Sunday, November 4, 2012

Call me a jaded cynic, because I am one

The key to the renewal of Christianity has always been rediscovery of the Bible and obeying it. Whether we are with St Augustine or St Francis or Martin Luther or Tarore and her precious copy of Luke's Gospel, the Bible is the key to the power of Christ to transform lives: the Bible leads us to Christ, hearing his commands and obeying them is true repentance and faith. Divide over the Bible and the power is sapped. Slightly less harmful may be to diversify over our understanding of the Bible but all to readily "diversity" is a fig-leaf for division and "context" is an excuse to soften the hard edge of radical gospel discipleship. So when we read that ACC is celebrating a project on Anglican reading the Bible which essentially says nothing new, nothing about changing the situation of Anglicans and nothing about finding new unity in our agreement as to the meaning of Scripture then, well, call me a jaded cynic about this project because I am one!

Taonga's report begins with jaded cynics:

"Jaded cynics may try to suggest that the Anglican Communion is divided over the Bible."
This "cynic" would like to suggest there is indeed a certain amount of division. Whether division over the ordination of women as bishops or why we should capture what we think the Bible means in a Covenant or whether the gospel should be preached to non-Christians ... we are divided.

The fine words in the report of the Bible reading projected, as described in Taonga's report just do not paper over the cracks. And what they do describe is a state of the play which seems at variance with Communion reality. A commenter here, Andrew Reid (who has an Austral-Middle Eastern perspective on Communion life) cites part of the Taonga article and then aptly asks,,

"After three and half years of worldwide research, the Bible in the Life of the Church project has found that Anglicans around the globe share “a high common ground” over the essential place and use of the Bible in Anglican life." 
How can a communion which can't agree on whether it is even God's Word possibly have a "high common ground"? And that's before we get onto interpretation, criticism, contextualisation etc. The authors appear to have done a thorough job in their research, but it doesn't seem to pass the common sense test. Why is our communion falling apart if we all agree on our foundational text and its meaning for us today? Why are we suing each other, refusing communion, establishing parallel structures and living by different morals if how we approach, use and apply the Bible is so similar?"

I do not want to pour cold water on things ACC seeks to celebrate but is this body living in the real politik world of global Anglican life?


6 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"I do not want to pour cold water on things ACC seeks to celebrate but is this body living in the real politik world of global Anglican life?"

- Dr. Peter Carrell -

My question here. Peter, would be: "What is global Anglican life"?

Well, if we were to believe the rhetoric appearing in certain parts of the world-wide Anglican Communion, we might guess that it is confoned to the 'Global South', whose GAFCON Provinces have arrogated to themselves the title of being 'Orthodox Anglican' while dismissing the rest of us as heretics.

Anglicans can only celebrate what is specifically theirs to be acknowledged. If Global South Anglicans want to separate out from the rest of us, that does not mean that the Communion - based on the Founding See of Canterbury - is no longer 'Anglican'. we may not be totally world-embracing, but we are still Anglican.

Your term 'Global Anglicanism' smacks of the sort of magisterial ethos of the Covenant and of Roman Catholicism. Most of us Anglicans who are not part of the 'Global South, just feel we are part of the world-wide Body of Christ, in the traditional Anglican Way, with the watchword - 'Unity in Doversity'.

Mr. Mcgranor said...

It should be obvious. The Western Counterculture came and dismantled. Now many have no spiritual place--those who doubted, or otherwise succumbed.

Leaving them to Rome, Israel, and the vain imaginings of the lost; or border line... So the actual question and answer is not academic; but spiritual and social.

You want to save our portion? Its not foolish traps of alignment with Catholic and the real Catholic lite: Eastern Orthodox. It is a matter of reactionary steadfastness. Stand your ground...If you can.

Which brings another matter. One of lofty ideal Calvinism. Surely this is not God's will to compromise our faith. This means stop trying to appeal to the postmodern. Break the illusion.

Shawn said...

Yes, how dare those pesky Africans get in the way of our inclusive diversity. How dare they think that diversity means they can have their own opinions.

Once the AC has been reduced to white, liberal enclave we will be able once again to practice true post-colonial inclusive diversity!

Bryden Black said...

Thank you Ron for your “common sense” question: “My question here, Peter, would be: ‘What is global Anglican life?’” An attempt an answer ...

One index would be the transportability of ministries. My own life experience is indicative: ordained in Africa after due training in England; moved back to UK after a number of years, and so enjoyed ministry there; moved back to Australia, and ministered there also; returned finally to Chc and still ministering here. Yours is not that different. Our own Bishop’s is similar. Etc.

Now; can I/would I go to New Hampshire? Or the Diocese of Quincy? Or New Westminster? I deliberately select a few across the current spectrum. And what of now those who differ over consecration of bishops? Quite simply: ordinations by such would not be universally receivable. Etc.

These observations therefore are a very easy way into that underlying and essential question at issue: it is ever one of authority!!! And not in some vague academic manner. Issues of authority have to do with practical reason above all. In other words, how we actually go about using and applying the Holy Scriptures, Ron, is vastly different across “global Anglican life”. So nice statements about “high common ground” just do not cut the mustard! I share Peter’s serious disappointment. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that ACC 15 is panning out to be an exercise in damage control following the appalling public relations disaster that was ACC 14 in Jamaica, May 2009. No; that summary is not a jaundiced view; it is a matter of public record for all to view on TV.

QED: our representatives at ACC - who are not our representatives - need all our prayers for a genuine Pentecost to bring about deep repentance, the obedience of faith, and true renewal. Kyrie eleison! Which is the more heartfelt my having just returned from hearing a stupendously adroit exegesis and exposition OF THE WORD OF GOD by the ABC in quite simply splendid form! He and we deserve a better outcome from ACC 15 that that presently on track.

Bryden Black said...

Two typos due to haste:
1. An attempt at an answer ...
2. ... a better outcome from ACC 15 than that presently ...
Sorry folks!

MichaelA said...

"Well, if we were to believe the rhetoric appearing in certain parts of the world-wide Anglican Communion, we might guess that it is confoned to the 'Global South', whose GAFCON Provinces have arrogated to themselves the title of being 'Orthodox Anglican' while dismissing the rest of us as heretics."

Actually, no it isn't. There are many anglicans outside of the Global South who proudly adopt the title of "orthodox anlicans".