Monday, April 12, 2010

Two speed not two tier?

The Anglican Archbishop of Dublin is concerned about the emergence of a two tier Anglican Communion. This is one way of describing what could happen if some Anglican churches sign the Covenant and some do not. But here is an interesting comment to a post on Preludium about Archbishop Orombi's letter:

'On another matter, I agree with Orombi that expressions of regret from TEC have been insincere. They have been attempts to placate the Communion while ignoring what was being asked of TEC. We should have said something like the following: “We're sorry you feel that way. We believe we are right, however, and, since you have no power over us, we will do what we think we must do. We believe that other Christian churches, including Anglican churches, will eventually come to the same understanding that we have. We pray that happens quickly. Thank you for your concern.”'

This speaks to me of a two-speed Communion (with or without Covenant). There are the pioneers racing ahead of the rest on certain matters, and the drag-at-heels who lag behind (and, worse, question whether the pioneers are heading in the right direction).

Quite what these pioneers understand about catholicity is an interesting question. If catholicity means anything at all it means the pioneers in the church (a) stay in touch with the laggards (b) have some sense of accountability to members of the body (c) do not think in terms of who has power over whom but in terms of the health and strength of fellowship between members of the body.

We may applaud this kind of honesty and bluntness. But this is two speed Anglicanism which strains, if not breaks any sense of catholicity as a hallmark of being in Communion.

Is this thinking what is really going on in the mind of TEC's movers and shakers? (It would not be the only comment of its tone and texture which you could find on the internet these days). On the logic of this kind of thinking, should TEC 'consider its position' in relation to the remainder of the Communion? Not because it is wrong, bad, or heretical. But because - if this thinking be the widespread real thinking in the mind of TEC - it is a moot point whether TEC continues to share with the remainder of the Communion what it means to belong to the Communion.

As I reflect further, I think there is also a two-tieredness at work here (again, note, even without the Covenant): on one tier of the Communion, member churches do what they think is right and deny others have any power over them to negate their belief; on the other tier of the Communion, member churches of the Communion listen to what others have to say, and make decisions in the light of what is heard.

We will find, I suggest, that GSE4 is a gathering of member churches of the Communion on a different tier to TEC. Coincidentally they will share a great enthusiasm for the prospect of an Anglican Covenant.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

"If catholicity means anything at all it means the pioneers in the church (a) stay in touch with the laggards (b) have some sense of accountability to members of the body (c) do not think in terms of who has power over whom but in terms of the health and strength of fellowship between members of the body."

Could you please explain where you get these fundamental definitions of "catholicity", thanks.

Peter Carrell said...

They are my thoughts, so, naturally, quite authoritative :)

But I think catholicity on any definition is about the church being and remaining the one body of Christ throughout God's world: staying together, accountable to one another, concerned for the health and strength of fellowship within Christ's body while not seeking to lord over one another.

Lionel Deimel said...

“But I think catholicity on any definition is about the church being and remaining the one body of Christ throughout God's world ...”

Only in the most abstract sense is the body of Christ catholic in this way. “Catholic” does not properly describe the current reality of the Church and, arguably, has never applied to the Church, except in the most general way. Prior to Nicaea, even that sense of catholicity was a stretch.

We have to recognize that the same-sex issues with which The Episcopal Church has been dealing for decades is not fundamentally a matter of abstract doctrine; it is about actual people’s actual lives. Not all societies are ready to deal with these issues, but, in the U.S.A., ignoring them is not an option. Waiting for churches in others societies to catch up is to say that the Church is more important than God’s people.

I, for one, believe that the Church was made for people, not the other way around. Apparently, however, this view is not universal.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lionel,

Thank you for coming by; and thank you for being forthright, honest, and using your own name ... that is not always the case with commenters :)

My definition of catholicity might be abstract and hardly ever have applied to the universal church of God, but it is a worthy and Christ-centred ideal worth working for. In particular it is worth working for within ecclesial situations. Why should I stick with my local church when they introduce some irritating innovation? Because, believing in the catholicity of the church, I do not leave because of disagreement. Why should Anglicans try to sustain the life of our Communion? Because we are catholic.

But now we are in a situation as a Communion where we face the real prospect that catholicity-in-our-context may not be sustainable; the differences among us strained to breaking point. It may be honest and realistic for TEC to walk away from the Communion; or for the Communion to ask TEC to leave. Or, that may not be so; we may be able to hang together; we may by God's grace find a 'catholic' way to lessen the strain.

I agree with you that real lives are being affected by these matters; that socio-politically, the USA is in a different place in respect to most other places represented in the Communion. But I wonder if the Communion would be in a different space concerning these matters if TEC had gone about things differently (as critics within TEC itself point out), for example, doing more explaining of the USA socio-political situation to the Communion, sorting out the theologies of blessings of same sex partnerships before going ahead with (say) the ordination of Gene Robinson, and providing better safeguards for conservative Episcopalians.

However that is now past. The reality is now strained and stressed. I suspect we can do little now save to 'watch and wait' as people such as yourself influence TEC to be bolder and braver in pursuing the direction it is progressing in; and member churches of the Communion work out their understandings of how 'catholic' the Communion can be in this brave new world.

But I do not agree with you that the church was made for people. I think it was made for God!

Anonymous said...

Are you not getting your marks of the church confused? Catholicity means breadth or inclusiveness, general acceptance, universality, a wide range, liberality, universality, comprehensiveness http://www.thefreedictionary.com/catholicity It appears to mean something quite different to what you are pressing for. I would almost go so far as to say it means the opposite. Why change the meanings of words to make your points?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
'Catholicity' in a general dictionary will be defined in that way and thus if I say that my tastes in wine are quite 'catholic' you could reasonably expect me to like reds and whites, be willing to try a new wine, have a wide range of favourites, and like to imbibe liberally!

But 'catholicity' in terms of church and theology does not have quite the same definition. In those contexts 'catholicity' refers both to the universal church and to the church "in the sense that they are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic). This continuity includes continuity in doctrine. Thus for a church to change its doctrine, to do so in a manner which means it is out of step with other churches, implies a break in continuity of doctrine and thus a break in the catholicity of the church.

Lionel Deimel said...

Peter,

I don’t see how “catholicity,” by your definition, was preserved when the Church of England offered services in the vernacular, or allowed priests to marry, or provided for women priests. Where is the catholicity? Why is catholicity suddenly destroyed by gay bishops?

If the Anglican Communion is catholic, I don’t see that it is by your definition.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lionel
When the C of E took certain initiatives in the 16th century it broke catholicity as then understood and moved out of communion with Rome.

