Monday, April 20, 2015

Is GAFCON founded on the truth, the whole truth (of all Anglican life) and nothing but the truth?

Nick Baines makes two very, very good points in this post.

Responding to criticism of the Church of England in the recent GAFCON Primates' Communique, Bishop Nick observes:

(1) Most of the Church of England most of the time is going about the business of sharing the gospel, baptising new Christians and making disciples but you would not know this from the Communique.

(2) Most Anglican bishops, hearing stories of a bishop or bishops in the Province of X stealing funds (or other calumnies), do not make global statements about Province of X being a church which is 'unfaithful' to the gospel.

In short, GAFCON could find, should find a greater appreciation within itself for the complexities of church life and for the everyday faithfulness to Jesus of most Anglicans most of the time.


73 comments:

John sandeman said...

I see a parallel between the early days of revolutionary Russia and some of what is happening in the anglican Communion.
There were two revolutionary marxist parties in the Duma, just as there are (broadly speaking) two groups of evangelicals in the anglican Communion.
The Mensheviks wanted to work with other parties in the Duma, such as the liberal bourgeoisie, while the Bolsheviks wanted a more exclusive and revolutionary party.
Justin Welby and the majority in England seem to me to be Mensheviks in this scenario. "Reform" is the Bolshevik grouping.

Mensheviks will always be more polite than Bolsheviks.

Peter Carrell said...

There is definitely a parallel, John (though might we agree to push it no further than, say, about 1922? I don't want to think about an Anglican Stalin, let alone who Putin might be ...).

Of course in my post I am raising the question of 'truth' as much as of 'politeness'!

John Sandeman said...

The diocesan growth figures for the CofE are relevant to the truth question you raise, comrade Peter. In the same period, the diocese of London increased church attendance by ten per cent, while Southwark south of the river decreased by a similar amount.
The Menshevik forces (Holy Trinity Brompton and others) are give full rein in the London diocese, while the Liberal Social Cadets (Liberals) have influence in the south.
So in giving a picture of the CofE getting on with the job of mission is Commissar Baines talking about the whole church, or just part of it?
In giving a pessimistic account , the Gafcon Bolsheviki might be ignoring good work by the Mensheviks, but might also be telling some truth about a church in decline.
I have always had a soft spot for Kerensky.

Peter Carrell said...

Likewise, John, re Kerensky.

In a church of 42 dioceses I imagine the spread of fruitful growing parishes and barren declining parishes is something of a patchwork quilt, albeit with the odd diocese such as London being a particularly bright patch.

Are the liberals analogous to the White Russians? Resistant to both Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, intent on restoring the old hegemony ...?

John sandeman said...

Good point. Which means further back the liberals were the courtiers and the Tsar who thought they could run things forever. Lambeth 1998 becomes the 1905 Revolt.
I fear some of your more liberal commentators will find this schema a little rude.

In the patchwork quilt the evidence suggests the bright patches are Menshevik and Bolshevik.

Father Ron Smith said...

I think Bishop Nick Baines is getting at the truth of the situation in England. He is working very hard in a situation where democracy is much more evident than in places like Kenya and Uganda. For the Gafcon Primates to believe that their conservative sola-scriptura religion will gain them converts in the more liberal ethos of the U.K. seems pretty futile.

Horse for courses may really be the 'name of the game'. And where the Gospel charism of Love is rejected for reasons of self-promotion in the area of righteousness; hot-button takeover bids just might not cut the mustard.

Do not the Gafcon Primates have enough trouble with injustice in their own countries? Why are they trying to import it to other Anglican areas? The problem for me is that they are doing this in 'the Name of Jesus Christ!'

Andrew Reid said...

Dear Peter,

Bishop Nick makes a number of fair points and he may well be right about the events in the UK - I don't know enough about them to comment.

However, he deliberately underplays two things:
- The extent to which the orthodox faith has been undermined and even abandoned in the global Communion.
- The extent of marginalisation, attacks and persecution of orthodox Anglicans in the global Communion.

To pretend that these are aberrations or distortions is just wrong.

As for the comment about money, many of the GAFCON Bishops are worse off because they refuse to take money from TEC on theological grounds.

I'll leave you with this paraphrase (ie not an exact quote, I wasn't transcribing the sermon) from the ABC's sermon in Cairo last night (from 1 John 1). 'The main problem in our Communion is too many people think their side is without sin, and only the other side is sinful.'

Best wishes,
Andrew

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Your comment is getting close to being not published: please take care about speculative judgments of fellow Christians.

The point of what the GAFCON PRimates are doing (re England) is not to impose or introduce some form of Anglicanism originating from outside of England but to support and encourage that which is already within the life of CofE, i.e. existing conservative Anglican church life.

Yes, the GAFCON Primates have troubles in their own countries, but is that reason for their standing by when they believe they have something to offer fellow Anglicans in other countries? (On that logic the imperfect nations of Australia and NZ should never have embarked on their Gallipoli foray!)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrew
Nice point from the ABC!
'Persecution' of the orthodox is a strong accusation: does it really stack up? (That is a question +Nick is raising).
Yes, I wish we had a more robust debate about the state of 'orthodoxy' in the Communion (by which, for other commenters tempted to comment, I mean the way we approach debates about creedal matters rather than the specific questions of human sexuality). For too long - as I have often lamented here - we have had one way Western traffic on the highway to doubts about the key beliefs of Christianity.

Money: it is not an argument that rebuts +Nick's point to talk about lack any longer of TEC's funds. If bishops have been corrupt that should be faced and not avoided by referring to TEC's funding no longer being received.

tachesterton said...

Peter, I think Bishop Nick's post is right on the money and I thank you for sharing it. I particularly enjoyed this quote:

'The Church of England is investing a huge amount of time and energy into re-shaping its agenda. Not in order to bolster the institution, but in order to get us back (amid a million claims on attention) to our core vocation: to make and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ; to grow disciples who pray into ministers who evangelise; to shape churches that give themselves away in serving their communities.'

Yes, that's what we're called to do. Sadly, at the moment we spend so much time and energy discussing Anglican institutions and para-church bodies, alternative episcopal oversight etc. etc. etc. while missing out on the crucial issues. What is the Gospel? What does a disciple look like in the contemporary world and how does this impact our daily behaviour (called anyone 'raca' lately?)? What is the life of a Christian congregation meant to look like, and how is it related to the teaching of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount? Where do we see signs that the gospel is being effectively proclaimed and new disciples are being made, and what can we learn from them?

I do not think that mainstream Anglicanism in the west has been particularly robust in its answers to these questions. But I don't think the Africans have either.

Tim Chesterton

Father Ron Smith said...

"As for the comment about money, many of the GAFCON Bishops are worse off because they refuse to take money from TEC on theological grounds."

