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2.19.2005    |    Outward signs
More on outward signs, with specific reference to my earlier post on Ash Wednesday. From a message I sent to an Anglican:

I came to the Baptists from the...Episcopal Church. Before leaving, I described myself as a Calvinist Anglican. You might know how well this would go down in a typical (liberal) ECUSA parish. My basic problem isn't the liturgy, which I very much liked. And I agree with you about not needing the outward sign. It's how many Baptists actually feel about baptism -- an outward sign of inward grace. Let's put it another way -- the thief on the cross next to our Lord was taken into heaven without baptism -- it was his faith alone that saved him.

What drove me away was a combination of political correctness (e.g. hearing a woman priest intone about "our mother who art in heaven") and the virtual absence of any sense of man's fallen state or, for that matter, of sin and repentance.

The business with an openly gay bishop (Robinson), and the approval of his promotion by the church's bishops sealed the deal -- this church, ECUSA, is in violation of Scripture. So, while perhaps some of the classically Anglican parishes might cling to sound doctrine, when Nigerian and Ugandan bishops start treating the United States as a mission field, it's time to move on to a more truly Protestant, Bible-based church.

Everyone's different in their approach to God. The good news is that we all, basically, share the Good News that Jesus was given to atone for mankind's sins. Just that you'd never hear it said in this way in most Episcopal churches today.

The issue, however, isn't the need to reform ECUSA (or any other church). I'm not so arrogant that I think that it's my way or the highway. It's that as I've come to more fully appreciate Reformed theology, I've come to want to strip away all but that which is essential. For me, that comes down to the five solas. I'm still somewhat out of synch with my (Baptist) church, but at least I am no longer derided as a hopeless throwback to Geneva.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.