Monday, April 11, 2011

How the Covenant will help the Australian Anglican church

In past posts I have drawn attention to the merits of the Anglican Covenant in checking the unrestrained progress of diversity within the Anglican Communion, diversity which runs the risk of evacuating the word 'Anglican' of any useful meaning, and rendering the word 'Communion' meaningless as we have less and less in common. A specific case in point noted by me is the recent move of the Diocese of Sydney to institute diaconal presidency at the eucharist and to underline (again) its insistence that mere pragmatic considerations restrain archepiscopal hands from signing lay presidency into life. The Covenant I have suggested would highlight the lack of Anglican character and polity in this move. Opponents of the Covenant counter-claim that instituting the Covenant will not fix such problems.

This counter-claim involves one of two views about Anglican coherence: either it does not matter ('let diversity reign ... "unity" is just uniformity and we do not want that') or it can be achieved by current Anglican policy, that is, by continuing to talk with one another. That the latter seems to involve a form of increased coherence by virtue of people dropping out of the conversation appears to be a kind of 'collateral damage'!

By contrast, the Covenant's prospect invites Anglicans everywhere to consider whether or not we might be more active and intentional about being a coherent, distinctive body of Christians in the world than wistfully hoping that it might somehow happen. The Covenant challenges us to consider what a consistent Anglican polity looks like across the layers of Anglican life, parish, diocese, member church, Communion. It also invites us to make a similar sacrifice at each level of engagement with one another, that is, sacrificing autonomy so parishes are guided and governed by diocesan synods, diocesan synods are accountable to General Synod/Convention and so on. In doing this the Covenant is in harmony with God's revelation in Scripture that we are to be one (John 17), of one mind (Philippians 2), and united in Christ as Christ unite all things (Ephesians 1-2).

One of the things you will not see explained in No Covenant writings is why parishes and dioceses are not autonomous but member churches are. It has been a convenient tradition that member churches are autonomous relative to other autonomous member churches of the Communion. But when every aspect of Communion life is under examination in a time of crisis we need a theological justification for continuing autonomy. If we continue to think that autonomy is not a virtue when it comes to parishes, dioceses and member churches, that is, we Anglicans think there is virtue only in limited autonomy for parishes relative to dioceses, and for dioceses relative to General Synods/Conventions, why would we stop there? A Christian theology of unity should be consistent across all layers and levels of the body of Christ, not arbitrarily stop when we feel it suits us.

You will also not see explained in No Covenant writings how expanding Anglican diversity might be constrained. The Covenant involves a formal mechanism for one part of the Communion to call another part of the Communion to account for its claim that some new development is consistent with being Anglican. Without that formal mechanism we are doomed to talk ad infinitum while expanding Anglican diversity continues unchecked. In the end 'Anglican Communion' will mean 'this group of people like to meet together'. Is that what we want the Anglican Communion to be? If we do, well, that is the way things will be. But do we want that? Do we want to continue watering down our wonderful heritage, diluting its substance to the point where we are all style?

What might this mean for the Australian Anglican church? It could mean quite a lot, actually. Something unusual about the Australian Anglican church is that it involves a constitution which gives more power to individual dioceses to block church-wide decisions and less power to its General Synod to call individual dioceses to account than is the case in other Anglican churches. In part this reflects an Australian socio-economic polity in which the independence of its states, and their rivalry (especially Victoria v New South Wales) has shaped the formation of Australia's federal constitution. In another part it reflects the strength of the Diocese of Sydney combined with its independent Anglican spirit: effectively the Australian church operates a compromise in which Sydney is kept on board at the cost of permitting Sydney to live a different kind of Anglican life.