The question before us now is whether actions by TEC break catholicity within the Anglican Communion; and whether that break is such that (as in the Reformation) new ecclesial arrangements will follow.

As for why gay bishops breaks (Anglican) catholicity now, in part that question needs to be answered by those who have made the loudest noises about it (Nigeria, Southern Cone, ACNA, etc). For myself - this may be contradictory - I would prefer that TEC remains in the Communion and we are all gracious to one another; yet I do not agree with 'gay bishops': unlike the case for 'women bishops' there are no Scriptural grounds upon which to build theological support for the blessings of same sex partnerships. In the end I think it is the lack of a sound theological case for 'gay bishops' which lies at the core of the answer as to why 'gay bishops' seems to be a 'break' issue for Anglican catholicity.

Lionel Deimel said...

Peter,

Thanks for the clarification.

Howard Pilgrim said...

Lionel wrote, "We have to recognize that the same-sex issues with which The Episcopal Church has been dealing for decades is not fundamentally a matter of abstract doctrine; it is about actual people’s actual lives."

I'm with Lionel on this one. While I agree with you, Peter, that a case for the inclusion of gay people and their relationships has to be made from scripture, and sooner rather than later, the debate about this issue is not taking place in academic seclusion, and not just in the blogosphere either. A few posts ago an anonymous commenter challenged me to define my use of we when I wrote, “This debate we must have, without neglecting the others.” The answer, in the context of this blog, is the real live Anglican-Down-Under church we belong to, along with others who want to contribute to our discussion. And this real live church has gay people among its members and leaders who want some reassurance that it is safe to come out of hiding, and many more young and old outside our doors who are sounding out the doorkeepers about whether our church might be more hospitable than the public image of Christians in general has suggested to them.

I feel that it is urgent that we address that challenge as soon as possible, and like Lionel, I do not think we have the luxury of waiting for the approval of churches whose social contexts are quite different from ours, no matter how dear our filial bonds may be with them.

The closest NT parallel to this challenging process I can think of is seen in Galatians 2, where Paul defends the right of his Gentile converts to unqualified acceptance into the Christian community without undergoing circumcision. This was a radical change, disturbing the catholicity and unity of the infant church. Paul argued for it in Jerusalem on the basis that God had manifestly signalled his acceptance of these converts by giving them his Spirit, and that to ask them for any further compliance to Jewish law would destroy his mission. The account in Acts 15 implies that Paul submitted this policy to the judgement of the Jerusalem leadership, but his own account in Galatians 2 (especially vv.5-7) makes it clear that he made no real concessions to their authority over his field of mission. In effect he said, "This mission I am engaged in with Gentiles is from God, and this new policy is what I have to do for it to work, so I am not budging." The Jerusalem apostles must have found this rather disrespectful, but in the face of Paul's conviction about his mission, and hearing of the real converts whose Christian standing he was there to defend, they were forced to recognize his authority to act as he had. An agreed theological rationalisation came later, as reflected in Acts and Paul's own writings.

A similar prerogative and urgency is being claimed right now by TEC. Here in ACANZP we face a similar pressure to adopt a more inclusive policy towards people whose sexuality diverges from our norms. The pressure comes in the form of real people, living among and around us, people we all know. With Lionel, I say that the Church is here for gays and lesbians because God is here for them and the Church exists to carry out God's mission in each place. Can we recognize the life of the Spirit in them or not? That is the heart of the issue, and they need to hear from our hearts. Are they to be made welcome, or not welcome - a binary signal is needed, and the time for it is now.

Anonymous said...

"I don’t see how “catholicity,” by your definition, was preserved when the Church of England offered services in the vernacular,"

- Latin *was the vernacular of western empire and its successor, just as Greek was the vernacular of the East...
"or allowed priests to marry,"
- Western priests were free to marry until the 11th century. Never a doctrinal issue.
"or provided for women priests."
- Now there you have a point!
"Where is the catholicity? Why is catholicity suddenly destroyed by gay bishops?"
Nothing sudden about it. Tec incrementally abandoned both doctrine and sexual discipline over a generation.
Outis

Anonymous said...

"When the C of E took certain initiatives in the 16th century it broke catholicity as then understood and moved out of communion with Rome."

But none of the Reformers ever imagined themselves to be 'breaking catholicity'. Thry insisted (and believed) they were *restoring catholicity from medieval innovations.
Outis

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your responses, Peter, which helpfully move the discussion forward.

1) “yet I do not agree with 'gay bishops': unlike the case for 'women bishops' there are no Scriptural grounds upon which to build theological support for the blessings of same sex partnerships.” Thank you for being crystal clear about your own position. But I think you yourself must question the confidence of the latter part of your sentence.

2) “But 'catholicity' in terms of church and theology does not have quite the same definition. In those contexts 'catholicity' refers both to the universal church and to the church "in the sense that they are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles"” This I feel is even more significant – in that this is involved in the purpose of your blog: “An evangelical attempt to uphold the catholicity of the Anglican Communion”. Again, I repeat: you are confusing marks of the church. You are talking about “unity” and “apostolicity” and misunderstand what “catholicity” means. This is very helpful to now have so clearly – for it explains so much of the confusion on your blog.

“When the C of E took certain initiatives in the 16th century it broke catholicity as then understood and moved out of communion with Rome.” Certainly they may be said to have broken UNITY but as others have pointed out, in no sense did the reformers think they were breaking “catholicity as then understood”!

I don’t know why you use wikipedia as a primary theological resource. The definition of catholicity in the catechism of BCP (TEC) is: “The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time.” Your own church’s catechism says essentially the same. This is much closer to the dictionary definition I gave which you put down – and nothing like your own definition.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
I may be too confident personally re the inability to successfully mount a theological case for 'gay bishops', but the real issue is whether a case can be mounted which is persuasive of the majority of Anglicans throughout the world. Some Anglicans are, I suggest, over confident about that possibility!

If our working definition of 'catholicity' is this, “The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time.” then I suggest this cannot be separated from unity or apostolicity. The whole Faith to all people being proclaimed is an intention to draw people into the one body of Christ and thus, where that body is not one, to work towards unity. 'The whole Faith' is the teaching of the universal church handed down to us through the apostles. Where that Faith as taught in another era moves beyond or in apparent negation of what the apostles have handed down to us, the church normally offers a rationale for doing so, such as some notion of 'development of doctrine', or some fresh appraisal of the apostolic foundation (i.e. Scripture).

