Tuesday, April 10, 2012

All to play for in Christchurch Covenant debate

I was reading an article yesterday about the differences between US and Kiwi political life, in connection with a book published by an academic for whom the key summary words are, respectively, freedom and fairness. In the spirit of that Kiwi fairness, to readers here who are also members of the Christchurch synod which will engage in debate on the Covenant on 21 April I note that I have been given to understand that some interesting re-thinking about the Covenant is emerging within Tikanga Maori. That is to say, I would not take it for granted that Tikanga Maori will vote against the Covenant at General Synod in July 2012. [POSTSCRIPT: a commenter in the comments below makes it clear that Te Runanganui has mandated that the vote at GS shall be 'No'. So while some Maori are rethinking that makes no difference at this time to the decision made].

In the last few days I have also come across some interesting views on the governance and organisation of the Anglican Communion espoused by one of our bishops. I wonder if readers can guess which of our bishops has written this:

"It is the duty of all loving members of the Church to submit their own private opinion, in matters indifferent, to the judgement of their brethren ... There need be no servile uniformity, if there be but a recognised authority, which all are willing to obey. The scouts of an army may push on in front, but they must obey the signal of recall when they advance too far. The whole of our Church is interested in obtaining this happy combination of elastic freedom from efficient control. ...

May we not hope that some central authority, elected and obeyed by every member of the whole Anglican communion, may be appointed to exercise this power of controlling inordinate self-will, and zeal not tempered with discretion: saying to the too hasty minds, who claim as lawful, things which are not expedient, 'Thus far thou shalt go, and no further?' "


Unfortunately this particular bishop is not a member of the Christchurch synod and I will not be able to call on him to speak for the Covenant.

13 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"Unfortunately this particular bishop is not a member of the Christchurch synod and I will not be able to call on him to speak for the Covenant."
- Dr. Peter Carrell -

Why have I got the feeling, Peter, that you - as the Leader of the Pro-Covenant party in Synod - have the outcome of the covenant debate in our Christchurch Synod 'all sewn up'?

You are surely assuming that this particular bishop is affirming the Covenant. Whereas, in fact, his words might urge for caution. This is especially important when you hear this bishop speak of obeying a recognised authority. Well, we all know, don't we (?) that the ultimate 'recognised authority' is the Holy Spirit - to 'whom all hearts be open and all desires made known'; so that any purely human authority - even in the Church - must give way!

Yhe real problem is that both sides of the Covenant argument believe they have 'the mind of Christ' in this matter. However, in the Church of England, it may just have been that the No Covenanters have had the 'ears to hear - what the Spirit is saying to the Church'.

We all must forsake the impetus towards triumphalism - in this, as in other matters of Church life. Therefore, humility may pay off in the end. May God's will be done!

Happy Easter!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Let me be as clear as I can be:

(1) I assume nothing, absolutely nothing about the outcome of the debate in our Synod. I do not know which way our Synod will vote and I have no way of ascertaining that prior to the Synod.

(2) I think this particular bishop would support the Covenant but I do not know that for sure so you are right to question any presumption that what I have cited also constitutes support for the Covenant.

Tim Chesterton said...

That's some sermon. Thanks for the link, Peter.

Tim Chesterton

Ngira said...

"I note that I have been given to understand that some interesting re-thinking about the Covenant is emerging within Tikanga Maori. That is to say, I would not take it for granted that Tikanga Maori will vote against the Covenant at General Synod in July 2012."

Interesting comment Peter.
Given that Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, the governing Synod of our Tikanga, rejected the adoption of the covenant I struggle to understand where you could get the idea that we are thinking about anything different.

The Tikanga Maori representatives at General Synod have been mandated to do one thing in regards to the covenant, and that is to vote against the adoption of the Covenant.

Ngira+

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ngira
Does Te Runanganui meet again, before or just before General Synod?

Ngira said...

No.

Shawn said...

The entire "three Tikanga" structure of the Church needs to be seriously re-thought. The notion that the Church should be divided along ethnic lines is contrary to the Gospel, and has arisen from the current fashion in the New Zealand Anglican Church of elevating the Treaty to an idol that is then used as an excuse to ignore the Word of God.

Father Ron Smith said...

Here, again, we have a voice 'crying in the wilderness', in the above posting which declares that that the church he belongs to has 'got it wrong'. This is what I mean about the need for a kenotic humility. The only difference between this voice and that of John the Baptist, is that John had a mandate from God.

Shawn said...

Ron,

You yourself have been proclaiming that the church you belong to (Anglican) has "got it wrong" on the issue of homosexuality. And you have no mandate from God. Where is your humility?

Double standards again Ron?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Shawn
Rather than traverse ground about mandates, double standards and the like which veers very close to "ad hominem" arguments ... how about a discussion of how we know what the Spirit is saying to the church?

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, you don't need me to tell you about the Gamaliel Principle.

This will surely apply to whether or not the Covenant succeeds - not just in our diocese, but in the Province - and then, in the Communion.

liturgy said...

Easter season greetings

Tai Tokerau Hui Amorangi is meeting and has reinforced the decision of Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa and rejected the "Anglican Covenant".

Christ is risen!

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

re Bosco's post:

Christ is Risen indeed, Alleluia, alleluia!