Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kiwi bishop appointed to senior role in Anglican Communion

A little ahead of schedule (re resuming posting on 20 January) but prompted by significant news, a Kiwi bishop has been appointed to a senior role within the Anglican Communion. Read all about it here.

ADDED FOOTNOTE: ++Justin Welby is offering interesting overtures of recognition to North American Anglicans not bound jurisdictionally to TEC or ACCanada by appointing Tory Baucum, a rector of an ACNA church, to be a 'Canterbury Preacher.' Read about it here. Perhaps ++Justin has been reading ADU over the years ... or maybe ADU is vindicated for its refusal to cast ACNA to one side ...

32 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"The Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of all Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in consultation with the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, has appointed The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs as Missionary Bishop of CANA." - News Item -

Contrary to your comment, Peter; Julian Dobbs is not a 'Kiwi Bishop'. He may be a former Kiwi clergyperson , who is now a 'bishop' in the schismatic ACNA sodality - nothing at all to do with TEC which is the only offical Anglican affiliate in the USA.

His appointment by the Nigerian Province of the GAFCON sodality to a border-crossing position within the GAFCON does not entitle him to 'A senior role within the Anglican Communion'. He would have to be a clergy-person who is persona grata with the Communion connected to Canterbury to be accounted thus.

Mr Dobbs cannot just be sneaked in under the cover of GAFCON in order to be part of the Anglican Communion.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron,
The relevant facts of the matter are:

1. Julian Dobbs is a Kiwi born and bred; a bishop; and thus a Kiwi bishop in the same sense that ++David Moxon residing in Rome is a Kiwi bishop.

2. Julian's appointment to the CANA role is to a senior role of significance and importance in the developing history of North American Anglicanism.

3. This role is also of significance in the development of the Anglican Communion as CANA is an integral part of the largest member church of the Anglican Communion, the Church of Nigeria.

4. I may have chosen the words in the subject line for maximum effect in provoking comment ... :)

MichaelA said...

I like the title "missionary bishop". It is reminiscent of some of the appointments made by St Aedan during the evangelisation of Anglo-Saxon England.

There are large areas of USA and Canada that no longer have any Anglican/Episcopal witness, so there is a clear need for such appointments.

Father Ron Smith said...

You certainly managed to provoke me, Peter, I still contest your view of the relevance of Bishop Dobbs to the fellowship of the wider Anglican Communion, being, as he is, a member of a border-crossing affiliate of the GAFCON group.

Also, Mr. Dobbs is not a 'Kiwi Bishop'. He is a former Kiwi who happens to be an ACNA bishop.

I think that Bishop David Moxon, while acknowledging his Kiwi status, is now part of the Anglican Diocese of Europe - a different jurisdiction. He is also an accredited Bishop in full communion (not by proxy) with the Canterbury version of the A.C.

Bishop Dobbs may be an accredited part of ACNA - and even of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, but he has no status at Lambeth, as far as I am aware. Let's see whether he gets and invitation to the next Lambeth Conference - which his Nigerian Boss may not even want to attend!

MichaelA said...

Fr Ron, even if your whole post was accurate (its not, but we can get back to that later), so what?

For starters, you have no status at Lambeth either. Sorry, but that's the harsh truth. And when you start trying to say who does or does not have status at Lambeth, it only evokes amusement. Lambeth will deal with whom it wishes, regardless of whether they fit into your pet categories or not. And the rest of us will get on with our lives regardless of what Lambeth thinks.

Julian Dobbs is a bishop in a church whose leader has been invited to preside over the Eucharist attended by the leaders of 20 provinces in the Communion. That same leader was one of very few Anglican bishops granted a Papal audience last year.

+Dobbs and ACNA have far more status than they will ever need .. :)

Tim Chesterton said...

I always find it amusing when Anglicans insist on defining 'Anglican' as 'in communion with Canterbury'. It sounds uncomfortably like RCs defining 'catholic' as 'in communion with the Pope' - but we get upset when RCs do that!

Father Ron Smith said...

You may not like it, MichaelA, but the fact is that membership of the Lambeth Conference is the current touchstone of membership of the Anglican Communion. This is precisely why many of us found it offensive that TEC Bishop Gene Robinson was not invited to Lambeth 2008. Bishop Gene was actually a member of TEC - a Lambeth affiliate.

ACNA Bishops are not members of that body. Therefore, Bishop Dobbs is not either. Full stop!