When that rationale is missing, it is a moot point whether the church is being catholic in what it proclaims. When that rationale is disputed within the church I think it also a moot point whether the church is being catholic in what it proclaims.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Howard
I think you are oversimplifying the complexities of church life in Aotearoa New Zealand. There may be pressure from gay and lesbian Anglicans about whether they are welcome or not; but there is also pressure from other Anglicans wondering whether our church will remain orthodox in its understanding of marriage or not. I fail to see how we move in one direction rather than another which will not lead to the exclusion of people from our church.

Anonymous said...

1) “but there is also pressure from other Anglicans wondering whether our church will remain orthodox in its understanding of marriage or not.” The orthodox understanding of marriage was abandoned by Anglicanism when some provinces allowed divorce and remarriage – including of bishops – which is explicitly clearly contradicting scripture, which for you appears to be a significant factor.

2) “I suggest [catholicity] cannot be separated from unity or apostolicity”. Of course it cannot! No one has ever suggested that the marks can be so separated! But your continued confusion of the marks of the church does you no credit. In order to move safely through these complex discussions precision needs to be used with terms. Your latest post attempts to do this logically, but Howard already indicates flaws in your logic. Similarly, discussions merely move past each other if you continue to use terms eccentrically and defining them completely differently from the rest of the theological community. You write, for example, “When the C of E took certain initiatives in the 16th century it broke catholicity as then understood” which is blatantly and demonstrably untrue unless you follow a Roman Catholic ecclesiology – which, again, appears often to be your case.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous

Let me put some questions to you: does TEC's pragmatic move to ordain 'gay bishops' (noting that it has no formal theological case it has agreed to with which it might seek to persuade the Communion of the rightness of its cause) foster the spirit of catholicism within the Anglican Communion or not? Does it increase or decrease the possibility of the Communion remaining unified or not? Is it in accordance with the apostolic doctrine of the Anglican Communion or not?

Anonymous said...

I hope we can agree that in answering “yes” or “no” to a question, for the answer to have any meaning at all, there must be agreement between the questioner and the respondent about the meaning of the words in the question?

Because you currently appear to remain with your position that a word can mean whatever you want it to mean, the answers I give to your questions will be meaningless.

1) “does it foster the spirit of catholicism within the Anglican Communion or not?” Since you appear to not hold to the all-bar-you universal understanding of “catholicism” I haven’t the slightest idea what you could possibly mean by “the spirit of” catholicism.

2) “Does it increase or decrease the possibility of the Communion remaining unified or not?” I do not agree with your understanding that the Communion IS “unified”. I have already indicated significant differences within the communion on marriage and divorce (eg. compare your province with CofE). The main threat to marriage is not blessing gays, the real, concrete and verifiable threat to marriage is divorce. If you value marriage – work on divorce. So “the Communion remaining unified” is meaningless – it comes from your assumption that it is “unified” which I do not share. Or perhaps you use “unified” as you do “catholic” with your own eccentric meaning.

3) “Is it in accordance with the apostolic doctrine of the Anglican Communion or not?” Good grief! What is “the apostolic doctrine of the Anglican Communion”??!! Put that phrase (in quotes) into Google and you will find there is NOT A SINGLE reference to it. Another Peter Carrell novelty. So again: how can you expect anyone to understand the answer?

Peter Carrell said...

HI Anonymous,
Let me try again.
Working from the definition supplied by you, “The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time.”,

Are the supporting arguments for 'gay bishops' (that is, openly same sex partnered bishops, which phenomenon within TEC is a novelty in the life of the episcopal set of churches known as the Anglican Communion), part of the 'whole Faith' or not?

Are these supporting arguments in accordance with the apostolic doctrine of the church as found in Holy Scripture, and declared by the first four councils of the undivided church? (That there may be other things in the Anglican Communion not in accordance with the apostolic doctrine is neither here nor there with respect to this specific question).

For the time being the Anglican Communion, impaired, damaged and in poor shape though it is, nevertheless remains formally one united set of churches, no member church, for example, having resigned membership, nor, to give another example, no member church having been expelled: do you think the persistent movement within TEC towards having 'gay bishops' is likely to enhance that formal unity or to imperil it?

There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to each question. But I would be interested in your answers. My answers, FWIW, are , No; No; Imperil.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 11:56-
The claim that divorce and remarriage "clearly contradicts Scripture" is not one that the Orthodox Churches of the East or many of the Reformation Churches (those who followed erasmus on the matter) ever accepted. That divorce is always the consequence of serious sin and calls for repentance cannot be denied, which raises the question of godly discipline - largely absent in the free market of modern religion, particularly, but certainly not exclusively, in Tec - there are lots of divorced and remarried fundamentalists.

Your diversions and verbose ad hominems against Peter Carrell aside, you have not addressed the salient fact that Tec has been trying to change the fundamental nature of Christian marriage as a sexually exclusive monogamous man-woman relationship for life.

Outis

Howard Pilgrim said...

Outis asserts, as a salient fact, "that Tec has been trying to change the fundamental nature of Christian marriage as a sexually exclusive monogamous man-woman relationship for life."

Far from a fact, this is just one interpretation of what TEC has been doing. Another take on it would be that TEC both acknowledges the fundamental nature of marriage and seeks to extend marriage beyond its unchanging fundamental nature, exemplified in never-divorced, heterosexual relationships, in order to encompass a set of atypical variants, one of which is marriage after divorce, and another is same-gender marriage. One can begin to cautiously acknowledge variants without denying the fundamental and ideal case. For such extensions of the institution to be valid, all that is required is to show that significant parts of the paradigmatic case are found in the variants.

We have a difference in definitions of "fundamental" - a conservative use of this term would mean "this and nothing else", while a more liberal approach would mean "this typically, along with variants that are sufficiently alike for the term to remain meaningful."

An older instance of such extended meaning is found in the case of polygamy. Do we think of Abraham and Sarah as married or not? What about David and Bathsheba? One does not have to be a fan of "Big Love" to see polygamy as an important challenge to an exclusive use of your definition. It is an actual, scriptural variant on what Jesus identified as God's intention for marriage. Not ideal, but not outside the realm of blessing either.

Howard Pilgrim said...

Peter, I have just two further bones to pick with you arising out of the discussion on this post.

