The Invisible Hand Is Writing On the Episcopal Church Wall

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
August , 2011

American author Walter Russell Mead, a leading foreign policy expert, has written a piece for the American Interest in which he declares that an invisible hand has been writing on the nation’s wall of late, and the message is scaring the markets. “The markets should be scared; there is real trouble afoot, and the world’s political and economic leaders are terrifyingly out of their depth,” he writes.

According to Mead, the message being sent to the markets, the kings and rulers of this earth, the Davoisie and the bankers, the economic sages and the lords of finance by the invisible hand that shapes us like a potter’s wheel is this:

MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN, “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.” Now your punishment begins.

“The thin rhetoric of a backward looking president, the obstreperous negativism of an opposition better at rejecting what it hates than building or even conceiving what it needs, the lotus-eating educational formation that cuts us off from our past, and the incessant noise of a superficial pop culture: none of this is worthy of America at its best and none of it will help us now.

“We will blame the politicians as much as we can, but we the people have also lied to ourselves. We accepted promises that sounded too good to be true, we accepted counterfeit promises and passed them along as good money.

“Denial has been our closest companion and our best friend. Unfortunately it will betray us in the end; following the news from Europe and Washington these days I keep thinking of Carlyle’s meditations on the looming bankruptcy of the French monarchy as that country’s revolution approached: “Great is Bankruptcy: the great bottomless gulf into which all Falsehoods, public and private, do sink, disappearing; whither, from the first origin of them, they were all doomed.”

The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church has mirrored the national zeitgeist following the nation’s steady downward decline for more than 40 years.

Through its immediate past leaders, Ed Browning, Frank Griswold and Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church has embraced a variety of pansexual behaviors mirroring the culture. It has also denied and mocked basic Christian doctrines through bishops like John Shelby Spong, Charles E. Bennison, Tom Shaw, John Chane and others; denied the need for personal salvation by bishops like Katharine Jefferts Schori. TEC has brought into its ranks known pederasts, while at the same time throwing out godly bishops and priests who hold and maintain the very gospel they now deny.

Social amelioration, rather than spiritual transformation, has been the order of the day with disastrous consequences. The Episcopal Church has gone from over three million members to under 700,000 (ASA) today. Its numbers are rapidly sinking. Confirmations, marriages and vocations are all down sharply. Talk of merger and juncture is in the air. The Episcopal Titanic is taking on water at a fast clip with no apparent way to stop it.

The Anglican lifeboats of AMIA, CANA and ACNA have left the TEC ship. They have launched out on their own with the occupants turning only occasionally to watch as the ecclesiastical waters rise slowly over TEC’s portholes.

MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN – The Episcopal Church has been weighed in the balance and been found wanting.

Forty years of Louie Crew (later Integrity) pushing his abominable homosexual behavior onto a theologically wafer thin church devoid of spiritual life has left not only the national church, but his own diocese, in free fall led for many years by the egregious and perverse Spong.

New “doctrines” of inclusion and diversity – synonyms for sodomy and decadence — are now firmly embedded in nearly every diocese.

Just as in the Book of Daniel, King Belshazzar of Babylon held a great feast for a thousand of his lords, (think Jefferts Schori her HOB and General Convention). As they ate and drank from the vessels captured when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, they praised the false gods of gold and silver and of brass, iron, wood and stone (think Trust Funds and the Church Pension Fund in TEC).

Suddenly, when the party was at its height, the fingers of an invisible hand appeared and wrote on the wall: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN. The shocked king called for his sages and soothsayers to interpret the message. None of them could until Daniel, one of the Hebrews brought to the royal court, appeared. The king promised Daniel any reward he wanted if he would interpret the message.

Related Daniel, rather unlike a modern consultant or journalist, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writings unto the king and make known to him the interpretation.”

MENE: God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

VOL: God has numbered TEC’s days and it is finished.

TEKEL: Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.

VOL: TEC has been weighed in the balance and found wanting by Scripture and an orthodox Anglican Global South. Whole provinces like Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya will have nothing more to do with her. She is apostate to them and therefore anathema. They will not even sit down with the Archbishop of Canterbury where church policy and doctrine is discussed.

UPHARSIN: Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and the Persians.

VOL: TEC is divided and been given over slowly, but surely, to the AMiA, CANA and ACNA under GAFCON’s watchful approval.

