Undermining Faith, Family and Morals in the Bible Belt

Response to Bishop Larry Maze’s (ECUSA) press release
The Bible Belt made national news; not for its fidelity to the Bible, but for recent statements given by Bishop Larry Maze of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas and the words of Rev. Lowell Grisham of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville that endorse and propagate the blessing of same sex unions
St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, an Anglican/Episcopal Church of the United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA), is facing a barrage of distress phone calls from Christians across Northwest Arkansas who are erroneously associating our church with the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA). Because of ECUSA’s warped hermeneutics (interpretation of Scripture) and their callousness towards the authority of Scripture, tradition and right reasoning the confusion persisists among God-fearing and faithful Episcopalians.
As an Episcopal Bishop (UECNA) at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Springdale, we share the name “Episcopal” and my flock is made up of cradle Episcopalians, some of them, who wonder if we need to add a disclaimer onto our church’s name, disassociating us with ECUSA. Almost thirty years ago, UECNA, saw this revision coming and hence let goods and kindred go, in embracing cradle Episcopalians who wanted to defend the faith once given to the saints. We do not share the liberal revisionism of ECUSA; and not just in blessing same sex unions, but in their disregard for the sanctity of life and family, 10 commandments(Lowell Grisham’s take), even liturgy. Secondly, as a minister of God, we should know that it is not our opinions that count, but that we direct our wills to align with His.
Statements from Maze and Grisham are detrimental to churches and church leaders across Northwest Arkansas, and especially to my flock. There is barely an element of separation between what is holy and unholy, natural and unnatural, sin and grace as evident in the Holy Bible. If a shepherd could assume such a position, then it’s time for its faithful to consider what is at stake. With statements such as these, the church should no longer be a church, but a social organization.
As its custodian, the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) failed to defend faith and morals as laid out in The Holy Scripture. It looks like a case where someone wanted to “exchange a lie for the truth of God” as St. Paul says (Romans 1:25). The same chapter of Romans offers the case of those who exchanged natural sex relations for unnatural sex relations and the clear stand of St. Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
As Bishop Maze admits, of course everything hangs on the summary of the law (love of God and love of neighbor). We do need to reach out to everyone. That is a given and a teaching that all churches accept. This is nothing new that ECUSA is embracing. In that sense, there is no pastoral nuance to it. But while compassion is the hallmark of a Christian, consciousness of sin is necessary to derive the fruits of the economy of salvation. Christ died for us all while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8). Christ loved the sinner but hated sin. That this rudimental sense of the sacred has been missed by these misleading clergy is a sad thing indeed.
The Church has withstood two millennia of struggles and heresies. For those faithful Episcopalians, there is still a home where God is feared and worshipped and His words are for all time. For twenty years, St. Gabriel’s has continued to embrace the faithful and offer a place where the sanctity of the family is safeguarded according to His will.
As for me and my house we will serve the Lord until His second coming!
Rt. Rev. Leo J. Michael