In the early '70s, comedian Flip Wilson created a character for his NBC television program called "Reverend Leroy" of "The Church of What's Happenin' Now." Like some contemporary "reverends," Reverend Leroy was a con artist who, among other things, once took up an offering to go to Las Vegas, explaining he had to study sin in order to effectively preach against it.
Reverend Leroy would feel right at home in the modern Episcopal Church, which recently voted at its denominational meeting in Anaheim, Calif., to end the ban on the ordination of gay bishops and permit marriage "blessings" for same-sex couples.
Denominational leaders explained they are attempting to stem the exodus from their church by embracing a new doctrine they call "inclusivity," which they hope will attract young people.
Apparently church leaders think that if they can reach people before they have fully matured in their faith, they can sidetrack them into beliefs that have nothing to do with the God that Episcopalians once claimed to worship and that they can be shaped into practical secularists who are willing to seek the approval of men, rather than God.
Inclusivity has nothing to do with the foundational truths set forth in Scripture. The church, which belongs to no denomination, but to its Founding Father and His Son, is about exclusivity for those who deny the faith. The church is inclusive only for those who are adopted by faith into God's family. There are more biblical references to this than there is room to cite here, but for the Episcopal leadership, biblical references no longer have the power to persuade, much less compel them to conform. That's because Episcopal leadership has denied the teachings of Scripture in favor of, well, inclusivity, a word that appears nowhere in Scripture. Even if it did, Episcopal heretics -- for that is what they are -- would choose another word to make them feel more comfortable, since accommodation with the world seems to be a more important objective than the favor of God.
Not to single out Episcopalians for special sanction. Other denominations have been putting themselves through theological makeovers in recent years, as have some of their more prominent members.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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