Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Post Anglican Denomination Emerging in New Zealand?

There is a new church in Auckland with an Australian Anglican clergyman, the Reverend Rowan Hilsden and his wife Sarah Hilsden stated as its leaders. This church is called the Auckland Evangelical Church. Its website is here.

There is another new church in Christchurch with two Anglican clergymen involved in it, both of whom until recently were licensed clergy in the Diocese of Christchurch. This church - just planted within the last month - is called Church By The Tracks. Its pastor is the Reverend Dave Morgan. Local watchers will recognise the photo of the other Anglican clergyman involved in the church, although not as a member of staff.

What does not seem terrifically obvious from the Auckland church's site is that this church is a new planting connected to the Geneva Push which describes itself as, "an Australian network dedicated to recruiting, coaching and unleashing church planters. " This network is headed up by directors, the leading one of whom seems to be the Right Reverend Al Stewart, who formerly exercised his episcopal ministry within the Diocese of Sydney and who was once seen by some as a contender to succeed Peter Jensen as Archbishop of Sydney. Although not mentioned on the Church By The Tracks site, I recall the announcement from Dave Morgan when he signalled his departure from his previous parish as including reference to the role of the Geneva Push in his future plan. As best I can tell the Geneva Push is independent of the Diocese of Sydney. I wonder if it would be accurate to describe the Geneva Push as 'post-Anglican'?

Anyway, back to the Auckland Evangelical Church. It is always interesting to peruse the websites of churches because a key question to ask of any church is what its governance structure involves and how accountability works. This is what the Auckland Evangelical Church says of itself:

"Auckland Evangelical Church is an evangelical church that is independent in governance but united with Christians around the world and throughout history in upholding the gospel of Jesus Christ. We hold the Bible to be the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct and weigh all our teaching against its standard. We believe the teachings outlined in the historic church creeds (known commonly as The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed and The Athanasian Creed) are faithful expressions of the teaching of the Christian Scriptures. We hold to the Reformation teaching that God’s rescue comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Person and work of Christ alone as revealed in the Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone."

"Independent in governance" sends alarm bells ringing in my ecclesiological mind (and, I presume, means that the Reverend Hilsden is not licensed to this ministry by the Bishop of Auckland). To make things worse more interesting, this church touts itself as 'weighing all our teaching against [the Bible's] standard' yet that standard knows nothing of independent-in-governance churches (cf. the Jerusalem Council, Acts 15). Then it invokes 'the Reformation teaching' seemingly oblivious to the fact that the Reformation teaching (in its Lutheran/Calvinist mainstream) about the church never set up independent-in-governance churches! Here is a simple question I ask of this church should any of its members or supporters read this post,

If the minister or ministers of the church err in belief or behaviour, to whom is a complaint to be brought?

Secondary question: is the body or individual to whom complaint would be made, themselves accountable to any body of believers, and will their processing of complaint be according to a process agreed by that body of believers?

Naturally I ask this question because it is not obvious from the website of the church to whom its leadership is accountable.

Incidentally, we have a church in Christchurch of similar ethos to the Auckland Evangelical Church, called Campus Church (although its start in life was prior to the existence of the Geneva Push). It is reasonably described as 'post- Anglican' because its founding senior pastor was simultaneously pastoring this church (evening services only) while also being vicar of a parish here in Christchurch (morning services only). Its current pastor I have heard in personal conversation describe himself as Anglican, but he has no formal relationship with the Bishop of Christchurch. Its site is here and I do not think you will find on it any sign as to whom the leadership of the church is accountable.

By contrast, Church By The Tracks does offer the following re accountability:

"Governance. 
Lead Pastor – Dave Morgan  In line with our statement of belief, Dave’s role is to lead the church. 
Oversight team (includes 2 Trustee’s and elected members) Oversight Team’s role is to manage property and finance. 
Board of Reference An external board of appointed Christian leaders who will provide wisdom and support to the Oversight team on issues of doctrine and employment of Lead Pastor." [Ed: would be good to know the names of who is on the board!]

In all three cases it is ecclesiastically fascinating to be drawn to 'biblical churches' which do not give any clear signal in their statements of belief that they practice the dominical sacraments.  

Is it possible that their senior pastors have been taught a deficient ecclesiology? Deficient, that is, in terms of Article XIX,

"The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly- ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same."

It is simply wrong to to truncate ecclesiology after the second comma.

