The Highlights are mine, I wonder how many of our bishops in ACSA would fare?

By David W. Virtue

The Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Alabama, the Rev. John “Kee” McKee Sloan says that it has been a “trying decade” for The Episcopal Church. In an interview with The Star newspaper, the overseer of 91 parishes expounds his views on the future of his diocese and The Episcopal Church. He replaces the Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley, who will retire in January after 15 years as bishop travel north and serve the national church in New York City.

Sloan served 14 years as rector for St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Huntsville. He has been Alabama’s bishop suffragan since 2008.

Sloan said in the interview that opinions remain divided over the issues of same-sex marriage and the election of openly gay clergy. In 2003, the Episcopal Church became the first denomination to elect an openly active non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy.

VOL took at look at the answers to the questions posed him. We believe that he is being disingenuous at best and simply false at worst.

Q: The Episcopal Church in Alabama has quietly experienced growth over the past decade. What makes the Episcopal Church attractive to new members?

SLOAN: I think part of the Episcopal Church’s growth is that we openly and honestly address the issues of the day, and that also creates part of our challenges. I think there is an appeal to encouraging people to think, to focus on asking the questions rather than resting on the answers that someone else came up with. It’s not our place to have it all figured out, to have it all nailed down. I’m so thankful to be part of a church that encourages people to ask the question, “Does this make sense to you … not because the church has had it written down for centuries, but does it make sense to you? Is it true for you?” Not that we make up our own dogma or doctrine. We are a denomination with checks and balances. Bishops are here to defend the faith and define the teaching, but not in a restrictive, narrowing way.

VOL: Not true. TEC’s ASA for 2003 was 823,017. For 2009, Average Sunday Attendance was 724,789, a drop of over 98,000! There has been no growth.The Diocese of Alabama had an Average Sunday Attendance in 2009 of 10,326 down from 10,585 in 2008. Not a large drop but a drop nonetheless. The Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham claims 4,000 members. It has an ASA of 958. There are 91 parishes in this diocese while there are 18 Anglican parishes from a variety of jurisdictions most notably the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). That’s 20% of all Episcopal/Anglican churches in the state. That figure is growing.

So the church has plenty of questions, but no or few answers, says Sloan. That is very reassuring, especially as people are desperate now, more than ever, for a church that has spiritual answers. It is why pseudo-Christian cults like the Mormons are growing and TEC is slowly withering and dying. The solipsist argument by Sloan raises more questions than it answers… “Does it make sense to you?” This is utterly irrelevant. The Faith is objectively true. The gospel nowhere asks “does it make sense to you” but are you prepared to repent and believe in the gospel? The gospel never makes “sense.” We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. Apparently it’s a stumbling block to postmodern Americans as well.

What does he mean when he says that bishops are to “defend the faith and define the teaching BUT NOT IN A RESTRICTIVE, NARROWING WAY”? This only opens the door to a Pandora’s Box of “restrictive” sexualities which Sloan dare not oppose if he does not want the wrath of PB Jefferts Schori and Integrity types breathing down his throat.

Q: What are your thoughts on gay clergy and same-sex marriages as the issue continues to rage within other denominations?

SLOAN: That’s one of the real challenges of our time. The church is not … we don’t know. We have not made a decision about that. It’s something we’re still praying about, and that’s frustrating for some people. There are people who are frustrated that we are talking about this at all; they wish it would go away. There are others who wish we would get moving, that it’s something we shouldn’t be dragging our feet about. It’s a difficult, thorny issue.

VOL: This is totally untrue. The church (TEC that is) has made up its mind. In 1976, ECUSA’s General Convention passed a resolution stating: “It is the sense of this General Convention that homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.” Resolutions D029 and later C051 recognized the blessings of same-sex unions, developing rites for same and the consecration of an avowed noncelibate homosexual in Gene Robinson and later the lesbian Mary Glasspool. They all attest to the fact that pansexual (LGBTQI) has now been fully embraced by TEC and there is no going backwards. Sloan should just try to reverse it, and if he does, bring an armor-plated vest to GC2012.

SLOAN: We do have a diversity of theological positions in the church, which is the nature of our faith – that people have different ideas that are not lightly held. When they disagree … what do you do?

VOL: No we don’t. The Episcopal Church is hounding the remainder of its orthodox wing with only four dioceses left (out of 109) that can be called remotely orthodox. When Mrs. Jefferts Schori starts her tap dance on the Diocese of South Carolina there will be one less in a year’s time. Disagreement with She Who Must Be Obeyed will get you tossed out of the TEC. Just ask Bob Duncan and a dozen other orthodox bishops what has happened to them. If you disagree with the prevailing zeitgeist, your life will be made a living hell. Ask how well Bishop Mark Lawrence is sleeping these days knowing that sooner or later Jefferts Schori and her attorney David Booth Beers accompanied by Bonnie Anderson, will deliver their full frontal attack on the bishop.

SLOAN: The inclination of this culture is to declare a winner and a loser, which is pretty good as long as you’re the winner, but that means leaving someone out.

