Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blindspots?

Blindspot One?

Picking up a post previously re the relationship between ACNA and the Anglican Communion, note this formal statement by seven primates of the Anglican Communion, including the Chair of Global South and the Chair of GAFCON:

"We, the undersigned primates, were honored to participate in the joyful investiture of the Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach as Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, and to receive him as a fellow Primate of the Anglican Communion." (my bold)

++Justin has better not have any blindspots over the relationship between ACNA and the Communion as he consults the primates of the Communion.

Blindspot Two?

The latest edition of the Australian Church Record has a series of articles on faith. Michael Bird rightly takes one article, "Has Protestantism Gone Catholic?", to task at Euangelion. What do you think?

Just the other day I listened to a fine local evangelical Anglican preacher, tackling the gospel for the day, Matthew 22:1-14 (the parable of the wedding feast in which one included guest is then thrown out for wearing inappropriate clothing), who effectively made the point, nicely put by Bird,

"we are not justified by works, but neither are we justified without them (Calvin). Good works demonstrate the integrity of the faith we profess (Morris)."

On such a point, particularly when tied to Scripture itself, is it possible to distinguish a Catholic priest and an evangelical minister preaching on the importance of faithful Christians rightly demonstrating their faith through works? All evangelicals preaching from the starting point of justification and engaging with the full counsel of God in Scripture get to a point, faithfully expressed by my colleague, that behaviour matters in the sight of God. Quite why we do not then work back to adjust our doctrine of justification in the direction Bird and many other scholars, including the great Reformers, go, is, let's say, a mystery :)

My view is also that Protestants might be more respectful of Catholic theologians and Protestants they accuse of 'going Catholic' if we worked harder at holding on to Matthew's Gospel alongside Paul's Romans.

Blindspot Three?

To read some bits and pieces of the flotsam and jetson of internet opinion is to form an impression that Anglican = wishy-washy but Roman = firm, sound, clear. Fortunately to read this note re the course of the current synod in Rome is to see that the distinctions between 'Anglican' and 'Roman' that some would like to promote are not as strong as they would like!

Blindspot Four?

So, how is that inclusive, liberal, progressive paradigm working out for you? Are more or less people being included in your church? Here is the answer for one church which is a flag-bearer for the paradigm.

Bonus

I notice, scrolling down the Australian Church Record pdf linked to above, that our own Dave Clancey, a vicar here in Christchurch, has written an article on Motion 30.

41 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

Respectfully, Peter; had it not occurred to you that your so-called 'blind-spots' are specifically located from an entirely subjective point of view? What me a blind-spot for a conservative evangelical may prove to be pure common sense to a liberal catholic.

May I draw your attention to the fact that the Vatican Curia has just announced its endemic blindness to the efficacy of faithful Same-Sex relationships. Do you not think that this admission of its own blind-spot might just be a very good example of subjectivity on this important issue affecting many people's lives in today's world?

Father Ron Smith said...

Had to smile about the G.S. assertion of Foley Beach as 'a fellow primate of the Anglican Communion'. This is so obviously not the case. ACNA has never been officially accepted as an integral part of the Anglican Communion - of GAFCON or the G.S.maybe, but not the A.C.

Andrew Reid said...

Perhaps it might be interesting to note here that Rev. Michael Dobson, a Canadian from the ACNA, has been appointed by Bishop Mouneer Anis as priest of St John's Maadi in the Diocese of Egypt. Bishop Mouneer obviously regards Rev. Michael as fully Anglican, since he was not required to undertake any further steps beyond the usual transfer of an Anglican priest from one diocese to another.

I believe that shows that membership of the Anglican Communion isn't just about whether you get invited to the big meetings or whether the ABC puts you on the list of officially recognised member churches. It's also about the daily practice of ministry and fellowship with other Anglicans.

Of course, there's that whole issue of adherence to Anglican faith and the Scriptures too...

Jon White said...

Peter,
As to Blindspot One, I think this relates to your recent post comparing issues of the Anglican Communion to the eras of multiple popes. The meaning of the term "Anglican" is in flux. Undoubtedly, the ACNA is not an official member of the entity known as the Anglican Communion however. In its current iteration, the Primates have no direct role in defining membership.