Obviously (reading their web info) what is not deficient in these three churches is their passion and commitment to evangelism, exposition and education. But is an intensive effort to do these things in the name of the Lord properly called 'church' without a congregational life which in its self-description includes baptism and communion? Is it a healthy church life (in two cases out of three) to declare no accountability structure, to give no sign of what authority the ministry leadership is submitted to?

Indeed in terms of a truncated ecclesiology, it is intriguing to find this description on the Auckland Evangelical Church's site re one aspect of its belief:

"About the Church
The visible church is the gathering of believers around Christ in His word. It is a community of people intended by God to bear witness to Him and actively seek the extension of His rule. Within its community, both men and women are to seek proper expression of their gifts as they work to build the church in love. The Bible makes it clear that in church leadership, as in marriage, the roles of men and women are not interchangeable. We are committed to expressing the differences within relationships of mutual dependence."

Note the beginning words remind us of the article cited above, but without reference to the Sacraments. Despite the inclusiveness of 'believers' relative to the Article's 'men' the statement ends with a statement about the lack of interchangeability of roles of men and women in church leadership and in marriage. Clearly this is a helpful statement of the situation as it is used as well by Church By The Tracks which has the same statement:

"(g) About the church
The visible church is the gathering of believers around Christ in his word. It is a community of people intended by God to bear witness to him and actively seek the extension of his rule. Within its community both men and women are to seek proper expression of their gifts as they work to build the church in love. The Bible makes clear that in church leadership, as in marriage, the roles of men and women are not interchangeable.  We are committed to expressing the differences within relationships of mutual dependence."

This statement underlines my sense that such churches are post-Anglican because, despite the Anglican background of their current pastors, the life of these churches is not associated with the oversight of a bishop. 

Well, there you have it. A potted account of three churches in New Zealand which are (a) post-Anglican in appearance, (b) sharing a certain family resemblance, and thus (I would argue) on the way to becoming a denomination. A denomination, that is, of sorts at least, as the independence of each church probably stands in the way of becoming a denomination in the mutual accountability sense of that word.

Actually, haven't we seen this post-Anglican denomination of independent churches before? Indeed we have. The Plymouth Brethren bear remarkable similarity to these churches.

Funnily enough, one of their assembly halls is just down the road from where Church By The Tracks meets :)

Tomorrow I will attempt to draw out why I think that these churches, along with the Geneva Push have become 'post-Anglican', in the light of yesterday's post about the Word and Sacrament character of the modern Anglican church with its peculiar twist that no balance between the two is insisted on. 

I will also offer (whether in the post to come or the one after it) a thought about why one other development in the 'Anglican world' can also be called 'post-Anglican' while another development is not post-Anglican at all.

34 comments:

mike greenslade said...

Franchising gone feral. It has been happening in churches for a long time now....

Peter - It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on parishes that have effectively done the same thing.

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Peter.

Accountability is perfectly possible within independent churches, as well as within fellowships that may have looser structures.

Beyond that I am not sure what your concern is. If GP can successfully plant new churches and grow them then all to the good!

I don't think that they can be called "post Anglican" merely because of a different way of doing church.

Father Ron Smith said...

Perhaps this 'Geneva Push' faux-Church will welcome some of those people who find the local Anglican Church deficient in their culture of purity and goodness. This could only be a good thing for both sodalities - the local Anglican Church, and those who profess a greater purity by raising up a new shoot from Calvin.

There's little doubt that you cannot sew a new patch onto old clothes; or put new wine into old wine-skins. However, I myself prefer the maturity of catholic and apostolic tradition. I won't be a candidate for Calvinism, which will beget its own splinter groups, given time.

Father Ron Smith said...

Looking further, Peter, into this post; I don't think we need to worry about these newly emerging 'churches' making their presence felt - both in Christchurch and in Auckland. There have always been - and presumably always will be - groups of people who feel they have captured the spirit of Christ in the Gospel - in ways different from the main-line Churches.

Governance, to such people, is not of the essence. Their vision is one which has brought them out of the traditional churches into a space where they feel they have urgent priorities other than those which have preoccupied the traditional Church for centuries past.

By their fruits we shall know them. If they are still around in 50 years times, we might begin to take them, and their claims to exclusive righteousness, seriously. In the meantime, we have a Gospel to proclaim - to ALL people!

(I was interested to see Peter Collier's name associated with the kiwifruit blog that apparently hangs out with the new folks.)

MichaelA said...