I'm, not so stupid as to not know that I am not likely to be invited to a Lambeth Conference. I am not a bishop in the Anglican Communion

Peter Carrell said...

Hi MichaelA: I suggest the last citation/response of the comment below as originally posted is not required ...

"Hi Fr Ron,

1. "You may not like it, MichaelA, but the fact is that membership of the Lambeth Conference is the current touchstone of membership of the Anglican Communion."

No it isn't! You have attempted to shift the goalposts, but even then your post is full of inaccuracies. For starters, no-one is a "member" of the Lambeth conference. Its a conference of bishops held once every ten years. It is entirely up to the Archbishop of Canterbury who he invites.

And bishops aren't members of the Anglican Communion - provinces are.

And most importantly, membership in the Anglican Communion has nothing to do with Peter's post.

2. You also seem to be very confused about "border-crossing". If ACNA isn't part of the "Anglican Communion" then it isn't crossing borders . Just as continuing Anglican bodies such as the Traditional Anglican Communion aren't crossing borders, neither are the Orthodox or Roman Catholics. The only ones against whom the charge of "border-crossing" can be levelled are those who were and are members of the Anglican Communion, i.e. those bishops in the Church of Nigeria, the Southern Cone, Church of Rwanda etc who extended episcopal oversight to congregations in USA. Yes, THEY were border-crossing, because they were in the Anglican Communion (and a good thing too - border-crossing is warranted in the extreme case of apostasy).

3. "This is precisely why many of us found it offensive that TEC Bishop Gene Robinson was not invited to Lambeth 2008. Bishop Gene was actually a member of TEC - a Lambeth affiliate."

You have cut the ground from under your own argument. This just shows what everyone should already know - the Archbishop of Canterbury decides who gets invited to Lambeth. (And once he invites them, they can decide whether they think its worth attending or not!)

4. "ACNA Bishops are not members of that body. Therefore, Bishop Dobbs is not either. Full stop!"

Even if that were an accurate statement (and you still haven't defined it correctly - Lambeth is not a body, it is a once-in-ten-years event - and bishops are not members of the Anglican Communion), so what? I can't see anything in that which contradicts anything said by Peter.

...
"

Father Ron Smith said...

"Yes, THEY were border-crossing, because they were in the Anglican Communion (and a good thing too - border-crossing is warranted in the extreme case of apostasy)."

MichaelA/per Dr. Peter Carrell -

There you are, Michael, you've declared your stance - explaining your attitude towards TEC and those of us in the Anglican Communion who believe that LGBT people are a legitimate part of the Anglican Churches, and are legitimately ordained therein.

The fact that you (and CANA and ACNA and certain African Provinces) actually believe that TEC and its allies are 'apostate' is a very serious charge, and hardly to be taken lightly by traditional Anglican like myself.

I can't think why our esteemed Host has allowed you to make this accusation of apostacy!

Does your local Bishop know of your prejudice in this area?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Many things go on within TEC over the years which, even when we set aside LGBT matters, are of the most dubious sort theologically speaking: bishops claiming many ways lead to God, claims that the church can rewrite Scripture etc. Thus I am happy to permit comments which claim apostasy is a problem within TEC. It would be good if evidence could be brought forth to support the claim; even better if TEC-ians/-ophiles could counter the claims.

In this particular case I do not think MichaelA is making any great claim: the border-crossing bishops over the years have justified such activities on the basis of perceptions of apostasy. On one level MichaelA is simply reporting what others have proffered as their explanation ...

But, to be clear: I am not myself making the charge of apostasy against TEC.

Father Ron Smith said...

"But, to be clear: I am not myself making the charge of apostasy against TEC." - Dr. Peter Carrell -

I'm glad for that, Peter. Any hint that you were would set you strangely at odds with the Provincial Anglican Church that employs you.

I'm still not clear where your correspondent MichaelA is resident, nor whether he is a clergy-person, but one supposes that he embraces the clear ethic of the ecclesiastical province that he is part of. Otherwise, he probably would not make such an outrageous claim against TEC.

Peter Carrell said...

Would you concede, Ron, that John Spong has taught apostasy over the years? And that the tolerance of John Spong and his teaching within TEC has verged on apostasy?

I would hope you do not have any problem with a keen Kiwi Anglican viewing Spongite teaching as a grave disturbance within the Anglican Communion.