1. At 7:59am your response to one of the anonymice above included this:- "...the real issue is whether a case can be mounted which is persuasive of the majority of Anglicans throughout the world." Don't you think you are setting the goalposts impossibly high for those you oppose? I would have thought a theological argument to be sufficient grounds for action by a province when a clear majority within that province are persuaded, however that majority is measured. In our own case, that would be a consultative process leading to the assent of all three tikanga at a General Synod, followed by an appropriate process of diocesan ratification. Whether the "persuasion" involved is theological or pragmatic might be a matter of dispute!

2. Earlier, you chided me for "oversimplifying the complexities of church life in Aotearoa New Zealand." Let me defend myself by denying promoting any idea that we are all of one mind here downunder, or that we all feel the same pressures equally. But I disagree with what you then go on to affirm, that any course of action on this issue will exclude one group from the church.
If we decide not to recognize and bless faithful same-sex relationships, then we not only deny the ministries and leadership of those involved, but we continue in effect to brand them sinners unworthy of full fellowship, second-class members at best. That is exclusion.
If we recognize and bless such relationships, we may offend those among us who disagree, but we do not actually exclude them from our life and fellowship. They may then choose to remove themselves from what they can no longer recognize as a faithful church, but that is their choice, not something visited on them by others.
To label both outcomes as exclusion seems misleading and unhelpful in this context.

No further quibbles! This has been a fascinating thread. :)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Howard,
The point about a majority of Anglicans over the world accepting the case for 'gay bishops' is in relation to the harmony and health of the whole Communion. Without that majority acceptance there is (already) and will be unsettlement in the Communion over this matter.

When you say, "If we recognize and bless such relationships, we may offend those among us who disagree, but we do not actually exclude them from our life and fellowship. They may then choose to remove themselves from what they can no longer recognize as a faithful church, but that is their choice, not something visited on them by others.
To label both outcomes as exclusion seems misleading and unhelpful in this context." I still think you are oversimplifying the complexity of our church's life!

(Briefly) (1) if we go ahead with an action which has a predictable outcome (i.e. lots of people leave) are we ready and able to pick up all the consequences, including significant disruption to diocesan life, almost certain property matters (not necessarily disputes, but we will be selling a few properties), and the loss to the future of many of our younger families (which I am finding, in two different dioceses, are mostly conservative in theological commitment). I do not want to go where NZ Methodists have gone. Do you? (2) I think you are offering a very thin account of 'exclusion'! (a) does our inclusion of gay and lesbian people necessarily mean we have to also offer official church blessings of relationships and be indifferent to living arrangements in terms of selection for ordination? Or is unbundling of the several issues here a non-starter? (b) yes, any person who leaves any church is making a choice. But what other choices are being made which lead to such a choice? If I belong to a church because it is committed to X, Y, and Z, and then I find the powers-that-be have changed X, Y, and Z to X, W, and Z, I may feel (or "feel") that I have little choice in leaving because W and the loss of Y is incompatible with my understanding of belonging to a church.

Anonymous said...

Outis, if I have expressed any ad hominems against Peter, I sincerely apologise to him. I have been trying to address the issues – where I fail to do that, my apologies.

Orthodox attitudes to marriage and divorce are not at all as Outis suggests. Certainly not in the context of this discussion. Outis – please find me the name of even a single Orthodox bishop who has been divorced and remarried – any time in 2,000 years of history will do. Remember it is gay bishops that is the subject of this discussion. In fact, find me the name of one Orthodox priest who has been divorced and remarried - any time in 2,000 years of history will do. The “doctrine of marriage” changed far longer ago in Anglicanism than the consecrating of gay bishops. Now, Outis, find me the blog-posts on this site where Peter makes the concerted effort against this change. Remember NZ was the first to have a bishop divorce and remarry in office – I suspect in episcopally led churches in 2,000 years of history. It would be good to see NZ’s theological agreement on that – the sort of thing Peter is regularly seeking from TEC.

Peter, to your three questions as reworded by you. 1) The change that TEC is introducing you call “openly”. So, yes, I think that being open about our commitments can be seen to be part of the “whole faith”. You have an episcopal situation which is known but not “open” – I think TEC’s approach is preferable.

2) Please explain why you stop at four councils. But, yes.

3) I have no way of predicting the future.

It seems to me that from your post on the selling of Methodist church buildings to other denominations, people have far less commitment to denomination than previously. You describe it as a person looking for a denomination that believes X, Y, and Z. If a person wants an episcopally led denomination that is anti-committed-gays more than one springs to mind. If a person is not fussed on whether it is episcopally led or not, even more spring to mind.

Question of the week: Where is the denomination for those who have no issue with homosexuality, and seek to be episcopally led?

Howard Pilgrim said...

Picking up your final point there, Peter, how many New Zealand Anglicans do you think have joined our church because they believe it has made an explicit stand against gay membership or leadership? That is, as opposed to those who may have joined because they took us to have a high level of respect for the Bible. We should make this distinction, because the task before liberal evangelicals like me is to argue for the validity of new readings of scripture that take it no less seriously than you do but allow for a recognition of homosexual Christians. Pro-gay does not have to mean anti-scripture, and to say so is not to seek the exclusion of anybody except those for whom an anti-gay attitude is even more unshakeable than their faith in God.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:46 will have to do his/her own homework, as I have a day (and night) job to do. The hypothetical cases Anon mentions don't arise because the Orthodox Churches of the East have their own discipline regarding marriage and ordination. Priests may not marry after ordination and bishops must be single (therefore are usually monks).
"Question of the week: Where is the denomination for those who have no issue with homosexuality, and seek to be episcopally led?"
Start your own.
Outis

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous @ 10.46,

It is a matter of regret that there have been circumstances in which in some churches have found themselves with divorced-and-remarried bishops (I believe TEC is one also). Practically churches have coped but I do not think it has led to strong motivation to undertake some theological work on celebrating the divorces of bishops; nor has it led (for reasons which no doubt I should know) to possibilities of schism locally and of the break up of the Anglican Communion globally.

Please remember that while I do not agree with 'gay bishops' I am not asking for TEC to be expelled from the Communion. I am wondering why they have not bothered to do some theological work on 'gay bishops' at GC level because I think extension of the doctrine of marriage from man-and-woman to include same sex couples is a major change, far more significant than permitting the remarriage of divorcees. I do not expect that you will agree with my estimation of the difference, but that is what I think.

Something I did not mention about Methodism in NZ is that one aspect of change in recent years has been the departure of Methodists not only as individuals but also in groups because of a liberal approach to same sex partnerships. I assume those groups, when forming the Wesleyan Methodist church, did not sit light to denominational labels. I can assure you that while some members of Anglican churches in NZ sit light to denominational loyalty, many Anglicans do not; and certainly do not envisage Rome as an alternative should push come to shove.