The Episcopal Church’s bishops are presiding over its slow but inevitable decline. Nothing can stop it. Nothing. The 40-year crisis is coming to a head with fleeing parishes, and parishioners along with the money it needs from conservative congregations to keep the church’s liberal agenda alive has all but dried up.

TEC’s mounting losses and debt (TEC’s headquarters was recently remortgaged for $60 million) and its continuing losses in mounting legal fees reveals that it has no real idea of the way forward except through litigation. Awash in growing debt, it is selling properties to keep its seminaries afloat.

Even if TEC wins the property battles, the victory is pyrrhic. Near empty buildings with minute congregations have no future. TEC is a stagnant and moral cesspool. Preaching MDGs will not and has not made churches grow.

The question is this, can New York and Jefferts Schori come up with a constructive, future-oriented program to move the church forward to proclaim a gospel worthy of Jesus and St. Paul – and thus grow the church again? It wouldn’t be hard? TEKEL again.

Would or could KJS come up with a constructive solution to TEC’s problems that does not dissemble, delay, disguise and deny? Not likely.

This is not a partisan message. It is the message that is at the heart of the faith and should be at the heart of TEC. Regrettably, it is not.

The Episcopal Church cannot live indefinitely off dead men’s money any more than The Diocese of Washington can live forever off the Soper Fund. UPHARSIN.

As Mead observes about the challenges to the great industrial powers, “They aren’t petty policy challenges. It is not about not knowing when to move interest rates up or down fifty basis points; it is not about the right size of the budget deficit or the right price for the currency. The challenges the great powers face today run much deeper. Behind the US’s economic problems and the pathetic inadequacy of its political leadership is a much deeper question of identity and purpose.”

That is exactly the same question TEC must answer. What is its “identity and purpose” if it is not found “in Christ”? Is TEC’s purpose simply to promote social justice and MDGs? If so the UN and USAID can do it better. TEC misses its central purpose: to activate The Great Commission and to make disciples of every nation.

Mead says the financial problems, real and dangerous as they are, proceed from a vacuum in the hearts of the people. This is true of Episcopalians. It is the words of Blaise Pascal, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

THAT message needs to be shouted abroad from every Episcopal pulpit. Sadly, that is not going to happen. What is being shouted is inclusion and diversity.

Bankruptcy

We are not at the end of the road, but we are close enough now that the specter of national bankruptcy is becoming discernible through the mist. The frantic twisting and turning in both America and Europe, as our societies come to realize just how we have over promised and underpaid, is only the start. Denial has been our closest companion and our best friend, writes Mead.

The same is true for TEC. For the past 40 years, TEC has been living in denial even as the numbers mount showing a rapidly declining denomination. Arguments that it is about changing demographics, inward looking and aging congregations, and an arcane Prayer Book don’t wash. It is the message, stupid. The vast majority of TEC’s priests don’t have a message that is discernible from that of the world. Dressing up and selling diversity and pansexuality from the pulpit is ultimately the kiss of death. Without the life-changing message of Jesus, there is ultimately no message. Wrapping the resurrection of Jesus in bright spring mornings of hope don’t cut it. St. Paul did not head to Rome for his beheading to announce this year’s crop of spring roses.

“Great is Bankruptcy: the great bottomless gulf into which all Falsehoods, public and private, do sink, disappearing; whither, from the first origin of them, they were all doomed. For Nature is true and not a lie. No lie you can speak or act but it will come, after longer or shorter circulation, like a Bill drawn on Nature’s Reality, and be presented there for payment, – with the answer, No effects,” writes Mead.

TEC leaders have forged the signatures of unbelief on millions of unsuspecting Episcopalians slowly dumbing them down over time so that they can no longer even hear the gospel and respond to it.

The great crime of Belshazzar and his cronies was to become disconnected from real values and real events. They used the sacred vessels of the Temple for an unholy palace banquet. At a time of great danger to the realm, they distracted themselves with good food and good wine. They ignored the great source of meaning that enlightens and guides the world to focus their attention on shiny objects: gold, silver, brass, says Mead. “All this and more describes our global leadership today.”

The same is true of TEC. The great crime of the Moloch, TEC, and its leaders is that they have disconnected themselves from Holy Scripture and have become distracted with pansexuality and a social gospel that is ultimately no gospel at all. The shiny baubles of big salaries, free accommodation, endless benefits and an overweight Pension Plan will not ally the alarm of increasingly emptying pews and a growing vacuous future. TEC has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Now her punishment begins. The invisible hand of God is writing on the TEC wall

MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN.

END

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