Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Battle for Christ Church Savannah

One of the reasons I love living in Savannah, GA is the history of the city. In particular, I enjoy walking the historic district (which we can be happy General Sherman did not burn when he captured the city for the Northern Aggressors during the U.S. Civil War).

The historic district is dotted with many beautiful buildings from the 1800's. There seem to be countless church buildings of various ages and architectural styles. Sadly, most of those churches are more building than real church now; most have given up on the gospel and have transformed into little more than social clubs.

One exception to this is Christ Church Savannah (pictured above). Christ Church is the "mother-church" of Georgia, having been founded in 1733. Both John Wesley and George Whitefield served at Christ Church. To read more on its history, click here.

Christ Church is in the middle of a battle. To put it simply, because they will not sacrifice the gospel message, they are in a battle for their building. Christ Church was formerly affiliated with the Episcopal Church USA. However, since the Episcopal Church has completely rejected the biblical gospel, Christ Church made the decision to leave the Episcopal Church and join with the Anglican Church in North America.

To read an interesting summary of the differences in beliefs between Orthodox Anglicans and the Episcopal Church, click here. One key difference is that Orthodox Anglicans believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, while the Episcopal Church does not.

Now both Christ Church and the Episcopal Church want the historic building in Savannah. The situation is in court and, unfortunately, will be decided by a secular judge.

I must admit that I have mixed emotions about this whole thing. Part of me says that it is just a building so it is no big deal. They would probably be better off meeting in homes anyway. That would certainly be more biblical.

Another part of me really appreciates the stand that Christ Church has taken for the gospel and against creeping theological liberalism. Because of that, I would like for the church to be able to remain located in Savannah's historic district. Despite all its church buildings, the historic district in Savannah is actually very un-churched. Christ Church is one of the few voices for the good news of Christ in historic Savannah.

Please pray that God will intervene in this situation on behalf of Christ Church. God will do what He deems is right; He always does.


Arthur Sido said...

The "Northern Aggressors"?

This is becoming pretty commonplace. When the church becomes about the organization and the building, it always becomes about power, control and money. Something similar happened to a UCC church is Atlanta which just happened to me sitting in a pretty pricey neighborhood (I blogged about it in May)

Always follow the money.

Eric said...


Having grown up in New York State, I like to "stir the pot" a bit with terms such as "the War of Northern Aggression."

I really do think this church has the right intentions - at least as far as the gospel is concerned. Now they just want to stay where they are. Sadly, becuase of the history of the church, the Episcopal denomination sees the building as a sort of prize that they would love to have. If the Episcopal Church wins, they will place an extremely liberal local congregation in there, which would be sad for any sort of biblical outreach in historic Savannah.

Aussie John said...


No doubt the property is a valuable piece of real estate, as well.

Sadly, we have seen, and still see, the same battles over church property, more often than not the winner then proceeds to close the church and sell it off for other purposes.

Unbelievers take special notice of such "church" fights!

Eric said...


I'm afraid that, in the end, this will be a "lose-lose" situation for Christ Church.