A revisit back to 2007–on Paul Greve, TEC and that Christians have different Kinds of Differences

…the biggest objection to the article is that he never really gets to the meat of why the present crisis is such a big deal. If Anglicanism is a via media between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism as he (thank the Lord) rightly says, then it is not a middle way to nowhere, nor is it a middle way between faith and life, or between all sorts of other false polarities which are suggested in a number of recent discussions. The heart of Anglicanism is as Marco Antonio De Dominis rightly said in essentials unity, in non essentials liberty, and in all things charity. But what happens when the ‘“big tent” of Anglicanism that comfortably accommodated a full range of conservative and liberal beliefs’ accommodates disagreements about matters which are not non-essential?

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

One comment on “A revisit back to 2007–on Paul Greve, TEC and that Christians have different Kinds of Differences

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Thanks for reposting this, Kendall. Back in June, 2007, I hadn’t yet started posting comments on your blog, although I was following it and keeping my thoughts to myself.

    You’re absolutely right, of course, that it’s essential to be able to tell the difference between what are matters of adiaphora, indifference, where we can and shold agree to disagree, and what are core matters on which no such disagreement can be tolerated. I like to call it the difference between Romans 14 issues and Galatians 1 issues.

    The vaunted Windor Report, the gold standard so far smong the many official documents spawned by this wearisome crisis within global Anglicanism (“official” in the sense of being produced at the behest of the official Instruments of the Communion, as opposed to the unofficial Jerusalem Declaration from GAFCON I in 2008), devotes some 10 paragraphs to that crucial topic (#87-96, if I remember correctly), but ends up punting the ball in the end.

    So I will now add several brief comments I didn’t make back in June, 2007 because I wasn’t blogging yet. Three pointed comments in fact.

    1. What’s so depressing to me is that in Lent, 2014, almost 7 years after this thread appeared, and almost ten years after the celebrated Windsor Report appeared in October, 2004, there has still been virtually no serious discussion among the Communion’s leadership about the following two questions (#2 below), upon which the ultimate resolution of this wretched and unending conflict depends.

    2. Those two central issues are these:

    A. HOW do we collectively discern which disputed issues are Romans 14 issues (i.e., which are in fact adiaphora) and which are Galatians 1 issue (on which compromise and tolerance is impossible)?

    B. WHO GETS TO DECIDE THIS? That is probably the ultimate question. In the end, such divisive disputes always end up being an authority issue. Who gets to settle the matter once and for all, in a way that is binding on the worldwide Communion?

    3. If the answer to the last question (Who gets to decide?) is that NO ONE has that right or power, because all the 38 provinces of the global fellowship are practically autonomous and there is no central magisterium that can impose a binding solution on the whole of Anglicanism, then I for one say that Anglicanism is doomed.

    We simply have to get over our irrational phobia about a central magisterium. We simply MUST have a way of resolving interminable and highly polarizing disputes. Without coming up with a way of determining HOW we decide what is adiaphora and what is not, and without developiing a way of clarifying WHO gets to make that fateful decision, Anglicanism has no future. Or at least not future that I’m interested in. Unless Anglicanism can create for the first time (at least for the first time since the English monarch lost the power to make that decision as Supreme Governor of all Anglicans) a satisfactory means of adjudicating such bitter disputes in a way that is binding on all the provinces, I will publicly admit that I’m giving up on Anglicanism and swimming the Tiber.

    I don’t fear the “tyranny” of Rome half as much as I’ve come to fear and dread Protestant anarchy. Not just Protestant chaos, mind you, which is bad enough. No, I mean Protestant ANARCHY. The rejection of all final authority as a matter of principle.

    We have to face the fact that the Bible doesn’t adequately interpret itself on many matters that are essential to the life of the Church. We must have a real, living magisterium to settle such essential matters. But that magisterium need not be vested in a single individual, as Rome has done, nor invested with a putative infallibility (which is actually non-existent). I continue to insist that what we need is nothing less than to develop a global judiciary branch, and an independent judiciary at that, independent of the other Instruments of Unity/Communion. But it must be an international Anglican Supreme Court that truly and fairly reflects the actual demographics of the global Communion today, i.e., that is dominated by the Global South.

    We simply MUST develop an adequate means for IMPOSING firm discipline on rogue dioceses and provinces that engage in intolerable practices. We MUST be able to put the classic Doctrine and Discipline back in the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of global Anglicanism, in a way that is binding across all provinces.

    David Handy+