That is, coming back to the Covenant, the Covenant's primary challenge to the Australian Anglican church is not directly to the Diocese of Sydney but to the Anglican Church of Australia itself. Does it intend to review its arrangements with a view to lessening the autonomy of dioceses and to increasing the coherence of its life together? Can it put such a review into action, implementing changes which would enhance coherence in its ministry and mission as an Anglican church? Changes, that is, in the specific matter of eucharistic presidency, which would see Sydney accept that it has been moving away from (so to speak) an Anglican ordering of ministry orders and consequentially draw itself back into the Anglican fold?

Observers here might quickly put such an outworking of the Covenant in the life of a member church in the "too hard" basket. It would be very hard. There is no question of that. But the alternative needs to be considered. While Australian Anglican constitutional arrangements permit the unconstrained reinterpretation of Anglican life by one of its dioceses there is no particular pressure on any other member church to restrain diversity. Without constraint on diversity the Anglican Communion will wither on the vine ... for want of people willing to take on the hard challenges. And individual member churches will continue to fracture along party or cultural or other lines, my own church as much in danger of that as any other.

The point about a theology of unity is not that eventually a group of Christians will wake up to it, do something about it and all will be well. Rather it is a call to act now, before the group ceases to be a group.


Suem said...

"We might be more active and intentional about being a coherent, distinctive body of Christians in the world."

If being "active and intentional" means insisting that those who accept(or are in) same sex unions are not a part of that "coherent, distinctive body",then no, I do not think we should act that way!

If I can remain alongside those who condemn gay people (even to the extent of excluding and condemning them) why can they not remain alongside me simply because I wish to support and include?

Do they think that that difference/ diversity counts for more than my relationship to them as a fellow Christian and Anglican? Many, many Anglicans, from the ABC down share a range of views on this subject - are we not Anglicans - or not Christians?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Suem,
If Anglican global polity turns on attitudes to homosexuality (i.e. both to people self-identifying as homosexuals, and to understanding homosexuality within our theology(s) of sexuality, would that not be a strange way to determine what that polity should be?

I am trying hard to work on the shape of global Anglicanism without obsession over one issue. But I am intrigued that commenters such as yourself seem to always bring that shape back to that one main issue!

In general terms your point is a relevant issue, i.e. how do we live with disagreement and difference in a global body? One of the problems with the situation we are in right now is we do not even seem able to address that general question.

liturgy said...

There have been occasions, Peter, when the raising of such things as our three Tikanga structure and the Covenant has been met by you with it is not a cause of division and absenteeism in the councils of the Anglican Communion. Nor is diaconal presidency which is not only practiced in Sydney. They themselves strongly differentiate this from Communion-dividing issues. And if the stronger ties of a province cannot halt them, the weaker ties of a Communion, however strengthened by this Covenant, will not do so either. It is not that there should be no constitution whatsoever for the Communion – hence the asking after what other Communions have. It is that this particular draft just will not achieve its intention. Nigeria has recently expressed well both its history and the reason why they will not sign up:

Your apparent stepping from parish to diocese to province to Communion as if each is ontologically a similar step is flawed IMO.

The primary Anglican unit is the diocese. I understand this immediately leads to a problem for many conservative evangelicals when a diocese is led by a woman – much more convenient to have one’s parish community as the primary unit where a man is shepherding. You are to be respected in holding a male-female equality in leadership in a context where many take your position about male-female difference in sexual relations across to leadership differentiation also – both with strong biblical force in their view. There are a variety of ways in which a diocese may organise its inner life – parishes are a common, but not the only, way. Provinces go back to at least the Nicene Council – and are mentioned there. But their particular configurations are not of the essence of Nicene faith, I posit. When it comes to communion between provinces, certainly the fracturing brought about by women in the episcopacy stands high. Only neo-Donatists question the validity of the sacramental acts of sinners (contrary to your much-loved articles); when it comes to the validity of the sacramental acts of women – that is quite a different discussion. Be aware, once you depart the one-issue discussion, where the logic may lead.

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm not sure, Peter, that your suggestion that the Covenant will 'help' the Australian Anglican Church is necessarily true.

