Bishop Schorri: Focus on personal salvation is 'heresy', 'idolatry'

Presiding Bishop Schorri, the leader of the Episcopal Church, explained why the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion were facing so many divisions. These troubles can be traced to…

…the great Western heresy – that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God. It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention.

content.usatoday.com/communities/religion/post/2009/07/68494086/1

The blogger who quoted Bishop Schorri thinks her comment raises the age old issue of whether one is saved by works or saved by grace. I guess I don’t understand enough theology to know what the blogger, or the bishop, is talking about. :o

“It is easier to believe that God made one person infallible than to believe that he made fifty-one out of every one hundred infallible.” – G. K. Chesterton
Also see The Early Church and the Papacy Peter always mentioned first, as foremost apostle Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13; Lk 9:32
Peter speaks for the apostles Mt 18:21; Mk 8:29; Lk 12:41; Jn 6:69
Pentecost: Peter who first preached Acts 2:14-40
Peter worked first healing Acts 3:6-7
Gentiles to be baptized revealed to Peter Acts 10:46-48
Simon is Cephas (Aramaic: Kepha for rock) Jn 1:42
"on this Rock I will build my Church; Peter given keys to Kingdom; Given power to bind and loose" Mt 16:18-19
Keys as symbol of authority Is 22:22; Rev 1:18
"feed my sheep" Jn 21:17
"Simon strengthen your brethren" Lk 22:31-32
"Vicars" of Christ Lk 10:1-2; 16; Jn 13:20; 2 Cor 5:20; Gal 4:14; Acts 5:1-5
The Seat of Moses as teaching authority Matt 23-2
Built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets Eph. 2:20

Dale, I don’t think that is what it refers to, but I didn’t get a chance to read her whole statement, and perhaps that will help make it more clear. I’ll check my reader and see what I 'm getting and hopefully get back with you.

Schiori, I refuse to call her a bishop, is incompetent, diabolical, maniacal, and heterodox in almost every belief she holds. Don’t listen to what she says or even ponder it. We only are on this earth a short time. Try reading scripture, pray, or read guys like Chesterton, Tolkien, Scott Hahn. Use your time wisely lol…Spending your time trying to understand the mind of a psychotic is exhausting! :stuck_out_tongue:

Dale, I went and read the entire piece. I still don’t think its about faith and works. What she is railing about is the idea that such things as ritual formats are what matters in church life. That is a slap of sorts at the break away Episcopals who are against gay rights, womens ordination and the like. She I think is saying that these outer accouterments of the church structure are not important and are not salvation. What is is the theme of the convention, Ubuntu-- I am because we are, and I can only become a whole person in community with others.

My church is a “Matthew 25” church. We view our purpose as not to convert, evangelize and so forth, but to serve. Matthew chap 25 is where Jesus asked, when did you feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner etc? When you did, you did it to me. We and I think Bishop Sciori see that as the mission of the Church. We are to include all and get about the business of most effectively working to cure the worlds ills. We can scarcely abandon the opportunity to use the talents of people because they don’t “fit” some historical models. I’m no doubt reading too much in what she said, which was brief as to the idea of " western heresy" in the first place. It was one paragraph.

But the drift I receive is that when we concentrate on what it “takes to be properly ritualized” in the sense of what words and incantations are the “right” ones, and by whom, we miss the point and focus entirely on ourselves, and to that degree we have really pushed out God completely. Our focus is and must always be on “us/we” for that is wherein God is the center. The trinity, if accepted as such, points ot relational needs, and we are not Godly, in a sense, when we are spending our time worrying about individual salvation as opposed to doing the work Jesus made it so clear we must be about.

At least that is my take. Hope it made some sense.

