Friday, December 2, 2011

NZ Anglican church embarrassing itself?

In just under a year's time my church hosts the Anglican Consultative Council in Auckland. This meeting will have high on its agenda progress in support of the Covenant. By then our church is likely to have followed the logical consequence of Maori rejection of the Covenant and rejected it at General Synod in Fiji 2012. Are we embarrassing ourselves by continuing to be the host of this meeting?

The embarrassment would not be simply that we will have rejected the Covenant by then but that we will have nothing to offer in place of the Covenant as a constructive alternative pathway for the good health of the Communion. Our argument against the Covenant is largely focused on mythical views of the Covenant - that it will affect our sovereignty (this is a specific concern of Maori, relating to tino rangatiratanga, but it is a concern of Pakeha), that it will be punitive.

But, you say, our views are not based on myths. This is the reality of the prospective Covenant, is it not? Try this from the Man himself, the ABC, ++Rowan Williams (paragraphing and emphases mine):*

"This of course relates also to the continuing discussion of the Anglican Covenant. 

How it is discussed, the timescale of discussion and the means by which decisions are reached will vary a lot from Province to Province.  We hope to see a full report of progress at next year’s Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting. 

In spite of many assurances, some Anglicans evidently still think that the Covenant changes the structure of our Communion or that it gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body.  With all respect to those who have raised these concerns, I must repeat that I do not see the Covenant in this light at all.  It sets out an understanding of our common life and common faith and in the light of that proposes making a mutual promise to consult and attend to each other, freely undertaken.  It recognizes that not doing this damages our relations profoundly.  It outlines a procedure, such as we urgently need, for attempting reconciliation and for indicating the sorts of consequences that might result from a failure to be fully reconciled. 

It alters no Province’s constitution, as it has no canonical force independent of the life of the Provinces.  It does not create some unaccountable and remote new authority but seeks to identify a representative group that might exercise a crucial advisory function. 

I continue to ask what alternatives there are if we want to agree on ways of limiting damage, managing conflict and facing with honesty the actual effects of greater disunity.  In the absence of such alternatives, I must continue to commend the Covenant as strongly as I can to all who are considering its future."
As if our minds are dulled, and our hearts are hardened, ++Rowan goes on in the next numbered paragraph of his Advent letter to write:

"These questions are made all the more sharp by the fact that the repeated requests for moratoria on problematic actions issued by various representative Anglican bodies are increasingly ignored. Strong conscientious convictions are involved here. No-one, I believe, acts out of a desire to deepen disunity; some believe that certain matters are more important than what they think of as a superficial unity. But the effects are often to deepen mutual mistrust, and this must surely be bad for our mission together as Anglicans, and alongside other Christians as well. The question remains: if the moratoria are ignored and the Covenant suspected, what are the means by which we maintain some theological coherence as a Communion and some personal respect and understanding as a fellowship of people seeking to serve Christ? And we should bear in mind that our coherence as a Communion is also a significant concern in relation to other Christian bodies – especially at a moment when the renewed dialogues with Roman Catholics and Orthodox have begun with great enthusiasm and a very constructive spirit."
You are the man, ++Rowan. Don't back down. Tell it like it is. But will we listen?

Will we do the theological hard yards in ACANZP to work out what our understanding of the church is in relation to Christ Jesus himself?

Or will we settle for a 'mess of pottage', for an amalgam of myths about the Covenant, interesting thoughts about what the Spirit is saying to the 'No Covenant' movement but to no one else, and contradictory logic in which Anglican churches may have their constitution and canons but the Communion may only have a schedule of meetings to which less and less people come?

*Declaration of interest: I am hoping the ABC will give a theological lecture in Christchurch while he is in Aotearoa, arranged by Theology House. I am thinking the title of the lecture could be, "Why I think my hosts are wrong about the Covenant but could yet change their minds!" Mind you that might only fill a small hall. I think ++Rowan could fill quite a large arena here in Christchurch with a topic such as "Why I think Richard Dawkins is wrong but could yet change his mind for these reasons!" or "The gospel of love in a world of conflict and competition."

