An ECUSA Resolution Failed…in More Than One Way

On Tuesdays two retired pastors and I get together for a Bible study on the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel reading.  In our past Tuesday’s general discussion, I said, “I just heard that the Episcopal Church…”  At saying “Episcopal Church”, both our brothers rolled their eyes and started chuckling.   The Episcopalian Church-United States of America (ECUSA) considered this week at their General Convention dropping their canon law requirement that one needs to be baptized in order to receive the Lord’s +Body and +Blood.

This resolution  caused a controversy but it failed to pass.  I read  two on-line reports on this, (here and here), and yet they state much from what is written and not written and are instructive of the failure of doctrine in ECUSA and other denominations.

Neither of these reports point out that there is no Scripture verse per se stating Baptism is requirement for communing at the Lord’s Altar.  I speak about the Scriptural basis of Baptism as entry into the Communion  at the end of this post.

 Why is there is no mention of Scripture in these reports? 

1.  Scripture would clarify more of what is doctrinally wrong than only this newest salvo in the liberal Protestant denigration of Scriptural authority in their denomination, but, alas, that will not happen. Why?   The most controversial aspects of the Reformation is still “sola Scriptura” but in particular, “sola”, “alone”. Many years ago, at a debate on homosexuality between Dr. Gilbert Meilander and Professor Paul Jersild (retired now) of Southern Seminary, Prof. Jersild in his opening stated he recognizes Scripture as an authority but also “experience and science”.  The reports state that reception to the Lord’s Supper is all about “hospitality”, using an acceptable Biblical word and subsuming under it all other doctrines.  “Hospitality” is simply a code word for “experience”, so in both articles those excluded from the Altar because they were not baptized tell their “stories”.  It is an argument from experience not the Word of God and hence nothing is settled till the newest ecclesiastical ruling. Their experience of feeling excluded is authoritative for the dropping of this canon law.  It’s all about “welcoming” and feeling good. Personal anecdote, more than the Bible, is what rules the day and has in many denominational debates (and by the way, political debates).

2. Notice then what is profoundly lost Scripturally and pastorally: both Sacraments are not the Lord’s own way of forgiveness of sinners, because in ECUSA and other such denominations, there simply are no sinners. The Biblical theology from The Book of Concord is no longer relevant:

What does such baptizing with water signify?–Answer.

It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?–Answer.

St. Paul says Romans, chapter 6: We are buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life

After all, ECUSA (and the UCC and ELCA), analogously like the American Psychiatric Association, moved “homosexuality” from the clear Biblical category of vice  into the category of virtue.  What is lost is repentance.  What is lost is any possibility of the clear preaching and teaching of both Law and Promise. What is lost is both Sacraments in this newest phase of the  attack on Scripture.    They simply become rubber-stamping of the new post-Enlightenment social agenda.  “When we say we have no sin…”

The Biblical Bases of Baptism as the sine qua non of Receiving the Lord’s Body and Blood:

As stated there is nothing per se in the Scripture about this and as any Jehovah’s Witness will do to confound the faithful:  “Show me the word “Trinity” in a Bible”.  Or show me the phrase “original sin” but all the above are abundantly taught in God’s Word and for brevity I cite two Scripture verses that could serve as sedes doctrinae for Baptism as necessary to receive the Lord’s Supper:

  1.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  (St. John 3: 3) Only through Holy Baptism into Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection (cf. Romans 6: 1ff) are we forgiven and born from above to be part of His reign receiving His Body and Blood in true Faith unto eternal life. “For my faith does not constitute Baptism but receives it.” (The Large Catechism) Our evangelism is always Baptismal and then Eucharistic.
  2. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12: 13)  The “one Body” is Jesus Christ, His Church, His Bride.  Baptism is the only entry into His one Body.  We do not join the Church but are baptized into it (Rev. Prof. Hermann Sasse).  “To be baptized in God’s Name is to be baptized not by men but by God Himself” (The Large Catechism)  A good Bible study of 1 Corinthians is the Apostle’s use of the word “body” and it is in this Epistle we have the Word of Institution. Baptized into His Body we receive His Body.  His Supper will not avail one not baptized into the Church.  The Church’s vocation is not to exclude or include but preach and teach Jesus Christ so that many will be baptized and taste and see that the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever.  For you.

