Sunday, July 02, 2006

On being a prophet: truth and consequences

The Lexington Herald-Leader asks, A church divided cannot stand -- can it? Quoting:
Around the world, friends in the 77 million-member Anglican communion are taking sides. In a letter this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury hinted that in a newly reconfigured Communion, the U.S. church and others who make "significant decisions unilaterally" might end up as "associate" members, observers with "no direct part in the decision making."

Noting that some provinces no longer have full communion with the Episcopal Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams made no apologies. "It isn't a question of throwing people into outer darkness, but of recognizing that actions have consequences -- and that actions believed in good faith to be 'prophetic' in their radicalism are likely to have costly consequences."

Regarding gays and lesbians, Williams said that "rhetoric about 'inclusion'" should not obscure the key issue -- whether a church which seeks to be "loyal to the Bible" must bless homosexual behavior or warn against it.
In other words, the Episcopal Church is acting as a prophet. If one examines the Bible, one quickly sees: (1) Prophets in the Bible are rarely popular, and (2) prophets in the Bible are rarely wrong as seen in hindsight by the faith community. This does not imply that the Episcopal Church is prophetic. No doubt the Bible includes only those prophets that proved right in the interpretation of the faith community.

Rowan Williams is saying that it is indeed possible that the Episcopal Church will prove to have it right, but that for now it is proving to be a voice that much of the Anglican Community does not accept. That's quite a complement.

In the meantime, acting as prophet - being an irritant to the faith community - necessarily means bearing the consequences. Rowan Williams is right: there's no way to be a prophet and avoid the consequence of being shunned by the faith community.

Are prophets good for the faith? The Bible tells us they are.

Therein lies the answer to question: Can a divided church stand? Answer that by asking this question: has God stopped sending prophets?


John B. Chilton said...

I mistakenly posted this at one of my other blogs. During that time it gathered some comments. They are posted below.

John B. Chilton said...

Anonymous said...
yes God stopped sending prophets. After all, everything is said.
Interesting though, the definition of a prophet is a person who receives instructions from God directly. Definition of an Apostle is, the person who receives directions from a prophet directly. The thing is, if Jesus was God his apostles should all be called prophets.
02 July, 2006 08:52

BD said...
Reason and religion. If people approach religion from a perspective of reasoning as opposed to the aptly referenced "blind faith", then that is something to herald. The Anglicans are engaging in an admirable exercise.
02 July, 2006 09:09

Anonymous said...
"Everything is said..."

Yes, indeedy...if you say so, sir.
02 July, 2006 09:58