The present strife within the Episcopal Church (story Dec. 1) may seem to some to be unnecessary bickering among the clerics. In actuality, however, it is the most recent example of an ongoing process within Christianity that goes back to its inception. At issue is the purity of the faith, or keeping the faith biblical.
In the fourth century, the Bishop of Hippo, known as St. Augustine, stated the process as follows: In the essentials of the faith, we must have unity; in the nonessentials of the faith, we must have freedom; and in everything, we must have brotherly love.
When the Episcopalian leadership redefined the moral status of homosexuality within the church, a practice that is denounced as an abomination to God in the Old Testament and declared to be sin in the New, they were attempting to make it a nonessential issue. If the San Joaquin Diocese, however, prefers the authority of scripture to that of their church government, then a split is inevitable and, in my view, justified. What we have is the Reformation revisited.
Rodney J. Nidever