As to Blindspot four, how is your conservative evangelical paradigm working for you. Here in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention, far and away the largest Protestant denomination with over 15 million members is also seeing declines in membership, worship, baptisms and giving (http://bit.ly/1quCjdM). It seems as though Christian affiliation on the US, as a whole is in decline, not just progressive denominations. All Christian bodies need to find ways to get in touch with the Spirit and to find ways to share its transformative effect.

And as to blindspot two, I welcome any movement that brings the Body of Christ closer to unity.

Jon White

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jon and Ron
I have deliberately appended a question mark to the word 'Blindspot' because each blindspot is arguable, I may have my own blindspot and I am mindful of a saying of Jesus about speck/log!

Yes, not all c.e. churches are growing, that includes here Down Under. Nevertheless, here (and I imagine in the States) where churches are 'bucking the trend' they are nearly always conservative churches (that includes conservative Catholic as well as conservative evangelical).

Yes, understanding of 'Anglican' is in flux; formal membership of the AC is not determined by Primates; etc BUT if one day ACNA is formally admitted as a member of AC, historians will chart its progress according to moments such as the one I link to.

Kurt said...

The website “Anglicans Online” has given a pretty good definition of what it takes to be considered a part of the Anglican Communion:

“To be part of [the Anglican Communion], a church must have a formal relation with the See of Canterbury. It is entirely possible for a church to be in full communion with the Anglican Church without being in the Anglican Communion. It is also entirely possible for a church to be completely Anglican in heritage and origin, but for it not to be in communion with the See of Canterbury.”

The website goes on to list a number of Anglican denominations throughout the world that are not members of the Anglican Communion, including the ACNA. The ACNA has no chance of “replacing” TEC as the official province of the Anglican Communion in the United States. Neither do the score or more of other Anglican denominations which inhabit “the continuum.” Nevertheless, I—and many other Episcopalians—are open to granting some kind of affiliated status to continuing Anglican groups—including ACNA—if they meet a minimum criteria of fellowship.

Given the fact that Archbishop Welby has publicly stated that he is willing to “engage in dialogue” with potential “ecumenical partners,” and that he has a “commitment to reconciliation” and to “visible unity,” why not engage with the entire spectrum of Anglican groups, not just the ACNA? Why not attempt to bring as many of the “continuing” Anglican denominations into broader fellowship as well? What about the Reformed Episcopal Church? What about the Anglican Orthodox Church, or Apostolic Episcopal Church, or the Evangelical Anglican Church in America? Surely these groups , and others in “the continuum” are just as Anglican/Episcopal as the ACNA.

The minimum criteria of partnership that I (and others) have proposed would be Table Fellowship. The American Episcopal Church already permits members of other Christian denominations who have been baptized, and who receive the Holy Communion in their own churches, to receive the Blessed Sacrament from Episcopal altars. If the continuing Anglican denominations—including ACNA—agree to inter-communion with TEC, I certainly would have no problem welcoming them as Associate Members of the Anglican Communion.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt
I welcome your clarity and charity!

As I understand what is going on, the following possibilities are in the mix of where we might end up:

(1) The present situation continues.

(2) The Anglican Communion splits, with TEC and ACCan in one part and ACNA in the other (which, incidentally, would be the largest form of the AC).

(3) To avoid a split, TEC and ACCan bow to majority rule and accept ACNA as a full member church of the Communion.

Note, crucially, here, that GAFCON and Global South primates are only offering the 'olive branch' to ACNA and not to other Anglican acronyms.

Jean said...

Gosh Kurt you folk have so many Anglican branches you could start your own communion! : )

Father Ron Smith said...

Kurt's point is well-noted. ACNA has been formed - like other ex-Anglican groups in North America - by breaking away from an Anglican Communion partner (TEC). Whatever the primates of GAFCON and the G.S. might say about the situation, ACNA is clearly in a state of intentional schism from the formal ACC constitution.

When Peter suggests that non-G.S. ACC members are no longer the majority of Anglicans in the world; I believe he begs the question of which of the two parties - ACC or GAFCON-GS - is truly 'Anglican'. One may surely suppose that those provinces in koinonia Eucharistic Fellowship with the Canterbury Primacy have the edge on the legal and moral claim to be truly 'Anglican'. Those provinces that have refused to take an active part in the ACC Primates meetings and other Instruments of Communion may have some difficulty in claiming active membership of the ACC.

