“The Great Western Heresy”

At the opening address of the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church this summer, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding Bishop, had this to say: “The overarching connection in all of these crises has to do with the great Western heresy – that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.  It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus.  That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being.”

Her comments, as you might imagine, have set off a firestorm of feedback, though I’ve yet to see a rebuttal that has as its basis an intellectually honest reading of the sacred scriptures along with an acknowledgment of how the world works. If I’m allowed to say that I think she was overstating her case in order to make the point, then I would assert that I agree with her statement.
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