- Andrew Reid -

Come, come, Andrew. Did you not realise that the Gafcon Primates have a better source of wealth than that offered by TEC? How do you think they can afford the great rallying conferences they are attending around the world - from their own base on endemic poverty?

The vast amount of wealth that has raised up the ACNA 'province' in North America has helped to spawn this conservative uprising.

I wonder who paid for the G.Primates to visit their surrogate faith system in England, the A.M.i.E?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I suggest it worth distinguishing between cobbling a few pennies together for airline tickets and gaining funding for programmes of outreach, social service and medical work.

I suggest more has been lost in the second category than has been gained in the first category. (That's an observation not a judgment on what has/has not happened re intra Communion support of ministries).

MichaelA said...

According to Peter, Bishop Nick Baines' article makes "very, very good points". Before looking at the detail of what he writes and the claims he makes against others, I suggest looking at why he wrote the article.

This becomes apparent in the first two paragraphs, and the way in which he does NOT allude to the current controversy in the CofE, in which he is involved. Yet anyone who pays even a little attention to British ecclesiastical affairs can see it.

The bishops of the Church of England (with +Baines heavily involved, as would be expected of a bishop of his seniority) have issued a series of reports with the aim of remaking the governance of the Church of England. This includes such measures as raiding the Church Commissioners' fund for £100 million for new methods of leadership training. This has been highly controversial, and it has nothing to do with Gafcon.

Note for example this recent critique by Alister McGrath. As anyone who reads around liberal English blogs will know, his views are echoed by many from all spectrums of the CofE:

"When the Green report and RME are read together, they point towards a "reimagining" of the Church as an institution or organisation rather than as the people of God. The understanding of the Church as the "body of Christ" is being displaced by corporate and technocratic concerns, in which the promotion of the well-being of an institution, and compliance with its culture seem to take priority over the gospel itself."

See: http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2015/17-april/comment/opinion/it-s-the-theology-stupid

Here is another critique, but there have been literally scores of critical articles over the last few months: http://revmarkhart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/from-delusion-to-reality.html

The first two paragraphs of Bishop Nick's article indicate that the real point of it is to deflect criticism of the work of himself and his fellow bishops, which is coming from all quarters of the CofE. Gafcon is just a whipping boy, scape-goat or (to put it bluntly) a convenient distraction. In a subsequent post, if allowed, I will look at the detail of Bishop Baines' post and see just how much of it has any factual basis at all.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
A subsequent post will be welcomed.
But what you post above doesn't cut much bait with me!
I see the primary point +Nick makes as the simplicity of charging the CofE with unfaithfulness versus the complexity of the life of the CofE in which much faithfulness is to be found, a faithfulness which is not acknowledged in the Communique.

That the report you refer to is getting a bit of a hammering is true. What is not clear to me is that the CofE has anything to apologise for by seeking better governance/management of the CofE: it is a complex phenomenon [I have some personal experience having lived in England for 3.5 years] and I am sure it is always in need of both the RME/Green report AND the McGrath and other critics' points re the people of God etc.

So, no, I do not see Baines on GAFCON as having some 'real point' in deflecting criticism. The real point is whether the CofE's reality is summed up by the Communique or not.

Bryden Black said...

The delicious irony of the title of Alister McGrath’s piece in the Church Times should not escape us: “It’s the theology, stupid.” [Thanks MichaleA for the reference]

James Carville, Bill Clinton’s political strategist in the 1992 US Presidential election, placed a sign over his desk in the Little Rock headquarters in Arkansas: “It’s the economy, stupid!” For the original use of the word derives from the Greek word for “household”, with the administration of its affairs - leather work (Paul) or glass or carpentry (Joseph & Jesus) - being precisely the “economy” of that particular household.

So; when RME accentuates our derived and contemporary use of the word, rather than the first Christians’ borrowing of the classical word, applying it to the Gospel’s administration through the Church and its ministers, then the Report can only prompt a wry smile. Or perhaps an indignant sigh: today’s political highlighting of the economy at every turn has become in fact a source of idolatry ...

MichaelA said...

Looking at Bishop Baines' article in detail:

"You would never believe any of this from the communique issued following the meeting in England this week of the primates of what is known as Gafcon."

Really? I would challenge Nick Baines (or anyone who approves his article) to show me where in that communique that the Primates say so, even something similar. There are certainly some criticisms implicit in it, but they are limited, and nowhere can I see where the Primates deny or disagree with the things asserted by Bishop Baines in his preceding paragraphs.

"According to this group – which, despite statements to the contrary and consistent with behaviour that is inexplicable – the Church of England has abandoned the gospel of Jesus Christ and is “unfaithful”."

Really – where do they say so? For starters, neither of the words "abandon" or "unfaithful" appear anywhere in that communique, nor any synonym of them. Nor in fact are any such charges made.

"It is probably worth noting that the key words in the rhetoric of this conservative evangelical constituency are “gospel” and “faithful”. What is actually meant is that if you do not fit their narrow description of what the “gospel” is and who might be described as “faithful”, then you are fair game for being dismissed."

I see, so when anyone calls on Christians to be faithful to the gospel, they are casting aspersions on others? That knocks out most of the Christian world, and the authors of the Creeds, not to mention Christ and his Apostles. But more to the point, it is simply not true as a simple matter of grammar and logic.

And the Gafcon primates have not said anything about a narrow description of the gospel, nor about "dismissing" anyone.

It could only be true if Bishop Baines is asserting that every member of the Church of England is 100% faithful to Christian teaching. Given that at least one third of the population of England are members, and less than 2% of them attend church even once per month, I think it is a pretty safe bet that such a view is entirely deluded. Then there are clergy and bishops within the Church of England who openly call for it to disobey its own rules in many respects, and numerous CofE clergy who volubly and openly disagree with each other – is Bishop Baines really completely unaware of these things? When compared to this reality, the comments by the Gafcon primates are mild and restrained (a good deal more restrained than the comments regularly made by many of its own members and clergy, liberal and conservative).

"For a long time I have wondered if the Church of England ought not to be a little more robust in countering the misrepresentation and manipulation (of reality) that emanates from Gafcon."

Since he has not shown any such behaviour by Gafcon, perhaps Bishop Baines should work on his own issues with misrepresentation and manipulation of reality, before looking for the specks in others' eyes?

"(I was once asked in Central Africa why one has to be gay to be ordained in the Church of England. ...."

In context, this anecdote appears to be making a slur on the level of knowledge and education of Africans generally. Otherwise, what is its relevance? He doesn't suggest that this person was a member of Gafcon or anything other than a person from Central Africa.

And imagine the cries of outrage from +Baines if a similar method was used to prove something about Church of England bishops! "I met a man in Walton-on-Thames who said ..." (with apologies to my former neighbours in Walton-on-Thames!)

To be cont.

