'Peacemaking is a gospel imperative' – an interview with Tory Baucum [transcript]

What is the relationship between peacemaking and reconciliation?

TB: “I do believe that peacemaking is a precursor to reconciliation. It takes two to reconcile. And that doesn’t always happen, but that’s not a reason not to pursue the things that make for peace; as Jesus says as he approaches Jerusalem he realizes they haven’t done that and therefore desolation is coming to their house ”“ and that’s the whole travel narrative in Luke, it’s built around the things that make for peace. And what I like to say, because I believe it, is that peacemaking is a gospel imperative. We’ve been made ambassadors of reconciliation. I actually say that peacemaking is not adiaphra (”˜indifferent things’, non-essentials) and we can just agree to disagree about”¦ to treat peacemaking as adiaphra is in fact itself a false teaching, and creates over time a fictitious gospel. So I feel quite strongly that this is matter of faithfulness to Jesus Christ, and to dismiss it or kind of make it a luxury item, is to fundamentally misunderstand what the gospel is about.”

Are there limits to reconciliation?

TB: “I think it takes two to reconcile. I think it takes one to forgive. So the limits of reconciliation are the limits that the two parties put upon themselves. I don’t think you can reconcile unilaterally. I think you can forgive unilaterally. I think in some ways you can do peacemaking almost unilaterally. But until the other side, estranged party, wants to reciprocate, you’re not going to get real far down the road. And I think that’s been the real story of my story with Shannon is that I did reach out in a peacemaking gesture, and he did reciprocate, and that’s why we are walking together in peace at some level.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, Theology

One comment on “'Peacemaking is a gospel imperative' – an interview with Tory Baucum [transcript]

  1. MichaelA says:

    Revd Baucum writes:
    [blockquote] “At Coventry I cited Augustine’s relationship with one of the Numidian bishops who was a Donatist and how he interacted with him and urged him to stop doing the things that were splitting the church. Sometimes that’s not possible. Sometimes the wounds are too deep, too fresh, you know, it’s going to take the next set of leaders to accomplish that.”[/blockquote]
    That is a very interesting point. I assume from this that Fr Baucum recognises that a fundamental part of this sort of reconciliation is acknowledging that false doctrine is the primary issue – if that is not resolved, one way or another, then there can be no reconciliation. As he points out in the first sentence, Augustine didn’t just chase reconciliation without considering why it was needed in the first place – rather, he made it clear to the heretical bishop that he had to mend his ways before he could be accepted back into the church.

    Note that this is a separate issue to whether or not Augustine was “friends” with the heretical bishop. Augustine was friendly with pagans, heretics, all sorts of people. But the issue with reconciliation of an erring Christian brother or sister is whether they can be accepted back into the church, and that in turn depends on whether they are prepared to acknowledge the errors that lead to the need for reconciliation in the first place.

    I am not sure what the second and third sentences in the quote above mean – is Revd Baucum saying that it has not been possible for him to raise the issue of errors in doctrine and ecclesiology with +Johnston? If so, then I don’t see how he can call this “reconciliation”. Friendship certainly, but not reconciliation. That requires acknowledgment of what led to the breach in the first place. And it is a serious matter – +Shannon Johnston is not permitted to have communion with most of the world’s Anglicans and one would think that causes him some disquiet, unless his conscience is entirely seared.