Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Presiding Bishop Schori Loses the Plot

This is Presiding Bishop Schori's response to the GAFCON final statement:

Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission from GAFCON. Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable. This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers. Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve the hungry and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships with others across the globe, despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the influence of the gospel. We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth Conference for constructive conversation, inspired prayer, and relational encounters.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

What is the word 'emission' doing in this statement?

But the great difficulty with this statement is this: "merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers."

If Presiding Bishop Schori thinks she is involved in a power struggle and not a contention for truth then she betrays at best a 'different' understanding of the role of the gospel in the life of the church and at worst a trivialisation of the gospel. GAFCON is not a grab for power. It is an attempt to tell the truth. Whether it is a good, bad or indifferent attempt, the issue Presiding Bishop Schori should be addressing - in her role as a teaching pastor of the church - is whether GAFCON has told the truth or not. If it has not told the truth, say so, but do not mock it with words like 'emission' and do not impugn it as a 'struggle for dominance'. If it has told the truth then admit it and talk about the next step in our Communion being a true union in the body of Christ of people with the mind of Christ.

Its a bit rich when a bishop who presides over a vast legal apparatus brought to bear against a minority of Episcopalians talks about a 'struggle for dominance'! I think Presiding Bishop Schori has lost the plot. But I imagine a number of Episcopalians would tell me they have been trying to tell this to the Communion ever since she took office.

When we compare this response with Archbishop Rowan Williams' and Bishop Tom Wright's then we begin to see the theological quality of the leadership of TEC. It will have to be on another occasion that praise is required as a response to that quality.

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