MichaelA said...

cont.

"Which means what – especially when they claim ‘gospel values’ and speak and behave in ways that do not reflect values of honesty, integrity and humility?"

So here we go again, a generalised slur, when he has not come up with single point of substance to support it. However, by his own writing he is indeed raising issues about honesty, integrity and humility.

"And on what basis is the bulk of the Church of England reported (within Gafcon circles) as being unfaithful?"

It is? By whom? Reported by whom, to whom? What are you going on about, your Grace?

And if there is someone, somewhere, at some time, who has made such a claim, what does this have to do with the Gafcon primates? For example, I have just read an exchange by two members of the Church of England on Thinking Anglicans blog, where they explain why the resurrection did not happen. So, by +Baines' logic, that proves that he and his fellow bishops teach the same? Imagine his howls of outrage if this were suggested! Yet he applies that methodology to other Christians, indeed to leaders of churches where people regularly face martyrdom for their faith.

"And what would be the response if I wrote off as “unfaithful” entire provinces of the Anglican Communion where there was evidence of corruption, love of power, financial unfaithfulness or other sins?"

Precisely – and since the Gafcon primates have not written anyone off, nor have they made any claim about an entire province being unfaithful, Bishop Nick Baines needs to learn some basic lessons about logic, rational thought, and common courtesy.

"Does the ninth Commandment still apply today, or only where convenient?"

I am similarly moved to ask the same question.

"They insinuate that some clergy and churches (decidedly congregations and not parishes – and thereby lies another issue) feel marginalised or fearful – treated like ‘pariahs’ according to Gafcon – so cannot be identified. Really? How pathetic."

This again is not in the communique so he must be referring to something else. But Bishop Baines' style and methodology in this article (indeed, in the quoted paragraph) are such that I would not be surprised if there are indeed members of the Church of England who are afraid to speak openly about their issues when he is around – and not just conservatives.

"I was once at a meeting of evangelical bishops in England when three English Gafcon men came to meet us..."

Here we go again. Its not just that there are no names, there is no detail at all. The late John Richardson (aka the Ugley Vicar) was proudly and publicly a member of FCA–UK (which I assume is what he means by "English Gafcon"). Was Ugley Vicar one of the three, who left Bishop Baines so outraged? That's a reasonable question considering the complete lack of any detail.

"We will not be distracted by people who selectively report, regularly misrepresent, manipulate truth and plough their own furrow."

I agree.

Many people (not just conservatives) think that the CofE's problems start with its senior leadership. Bishop Baines would do well to consider how articles like his affect that impression.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I have to commend your even-handedness on the question of Bishop Nick Baines' opposition to the Gafcon takeover bid in the U.K.

However, I do also accept that not everyone in the U.K. is happy with the thought of a more bureaucratic role of Church government. I agree that this sort of top-heavy domination of the organisation of the Church may prove to be counter-productive of spirituality.

The problem with both the new tendency in the Church of England to replace spiritual leadership with bureaucracy; and that of the Gafcon leadership to rely too much on the conservative spirituality of its archbishops; is that, in both cases, this can prove to be counter to the free movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church's governance and ethos.

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is - there is freedom".

MichaelA said...

"a faithfulness which is not acknowledged in the Communique."

The communique certainly implies that there are issues with the Church of England, but to extrapolate such criticism to "does not acknowledge the existence of faithfulness in the CofE" is unjustified. Using the same methodology, many of your own articles would be construed as failing to acknowledge any faithfulness in a number of other churches.

"I see the primary point +Nick makes as the simplicity of charging the CofE with unfaithfulness versus the complexity of the life of the CofE in which much faithfulness is to be found..."

That's the spin he is trying to put on this, I agree.

But firstly, the communique doesn't charge the CofE with unfaithfulness, except by those hyper-sensitive people who treat ANY criticism of a church as being a criticism of everyone in it.

Secondly, +Baines spends far more time defending the current measures being taken by the House of Bishops, which are highly controversial across the spectrum of the CofE, rather than defending faithfulness in the CofE generally.

"So, no, I do not see Baines on GAFCON as having some 'real point' in deflecting criticism. …"

No, even though his first two paragraphs are aimed at exactly that.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
I agree that +Nick has over-reached himself if he only has the GAFCON Communique of a few days ago in mind. I suggest he has a few other things said over the years beetling around his brain. I sympathise with him to this degree: sometimes I have seen things said in Australia by GAFCON-minded colleagues about life in my Diocese which seems greatly at variance with reality!

Back to the Communique. The key sentences, re the CofE, are these (in my view):

"We are particularly concerned about the Church of England and the drift of many from the Biblical faith. We do not regard the recent use of a Church of England building for a Muslim service as a minor aberration. These actions betray the gospel and discourage Christians who live among Muslims, especially those experiencing persecution.

We support Bishop John Ellison in resisting the unjust and uncharitable charges brought against him by the Bishop of Salisbury, and in view of the Great Commission, we note the sad irony that this former missionary bishop to South America now finds it necessary to defend himself for supporting missionary activity in his own country. We continue to encourage and support the efforts of those working to restore the Church of England’s commitment to Biblical truth. Equally, we authenticate and support the work of those Anglicans who are boldly spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and whose circumstances require operating outside the old, institutional structures."

That is a pretty searching criticism of the CofE.More searching, I suggest, than you give it credit for, not least because it 'authenticates and supports' the work of Anglicans who feel forced to operate outside the structure of the CofE. Over the years I have had a bit of a look into those Anglican congregations: I agree with Nick: they involve a definition of 'gospel' which is quite narrow (the more so if it cannot find room to move in the exceedingly broad CofE).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
Your 12.31 comment arrived after I made my 12.58 comment.

I like +Nick's first two paragraphs. They place in perspective what those changes are about: discipleship etc.

From my own experience of another Anglican church - my own here in NZ - I see great value in smarter governance and effective management in order that ministers of the gospel are set free to be, well, ministers of the gospel. So, no, I do not see anything inherently 'spinning' about +Nick's approach in the first two paragraphs or the whole of the post. He is making the simple point that things are better than critics are making out.

I underline what I said about at 12.58: the Communique is a searching critique of the CofE. I add to the comment this: it betrays no general appreciation of what is going well in the CofE.

Bryden Black said...

It might seem silly to weigh into this debate Peter, but using now John Sandeman’s categories, I wish only to point out one thing of real historical significance and so importance.

He says this: “The Menshevik forces (Holy Trinity Brompton and others) are given full rein in the London diocese.” While this is true nowadays, and he is quite able therefore to categorize HTB in this manner, there was a time only a few decades ago when they were seen to be behaving in really rather similar ways to Bp John Ellison et al - who I guess would be categorized most surely as Bolsheviks at the moment! But the fruit of HTB’s church planting throughout the 1980s and 1990s forced a real change of heart by those who sought to control “the structures of the CoE” - and notably the geographical structures of parish existence.