With such divisiveness as exists already - because of the continued intransigence of the Sydney Archdiocese and it's Archbishop - on issues like lay-presidency at the Eucharist - there will, in all probability, be no common mind on the relevance of The Covenant in Ecclesia Australiana.

After all, Sydney is aligned with GAFCON (its Secretary being Sydney's Archbishop), which has already signalled its distaste for what it sees as the ineffective discipline against Gays in the Covenant Document. In the light of this, and the fact that Sydney is no doubt aware of the opposition most of the Communion has to its idea of Lay Presidency, there does not seem to be much going for a bet on Sydney's yen for a 'united' Communion. (Although, whether this will affect the decision of the rest of the Australian Church is a moot point).

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
To be frank, there's 501 things that need fixing in the Anglican Church of Australia before diaconal presidency gets a look in. Focusing on that issue is like looking at a car with just the shell left, and saying "It could do with new wiper blades".

If the Covenant is going to fix anything, it has to fix the first order issues first. How about these for starters, which thank God are not present in every parish and every diocese, but are signifiant issues in many places:
- A lack of confidence in and focus on the essentials of the Christian faith: Jesus' teaching and miracles, substitutionary death and bodily resurrection.
- A growing belief that there are multiple ways to be saved other than faith in Christ.
- The role of the Bible as God's written and authoratative word being continually undermined, so that teaching from it loses value.
- Permission and even blessing of continued ungodly behaviour (not just homosexual practice, I hasten to add).
- Incorporation of non-Christian elements into church worship, e.g. Buddhist chants, readings from other Scriptures.

Is that enough diversity to deal with before we get to issues of church order, on which the Bible is silent? Maybe the Covenant will help the Australian Anglican church to be more coherent, but it has to focus in the right places, and be applied consistently. If it's just used as a bat to hit Sydney (or other dioceses) over the head, it will be of no use in Australia or anywhere else.

Best wishes,
Andrew Reid

PS By the way, there are particular areas that the constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia require a General Synod canon to resolve, which invovle "ritual ceremonial or discipline" issues. The Appellate Tribunal has ruled in a number of cases that a General Synod canon is required to proceed with a particular initiative and that local dioceses may not proceed on their own, most famously with women ordained to the priesthood. There is debate about whether Appellate Tribunal decisions are "binding", "advisory" or somewhere in between. But it is not a free for all in Australia for local dioceses to do as they please.

Suem said...

We've lived with difference and diversity before though. It was the appointment of Gene Robinson which, so we were told, "tore the communion at its deepest level."

I just think it is disingenuous to claim that the covenant is not really about that and then, when it is in place, use it as leverage to prevent such appointments or limit the potential for affirmation of LGBT people.

Of course, I may be wrong and you may have completely different things in mind and I have misunderstood. You may notice that I did use the word "if" to give the benefit of the doubt! If I have misunderstood, it will be simple to reassure me! Could you explain exactly what proponents of the Covenant are intending to use it to be "active and intentional" about? Could you assure me that it will not lead to exclusion of TEC or a worse deal for LGBT people in the Church? What actions do you envisage with respect to these issues which, (rightly or wrongly) some of us fear are at the heart of the covenant? Or do we have to sign up before we find out?

And to sign something when you don't know what you are signing to is hardly fair is it?

All I am asking for is clarity and reassurance - or simply for honesty. Is that too much to ask?

Kurt said...

Fr. Bosco and Fr. Ron are both absolutely right. Now, frankly, this is not a “Communion breaking” issue with me, though I do not support it in the least. Fr. Peter must know that “lay presidency” currently goes on all the time “informally” with in the Sydney diocese. That’s what my contacts in Sydney tell me; a couple of them have personally witnessed this practice. “Sydney Anglicans” is a misnomer; they should call themselves “Sydney Calvinists.”