Anonymous said...

“I think extension of the doctrine of marriage from man-and-woman to include same sex couples is a major change, far more significant than permitting the remarriage of divorcees. I do not expect that you will agree with my estimation of the difference, but that is what I think.”

Well it’s clearly going to be pointless to arm-wrestle over which is the “more significant” – but I would say that the change from “till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance” to “till separation/divorce do us part, contrary to God’s holy ordinance”, and complete abandonment of the perfectly clear “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2) [Outis’ distractions notwithstanding] does not quickly entitle one to start pointing the finger of blame at another group who does both these things and then starts saying that it’s consistent and along the same Spirit-led trajectory to realise that God blesses gay couples in a way not too dissimilar from heterosexual couples. I could understand your position if you were working energetically against the earlier part of that trajectory, but yes, I am struggling to see how you don’t wonder yourself why you have such huge energy against only the logical conclusion of the direction your position inevitably moves towards.

Lionel Deimel said...

Peter,

The charge that TEC has not “bothered to do some theological work on ‘gay bishops’” is a common complaint I’d like to address.

(1) TEC is not in the habit of making standalone theological declarations. This is not our way or, generally, the Anglican way. (I don’t want to quibble about the Articles of Religion or papers developed with the RC Church.)

(2) TEC as a whole has done a good deal of theology on homosexuality. Three pieces come readily to mind: To Set Our Hope on Christ, Reasonable and Holy, and the recent papers from the HoB theology committee (which, of course, come to no conclusion).

(3) Change, whether in the church or elsewhere, seldom follows the model being promoted in the proposed covenant: consider/decide-as-a-group/act. Instead, the more common paradigm is consider/act-as-individuals/respond-and-reconsider/decide-as-a-group. Think of the irregular ordinations of women that occurred before the General Convention decided to ordain women.

(4) Generally, our theology emergies from our liturgy. (We believe what we pray.) Here, I must agree that TEC has work it should already have done—not make a theological argument for blessing same-sex unions, but authorize liturgy for the same. God willing, this will be done at the 2012 General Convention.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lionel,
Thank you for clearly setting out a substantive response to that particular complaint! Two quick comments: (a) perhaps ALL Anglicans/Anglican churches should change the habits of several hundred years!! (b) it would be very interesting in 2012 to follow the GC debate - should, as you hope, there be one - to see what kind of theological reflection permeates discussion of liturgies. (Sadly, in my own church, in recent years, there has been some acceptance of liturgical change without half-way decent theological work going on)!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous,
I think you are running ahead of someone here - maybe me, maybe others!
(1) No Anglican church I am aware of, least of all my own, is proposing any change to its doctrine of marriage, that it is for life and vows taken accordingly.
(2) Agreed, and obviously, Anglican churches have wrestled with how to respond to failure to live to the doctrine, and there are variations on the "ease" with which remarriage may take place after divorce (and, I understand, that some places have even come up with some kind of liturgical something or other (Blessing? Lamentation?) to accompany divorce. It is precisely that pragmatic pastoral approach to the realities of life which means Christians need to think about the pragmatics of how we welcome, respond to, and relate with same sex couples. But I think that pastoral pragmatic does not necessarily lead to formal promulgation of blessings of same sex partnerships.
(3) I will not vote in an election for any episcopal candidate who has been divorced.
(4) You assert, "complete abandonment of the perfectly clear “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2)". In response I simply say that, to my knowledge our church has never elected a divorced or divorced and remarried person to electoral office. There has been one bishop, as you clearly know from an earlier comment, who was divorced and remarried in the course of holding episcopal office. I see no emerging trend in that direction.
(5) Finally, my 'energy' on this matter is energy for finding a way forward for the Anglican Communion to be united when it is divided on the matter of 'gay bishops'. I do not think you would find me saying much if anything at all on the matter if the AC was unquestioning of the developing trend in TEC. Deliver me a united AC and I will shut up!

Anonymous said...

I am surprised at your defensiveness in your response, Peter. You normally appear more candid rather than the sophistry and hair-splitting of your reply. Yes, your church has a blessing of a divorce liturgy along with the liturgy for blessing a committed gay couple – used in the situations you describe at every level I understand, that is not my point. Nor was I suggesting there is an “emerging trend” in a direction of bishops not “being the husband of one wife”. Merely, you have changed the doctrine of marriage, including in relation to bishops and you have accepted that change. I am contented that through this thread you have shifted from seeking catholicity to “finding a way forward for the Anglican Communion to be united”. Since you are shifting my point about energy, my response would be: why is it THIS issue that is stressing the communion? Why not the change to marriage or the change to the biblical qualification to who can be a bishop? Neither Howard [nor you] have found a single website, forum, or facebook group where young people are debating this issue [that Howard said is the question from young people]. Why do some Anglicans make THIS the issue over which to fight?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous,
At risk of incurring further the charge of 'hair-splitting' I would point out that somewhere on the internet sites of this church you will find the liturgies you mention; but you will not find them on the "schedules" of our church within our canons.

I think it going to far to say that we have "accepted" change to the marriage doctrine. Anglicans are committed to marriage, would prefer there be no divorces, and work, however much in a limited fashion to build up marriages rather than to break them down. That tendency is quite different from working towards the development of extending the understanding of marriage to incorporate same sex partnerships. (Let me try that another way: I am as committed to no one divorcing as I am committed to this church not breaking up over the blessing of same sex partnerships).

I do not think I am shifting your point about 'energy' at all: this site is dedicated to the well-being of the Communion not to one particular issue. However that issue is troubling the Communion. Why? I think we need some others to answer because, unlike Louis XIV's L'etat est moi, I am not the Communion!

Incidentally I am not 100% clear what Howard meant re young (anglican or potentially anglican) people and this issue. My take on it is this: young people are a diverse group. Generally young people are more tolerant of peers among them who are gay or lesbian, while also being very keen to find out they themselves are not gay or lesbian; but there is also a strong majority among young people actually involved in Anglican parishes which are theologically conservative, and unlikely any time soon to cheer from the sidelines when they find out this church has decided formally to bless same sex partnerships.

Lionel Deimel said...

I’m willing to offer an explanation as to why homosexuality (gay bishops, or whatever) is troubling the Communion. The explanation may seem cynical, but it is, I think, the correct explanation.

The real split in the Communion is a traditionalist/modernist split. Call it what you will, it is between a mid-19th-century theology and a 21st-century one.