With Rome's inclination nowadays to accept that sexual-orientation may be considered 'normal' and therefore not fundamentally 'disordered'; this may render the matter of gay partnerships (on which ACNA, GAFCON and the G.S. have distanced themselves from the rest of us in the Communion) to be a question of adiaphora, rather then a serious doctrinal matter.

If Rome - still the major Christian denomination - were no longer to consider homosexuality a perversion of human nature, where would this leave the rigorists like ACNA and GAFCON in their insistence on conformity to out-dated doctrinal attitudes to gay people - on which they have based their severance from the ACC Instruments? They can hardly claim to be the sole representatives of Anglicanism. In effect, they may have become just one more denominational sect.

Jean said...

In response:

a) I believe Archbishop Welby has re-asserted he is not the sole decision maker (e.g. he is not pope) in the Anglican Communion and that any decisions will be made by all primates so interesting times ahead.

b) Ah justification by works or faith. Not too up to the speed on Catholic theology, however, a good Calvin and Hobbs cartoon quote today, "What I believe in my heart I do". Justification by faith alone because none can be made righteous, not one, except by faith in the One who is our righteousness. However, 'if we truly believe in our hearts that Christ is Lord' then obedience in our actions is a natural consequence, inseperable from genuine belief. If a man truly loves his wife the evidence is of this is shown in how he treats her.

It is my belief good works as referred to in the bible may be more diverse/spirit-infused than what are termed good works in a secular sense (e.g. loving our enemies, witnessing to the gospel, forgiveness are as much good works in a biblical sense as is the more commonly referred to social service actions such feeding the poor).

3) Sure lots of common ground between Catholics and Anglican's especially on the grassroots level. The only difference I really notice is attendance as a sense of duty? seems to be higher in local Catholic Churches. Also of course seeing Mary as divine or human. All that aside one day the theory are the top echelon will catch up with what is happening on the ground as individual parishes of different denominations work more closely together as 'the church'.

4) However one may want it to be. My obervations concur with Peter's. Of the churches I have known or visited it is the more conservative or moderate conservative ones which are growing and flourishing, independent of the denomination. Why is a good million dollar question to dig deeper into : )

Father Ron Smith said...

Regarding Peter's and Jean's insistence that it is the protestant conservative churches that are thriving; here is the state of play in the U.S., where the largest denomination in this category - the Southern Baptists- would seem to be losing ground, not gaining converts. Tap into this link:

In Alabama, the religiously 'unaffiliated' now surpasses this major religious group

Kurt said...

“Gosh Kurt you folk have so many Anglican branches you could start your own communion! : )”

It certainly looks that way, doesn’t it, Jean!? :) But such multiplicity of denominations is not unusual here. Remember, America is the *original* land of Freedom of Religion, and there are over 310 recognized religious denominations in the United States—and more that are not “recognized!” Most major schools of Christian religious thought (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, etc.) have numerous independent bodies. Besides us Anglicans/Episcopalians, there are more than 30 Lutheran denominations in America; more than 20 different Methodist bodies; over 30 separate Baptist churches; and there are more than 25 independent Presbyterian denominations here as well.

Some of the Anglican “continuing churches” in North America have associates Down Under that you may not be aware of, Jean, such as the Anglican Catholic Church, Anglican Episcopal Church International, and Anglican Independent Communion.

Father Ron is right to emphasize that The Episcopal Church is the only official province of the Anglican Communion in the United States. And the Anglican Church of Canada is the only official province there. The ACNA—and many of the other churches in the Anglican “continuum”—were formed as the result of schisms from TEC and ACofC. Our dialogues with these independent denominations should focus on reconciliation— at least to the point where Table Fellowship becomes a reality. We can then discuss the status of ACNA, REC, ACA, etc. within the Anglican Communion. It goes without saying that none of these extra-Communion religious bodies will receive a standing that is not approved by the actual Anglican provinces in North America—The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

And Fr. Ron is also right to point out that ALL mainline American Christian denominations are losing members—conservative denominations as well as liberal. This is a result of a major paradigm shift in the United States which began more than 30 years ago, largely stimulated by the involvement of right-wing Evangelical groups in controversial political issues. More and more Americans—particularly young people—are leaving organized religion altogether. This includes large numbers of youth brought up in Evangelical denominations.

