The Bishops of the Church of England have spoken…
…When the very context of such “facilitated conversations” is misplaced, the results surely will be. This is precisely what Archbishops Drexel Gomez and Maurice Sinclair predicted in 2001 in To Mend the Net when they described the fatal flaw of facilitated conversations AFTER innovations have been allowed to disrupt the spiritual unity of the church without any consequences:
“the way the ”˜process of reception’ is presented and set up for consideration has, practically speaking, only one or two possible results, eventual acceptance of the innovation or a never-ending period of reception.” (63) To Mend the Net.
This is the heart of the new religion of relational reconciliation. It is as if “reconciliation” is some kind of common good or end in itself. Facilitated conversations (aka “Indaba”) can have only two possible results: eventual acceptance of the innovations, or a never-ending process of facilitated conversations, until all resistance is vanquished.
3. The very recommendation of facilitated conversations across the Communion betrays an unwillingness to acknowledge the plain authority of the Bible as it speaks to human sexuality, marriage and the qualifications for ministry. The proponents of innovations in each of these areas”“ TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada since 2003 (with respect to same sex blessings and consecrations of partnered same-sex persons as bishops), and now the Church of England with regards to both blessing civil partnerships and permitting such partnered clergy to be eligible for the episcopate”“ have had ample opportunity to make their case. Time and again, they have failed to show how these innovations are in keeping with the Bible or the uninterrupted teaching authority and tradition of the Church.
For over 10 years, such “conversations” within the Instruments of Communion have simply enabled TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada to project false teaching and confusion across the Communion without any consequences. And now, I am sad to say, it appears that the bishops of the Church of England propose to follow the example set by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Culture changes. God’s word never changes. Cultures and contexts can and do err. God’s word does not. It is a tragedy that TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada have decided to “indaba” themselves to death rather than speak prophetically and lovingly to Western culture with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. It is an even greater tragedy that the bishops of the Church of England should now propose to join them in projecting confusion and error through “facilitated conversations” across the Anglican Communion.
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