I guess therefore Peter we all need a bit more historical discernment about what might be going on overall through the mission of the Holy Spirit in England by means of a wide variety of human ministries ... “Complex” it most surely is! And the real ‘unveiling’ has yet to occur! A certain eschatological reserve might therefore be in order ...

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
Yes, we need that discernment in the context of openness to what the Spirit is doing.
My challenge, to myself as much as to anyone, and springing from years of Christians dissing other Christians (e.g. in the charismatic years, questioning whether someone else has the Spirit or not), is that we might go about God's work as we think the Spirit is leading us, while not dissing others around words like 'faithful' (or 'Spiritful'!)

MichaelA said...

Good point Bryden. HTB planted a church in Sydney in 2008.

And of course border-crossing goes back much further than that, at least to when +Spong of TEC in 1988 consecrated a woman to be a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia, knowing full well that the constitution of the ACA at that stage did not allow this, but declaring that he intended to force it to change to his way of thinking.

Its just what happens.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael (and Bryden)
I think we should take care to be accurate when describing the activities of others.
I cannot comment on HTB/Sydney as I do not know the details but when an HTB offshoot planted (or reinvigorated) a church in Auckland a few years back, it was done with the say so of the Auckland bishop: so, no border crossing in the sense of crossing a diocesan border without permission.
Has HTB ever 'border-crossed'?

Bryden Black said...

You ask a question Peter. I have intimate knowledge of certain HTB activities during the 1980s and 90s as a very good friend was involved.

Peter Carrell said...

I shall refine my question! Has HTB ever crossed the borders of a Diocese without permission of the Diocesan?

Jean said...

Hi Michael

I read the RME document and I don't find it particularly corporate at all with comments such as:

"Such an initiative must be based wholly and deeply on prayer by the whole Church following both the command and the example of Jesus: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’ ” (Matthew 9.37)."

It mentions the theology it stands by is that outlined in the 39 articles.

Alongside the ABC Easter talks based on the three priorities which came out of the English Gen Synod - Prayer, Christian Indentity and Evangelism; all seems pretty kosher with the intention of the leadership of the CofE.

Just as well too I might add that the ABC is a former HTB attender : )

Cheers
Jean

Jean said...

Sorry Michael I quoted incorrectly the three topics mentioned above were what the ABC preached on, the three priorities of the CofE Synod were:
Spiritual and Numerical Growth
Re-imagining the church
Working for the common good

I guess re-imagining the church would take more digging to see what is meant by that. I would imagine (please accept pun) it is similar to the kiwi statement often used here 'fresh expressions' of church.

Also you are correct about the bad press HTB got at the time largely due to their coming up with the successful evangelistic tool Alpha. I can remember reading an article denouncing them as 'of the devil' and 'taking over the church of England'. Notwithstanding they worked within CofE structures, it does highlight how easy it is to vilify 'the other'.

Cheers
Jean

John Sandeman said...

Peter Jensen referred to a church plant in an interview on Anglican.tv on April 17. My assumption was that it was the northside baptist plant which was a joint venture with NSW baptists and a big alpha church in London, but there may have been another one.

Father Ron Smith said...

"when an HTB offshoot planted (or reinvigorated) a church in Auckland a few years back, it was done with the say so of the Auckland bishop: so, no border crossing in the sense of crossing a diocesan border without permission.

Has HTB ever 'border-crossed'?"

- Dr. Peter Carrell -

Having once been a long-time member of St. Paul's, Symonds Street in Auckland - which I am assuming, Peter, is the particular site of an 'overtaking' by HTB' - I am fully aware that the Church there had been gradually diminishing in numbers after the demise of its Anglo-Catholic heritage.

Its 'glory days' in the modern era were those of its Catholic/Charismatic re-invention during the time of Father Ken Prebble in the 1960s/70s; when it was the mecca of a broad spectrum of faith communities - including Roman Catholic. In the 1970s, it led the way in local Anglican circles with its music ministry, which was under the pastoring of Fr.David Balfour (I was part of that) and a centre for the ministry of healing.

It then became host for two different congregations, one of which was Asian Charismatic, after which the plant was taken over by an English Ministry Team from Holy Trinity, Brompton.

Bearing in mind the fact that the current Archbishop of Canterbury was first inspired by the Team at HTB; one can realise why the Bishop of Auckland saw fit to allow this takeover bid. How St.Paul's parish now fits in with the rest of the Auckland Diocese, I no longer am privy to information.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael, for taking the time and the trouble of writing your posts above, there are many, many who appreciate it I assure you. It's extraordinary to me that we ALL don't encourage more 'workers for the harvest.'

Rosemary Behan

Jean said...

Hi Ron

The current St Paul's team and re-plant? came in 2004 (well the husband and wife leaders have returned the UK now) from St Mary's London (they may be affiliated with HTB I am not sure) at the request of NZ'ers returning home from OE's. A little before the ABC taking up his role anyway : )



Cheers
Jean

Father Ron Smith said...

Jean, I'm afraid your information may not be quite current. The arrival of the team from HTB at St. Paul's Symonds Street was much more recent than the departure, and repatriation, of the team from St. Mary's in London.

Perhaps I should have said that the present Bishop of Auckland, only in retrospect, may be reassured that his permission for the team from HTB to take over at SPSS is kosher, now that the current ABC is known to be one of the graduates from that London parish.

Jean said...

Interesting Fr Ron, I got it from their website but not all are kept up to date as we know : ) ....

Father Ron Smith said...

"..- The extent of marginalisation, attacks and persecution of orthodox Anglicans in the global Communion.

To pretend that these are aberrations or distortions is just wrong. "

- Andrew Read -

On looking again at this thread, I masy have been missing something, but Andrew seems to be on the same wave-length as former ABC Lord Carey, who claims that English conservative evangelicals are getting it in the neck from the more worldly people in the U.K.

I suppose a lot depends on the angle from which one is looking. Perception is everything - as in most areas of debate. But really, real Christians ought be more thick-skinned than to take umbrage at being challenged by the world.

More trouble might come from the so-called 'orthodox Anglicans' (Gafcon?) some of whom want other Christians who happen to be intrinsically LGBT to be locked up and out of sight. Now that really IS persecution.

Anonymous said...

More trouble might come from the so-called 'orthodox Anglicans' (Gafcon?) some of whom want other Christians who happen to be intrinsically LGBT to be locked up and out of sight. Now that really IS persecution.

Rosemary Behan says ... "You have absolutely no grounds for saying that, particularly of those who belong to Gafcon in Australia and New Zealand where you live. Repent and apologise please."

