Wednesday, March 05, 2014

TLF+ note: I wish I could transport church progressives here, so that they might understand what it is like to be a theologically traditional Evangelical, Anglo Catholic or Charismatic in TEC today.

The dramatic changes since the Spirit-filled election of Presiding Bishop Terry Bennett-Brompton at the 2006 General Convention continue to astound The Episcopal Church, now operating as the Church of POSSIBLE (Prophetic Outreach of Second Sign Gift Blessing).  The appearance of the POSSIBLE banners around the convention hall, along with the change from ECUSA (Episcopal Church USA) in all denominational communications, remains unexplained as far as procedural adoption, but is widely accepted as a movement of the Holy Spirit.

“We were shackled too long by Roberts Rules of Order and other expressions of a fallen world,” said Bennett-Brompton in a controversial sermon at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  “The transformation of General Convention into the new Miracles Ministry Rally gave us extended time to sing in the Spirit, receive words of knowledge and replace resolutions with prophecies.”

2012 saw the second reading and adoption of replacement rites of Christian initiation, by which The Second Blessing of Baptism in the Spirit was added to The Book of Common Prayer.  While not required to demonstrate “sign gifts” such as speaking in tongues, prophetic utterance or words of knowledge, church members are required to sign a statement affirming those gifts in order to receive Holy Communion.

The new Title IV disciplinary canons replaced what Bennett-Brompton called “man-made, legalistic rules” with a “prayerful, Spirit-guided process of discernment and correction.”  Hundreds of clergy have been called into personal meetings with Bennett-Brompton, who has augmented the formerly ceremonial post of Presiding Bishop with the title “Chief Apostle.”  Clergy unable to speak in tongues during these meetings are allowed a period of prayer and fasting and, if this does not lead to repentance and reception of the Spirit, are consigned to Satan.  “We believe that they can be saved, but only after disfellowshipping and destruction of the flesh.”

Although the denominational staff, now exercising excecutive power over the denomination as the “24 Elders and 4 Living Creatures,” express unanimous approval and joy for the new directions of the church, a few angry, dissenting bloggers that nobody reads object.

“Years of building a social justice movement in the church have been wiped out by a couple of Charismatically-overrepresented conventions and now by this emergence of a ‘national apostolate’ with unaccountable and unquestionable authority” lamented Jonathan-Jennifer Ramallah-Smythe, former Canon for Inclusive Justice in the Diocese of Southwestern Upper Newark (New Jersey).  Ramallah-Smythe was consigned to Satan after meeting with the Chief Apostle, and has since joined TEPPANYAKI (The Episcopal Praying People Actively Nearing Youth and Kid Inclusionarity).

TEPPANYAKI and a number of other dissenting groups have claimed most of the former TEC physical property.  POSSIBLE has simply refused to contest most cases, in obedience to the Chief Apostle’s teaching that “We will secure the POSSIBLE future by spiritual warfare in the heavenlies.”

But the courtroom victories are proving Pyrrhic, as the dissenting groups are small groups of elderly political activists, opposed to converting others to Christianity, and unable to sell the eccentric buildings at prices that make up for the cost of claiming them in the first place.

Meanwhile, POSSIBLE claims considerable growth.  Said Bennett-Brompton in a recent video, “The Spirit is not contained in denominations and man-made organizations.  Through my Apostolate, POSSIBLE represents over two billion Christians in more than 200 countries around the world.”

POSSIBLE’s next major changes, to be spoken into the 2016 General Convention Miracles Ministry Rally, will be the adoption of a new hymnal, “The Top Forty Worship Choruses,”  and the first reading a new rite called “Rededication by Full Immersion in Water” for those who were baptized under prior rites.

There is also a grass roots movement to ordain children demonstrating prophetic gifts as deacons, priests and bishops.

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