernists insist upon desecrating and destroying the great churches of our time?  Why must parishioners be subjected to radical doctrines that ultimately alienate them from the churches in which they were baptized?   Why can't liberal clergy have the courage to form new denominations, instead of poisoning and slowly destroying those existing churches?

I should in this article like to compare an example of a new denomination, created to meet the desires of a liberal and esoteric theology, the Ecclesia Gnostica, with an old denomination, the Episcopal Church, USA, which has in the same city as the Bishop of the former, a parish where the priest openly denounces the Nicene, Athanasian and Apostle's Creeds as "Defective" and quotes a Gnostic gospel in defense of his position.   Thus, the former is an honestly liberal, Gnostic church, whereas the latter is intentionally dishonest about its beliefs when talking to different audiences (for in the very same diocese, you will find conservative parishes like St. Francis of Assisi in Simi Valley, which operate along entirely traditional lines, at least for the time being).

The Ecclesia Gnostica, whose theology rejects or distorts the Orthodox position in almost every detail, even to the extent of embracing otherwise unrelated heresies such as Donatism, is an example of what I feel liberal clergy actually should be building.  It is a new denomination.  It provides all those services which the Orthodox Church never can (without ceasing to be Orthodox): gay marriage, female ordination, occult ritual.  It is not constrained by the Athanasian canon and following in the footsteps of Marcion and Valentinus, regards the God of the Old Testament as a wrathful, vengeful diety, an incompetent demiurge produced by an abortion of Sophia (a belief clearly held implicitly by many liberal clergy who doubtless cringe when reading their Revised Common Lectionary-supplied Old Testament lesson).

The Episcopal Church, on the other hand, at one time was the most Orthodox of American churches, to such an extent that, as recently as the 1950s, restoration of communion between it and the other Anglican churches, and their Old Catholic brethren, and the Orthodox church, appeared all but inevitable.   Then a new wave of liberal theologians, led by heresiarchs like James Pike, took the reigns, and gave us the rapidly dwindling church of today, a church which cares more about litigation than about liturgy.

In contrast to the actions of the modern "reformers" of the Episcopal Church, USA, and other mainline denominations, are undeniably destructive, participating in the Ecclesia Gnostica is a constructive act.  I do not agree with the Ecclesia Gnostica, but I respect them.  They are honest in their intentions.  Their Bishop appears to be a decent and reverent man, who eschewed the comforts of a normal life to pursue his religious convictions, unlike the salaried bureaucrats who run the Episcopal Church, who benefit from relatively decent healthcare and pension plans, and who stand to profit as the ECUSA transitions from being a worshipping body of the faithful* to being a Real Estate Investment Trust, slowly disposing of its extremely valuable property holdings for reuse by other denominations, or redevelopment as shopping malls, entertainment centers, and other uses.   In contrast, the Ecclesia Gnostica operates within the most humble of facilities, certainly adhering to what one might call a sense of Christian poverty.

Thus, I would propose to all Christians who feel called to the ministry: if you find yourself drawn to Christ, but cannot agree with the traditional beliefs of your denomination, if indeed it still has any, join the Ecclesia Gnostica, the Metropolitan Community Church, or the Unitarian Universalists, and work to ensure those churches are honest and open about their beliefs, for if it turns out your interpretation of Christianity is incorrect, at least in such a manner you will not have to answer at the dread day of judgment for leading astray the flock of Christ.   If on the other hand, we in the Orthodox Church are proven wrong, we are prepared to answer it, and in imitation of our Lord, give our lives a ransom for those we have misled.

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