Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free at Last!
Falls Church Episcopal Liberated by Virginia Supreme Court Decision.
“It’s a compelling story of people who really believe in themselves as a faith community that is loyal to the Episcopal Church, loyal to the Gospel and wants to be good news to the community.” …The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector, Falls Church Episcopal
I am in perfect agreement that the church property rightfully belongs to ECUSA. We are, after all, a nation of laws, many of which, including the Founding Documents, were written by Anglicans, who were, after all, a substantial majority of signers of those documents. Those who now remain faithful to the heritage and doctrine of the Articles of Religion, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and the 1928 BCP Catechism must surrender their attachment to these and other similar historic buildings, often constructed and maintained over generations by their family’s generous tithes.
In their place we must build and dedicate new Tabernacles for worship of our God, the Father Almighty, the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit, The Holy Ghost, and within them we must preach the Holy Word Of God, teaching all of The Old and New Testaments, not just that which seems appropriate to our ideology, and going forth into the world in obedience to the commands of God.
And in that statement is my point. The Reverend Ohmer, in his elocution of hierarchy notably places the faith “community” and the “Episcopal Church” ahead of the Gospel, even equivocating “loyalty” with “belief and obedience” to God’s Holy Word.
In Reverend Ohmer’s theology, the Church exists as a kind of sectarian community center, a place where social justice is meted out in boxes of clothing, hot meals, job counseling, friendship and heart-felt advice, all dictated by the métier of “The Gospel of Jesus Christ as a Social Psychologist” and tinged about the edges with the more palatable tenets of Gutierrez’s and Boff’s Liberation Theology.
Hardy the stuff of our Anglican Founding Fathers; more like the plaintive wails of immigrant Euro-Americans, or the papist rants of late nineteenth century Roman Catholic social reformers. And I might add, all to the good, for we are commanded to care for the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, even to the oath we must affirm of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
As I read Reverend Ohmer’s words, however, I hear the vocabulary of a progressive reformer, the compassion of the neighborhood organizer, and the diction of the educated social scientist. Again, all to the good of worldly needs and all the words spoken are expected of worldly leaders. The Reverend’s words are meant to seem inspired by the Spirit, but sadly they are inspired by needs of the flesh. I do not hear in this Priest’s voice the call to salvation, the truth told of human weakness and sin, the need to repent and most importantly the clear and unambiguous assertion that “We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ by Faith, and not by our own works or deservings.” These words, written by our Church’s Fathers, and rooted in Biblical Texts, suggest another world, a world above and beyond the physical universe, and beyond our physical needs; a spiritual world about which we rightly expect our shepherds, our priests , our Bishops, our Church, to teach us.
Good works will never save us, nor save the beneficiaries of such works, and while we may do such works to the glory of God; while we may feed, clothe, seek justice and equality, what is the point, if we do not teach, preach and pray for the salvation of all men, and what vanity and hubris would lead any man to think he can accomplish both tasks.
Water tastes the sweetest when there is greatest thirst.
In every society where material comfort has become the object of human aspiration, there comes the least desire and greatest need of Divine Inspiration. When Priests become the self imagined objects of Divine Inspiration, not the conduit of it, they have truly lost their way, they can not help but lead their flock astray.
Falls Church Episcopal may now officially join the ranks of Toynbee Hall, Hull House and the thousands of other such institutions which have failed, and continue to fail to relieve, let alone eradicate, poverty, pain, depression and despair. These institutions, and now the Episcopal Church, have however made thousands of educated, progressive and “guilt ridden” middle class men and women volunteers feel good, needed and necessary, if not sufficient, and perpetuated the “Idol” doctrine of Humanism as a means to an end. And of the priests and ministers who promulgate such uses of the tabernacles of worship in the pursuit of good works? Let it be said, were there no God, they would be the heroes of us all.
But, as there is a God, only one God, our God, shouldn’t salvation be the Church’s goal? Do the humble, poor and meek need to feed, clothed and counseled to be saved? Don’t the scriptures suggest otherwise? Aren’t our Christian Churches, first and foremost, meant to be places of worship of God, of His Son Jesus Christ, of spiritual nourishment and strength through the Holy Spirit, of repentance for our sins, of thanks for our blessings?
Why is it necessary to abandon the Bible to comfort the afflicted? Why has the Church abandoned the message of salvation for the the sake of false compassion and sanctimony? Let the congregants establish and maintain such secular endeavors, let them establish organizations and institutions dedicated to the worldly physical needs of the impoverished, imprisoned or incompetent. Let then guide governments, let them adopt the unwanted, now often aborted, children of their friends and daughters, and of the unloved and abused. The Church is not a social institution, not an alms house or group home, not a hotel or hospice . Nor is it a social welfare organization, athletic facility, or rental hall. All such good works are the byproducts of the Church’s teaching, all are often the creation of Christians, but none are the mission of the Christian Church. The singular purpose of the Church must be Salvation, sharing with each and every child of God the Good News of the Gospels, the Foundations of our Faith, the Love of Christ, the Comfort of the Holy Ghost and the Fear of God Almighty.
Justice and the Law have been served. The way of the world triumphs. Get over it, American Anglicans. Find a place to pray, and do so now. You lost this tabernacle as the chosen people lost the Temple, you didn’t faithfully obey God.
You did not speak up when weak Bishops sought to ordain woman to the Priesthood, and with your silent consent, your Bishops didn’t prevent practicing homosexuals and philandering heterosexuals from ordination. You didn’t demand that the flood of “profligate postulants” and “converts of convenience” learn the Articles, the Quadrilateral, the Catechism; your Bishops did not Exam those who who stood before them to be Confirmed in Faith or Received from another Communion, and they certainly demanded no doctrinal purity and orthodoxy of themselves. Your Priests and Bishops didn’t deny communion to those who supported abortion, or excommunicate those who effected it. Your clergy were, frankly put, poor shepherds of their flocks. And you, faithful communicants, did not demand that the Gospel be preached, and obeyed. And if penury and parsimony were the excuse for the “open door” policy of the Church’s hierarchy, no one, not clergy or congregants, demanded the discipline of Biblical tithes.
At least, you are not now led into apostasy, your soul is not torn from your flesh by wolves in priest’s clothing preaching a false doctrine. You are not counseled by queer men, and men who feel sorry for queer men, those whose love of the flesh and desire for worldly acceptance of their perverse practices compels them to mislead their flocks with the miasma of “social justice,” deviant sexuality, same sex marriage, and political correctness. You do not draw nourishment from the breast’s of twenty-first century temple whores in clerical collars, many of whom seek pleasure in the beds of other women.
Falls Church Anglicans, and others who have lost and will lose their parish homes, I bid you pray not for your ancestor’s buildings, not for the old brick and flecking mortar, not for the worn polished oak benches, not for illuminated antique stained glass windows or the bright bent daylight of wavy blown glass, but pray earnestly for those who prevailed in the Supreme Court of Virginia, and other such Courts, pray for those lost souls, but especially for those heretics who now occupy The Falls Church Episcopal Tabernacle . Absolom, oh Absolom!
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The Virginia Supreme Court Decision: Falls Church v. The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al.