The presenting issue could have been any of a number of issues, but homosexuality is a perfect wedge issue; it splits the modernists who are still queasy about gays despite their generally liberal leanings.

Homosexuality was picked as the issue to use to try to turn the clock back in the Communion simply because it was politically potent. The issue is not intrinsically more or less important than other issues.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lionel
I am at one with you in agreeing that the 'real' issue is (may I call it) 'which theological paradigm is to govern our life?' And in all sorts of ways, homosexuality is the perfect wedge issue.

But I think the division between theological paradigms is different. Or may be it is divisions. Yes, there are those who talk as though we would all be better off in the mid-nineteenth, or, slightly more passionately for some, the mid-sixteenth century! But there are also those who would make the division in the 21st century! That is, which 21st century theology will leads us forward?

I intend offering (as it happens) some thoughts about that in a post in a day or so.

Howard Pilgrim said...

Oh my, this thread doesn't want to stop, does it? So it is once more into the breach, dear friends, in response to Peter wondering what I was getting at about young people. I prefer to answer you, Peter, rather than the anonymouse who asks us to locate a relevant young people's discussion in cyberspace, not because it can't be done even by an old fogey like me, but because the reference group I am most responsible to consider are real young people I know in everyday life (that thingy that happens for us between blogs).

Peter, I find it useful to assess your observations about young people in parts, unlike the curate's egg :)

1. "...young people are a diverse group." This is as we would expect in any generation, but each genration's unity in diversity includes some significant shifts from previous generations, as your next clause implies.

2."Generally young people are more tolerant of peers among them who are gay or lesbian," This is a significant shift in attitudes, although I do remember a considerable diversity of tolerance and understanding towards gays when I was a young adult (in exuberant 60's, Anonymouse). Our attitudes then were not at all determined by the legal situation, as the anonymouse implied, any more than we took much notice of 6 o'clock closing. I have had gay friends, some of them clergy, all my adult life. What I see now is that a much wider acceptance of openly gay relationships among young people, outside the conservative churches, so that condemnation of gays is becoming established as a distinctive part of Christian branding: we are seen as almost the only ones still doing it. Conservatives might give a hearty cheer at this point - "Hurrah, our message is getting through!" I do not share their joy. No-one is being convicted of sin by this branding, for it is we who wear the brand, not those we condemn. Rather, a large segment of our younger population sees this as evidence that the faith we profess is not worth considering. I can find plenty of ways to be a fool for Christ, as long as it is for Christ crucified rather than Christ gay-basher.

3. "...while also being very keen to find out they themselves are not gay or lesbian;" Really? I have not met such youngsters, but have heard from plenty who have discovered they are gay and are glad this has happened in the midst of a more tolerant generation than earlier gays had to negotiate. Both they and their straight friends are glad of a climate of acceptance in which they can all be honest with one another, and enjoy the love they find.

4. "...but there is also a strong majority among young people actually involved in Anglican parishes which are theologically conservative, and unlikely any time soon to cheer from the sidelines when they find out this church has decided formally to bless same sex partnerships." Sadly, this generalisation about the preponderance of conservative theology among churched young people is true, at least in many dioceses, and maybe it is for the reasons I gave in section 2 above. I pray this situation will change before long so that our churches are more welcoming to, and representative of, the next generation of our society at large.

On the other hand, I guess that many conservative Christians, young and old, see their church as the last bastion against the corruption of a society going to hell in a handcart, and will be deeply disturbed by any change of policy regarding sexuality. Like Lionel, I can't help but see them as hankering for the past rather than having a vision for the future.

Anonymous said...

I see no reason for a discussion to stop if there are still constructive points to be made. Why should this discussion cease? No agreement has been reached.

I have found Howard’s last explanation of young people easier to follow. That the small percentage of young people involved in church tend to be “unlikely any time soon to cheer from the sidelines when they find out this church has decided formally to bless same sex partnerships” makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If the church doesn’t welcome the broader-thinking ordinary younger people then… they just won’t be there. Your archbishop removed the licence from a priest who was open about his gay commitment – my point was, ordinary young people aren’t asking are we and our gay friends welcome – they know the answer.

Might I still disagree with your analysis of young people’s attitudes, Howard. “Our attitudes then were not at all determined by the legal situation, as the anonymouse implied, any more than we took much notice of 6 o'clock closing.” If you were caught breaking 6 o'clock closing – you were in trouble with the law. If your gay friends were caught in the 60s – you were NOT in trouble, they were. Gay couples in the 60s could not get the same jobs, rights, accommodation, and other opportunities that you could. They can now. It is illegal to discriminate against them, they know it, young people know it. Except in the church.

Peter, the second paragraph of your response to me is a verbal smokescreen. On this blog there is mention of people marrying up to seven times in your church; you have clergy through their third divorce; this may not be stressing the Communion – but I suspect, if it wasn’t happening in NZ, and was happening in TEC (and I know of no such occurrences) you would be writing about it here. What I am looking for is balance – work for change in TEC, in the communion, certainly – but then put at least similar energy into making consistent change in your own church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous,

I don't think that paragraph is verbal smokescreen at all.

Why not take a different tack and tell us how you would resolve the situation the Anglican Communion is in?

Anonymous said...

OK.

So you don’t agree with the liturgy for blessing a committed couple, produced by your liturgical commission. You don’t agree with bishops being divorced and remarried. You wouldn’t yourself marry someone for the seventh time. You don’t agree with clergy going through their third divorce. You don’t approve of the ethics of a bishop. Three tikanga, three primates, two equal bishops in one diocese. You don’t agree with a parish’s mocking Christian doctrine publicly. Etc. But in not one of these cases have you taken any formal action. Not a single one! You have the processes, you have the canons, you have the brains – yet: not a single one!

Why?

Might I suggest that, even though you have strong beliefs and positions on many of these issues, you continue to understand the possibility of worshipping and ministering within and evangelising from a church in which not everyone agrees. Even on such fundamental issues as many of the ones I’ve listed.

And the communion has run similarly, agreeing to disagree about women in ministry and leadership, about three tikanga, about divorce and remarriage, etc. Continuing to understand the possibility of worshipping and ministering within and evangelising from a communion in which not everyone agrees. Your way within your church is the Anglican way. This way within the communion is the Anglican way.

Until the gay issue.

And the reaction to this has been, we are being frank here, from your part of Anglicanism. And you have stoked the flames of it. Here, and presumably elsewhere.