Father Ron Smith said...

I have never thought John Spong to be an 'apostate'. His beliefs are his own and not mine, but at least, he has not separated himself out from the Church he represented.

John Spong has never embraced intentional schism, which is the factor most unsettling of the Christian (or at least the Anglican) quest of unity in theological diversity.

Many Christian leaders have in some way or another upset the ultra-conservative wing of the Church with their innovative questioning of the status quo of supposed 'orthodoxy'. But then, the European Reformation was just one such eruption.

Anglican 'Orthodoxy' is almost a non-sequitur - considering all the different understandings of its constituent theological 'experts'
But then, as most of us are aware, who have lived for quite a while within the influence of the Anglican Compass Rose, as far as the basic doctrine of God's act of love towards God's children is concerned, there is 'nothing new under the sun'. Faith and belief are very much an individual responsibility. We cannot be too insistent on our own understanding of God for everyone else. Nor ought we to presume that 'our way' is the only way.

People who denounce others as apostate or heretic generally are a wee bit uncertain of their own ideology. This may be pure hubris!

But as for basic human rights - such as are opposed by so many so-called Christians - they need to be embraced and interpreted in the light of creation as it is revealed to be - under the divine provenance.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
In my view publicly espousing heresy while remaining in bishop's clothing is the most unsettling action an Anglican leader can take.

Intentional schism, especially if in response to the primary unsettlement of teaching heresy is quite a settling action: it shows someone actually cares about doctrine within the church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Additional to my 6.49 am comment and received via a correspondent in the last few minutes, here is an excellent argument about the importance of right doctrine:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/barbarism/

Tim Chesterton said...

Ron, Anglicanism as a distinct Christian identity began in an act of intentional schism. If you don't think that this is sometimes justified, the consistent thing for you to do would be to return to Rome.

As for poor Bishop Spong, I find it hard to see how his Twleve Theses can be reconciled with any kind of orthodox Christianity.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Tim/Ron
A very important point lies in your post, Tim.

No matter how 'catholic/Catholic' an Anglican wishes to be, there is a point to being Anglican rather than Roman in one's catholicity/Catholicity whereby one recognises that there is a higher authority than the authority of the (earthly) church.

As an Anglican post the English Reformation, one might appeal to the monarchy (but that washes little, I suggest, with Canadians and Kiwis) or one might appeal to Scripture ... when the occasion warrants it.

What does not wash with me is remaining Anglican and refusing to entertain the thought that there might be occasions for intentional schism other than those which arose under Henry and then under the reforming English bishops.

What also does not wash with me is to appeal to a pre-Papal catholic church for guidance and precedence ... while entertaining a post-modern appeal to changing contexts for guidance re marriage!

Theology is not a bag of Pick 'n' Mix lollies, some flavoured 'Past' and some flavoured 'Present'.

carl jacobs said...

Spong is a functional atheist. If he is not an apostate, then doctrine can never be grounds for apostasy. And Christianity becomes nothing more than a loose association of people who call themselves Christian. It would possess form without substance. At which point one must ask "Why would schism matter?"

This is one of the central dilemmas of Liberal Christianity. Having declared epistemological doubt to the one certainty, it struggles to find any coherent source of unity. That is why it clings so strongly to ritual and organization. When there are no internals, the externals become very important.

carl

Father Ron Smith said...

"We Christians will not always agree among ourselves where the line of the shadow falls separating darkness from light; nor, in the same way, will we agree precisely on what is a lie and what is the truth."

- Rod Dreher - (above article)

As Dreher later comments; it is not just a matter of whether or not we can agree that 'darkness and light are both alike - en Christo", but rather that we see the demarcation line differently.

For instance, for me, homophobia is lost in darkness, whereas, to other Christians, homosexuality is evil! And that's only one area in which intentional schism has been resorted to.

Peter Carrell said...

(Apologies to you Ron - I accidentally pushed 'delete' when I meant to push 'publish')

If we really believed that there is one water-tight 'orthodoxy' of Christian doctrine; how do we know that 'WE' are the holders of it?

Biblically speaking; If St. Peter is going to be monitoring the entrants into heaven based on their 'orthodoxy', it maybe that only Roman Catholics - by virtue of 'the Chair of Peter' - will be eligible.