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary
I assume the grounds for saying that 'some of whom want other Christians who happen to be intrinsically LGBT to be locked up and out of sight' are the signs of church support, including Anglican church support, in Nigeria and Uganda for harsh laws in respect of homosexuals in those countries.

I note that the word 'some' means the statement does not necessarily apply to GAFCON supporters in countries outside of Nigeria and Uganda.

I suggest that the establishment of the claim that there are 'absolutely no grounds' would involve finding statements from Anglican bishops in Nigeria and Uganda which demonstrate their opposition to imprisonment of gay and lesbian persons.

Anonymous said...

Peter, please permit to quote yet again what Ron said. “More trouble might come from the so-called 'orthodox Anglicans' (Gafcon?) some of whom want other Christians who happen to be intrinsically LGBT to be locked up and out of sight. Now that really IS persecution.”

First of all, the use of wording such as ‘so called’ is if not sarcasm then unkind. Then (Gafcon?). Why the question mark? Is it your opinion that Ron thinks Gafcon is truly orthodox, or is it yet again, unkind and sarcastic? I have learned over my many years as a forgiven sinner, that other Christians, whom I have called names in my mind, are forgiven for those sins, whether caused by ignorance, or wilful disobedience, and end up being far better followers of Jesus than I am, and I marvel at the change that ‘new life’ can bring in a person who is forgiven. I am of course talking about fellow Christians, often Anglican Christians because I come across them most. I personally have little to do with overseas Christians. However, I would have thought that the best way to encourage other Christians, from other cultures, to our beliefs that homosexuals should NOT be locked up, would be by example, and by judicious advice shared by leaders during joint meetings. I rather suspect that outright condemnatory remarks such as those above, would be detrimental, I can’t see Jesus handling it that way.

Lastly, the last sentence, “Now that really IS persecution,” is simply ludicrous in view of beheadings of Christians being carried out in many diverse places. I truly and deeply believe that Ron is referring to ALL Christians who happen to be Gafcon members, and that he should repent and apologise for what are very unhelpful remarks that I cannot see Jesus approving of.

Rosemary Behan

Bryden Black said...

Knowing the fruitfulness of HTB plants since the 1980s, I'd be far less negative Ron - even positive! - about St Paul's SS in Akl.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
I leave it to Ron to respond to the specific engagement you have with his remarks and the intention and scope of them.

I agree with you that we need to meet with Christians in order to have opportunity to persuade those we would hope might pursue a different course of action. (For the record, I am not opposed to GAFCON meetings).

Father Ron Smith said...

Rosemary, I have just re-read your latest denial of the fact that I referred to only 'SOME' of the gafcon affiliates being privy to the imprisonment of gays in their countries - note 'Their' countries. Peter has recognised this!.

I don't feel any need to repent of just speaking the truth of that situation. I do, on the other hand, regret the fact that you judge me to be guilty of the sin of misreporting facts - that are clear on the ground. However, I forgive you and will not hold it against you.

Peter Carrell said...

[Ron: I am editing this comment below because it involves some minor points which, if published, will only lead to further - justified - opposition to the words you choose to use - words not needed to make the key point you are making]

""Rosemary Behan says ... "You have absolutely no grounds for saying that, particularly of those who belong to Gafcon in Australia and New Zealand where you live. Repent and apologise please."

Well, Rosemary, apart from Peter Jensen, Sydney, who just happens to have been one of the founders and is now the secretary of the [GAFCON] Movement. I, personally do not know of any New Zealand members. I think those 40 people who attended the recent GFCA Conference in Melbourne [Editorial note: it was not called that; there was a meeting in the midst of the conference to form an Australian chpater of FCA] were probably intentional members of the 'Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans' - an offshoot rather than the parent company.

I'm really talking about the 'serious' contenders for separation from Lambeth - the Gafcon Primates who, in fact, have aided and abetted their countries governments legislation against gays, their families and friends. [Editorial note: not all GAFCON Primates belong to countries intent on pursuing draconian legislation re homosexuality]

Until they out themselves as members of Gafcon, I cannot take seriously the claims of any Kiwi Anglican who says they are members of the breakaway provincial coterie of the gafcon. To actually claim membership,they might be declaring their affinity with warriors against their own provincial Church.
"

[Ron: I am not sure that anyone can become a member of GAFCON as such; but people can become members of chapters of the FCA as they are formed around the world. I would be most surprised if members of the Australian FCA thought that they had thereby become "warriors against their own church." My understanding is that members of FCA are WORRIERS - genuinely and compassionately worried about the present and future state of the Anglican church to which they belong.]

Anonymous said...

Rosemary Behan answers ..

Ron, I cannot begin to imagine what words Peter has edited, but I’ll reply to what is written. You said, “Rosemary, I have just re-read your latest denial of the fact that I referred to only 'SOME' of the gafcon affiliates being privy to the imprisonment of gays in their countries - note 'Their' countries. Peter has recognised this!.”

1. I didn’t deny anything Ron, if you can find a ‘denial’ please point it out to me.
2. There has been a film made recently, and referred to on this blog of a homosexual who saved the UK from a further two years of war, but whom the government of the UK chemically castrated and he later committed suicide. WE ARE ALL GUILTY RON! Jesus said we had a tendency to pluck the splinter out of another’s eye when we had a dirty big plank in our own. He knows us so well, and STILL forgives us.
3. Far from denying what other countries and churches may be doing, I am seeking for ways to demonstrate what we have learned, because I know that we too have been and are guilty of wanting to stop people being able to sin so that they might find the Kingdom of Heaven. Not realising that prayer for those sinners is the answer, because only God can change people’s lives.

You also said, “I don't feel any need to repent of just speaking the truth of that situation. I do, on the other hand, regret the fact that you judge me to be guilty of the sin of misreporting facts - that are clear on the ground. However, I forgive you and will not hold it against you.”

Thank you Ron for your forgiveness. I repeat, I am not denying the truth of the situation as you see it, nor that you are guilty of ‘misreporting facts.’ I’m pointing out that you are using a very large and sweeping brush when you call you brother and sister Christians to account for ANYTHING, when we have all been forgiven so much.

Anonymous said...

Rosemary Behan continues to answer..

You said, “Well, Rosemary, apart from Peter Jensen, Sydney, who just happens to have been one of the founders and is now the secretary of the [GAFCON] Movement. I, personally do not know of any New Zealand members.”

Well although as I have previously stated, I am on the Gafcon mailing list, so I presume I am classified as a member/supporter, I too don’t know the numbers of New Zealanders involved, but I would suspect it is in the 100’s .. again Ron I would remind you, your brothers and sisters in Christ. As to the difference between Gafcon and FCA, I don’t think there is any, not in my mind at least. I personally think that Gafcon is an unwieldy title, but it has stuck it seems.