What could be done by people like you, leaders in this part of Anglicanism? Stop stoking the fires. Tell people in your part of Anglicanism to stop. Breathe slowly. Tell them: breathe through your nose. Tell them: remember how you react to divorce, and abortion, and pre-marital sex, and the loosening requirements around the 39 Articles, etc.

Saved: one Anglican Communion

Peter Carrell said...

That's an intelligent solution, Anonymous.

It would, of course, carry more weight if you would append a name to it!

I shall think about it. But even more importantly - because I do not think I have stoked any fires; rather damped some down - I hope some of those who (in your terms) are having difficulty breathing on this issue might respond and let us know what they think.

Rosemary said...

I very much doubt that I CAN make a contribution because we are so far apart. Howard sums up the majority of views here when he says, “I can't help but see them as hankering for the past rather than having a vision for the future.”

He and others are saying of conservatives, that we live in the past, that we have old fashioned morals, that we need to be educated in order to understand, which is a polite way of saying we’re thick, stiff necked legalists.

I haven’t got a lot to say except that I don’t see any ‘fear of the Lord’ in most of these remarks. I have a firm conviction that the Lord sees the beginning from the end, so how can anything He says be ‘past’ or 19th century in any way shape or form. There’s neither trust nor fear of the Lord in that sort of remark. Picking bits of hermeneutical lint from the shoulders of so called old fashioned biblical scholars .. seems like a complete lack of any ‘fear of the Lord’ to me, but rather foolishness.

No fear of God’s promises, which are not all beneficial to mankind, no awareness of God’s power, despite the closing down of all flights into and out of England, or a world wide flu scare. WE are NOT in charge of this world, HE is. He’s responsible for the next breath we take and His mercy towards us is heart stopping. Quite honestly I can barely bring myself to read most of the stuff written on this page, because I’m quite sure Our Lord will not bless it. You have all my sympathy for trying Peter.

Wally is right .. God has taken the brakes off.

Peter Carrell said...

Anonymous // Rosemary

Thanks Rosemary for responding - much appreciated!

What you suggest, Anonymous, as a solution for the Communion could work. Of course it could. Just one more point of agreeing to disagree, breathe slowly, and all will be well. That could work.

But that is not all there is to say, I suggest.

(1) You list a range of 'agree to disagrees' and suggest that the mission of the Communion, of ACANZP carries on as before. I suggest this is a generalization. On the one hand that there are two bishops in the Diocese of Waikato almost certainly makes no negative difference to our preaching of the gospel (it might even make a positive difference)! On the other hand I think having three primates does effect our preaching of the gospel: when we need a clear and decisive lead on certain matters I do not think we are getting it on every issue. (I do not think I am alone in having doubts about three primates; I believe in due time this policy will be reappraised by our GS).

(2) I stand by my claim in earlier posts/comments this week, that I believe a hegemony of liberal theology over the life of a mainstream denomination in NZ is highly likely to lead to its detriment, faster and quicker than the general attrition being experienced living in the secularised 21st century. For our church to proceed to an openly, formal 'liberal' position on same sex partnerships would cement in place that hegemony with (I suggest) predictable consequences (which would have nothing to do with me stoking any fires). I further suggest that our church in recent episcopal elections - in which I have not been a promoter or voter or fire stoker (!!!) - has carefully chosen not to cement in place that hegemony by choosing centre to centre-right bishops.

(3) Nevertheless, your proposed solution is for the whole of the Communion, not only for one part of it. But, here again, I suggest that some "agree to disagrees" are different to others. I do not believe it has been helpful, for instance, that John Spong has been able to contribute his disagreeable ideas to the world under the title of 'bishop' as a bishop always remaining in good standing with his church. I also do not believe it would be helpful to the mission of Anglicanism if we confused our global understanding of ministry orders by finding that lay presidency has been approved within one part of the Communion. That is, working our way through a range of issues, we have found, and are likely to find that some issues can be lived with very well, some not so well, and some would be disastrous.

(4) I do think you are offering a confusing account of various issues. Thus you say, "Tell them: remember how you react to divorce, and abortion, and pre-marital sex, and the loosening requirements around the 39 Articles, etc." For me that would be telling my fellow evangelicals to remember that there are a number of things we disagree with, but their continued existence in the general life of the community is something we have to live with. But it would not mean telling my fellow evangelicals that they ought to have no issue with (say) a vicar engaging in pre-marital sex, or a bishop advocating wholesale abortion, or a theologian pronouncing that the 39A are irrelevant to Anglican life. And it certainly would not involve me saying to them that because they live tolerantly in the world they therefore should agree that blessing same sex partnerships is now the right thing to do.

In respect of your general charge that I have done nothing formally about various issues in our church I simply respond by saying that my preference at this time is to engage in a strategy of persuasion rather than making formal complaints.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Peter, I find your points thoughtful and helpful.

“It would, of course, carry more weight if you would append a name to it!” Why? We’ve talked previously about ad hominems – here, I hope, it is about “playing the ball, not the man” – it should make no difference in weight whether I am a bishop in your church or a laywoman in USA. Appending “Joan Wood” or “Simon Willson” above or below my ideas should not alter their weight.

Rosemary, I’m struggling to get your point. Are you suggesting that you can judge Peter, Howard, Outis, and my fear of the Lord in the biblical sense, through these amicable public discussions respectfully being held by Christians who see there is a current significant issue? And the Icelandic volcanic eruption is a result of this discussion, how exactly? And God has taken the brakes off of what? Is taking the brakes off a good thing? Is God allowing us to move forward now? Was God preventing us from moving forward previously?

Peter, we could get lost in the fine details of why you think having two bishops leading one community is better but having three primates leading one community is worse. Nor do I agree with you that Spong is the source of the current stress in the communion – or even that significant within it. He appears to have a particular association with NZ – but that is quite a small part of the Communion.

Doing nothing about a vicar or bishop engaging in extra-marital sex, not speaking out against abortions in NZ (is the second highest rate in the world?) certainly are statements – whether they appear to be that to you or not.

I was cautious about terminology. You use “evangelicals”. Howard is an evangelical on this thread who reads the Bible in favour of blessing committed gays.

Newsweek has it right: “Nobody seems to care that the new Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles is a lesbian.” http://www.newsweek.com/id/236478 OK, so they got wrong: Episcopalian is not an adjective but a noun, maybe noun modifiers is a growing trend we cannot stop – there’s no point fighting it – now what does that remind us of… ;-)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
There may be no point fighting certain battles. But sometimes we only understand that eventually; our present view of things compels us to engage in them.

I used 'evangelical' because you talked of my part of Anglicanism!