31 comments:

carl jacobs said...

[W]e will have nothing to offer in place of the Covenant as a constructive alternative pathway for the good health of the Communion.

So long as you presume that the 'good health of the Communion' means the continued inclusion of TEC and its theology, then there is no alternative pathway. You can't get around this basic fact. TEC represents an alternate religion. Two different religions cannot co-exist in the same organization. One will always seek to displace the other. That is why this conflict is so intractible.

Our argument against the Covenant is largely focused on mythical views of the Covenant - that it will affect our sovereignty ..., that it will be punitive.

If these assertions are in fact mythical, then how can the Covenant address the problems of the Communion? It reduces to little more than a non-enforceable promise to 'take regard of each other.' Or else what? A severe finger-wagging? A sternly worded letter? An authoritative eyebrow raised in rebuke? The whole idea of "consequences that might result from a failure to be fully reconciled" is eye-wash. It's intended to avoid resolution by burying the conflict in unending process - which is not surprising since that is what the AoC has been doing for the last eight years.

carl

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, you are opening yourself up to the belief that - without the proposed Covenant - the Anglican Communion is doomed. This is not the way in which we should approach the Season of Advent - which is a time of looking forward to the hope that is in the Incarnate Christ - in and of the world for which He gave his life.

The Covenant initiative was a reactionary attempt to prevent the opening up of the Gospel to those LGBT people who have been vilified by many generations of Christians - for the mere fact that they are different from the mainstream heterosexual majority.

The hard-liners against the LGBT community in the Church - and those who advocate this stance - have made it quite obvious that they will never accept that LGBTs are part and parcel of the world community; and also part and parcel of the Church. They have proved this by deliberately 'standing apart' from the Instruments of Unity in the Communion, by openly boycotting meetings of the Lambeth Conference and other meetings headed by Canterbury: our mutual 'founding Reformed and Catholic Mother Church'.

GAFCON has already stated that it will not be a part of the Covenant. So of what use would it be to pretend that the present Covenant protocols would return the GAFCON Provinces to The Fold of the Anglican Communion?

The Advent hope for many Anglicans is that the rest of us - who still have some koinonia affiliation with Canterbury, can find our true unity together in the Christ of the Gospel, and continue to do our best to stay in unity with those who disagree with us in the present diversity on matters of gender and sexuality, which have always been there, but hidden in a culture of hypocrisy and fear.

The Gospel tells us that "The Truth will set you free". The truth about gender and sexuality is now out in the open, and those willing to accept that the LGBT community is part of the life and witness of the Church will find ways of being at peace with one another - without a manufactured Covenant; when the true Covenant that has already bound us together is our Common Baptism into Christ: Who is The Way, The Truth and The Life.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.

Even so, Maranatha, come Lord Jesus

Father Ron Smith said...

Your support for Archbishop Rowan to "Tell it like it is", Peter, ignores the fact that when he did Tell us as it is' - in 'The Body's Grace', you and others like you in the Communion did not listen to him. What would encourage Rowan to think you might listen to him now? Is it that your listening might be selective?

Bryden Black said...

Re; "Will we do the theological hard yards in ACANZP to work out what our understanding of the church is in relation to Christ Jesus himself?"

As a starter for 10 - please see:
http://www.stchristophers.org.nz/who-are-we/ There is now quite a booklet in PDF for those interested. Email either me or St C's for orders of copies.

hogster said...

I ponder the thought that if the Anglican church continues in the direction it seems to be heading the word fellowship might prove a one word oxymoron.

Paul Powers said...

I'm not sure I agree with your concern that the ACANZP will vote the Covenant down and then fail to provide an alternative.

Does the host Province of an ACC or Primates meeting have any obligation other than providing hospitality to the attendees? Is the host Province expected to play some sort of leadership role at the meeting?