However, I do not believe that God is so narrow as to be bound by sectarian theological concepts. It took Jesus to reach beyond the theology and praxis of the Jews, in order to institute a new doctrine of Christian Baptism into Christ, which makes human beings into the children of God - no matter what their human under-standing of that mystery, it remains a fact that we are save by incorporation into Christ - not by any human construct of doctrinal propriety - no matter how erudite.

Jesus said: "I am The Way, The Truth and The Life, no-one can come to the father except by me"

That informs my faith.

Jesus has become MY Way, MY truth & MY Life.

MichaelA said...

Fr Ron wrote:

1. "The fact that you (and CANA and ACNA and certain African Provinces) actually believe that TEC and its allies are 'apostate' is a very serious charge, and hardly to be taken lightly by traditional Anglican like myself."

I would hope that nobody would take it lightly.

Thank you for acknowledging that there are whole provinces of the Anglican Communion that consider that TEC is apostate. I really don't think I need to say any more on that score – you are an excellent advocate of my position!

2. "I can't think why our esteemed Host has allowed you to make this accusation of apostacy!"

Because as you yourself have acknowledged, it did not originate with me. Also, as will become apparent below, you do not understand what apostasy means.

3. "Does your local Bishop know of your prejudice in this area?"

I have no idea. I doubt that he even knows who I am. As you might expect in Sydney, he has over 40 parishes under his care, and they have an average Sunday attendance of about 300, even more on occasions when he usually visits such as confirmations, so its not easy for a bishop to know all parishioners.

4. "I'm still not clear where your correspondent MichaelA is resident"

Something you say every 6 months or so, Fr Ron. And you have been answered many times. Perhaps write it down?

5. "nor whether he is a clergy-person"

Nope. Why is that relevant anyway?

6. "but one supposes that he embraces the clear ethic of the ecclesiastical province that he is part of."

Why would that be the case? I am sorry but that is one of the strangest things I have ever heard – do you have uniformity of thinking in New Zealand, like a series of identical plastic dolls? If so, you would be the only province in the world that does. Actually, I have never seen uniform embrace of ethic within a PARISH, let alone a diocese or province!!!!

7. "Otherwise, he probably would not make such an outrageous claim against TEC."

Its not outrageous, just hilarious that you would use such language, given your frequent posting on blogs all over the world – Thinking Anglicans, Virtue Online, etc. You are fully aware that TEC has been accused of apostasy by many people in many parts of the world Fr Ron. You don't have to agree with them, but please spare me your attempts to pretend its something new. … :)

The point I made is that border-crossing should only be done in an extreme case – those who have done the border crossing consider TEC to be an extreme case. As it happens, I agree with them, but if you disagree you need to take it up with people far more senior than me.

8. "I have never thought John Spong to be an 'apostate'. His beliefs are his own and not mine, but at least, he has not separated himself out from the Church he represented."

You appear to be using the term "apostasy" as it is used in modern psychology, where it has no religious connotations but simply means withdrawal or alienation from a group. However, I was writing from a Christian perspective, and in Christian history, the term has a different meaning. Apostates usually do NOT separate themselves out of the church. The whole point of the charge of apostasy against Paul in Acts 21:21 (that is the Greek word used) is that he was leading people to abandon Moses' *teaching*, not that he was leading people to formally leave or renounce Judaism.

Similarly, if you read the encyclical letter of Athanasius on his deposition, it is clear that those whom he denounces as apostate are still in the Church. Indeed, they are bishops and presbyters in good standing! Whereas it is Athanasius who has been deposed and excommunicated. Nevertheless, Athanasius calls them "apostate" because they have abandoned or contravened the teaching of Christ. The judgment of history and the Church favours Athanasius, not Eusebius and Arius.

MichaelA said...

(cont.)
Fr Ron also wrote:

9. "John Spong has never embraced intentional schism, which is the factor most unsettling of the Christian (or at least the Anglican) quest of unity in theological diversity."

On the contrary, John Spong was the first to border-cross, back in 1977 when he ordained women for the Anglican Church of Australia, knowing that they were not permitted by the rules of the ACA at the time. He was a typical liberal, spurning the rules when it suited him, but crying foul when others do the same. The border-crossers in 2001 (i.e. the primates and bishops who ordained missionary bishops to serve in the USA) were doing no more than what Spong had already done.

But in any case this is irrelevant to the charge of apostasy – that is a matter of conformity with the teaching of Christ, not formal membership of a church.