Organizations such as the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which have been generously funded by right-wing American plutocrats, have done their best over the past three decades to exacerbate divisions not only within the Episcopal Church, but also within the leading Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. Churches as well. The IRD is part of the problem, not part of the solution, Peter.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Ben said...

Hi Ron, it is more that where there is church growth, it tends to be in more conservative/moderate churches notwithstanding there are places where there is a decline in numbers or no growth. Blessings, Jean

Jean said...

Ha, ha too early was thinking of a 'Ben' hence the wrong name in my last post sorry!!!

kURT said...

“…it is more that where there is church growth, it tends to be in more conservative/moderate churches notwithstanding there are places where there is a decline in numbers or no growth. Blessings, Jean”

In the United States, at least, this may be a function of internal migration shifts (i.e., population moves from the Northeast to the Southwest.)

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

MichaelA said...

Kurt quotes from a web-site:

“To be part of [the Anglican Communion], a church must have a formal relation with the See of Canterbury."

That's a nice assertion Kurt, but that's all it is. In fact, there is no such requirement and the author of Anglicansonline is just stating his personal desires.

The Primates at the investiture of Foley Beach have as much right to state who is in the Anglican Communion as ++Welby does.

MichaelA said...

"Father Ron is right to emphasize that The Episcopal Church is the only official province of the Anglican Communion in the United States. And the Anglican Church of Canada is the only official province there."

Hi Kurt, there are no "official provinces of the Anglican Communion", except to the extent that other provinces choose to recognise them. TEC and ACoC are recognised as "official" by some provinces, but not by others. ACNA it seems is now recognised as official by some provinces and not by others.

TEC and ACoC may be on a list in a drawer in an office at Lambeth Palace, but that only has meaning insofar as others recognise it. Some do; many don't.

Father Ron Smith said...

Despite Michael A's insistence that "there are no 'official provinces of the Anglican Communion'; there is the important fact that only the archbishop of Canterbury can invite Anglican bishops to take part in a Lambeth Conference - the official Communion 'parliament'.

Gafcon, for instance, is not in a position to decide whom the ABC could - or should- in invite to that official convocation of Anglican bishops and primates. GAFCON is an 'ad hoc' group that is not recognized by the ACC as having any official influence on Anglican Church polity or doctrine. It set itself up as a group separate from the ACC, with a contrary declaration of doctrine and polity (the 'Jerusalem Statement', which has no official standing in the ACC.

MichaelA said...

"a Lambeth Conference - the official Communion 'parliament'."

No, it isn't. It is neither "official" (it has never been granted or ceded any status) nor a "Parliament" (it is merely a meeting of bishops which the ABC calls from time to time, but without power to decide anything).

"GAFCON is an 'ad hoc' group that is not recognized by the ACC"

Since recognition by the ACC also means nothing, why should anyone care?

[Don't get me wrong Fr Ron - if you wish to see the ACC as important in some way, you are most welcome to do so. Same for Lambeth Conferences. Its a free world]

Kurt said...

“TEC and ACoC may be on a list in a drawer in an office at Lambeth Palace, but that only has meaning insofar as others recognise it. Some do; many don't.”

Well, MichaelA, since both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada were historically instrumental in founding the Anglican Communion in 1865-1867, that’s probably about as “official” a list as one can get, don’t you think?

“The Primates at the investiture of Foley Beach have as much right to state who is in the Anglican Communion as ++Welby does.”

Sorry, Michael, that’s not the way it works. Being in communion with a church that is in communion with Canterbury does not make a denomination a member of the Anglican Communion. TEC and ACofC are both formally recognized as being in communion with Canterbury, ACNA, REC, ACA etc., are not—even if they are (schismatic) Anglicans.

Frankly, I could care less who or what Abuja or Kampala is in communion with; their hierarchies are complicit in the murderous repression of some of their own people. They can claim whatever numbers they want, but most Anglicans in the West probably couldn’t find Abuja or Kampala on a map if asked. (I’m sure these folks would come a lot closer when trying to point out the location of Canterbury. Or, the locations of New York and Toronto, for that matter.) Those foreign primates have zero authority in TEC or the ACofC, the only Anglican churches in North America that are members of the Anglican Communion.