Besides, it's likely that a number of other Provinces will have voted it down by then. So it's not as if not as if the ACANZP would be sticking out like as sore thumb.

Mark Baddeley said...

I disagree Peter.

In spite of many assurances, some Anglicans evidently still think that the Covenant changes the structure of our Communion or that it gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body. With all respect to those who have raised these concerns, I must repeat that I do not see the Covenant in this light at all.

And with all due respect to the Archbishop of Canterbury the critics don't accept his assurances, and possibly it is the multitude of assurances, after his continual actions to this point, that makes them seem hollow. There comes a point when people read the words in light of the acts. Everybody makes assurances when they want some change. But they very rarely say, "Oh so it did do what the critics thought after all, let's undo it", when their assurances don't come to pass. That's why people don't just trust assurances from people promoting changes, even when they offer them many times.

It does not create some unaccountable and remote new authority but seeks to identify a representative group that might exercise a crucial advisory function.

Representative and accountable to whom? Not the Primates meeting or the primates, not Lambeth conference and the bishops in synod. What's left - a consultative council? Oh, I know, the Archbishop of Canterbury - it's representative of and accountable to the only semi-functioning instrument left.

I continue to ask what alternatives there are if we want to agree on ways of limiting damage, managing conflict and facing with honesty the actual effects of greater disunity.

There are, of course, lots of alternatives, many of which were publicly stated by previous Primates meetings - that ++Williams then studiously did not implement because he didn't like them. ++Williams sees this as about managing conflict, nothing more. And that's the wrong diagnosis. The conflict is the symptom, not the problem.

Mark Baddeley said...

Father Ron Smith,

This:

The Covenant initiative was a reactionary attempt to prevent the opening up of the Gospel to those LGBT people who have been vilified by many generations of Christians - for the mere fact that they are different from the mainstream heterosexual majority.

is tendentious. There are lots of minorities that Christians have not 'villified' - us southpaws for example are in a minority from the benighted right-handed majority, and we've never been 'villified' by the mainstream Christian theological tradition.

Two thousand years of Christian ethical teaching has said that same-gender sex is sin. It has also said that opposite-gender sex outside of marriage is sin. Both activities have been "vilified" - one by the minority group, the other by the majority group. The Church has been fairly unbiased in expounding that aspect of the teaching of Scripture on the matter.

"Oh, we're a group villified just because we're a minority."

Yeah, right, and this from the guy supportive of the Occupy movement that is opposed to "the 1%" on behalf of "the 99%". You can't get much more minority versus majority than that, and you seem fine with it.

Father Ron Smith said...

Mark Baddeley: "Oh, we're a group villified (sic) just because we're a minority" - Where did you get that from Mr.Baddeley? Not from me!

Further, if all sexual acts outside of marriage (and for the purpose of creation only) are sinful. Then, assuredly, we all are sinners! The fact that we are all Sinners anyway is irrefutable. So what are you saying Mark, that we don't know already? "Jesus came into the world to save Sinners".

I do know, for instance, that in the Book of Deuteronomy (your personal guidebook?) - nocturnal emissions are sinful, but do they merit the Wrath of God in our day and age? And are you not guilty?

I really think you should join up in the new Anglican movement towards a more informed and better culture of biblical hermeneutic. The world has turned since the O.T. was first published. God is Love!

Anonymous said...

It is tiresome that whenever people wax lyrical in their lauding of the Anglican Covenant – they never actually quote from it. Systematic analysis and interpretation is provided by those who oppose the Covenant. It is astonishing that you publish in the same post, without blushing, annoyance that “moratoria have been ignored” and declarations that the Covenant has no canonical force. The ABC, ever now the politician, allows that the Covenant may give some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some democratic or representative body. And your own posts threaten that ACANZP may be excluded from the Communion if it doesn’t sign up. Please have a little humility that those opposed to the Covenant, who actually do quote from the Covenant text and do not make pious waffle about what they think they would like the text to mean, may have some valid critique. If the Covenant is actually as toothless as you and the ABC and others often suggest it is – even more reason not to bother signing up to it. Why don’t you and/or he write the Covenant in the fantasy words that you and he are expressing it has, and then see if more might sign up to it?

