Christian Heresy in The 20th Century - Protestant and Anglican Churches: Disciplinary Action Since 1893 - James Pike (Episcopalian, USA, 1961, 1965, 1966)

James Pike (Episcopalian, USA, 1961, 1965, 1966)

James Pike was dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, and later Bishop of California. He was close to, and much influenced by, John A.T. Robinson and Paul Tillich. He rejected dogmatically historical interpretations of the virgin birth and the incarnation, questioned the basis of theological concepts such as original sin and the Trinity, and challenged the infallibility of scripture. His critics charged him with heresy in 1961, 1965 and 1966. The first time, Pike defended his views as orthodox, and counterattacked with the argument that racial segregation was a worse heresy than anything he had written. The second time, he was accused both of unorthodox views and of plans to ordain women; he defended himself and was cleared by the House of Bishops, but the bishops ruled that women could not be ordained.

Charges were raised yet again in 1966. In an attempt to avoid a trial, a committee was appointed, which produced a report declaring Pike’s teaching irresponsible, "cheap vulgarizations of great expressions of faith". The report was accepted by 103 votes to 36. Pike then demanded a formal trial, claiming that the Bishops had refused to address the theological issues. Again attempting to avoid a trial, the House of Bishops created a Committee on Theological Freedom which included Pike along with prominent theologians such as John Robinson. Pike agreed to withdraw demands for a trial if the Committee’s report was accepted, which it was. The church then made formal moves to allow more room for doctrinal diversity and to make heresy charges much harder to bring.

Read more about this topic:  Christian Heresy In The 20th Century, Protestant and Anglican Churches: Disciplinary Action Since 1893

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