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Jesus Christ is “Our Vehicle to the Divine?” The Episcopal Church is in Big Trouble

Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori

has now assumed office as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA. A former oceanographer, Bishop Schori is the first women to serve as Presiding Bishop. Her election is one of the most divisive developments within the world-wide Anglican Communion — and just wait until the global communion gets wind of her theological statements.

In an interview with CNN’s Kyra Phillips, Bishop Schori was asked, “So what happens after I die?” Her answer:

What happens after you die? I would ask you that question. But what’s important about your life, what is it that has made you a unique individual? What is the passion that has kept you getting up every morning and engaging the world? There are hints within that about what it is that continues after you die.

There is nothing even remotely Christian about that response. This woman is now the leader of the Episcopal Church in America, and she can do no better than this?

It gets worse.

Here is her answer when TIME magazine asked, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?”:

We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.

Jesus Christ is now only “our vehicle to the divine?” Her astounding answer to that question led an interviewer with National Public Radio to ask, “What are you: a Unitarian?” Here is the exchange:

Robin Young [NPR]: TIME asked you an interesting question, we thought, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?” And your answer, equally interesting, you said “We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.” And I read that and I said “What are you: a Unitarian?!?” [laughs]

What are you– that is another concern for people, because, they say Scripture says that Jesus says he was The Light and The Way and the only way to God the Father.

Bishop Schori: Christians understand that Jesus is the route to God. Umm– that is not to say that Muslims, or Sikhs, or Jains, come to God in a radically different way. They come to God through… human experience.. through human experience of the divine. Christians talk about that in terms of Jesus.

Robin Young: So you’re saying there are other ways to God.

Bishop Schori: Uhh… human communities have always searched for relationship that which is beyond them.. with the ultimate.. with the divine. For Christians, we say that our route to God is through Jesus. Uhh.. uh.. that doesn’t mean that a Hindu.. uh.. doesn’t experience God except through Jesus. It-it-it says that Hindus and people of other faith traditions approach God through their.. own cultural contexts; they relate to God, they experience God in human relationships, as well as ones that transcend human relationships; and Christians would say those are our experiences of Jesus; of God through the experience of Jesus.

Robin Young: It sounds like you’re saying it’s a parallel reality, but in another culture and language.

Bishop Schori: I think that’s accurate.. I think that’s accurate.

A “parallel reality” to the Gospel of Christ? This is a direct refutation of the Gospel. Consider the fact that the Articles of Religion (often popularly known as the “Thirty-Nine Articles“) of her own church obligates her to believe that there is salvation only in the name of Jesus Christ. Here is Article XVIII:

They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

No lack of clarity there.

As Bishop of Nevada, Bishop Schori supported the election of Gene Robinson as the openly-homosexual Bishop of New Hampshire and she also supported homosexual unions. Here is her response to the issue in the NPR interview:

Well, as a scientist and as a person of faith, I– I understand that sexual orientation is a given, for almost all people; it’s not a matter of choice, and in that case, if this is how people are created, then our job as a community of faith is to assist people in finding holy ways of living in relationship, and, uh, that’s what we’re about.

She does not even attempt to reconcile her position with Scripture, the Christian tradition, or the creed and teaching of her church — and she is the presiding bishop!

Many Episcopalians and Anglicans around the world will recognize that the logic of subverting Scripture in order to ordain women to the preaching ministry opens the door to all these aberrations. This is a church in deep trouble.

We discussed this issue on Thursday’s edition of The Albert Mohler Program [listen here].  My guest was Dr. Kendall Harmon, Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina.

[The photo is of a detail in a window in All Saints Chapel at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. It was taken on a recent visit to the chapel.]