Kurt Hill
In sunny & mild (71F/21.6C)
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,
Whether or not a diocese is a primary unit of the Anglican church, Anglicanism works on the basis that neither individual Anglican nor parish nor diocese is completely autonomous, with the presenting question of today being whether a province is/should be autonomous. My point is that if we do not believe in the complete autonomy of any unit of the church below a province, why would we fear losing the autonomy of provinces?

Your note about 'logic' in this kind of thing works the other way: if the ancient ways of the church matter, such as Nicea on dioceses, why do all the ancient ways not matter to you such as ordination to priesthood and episcopacy only for males and constraint of marriage to heterosexual couples?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrew,

It would be my fervant hope that the Anglican Communion in which each word, 'Anglican', 'Communion', and the phrase 'Anglican Communion' has meaningful content is a coherent body in respect of doctrine as well as orders.

Sydney attends well to maintaining a commitment to a coherent system of Anglican belief in respect of doctrine but observing that and commending it only highlights the question why it is unwilling to maintain that commitment to the coherency of Anglican orders. The importance of that question is underlined when one considers whether Sydney's ability to persuade the rest of the Australian church to attend to doctrinal matters is likely undermined by introducing the novelty of diaconal presidency ... a matter, incidentally, without support from the English Reformers, the 39A, or any older Protestant Anglican authority.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt,
While Calvinism is undoubtedly an influence on Sydney Anglicanism I ask (as a non-expert on Calvin) whether any aspect of Calvin's writings (i.e. the genuine article, not the interpretations of his followers) supports diaconal let alone lay presidency at the eucharist?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Suem,
The main point of the Covenant as I understand it is to enable coherency in doctrine and practice in and across the Anglican Communion and to provide a way for one part of the Communion to challenge another part when a new development appears to diminish that coherency. Concomitantly the Covenant provides for a challenged part of the Communion to provide explanation and justification for the development it proposes.

Where (say) a development in doctrine or practice involves LGBT persons, the case for that development would, I presume, honour LGBT persons by being a case which stands scrutiny across the Communion, and receives support from the Communion as a whole.

Of course it is possible that a development on closer scrutiny was found to be based on a flawed theology which lacked ability to persuade the Communion of its merits. As I understand the Covenant's 'power' at that point it would not be to prevent the member church(es) concerned continuing to believe and act as they saw fit but it could be to constrain the role of the member church(es) within the life of the Communion. That constraint would be a recognition that the member church(es) would be moving away from the coherency of Communion doctrine and practice.

I guess, to bring the matter back to the specific matter of LGBT persons, a question to consider is whether LGBT Anglicans wish to be part of a coherent Communion or not. The sense I have is that those on the internet vocalising concerns about the future of LGBT Anglicans in the Anglican Communion is that they would prefer the Communion to lack coherency in respect of doctrine and practice.

That choice is the choice before us, and is tied in with the choice to have a Covenant or not.

In the long run are LGBT Anglicans best honoured and respected by offering them an incoherent Communion?

(That is a genuine question).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
Like you I would not underestimate the intransigence of the Sydney Diocese and its effect on the unity of Ecclesia Australiana.

liturgy said...

“if the ancient ways of the church matter, such as Nicea on dioceses, why do all the ancient ways not matter to you such as ordination to priesthood and episcopacy only for males and constraint of marriage to heterosexual couples?”

Marriage in our country is limited to heterosexual couples. I am not aware of any major groundswell to alter that, and all the scores of couples I have married were heterosexual.

I am fully supportive of women as baptised lay people, deacons, priests, and bishops. I believe this is consistent with the teachings and practice of Jesus and with much of the counter-cultural practice of the early church. You will not expect less than the realisation that my reasoning would need more than a short blog comment. I think that the relationship between men and women has been oppressive by both society and church – and for much of our history those two have been intertwined, and often still are. It is not surprising to me that in the post-Christendom church such oppressions are being re-examined. I realise my position is a minority position historically and currently amongst Christians. It is a significant minority. I may be wrong, and if so I ask God’s forgiveness – but I cannot do other than live by my current beliefs.

