If we look at the crisis of faith and order within the Anglican Communion, it’s not only bishops that are at fault. In the last 20 years, the Archbishops of Canterbury have failed to address the problems and even made things worse.
The leading bishops of the Communion of Anglican Churches, the Primates, tried to take action in 2007 and recently in January, but were stymied both times as we noted here. In their last “official” meeting in 2008, the Primates barely mustered a quorum for an insipid statement about their gathering for fellowship and prayer only””leading some to wonder why they meet at all. We were present at the Anglican Consultative Council Meetings in 2009 where we watched ACC-14 fatally weaken the proposed “Anglican Communion Covenant” through parliamentary sleight of hand, and in 2012 at ACC-15 where they refused to take any action on the Covenant. We have documented how in less than four months ACC-16 in Lusaka overturned the will of the Primates “gathering” in January. Yes, the Lambeth Conference of Bishops meeting in 1998 produced an exceptionally clear statement on Biblical, and therefore Anglican, teaching on human sexuality, marriage and qualifications for ordained leadership within the Church, in its Resolution I.10. But Lambeth 2008 “Indaba’d” the statement to death through facilitated discussions without any action””and minus almost 300 bishops who boycotted due to the presence of The Episcopal Church’s bishops.
If this isn’t “exigent circumstances” – if these facts do not add up to emergency conditions by virtue of massive structural failure and paralysis – what more could we possibly need to follow the historical precedent of the catholic conciliarists? What more do we need to call a general council of the Communion to replace its failed structures? The situation in fact is so bad that, as others have observed, it has descended from the ridiculous to the absurd.
Like the Church in the Middle Ages, the current structures of the Churches in the Anglican Communion are incapable of healing the wound to Anglican faith and order.