Later this year, this website will celebrate its tenth anniversary. A decade is an eternity on the Internet, especially when we’ve spent a good deal of it following the agony of the Anglican Communion’s struggle between its liberal West and conservative Global South.
One of the first pieces we posted was When Church Becomes Pointless, a piece which actually predates the start of our Anglican Corner and the posting of the 1662 and 1928 prayer books, which in turn revolutionised our site. The basic premise of this piece was that, once a church went liberal, its values differed little from the world, which in turn rendered it redundant. We used John Shelby Spong as an example.
Ten years after we’ve been sadly vindicated by the continuting decline in "Main Line" churches and the revolt of the conservatives in the Episcopal church. But now the new Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori is adding another reason why liberal churches are basically without purpose.
Her big push these days for TEC is the adoption and support of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. This is a cute idea that suffers from three major problems.
The first is that the implementation of the MDG’s is largely the responsibility of the U.N. and its member states. If one really wants to get involved with it, the best way is through direct action with these entities. TEC could act as a lobbying organisation, but there are many of those out there. A church isn’t necessary for that effort.
Second, TEC’s "top-heavy" demographics insure that the church starts out as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The first one of these, for example, is to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger. Any Marxist will tell you that you can’t eliminate that without eliminating extreme wealth, and extreme wealth is what the TEC is about demographically. TEC adds to its problem by going up against the Global South provinces, whose inhabitants would be the main beneficiaries of the MDG’s. If the TEC wants to get serious about solving these problems, they would do two things:
- Force their membership to take Jesus’ advice to the rich young ruler: "’If you wish to be perfect,’ answered Jesus, ‘go and sell your property, and give to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; then come and follow me.’" (Matthew 19:21)
- Defer to the Global South’s positions to be in true solidarity with their people. The last of the MDG’s is "develop a global partnership for development." What better partners than those in the Anglican Communion? But TEC has alienated much of the Communion, to our mind beyond repair.
We’re not holding our breath on either one of these.
Third–and most important–the MDG’s do nothing to improve people’s eternities. Episcopalians tend to be universalists, but that assumes that everyone gets to go to heaven. We do not share this assumption, and neither does the Bible (the Qur’an doesn’t either.) Improving people’s eternities is the ultimate goal of any Christian church.
But who said anything about the TEC being a Christian church? In any case, the church that puts the MDG’s at the top of the list is pointless. We don’t need a church for that.