Tobias Haller–Anglican Disunion: The Issues Behind “the Issue”

But matters are proceeding apace. The world is changing. The Global South objected to the consecration of a gay bishop with a partner, but Gene Robinson is no longer alone in that category even in the US House of Bishops (If he ever really was…). They objected to the idea of bestowing a blessing on a same-sex couple, and yet now in many states of this Union, including our own, the church is not only bestowing its blessing, but either seriously considering or already solemnizing the civil status of marriage.

In short, the process of organic development is afoot, it is not going to stop, and reception is or isn’t happening as I speak. In the meantime, the mainstream via media of the Episcopal Church is steadily reasserting our understanding of our authority to vary”” to live out the variety of rites in our own context, which is very different from that in much of the Global South. As I learned intimately and personally at the conversation I attended in South Africa just a few weeks ago. The people in those places represented at that conference are free to maintain their various rules and traditions, suitable as they are for their contexts. I will say more in the open discussion about the extent to which the friction between the North and South has been exacerbated by misunderstanding and misinformation. But it is my sincere hope that corrections to those misunderstandings, and better information, through the mandated listening process and the Continuing Indaba ”” in both of which I have been involved ”” will assist to lessen the friction and perhaps even help calm the storms that have swept through our beloved Anglican Communion ”” not just the issue, but the issues behind the issues of Anglican disunion.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

16 comments on “Tobias Haller–Anglican Disunion: The Issues Behind “the Issue”

  1. Ad Orientem says:

    [blockquote] In short, the process of organic development is afoot, it is not going to stop, and reception is or isn’t happening as I speak.[/blockquote]
    Clearly Mr. Haller does not grasp the definition of “organic development.” True “organic development” cannot contradict that which has gone before, but rather only compliment it.

    As for “indaba” that very concept is alien to the tradition of the Church. What it does is give legitimacy to that which is illegitimate. The only appropriate ‘dialogue’ with those who openly abandon carved in stone doctrines of the Christian Faith is a call to repentance. Once that is rejected it is time to sever communion and go on about your business of saving souls sans the heretics.

    You can’t force people to accept Christianity. But neither should you coddle the delusion that they have not abandoned the Faith. And this is done by maintaining sacramental communion with people who have forsworn orthodoxy for the church of “what’s happening now.” Indeed in doing so you become on a certain level guilty of giving aid and comfort to heresy by implicitly affirming that their actions and beliefs are not out of bounds.

  2. driver8 says:

    Theme tune to this piece, “Go your own way” by Fleetwood Mac.

  3. Christopher Johnson says:

    So. Something that is not a sin here is a sin over there and Mr. Haller is perfectly fine with such intellectual incoherency. For now, anyway. One gets the impression that Episcopalians like Haller will become less and less fine with it over the coming years and will gradually let it be known that any future financial aid from the West will come with theological strings attached.

  4. TACit says:

    It won’t much matter if those winds are calmed, now that the Anglican Communion ship has largely smashed to pieces on the rocks of heresy and heteropraxis.
    Thank God for Benedict XVI helming the Barque of Peter, the fisherman who walked, however briefly, to Jesus on the waves.

  5. IchabodKunkleberry says:


    An excellent point. Peter began to sink when he took notice of the wind and the waves, taking his gaze away from Christ. Likewise, we sink when we believe more in the events and tumults of this world than in the assurances of Jesus. The way is narrow indeed, but a fixed gaze in a Godward direction will steady us on that path.

  6. Undergroundpewster says:

    More drivel from Tobias Haller. The more he writes the more confused the reader gets. I am beginning to think that is part of both the listening process and the Indaba with which he is so enamored.

    The following provides an interesting insight into the mind of the revisionist and why reasserters will get nowhere trying to discuss, listen, and Indaba with these false teachers,

    [blockquote]Ultimately the burden of proof (as the Articles of Religion require) lies upon those who wish to make strict adherence to this one aspect of traditional sexual morality a matter of salvation. Although they may have at least one strand of the tradition on their side, those same Articles point out, as I noted, that tradition is often in error. At the same time, contemporary biblical scholarship is clearly tending towards limiting the scope of the negative judgments on same-sex acts to the same range of relationships and circumstances as mixed-sex acts: infidelity, abuse, rape and idolatry. The “reasserters”(as they call themselves) deny this. But they must do more than simply reassert, they have to address the arguments, and to date they have been unable to make their case— and it is the responsibility of the “prosecution” to do so. The “defense” need only demonstrate a reasonable doubt and show, as Windsor put it, that “…what is now proposed not only accords with but actually enhances the central core of the Church’s faith.” (WR 60) As I have argued in my own work on the subject, fidelity is a moral value, gender is not.[/blockquote]

    Of course he first builds a couple of straw men to tear down, but what he reveals is the revisionist strong belief that one of the things they need to do is to just demonstrate a reasonable doubt.

    He removed “Tradition” by creating another strawman. “Reason” is twisted and becomes “reasonable doubt,” and Scriptural authority on male-female complementality is trumped by gender neutral “Fidelity.”

    The problem with false teachers is their air of authority which easily fools the average pewsitter. Mr. Haller has been teaching falsehood for a long time now, and untold scores of people have been misled by his teachings.