You said, “I'm really talking about the 'serious' contenders for separation from Lambeth - the Gafcon Primates who, in fact, have aided and abetted their countries governments legislation against gays, their families and friends.”

So despite the comminque stating the opposite, you believe that Gafcon Primates are seeking separation from Lambeth? Do you mean they are seeking separation from the Anglican church? Were you at the meeting Ron? Do you know something I don’t?

You said, “Until they out themselves as members of Gafcon, I cannot take seriously the claims of any Kiwi Anglican who says they are members of the breakaway provincial coterie of the gafcon. To actually claim membership,they might be declaring their affinity with warriors against their own provincial Church.”

Is this contention serious Ron? Let me see, I’m also a member/supporter of the Anglican church and have put my money where my mouth is. I’m also a member/supporter of Latimer and have put my money where my mouth is .. oh goodness this is silly, I don’t have to defend myself before you, I must sit down and learn from the Holy Spirit just how sinful I am

Peter Carrell said...

[Ron, I am only prepared to publish the middle part of the following comment submitted by you with direct editorial comment as it is scurrilous. Peter]

"Peter, taking seriously the injunction of Jesus, that his followers should NOT worry; I refuse to worry about the future of our Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand. I am engaged daily in prayer that God;'s life-giving Holy Spirit will open up the hearts of all people to the reality of God's love for each and everyone of them - even those who might oppose my own understanding of the how best to speak the Good News of Jesus Christ.

What sometimes exercises my impatience, is the fact that there seems to be a group of people in the Church who want to withhold the love of God from those they consider to be sinners. That, for me, is antithetical to the message of jesus Christ in the gospel.

[EDITORIAL COMMENT: While noting that you use the word 'seem' you make an unsubstantiated allegation that fellow Christians may be withholding the love of God. Who are these Christians? On what grounds do you say this? The love of God is God's love and cannot be withheld from people! Pertinently, if you are referring to certain present day issues, let me say to you once again, the issue is not about whether God loves sinners or whether the church is in the business of loving sinners, the issue is about whether X is sin or is not sin. If the latter, we are not even talking about 'sinners.' If the former, then we are talking about sinners whom God loves and never have I heard that proposition denied by anyone commenting here.]

We keep being reminded that Jesus Christ came; not to save the righteous, but sinners. Counting myself among them, I need to spread the knowledge of the God of Love to fellow sinners. Where such knowledge of the great love of God is withheld from certain people, on account of their perceived unworthiness; I wonder what our ministry is all about!

"There's a wideness in God's mercy, that is wider than the sea..."
"

Anonymous said...

Peter, it is hard to work out exactly what GAFCON is. If you go to the GAFCON website, you can join the GFCA if you "assent" to the Jerusalem Declaration. The declaration looks harmless enough ( though if I were a Protestant I'd prefer the Westminster Confession). The declaration talks about orthodoxy and the Book of Common Prayer. That's no surprise, but can the New Zealand orthodox then use the NZPB? Probably not. You might say yes. I seem to remember that Ephraim Radner has questioned whether orthodoxy covers the NZPB , though I don't have the reference at my fingertips. My point here is that, although I have little in common with progressive Anglicans, I'm wondering whether Fr Ron has a point. What is GAFCON and what are GFCA trying to achieve? As a non-Anglican, I am probably rushing where Angels fear to tread, but isn't this a takeover pure and simple?
Nick

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, with due respect, I draw attention to your editorial comment in my recent post:

"[EDITORIAL COMMENT: While noting that you use the word 'seem' you make an unsubstantiated allegation that fellow Christians may be withholding the love of God. Who are these Christians? On what grounds do you say this? The love of God is God's love and cannot be withheld from people!....]

Perhaps, Peter, I might better say that certain fundamentalist Christians are withholding their own love from the sinners they pronounce as unworthy of God's love.

Your seeming willingness to defend those who deny any filial relationship, for instance, to Gay people in the Church; would seem (that word again!) to, in itself, excuse such behaviour on the grounds of its compatibility with the Gospel of OLJC. This, certainly has no element of 'Good News' for Gays.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am trying to assist the communication of truth.
When you find someone here pronouncing that God does not love a certain group of people or even that God hates that group, please let me know.
I cannot recall anyone making such a comment, even by implication. So, in fact, I am not defending anyone who seeks to pronounce that God does not love sinners.
What I am defending is the right of Christians to debate what is right and what is wrong concerning holy behaviour.
At last count some 99% of all denominations and (I guess) some 90% of Christians believe with their denominational official teaching that homosexual acts are wrong. Are you accusing each and everyone of teaching that God does not love homosexuals?
You yourself know only too well that those same denominations and virtually the Christians belonging to them (an exception are the Westboro Baptists!) also teach that God loves all sinners.
So, how about you stop making hurtful allegations about fellow Christians and start acknowledging that the point of difference here is over our understanding of holy behaviour and not over whom God loves.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, re your last comment on my previous statement; I did not accuse any individual on ADU of 'pronouncing that God does not love a certain group of people or even that God hates that group'. My remarks have been confined to any group of Anglicans who ARE committed to excluding gay people from fellowship with them in the Church.

The hurtful remarks made about 'fellow Christians' in the above category, are at least as hurtful and damaging as any made by me or my supporters of gay people in the Church. I am merely putting the other side of the argument, with the hope of securing justice for a minority in the Church. (see Micah 6:8)

Father Ron Smith said...

"So despite the comminque stating the opposite, you believe that Gafcon Primates are seeking separation from Lambeth? Do you mean they are seeking separation from the Anglican church? Were you at the meeting Ron? Do you know something I don’t?" - Rosemary B.

What the communique 'states- - about its intention not to depart from the A.C., and its publication of a rival faith ethos in the Jerusalem Statement (not accepted by the ACC) would seem to tell a different story. (Truth??)

Also, Gafcon's setting up of a rival 'Primates' Council' , their absence from Lambeth and the ACC Primates Council, does not seem to measure up to their declared intent to stay with the rest of the ACC.
_____________________________________
Peter, you make this satatement:

"At last count some 99% of all denominations and (I guess) some 90% of Christians believe with their denominational official teaching that homosexual acts are wrong."

I wonder where you got that figure from. Was that a Gafcon statement, too?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Again, I must challenge you to show us where Christians are excluding gays form their churches.
Some Christians are saying things which gays do not welcome (and understandably so) but that must be carefully distinguished from Christians saying that gays are not welcome in their churches.
The request here is for accurate speaking.

As for my point about a very high percentage of Christians etc, that is not a GAFCON statement. It is a bit of simple observation. For instance there are thousands of denominations in the world, but only a handful have declared a changed view on marriage. There are perhaps 2 billion Christians in the world, most of whom belong to the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Pentecostals churches and (focusing on Anglicans) the overwhelming number of Anglicans in the world belong to the GAFCON churches. A very small percentage of Christians agree with you Ron.