Hi Peter,

Isn't this just a case of a couple more independent evangelical churches? I don't what things are like over your way, but there are plenty of congregational-type evangelical churches in Australia (and in England which I regularly visit). Do you really not have any like this in New Zealand, or is it the fact of former Anglican priests being involved that caught your eye?

If the latter, then consider that plenty of clergy move churches. A lot of Anglican clergy around the world are former RCs, or former Methodists, or what have you. And we similarly lose clergy to other denominations.

When I saw your headline, I thought you were going to write that independent Anglicans had set up in New Zealand. They are a different kettle of fish altogether: You may have noticed in the news last week that Christ Church Walkley in Sheffield England has just had its new rector ordained by the Archbishop of Kenya. Here is their web-site: http://www.christchurchwalkley.co.uk/about-us/doctrine/. Note the comment under the heading "Anglican": They hold to the doctrine of Canon A5 of the CofE, but they aren't part of the CofE and never have been. They are directly competing with the CofE in a way that independent evangelicals are not.

Its an interesting contrast.

Peter McKeague said...

Peter, independent evangelical churches that have been planted around Australia by Anglican clergy associated with Sydney Diocese, whether Geneva Push or not, and frequently referred to in other Dioceses as 'Sydney plants'have formed the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. So as you say, the NZ ones are likely on the same path.

Bryden Black said...

These moves and your thoughts about them Peter are probably one consequence of the wider goings on in the AC these past 15 years. Naturally, they are not the only ones nor the necessary ones. And you correctly highlight the matter of governance. Hooker of course had/has a fair bit to say about all that in the context of Puritans and Romans. The real difficulty with these present moves is, as you point out, the sheer thinness of their ecclesiology. At least in the case of HTB and their church plants of the 1980s onwards, they had to negotiate with the ecclesial powers - even if the conversations were pretty ‘robust’. I know, as I had close friends involved at the time. Nowadays there is a wiser maturity on all sides there. Pity we lack it here!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
If you use the phrase/coinage 'faux-church' again in contexts such as these then I will delete the comment.

Judge not lest ye be ...

carl jacobs said...

Peter

If the minister or ministers of the church err in belief or behaviour, to whom is a complaint to be brought?

A cynic might ask "Wait! Can an Anglican minister actually commit an error in belief or behavior?" Considering the incoherent doctrinal structure of Anglicanism, and the wide latitude it grants to frankly non-Christian beliefs, there is something ironic in asking this question of a congregational church.

But even so I will turn the question on you. If the bishops and governing structures of the church (cough TEC cough) err in belief and practice, to whom is a complaint to be brought? If the bishops and governing structures of the church systematically remove orthodox clergy from the church (cough TEC cough), to whom is the complaint to be brought? If the bishops and governing structures consciously seek to expunge the church of its orthodox laity (cough TEC cough), to whom is the complaint to be brought? The answer - as demonstrated by long bitter experience and the hemorrhage of orthodoxy from TEC - is ... no one.

All you have done is push the level of accountability upwards. You haven't removed the problem. And quite frankly, a hierarchical church is quite vulnerable to heterodox takeover because the activists can simply seize the organizational structure and impose their vision from the top (cough TEC cough). You will generally find that congregational churches (in the US at least) are far more orthodox than their hierarchical counterparts.

To answer your question, the laity in a congregational church will react to heterodox leadership the same way that laity in TEC reacted to heterodox leadership. They will leave.

carl

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl,
Briefly, I agree that it is hard to bring bishops to account in an Anglican context! But on the question of, say, myself erring, there is a very clear process set out in my church, and it is clear who will judge me etc. It works quite well in my view because the possibility of going into the process generally dissuades me from erring!

carl jacobs said...

Peter

But on the question of, say, myself erring, there is a very clear process set out in my church

But there is no way to guarantee that the process will actually punish error. In TEC it was used to punish truth. A process means nothing when the wolves control its operation.

You are in fact arguing that a hierarchical church is less vulnerable to error. Given the multiplicities of error in Rome, and the general state of corruption in hierarchical Protestant churches all over the world, I wonder what your evidence is for this assertion.

carl

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl,
I think all churches are vulnerable to error - newspaper headlines attest to that.

My question is whether, when I join a church, there is some clarity as to whom I approach if there is a problem.

In my church I have that clarity. I quite agree that if I bring a complaint or the complaint is brought against me, it may not be dealt with properly. But if that is so, I still know where to go, e.g. to appeal higher up the hierarchical tree ...

