Anne Holmes Redding, the extraordinarily confused cleric who claims to be both Muslim and Christian, has been deposed from the Episcopal priesthood by her bishop, Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island. The Seattle Times has a story today about the expiration of the dealine that Bishop Wolf had given Redding to recant, and the result of her failure to do so. The most interesting part of the story, to me, was the defense of Redding’s religious experiment offered by–who else?–a local academic:
In Christianity and Islam, while “there are streams of tradition that are mutually exclusive, there are also streams that are not mutually exclusive,” said Eugene Webb, professor emeritus of comparative religion at the University of Washington. “Ann is exploring those.”
It would be a good thing, Webb said, if more churches allowed for such exploration since it’s “going to take place one way or the other. It might be better to wait and see what comes of them, rather than decide in advance that it wouldn’t be fruitful.”
Woe unto those who ever sat under the teaching of this particular professor. There is, to my knowledge, no strain of Islam that accepts the Christian doctrines of the Trinity, the atoning death and resurrection of Christ, or the finality of the written revelation of God in the Old and New Testaments. Likewise, there are no strains of Christianity, except those that are so liberal as to have forfeited all right to the name, that reject these doctrines. Do Islam and Christianity agree on some things? Of course–they agree that there is a Supreme Being who created the universe, for instance. But when two systems of thought disagree on the central beliefs the define them, there’s no way that one can seriously say they are not “mutually exclusive” except by using those words in such a way as to drain them of all meaning.
It is true that “such exploration[s]” are “going to take place one way or the other.” But that doesn’t mean that any church should willingly sow the seeds of its own destruction, and that of the souls under its care, by allowing a person to continue in a position of spiritual authority at the same time they are treating the teaching of the church like Silly Putty. Kudos to Bishop Wolf for doing the right thing.