Category : – Anglican: Analysis

AS Haley’s preliminary Read on the South Carolina Supreme Court Decision

In a divided decision, the trial court’s order is reversed as to twenty-nine parishes and affirmed as to the remaining parishes. The trial court’s intellectual property ruling is affirmed by a vote of 2-2, with one justice declining to reach the issue.

Here are the seven parishes (and one land trust) which, by a 3-2 vote, were not subject to the Dennis Canon: Christ the King, Waccamaw; St. Matthews Church, Darlington; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Conway; The Episcopal Church of the Parish of Prince George Winyah, Georgetown; the Parish of St. Andrew, Mt. Pleasant; St. John’s Episcopal Church of Florence; and St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Summerton.

Note that the opinions are confusing as to how many “congregations” — seven or eight — managed to escape the Dennis Canon, by never acceding in their articles or bylaws to the Constitution and Canons of ECUSA. The reason is that one of the eight is not a congregation, but apparently a trust that holds title to church property.

The opinions show a bitterly divided Court that could not agree even upon the basic framework by which to decide the case (what the Court calls “the standard of review”). I put a lot of the blame for this divisiveness upon Justice Hearn, about whose blatant bias I wrote at the time of the oral argument. Her opinion concurring with Justice Pleicones might as well have been written by David Booth Beers….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Latest News, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(AM) England’s orthodox Anglicans: agreed on Synod’s implications, divided on what to do

All of this is by way of answer to the recent article in Christian Today by David Baker, asking “where is the Church of England Evangelical Council when we need it?”  Baker argues that, at this “fraught and unsettled” time in worldwide Anglicanism, CEEC should be giving a lead. He notes the various individuals and organizations which are part of the Council (of which Anglican Mainstream is one), and suggests that this group should be speaking clearly about current issues, and being a force for evangelical unity within the C of E.

But the wide variety of responses from evangelicals to events at Synod, and the spectrum of different strategies and tactics that are being expressed from different groups, shows why CEEC cannot be expected to unite all the orthodox groupings into a single body, or even speak with one voice. People look back with nostalgia to the days of John Stott and say that this happened under his leadership. But that’s a simplistic picture – there were disagreements then about charismatic gifts, the role of women and the place of social action in mission, among other issues. And also, there is no John Stott figure today. CEEC some years ago recognized this, and made a decision to be a forum of different evangelical groups, rather than an organization speaking with a particular party line. For some, the forum is not wide enough –  it won’t accept those who still refer to themselves as evangelicals though they now take a liberal position on the sexuality debate. For others, it’s too wide – it includes Bishops who voted for transgender liturgies and against ‘conversion therapies’, and it includes those who are supportive and critical of Justin Welby, and those who are pro and anti Gafcon.

So while I don’t blame David Baker for asking the question about CEEC, it will not be able to provide the clear united leadership he asks for, because it reflects the fissiparousness of English Anglican orthodox evangelicalism. What it can do is ensure that those in the C of E thinking about leaving and those committed to remaining, the loyalists and separatists, the compromisers and purists, the optimists and pessimists, reformed and charismatic, the young and old, the Jeremiahs and Obadiahs keep talking to each other on the basis of the same understanding of faith, even if their vision of the future and strategies of how to get there are very different.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Fulcrum) Andrew Goddard–Synods, Sexuality and Symbolic and Seismic Shifts

Jayne Ozanne posted on Facebook that what had happened in Synod was “a seismic shift – inclusion is now mainstream!”. Whether or not that is the case and if so what is meant by “inclusion”, or, in the Archbishops’ words, “radical new Christian inclusion in the Church”, remains to be seen. We simply do not know the consequences if her hopes as to where this will lead prove accurate. However, there are signs that if they are realised then this could presage a fundamental realignment in Anglicanism including in England.

On the same day as Jayne’s FB post, Sean Doherty, the proposer of the failed amendment to her motion, posted “Here are two words I have not heard at #synod this weekend: Anglican Communion”. While not strictly true (it was briefly mentioned in relation to the Teaching Document) it does appear the Communion was largely forgotten. That is even more surprising, bordering on denial, given another Synod that took place only a few weeks before – that of ACNA. Although not part of the Anglican Communion, many leaders of Anglican Communion provinces were present and, even more significantly, they consecrated, against the wishes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, an English clergyman, Andy Lines, to serve as a missionary bishop within the British Isles. The symbolic, perhaps seismic, significance of this has it seems yet to sink in. It means we now face the prospect of a growing number of churches in England which, although clearly not part of the Church of England, self-identify as Anglican and have a very credible claim to such a designation as they are served by a bishop recognised by a large number (perhaps even the majority) of Anglicans worldwide. If the CofE continues to appear to be shaped more by its surrounding culture than theology and particularly if its bishops fail to clearly teach the sexual ethic supported by the wider Communion and summed up in the Higton motion then it may be that the ACNA Synod will come to be seen as representing an even more seismic shift than that which some hope and others fear occurred at General Synod.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(TLC) David Goodhew–Facing Decline in TEC (the Episcopal Church)