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Alison,
I think you may be reading more into my post and into the ABC's words than are there.

I am recognising that our church likely won't sign up to the Covenant: I am quite humble about that. I believe I am able to be humble and to disagree with my church. I am quite prepared to draw on the detail of the Covenant to justify my commitment to the College and have done so in the past.

As for the ABC, when he denies, "[the Covenant] gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body" he is NOT implying (to quote you) "The ABC, ever now the politician, allows that the Covenant may give some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some democratic or representative body." All he is doing is denying those who say something the Covenant does not say or imply. Reading the whole of his statement, there are no grounds for concluding that excommunication is envisaged.

As for the Covenant being toothless, I think gnawing on that bone is missing the main point of the ABC's words (which point I support), that the Covenant offers a way forward for improving our relations. But that leaves a question unasked by the ABC here, and asked by me previously on ADU: do we want to improve out relations?

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you to all commenters here for your views for and against my own. My not replying to all is a sign of me weighing up anxiety on my part to reply to charges brought against me and time available to me ... tis the season to be jolly and there are a jolly lot of lunches, dinners, and dances to go to at this time!

Shawn said...

Ron,

Homosexuality is condemned in the New Testament as well.

Should we dismiss the NT, given that "the world has turned" since then?

The Bible, including the OT, is God's Word. We do not ignore it simply because it gets in the way of fashionable liberal politics.

The Bible does not say that marriage is solely for procreation.

It does however clearly say, right at the start in the first chapters of Genesis, and again by Jesus in the NT, that marriage is one man with one women for life.

That the "world" changes is not relevant. The lord of this world is Satan. We follow Jesus Christ, not the spirit of the world.

And we do not bend our doctrine or the Gospel to suit any sinners, including homosexuals.

carl jacobs said...

Peter Carrell

But that leaves a question unasked by the ABC here, and asked by me previously on ADU: do we want to improve our relations?

There is a logically prior question that must be answered first. What is the necessary condition for 'relations' in the first place? As presented in the Covenant, that condition is vague, undefined, totally dependent upon an assumed presence of goodwill born of common belief. But common belief is precisely what is missing.

carl

Anonymous said...

Shawn – where is homosexuality condemned in the NT? Fascinating, isn’t it, that you think the Bible has “that marriage is one man with one women for life”, while others here think it supported polygamy, and divorce and remarriage.
Peter – provinces sign up or not to the actual Covenant, not to your or the ABC’s interpretation of it. Even if your interpretation of the ABC’s interpretation is that there can never be an excommunication resulting from those who sign up to the Covenant, that does not mean that is not the case. All that will happen if you are wrong about your interpretation about his interpretation of the actual Covenant is that you’ll end up saying, “I’m sorry, I got that wrong. I see what you mean now.”

Alison

Mark Baddeley said...

Father Ron,

Not sure how that could have been clearer. You say:

"Oh, we're a group villified (sic) just because we're a minority" - Where did you get that from Mr.Baddeley? Not from me!

No, not word for word from you, it was a paraphrase, a technique you seem to use frequently on others. But, it seemed a fair summary of your statement:

LGBT people who have been vilified by many generations of Christians - for the mere fact that they are different from the mainstream heterosexual majority.

What on earth is the substantial difference between saying that a group is vilified for the sole reason of being different from the majority and saying "Oh, we're a group vilified just because we're a minority"? I got it from you, Father Ron.

Further, if all sexual acts outside of marriage (and for the purpose of creation only) are sinful.

Yawn. Deal with Christian ethics as it actually is, not with how you wish to represent it, Father Ron. Yes, procreation is integral to a Christian view of faithful sex, no sex doesn't have to be done for the purpose of procreation only.