VOL: Sure does. And the ones being left out in TEC are orthodox Episcopalians. Like Palestinian Christians in Israel who are slowly being disenfranchised by the Israelis (they have gone from 7% of the population to 1.5% – from 400,000 when Israel was established down to 60,000), orthodox Episcopalians are going the way of the Dodo bird. TEC liberals and revisionists declared themselves winners when they consecrated Gene Robinson. The orthodox have completely lost except for isolated pockets of resistance.

Furthermore, when General Convention MANDATES that dioceses must allow gay and lesbian priests this upsets, say the Bishop of Albany Bill Love, and if he must perform gay marriages with made up homosexual rites, there will be losers. If Sloan goes along with this he won’t be one of them. If Bishop Love doesn’t go along, he will be made into a loser. Who does Sloan think he is kidding? Someone is always left out and it won’t be him. He’s a team player with Jefferts Schori. His pension is assured.

SLOAN: This is something we need to work through together and we can’t do it in a hurry.

VOL: This is laughable. Nobody is working together. And the process has been slow and relentless with homosexuals and lesbians pushing their agenda at every turn in the road for more than 40 years. I know a bishop who is resigning because he does not want to be around when the balloon goes up and General Convention passes a resolution mandating that bishops MUST have gay and lesbian priests and MUST perform gay marriages or face getting thrown out of the church. (Check what happened with women’s ordination.) The end result will be the same. Heterodox are in, orthodox are out. Please read the tea leaves correctly, Bishop Sloan. From 1976 onwards, there has been a steady push for the whole pansexual agenda. It has never stopped. At the next General Convention, Homosexual Rites will be passed and it will all be over. Will the consciences of those who disagree be heard and be allowed to stay in TEC? Not a chance.

SLOAN: What I want most of all is for us to remember who we are and to love each other even if we disagree, be faithful and believe that the Holy Spirit is still part of the church. God has not abandoned us. We have not abandoned God. God is still working through us.

VOL: Won’t happen. Jefferts Schori HATES orthodoxy. She is not neutral. There is no love for orthodox Episcopalians left in TEC. That’s a lie and delusion. There are two gospels now in TEC and the only question is to which one will Sloan adhere too. Read what she said at the last General Convention about “personal salvation” and look what TEC is doing to parishes that want to flee. Where is the Holy Spirit to be found when the few orthodox faithful are hounded and verbally abused and beaten up at every General Convention by Integrity types? What world is Sloan living in? He clearly hasn’t been to many general conventions. He also should not presume the Holy Spirit is “working through us”. When you pass and mandate resolutions okaying sexual sin, God’s Holy Spirit will never bless it. Never in a thousand years. God has withdrawn the candlestick of His blessing. Witness the slow death of TEC. Sloan is simply deluding himself.

Q: You’ve taken some 20 medical mission trips to Honduras, recently returned from Haiti, and founded the Special Sessions program, a summer camp for mentally and physically challenged children. Why is it important to leave your comfort zone in order to help others?

SLOAN: Now that’s an underhand pitch for someone who’s spent a lifetime preaching. This is one of those things I do get wound up about. At the heart of it all, the gospels are proclaimed not only by what we say, but in what we do – who we love and how we love.

VOL: Now let’s see how generous Sloan will be in “who he loves and how he loves.” with a dwindling orthodox remnant in his diocese, especially at the 4000-member Church of the Advent in Birmingham, which has had a succession of evangelical Deans and priests. They were hounded by Bishop Parsley — just ask Paul Zahl and his successor The Very Rev. Frank F. Limehouse, III. We’ll see how Sloan treats this highly visible orthodox parish when he takes over.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being Episcopalian?

SLOAN: Episcopalians are called to address our faith with our hearts and our minds. As the Apostle Paul said, we are to “work out our own faith with fear and trembling.” Episcopalians are not typically biblically fundamentalist. We’re very serious about the Bible, but we think the foundation of faith is not only in Scripture but in Scripture, tradition and grace. We entertain other ideas and sometimes that makes us uncomfortable and makes us seem disorganized. But we do encourage and invite people to consider their faith – not just the way it was taught to them as children or as the pastor preaches it – but what do you believe? That’s the great gift of the Episcopal Church. It’s also our great challenge, and it’s what gives us heartburn sometimes.

VOL: True. Episcopalians are not “biblically fundamentalists”– that’s a straw man that liberal Episcopalians like to throw up. The truth is most Episcopalians are biblically illiterate and the priests and bishops like and want it that way, so they can be seduced into the false “doctrines” of inclusion, diversity and pluriformity that are NOT biblical.

Said Sloan, “We entertain other ideas and sometimes that makes us uncomfortable and makes us seem disorganized.” He’s right. TEC prefers interfaith gabfests, making nice with Islamic Imams, pandering to a shrill minority of pansexualists in the church…the one thing we won’t “entertain” is those who believe in “the faith once for all delivered to the saints”. About that Sloan has nothing to say because he doesn’t believe it. Over time, his diocese will continue to wither while the 18 orthodox parishes of other Anglican jurisdictions knocking on the front door of his diocese will continue to grow and expand as they present the very gospel of God’s grace and salvation which Sloan won’t preach in the name of diversity. The “heartburn” he feels now will only grow as he takes office and grows into the job.


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