As I have noted many members of TEC and ACoC are willing to give groups such as REC or ACNA some kind of associate status within the Anglican Communion, provided they meet a minimum criteria of fellowship as outlined above. We will expect no less consideration if (more likely, when) there are breakaway churches from Nigeria, Uganda, et. al., whose views are more in harmony with most Western Anglicans.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt and Ron
I am sure Michael understands the points you make very well. If the Anglican Communion is about forms and a rule book, then you are right.

I understand the point he is making to not be about that at all. In my view he is talking about the reality of recognition. Who recognises whom to be Anglican? Who is prepared to sit down with whom at a table of fellowship and discussion and agree that it is an 'Anglican' occasion?

As soon as that recognition involves a majority of provinces recognising ACNA and/or as soon as the Lambeth Conference becomes an occasion in which fewer provinces gather than for GAFCON or for Global South, then the effective power and prestige of global Anglicanism will have passed from the AC.

At that point what will the ABC choose to do?

liturgy said...

"lots of common ground between Catholics and Anglican's ... The only difference I really notice is ... seeing Mary as divine or human." Jean

This is surprising. As RC doctrine is clear, and Anglicans can often end up believing the weirdest things, and RCs are clear Mary is not divine, Jean you must be referring to a very unusual Anglican parish that has people thinking that Mary is divine?

Blessings

Bosco

Kurt said...

“As soon as that recognition involves a majority of provinces recognising ACNA and/or as soon as the Lambeth Conference becomes an occasion in which fewer provinces gather than for GAFCON or for Global South, then the effective power and prestige of global Anglicanism will have passed from the AC.”

What makes you think, Peter (and Michael, et. al.) that mere numbers count for so much? If it were just a question of numbers of Christians, we would all still be under the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

You don’t seriously think, Peter, that the majority of British Anglicans (or the majority of other British Christians for that matter) care a fig what the Archbishops of Abuja or Kampala think about women clergy or gay people, do you? You don’t honestly believe that the British public is going to change their minds about women bishops and gay clergy because Abuja or Kampala don’t like them, do you? To ask the question is to answer it.

What if British public opinion forces the Archbishop of Canterbury to shun Abuja and Kampala? Or, if the British government directs that Canterbury break relations with them because they are complicit in human rights violations? What then?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt,

I am not talking about individual Anglicans but about 38 provinces and what happens when 20+ of them recognise one thing rather than another. At that point we have gone well beyond a few African provinces with bad human rights records. If the ABC wishes to lead a minority rump AC that would be her or his choice.

Kurt said...

“At that point we have gone well beyond a few African provinces with bad human rights records. If the ABC wishes to lead a minority rump AC that would be her or his choice.”

No, Peter, at that point those churches will have ceased to be part of the Anglican Communion and would be part of something else. At that point, too, any restraints that Western Anglicans have placed upon themselves in terms of discouraging splits from the Global South will have ceased as well…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn

Peter Carrell said...

Yes, Kurt, but what significance will 'the Anglican Communion' have if it is a minority, Northern hemisphere centred grouping of Anglican churches?

Jean said...

No I am not Bosco but you never know.... Forgive my theological ineptitude, admitting as I did my knowledge of Catholic theology is limited.

As a layperson I have always perceived the treatment of Catholic's of Mary the Mother of Jesus as divine (more godly than human) as she is often prayed to - for refuge, as an advocate for sinners, or in thanksgiving as the 'Queen of Heaven'.

My terminology may be incorrect, I was merely noting this is not something I find within the Anglican Church. It poses no particular barrier to me, I have found all Catholics I know to hold Jesus as God's son and as His salvation as the core Gospel message - the most crucial aspect of unifying churches in my mind.

Blessings, Jean

Jean said...

From what I comprehend:

Yes it appears primates are invited to Lambeth, or into the Anglican Communion at present by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the same time the Archbishop, referring to the Lambeth Conference as a democracy, has stated he will leave it up to a vote by all primates as to whether the conference goes ahead. And at present ACNA is not "officially" a member of the Anglican Communion. However, tides do change and they may one day be so. As Kurt points out reconciliation is a good thing.

