Frank Limehouse: A Response to "Communion Matters"

Frank Limehouse is the Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama

A Response to “Communion Matters”
by The Very Rev. Frank F. Limehouse, III

July 12, 2007

From the Preface of “Communion Matters: A Study Document for the Episcopal Church”:

“The Theology Committee of the House of Bishops has been asked to prepare this study document as a resource for the bishops, dioceses, and the people of the Episcopal Church in considering the communiqué of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion.

“As most Episcopalians know, issues of human sexuality recently have threatened to impair our relations with other Anglicans. To seek godly wisdom and prevent further damage to our bonds of fellowship, we have been engaged in global conversation involving back-and-forth position papers and dialogue that are both prayerful theology and ecclesial diplomacy.

“This most recent statement in this ongoing process is the Communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting of the Anglican Communion issued in February 2007 from Tanzania. The Communiqué addresses our 2006 General Convention response to the requests of the Windsor Report on Communion, and makes additional requests of our House of Bishops. It asks for a response by September 30, 2007”¦

“This study document”¦ poses questions for our (Episcopal church) corporate reflection to assist the bishops as they prepare for the fall meeting of the House of Bishops.”

+ + +

The clergy of the Diocese of Alabama have been encouraged to make “Communion Matters: A Study Document for the Episcopal Church” available to the people. It is meant to engage the people of the church and ask, “What do you think?” As Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, and at the encouragement of the vestry, I am taking this opportunity to briefly respond with my own thoughts. On July 24 at 6:30 pm, the people in this part of the diocese will have the opportunity to meet with Bishop Parsley at All Saints’ Church, 110 West Hawthorne Road, in Homewood.

The clergy of the diocese have already met (June 19) for the purpose of this discussion. Let me say first of all that I appreciate our bishop’s kind tolerance and patience in allowing a guy like me to express my honest feelings toward the document. This is especially so considering the fact that he himself chairs the Theology Committee that put it together. Had he been a one-man committee, I suspect we would have a better document!

In the second paragraph of the preface of Communion Matters, it is written, “As most Episcopalians know, the issues of human sexuality recently have threatened to impair our relations with other Anglicans.” While this is true, the fact of the matter is human sexuality is only the presenting issue. The underlying issue is the authority of our Scriptures. Be that as it may, I think this document is written from a revisionist-minded perspective. It indoctrinates, rather than seeks opinion. It feels like a kind of set-up. It seeks to dignify the direction of the Episcopal Church; it begs for self-justification for all of the recent actions of the Episcopal Church.

Read it all here.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, TEC Conflicts

9 comments on “Frank Limehouse: A Response to "Communion Matters"

  1. Jimmy DuPre says:

    REv. Limehouse is, as always, clear, concise, and true to the Gospel.

  2. RichardKew says:

    Frank’s comments are clear and helpful to me as I have been trying to get inside this document which is, quite honestly, hardly a teaching tool and more a piece of propaganda. At best I would describe Communion Matters as disingenuous.

    It did not endear itself to me by its attempt to co-opt one of my old mentor, the late Max Warren, by implying when he said “It takes the whole world to know the whole gospel.” As with Scripture, a text out of context is a pretext.

  3. evan miller says:

    God bless Fr. Limehouse. He is always a breath of fresh air.

  4. Robert Dedmon says:

    Thank you, Dean Limehouse, for speaking the truth so clearly
    and courageously, as you have always done.

  5. MikeS says:

    [blockquote] Sadly the document does not guide us to even consider repentance as a possible response to the Primates. [/blockquote]

    This is why I think the decision is done deal. Turning back to ancient history (Lambeth 1998, Windsor 2004) is no longer an option for TEC leadership. For them it is either our way or the highway and I think they they have chosen the highway. I no longer doubt that it is American arrogance that is causing such pain in the Communion.

  6. Karen B. says:

    Limehouse’s response here is excellent. But what I really want to comment on is something I noticed in reading the excerpt from “Communion Matters” which he includes in his article. Did any others note this line:

    As most Episcopalians know, issues of human sexuality recently have threatened to impair our relations with other Anglicans.

    Lie #1: Relationships are already impaired. Not merely threatened.

    Lie #2: It is “issues” that have impaired relationships. NO. Actually it is ACTIONS. ECUSA’s ACTIONS. At GC2003. When it defied the request / warning of ALL the Instruments of Unity not to proceed unilaterally.

    So, the whole Communion Matters is built on a false foundation. It wants to continue to debate issues. What is actually at stake are actions and the consequences of those actions.

  7. more martha than mary says:

    Thanks Karen B. I had not noticed those two lies!
    Well done.

  8. Bill Matz says:

    In “Communion Matters” check out the blatant misrepresentation of Lambeth ’98, e.g. the claim of lack of consensus and the heavy emphasis on the listening.

  9. Jon says:

    Hello all. Just saw this. Frank is a real treasure. He’s also got a great sense of humor. He writes:

    In an effort to extol unity through diversity in moral theology within the communion, it says, “We affirm that unity does not mean rigid uniformity, but a communion that includes differences, analogous to the union of distinct persons within the triune God.” In other words, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, had differences. If they can get along, why can’t we? (As if there were theological differences within the triune godhead! No such idea is found in the New Testament.)

    When I am old and sad, I’ll remember that line (“If they can get along, why can’t we?”) and laugh.