[Jeremy] Bonner’s analysis shows how TEC has dramatically declined in recent years. There is a sense that the wider Anglican Communion has not awakened to how far and fast that decline has happened. In significant parts of the United States, TEC has ceased or will soon cease to have a meaningful presence. That said, those who write TEC off are overstating their case. Despite severe decline, it remains a substantial presence in parts of the nation, especially in some major cities.

Estimating the size of TEC’s decline and understanding its causes is complex. Suggesting remedies is beyond the scope of this short article. But a few things can be said.

First, churches need to face demographic realities. If, for example, a city’s or town’s ethnic make-up shifts, wise dioceses and congregations will adapt, not pretend everything is the same.

Second, denominations have to learn to value the local church theologically. If the local church is seen only as an adjunct to some higher good, often called the kingdom, it is not surprising that little effort is made to multiply such congregations or seek their growth. Seeing kingdom as different from, and better than, church is against the grain of the New Testament, in which local churches are integral to the kingdom. The things that we value are the things that tend to flourish. If we want to see growing local churches, we need a theology that values the local church more.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Is The Church of England General Synod competent?

There are several reasons why these two motions should never have been debated. The first and most obvious is that both issues will certainly be addressed in the teaching document that the Archbishops have commissioned, so the motions are trying to short-circuit a wider discussion. The second is that both take the form of false binaries; essentially they say ‘Do you agree with me—or do you hate gay and transgender people?’ No matter how faulty the wording, failing to pass either motion would not have looked like good PR, and there would have been howls of protest from various quarters. In the voting, it was evident that the bishops were acutely aware of this, and taking both motions by a vote of houses (so that they had to pass separately in each of the bishops, clergy and laity) which would normally make it harder for a motion to pass, in fact made it easier, since the bishops could not afford to be seen to be the ones who were blocking.

The third reason was the poor wording of both motions. The PMM talked of ‘conversion therapy’ but used this as an ill-defined catch-all which made proper debate very difficult. Every single speaker, including those who proposed and supported significant amendments, agreed that any form of forced or coercive treatment of people who are same-sex attracted (whether they are happy with that or not) is abusive and must be rejected. But another part of Jayne Ozanne’s agenda is to have significant movements in the Church, including New Wine, Soul Survivor, HTB and Spring Harvest labelled as ‘spiritual abusive’ and therefore illegal. This is why the motion was seen as a Trojan horse. Her motion was also asking Synod to ‘endorse’ a medical opinion, and a controverted one at that, which is simply not within Synod’s competence to do so. But suggesting that Synod ‘does not have the competence’ to express a view is like holding up a red rag to a bull (or any colour rag—bulls are colour blind). In the end we passed an amended motion that ‘endorsed’ a different medical view—but few had read the details, still less understood the issues within it, and such endorsement is meaningless except as tokenism.

The transgender motion asked for the bishops to ‘consider whether’ they should formulate some new liturgy, and in one sense that is an empty statement; they might well ‘consider’ it for five minutes and decide not. But to even raised the question of liturgy, before we have any consensus of understanding on the issue, is putting the cart so far before the horse that the horse has lost sight of it.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Unscripted Analysis of the recently completed Church of England General Synod

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England (CoE)

(Peter Ould) Did the C of E General Synod Tear up the Rules of Anglicanism?

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology

(Phil Ashey) The Gafcon missionary bishop for Scotland and Europe

On Friday June 30, 2017, the Rev. Canon Andy Lines will be consecrated in Wheaton Illinois (USA) at the Third Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach Presiding. The consecrating Bishops will be acting on behalf of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), and Canon Lines will become its first Missionary Bishop to Europe.

Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid.  His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis. These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching—or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching. One can trace this all the way back to Athanasius and the crisis of Arianism in the early Church. Faithful bishops like Athanasius disregarded the boundaries and autonomy of Arian dioceses in order to consecrate Biblically faithful bishops for Biblically faithful Christians. The consecration of a missionary bishop by GAFCON for Europe is as much an emergency as the consecrations that Athanasius and other faithful bishops performed, and just as necessary to guard the faith and order of the Church and prevent spiritual harm to biblically faithful Christians.

We call these emergencies “exigent circumstances.” Although this is a legal term used in criminal courts for circumstances in which the potential death of a victim, flight of a felon or destruction of evidence justifies an emergency search or seizure that overrides the freedom, autonomy and constitutional rights of a suspect, “exigent circumstances” have also been the grounds for faithful Bishops, clergy and laity to take emergency action to guard the faith and order of the Church. I recently wrote about Exigent Circumstances in the Anglican Communion, citing the works of Paul Avis, Francis Oakley and Brian Tierney for the precedent of such “emergency action” which we see in the development of  the great reforming Councils of the Roman Catholic Church during the Great Schism (1378-1417).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Scotland, Church History, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(CEN) Andrew Carey on the Consecration in Jesmond Parish–A wrong move on the part of evangelicals

The main problem with the Jesmond action is that it is ultimately so isolated and represents a fragmented and factional way of moving forward. It is an action that arises from a sense of frustration rather than a careful strategy. It is not borne of unity among critics of the Church of England. In fact it adopts the tactics of liberals in that it attempts to place facts on the ground rather than proceeding on the basis of unity, wide agreement and good order.

I say this as someone who thoroughly approves of protest and various forms of disengagement directed against the hierarchy. But Jesmond has leaped towards the nuclear option and evangelical Anglicans should not be in the business of ‘first strike’. The nuclear option should only be used as a weapon of the last resort.

The Church of England has not changed its teaching on doctrinal, creedal and canonical matters and until it does so the Church of England’s conservatives should organise, prepare and arm themselves but they should not deploy.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, South Africa

Phil Ashey–Lessons from Dunkirk for Anglicans

Last July my wife and I went to the UK for my graduation from Cardiff. While we were there I couldn’t resist visiting the Imperial War Museum (Julie graciously came along and humored me!) I have always been fascinated by the history of World War II, the great moral and political issues that were at stake, and the incredible valor of “the great generation” in saving democracy in the west from totalitarian regimes in Germany, Italy and Japan. The Imperial War Museum did not disappoint me. But there was one exhibit in particular that caught my eye—the smallest boat that evacuated beleaguered troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, the Tamzine.

The boat is not much for the eye. It’s hard to imagine how it survived the constant strafing of British troops from the Luftwaffe as they faced almost certain annihilation on the beaches of Dunkirk. Bravely it forged through the surf, this little boat, carrying not many troops back to the bigger warships that lay offshore. But with every life it saved it gathered another soldier to fight on. Again and again it returned to those beaches and, miraculously, it survived. I can only imagine that its pilot drew courage from the flotilla of other ships, small and large, that braved those same beaches.

Dunkirk has been an enduring metaphor for our own formation as the Anglican Church in North America…

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Commentary

(AM) Transgender liturgies? Why are we even asking the question?

If a destructive, anti-Christian, revolutionary ideology is taking over society and even sections of the church, how should it be effectively countered? Whose responsibility is it to do so? Should Christians address the ideology itself and its dangers to society, or should they focus on its symptoms and effects, as encountered in people in churches? Is it counter productive to talk negatively about cultural trends at all, and should Christians instead seek to simply tell ‘a better story’ in a positive way? Will it be enough in terms of being salt and light in Western culture, for theologians to write books and essays for an audience of educated conservative Christians, by carefully and graciously explaining biblical truth and pointing out error?

Martin Davie has certainly carried out this latter task very well in his latest piece of work, a Latimer Monograph which goes beyond the title’s brief of merely answering the question “Should the Church of England develop liturgical materials to mark gender transition?” to address the subject of transgenderism much more comprehensively. In the book he outlines the arguments of the pro-transgender apologists, refutes them graciously but firmly and in detail, and provides a clear and up to date re-statement of the biblical doctrine of humanity as male and female, grounded in the creation narratives through to the teaching of Jesus and the promise of the new creation. He addresses the question of pastoral care in the church for people who present as transgender, stressing, of course, the need for welcome and compassion to individuals, but also not being afraid to talk about underlying problems connected with the Fall: disorder, sin, rebellion, and the need for repentance, faith and a new start in Christ.