It is not at all clear to me, looking at independent churches which declare no process, let alone no higher authority to which its leaders are accountable whence I would go with a complaint. If that is not a concern to others, well, I am happy to be lonely in my concern!

Shawn Herles said...

Given the civil war currently dividing the Anglican Communion, and given that our eccesioligy has made churches like St.Matthews in the City possible, I wonder if Anglicans should be touting our ecclesiology over theirs?

It is easy to give lip service to "catholic and apostolic" tradition. But when we are expending resources and energy fighting over Bible basics like the nature of Christian marriage, the Atonement, or the physical ressurection, then what use is our ecclesiology? When even some Bishops in the AC will not defend orthodoxy, then what use is the episcopacy?

I am not saying we should abandon our episcopal structure and understanding of ecclesiology, merely that we have a lot of house cleaning to do before we can tout it's superiority to the local congregational model, which has been around for a few hundred years now.

carl jacobs said...

Peter

[W]hen I join a church, there is some clarity as to whom I approach if there is a problem.

Because of where I live, I have a very limited selection of non-Liberal churches. My church experience is therefore quite broad, and I have spent considerable time in congregational churches. I can only speak from this personal experience. When I saw problems in the church, I went directly to the elders. For example, the guy who was teaching King James Onlyism. Or the day when they accidentally let a woman preach. They were generally very responsive.

If there was a problem with an elder, you would have to go to the church assembly itself. In general, the incorporating articles of a congregational church do typically include a process for this eventuality. But you are right. There is no one above the congregation, so there are natural limits. On the other hand, TEC spun off into the fever swamps because it could isolate itself from accountability to its laity. Church leadership in a congregational church cannot do that. So while there may be no formal accountability to higher authority, there is a much greater level of informal accountability to the laity.

I think the clergy and the laity will view this problem very differently. I see this as a problem of "What happens when my church leadership goes south." You see this as a problem of "Who will punish me for doing something wrong?" Those aren't identical perspectives.

carl

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Peter,

For several years I was involved with the Vineyard churches, and I still attend Sunday afternoon services at Grace .

The Vineyard is a fellowship of local churches in which each congregation owns it's church independently.

The leaders of each local church are held accountable in a number of ways, from below by the congregation and co-pastors, and collegialy through their relationships with the other senior pastors in a given region or country. Plus there is a council of twelve that all local Vineyards are accountable to and which deals with serious disputes or issues.

So effective accountability can and does happen in churches with congregational structures. In fact the level of mutual accountability and support I saw amongst the leaders of Vineyard was far more profound and deeply relational than any beaurocratic structure.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I must say that I am a wee bit mystified while my reference to the situation of 'faux-church' - one without a clearly defined ecclesial hierarchical structure - is banned; you still allow the term 'wolves' to describe our fellow Anglicans in the U.S. (TEC) This seems unbalanced! But then again, it's your blog!

Father Ron Smith said...

"It is not at all clear to me, looking at independent churches which declare no process, let alone no higher authority to which its leaders are accountable whence I would go with a complaint. If that is not a concern to others, well, I am happy to be lonely in my concern!"

- Dr. Peter Carrell -

You may well feel lonely in your concern, Peter, but I can assure you, you are not actually 'alone'. Many of us in the Anglican Church in countries around the world are concerned at the culture of 'magpie nesting' in formerly main-line Church territories - attempting to rob those Churches of their Gospel credibility.

I find, for instance, Carl's insulting remarks about TEC, and other Churches in the Communion that genuinely believe that Christ is concerned with opening up the Gospel to people on the margins, to be quite offensive, and not helpful in the general mission of the Good News of God's abiding love.

Not only organised groups - like, for instance, the Geneva Push - are eroding the already existing 'ground of faith' in the lives of traditional believers (who have confidence in their own leadership and have remained faithful to them - despite attempts by gung-ho pressure groups to get them to conform to a puritan ideology) - but fired-up individuals, from within the Church, seeming to take great delight in discrediting the very hands that once fed them with the nourishment of the gospel.

The Church will go on - despite the efforts of hostile individuals and groups to bring it down. Correction is always easier to give than to be received - especially when one is standing on the ground of one's own putative righteousness. As Jesus himself once said: "There is One alone Who is Good". That is why we need to consort with God to listen, acknowledging our own vulnerability more sincerely, than to offer our opinions about how other people ought to shape-up in order to take their place as recipients of God's salvation.