    Repeat a lie long enough and it becomes truth?

  7. TACit says:

    It’s a useful example you’ve given, #6, and demonstrates why it is so important that [i]the teaching authority of the Church repeats the truth[/i], over and over and over again.

  8. driver8 says:

    BTW I think he’s wrong about the meaning of Scripture. I read his book and was rather disappointed. One senses the underlying theology of Scripture and divine discourse is so different that reasoned conversation is difficult. (Reception can’t quite mean something like “our culture is moving further away from what we thought Scripture taught, so that proves how wrong we were about Scripture”).

  9. Cennydd13 says:

    What he so conveniently ignores is the fact that it is The Episcopal Church which is responsible for so much of the turmoil in the Anglican Communion, and to deny that fact is downright dishonest.

  10. c.r.seitz says:

    It would be good to have someone like Benjamin Guyer at TLC — a bona fide Hooker expert and a historian — engage this. I confess the prolixity and self-referentiality conspire to disinterest me beyond a paragraph or two.

  11. BlueOntario says:

    Reading this I’m reminded of Jesus’s warning against building houses on sand.

    Reappraisers may more accurately be called redefiners.

  12. robroy says:

    So saith the [i]vicar[/i] since 1999 of St. James Fordham, NY, provider of typical episcobfuscation. The parish has gone from an attendance of 220 in 2001 to 110. Giving is stuck at $90 K in non-inflation dollars for the past decade.

    American orthodox Anglicans are impatient and less wise than our Global South leaders. The rapidly increasing FCA provinces need only to wait 20 years for the dwindling liberal west. Tobias Heller’s parish will be a bookstore or chic coffeehouse.

  13. William Witt says:

    I have crossed keyboards with Tobias Haller before, and don’t have time to address this latest in any depth. I would love to take the time to look at what Richard Hooker actually said, but that would take more space than can fit into a comment box.

    Instead, I’ll point to what I think is the crucial difference between orthodox Christianity and the “inclusivist” version of Liberal Protestant that is now official dogma in TEC. The key issue has to do with the person and work of Christ and its significance for our salvation. Orthodoxy proclaims that the person and work of Christ are uniquely constitutive of salvation in a way that nothing else is. Canonical Scripture alone is constitutive for our understanding of salvation (uniquely normative) because it alone is the inspired record written by prophets and apostolic witnesses to the life and ministry of Jesus. Salvation is about the church’s being incorporated into Christ and sharing in his crucifixion and resurrection life. Any good works are fruits or consequences of the Church’s union with him. Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life, and there is no other. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to bear witness to Jesus, and to him alone. The Bible and Christian tradition speak of such things as faith, hope, and charity, but these are not abstractions. Rather, they are defined in terms of Jesus, life, death, and resurrection. Faith is faith in Jesus; hope is hope in his eschatological future; charity is defined by the cross: “Greater love has no one than this . . .”

    For “inclusivism,” the person and work of Christ are rather illustrative of some kind of general salvation that is universally available and can be found not only elsewhere, but perhaps everywhere else as well. The language in which we describe the salvation of which Jesus is at most a nice illustration varies considerably, but it is usually expressed in terms of abstractions divorced from the concrete biblical narratives that point to Jesus’ unique exclusivity: inclusiveness, diversity, justice, love. Jesus’ significance is re-defined in terms of these abstractions. Jesus is at most “a way of salvation” — one of many.

    Haller’s talk consists of a collection of just such abstractions: unity, humility, provinciality, variety, autonomy, development. None of these is theologically defined with reference to the person and work of Christ, or of the church as the body of Christ. To the contrary, Jesus Christ is mentioned in passing, in each case in reference to an abstraction; the incarnation is an illustration of the general principle that universal consensus begins in some particular place, just as TEC’s new insights had to begin somewhere; the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is an illustration that local churches are fully complete in their provinces, so that TEC can safely ignore the criticism of the greater church.

    The inescapable logic of the document is that salvation consists in the abstractions; Jesus’ role is to provide nice handy illustrations for the abstractions.

    I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which of these two hermeneutical approaches is consistent with the theological approach of historic Anglicanism as represented in writers like Richard Hooker.

  14. William Witt says:

    BTW, there’s something perversely blasphemous in using the Eucharist — the sacrament of the One Body of Christ — as an illustration to make a case for the right of an “autonomous” province to ignore the dire warnings of the rest of the church (1 Cor. 12:21).

  15. c.r.seitz says:

    Ulrich Luz does a nice job showing how, in relartonship to this Sunday’s Gospel lesson, the history of interpretation moved from a classical account of care for the poor a la Matthew 25 to a universalist one (Kant et al). I suppose the one that is of the least interest to the Tobias Haller TECism is the ‘particularist’ account of G Stanton and others. Can’t have an elect Israel sticking its nose into affairs.

  16. c.r.seitz says:

    This peculiar claiming and remaking of Hooker by TEC progressives could use a nice long essay from Wm Witt. It must be his natural law appeal (in the spirit of Aquinas) that gets shoved in a naturalistic direction. Reason becomes ‘experience.’