Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Interview with Rev. Doc Loomis


Doc Loomis was elected to serve as a missionary bishop for the Anglican Mission in the Americas, and he will be consecrated later this year. For the last two years Doc has served as Canon Missioner and has been involved in planting churches and raising up new leaders. He is energetic and passionate about the Gospel.

1. One thing that has always drawn me to the AMiA is its relationship with Rwanda, and specifically the passion and vision Archbishop Kolini has for spreading the Gospel. Could you explain the relationship between AMiA and Rwanda, and how Rwanda's passion energizes what is done here in America?

It’s about DNA really. Rwanda is a country which suffered under an appalling demonic slaughter of the innocents almost 15 years ago. Since then, men like Archbishop Kolini have sacrificed much while holding aloft the cross of Christ as the only way to forgiveness and healing. These Christian leaders have boldly called a nation to gather at the foot of this symbol of suffering and forgiveness. In the time since the genocide the Rwandan people have sought the Lord together and turned from their wicked ways, and God has sovereignly brought them back from the depths of sin and destruction and forgiven their sins and healed their land. This 2Chronicles 7:14 call and response is exactly what America and her Church need today. As for me, I see the Rwandan story and ministry as a very real spiritual lifeline…let’s call it a transfusion, that we have been blessed to have tapped into. The Rwandan DNA is now beginning to run in our veins, but we need more; much more. Therefore, I pray that we will continue to stay connected with this mighty move of God and under the authority of those who have been washed clean by the blood of Christ…that, one day, we will also be made clean.

2. Do you have advice for those faithful orthodox laity and clergy who remain in The Episcopal Church?

I cannot imagine that after the recent TEC convention it has not become abundantly clear to the orthodox Episcopal remnant that the Episcopal Church has abandoned the clear teaching of scripture (on so many issues). Lord knows, if things weren’t clear before, they certainly are now. It is my prayer that those who yet remain will make plans to abandon this false TEC doctrine before it is too late. The sins of these false -teaching fathers are theirs to inherit if they do not. My view is that not making a choice to abandon unrelenting and unrepentant heretical leadership is a choice nonetheless, and an unwise and dangerous one.
Then, I might remind us all that we have a mission to call all those have erred to repentance and to pray for reconciliation on their behalf.

3. I have always felt that the AMiA is very much a church planting, missional movement, not the schismatics that its opponents like to assert. How would you address the claim that AMiA, and more broadly the ACNA, are schismatics? Also, how does one pastorally address those who are transitioning from TEC to an ACNA church?

Schism is a word that is often misapplied to our current situation. The way it is frequently used (especially in the media) is as a description of the movement of orthodox Anglicans to separate ourselves from those we see as heterodox. Actually, schism is the rejection of communion, and heresy, the rejection of doctrine. We like Communion, we abhor heresy. What has happened here is that TEC has become heretical and orthodox Anglicans have taken a stand against that heresy in the Church. That is not schismatic…it is simply an appropriate stand….It is commended and ordered by scripture. The last thing we want is a breaking of Communion with the One Holy and Apostolic Church of our fathers.
Our stand against heresy requires us to reject communion with TEC. This is not schismatic, it is a suitable and biblical response. 1Corinthians 5:11

If there is a schism occurring…it is the work of those who wish to beak from the historic and biblical teachings to establish a new, heretical “Church”. When a group breaks from orthodoxy they are properly identified as schismatic. When a group defends the teachings of scripture, they should be viewed as defenders of the faith. I think that is exactly what the ACNA and AMiA are doing.

4. As someone who has been all over America involved in church planting and mentoring, do you think there is tension in ACNA churches about women's ordination? Will that “issue” turn into the crisis that so many of the ACNA's detractors think it will?

Sure, there is a tension. Will that tension become a crisis and break the Church? No.

5. I would like to move from talking about Anglicanism to talking about church planting in particular. One thing I have always wondered is about planting churches in places where liturgy is shunned or seen as an inauthentic expression of faith; I have in mind Appalachian Kentucky where I live. Is there a practical way to plant a liturgical church in such a place?

Yes, the first centuries of the Church are filled with stories of authentic gatherings of believers who gathered around a common meal and the plain witness of the Gospel. In Appalachia, the idea of coming together to break bread is essential and in no way inauthentic. A church which has a table focus will prosper in this area, I am certain.

6. As bishop, what recommendations and advice will you have for young people who plan to enter the ministry to serve and plant churches for AMiA? What kind of seminary/ Christian education should they seek?

We are moving in an exciting direction. More and more we are seeing young adults embrace incarnational and organic ministries in our region. Almost half of our new regional works look more like intentional religious communities than parishes. While the academic clergy model will always be important, the lay-led church is on our horizon. It is the only hope if we are to be see exponential growth in our Anglican Mission.
I personally look for those young people who want to live authentic Christian lives and who will encourage others to do the same. So the coming church will be smaller, and more organic. It will inspire more leaders to emerge and seek creative and sacrificial ways to release them quickly.
My advice to young adults considering ministry in this paradigm is, prepare yourself to equip leaders through mentoring and Christian education based on the catechism of the Church. Be prepared to keep things small and personal and don’t become discouraged by embracing the contemporary views of what it means to be successful n church planting.

7. As bishop will you seek out a collection of mitres (i.e. funny hats) to wear?

I don’t think so. However, as I am a relatively short man, I can see some practical advantages to their adorning application. For the record, I do appreciate appropriate dress in the clergy ranks.

8.Finally, I don't mean to be disrespectful in the slightest, but both Archbishop Duncan and Archbishop Rowan Williams have some noticeable eyebrows. Is that coincidence or is this an Anglican trend I am missing?

I had not pondered this much, but will take your word that others have. I have been told that it is not a matter of supporting follicular growth, but a refusal to inhibit it. As I grow older, I remain an inhibitionist…but I may change.

2 comments:

  1. As for question #6, what about taking seminary (i.e. planting the seed of faith) to the workers? As +Doc says, while there will always be a place for the seminary educated pastor, perhaps we should look at widely scattered parish models, too.

    Peace,
    Joe+

    ReplyDelete
  2. Joe,

    I agree that I think the way we "do" seminary today is probably not the most sustainable and best model for the future of the church. Especially if we want to maintain church planting momentum. Creative ways to produce alternatives are necessary.

    Can you explain what you have in mind when you say widely scattered parish models?

    ReplyDelete

 
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