About Pastor Mark Schroeder

I am currently the Pastor at Concordia Lutheran Mission, authorized by Good Shepherd Lutheran, Roanoke, Virginia. I have been an AELC then an ELCA pastor since my Ordination April 24, 1983 until leaving the ELCA and being accepted by Colloquy, June 1, 2010. My wife is Natalie and we have three children, Luke, Talitha and Abraham.


An ECUSA Resolution Failed…in More Than One Way — 7 Comments

  1. I believe the Episcopal Church now refers to themselves TEC (the Episcopal Church) and not ECUSA (Episcopal Church of the United States of America)

  2. When the Bible ceases to be held as the final word of authority, you start getting things like the Episcopal church. Very sad to see.

  3. What happens when inerrancy is denied? We have seen in the amalgamation of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) how diverse and corrupt the teachings of the church can become within just a few decades.

    Toleration of pro-abortion and gay rights advocacy and capitulation to the Marxist socialism of Liberation Theology are positions that are unthinkable, until the authority of Scripture is set aside. But more serious is the loss of zeal for missions and evangelism that inevitably occurs.7 And like an incurable disease, the effort to become more modern, more tolerant and more socially conscious diverts Christians from the great task Christ set preeminently before the church. In other words, the result is the same as the Protestant liberalism which infected Europe and America from the middle of the 19th century up to Word War I.8 A liberalism leading to such bizarre extremes as the Unitarian Universalist denomination having no basic doctrine of Christianity preserved at a1l 9 and the “Death of God” movement.

    On a more practical level, biblical inerrancy is indispensable to Christian faith because of its salvational importance. Where the doctrine is kept the real treasure of Scripture is maintained. The treasure to be found in its divine power.10 For Lutherans this power is understood in the explicit terminology of “The Means of Grace.” Our early dogmaticians have repeatedly affirmedthe efficacy of the Word and Sacraments. The Holy Spirit through the Word both offers and applies salvation and spiritual blessings.11 More recent, Pieper declares: “The divine power does not operate outside or alongside the Word, but through the Word and therefore inheres in the Word.”12 For Robert Preus, Lutheran representative to the now dissolved International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, “when we say the Scriptures are God’s Word we mean also that this powerful, saving Word is truthful, inerrant.”13
    It would be a mistake to place the doctrine of biblical inerrancy above the importance of our Christology or our Soteriology, to be sure. But it is no less indispensable because when it is eviscerated, both our Christology and our Soteriology are reduced to rubble and the church becomes immersed in mere social enterprise.



    Rev. Pomeroy J. Moore

    Dr. Robert D. Preus

  4. Bye, bye, Episcopal Church! Perhaps the ECUSA might be interested in selling the LCMS its campus ministry properties. On second thought, someone should take this suggestion seriously!

    Liberal Christianity:

    As a result, witness TEC and its full communion partners disappear:

  5. @Lumpenkönig #6
    Unfortunately, it is a profoundly sad and long good-bye to the Episcopal Church…along with the Presbyterian Church, the UCC, the Methodists and the ELCA. Nowadays, only 8% of Americans are mainline Protestants. Why is this a sad, long good-bye? At one time, for instance, a man would understand himself as a “rock-ribbed Presbyterian”…no longer. In many ways, our nation’s moral identity was informed and reformed according to Biblical morality as taught and preached in the Protestant mainline and without that common language of faith and Scripture, we are in a very dangerous vacuum for a Zeitgeist without mercy. Joseph Bottum in a First Things article, “The Death of Protestant America: A Political Theory of the Protestant Mainline”, chronicled this death. Yesterday I watched portions of the movie, Peyton Place from the 50s, considered salacious at the time, but people were portrayed as going to church and could be reformed according Christian principles. This is no longer possible in our society and culture with the demise of the mainline Protestants and Douthat is right, what goes for a lot of Catholicism (and yes Orthodoxy) is right there as well. The Church was actually the salt of the earth…but if salt has lost it’s saltiness, it’s edge, it’s difference, we know what it is good for. This judgment is sad and bad for our nation, for instance.
    One of the interesting lines in Bottum’s article about us is: “The influence of the Lutheran Church was bigger back when its ambitions were smaller.” We weren’t out to “change the world” but preach and teach the Word of God…and do what we could to serve and help our neighbor. Salt. Light. One of the reasons I found myself at BJS is people fighting against the zeitgeist of unrealistic expectations inherent in both social liberalism and conservative schwarmeirisms and for the Confession of the Word. Sasse was right and knew it in Nazi Germany and the liberal Germany of his day, it’s a lonely way. We can no longer count on those other oldline churches any more. Dylan Thomas:
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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