Shawn Herles said...

Rob's rather amusing claim that independent evangelical churches are a threat to the "ground of faith" of traditional" believers in mainline denominations is completely wrong. That threat comes from liberal theology, which erodes faith in Scripture and the uniqueness of Christ in favour of a form of religious secular liberal universalism.

That independent churches are thriving is in part for the very reason that mainline denominations abandoned a Biblically grounded Gospel for one grounded in "Enlightenment" epistemological assumptions, and one that was increasingly compromised from within by theological cultural Marxism and from without by secular Liberalism.

But their is no substitute for the Living God of Scripture who has the power to save and the power to transform lives. When mainline denominations were preaching salvation through political activism, claiming the Kingdom of God was the establishment of global socialism, and defining Christian discipleship as following the World, not the Word, independent churches provided a real alternative based on the authority of the Word and the power of the Spirit.

John Sandeman said...

The first of the churches planted outside of Sydney, by people from the Sydney Diocese was EV church on the NSW Central Coast - here is the Wikipedia article on it (with some useful links) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EV_Church. EV church has grown to about 2,000 people I believe and together with its daughter churches it has formed a mini denomination the "Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches" fiec.org.au with 21 members.
It is closely associated with the "Geneva Push a church planting movement which plans to plant 25 churches this year.
The Auckland church is a logical cross Tasman planting.
This movement is doing what those in TEC might wish their conservatives would do: leaving the church without taking property, not using the anglican brand. They are healthy churches, full of young people.

MichaelA said...

"Many of us in the Anglican Church in countries around the world are concerned at the culture of 'magpie nesting' in formerly main-line Church territories - attempting to rob those Churches of their Gospel credibility."

I am just wondering how far this goes? Many Roman Catholics might say they feel exactly the same about Anglican churches even existing!

In any given area, one will find a plethora of churches from different denominations - anglican, methodist, presbyterian, congregationalist and baptist will probably all be there, perhaps also one or more flavours of Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutheran, Brethren etc. And depending on the area, different denominations will have been first in that area - probably more than 100 years previously. So, how do we decide what is "main-line Church territory", and which Church is "main-line". And how do we identify who is "magpie nesting"?

Many consider the congregationalists and methodists to be pretty "main-line" nowadays (including themselves) but if you go back three-four centuries for the former and two-three centuries for the latter, they were despised splittist minorities.

If you go back a couple of centuries more, the Anglicans were wearing the despised tag, and at different times the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox have been also (often at the hands of each other).

I suspect that we will end up realising that "gospel credibility" is not something others can rob us of, so easily as we can throw it away ourselves. That is not pointing the finger at any particular group or denomination, because at some point I suspect all denominations have done it to themselves.

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,

You might be interested to hear of a Melbourne Anglican church plant which has managed to adopt a similar strategy to the "post-Anglican" NZ churches you mention, yet managed to remain within the Anglican system. It's known as City on a Hill, and has two centres, one in Melbourne CBD (which meets in a modern temple, a movie theatre), and the other in Geelong. One of my Bible college friends is now heading up the Geelong church plant.

I share your concern about lack of accountability, which unfortunately is only recognised when crisis strikes. However, I also recognise that these churches are often better at winning people to Christ than traditional parishes. Thankfully, Melbourne diocese has managed (with reluctance) to release appropriately gifted people for this ministry while staying inside the tent. Unfortunately, another of my ordained Anglican friends couldn't make this work, and he has started up a non-Anglican church plant in inner Melbourne.

Do you know if the relevant bishops were approached by these independent churches first? Is there openness to this approach among the bishops?

Andrew Reid said...

Sorry I meant to link to the Melbourne/Geelong church I mentioned.
http://cityonahill.com.au/new/about

Kurt said...

In America, Peter, these kinds of churches are a dime a dozen--even a dime for two dozen. They are around for a few years, then...poof! Nothing much to worry about, I think.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Shawn Herles said...

"In America"

Based on your experience of Brooklyn?

Ever heard of Redeemer Presbyterian?

Shawn Herles said...

Denominations that adopted Liberal theology threw away their own gospel "credibility" and lost their own congregarions.

"Magpie nesting" is an absurd and silly label.

Bryden Black said...