Then, assuredly, we all are sinners! The fact that we are all Sinners anyway is irrefutable. So what are you saying Mark, that we don't know already? "Jesus came into the world to save Sinners".

Well, apparently you didn't know that Christian opposition to same gender sex is a moral judgement based on Scripture, rather than a prejudice against a minority group. So there you go, something not everyone already knew.

I do know, for instance, that in the Book of Deuteronomy (your personal guidebook?) - nocturnal emissions are sinful, but do they merit the Wrath of God in our day and age? And are you not guilty?

As with two thousand years of believers, the canon of Scripture is my personal guidebook. Deuteronomy is part of that. Are you saying that it isn't part of your personal guidebook?

Ritual uncleanness is the same as sinful? In the day and age of the OT it merited the wrath of God? I mean, really? That's your 'more informed and better culture of biblical hermeneutic"? Seriously Father Ron, show me a couple of classical biblical interpreters in the mainstream theological tradition that read the Bible that way - early church, scholastic, Protestant. Not loony moderns, someone historical.

I really think you should join up in the new Anglican movement towards a more informed and better culture of biblical hermeneutic. The world has turned since the O.T. was first published. God is Love!

No offense, but I'll pass, if this reflects the great new hermeneutic. I think Marcion would have been fairly happy with this quote from you. I'd rather learn to read Scripture from two thousand years of believers and faithful teachers.

Anonymous said...

"Shawn – where is homosexuality condemned in the NT? Fascinating, isn’t it, that you think the Bible has “that marriage is one man with one women for life”, while others here think it supported polygamy, and divorce and remarriage."

This really is a dialogue with the deaf and the obtuse. If you are unable to read the Bible in a salvation-historical perspective, with a focus on the work and dominical teaching of Christ and the New Covenant community he created, then you are probably unable to understand how Christian theology works, and we can't help you. Read some basic works on Christian hermeneutics of Scripture first.
Martin

carl jacobs said...

Alison wrote:

[W]here is homosexuality condemned in the NT?

Reading this sentence is not unlike staring at an old rusted non-functional bear-trap placed conspicuously in the middle of a trail in the woods. The conservative is supposed to step his foot in the trap by saying "Explicitly in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6 and implicitly elsewhere." Then - BANG - the trap closes and he is caught out by a barrage of careful and clever exegesis of a modern stripe. Woe is us. Who will save us from impending doom? We are intellectually disarmed.

Except for one thing. It isn't clever and careful exegesis. It's biblically illiterate. It might attack the correctness of the prohibition. ("Paul was wrong.") It might attack the scope of the prohibition. ("Oh, Paul was only talking about Temple prostitution.") It might attack the authority of the author. ("Paul didn't know about committed homosexual relationships.") It certainly will read the text in light of the prior conclusion. ("Homosexuality is a created and therefore natural and therefore morally good expression of human sexuality.") This is why homosexuality became the presenting issue in this fight. There was no way to square the biblical witness with the desired conclusion. It clearly and unambiguously required the subordination of Scripture to human reasoning.

I do wish liberals would produce a consistent story on the Biblical witness against homosexuality. They are all over the map on the issue. But of course this simply demonstrates the lack of importance of the biblical witness to their case. They really don't care whether the Bible supports or opposes it for the bible is not their authority. This kind of exegetical abuse is intended only to confuse and disarm the opposition. It's a way to get the conservatives to shut up about it. As in "See, there are serious committed Christians on both sides of the issue. Both try to honor Scripture. It's not so clear."

No, there aren't, and no, they don't, and yes, it is.

carl

Father Ron Smith said...

Some thoughts for Advent:

"There's none so blind as those who will not see".

Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind, to unstop the ears of the deaf.

To love God, and your neighbour as yourself, is the Summary of Law.

"The WORD became FLESH, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory - as of the Only-Begotten Son of The Father - full of grace and truth"

Anonymous said...

This really is a dialogue with the deaf and the obtuse.

Mark Baddeley, if you are unable to read the Bible in a salvation-historical perspective, with a focus on the work and dominical teaching of Christ and the New Covenant community he created, then you are probably unable to understand how Christian theology works, and we can't help you. Read some basic works on Christian hermeneutics of Scripture first before you start attacking Fr Ron with Deuteronomy as part of your personal guidebook.

I do wish conservatives would produce a consistent story on the Biblical witness on homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, women in church leadership, smacking children, and women covering heads in church. They are all over the map on the issues. But of course this simply demonstrates the lack of importance of the biblical witness to their case. They really don't care whether the Bible supports or opposes it for the bible is not their authority. This kind of exegetical abuse is intended only to confuse and disarm the opposition. It's a way to get the liberals to shut up about it. As in "See, there are serious committed Christians on both sides of the issues. Both try to honor Scripture. It's not so clear."

No, there aren't, and no, they don't, and yes, it is.

Alison

Peter Carrell said...

I am quite miffed, Alison, that you have no faith in my interpretation of the Covenant which, incidentally, takes it at face value. Sign up to the Covenant or to my interpretation, it is all the same thing. The one difference between me and the ABC is that I won't be on the Standing Committee as it waits anxiously for the first Covenant-invoking letter. Nevertheless I am quite trustworthy and cannot understand your lack of faith in me.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
Going way back in this thread you challenge me around listening to ++Rowan when he writes The Body of Grace as well as when he writes in favour of the Covenant.

In these two writing strands he has advanced different arguments. I am still thinking about one, and I am agreeing with the other. In both cases I, and I am sure many others, are listening to ++Rowan.

Your argument is actually a two edged sword: why won't the many people who agree with him on the Body of Grace agree with him on the Covenant?

Mark Baddeley said...

Alison,

Mark Baddeley, if you are unable to read the Bible in a salvation-historical perspective, with a focus on the work and dominical teaching of Christ and the New Covenant community he created, then you are probably unable to understand how Christian theology works, and we can't help you. Read some basic works on Christian hermeneutics of Scripture first before you start attacking Fr Ron with Deuteronomy as part of your personal guidebook.

Well, I don't really want to be helped by you. I have more confidence in mainstream Christian tradition - early church, medieval, Reformation, Protestant, all of whose hermeneutics was more sophisticated and more integrated than something as reductionistic as "a [selective] focus on dominical teaching and the New Covenant community". As I said, that looks more like what Marcion was into, if I had to map it into patristic reading of Scripture.

I do wish conservatives would produce a consistent story on the Biblical witness on homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, women in church leadership, smacking children, and women covering heads in church. They are all over the map on the issues.

An own goal here, Alison. Conservatives disagree as to what Scripture teaches on those issues, but their practice reflects that disagreement - some conservatives behave one way, some another. That suggests that their behavior is, basically, driven by their reading of Scripture.

Whereas revisionists disagree widely on what Scripture says about homosexuality, and yet all come to the same conclusion about what the modern Christian position should be. That is far more suggestive of 'result driven' thinking.

And Father Smith, here's another advent thought:

You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.

And it has the advantage of being a dominical quote of the OT.

Roland Cartwright said...

Fr Peter,

If you are going to read (or possibly re-read) ++William's The Body's Grace, then it should be read in the light of ++William's own distancing from its thesis and argument. In his 2006 interview in Nederlands Dagblad Williams acknowledged that it was justly criticised by many.

In the same interview he also set out the error in the simple argument in favour of homosexual relationships, such as those put forward by Fr Ron or by members of the TEC when he said:

"Their ideal is the inclusive church. I don't believe inclusion is a value in itself," says the Archbishop. "Welcome is. We welcome people into the Church, we say: 'You can come in, and that decision will change you.' We don't say: 'Come in and we ask no questions.' I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviours, ideas, emotions. The boundaries are determined by what it means to be loyal to Jesus Christ. That means to display in all things the mind of Christ. Paul is always saying this in his letters: Ethics is not a matter of a set of abstract rules, it is a matter of living the mind of Christ. That applies to sexual ethics; that is why fidelity is important in marriage. You reflect the loyalty of God in Christ. It also concerns the international arena. Christians will always have reconciliation as a priority and refuse to retaliate. By no means everything is negotiable for me. I would not be happy if someone said: Let us discuss the divinity of Christ. That to me seems so constituent of what the Church is."