10. "Many Christian leaders have in some way or another upset the ultra-conservative wing of the Church with their innovative questioning of the status quo of supposed 'orthodoxy'. But then, the European Reformation was just one such eruption."

On the contrary, the "European Reformation" (to use your strange terminology) was a questioning of the accretion of non-orthodox teachings within the Church. Those today who challenge the teachings of TEC are the true heirs of the 16th century Reformers.

11. "Faith and belief are very much an individual responsibility. We cannot be too insistent on our own understanding of God for everyone else. Nor ought we to presume that 'our way' is the only way."

Glad to hear it. Now on that basis, you have no right to criticize the Diocese of Sydney just because many of its views differ from yours. Stop judging!

12. "People who denounce others as apostate or heretic generally are a wee bit uncertain of their own ideology. This may be pure hubris!"

Given that your posts on this thread seem to be nothing but a continuous denunciation of those with whom you disagree as heretical, I couldn't agree more!

13. "For instance, for me, homophobia is lost in darkness, whereas, to other Christians, homosexuality is evil! And that's only one area in which intentional schism has been resorted to."

No, that has never been the basis of any "intentional schism". Please check your facts before making incorrect assertions.

Father Ron Smith said...

" Those today who challenge the teachings of TEC are the true heirs of the 16th century Reformers."

Maybe, but the Church has moved on since them: 'Semper reformanda!"

By the way, MichaelA, so I know exactly who I am dealing with, can you tell me whether you are a clergy-person, and in which Province of the Anglican Communion you speak from (and for?).

If from Sydney, then perhaps I will be able to understand where your arguments are coming from.

Father Ron Smith said...

Obviously, from the above juxtaposition of the postings, my questions of MichaelA have appeared after his responses to the questions. I rest my case on the fact that he is a lay-person of the diocese of Sydney, whose theological understanding lie deep within the con/evo ethos of Moore college - and therefore very different from mine. I don't expect to have to tussle with MichaelA after this. Blessings!

Tim Chesterton said...

Ron, I often appreciate your points, but I have to say that the last two are really not worthy of you. "Oh well, he's from Sydney, what do you expect?" That sounds a little too much like "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" for me to feel easy about it.

MichaelA said...

"I rest my case on the fact that he is a lay-person of the diocese of Sydney, whose theological understanding lie deep within the con/evo ethos of Moore college - and therefore very different from mine."

You haven't put forward any case to rest, Fr Ron. All you have done is looked for an excuse to run away from a debate.

Concluding that you know what someone believes because of where they live says far more about you than it does about me. ... :)

And as for the apparent clerical snobbery displayed by your remark about lay-persons, oh dear, can you tell how wounded I am? ;)

Now, to return to the discussion. You wrote:

"Maybe, but the Church has moved on since them: 'Semper reformanda!'"

The expression 'semper reformanda' does not mean "change for the sake of change". How does that assist your argument?

You wrote:

"in which Province of the Anglican Communion you speak from (and for?)."

Firstly, why would the province in which I am located tell you anything? As I wrote above, I find an assumption that there is uniformity in a parish (let alone a province) bizarre.

Secondly, why would I speak "for" a province (unless I am the Primate, which I'm not)? Surely you don't purport to speak for yours?

Shawn Herles said...

If anyone had said "oh, he's from TEC, what do you expect?" Ron would loudly protest, but I have learned from years of interactions with Liberals that the rules they insist on others following they do not follow themselves.

Apostasy is the least I would say about TEC. I would go much further, but I doubt my views regarding the coming of the Anti-Christ would pass moderation.

Peter Carrell said...

I think you could go further, Michael!

Of the Anglican provinces I have some understanding of re structure and ethos, it could be argued that the Australian Anglican church is the one least conducive to anyone, even the Primate, offering a 'view' which represents the disparate church of the Western Island!

Peter Carrell said...

(Tongue in cheek)

Yes, Shawn, I only allow views through which accept the anti-Christ has come, not is coming :)

Shawn Herles said...

"Yes, Shawn, I only allow views through which accept the anti-Christ has come, not is coming"

I always new there was something a bit dodgy in your theology ;)

Next you'll be preaching post-tribulationism, but where does it end Peter??? Think of the children!!!

Peter Carrell said...

Just popping out, Shawn, to spend the kid's inheritance ...

MichaelA said...

Touché, Peter!

Sometimes it does seem like we are 23 independent dioceses pretending to be a province... ;)