You are right Andrew to refer to the City on that Hill in Melbourne! It too has the hallmarks of the HTB style: negotiate with the powers that be and pray hard they see good sense! I know the Inner City Church but did not know of the other ex Anglican fellah who has had to go outside the Dio of Melb; sorry to hear that.
The most celebrated attempt at coordinating accountability within a strong missiological sense was David Penman's attempt to incorporate John Smith's ex bikie group many years ago.
The bottom-line for me has to do with desire - the desire to see the Kingdom of God grow and mature, whatever the wine-skin. Sadly, the counter to this has to do with turf protection: such a mentality will always produce the likes of magpie talk. And it's found in parishes as well as dioceses, and nationally/Provincially too ...

Father Ron Smith said...

Congratulations Peter - if that is in order! You have been given the great privilege of having your article on this subject featured on the website of one-time Kiwi-in-America, Mr.David Virtue.

Did you actually offer him your article, may I ask? Or did he spot it and consider it important enough to boost his anti-TEC blog-site, which claims to be 'The Voice For Global Orthodox Anglicanism' -obviously with tongue-in-cheek.

The moment Mr Virtue puts an article on his web-site, I should imagine ACNA, GAFCON and the like of other ex-Anglican 'orthodox' sodalities will include the author among their preferred commentators on anything they consider to be 'Orthodox'.

Again, congratulations. You will likely get a much larger fan-base!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I do not offer my articles to David Virtue. He pinches them as he is entitled to do on the internet.

I have suffered his excoriation in the past. C'est la vie!

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Bryden,
Thanks for your comments.
The other non-Anglican plant I am referring to is this one in St Kilda.
http://www.arkhousechurch.org.au
My friend had other issues with Anglicanism beyond the church planting issue, so I don't think he tried to do the church plant under the Anglican banner. It's just a shame that such a good young Anglican leader ended up outside the Anglican church.

I hadn't realised David Penman tried to bring God's Squad into the Anglican fold. I know they had some kind of church base at the Anglican church in Collingwood, and both John Smith and Dave Fuller were ordained Anglicans. But God's Squad are more of a taskforce trying to reach a particular group (bikies), a bit like Christian Surfers. If you tie them too closely to the institution, they can lose their edge and their ministry impact is stifled.

Zachary A. said...

Hi Peter, I'm a new member of Auckland EV and a fan of your blog. I'm a postgrad science student and was formerly heavily involved in the Auckland Diocese.

I don't think it is particularly edifying to critique the church and the pastor by name before communicating with the people in question about it, based solely on an argument from website-silence. I'm satisfied that there is an appropriate accountability structure in place, including a board of reference. Church members and those who've expressed interest in finding out more are all aware of the structure.

I'm very open to discussions of ecclesiology (and you raise a good question concerning the Eucharist), but regardless of where one stands on these things, it's fairly clear that when assessed in missional terms, EV and similar churches are far ahead of many Anglican parishes in the region. I'd love to see talks between Anglicans and 'independent' churches such as EV (a misleading term, as it is quite well connected to like-minded churches), but I think it is unrealistic to expect such churches to immediately be part of a clearly marked denomination; it is, similarly, uncharitable to assume that these churches do not want mutual accountability with other believers. I think you've read too much into the situation.
I hope you can come along to EV at some point yourself and ask your questions in person!

Builders in Auckland said...

Just see what happens next in the upcoming years?A denomination should not adopt secular philosophy to hold its existence.

builders in auckland said...

Thanks to talk this about different churches and it was really very informative for me.

Anonymous said...

Can I revive an old blog?

The irony of your blog is that, were you to step outside the sphere of Anglicanism (or even Catholicism for that matter) where it is assumed that the structure/heirachy is the "right way", you'll find that there are well established churches who think completely differently and beleive their church structure is the "right way". I don't quite know whether you think the Anglican church has it "right" or whether you are merely making observations and comparing other churches to what you know and understand. I can see pros and cons for both structures. But then again it's not up to me to say what's right or wrong - What does God's Word say about how a church should work?

My concern with these particular churches that you refer to is not, as you allude to, the passion and committment to mission and God's Word, but rather the (apparent) lack of any structure. Take 2 other examples - the Anglican and Plymouth Brethren churches. One is structured around a hierachy, the other is congregational. You may disagree but BOTH have structure which is actually reasonably clear to understand. My concern with these "post-anglican" churches, as you call them, is that they have the appearance of having parts of both structures but actually have neither of those structures and ultimately rely in the large part on the pastor for most aspects of the church.
Again, I come back to the question: What does God's Word say about how a church should work?

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Anonymous (please supply a name next time)
That is a very pertinent set of observations!