Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why I am a critic of TEC

"The previous point is crucial to an adequate evaluation both of TEC’s goals at the present gathering of our bishops in Canterbury and the theology that lies at the base of these goals. The memo contends in the last supporting idea it offers, “the church has focused on its mission rather than its disagreements in order to remain faithful.” The implication is that the mission of the church has nothing to do with the matters that now so divide the Communion—that we can do mission while in fundamental disagreement about the content of the Christian gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth! To equate the Christian gospel with the moral agenda of peace and justice is as false as it is to say that the Christian gospel has nothing to do with peace and justice. It is precisely the nature of the church’s mission that lies at the heart of our present distress. To call for the communion to join in common mission and yet pass over divergent views of the gospel is in fact incoherent."

These words are part of a fuller examination of a memo from an episcopal member of the Presiding Bishop's office to his fellow TEC bishops, urging them to stay 'on message' during Lambeth. The examiner is Philip Turner - a remarkable Episcopal theologian, and one of the leaders of the Anglican Communion Institute. Read the whole. Its a reminder that the primary issue concerning Bishop Gene Robinson, at least on this blog, is not the consecration of an openly gay man per se. It is that this consecration, and the leadership he now offers the greater church from his office, represents a theology which at root is 'another gospel'. It is the iceberg and not its tip which worries many of us elsewhere in the Communion, as well as a significant minority within TEC itself. Imagine if New Hampshire was one liberal diocese whose direction and theology was eccentric relative to the rest of TEC. Would we be agitated about who its bishop was? Not by half, not even by a quarter of current agitation!

No comments: