Watch it all.
Category : – Anglican: Analysis
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).
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.
Read it all (requires subscription).
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…
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.
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….
“No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise” – Lewis Carroll pic.twitter.com/ptE1EnaVRu
— ƑσƖks σғ Hιsтσяү (@FolksOfHistory) August 31, 2015
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?
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.
Listen to it all.
It looks as though the Church of England now has a new buzz word. In the past few years the buzz word has been ‘good disagreement’ but now it appears to be ‘radical inclusion.’ In his speech at the conclusion of the debate in General Synod on the House of Bishops report on Marriage and Sexual Relationships after the Shared Conversations the Archbishop of Canterbury talked about the need for ‘a radical new Christian inclusion.’ The same phrase was then used by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in their letter issued in response to the debate.
One of the problems with the term ‘good disagreement’ was that its meaning was never formally defined and so it was difficult to be sure what it actually meant. In a similar fashion the Archbishops have not given a clear definition of ‘a radical new Christian inclusion’ either, but in their letter they appear to link it to a way forward for the Church of England that is ‘about love, joy and celebration of our common humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ – all of us, without exception, without exclusion.’
There are three problems with this view of the meaning of radical inclusion. First, it mentions the creation of human beings in the image of God, but passes over the fact that human beings are also fallen. Secondly, it talks about our belonging to Christ, but is silent about what this belonging involves. Thirdly, by linking both under the rubric of our ‘common humanity,’ it suggests that all human beings without exception are not only created by God, but also belong to Christ (which is not true).
In the remainder of this blog I shall set out an alternative Anglican account of inclusion that avoids these problems, drawing on the teaching of the Thirty Nine Articles and other authorised Anglican sources, as well as the work of Martin Luther.
(Christian Today) Andy Walton–Why The Future Of The C Of E Is In The Balance After The Sheffield Debacle
Let me be clear: as someone who has received massive amounts from women in leadership, I was a passionate campaigner for female bishops. I think Phillip North is wrong to oppose the ordination of women. I think the Bible is in favour of women in leadership. Yet, there’s more to the picture than that. North is a committed evangelist, social justice activist and great friend of many women clergy (including his fellow bishop, Libby Lane).
The legislation which made it possible for women to become bishops also made North’s position a legitimate and tenable one within the Church. If that has now been changed, de facto – not by debate, but by a concerted campaign from outside (and inside) Sheffield Diocese, we are in trouble.
The whole basis of the Church’s decision to opt for female bishops could now be called into question. As CofE legal expert Gavin Drake said on Facebook: ‘The legislation passed ONLY because a package of measures was agreed to provide for the mutual flourishing of women clergy AND of those whose theological convictions opposed them. That package of measures has just, effectively, been ripped up.’
(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Gavin Ashenden–Discrimination and discernment: an exercise in relativist supremacy
….the recent Bishop Philip North episode ought to make us suspicious. The theology of inclusion and equality didn’t apply to +Philip, whose great mistake was to believe what all Christians in all places at all times (until Karl Marx) have believed – about the orders of the Church.
The three-card trick that Professor Percy and his cultural fellow-travellers play is to refuse to exclude anyone except those who don’t agree with them. You only get to be included in the equality stakes once you have accepted their moral and political presuppositions. So, of course, they do actually discriminate between anyone who shares their basic world view and those who don’t.
They pretend they are relativists by claiming that all views are equally legitimate, but become absolutists if you challenge their relativism. In other words, their ideas of equality and relativism are actually practised by placing their value above those who disagree with them, and discriminating against anyone who has the audacity and moral turpitude to dissent.
Meanwhile, they claim the higher moral ground by pretending to be something that they are not – outlawing discrimination while practising it.
The ever-litigious bunch at 815 Second Avenue, the New York headquarters of ECUSA, may be getting a taste of their own medicine. Or it may just be a case of litigation inculturated beyond the point of no return: the litigators at ECUSA have been sued by the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, one of their own (and a former lawyer in his own right), who worked there as Chief Operating Officer until the Presiding Bishop terminated him last April.
The complaint, unusually filed in Alabama’s Mobile County Circuit Court (see remarks below), makes for an absorbing read (or maybe that’s just a lawyer talking): you may download it here. (A big tip o’ the Rumpolean bowler to The Living Church, which first broke the story.) It names ECUSA and its corporate arm, the DFMS, as defendants, along with 30 unidentified “John Does”, who allegedly participated in some manner in the actions alleged
Read it all and note the download link.
Just three months afterward, the Anglican Consultative Council (a deliberative body in which lay persons, clergy, bishops and Primates all take part as elected representatives of their respective denominations) held its sixteenth triennial meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. Representatives from ECUSA attended, but refused to honor the Primates’ requirement to abstain from certain deliberations of the Council having to do with “doctrine or polity.” Nor did the Council bar them from doing so.
The Episcopal delegates not only refused, but they gloated about the Council’s refusal even to consider the Primates’ requirement. In an open letter they sent to ECUSA after the meeting, which was published in the official Episcopal News Service, they reported that although Archbishop Welby had communicated the results of the January meeting to the Council, “ACC members seemed to have little energy for answering the primates’ call for consequences”.
Thus just as they flouted Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference in 2003, when they approved the consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson contrary to that Resolution, and just as they have repeatedly, in the years since, rejected all calls to change their course, ECUSA is determined to walk apart from the former Communion while keeping up the pretense that their actions have not turned it into a Disunion. (“How could it be a ‘Disunion’?” I hear them asking. “We still attend all its meetings!”)
Not only do they insist on exercising their full authority and rights when it comes to participation in Anglican-wide affairs, but they rub it in the GAFCON Primates’ faces every chance they get. For instance, Archbishop Welby has invited all Anglican Primates (with the exception of ACNA’s, whom he had invited the previous year) to another meeting at Canterbury next October. Just last week, the official news organ of the Anglican [Dis]union published a story about his invitation, and his expectations for the meeting. In the process, they rather loosely characterized ECUSA’s actions at ACC-16 in Lusaka (by serving up what is called “Anglican fudge” to describe what happened).
The ECUSA delegates to that meeting issued a response challenging the story’s accuracy, and ACNS had to add some further explanation by way of making the fudge thicker. (See the updated story here, and the explanation at the end. What ACNS added is the last sentence to the next-to-last paragraph.)
The upshot is that ECUSA once again saw to it that the other Primates were told in no uncertain terms that ECUSA had never yet acceded to their demands, and was not about to change its course.
Read it all (my emphasis).