Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hey, bishop, don't trash our church

Titus One Nine has posted the following, from here:

"Bishop [John] Broadhurst said that Pope Benedict has made his offer in response to the pleas of Anglicans who despair at the disintegration of their Church. “Anglicanism has become a joke because it has singularly failed to deal with any of its contentious issues,” said the bishop.

“There is widespread dissent across the [Anglican] Communion. We are divided in major ways on major issues and the Communion has unraveled. I believed in the Church I joined, but it has been revealed to have no doctrine of its own. I personally think it has gone past the point of no return. The Anglican experiment is over.”

In an emotional closing speech on Saturday, Bishop Broadhurst used the metaphor of the frog and the boiling pot to describe the current Anglican status."

Bishop John Broadhurst, by the way, is an Anglican bishop. Why is he trashing his own church with talk about 'the Anglican experiment'? Should he be sacked on the spot?

If he isn't, his statements stand rather exposed for shallowness of thinking thinner than a drop of paint in a bucket of turps. Think with me:

'The Anglican experiment is over'? Not this Sunday. Pretty much the usual millions will be in church across the world. Even in England the usual numbers in the pews will still be there. Bless them, faithful ones all!

'Anglicanism has become a joke because it has singularly failed to deal with any of its contentious issues.' That would be the same joke being played out in a number of churches which live with lively issues which do not go away because that is humanity? (Rewritten) Has the RCC 'dealt' with all issues relating to a celibate priesthood, including falling numbers of priests in many countries?

We might go onto observe that that particular church, which Broadhurst appears keen on, cannot say it has dealt with any issue the Anglican church is currently facing. At best it can say it is keeping these issues at bay!

'the Communion has unraveled' Really? Unraveling here and there, yes; but past tense? No, I do not think so. Certainly not in this fair corner of the Anglican world.

'I believed in the Church I joined, but it has been revealed to have no doctrine of its own.' So Anglicans have no doctrine of our own? And that's a problem? Is not doctrine, true orthodox Christian doctrine, truth which belongs to all? Does he mean we have absolutely no doctrine period? (We do). Does he mean we have no distinctive doctrine to call our own? (I hope a church which is rooted in the undivided church and then reformed according to the best teaching of the Continental Reformation has no distinctive doctrine of its own).


Christopher Trottier said...

So what is the "ism" of Anglicanism then? And by Anglicanism, I don't mean what you think Anglicanism is but, rather, what it actually is.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Christopher
That question is a little difficult to answer as you are asking what it "is" not what I think it is. Might the former not be accessible from a dictionary or encyclopaedia?

MIchael Reddell said...

Seems to me that you are being a little unfair in your defence of "Anglicanism" (even if I'm inclined to agree that if Broadhurst is going to go, perhaps he should do so and save the negative comments until he has crossed the Tiber).

For example, it is unworthy to stoop to the level of slurs about child abuse: whatever the Roman Catholic church's weaknesses in dealing with it, the practice was never remotely endorsed by Rome. Contrast that with the diverse positions of Anglican leaders on issues such as abortion, homosexual practice, authority, salvation and so on.

And surely his point is not that there are no Anglican congregations where the gospel is faithfully taught, and orthodox doctrine proclaimed, but that that orthodoxy has become almost a matter of congregational choice. The original vision of many - the Anglican Church as "the catholic church in England" - has long since lost any meaning, even in England. And I think we can be quite sure that Broadhurst was not calling for "independent" Anglican doctrine, but that the faith and doctrine proclaimed by the apostles, and captured in the formulations of the Ecumenical Councils, be taught again not ust by individual vicars and bishops, but by an Anglican church throughout the world. If not, what is the point of the "Anglican" label? How much marks out the average evangelical Anglican congregation from its local Baptist neighbour?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
My point about child abuse in respect of a church is that (a) no church is perfect in the handling of its affairs (Broadhurst criticised the Anglican church for not getting on top of its own problems) (b) in the particular case of Rome it has taken a long time to get a grip on this situation, and in the past spent too long shuffling priests around and too little time admitting there was a problem, all under a leadership structure which is imputed to be better than the Anglican structure (where, lest it be felt I am singling one church out, we too have had our problems with child abuse) (c) it continues to be alleged that the Vatican harbours a Cardinal unwilling to return to his home country to face the music about his poor handling of situations to do with abuse.

I do not fault the Roman church for not being perfect, but I fault those who look at Rome compared to Canterbury as though life is sweet in the former and sour in the latter.

I had not thought he was making a point about congregational choice re orthodoxy etc but appreciate the insight you offer there!