That does not make you wrong in your promotion of change in the church we same sex partnerships. You may turn out to be right. But I think it does make you wrong inasmuch as you equate conservative/traditional views on homosexuality with a lack of love in the church.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Some Christians are saying things which gays do not welcome (and understandably so) but that must be carefully distinguished from Christians saying that gays are not welcome in their churches. The request here is for accurate speaking." - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Peter, I cannot believe that you yourself believe that the Primates of Uganda and Nigeria have never made any statement that made it quite clear that homosexuals are not welcome in their Churches. One Primate even compared them to dogs! I think you need to become more acquainted with actual statements about gays put out by some of these Primates.

Also, I think you are indulging in equivocation when you say that:

" But I think it does make you wrong inasmuch as you equate conservative/traditional views on homosexuality with a lack of love in the church."

I have not said that con/evos have an undefined lack of love. I do say that there is little evidence of their love of homosexual people. Or have I got them totally wrong? (Oh dear! Not that 'love the sinner but hate the sin' syndrome again!)

I prefer tomorrow's theme of Jesus as 'The Good Shepherd', who loved Sinners - without reserve!

"The God of love my Shepherd is"

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Fair point re Uganda and Nigeria: I don't know how welcome people feel in those churches.

But I am trying to lead you to make less generalised statements about Western conservative Anglican churches.

I do not think you will find any such churches which have made statements that gay people are unwelcome. (again, I am distinguishing such statements from other statements made which may lead to gay people feeling unwelcome).

Yes, today is the day of the good and loving Shepherd. May we all serve him well.

Bryden Black said...

“It is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromising realism.”

These are the opening sentences of Dorothy Sayers’ Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine, ch.6, “Creed or Chaos”. I encountered them during the w/e and saw their frightening relevance to our contemporary AC scene, as well as our excessively pragmatic, ideological ACANZ&P. They sit really rather well under this thread’s original intentions ... as they might under “Solo (sic) Scriptura and Inhospitality to Conservative Theology” as well!

But read all 16 chapters for yourselves.

MichaelA said...

"The declaration talks about orthodoxy and the Book of Common Prayer. That's no surprise, but can the New Zealand orthodox then use the NZPB? Probably not."

Hi Nick, not sure if I follow your post, but the Jerusalem Statement nowhere mandates the use of the Book of Common Prayer in worship. It says a number of other things, e.g. "we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture." That's pretty standard in many Anglican provinces around the world.

MichaelA said...

Fr Ron responds: "What the communique 'states- - about its intention not to depart from the A.C., and its publication of a rival faith ethos in the Jerusalem Statement (not accepted by the ACC) would seem to tell a different story. (Truth??)"

Haven't you just accused the Primates of lying, Fr Ron?

Leave aside for the moment the fact that the Jerusalem Statement is not in the least "a rival faith ethos" but is thoroughly Anglican. The more important point is the accusation of lying.

On what grounds, Fr Ron?

MichaelA said...

Fr Ron writes:

"My remarks have been confined to any group of Anglicans who ARE committed to excluding gay people from fellowship with them in the Church."

Well that doesn't describe anyone that I can think of, certainly not Gafcon or other conservative Anglicans.

"(Oh dear! Not that 'love the sinner but hate the sin' syndrome again!)"

If you don't love sinners, or if you love sin, that is your option Fr Ron.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
Re the possibility that the Primates have been 'lying', let me bring an alternative charge by way of question: have they considered what they are saying?

To profess on the one hand that one belongs to an organisation whose common basis of belonging is not the Jerusalem Declaration while waving the JD about as the true Anglican statement of common belief and practice raises a few questions for more than a few people.

Not least it raises the question whether GAFCON would really prefer to establish a new form of global Anglican fellowship with the JD enshrined in its constitution.

I think that is a fair question to ask.

MichaelA said...

Hi Peter, I note that Fr Ron has accused the Primates of lying, and you have nothing to say about that.

"while waving the JD about as the true Anglican statement of common belief and practice"

Where has anyone done that Peter?

"raises a few questions for more than a few people."

Yes, but not to logical and consistent people.

"Not least it raises the question whether GAFCON would really prefer to establish a new form of global Anglican fellowship with the JD enshrined in its constitution."

How does it raise that?

So the accusations of lying continue, but no reasoning or evidence in support.

I don't know what the state of play is in the Anglican Church in New Zealand, Peter. But your dismissive attitude towards those who agree with Gafcon appears calculated to encourage orthodox Anglicans to leave your church.

MichaelA said...

Peter, here is your comment above with one word changed:

"To profess on the one hand that one belongs to an organisation whose common basis of belonging is not the Anglican Covenant while waving the Anglican Covenant about as the true Anglican statement of common belief and practice raises a few questions for more than a few people."

MichaelA said...

Some breaking news: TitusOneNine blog reports that the Bishop of Salisbury has filed a complaint under the clergy discipline measure against Bishop Ellison for giving his oversight to the congregation of Christ Church Salisbury. See http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/

As I understand it, this could result in Bishop Ellison's clergy licence in CofE being withdrawn. One way or another, the ABC now has to deal with the complaint.

For those interested, there is a 2008 interview with Bishop Ellison further down the same page.

Father Ron Smith said...

MichaelA. It appears to me that you are engaging in a matter of semantics; while others of us are trying to expose the problem of denial of 'Truth'.

For the Gafcon primates to offer their own standard of Anglican Orthodoxy - even as an acceptable alternative to that enshrined in the 'Instruments of Unity' which currently govern the membership parameters of the Anglican Communion - would seem, logically at least, to challenge the 'orthodoxy' of the rest of us who abide by these agreed formulae.

In another matter, can you show me where I have used the word 'lying' in any statement made by me about Gafcon?
Let's have a little accuracy when you accuse others of a specific action.

Father Ron Smith said...

Well, if it comes down to the authority of the ABC in England, on his patch - versus that of any surrogate bishop of the Gafcon sodality; then maybe the ABC should respond accordingly, and rule for his own bishop. That seems quite fair!

Peter Carrell said...

(This is a revised version of a comment I posted earlier)

Hi Michael
a. I am not a perfect moderator of comments.
b. If I appear unconcerned about Ron/primates, perhaps I am thinking differently about what the primates have said, e.g. that they may have been inconsistent or mistaken and been called out on that. (Also, see (a)).
c. If you read all my comments you will find I have spent considerable time recently challenging Ron to get a clearer and more accurate picture of GAFCON in his mind. I do not equate that with a dismissive attitude to GAFCON.
d. As a matter of fact, I think the JD is a flawed draft of an attempt to put Anglican thinking into a declaration, so I am not particularly impressed with GAFCOn continuing to call Anglicans to rally behind it.
e. The Anglican Covenant cannot be equated with the JD as a document with status. It is a proposal which has not been agreed to. By contrast that JD has been accepted by GAFCON as a definitive statement of Anglican belief.