The Body's Grace is an interesting piece but it is hardly the last word, especially when the author himself doesn't regard it as so.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, respectfully here; when you compare the two efforts to pastor the Anglican Communion Partners - First: 'The Body's Grace', and secondly, the Anglican Covenant, you are addressing two entirely different matters.

In 'The Body's Grace' Archbishop Rowan is making his scholarly and pastoral views known about the reality of homosexuals in the Church, and stating the need of the Church to understand that reality and to 'live with it'.

In his desire to see the Covenant established, Archbishop Rowan is doing what he sees as his duty, as Primus-inter-pares of the Communion to keep the Provinces together.

This would be OK if he sought to unite us fraternally - despite the differences in understanding of gender and sexuality. However, mindful of the repressive culture of the likes of the GAFCON Primates on these issues, he is striving to appease their spiteful desire for discipline of the liberal Provinces on their Inclusive theological stance.

One feels that, if Rowan were not ABC, and returned to being a Diocesan Bishop (and maybe to the academic world), he would feel able to continue his support for the LGBT community in the Church.

Rowan is in an impossible position at the moment, having to compromise his real understanding of the Gay position, while yet having to try to keep together a recalcitrant Church Communion.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
Unlike you I have neither a hotline to God through the Spirit leading me into all truth nor a personal relationship to the ABC leading me to confidently state the inner turmoil he experiences as he balances his duties to conscience and the Communion!

I just work with texts, the Bible, and what ++Rowan writes (or says via transcription). You will see from Roland Cartwright's comment above that ++R may be revising his thinking in the Body of Grace! But, in any case, there is only a problem logically if one equates 'pro Covenant' with 'anti LGBT'. I do not see anything in ++R's writings which presumes that equation. I am sure that the concerns of Anglican LGBTs are better met through the years ahead by being a Communion bound together by Covenant to talk with one another rather than by multiple splits leading to many Anglicans not being in communion with the LGBT Anglican community. Pyrrhic victory? Might this be ++Rowan's thinking? Not having talked with him I am not sure but I wouldn't be surprised to find he agreed with me!

As for ++Rowan's pro Covenant stance being an appeasement of the more conservative parts of the Communion ... the only appeasing he has done in recent years has been of the more liberal parts of the Communion, including running a Lambeth Conference and Primates' Meetings to which liberals have come and conservatives have stayed away.

Anonymous said...

Clearly Mark and other conservatives here are not engaged in any real dialogue, not even reading what is being written, merely yelling proof texts and ad hominems ever more loudly.

My comment was merely stringing together ad hominems from conservatives’ comments on this thread – no more. That one conservative calls another a Marcionite when the methodology is removed from the conclusion merely underscores that it is the conclusion that is important to conservatives, not the methodology!

Mark is quite correct – conservatives’ practice corresponds to their reading of scripture. As I’ve shown, he gets his causation 180degrees out of whack.

It is the practice of conservatives that drives their reading of scripture. If they are divorced and remarried, they will find that in the scriptures; if they want to hit children, they will find that in the scriptures; if they go “ooh yuck” about homosexuality, they will find that in the scriptures; if they don’t want women to lead, they will find that in the scriptures; if they are OK about women leading, they will find that in the scriptures, if they don’t want to hit their children, they will find that in the scriptures…

Alison

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Alison, I think you've just stated what might be the honest opinion of many Inclusive Church people about the recalcitrant conservatism of the Puritans.

Peter, you say you do not have a 'hot-line' to the Holy Spirit; but that is precisely what endemic Conservatives do claim - except that their 'hot-line' is the static word of the undeveloped Scriptures, and maybe not the Holy spirit's vibrant and alive guidance in the 'Word Made Flesh' in the Body of Christ, His Church.!

