Jul 10, 2009

Of Heresy, Righteousness and Salvation

Bill Wilson
By Bill Wilson

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, Katharine Jefferts Schori says that personal salvation through Jesus Christ is "heresy." Speaking of crisis in the church during her opening remarks for the Episcopal General Convention, Schori said,
"The overarching connection in all these crisis has to do with 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..."
Schori went on to describe that the theme of the convention is "Ubuntu." She said there is no "I" in Ubuntu. She says,
"The "I" only emerges as we connect - and that is really what the word means: I am because we are, and I can only become a whole person in relationship with others."
According to Wikipedia, Ubuntu is...
"an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other...Ubuntu is seen as a classical African concept."
So what we have here is a leader of a major church denomination declaring personal salvation heresy and replacing it with an African humanist philosophy of being a person through other persons.

Where is the Bible, the inerrant and infallible word of God, in all of this? It isn't. Jesus said in John 3:3,
"Verily, verily I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
In 3:16 Jesus says,
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
This is the polar opposite of salvation coming from being completed through personal connections with others. The intimate personal relationship with God is emphasized throughout the Bible - Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Matthew, Mark, Luke John, Paul.

Indeed, Romans demonstrates that through personal salvation Christ's righteousness is imputed to the believer. Also Romans 1:25 speaks of those...
"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."
Schori, in calling personal salvation and righteousness heresy, is attempting to abolish the guidelines for Biblical salvation and righteousness through Christ. For if there are no guidelines to righteousness, sin can be whatever man defines it - hence homosexuality, called abomination by God, can be elevated and celebrated as a gift from God and there is no personal relationship with God. Talk about heresy.

Related News

Bishop: Focus on personal salvation is 'heresy', 'idolatry' - USA Today
Ban on gay bishops on table again - The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Tense time for Episcopalians? - USA Today