Davie writes with his customary clarity and logic, and does not fall into the trap catching some theologians, of being so keen to be fair to opposing arguments that they end up sitting on the fence or being overly complex and nuanced. As an introduction to the topic, and as a handbook for clergy, those involved in pastoral care and interested lay people, this book has to be highly recommended.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pastoral Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bill Atwood: Lewis Carroll’s insights and the curioser+curioser state of 21st century Anglicanism

For example, in January of last year, the Primates of the Anglican Communion gathered in Canterbury. With stunning clarity, they overwhelmingly chose to exercise discipline against The Episcopal Church (TEC) of the United States. A commission was established to hold TEC accountable after their decision to officially change marriage to include same-sex marriage. The understanding was that TEC would have three years (until their next General Convention) to repent and turn away from their same–sex agenda.

Following that meeting, TEC was told that their representatives could no longer participate in Ecumenical conversations because they had departed from the Biblical positions of the Anglican Communion. They were also told that they could not participate in discussions or decisions involving doctrine and polity. A panel was put in place that was supposed to monitor TEC and hold them accountable to those decisions, hoping that they would choose repentance by the time they met in their next General Convention.

Instead, Archbishop Welby changed the remit of the Panel that the Primates asked to be put together. Rather than holding TEC’s “feet to the fire,” he instructed them to find ways to keep everyone together in the midst of disagreement. Furthermore, only weeks after the Primates’ meeting in Canterbury, the TEC representatives attended the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka. During that meeting, TEC participated in all the discussions and decisions about doctrine and polity, both moving at least one measure and voting – all contrary to the dictates of the Primates.

Jubilant at their ability to prevail against the Primates, representatives of TEC were clear that they had attended, participated, and voted, actions clearly in opposition to what the Primates had decided. Most tragically, the Archbishop of Canterbury was vociferous in insisting that all the decisions of the Primates’ gathering had been kept, and that TEC had completely complied – despite the obvious.

It is just as though the Archbishop of Canterbury followed in the footsteps of Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis

Andrew Goddard–“Order! Order!”: Reflections on The Jesmond Consecration

This consecration has many unfortunate echoes of those at the start of the long unravelling process of The Episcopal Church (USA). It is often forgotten that this began before Gene Robinson’s election and consecration and the departures of parishes, clergy and eventually dioceses, to overseas bishops and the consecration of American priests as bishops by overseas provinces.

In early 2000, two conservative American parish priests, without the wider support even of formal conservative networks in the US, were secretly consecrated as bishops (though by two Primates of Communion provinces unlike here) to serve in the US (including in dioceses with conservative bishops). This famously led the Canadian Primate to comment that “bishops are not intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactured on one continent and fired into another as an act of aggression” and censure from Archbishop George Carey. It also soon became clear that the Primate of South East Asia had acted without following due process in relation to his own province’s canons.

This was the birth of AMiA and the seeds sown there, while producing much good fruit on the ground in local churches, mission and church planting, have led to ongoing serious problems in relation to order and difficult often broken personal relationships. Throughout its history there have been recurring conflicts, confusion and further fractures with conservatives within ECUSA (notably in South Carolina), within AMiA itself, particularly between one of those originally consecrated bishops and the province of Rwanda in which he formally served, and with the wider orthodox movement in the US now embodied in the much more orderly ACNA. This is not a happy precedent to be following.

In terms of order, there could still be at least one positive consequence of all this mess and confusion and the warning signs it gives of repeating the North American conflicts not just within the CofE but among orthodox evangelical Anglicans in England who are eager to support one another even when following different paths of visible differentiation from parts of the wider church. Could GAFCON now pause and take time to learn some lessons and consult more widely about its own plans for a missionary bishop and how they relate to catholic and evangelical faith and order? Can we find a way of understanding episcopal ministry in the context of impaired communion among Anglicans, both nationally and globally, perhaps learning from wider ecumenical relationships?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, South Africa

(GC) Ashley Null–5 Reasons Reformation Anglicanism Is Relevant

For those in the 21st century searching for meaning and purpose in life, Reformation Anglicanism’s commitment to the timeless wisdom of apostolic teaching gives them a solid rock on which to stand.

For those searching for a sense of historical continuity, Reformation Anglicanism offers a community close ties to the ancient church as expressed in its faithfulness to Scripture, the Creeds, and the first four Councils.

For those who make the needs of others a top priority, Reformation Anglicanism’s focus on mission encourages what God has already put on their hearts.

For those looking to be sustained by inspiring, systematic, Scripture-shaped worship, Reformation Anglicanism’s liturgical heritage offers perhaps the best model for proclaiming the gospel of grace and gratitude with ancient beauty and contemporary sensitivity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Anglican Unscripted #282 – The Fight for England

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England