I would not be too hard on Uganda's Anglican Church or take lightly their endorsement of other Christians. They are a member of the Anglican Communion They have weathered persecution as a church, by Idi Amin, and personal attacks on members by the Lords Resistance Army. They have a combined congregation of 8 million. And although numbers are not everything no doubt we will see a few of them in heaven.

Yes, they are clear on their perspective on homosexual practice as being sinful, however, they do not support draconian laws; so their views, whether one agrees with them or not, are not so different from those held by many christians in western countries:

NB:
The Church of Uganda is encouraged by the work of Uganda’s Parliament in amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, to reduce sentencing guidelines through a principle of proportionality, and to remove the clause on reporting homosexual behaviour, as we had recommended in our 2010 position statement on the Bill. This frees our clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of our House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”

MichaelA said...

Hi Peter,

That is part of it. However, my real point is that "the Anglican Communion" is not an organisation and it never was. It is a theological concept.

It has no corporate existence, no constitution, and nobody owns the name "the Anglican Communion".

Its like "the Communion of the Saints" - a theological concept that nobody owns.

Lambeth Conferences are voluntary meetings that have no authority of themselves, whether by canon law, agreement of the participants, or tradition. The Archbishop of Canterbury has no power to decide who is or isn't in the Anglican Communion - of course he can express his opinion as the Primate of England and others may or may not agree with him. So can other Primates or anyone else for that matter.

MichaelA said...

Kurt wrote,

"...since both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada were historically instrumental in founding the Anglican Communion in 1865-1867..."

No they weren't. Neither they nor any other body purported to found anything.

"Sorry, Michael, that’s not the way it works. Being in communion with a church that is in communion with Canterbury does not make a denomination a member of the Anglican Communion"

Kurt, if you are going to respond to me, could you please respond to what I write, not to things I didn't write? I never suggested this, nor do I care about it.

"TEC and ACofC are both formally recognized as being in communion with Canterbury..."

By whom? And in any case, you write as though I see this as having some relevance to who is in the Anglican Communion - I don't. Nor do millions of other Anglicans.

"Those foreign primates have zero authority in TEC or the ACofC"

Of course. And nor do TEC, ACoC or Canterbury have any authority in other Provinces. We already know this.

"... the only Anglican churches in North America that are members of the Anglican Communion"

I have already said that you are more than welcome to believe this. But you have no right to expect or require others to agree with you.

"many members of TEC and ACoC are willing to give groups such as REC or ACNA some kind of associate status within the Anglican Communion"

That's nice of them, but I doubt that REC or ACNA will care.

"You don’t seriously think, Peter, that the majority of British Anglicans (or the majority of other British Christians for that matter) care a fig what the Archbishops of Abuja or Kampala think about women clergy or gay people, do you?"

Since no-one has suggested this, why are you arguing with a straw man? The point is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has ZERO authority over who other Primates choose to recognise as members of the Anglican Communion.

"What if British public opinion forces the Archbishop of Canterbury to shun Abuja and Kampala?"

Nothing, that I can think of. Why would any province care if Canterbury "shunned" them?

"No, Peter, at that point those churches will have ceased to be part of the Anglican Communion and would be part of something else."

No they won't, because TEC, ACoC, Canterbury etc have zero power to decide who is in the Anglican Communion.

Father Ron Smith said...

" Peter Carrell said...
Yes, Kurt, but what significance will 'the Anglican Communion' have if it is a minority, Northern hemisphere centred grouping of Anglican churches?"

Peter, you have have forgotten this important saying of Jesus: "Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst" My understandigf of the Body of Christ, the Church, is that it is not shackled to any human dogmatic formulation, but solely by baptismal membership. Thus, whatever part of the Church we happen to reside in - as baptized members - there is the Church Catholic. If Messrs: Peter Jensen and other assorted primates or other ex-primates of the disparate provinces of the Anglican Communion wish to separate out from the officially established 'Instruments of Unity' as agreed by the constituent members, then that is their private business. However, they cannot presume to have 'taken over' the official Instruments of Communion. They become an entirely different (conservative) sect of the Body of Christ, no longer relating organically with their parent Church body.

Anglican provenance requires a somewhat more flexible pastoral polity than GAFCON - simply in order to carry out the mission of the gospel - which is to ALL people, not just the holy and good, who may not see the need of their own redemption..

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
We are not talking about the catholic with a small c church, on which you are entirely correct.

