Address – July 14, 2002
Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont
Rev. Dr. David L. Moyer, SSC
religion is about the soul – its health and salvation; and is equally
concerned about the souls of others.
Church Fathers spoke of the trinity of man – man being made in the
image of God. Just as we know God in three persons: the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, so too man is to be known and understood as a
trinity of being. There is the body, the soul, and the spirit. St.Paul
teaches this in First Thessalonians 5:23.
Church Fathers further taught (and modern psychology has as well) that
the human soul can also be understood as a trinity – mind, will, and
emotions. I ask you today to use your minds. Work hard with your minds,
rather than letting your emotions reign. We heard earlier the Summary of
the Law – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with
all thy soul, and with thy mind.” Please use your minds this morning.
said that, please listen to what St. Paul wrote to the Christians in
appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions
and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been
taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but
their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the
hearts of the simple-minded. For while your obedience is known to all,
so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and
guileless as to what is evil; then the God of peace will crush Satan
under your feet”(16:17-19).
John Chrysostom, 4th century Bishop of Constantinople and
Doctor of the Church, wrote of these verses: “Division is the
subversion of the Church. Turning things upside down like this is the
Devil’s weapon. As long as the body is united he has no way of getting
in, but harm comes from division. And where does division come from?
From doctrines which are contrary to the teaching of the Apostles.”
July 14th, is Bastille Day – a day for France parallel to
our own July 4th. It is a day that celebrates the beginning
of victory over tyranny as the people exercised their freedom of
expression. Today is also the anniversary of the Oxford Movement. It was
on this day in 1833 that John Keble, a parish priest, stood in the
pulpit of the Oxford University Chapel preaching the Assize sermon on
“National Apostasy.” It was the spark that lit the fire of the
Oxford Movement. Keble, who appears on the left panel of the triptych in
our Lady Chapel, preached with great passion and resolve, calling the
Church of England to renounce her apostasy, to repent of it, and to
return to her rightful heritage and integrity as a divine society of
people “set apart.” The Greek work for Church, “ecclesia,” means just that, “set apart.” He called the Church
to be a people governed by God, and grounded in Biblical, Catholic, and
Apostolic Faith and Order.
Shepherd, Rosemont, is a proud beneficiary and steward of the success
and influence of the Oxford Movement. We are proud to be known as such a
bearer of this legacy.
Episcopal Church suffers from tyranny and apostasy. I, in particular, am
a victim of tyranny and apostasy. Specifically, a tyrannical and apostate bishop.
am a priest who made solemn vows to the Lord God who called me to Holy
Orders. I was charged 25 years ago to be “a messenger, a watchman, and
a steward.” I was asked by the bishop who ordained me:
you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all
erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word; and to use
both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick
as to the whole, within your cures, as need shall require, and occasion
shall be given? I answered: “I will, the Lord being my helper.”
should say at this point that this vow was removed from the Ordinal of
the l979 Prayer Book.)
I received the laying –on-of –hands, the bishop said, “Take thou
the authority to preach the Word of God…”
the final vow I took was to obey the bishop over me, and to follow his
godly admonitions, and to submit to his godly judgments. The ‘79
Prayer Book has placed this as the second
vow, and now speaks of “the pastoral direction” of the bishop,
rather than “godly” admonitions and judgments.
cannot and will not obey a bishop who has departed from the Faith and
Order of the Church, and whose admonitions, judgments, and directives
are un-godly. I will not be an accomplice to the crime of destroying the
faith once delivered to the saints. I will not mock God. I will not
compromise with evil.
and I were baptized and commissioned to be soldiers in the Church
militant, because we are to fight against and defend the Church from all
and anything that attacks, invades, and threatens her sacred honor as
the bearer of Truth. This is Biblical and Catholic Christianity. It is not
fundamentalism. It is Biblical, Catholic, Apostolic, and Anglican.
John Neville Figgis of the Community of the Resurrection (the order of
which our own Brother Steven is a member) preached in 1913:
first and clearest duty is to preserve the distinctiveness which makes
Christianity what it is and not something else, and also to beware of
supposing that a few concessions here and there will really conciliate
our foes; for these foes are bent upon our annihilation and will be
satisfied with nothing less.” (Charles Bennison says, “Just let me
in, and all will be well.” Charles Bennison is our foe, and his letter
to you is duplicitous and disingenuous. It is all smoke and mirrors.)
Figgis continues, “These are those who appear to suppose that at
bottom everybody is really agreed if we only we knew it,” (Charles
Bennison keeps harping on our common identity in Baptism.) “or that
all our differences are matters of detail.” (Charles Bennison speaks
of the freedom we have in the theology of the Resurrection.) “That if
we only gave up our rather absurd attachment to the ‘tinsel of
miracle,’ or our antiquated and non-modern notion of marriage,”
(Yes, we’ve all read Charles Bennison’s “Rethinking Marriage
Again,” and refuse to acknowledge this as Christian.) “or a
fanatical and unhealthy doctrine of sin…, to say nothing of our creeds
and formularies – that all would be well.”
J.V. Langmead Casserley wrote in his book, Christian Community: “The
greatest danger that confronts the Church” is when it doesn’t
“present the Gospel in its integrity to the world, but confuses it
with our own prejudices, ideologies, passions, and fears, forging
God’s signature so to speak at the foot of the scroll of merely human
the May edition of the Forward in Faith/United Kingdom “New
Directions” it is written:
case of Fr. Sam Edwards demonstrates that revisionist bishops can and
will refuse to appoint orthodox clergy. The case of Fr. David Moyer
serves to show that revisionist bishops can and will remove clergy from
their posts. The work of the Task Force of the General Convention, in
enforcing the canons on women’s ordination, will eventually ensure
that there is no place to run.
Forward in Faith North America should not despair. Fr. David Moyer’s
wise and measured response to Bishop Bennison has ensured that it is the
Bishop, not the Rector, who is now on trial.
Moyer has asked Bennsion to affirm some basic core doctrines:
the uniqueness of Christ, his bodily resurrection from the dead, the
supremacy of scripture in the determination of doctrine, and the
restriction of genital sexual activity to Christian marriage.
If the bishop can affirm those doctrines (and so recant his
errors past) Fr. Moyer will have a won a soul for Jesus and the parish
of the Good Shepherd Rosemont will have gained a bishop whom it can
truly take to its heart. If Bishop Bennison cannot or will not affirm
those doctrines then the world will surely conclude that it is he and
not David Moyer who has abandoned the communion of the Episcopal
should the orthodox wish to continue in communion with the apostate? Who
would wish to conclude ecumenical agreements with a Church which cannot
discipline its own bishops, or demand of them allegiance to core
The Primates meet soon in Canterbury. They will have before
them the pathetically inadequate Covenant entered into by the ECUSA
House of Bishops for providing Sustained Episcopal Care for those, like
Father Moyer, who can no longer in conscience receive the ministry of
their diocesans. It is to be hoped that they treat those belated
proposals with the contempt they deserve.
we also hope and pray that the Primates will learn from the events at
Rosemont the real nature of the problem. It is not a problem about how
to care for an orthodox rump; it is problem about how to mitigate the
rapacity of a revisionist majority, and in particular to restrain the
actions of unbelieving bishops.
The time has come to assert the simple principle that Bishops
must be Christians.”
Shepherd, Rosemont, is a Church of God. She is not a Church of David
Moyer, Jeffrey Steenson, Andrew Mead, George Rutler, or any past Rector.
She is not a Church of the present Vestry or a past Vestry. She is a
Church of God. Her foundation is Anglican and Catholic – which means
that authority is given to the scriptures and the Church Fathers.
That’s what the Oxford Movement was all about restoring. We
submit here to what has been believed and taught everywhere, always, and
by all. Man-made Canons (and their abuse) are clearly subservient to all
us never forget that the Pharisees decided to kill Jesus because He
broke the “Law.” He healed a man on the Sabbath, and for that it was
determined that He was to be eliminated. As Americans, let us not also
forget the Boston Tea Party, and Rosa Parks who wouldn’t move to the
back of the bus, and Martin Luther King who appealed to a higher law for
good to triumph over evil.
a soldier of and for Christ, I find myself in a trench. David Mills, a
staff member at Father Dickinson’s Seminary, wrote recently:
trench that scripture digs for us is one to die in, even if the trench
is now in enemy territory. God has ordered us into the trenches, and it
is our job to jump in without complaining about His choice. We must
remember that we do not know His strategy. Not to die in your trench is
desertion, and in the army you may get shot for it. We have no idea what
future victory may be own because we stayed in the trenches and died
when prudence said to retreat, or whether God will send in new soldiers
and overwhelm the enemy just when we are about to die.”
will remain as the Rector of this church – God willing. I have been
placed here as your shepherd, as a shepherd of the Good Shepherd. I am
not a hireling who flees when he sees the wolf coming and leaves the
sheep to be scattered. You and I are in this together. Alleluia!!
me conclude with a three-fold exhortation, and then some observations.
exhortation begins with St. James:
it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that
the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (1:2).
rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and
endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does
not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us”(Romans 5:3-5).
our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His Sermon on the Mount stated:
are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of
evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your
reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were
before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
observations are these. The three strong priests who assist me here are
now much stronger in their vocation and orthodoxy. The vast majority of
you have gone so much deeper in your spiritual lives since March 1st.
And, on the heels of that great outpouring of love and generosity on my
25th Anniversary, your trust in me has grown, and your love
and concern for my family is the richest of blessings.
eyes of the worldwide Anglican Communion are upon us. The eyes of the
Roman Catholic Church are upon us. With obedience to God the Father,
servant hood to God the Son, and submission to God the Holy Spirit, let
this time and the days to come be to God’s praise and glory.