Blessings,

Sherry

Hi Sherry,

Yes, what you wrote did make sense. And your statement that you were able to find her entire speech online motivated me to go look for it again - this time successfully. I’ll provide the link to the speech for those who want to read it, but I think the excerpt I quoted in the first post doesn’t make sense without also reading these two paragraphs:

I said that this crisis has several elements related to that heretical and individualistic understanding. We’ve touched on one – how we keep this earth, meant to be a gift to all God’s creatures. The financial condition of the nations right now is another element. The sins of a few have wreaked havoc with the lives of many, as greed and dishonesty have destroyed livelihoods, educational possibilities, care for the aged, and multiple forms of creativity – and that’s just the aftermath of Ponzi schemes for which a handful will go to jail. If we want to be faithful, we need to be continually rediscovering that my needs are not the only significant ones. Ubuntu implies that selfishness and self-centeredness cannot long survive. We are our siblings’ knowers and their keepers, and we cannot be known without them – we have no meaning, no true existence in isolation. We shall indeed die as we forget or ignore that reality.

There is another related element to this crisis, the one that has to do with the particular means and purpose of our gathering. How do we keep the main thing the main thing? How will we insist that this Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society remember that God’s mission is our reason for existence, and that it has most to do with loving our neighbors? The structures of this church are resources for God’s mission, but they are not God’s mission in themselves, and if we get that mixed up, we will have turned our face toward the date palms of Jericho rather than toward Jerusalem.

episcopalchurch.org/78703_112035_ENG_HTM.htm

Thanks for the link. I should have provided it myself, but clicked it off unthinkingly before I came back here.

Some do think she was talking about faith and works, and if that is a correct interpretation, then she clearly comes down on the Catholic side of things it seems to me. I tend to split the baby as it were, believing that we are given grace freely as gift from God, but we assent to the grace by acting our our faith in Jesus by the works we do. John D. Crossan has said that we theologicans and biblical scholars have written librarys full of commentary on Romans and faith and works, yet to the people who were the recipients of this letter, it could not have been that complicated to them, otherwhise Phoebe would have been to have be a theologican the likes of what we have never seen to explain it throughout the Roman home churches. I tend to agree.

I must recommend to a book I’m just now reading to review. It is by Robin R. Meyers and is called “Saving Jesus From the Church: HOw to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus.” The writer is a UCC minister and he says this:

Referring to the Sermon on the Mount:

“there is not a single word in that sermon about what to believe, only words about what to do*. It is a behavorial manifesto, not a propositional one. Yet, three centuries later, when the Nicene Creed became the official oath of Christendom, there was not a single word in it about what to do, only words about what to believe.”

and this:

“Today, worshipers of Christ agree to beieve things about him, in order to receive benefits promised by the institution, not Jesus.”

I think this reflects Bishop Sciori’s thinking. And least that’s my interpretation.*

…the great Western heresy – that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God. It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention.

Yes and no…
I disagree that it is heretical to say that the individual can be saved. I actually strongly disagree. Nobody can be saved just through some affiliation with a church and nobody can be saved just through being sprinkled as an infant. I do not have any problems being declared a heretic. I decided to leave the catholic church and renounce many of their dogmas so that I am already excommunicated. Why not add more to heresy and schisma?

Salvation is all about the work of God demonstrating the Glory of God. It’s all about God.
For HE will take you from the nations, HE will gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then HE will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; HE will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, HE will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and HE will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. HE will put HIS Spirit within you and cause you to walk in HIS statutes, and you will be careful to observe HIS ordinances.
If there is no separation recognizable in your life you are lost.

You been baptized as an infant, you are in the church. Even though you are unregenerate you are in the church. You got in. Why? Because you went through some man made supersticious thing. Southern Baptists are no different!! Just that we don’t have infant baptism. We have that silly supersticious prayer at the end of a roman row that sends more people to hell than every brothel in this country!!

Only true repentance and true belief can lead to salvation. God will do the work. He Himself will take us from the nations and He Himself will take away our heart of stone and give us a new heart of flesh. We will be separated and we will be careful to follow Him!
Can a true believer sin? He can. Can a true believer backslide? He can. Can He stay there? No. God is our father and He will discipline us as His children. If God does not discipline you and keep you in the straight and narrow you are probably not one of His children. God is a good father and He wouldn’t allow one of His children to go astray and stay there.

It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention.


**Many years ago, I commented that the “sinner’s prayer” is nothing more than a new Protestant sacramental formula that works ex opere operato.

She is doing nothing more than paraphrasing C. S. Lewis who said that our faith should be in Christ Himself and not a theory about how He saves us.**

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