We are talking about the word 'Anglican' with particular reference to the phrase 'Anglican Communion' on which Jesus said nothing and about which everything is determined by human decision making.

There is no point to any current Anglican Instrument of Communion Unity if , say, 28 provinces peel off and form a new global Anglican entity. The 10 remaining provinces would have so much in common an Instrument of Unity would be redundant!

carl jacobs said...

The vehemence with which progressive religion clings to the organization is striking. In the absence of any doctrinal coherence or content, it would seem the organization is the only unifying principle - the only thing that ties it to historic Christianity. It's as if its entire legitimacy hangs upon that one fragile hook.

It's an illusion of security, of course. Like a child clutching a blanket in the night.

carl

MichaelA said...

"...wish to separate out from the officially established 'Instruments of Unity' as agreed by the constituent members..."

Except that these things never happened. That is my point Fr Ron, a simple factual one:

* No Instruments of Unity have ever been "officially established".

* The constituent members have never "agreed" on the establishment of the Anglican Communion.

As Peter rightly points out, this does not mean that any person or group are not Christian or cannot fall within our Lord's point concerning "where two or three are gathered in my name..."

Father Ron Smith said...

"There is no point to any current Anglican Instrument of Communion Unity if , say, 28 provinces peel off and form a new global Anglican entity. The 10 remaining provinces would have so much in common an Instrument of Unity would be redundant!" - Peter Carrell -

In the very same way, Peter, as Gafcon has drummed up the 'Jerusalem Statement' as its 'Instrument of Unity'! But the J.S. has nothing to connect it with traditional Anglicanism - except its connection with those who have chosen another 'Instrument of Unity'.

Gafcon cannot automatically assume a take-over of Anglicanism - especially when it has repudiated the Anglican Instruments of Unity. It becomes merely another Con/Evo sect of Christianity, like ACNA or AMIE. The fact that it might have more adherents than the Anglican Communion doesn't make it any more 'Anglican'. - Just bigger! This might be just another case where 'Small is (more) beautiful'.

Kurt said...

“Yes, Kurt, but what significance will 'the Anglican Communion' have if it is a minority, Northern hemisphere centered grouping of Anglican churches?”

That is a very odd question—to me, anyway—Peter. What “significance” does it have today? Anyway, what makes you think that Third World churches, including Global South provinces, would not be members of both the Anglican Communion and the “GAFCON Communion” or whatever it might call itself? Why do you assume that—if and when push comes to shove—some Global South provinces won’t prefer to remain in communion with Canterbury? Even if they continue to have serious disagreements on some issues with the CofE, TEC, ACofC, ACANZP, etc? The Global South churches are not all of one mind on all topics, and many of them rank “holiness” and “purity” issues differently in importance than do others.

“Who recognises whom to be Anglican? Who is prepared to sit down with whom at a table of fellowship and discussion and agree that it is an 'Anglican' occasion?”

As a former Vestryman, Clerk of the Vestry, Church Warden and now member of the Bishop’s Committee, one hears many interesting things. Regarding your particular question, this is particularly true in New York City, which among other things, hosts the National Offices of The Episcopal Church.

I’m fairly sure, Peter, that you would agree it would ill behoove both the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church to approve of, encourage, or lend material support to dissident movements within certain GAFCON provinces—even those opposed to primates who have refused to kneel as sinners (saved by Grace) at the foot of the Holy Table when some other sinners (saved by Grace) are also present. After all, both North American provinces are complaining about cross-border meddling in their internal affairs by foreign prelates. For them to engage in similar behavior would be hypocritical, to say the least. Canterbury would also be, shall we say, displeased…

…However, the situation could change drastically, as you suggest. If particular Global South provinces were to denounce Canterbury “as bad or worse than ACoC and TEC,” and openly exit stage right, things could rather rapidly become more interesting for them. I’m sure that I’m not giving away any confidences when I write this.

What reasons for restraint would Western Anglicans then have in dealing with those breakaway groups? After all, most rapidly growing organizations (which they claim to be) generally do not have leaders who all think alike (however much there is a façade of “unity.”) Sociologically speaking, that personal charisma is often an important aspect in a particular leader’s appeal. People of independent attitude are often elevated to positions of power within such groups. This process can often cause internal conflict, personal jalousies, personality tensions, etc. If Western Anglicans were to actively to approve of, encourage, and lend material support to internal groupings in former AC provinces which are more friendly to them, what is the down side? At the very least it would convey the message that what is good for the Western Anglican goose is also good for the GAFCON gander. It might make some people think twice before they “mess with us.”