As to your question, “In the long run are LGBT Anglicans best honoured and respected by offering them an incoherent Communion?” This points again to ecclesiology: do you believe that the fullness of the catholic church is present in the diocese? Repeatedly, it seems to me that you hold to an ecclesiology in which the fullness is present in the Anglican Communion as a world-wide church. Although my list for here would have some differences, I am with Andrew Reid – the Covenant is trying to put a wiper-blade on the shell of a car. It is not going to fix all the car’s problems. We need to do that at a local level – at the level where the catholic church is present in its fullness.

If you are so genuinely concerned about Sydney’s presidency being an aberration, move a motion about this at our diocesan synod. I will vote in support of you.



Suem said...

LGBT Anglicans are best honoured and respected in the ways we respect and honour everyone - by acknowledgement that they are loved and made in God's image, by seeing them as a part of the Church and as having a right to have a say in it, alongside heterosexual brothers and sisters in Christ.Whether we are gay or straight, male or female, black or white, we should understand that we all have things to learn from each other, nobody is dispensable or a second tier person in some way - even when their views differ from mine. To me that is not only "coherent" (rather than skewed to one group or perspective) it also is an expression of Christian love.

Father Ron Smith said...

"In the long run are LGBT Anglicans best honoured and respected by offering them an incoherent Communion?"
- Peter Carrell -

Again, Peter, a rhetorical question. They are already in an incoherent Communion. There are Provinces in the Communion (e.g. Nigeria and Uganda) which do not even recognise them (LGBTs) as legitimate members of the Body of Christ - let alone as Anglicans.

A coherent theology of sexuality and gender has already been offered to such Provinces of the Communion, but they have rejected it entirely. That is not the fault of the LGBT community, but of the Provinces that reject them.

At least one African theologian (Archbishop Desmond Tutu) has enunciated an adequate theology of
inclusivity in the Body of Christ, but this is not recognised by the likes of his fellow CAPA Bishops who are still in the dark ages on this issue.

The Saint Michael's Commission in Canada has said that the blessing of Same-Sex Unions in not a 'First-Order Faith Issue' This was a Commission which was Chaired by your own Diocesan Bishop, when she was a Bishop in the Canadian Church. Do you not believe that this was a seminal understanding of human sexuality as relevant to relationships between people of the same gender?

On the other hand, Lay-Presidency is a direct contravention of Catholic Order; a little more serious than the gender of the celebrant at Mass, or of the two people in a committed, monogomous relationship.

Anonymous said...

"I am fully supportive of women as baptised lay people, deacons, priests, and bishops."
- women being baptized has never been disputed in the church. Women as 'diakonoi' (whatever that general word specifies) are of course attested in the NT - no ontroversy again. Women as presbuteroi and episkopoi - completely unknown until 19th century Protestantism.
"I believe this is consistent with the teachings and practice of Jesus"
- so where is it in the NT?
A very individulaistic vesion of "private judgment of Scripture", I think!.
"I think that the relationship between men and women has been oppressive by both society and church – and for much of our history those two have been intertwined, and often still are."
- How have you integrated the NT understanding of the covenant of marriage in its relationship to the Church's ministry?
"I realise my position is a minority position historically and currently amongst Christians. It is a significant minority. I may be wrong, and if so I ask God’s forgiveness – but I cannot do other than live by my current beliefs."
- It is good that you recognize that you reject the Catholic consensus of history and accept you may be wrong. We don't have to practice all our provisional beliefs. You presumably wish that Sydney would forebear from deacons leading communion, albeit they believe that sincerely.

Peter "Palaiologos"

Peter Carrell said...

To be honest, Bosco, I am not convinced that the fullness of the catholic church is found in a diocese (but am open to that concept which clearly has both ancient and modern theological underpinnings). Why am I not convinced? Because I do not know of any church which trusts that the fullness is present in a diocese alone: Anglicans like to confirm nominated bishops through ultra-diocesan means; Romans have the Pope choose bishops; I am ignorant of what the Old Catholics do but imagine they would not constitute an exception to the Anglican-Catholic rule; etc.

