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"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." - John Philpot Curran


Heresy vs. Schism

You will recall that V. Gene Robinson, despite being an admitted homosexual, was elected bishop-designate of New Hampshire this past summer at the Episcopal General Convention in Minneapolis, Minn. Conservative Episcopalians have since been very vocal about their opposition to Robinson's confirmation, and many fear that it may lead to a split in the church.

During last week's annual meeting of Virginia's Episcopal diocese, the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee called upon church members to put aside their convictions and embrace the open sinfulness of the church's leadership ranks. Well, he didn't use those words exactly, but that is in essence what he was implying when he said, "If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy. For as a heretic, you are only guilty of a wrong opinion. As a schismatic, you have torn and divided the body of Christ. Choose heresy every time."

First of all, Rev. Lee mistakenly labels the two conflicting groups. Notice he uses the terms "heretic" and "schismatic" as opposed to "heretic" and "orthodox." Notice also that he immediately condemns the schismatic (i.e., the one threatening to break away from the congregation because of irreconcilable doctrinal differences) while giving a free pass to the heretic (i.e., the one who caused the rift in the first place).

Secondly, the good reverend makes the grave mistake of confusing heresy with blasphemy. Heresy is an opinion or practice that is contrary to what the church generally accepts as truth. Blasphemy, on the other hand, is an outright contempt for God and a blatant disregard for His commands - and that is exactly what Robinson's supporters are guilty of committing.

What Rev. Lee doesn't realize is that when a church's leadership has become so morally corrupt that blasphemy is allowed to supplant sound biblical doctrine, the people are left with little choice. Their only viable option - and I mean this quite literally - is to get the hell out of there before it's too late.

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