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY



Kurt said...

“Kurt, if you are going to respond to me, could you please respond to what I write, not to things I didn't write? I never suggested this, nor do I care about it.”

I was responding to what appears to me to be implied in your logic, Michael. If I made a mistake, I apologize.

“However, my real point is that "the Anglican Communion" is not an organisation and it never was. It is a theological concept.”

I would agree with you, Michael, that the Anglican Communion has never been a “World Church.” But to claim it has never been an “organization” I think is a bit bizarre. A non-organization (a “theological concept,” in fact) meeting for 150 years seems a bit much, don’t you think? Besides, not all organizations have constitutions and bylaws. The United States has a written Constitution (1787), the UK does not; nevertheless, the Brits insist they have one. The ACC, however, does in fact have a Constitution. Look it up if it interests you.

“That's nice of them [possible Associate Member status], but I doubt that REC or ACNA will care.”

Are you so sure about that? Not too long ago the REC, for example, was very distressed and pained that we—and most other Anglicans—would not even recognize their clergy to be in Holy Orders. (Some people at Moore Theological College may have extended such recognition, however.)

“The point is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has ZERO authority over who other Primates choose to recognise as members of the Anglican Communion.”

He also has ZERO authority over those people who believe in flying saucers. Remember, however, that the CofE is a state church. This status comes with certain privileges, but also concomitant responsibilities. The British public does not take kindly to human rights violators, even if they are Africans or South Asians calling themselves “Anglicans.” They will not tolerate an Archbishop of Canterbury who tolerates such groups.

“…TEC, ACoC, Canterbury etc have zero power to decide who is in the Anglican Communion.”

I would agree with you, Michael, that neither Canterbury, nor New York, nor Toronto, etc. have any power to say who is or who is not “Anglican” or “Episcopal.” However, as written, I think your sentence is ridiculous. Even a loose fellowship such as the Anglican Communion has membership criteria, (even the local coffee klatch does!) be they rules formal or informal.

Kurt Hill
Enjoying the beautiful foliage in
Brooklyn, NY

Kurt said...

I meant "personal jealousies," of course! Write in haste, repent at leisure.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt
I think I have said that the status quo continuing is one possibility!

I quite agree that if some grouping of the AC, no matter how large, breaks off, then if those who remain in good conscience cannot agree with the reasons for breaking then, so be it, the rump is what it is, a faithful remnant etc.

I am trying to tease out a slightly different angle: just as the prospect of execution focuses the mind of the one about to be executed, can the AC facing the prospect of schism ask itself whether there is another way?

Father Ron Smith said...

"[Don't get me wrong Fr Ron - if you wish to see the ACC as important in some way, you are most welcome to do so. Same for Lambeth Conferences. Its a free world]"

Having carefully read through the thread again, I am considering MichaelA's statement here - purely on grounds of his taking part in a conversation purporting to be taking place in the context of an "Anglican Church web-site - A.D.U.

Presumably our Host, Dr. Peter Carrell, priest and educational Enabler in the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch, is not averse to thinking that he is an integral partner in the organisation - Anglicanism - whose validity you may seem to be questioning here, MichaelA; I am not sure of the point you are trying to make.

As a fellow Anglican, with Peter, I am concerned that the Church in which we both are a part, stays together in an organic unity that will curvive the current differences that have been brought about by schismatic activity on the part of some of its constituents.

If Peter and I were not on the same page - believing that our Anglican tradition was of some value to the Body of Christ - we would not be discussing the prospect of it staying together.

It is comments such a yours, here, that would seem to be welcoming of schismatic activity that diverts the impact of the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel.

Father Ron Smith said...

I guess, Peter, the intentional schismatics will have to bear the real consequences of that real possibility.

The rest of us, at least, will maintain our unity with one another. We who relate to one another eucharistically can still claim to be 'One Bread, One Body' because we all partake of the One Bread - with each other.

"How good and wonderful a thing it is brethren, to dwell together in unity".