Monday, June 30, 2008

Archbishop Williams and Presiding Bishop Schori to make decision about schism

Various news reports and blogs (including Ruth Gledhill's accessible from the sidebar here) talk of the GAFCON statement in sentences which include the word 'schism'. The use of that word is not entirely unfair inasmuch as GAFCON does talk about a new North American Anglican Province. What might be unfair is the world and its journalists judging GAFCON's leaders being solely responsible for this state of affairs.

It will only be a schism if Williams and Schori refuse to recognise the validity of the new province. If they recognise its validity then communion among all Anglicans in North America remains possible and the Anglican Communion as one entity (albeit with considerable internal tension) remains viable. Williams and Schori ought to validate the new province: Williams should be agreeable to its theology (great patristics man that he is, etc) and Schori should offer agreement as penance for the wilfully aggressive approach TEC has taken to Anglicans seeking to be orthodox in creedal and BCP faith in North America. (OK I have not mentioned Hiltz, the Primate of Canada ... Presiding Bishop Schori is the key player. Hard to see Canada not following TEC's lead).

The ball is in Williams and Schori's court.


Kelvin Wright said...

This statement places me personally in a somewhat problematical place. I agree with the stand against the secular humanism which has so neutered the Gospel that there is nothing left of it. I don't want to be part of a church dominated by feel good politically correct approximations of the words of Jesus. But neither does the sort of church defined by this statement seem very alluring. What on earth do you do when you want to be neither a Sadducee or a Pharisee?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ven Dr

Greetings and continuing prayers!

I am not sure what one does when one does not want to be a Sadducee or a Pharisee - hopefully not become a Zealot or an Essene. Actually the brilliant thought has struck me that one could be a Christian!!

Seriously, I worry about what GAFCON's statement means in the medium term (in the long-term it may not mean much ... the papacy at Avignon did eventually come to an end!!).

I would like to be part of a church which had some room to move in the progressive direction TEC has gone (though maybe not so far gone as they!) and some better affirmation from the likes of Williams, Schori and co of those who are conservative in the Anglican way which GAFCON has managed (BCP, 39A, 3 Creeds, 4 Councils). But I am wondering these days if I am being wistful for a broad Anglicanism of the 1960s and 70s and need to get up to speed with the 21st century.

Sorry that's not much of an answer

Anonymous said...

"But I am wondering these days if I am being wistful for a broad Anglicanism of the 1960s and 70s and need to get up to speed with the 21st century."

Like - Honest (to God) John Robinson? Myth of God Incarnate Maurice Wiles? Taking-Leave-of-God Don Cuppit? Big Jim Pike the necromancer?
(& local hero Lloyd Geering saw where that path led, and boldly went. How many Prezzies left in NZ now? Why is NZ one of the most secular countries in the world? Isn't today's 'progressive' tomorrow's agnostic?)
Jim Packer and Eric Mascall could see then the cloud smaller than a man's fist and what it portended.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Anonymous
Good point re Robinson, Geering and co. I was thinking more of the days when liberals and conservatives were committed to marriage, talked to each other, joined together to produce revised prayer books and the like. Yes, the extremists were around, but there were plenty of people in the middle. These days the middle ground seems unpopulated!

Anonymous said...

Peter, another factor for NZ Anglicanism (and 'Western' Anglicanism geneally) has been the death or departure of traditional Anglican Catholicism, in part over WO. That was my point in bracketing Packer and Mascall who, for all their differences, co-authored a book many years ago on the failed Anglican-Methodist reunion scheme, 'Growing into Union'. Whatever you think of Marianism or 'Real (corporeal) Presence' (I'm not keen!), the ACs did represent a solidly patristic, trinitarian block within Anglicanism that restrained liberal Protestantism in its tendencies to adoptionism, unitarianism, and cultural captivity (e.g. feminism and other varieties of liberationism). Where is it now?
Go to All Saints Dunedin now - it's just feminist and gay radicalism in a cassock. Or St Michael's Oxford Terrace - once almost an Orthodox church? or St Paul's Symond Street - very much alive today, but very differetn as well. The lack of this historical, doctrinal element has gravely weakened the NZ church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hello Anonymous
Yes, I agree, the dearth (and virtual death?) of robustly Trinitarian, Catholic theologically alert Anglo-Catholicism in ACANZP is a weakness if not a near vacuum in the life of our church.
There is one clergyperson flying that flag boldly, however, and his blog is