As for Sydney diaconalism and a motion in our Synod: that would be politically fraught ... it could become a motion around which those keen in our diocese sought to promote 'interesting' agendas re presidency at the eucharist ... so, no, I don't think I will proceed in a direction with potential unintended consequences :) There may be common cause between us on other motions ...

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,

When you say, "A coherent theology of sexuality and gender has already been offered to such Provinces of the Communion, but they have rejected it entirely. That is not the fault of the LGBT community, but of the Provinces that reject them." I am at a loss to know where, when and how this 'coherent theology of sexuality and gender' has been offered.

I do not agree with the St Michael's Report on its relegating human sexuality to 'second order' doctrinal issues. (I mean that disagreement in a principled and respectful way, not as a dismissive put down of the report. I have not discussed this report with our bishop but I am aware of her role in the commission which put it together. The interesting thing about the St Michael's Report is that, as far as I know, its theological approach has not yet impacted on the Canadian church which commissioned it in the fullest possible way, i.e. with General Synod itself approving liturgies for the blessing of same sex relationships).

Anonymous said...

If "the fullness of the catholic church is found in a diocese", presumably that would mean that an individual diocese could unilaterally change the Creeds, literugy or orders. But that is plainly nonsense. The 39 Articles talk at most about national churches (Arts. 19 and 20), not dioceses, and the Church itself cannot ordain anything contrary to God's Word written. That is why 'same sex blessings' AKA "same sex marriage" is impossible to the Church Catholic and Evangelical - though very attractive to heterodox bodies, just as Gnostic bodies in the 2nd century claimed the title of church as well. Nihil novi sub sole.

Peter "Palaiologos"

liturgy said...

One of the “advantages” of being anonymous, Peter Palaiologos, is that one can poke the borax at people who are open, straight forward, and up front about beliefs, and attempting to discuss them civilly, without having to ever declare one’s own beliefs, position, context, opinions, or commitments.

You may not realise, but on the acceptance of women in all orders of ministry the webmaster of this site, Peter Carrell, and I are in total agreement. We both happily serve with our bishop being a woman. As to his and my holding to “A very individulaistic vesion of "private judgment of Scripture"!.” you may be better to address questions about this to Peter who is a far better Biblical scholar than I.

Peter and I, as you correctly assume, are also in agreement about presiding at the Eucharist being a leadership ministry of bishops and presbyters.

As to your belief that the church catholic “could unilaterally change the Creeds, literugy or orders” – again I differ from you. I do not, for example, think that the church catholic could add persons to the Godhead, or declare Christ to be not fully human or not fully divine, etc.

As to the 39 Articles applying to “national churches” – again, you are better to ask those questions of Peter who is more of an expert on these than I. In our province’s case, as in the case of many other provinces, our province covers several nations. We do not have a “national church”.



liturgy said...

“I am not convinced that the fullness of the catholic church is found in a diocese (but am open to that concept which clearly has both ancient and modern theological underpinnings). Why am I not convinced? Because I do not know of any church which trusts that the fullness is present in a diocese alone: Anglicans like to confirm nominated bishops through ultra-diocesan means”

With respect, Peter, I think you are confusing sensible human regulations with ecclesiological esse. The sensible human regulations can change (bene esse). It is a venerable ancient practice which calls for several bishops to participate in the ordination of a new bishop. But this is not essential. If a bishop ordains his successor by himself, it may not be the best idea, but it is perfectly valid. Our own province’s processes for a diocese selecting a future bishop have changed more than once – there is nothing unalterable about the process we have now. Probably the best way into this ecclesiology is the work of Zizioulas, who makes it clear that structures beyond the diocese do not belong to the ontology of the catholic church.



Anonymous said...

