Yes, it can be done. The current leadership of the Episcopal Church is readying the coffins for the dead apostasy riddled denomination.
Mark Tooley writes a compelling obituary at The American Spectator entitled, “Killing a Church”. The article is a review of William Murchison’s book on the church. If we learn anything from this massive tragedy, it is that the acceptance of homosexuality means certain spiritual death for your church whether it is local or national. Death is sure to come.
Tooley notes that the while the fatal illness afflicting the denomination grew considerably worse with the “consecration” of its first openly homosexual bishop, it really began with compromises on the authority of the Word of God.
The Episcopal Church’s current crisis technically began with its 2003 election of openly homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, igniting growing tensions with the nearly 80 million member Anglican Communion, especially its increasingly dominant and conservative African members. But Murchison traces the church’s wrong turn to the 1960s, when Episcopal elites increasingly chose for cultural conformity rather than cultural transformation. Like other Mainline Protestant elites, Episcopalians began to shed “exclusivist” claims about Christianity in favor of pluralism, where every ideology has a voice except for orthodoxy.
Not surprisingly, the rejection of orthodoxy in favor of cultural and political fads, whatever the spiritual consequences, has been disastrous for Episcopalians and all Mainline Protestant denominations, all of which have been losing members since the 1960s, between 25 and 40 percent. Former Presbyterians and Methodists and Lutherans either gave up on organized religion, or they joined evangelical or Catholic churches, or they, more permanently, died (!), leaving few if any descendants, as Mainline Protestants, especially Episcopalians, have notoriously low birth rates. The current Episcopal Presiding Bishop even celebrated this demographic collapse, claiming that Episcopalians were protecting the planet by abstaining from children.
And when apostates arose in the church, instead of putting them down, the church allowed their poisonous voices to exacerbate the infection, thus giving way to full blown apostasy.
Notorious, and highly charismatic, California Episcopal Bishop James Pike, who graced the cover of Time magazine, embodied this new restlessness. At the church’s 1964 General Convention, he bewailed “outdated, incomprehensible, and nonessential doctrinal statements, traditions, and codes,” having seemingly forgotten his own consecration vows to steadfastly resist all “strange and erroneous doctrine.” Pike urged a “theological revolution” to make the Gospel “relevant,” which entailed junking “myths” of past centuries, like the Virgin Birth and the Trinity, which were “unintelligible.” Eventually Pike pushed so hard that heresy charges were formally pressed. But ultimately, the Episcopal Church nervously shrank from ousting Pike for his apostasies. Pike’s unprosecuted rebellion foreshadowed expanded chaos for the church, as it succumbed to the surrounding secular culture’s demand for personal autonomy, accompanied by moral fragmentation.
Although Pike and his supporters strove for a “relevant” church, their influence helped spiral the Episcopal Church from 3.5 million in the 1960s to barely 2 million today, across 4 decades when the U.S. population increased by 50 percent. The embodiment of this decline was Bishop John Shelby Spong of Newark, whose best selling books deriding the Virgin Mary as a possible prostitute and speculating about St. Paul’s sexual preference got him on Phil Donahue. But the years of his progressive leadership, which included the ordination of actively homosexual clergy in defiance of church policy, saw a 40 percent decline of his diocese’s membership. “Why Christianity Must Change or Die,” was the title of one Spong book. But the form of doctrine-less Episcopalianism attracted only white, upper middle class, highly educated suburban liberals, and not very many of them. In recent years, respective Episcopal clergy have professed to be a Druid, a Muslim and a Buddhist. The first two ultimately left the ministry, and the third was denied election as bishop. But who’s to say their bi-faith choices were necessarily wrong?
Today we see the signs of sickness in many US Christian denominations. Their dna is dying because they have cast out the Spirit of Christ and have embraced doctrines of devils. Death is sure to come. Disobedience always brings death.