The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has denounced the Apostle Paul as mean-spirited and bigoted for having released a slave girl from demonic bondage as reported in Acts 16:16-34 .
In her sermon delivered at All Saints Church in Curaçao in the diocese of Venezuela, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori condemned those who did not share her views as enemies of the Holy Spirit.
. . . She continued stating: “Human beings have a long history of discounting and devaluing difference, finding it offensive or even evil. That kind of blindness is what leads to oppression, slavery, and often, war. Yet there remains a holier impulse in human life toward freedom, dignity, and the full flourishing of those who have been kept apart or on the margins of human communities.”
That’s an odd thing for a pro-abort like Schori to say. She denies the humanity of the unborn to rationalize their legal and taxpayer-funded destruction.
Just as the forces of historical inevitability led to the ending of industrial slavery, so too would the march of progress lead to a change in attitude towards homosexuality, she argued.
“We live with the continuing tension between holier impulses that encourage us to see the image of God in all human beings and the reality that some of us choose not to see that glimpse of the divine, and instead use other people as means to an end. We’re seeing something similar right now in the changing attitudes and laws about same-sex relationships, as many people come to recognize that different is not the same thing as wrong. For many people, it can be difficult to see God at work in the world around us, particularly if God is doing something unexpected.”
Anything Schori says that agrees with God is purely coincidental. The Bible teaches the value of each human being made in God’s image. It also teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin.
And, uh, isn’t she offended by those who disagree with her? Seems kinda hypocritical.
To illustrate her point presiding bishop turned to the book of Acts, noting “There are some remarkable examples of that kind of blindness in the readings we heard this morning, and slavery is wrapped up in a lot of it. Paul is annoyed at the slave girl who keeps pursuing him, telling the world that he and his companions are slaves of God. She is quite right. She’s telling the same truth Paul and others claim for themselves,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said, referencing the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.
“But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness.
The poor girl was demon possessed.
Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it. It gets him thrown in prison. That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!,” the presiding bishop said.
She was demon possessed, and Schori puts her on par — or above — the Apostle Paul?!
The New Testament passage goes on to say that Paul and Silas were imprisoned for freeing the girl of her demonic possession. Presiding Bishop noted “an earthquake opens the doors and sets them free, and now Paul and his friends most definitely discern the presence of God. The jailer doesn’t – he thinks his end is at hand.”
However, Paul now repents of his mistake in casting out the spirit of divination, she argues. “
This time, Paul remembers who he is and that all his neighbors are reflections of God, and he reaches out to his frightened captor. This time Paul acts with compassion rather than annoyance, and as a result the company of Jesus’ friends expands to include a whole new household. It makes me wonder what would have happened to that slave girl if Paul had seen the spirit of God in her.”
It is fascinating how she makes it up as she goes along. It was an evil spirit in the slave girl, not the spirit of God.
And note that the text specifically says she was a slave. Schori wished she would have stayed that way! It is fascinating how wolves in sheep’s clothing can’t even get the simplest passages right.
In support her argument for radical inclusion and diversity over doctrine Bishop Jefferts Schori adds that the day’s reading “from Revelation pushes us in the same direction, outward and away from our own self-righteousness, inviting us to look harder for God’s gift and presence all around us. Jesus says he’s looking for everybody, anyone who’s looking for good news, anybody who is thirsty. There are no obstacles or barriers – just come. God is at work everywhere, even if we can’t or won’t see it immediately.”
Yes, just come, but on his terms: Repent and believe.
. . .
Responses posted on the Episcopal Church’s website to the Presiding Bishop’s sermon have been uniformly harsh, noting her interpretation was at odds with traditional Christian teaching, grammar, and logic. “This is quite possibly some if the most delusional exegesis I’ve ever read in my life,” one critic charged. “I’m sorry, but this sermon is not a Christian sermon.”
The reception by bloggers has been equally unkind. The Rev Timothy Fountain observed the presiding bishop had up ended the plain meaning of the text. “Instead of liberation” in freeing the slave girl from exploitation, presiding bishop finds “confinement. Instead of Christ’s glory, there’s just squalor.”
The Rev. Bryan Owen argued “What’s happening here is the exploitation of a biblical text in service to a theopolitical agenda. Given what she says in the first paragraph I’ve quoted from her sermon, the Presiding Bishop suggests that anyone who doesn’t buy into that agenda – anyone who holds to the traditional, orthodox understanding of such matters – is likewise afflicted with the same narrow-minded bigotry as Paul, and thus in need of enlightenment.”
That’s good news! There is some hope for people there.