Bosco, you must do more than hide behind Peter C! As you state yourself, you have your own convictions about the meaning and authority of Scripture and of what Jesus said and taught, but you do not defend them.
But aside from that, you have not stood up to the plate to defend your own 'ipse dixi' assertions about the nature of the ministry and the church. On the one hand you talk like an old-style patristics man (beloved of the Anglo-Catholics of yesteryear, and of J H Newman before he jumped ship), asserting the practice of the "ancient church", the next moment you argue like a liberal Protestant, or worse, an ecclesiastical lawyer citing canons, synods and who knows what of the most ancient and venerable Church of ACANZP.
And you have misunderstood what I said about "the church catholic" and its relationship to individual dioceses - or provinces. Of course some branches of Protestantism have changed their orders. Did they have Biblical authority to do so?

But most of all, you have completely avoided the central question: if you condemn Sydney for unilaterally wanting to change its rules on the eucharist, why do you do not do the same for Anglican provinces which have doen the same to their ministry? You cannot be both a patristics man and a liberal Protestant!

Peter 'Palaiologos'

liturgy said...

Notwithstanding that you have not yet explained an alternative reading to mine of your belief “that the church catholic “could unilaterally change the Creeds, literugy or orders””, that the blogmaster Peter Carrell has also “completely avoided the central question”, or that much of what you write is ad hominem, and even though you yourself laud our province as “the most ancient and venerable Church” –

Peter Palaiologos

my heart was strangely warmed as I read and reflected on your deep wisdom. I am convicted. No one else but you is right here. You clearly are the only one to hold the fullness of truth. With a new airline running from here, flights to anywhere in the world are ridiculously cheap. Do let us know what it is you actually believe, and where it is specifically that you worship, or, better still hopefully - preach. I, and hopefully many, many other benighted souls here will leave what your regard as “the most ancient and venerable Church” for what clearly must be a much, much better way. See you soon!

The no longer old-style patristics man liberal Protestant ecclesiastical lawyer but awaiting my instructions on what I am now to be from my new-found pastor/priest/elder/shepherd/teacher/guru/episcopos/

Peter Carrell said...

[This comment, slightly edited by me, comes from Peter "Palaiologus". The editing consists of removing the name of one in a list of three bishops teaching against the creed. I am removing the name because I am not prepared to give time to arguing for/against whether this name should be on such a list.]

My question about the legitimacy of a church that claims to stand in continuity with Western (and Eastern) Catholicism changing its orders was a serious one that invited a serious answer, not evasive sarcasm. I would still like to know how you square that circle.
As for the Catholic Creeds,they are the product of long human debate. I believe them not because they stand beside the Bible but because I think they accurately reflect the teaching of the Bible on the Trinity. In principle they could be revised, but in practice I can't see where. What bothers me more is that people like [...], Holloway and Spong have assented to these Creeds in order to hold the office of bishop in Anglican churches, and then have taught against them.

Peter "Palaiologos"

Brother David said...

Yes Peter, like we do not all guess that the name that you edited out was very likely the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori.

I am not familiar with Bishop Halloway, but I have the Very Revd John Shelby Spongs complete library of published books, and better yet I have sat at the man's feet for a semester at Vancouver School of Theology. He is a very devout Christian person. He is not a heretic, but I think that he wears the branding proudly when bestowed by the ignorant.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
I will be "no comment" on any other speculations (as if I keep commenting people will make deductions) but because I have been criticised in the past re some things written here re the theology of ++Jefferts Schori let me clarify in this one instance: her name was not edited out by me.

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
Trying to drag this thread back to the Australian Anglican church, Mark Thompson from Moore College has written quite a helpful article about the accusations of "Congregationalism" labelled at Sydney, and mentions Sydney's relationship with the wider Australian church.

I have asked him if he will do a follow up piece looking at the international picutre, and how Sydney sees itself in relation to that.

Best wishes,
Andrew Reid

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Andrew!
Mark's post, with judicious Google follow up, has given me an idea for a post!