Your ideas have weight whether named or not: true. But we might attend to them with wider popularity if, say, your name was Walter Kasper or Kenneth Kearon ... or ++Rowan.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8:34 -
You should use a nom d'ordinateur simply to make your comments trackable - it is often very difficult to sort out which 'Anonymous' is chipping in.

Plenty of people are "post-evangelical" or "formerly evangelical" (just as there are "former catholics") so that doesn't make their current views "evangelical" - if the word is going to continue to have any determinate meaning. I know a good number of "former evangelicals": some are now Catholics, some liberals, others have dropped out of church and possibly Christianity.
Outis

Anonymous said...

Maybe, Outis, I should use אף אחד לא? I am not convinced that it makes a difference - since it is the ideas we are discussing, not the person (cf. Peter Carrell's "complete profile"). But OK I'll try it.

I am not sure about your point about evangelical. I wasn't using it, because I was respecting Howard's use of evangelical to describe himself as such and disagree with Peter, but maybe we could use liberal evangelical and conservative evangelical.

אף אחד לא

Howard Pilgrim said...

Rosemary, I have to protest against your rather emotive charge that I have found "a polite way of saying we’re thick, stiff necked legalists." I do not think that about you, nor about others I disagree with on this blog, not even in my private moments of frustration with some of the views expressed.

What I do think is that we each have some beliefs that we consider foundational and that we see no point in questioning. Your set is obviously different from mine. Some matters I would like you to rethink are on your no-go list. This does not make you thick: you simply apply your considerable intelligence to other matters.
So scrub the "thick' part of that judgement, unless you want to apply it to yourself. Sometimes that is useful, but only when you come to realize, as I have often done, that God is having a hard time teaching you something. At that point, "thick" and "stiff-necked" mean the same thing, but no one else should presume to apply it to you as it is strictly between you and God.

Which leaves "legalists". As I understand this concept in the light of the New Testament, it is only useful in describing those who hanker after the security of a fixed code of laws when God is actually taking that away from them - whether it is for guiding their own behaviour, or for deciding who is in or out of a community of faith. This may be a factor operating in the current debate over same-sex relationships, but I would rather ask others to judge their own attitudes than use such a label to inflame the situation.

In times of transition, such as we Anglicans are currently entering, when God seems to have "taken the brakes off" as Wally puts it, living by faith means trusting that God is still in control of the situation, and hope means that we expect something new and better to emerge from the chaos. Unless, of course, we just take refuge in a ghetto mentality for the here and now, emotionally abandoning the world we are in and setting all our hope on the afterlife.
And no, I do not think anyone commenting on this blog has abandoned our shared mission to that extent!

Anonymous said...

Peter writes: “our church in recent episcopal elections … has carefully chosen … centre to centre-right bishops.”

There have been four elections recently. I suggest that Peter’s classification is imprecise (what constitutes his “centre” and “centre-right”?), and a gross oversimplification (each new bishop is a complex, highly-skilled person with distinct and different approaches to a wide variety of issues and contexts). The four chosen have been younger and older, locals, and from USA, and Canada, male and female, lifelong Anglicans, and Anglican by adult choice. Certainly the four would not describe themselves as “centre to centre-right bishops”. The categorising of people into evangelical, catholic, liberal, centre-right, conservative, and so forth continues to be an unhelpful tendency on this site. It is not required for the discussion, and, in fact, as highlighted here, is talking about real individuals and leaders in the church in a way, I suggest, they would not wish to be categorised publicly themselves on a significant blog such as this. Should these four have been informed of this categorisation and all agree to it – then, of course, I will graciously retract my critique. But, knowing all four, I would find this highly surprising.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous,
I can think of three people who know all those bishops, I wonder which one you are? :)

Your point about categorization is noted. Labels are not always helpful, but they can save words!

I may not have found the right broad descriptive phrase for the recently elected bishops, and I certainly agree with you that they are complex and wonderful individuals who are not at all easily categorisable, especially if I were to try to apply narrower adjectives such as evangelical, progressive, liberal, anglo-catholic, high/low church!

If I make the point in a different way, I would stand by it: elections of bishops give some measure of the direction our church is heading in; the four most recent elections imply that this church has carefully steered away from heading in a liberal or progressive direction (and, to be clear, that is not the same as steering in a conservative direction)!

Peter Carrell said...

PS Anonymous

I am surprised that you call this blog 'significant'.

About 40-60 people read it each day; and less than 20 of those reside in NZ. So, unless a high proportion of those are among the key dozen movers and shakers in our church, I myself fail to see how it is 'significant'!

Anonymous said...

"Maybe, Outis, I should use אף אחד לא?"

Not sure of the grammar here - I'd have put lo' *before* 'ap 'ehad on the analogy of Hosea's Lo-Ammi or Lo-Ruhamah. But better to avoid non-Roman script (k'tab yad lo'-romi!) - too complicated except for leisured bellelettristes and chrestomathetes.
I suspect the word 'evangelical' has recently been stretched beyond usefulness, but it did have a fairly determinate meaning until about 10 years ago. By way of illustration, I don't suppose anyone would call Brian McLaren an evangelical today, although he was brought up in such world, and he might be thought of as an evangelical by those outside that world. Forv all the 'emerging talk' rhetoric, he's really an old fashioned liberal, just like many who emerged from evangelicalism in the 1920s, still retaining much of the language, rhetoric and emotional feel of evangelicalism disagreeing on the dogmatic content. In times, the language and emotions will change as well.

Don Nadie aka Outis

Anonymous said...

Peter Carrell writes, "the four most recent elections imply that this church has carefully steered away from heading in a liberal or progressive direction"

Relevant within this thread: Rev. Howard Pilgrim was appointed as the official diocesan theologian by one of those four bishops. Howard explicitly and determinedly declares himself a "liberal" - from this others may not so quickly and so confidently make your implication, Peter.

As to this blog being significant: Some might question that only a dozen are key movers and shakers. Your own position is highly influential - do you include yourself in the 12? One would hope that of the 600 kiwi visits a month, yes, some of your moving and shaking 12 check this site out. Finally, your blog is significant in that you are thinking your own things through in open dialogue with others and this surely must influence such things as the paper you present to General Synod, etc.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous,
As observed by another anonymous, Howard also identifies himself as "evangelical" :) Mores seriously, a good Anglican bishop will appoint the best local theologian to such a role, and, in my view, Howard is the best theologian local to his diocese.
Not all four bishops are in the same place on certain matters, true.

Yes, my blog is significant to my own thinking :)