After Edmond L. Browning was elected last month as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, evangelicals in the denomination seemed to adopt a “wait and see” attitude.

“We’ve all been encouraged by hearing that [Browning] is a man of deep personal faith and piety,” said John Rodgers, dean of the evangelical Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. “I think it’s too soon to know what the bishop’s style of teaching and preaching the faith will be. I think there should be a desire on everyone’s part to wait and see how he will speak on issues of Scripture and renewal.…”

Browning was elected during the Episcopal Church’s general convention, which met in Anaheim, California. He has spent only 7 of his 31 years in ordained ministry within the continental United States. Widely known for his missionary experience and global involvement, the Texas native was a parish priest and bishop in Okinawa for 12 years, and most recently served as bishop of Hawaii. He has also served as bishop of the American Episcopal churches in Europe, and as the Episcopal Church’s executive for national and world mission in New York City.

In remarks made at the general convention, Browning supported liberal positions on several issues. He condemned the production and deployment of nuclear weapons as “incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ”; criticized President Reagan’s economic sanctions against South Africa by saying, “he did not go far enough”; and strongly supported the ordination of women.

At the same time, he praised the work of some of the denomination’s renewal movements—Cursillo, the charismatic movement, and Marriage Encounter. “In many ways there has been a serious spiritual renewal in the Episcopal Church …,” he said. ...

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