MichaelA said...

"For the Gafcon primates to offer their own standard of Anglican Orthodoxy - - even as an acceptable alternative to that enshrined in the 'Instruments of Unity'..."

Since they haven't done that Fr Ron, the rest of your comment has no basis. I suggest making sure you know what is in both the Jerusalem Declaration and the Instruments of Unity before making comments like this.

"In another matter, can you show me where I have used the word 'lying' in any statement made by me about Gafcon?"

An excellent example of promoting semantics over truth, Fr Ron - thank you for giving such a wonderful example of what you referred to in your first paragraph. I do not know any rational person who would suggest that the only way an accusation of lying can be made is if the word "lying" appears in it!

MichaelA said...

"The Anglican Covenant cannot be equated with the JD as a document with status. It is a proposal which has not been agreed to. By contrast that JD has been accepted by GAFCON as a definitive statement of Anglican belief."

Sure, but this does come across as rather contrived. The Anglican Covenant was put forward by some Anglicans to be a uniting instrument for all Anglicans. Surely those Anglicans (including the ABC) "accepted" it? If they didn't think it was a good solution, why put it forward?

And when you say that it "is a proposal that has not been agreed to", how is that really any different from the JD? Your complaint is that some provinces have accepted the JD and are urging others to do so. In the same way, some provinces have signed onto the Anglican Covenant, and were urging others to do so.

I really can't see the difference in practical terms.

[The above should not be taken as meaning that I think the Anglican Covenant and the JD are in significant conflict - I don't know that they are]

Re "accepted as a definitive statement of Anglican belief", I suggest you are misreading the JD. The Jerusalem Statement makes clear that the JD is the statement for members of the Gafcon Fellowship, not a definition of Anglican. In other words, people who don't accept the JD are still Anglican. See the passage which states:

"Building on the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship." [The JD then follows]

Acceptance of the JD was never touted as proof of being Anglican, but as proof of belonging to the Gafcon Fellowship.

On the other hand, you might be unhappy with "the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity" in the Jerusalem Statement:

"We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it."

That is what the Jerusalem Statement puts forward as being the reflection of a true Anglican. It should not cause a problem to anyone in the CofE because it is word-for-word Canon A5 of the Church of England. Nor should it cause a problem to anyone in the Anglican Church of Australia, because our constitution is modelled on the predecessor to Canon A5 in the same words. But I know some Anglican churches around the globe departed from the CofE's standard.

At any rate, if you have a problem with this doctrinal standard then so be it, but its in the JS not the JD, and the JD has not been put forward as the definitive expression of Anglicanism, whereas Canon A5 has been.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron and Michael
I am so over this conversation about 'lying.'
Let's go back to the start.
Ron: a while back, you wrote the following:

"What the communique 'states- - about its intention not to depart from the A.C., and its publication of a rival faith ethos in the Jerusalem Statement (not accepted by the ACC) would seem to tell a different story. (Truth??)"

Ron: the reality is, your statement questions whether the Primates are telling the truth as to whether they are committed to staying in the Communion or not.

I think it fair that we ask you: do you believe their statement to be true or not?

(Note: I will not accept an answer that prevaricates around the meaning of the JS or JD or whatever. You either accept they are telling the truth or you do not!)

Peter Carrell said...

HI Michael
I happen to think that the GAFCON Primates do think the JS enshrines their understanding of Anglican orthodoxy and I have always felt over the years that they measure those they perceive to be unorthodox by that statement.

(OK, I have been confused by the difference between the JS and the JD!)

My general problem with the JS is that it assumes a common understanding of the doctrine of Anglicanism (39A, BCP etc) when in fact there is not a common, agreed understanding. The JS itself does not give much guidance as to how we reach agreement on a common understanding. Presuming that we share that understanding is not a pathway to agreement when Anglicans disagree.

The proposed Covenant - albeit now dead in the water - offered a pathway (even if it needed further improvement).

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael A, I am a practising JP2 Catechism Catholic. I am privileged to contribute to your discussion now and again, because I think your issues are not your issues alone. I looked at the GAFCON website and I was able (had I wanted to) to "join" the GFCA, whatever that is. To join, I was asked to "assent" (slightly pompous word for agree) to the Jerusalem declaration. If I were a protestant, I would have expected something more theologically robust than the document I read. I found the word orthodox a bit vague when many evangelical Anglicans accept divorce. Divorce is not orthodox in any gospel I have ever read. Ultimately, although I am no liberal, I could fully understand Fr Ron's view that orthodoxy is in the eye of the beholder. Hence, I asked what GAFCON's motivation was. I fully accept that I am a guest and might have misunderstood.

Nick

Jean said...

Hey Nick

This is my understanding but no doubt MichaelA and others will have their own interpretation.

The Anglican use of the word orthodoxy gets confusing, some may see it as aligning with the word conservative on ethical and moral issues, and others associate it more with what would be seen as traditional in terms of the practice within the Anglican Church - probably neither interpretation goes to the extent of the formal definition of the word as used by the Catholic Church.

(e.g. divorce probably got dropped from Orthodoxy in the Church of England when Henry the Eighth was around - smile)

Regarding GAFCON my interpretation is they are concerned the some aspects of the Gospel are being mis-taught in some Anglican Churches - such as Jesus not rising from the dead, the acceptance of homosexuality, all faiths leading to God, and for some but not all, women in leadership etc. In their view such issues are not being addressed or disciplinary measures taken towards those promoting them within the Anglican body.

As such they have formed a fellowship which any Anglican can join in order to unify those people and provide a platform for those people who feel the above is happening.

Others ascertain such issues need to be either debated or addressed within the existing Anglican structures; as you would have guessed the viewpoints of individuals in the A-Church are diverse on many of the topics in question.

I for one enjoy your comments and I am a big supporter of ecumenicalism.

Blessings
Jean

Father Ron Smith said...

Hi, Nick! I too am one of those on this site who enjoy your occasional - and may I say insightful - contributions to the conversation.

I, too, consider myself to be catholic in the Anglican ethos - bearing in mind that my relationship to Pope Francis as as a 'brother in Christ' and not one of his immediate flock. Similarly, my relationship to the Orthodox Churches is that of 'brother in Christ' but not of their obedience.

Having said all that; I do believe that Pope Francis is a great Leader in the Church, whose love of the poor and the disenfranchised is very much modelled on that of his worthy and illustrious namesake.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jean, I am clearer on GAFCON now. Thanks. The Henry VIII humour was appreciated. You and Fr Ron might be interested in the Pope's recent comments to the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. He says that the cause of unity is not an option, which perhaps encourages us to look outside and inside our churches.

Nick.