"Come Holy Spirit, and warm the hearts of your frozen people, by the fire of your Love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"

Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
In the absence of a pope, a magisterium, a fixed commitment to the determinations of the first seven councils, a resolution making Lambeth Conference, and much respect for the ABC, how is the Anglican part of the body of Christ to determine what the Spirit is saying to the church today?

Shawn said...

Alison,

"I do wish conservatives would produce a consistent story on the Biblical witness on homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, women in church leadership, smacking children, and women covering heads in church. They are all over the map on the issues."

In fact they have. Read 'God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation' by Andreas Kostenberger, as just one example.

Yes, "conservatives" sometimes disagree, as Christians have done throughout history. How we deal with that is through debate, and by staking our claims on the witness of Scripture. And so far, I have yet to see a liberal Scriptural argument for homosexuality that was not ridden with serious flaws of basic logic, evidence, and theological rigour.

Which is why most theologians have rejected them.

Ron,

"Peter, you say you do not have a 'hot-line' to the Holy Spirit; but that is precisely what endemic Conservatives do claim - except that their 'hot-line' is the static word of the undeveloped Scriptures, and maybe not the Holy spirit's vibrant and alive guidance in the 'Word Made Flesh' in the Body of Christ, His Church.!"

This is untrue. Conservatives make no such claim. They simply believe, as Jesus Himself did, the Scripture is the Word of God. It is not "static" or "underveloped". Nowhere does Scripture say this, and in fact it says the oppositie in many places. Scripture is the living and active Word of God. Its has true power to converts sinners and change lives. But living and active does not mean it changes to suit the political fashions of white, western liberals.

The Holy Spirit and the 'Word made Flesh' do not work contrary to Scripture. They are all one and the same witness. To claim that the Bible says one thing, but the Holy Spirit and Christ can say something different, is contradictory theological nonsense.

It is Liberals who claim to have a direct line to God, not conservatives. Liberals claim that God is directly telling them to ignore Scripture and that He now says homosexuality is fine. Despite the fact that there is not one shred of evidence for this. Not in Scripture. Not in Tradition. And not in the Church. The vast majority of the global Church today, in all its denominational forms, rejects homosexuality as a valid lifestyle.

Are we seriously supposed to believe that God is only talking to a small and shrinking minority of white, middle class western liberals, and the rest of us are in the dark?

Now that claim strikes me as truly sectarian, arrogant and self-righteous. Not to mention just plain ludicrous.

Mark Baddeley said...

Alison,

My comment was merely stringing together ad hominems from conservatives’ comments on this thread – no more. That one conservative calls another a Marcionite when the methodology is removed from the conclusion merely underscores that it is the conclusion that is important to conservatives, not the methodology!

No, I got what you did, and my first draft began with some comments on how badly I thought you did it. I took them out as I thought it wouldn't help the conversation much.

Despite the fact it was done in an ad hominem style, I figured it was best to treat your contribution as meaningful, and so focus on the substance of the points you made - I figured your own theology was still coming through.

And, you know what - given that you have now tried to shore up your assault on conservatives supposedly justifying their behavior from Scriptures and not being formed by it - it seems that you were saying some things there that you really believe. You didn't want my rebuttal of it to go unchallenged.

So apparently I did an okay job of listening to you after all. ad hominems not withstanding.

Father Ron:

Dear Alison, I think you've just stated what might be the honest opinion of many Inclusive Church people about the recalcitrant conservatism of the Puritans.

I agree, Father Ron. I think many inclusivists find it hard to believe that conservatives do not approach Scripture they way that inclusivists do - simply looking to justify a position already held on other grounds. So they find conservative appeals to Scripture to be hypocritical - knowing their own hearts to some degree, inclusivists are suspicious of anyone who claims to hold a view because it is taught in Scirpture. That's not what they do, so it is the honest belief of many of them that no one else does either.