Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit!

In a lot of talk and writing about the last General Convention, I am surprised to see how many people, certainly not folks you would associate with anything Pentecostal, are claiming the work and leading of the Holy Spirit in the deviations from unbroken Church teachings. One pertinent thing I remember from my Theology studies from S. Thomas Aquinas is that there is "no contradiction in God" - ie...One person of the Holy Trinity will not contradict another and if was revealed as true, good, or evil, then God does not contradict himself (I will have to look up the citation from the Summa at another time). He also says that God is Pure Act, that He has no potential...He is always perfect and perfected, and to say God has learned something new is a heresy. All these claims about the Holy Spirit doing these contradictions is dangerous business, because if wrong and found blaspheming the Holy Spirit, it is the one unpardonable sin! (Matthew 12:31)

Fr. Leander Harding made a list of observations from General Convention and what he sees as the teachings coming out of GCO6. Below are the last four, which play into my own thoughts about what GC06 has said about the Holy Spirit, particularly the arrogance of ECUSA to think what they are doing is right, and the rest of the Christian Church today and back through time has been wrong. The entire list can be found on Fr. Hardings blog at http://leanderharding.classicalanglican.net/
18. What the Holy Spirit is demanding must be determined provincially. Those dioceses which are members of the Episcopal Church and which resist the new teaching cannot legitimately be thought to be led by the Holy Spirit and must be resisted with all the canonical and legal means available.
19. A variety of interpretations of scripture can be tolerated in the church. The canons of the church especially with regard to the territorial integrity of Episcopal jurisdiction allow for no variation in interpretation.
20. The proposal of the Archbishop of Canterbury for a new Anglican covenant and for churches to choose constituent or associate status in the communion represents a dire threat to capacity of the church to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It represents the prospect of a quenching of the Spirit.
21. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church has been uniquely privileged to hear from the Holy Spirit in a way that has been denied to the rest of world wide Anglicanism, The Roman Catholic Church, The Orthodox Churches and Protestant Evangelicalism. The Episcopal Church must at all costs maintain its witness to the unique agency of the Holy Spirit in its midst. Those who oppose the new teaching are enemies of the Holy Spirit who are making an idol of the past at the expense of the future to which God is calling us.