Betwixt and between today with a garage sale, preparations for moving house soon, and a laptop under serious threat with malfunctioning anti-virus software (long story). So just time between jobs to post a link to the announcement of a study guide to the Covenant, published by the Communion, produced by an IASCUFO working group convened by our own Bishop Victoria Matthews (H/T Ron Smith). I am looking forward to reading the guide which handily is produced before our Christchurch synodical conference discusses the Covenant on Saturday 12th March.
Meantime I am aware of some comments I need to respond to ... duties and distractions permitting. It has been a day of controversies for me with allegations that I undersold items at the garage sale. Perhaps if the pizzas for tea are extra special, redemption will be purchased!
OK, Peter, for you it is a study guide, for others it is little more than a defence of the covenant, a propaganda document. There is no place for opposition to the covenant or difference of opinion about it. The medium is the message. This is the shape of things to come under the covenant. What other evangelicals have realised in great numbers is that the unity will be liberal not conservative evangelical. They will not sign. You are arguing to support signing a document that will ultimately disenfranchise your own evangelical position. The Primates Meeting is not an aberration as your protests about it imply – welcome to the Anglican future you have been so strongly fighting for.
I am not going to argue with you on this one (at least, not at this point). You may be right; I could be wrong ...
You provide an interesting alternative perspective to my own and (I presume) my own bishop's!
But what do others think? Agree or disagree with Alison?
" What other evangelicals have realised in great numbers is that the unity will be liberal not conservative evangelical. They will not sign."
- Anonymous (Alison?) -
Would that your darkest fears were to be realised, Alison Anonymous! This would mean that we all could sign up to it with a good grace - believing that God's gracious and loving mercy is the aim and objective of such a Covenant relationship.
The 'Jerusalem Statement' would probably suit your own aspirations better for a 'sola scriptura' block, but it would in no way represent most of the Provinces of the Communion who are intent on bringing the Good News of the Gospel of OLJC to all - irrespective of race, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation - ALL whom the Lord our God may call into God's Church.
Your 'fears' of a liberal Covenant would, to my mind, more clearly represent what Christ himself may desire for His outreach to today's world: "Where charity and love are - there is GOD". Alleluia!
Fr Smith – to whom are you responding? I have not expressed any fears in my comment. Have you actually looked at the study guide? Are you suggesting that the position of those opposed to the Anglican Covenant have been fairly expressed there?
Peter – I am not sure why you include your “own bishop” in opposition to what I write. You have, presumably, read the report of the committee she chaired, the Report of the Primate’s Theological Commission of the Anglican Church of Canada on the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions. Its conclusions appear to me to be different to your own. Her style of leading services can hardly be described as conservative evangelical. The Covenant favours her position, not yours. It favours the ABC’s position. This is a position, you appear to forget, which is in favour of committed same-sex relationships but wanting a properly-articulated process for this acceptance. Signing up to the Covenant furthers that agenda, not yours, especially now (you are beginning to realise) that the committee overseeing its implementation is liberal, not conservative evangelical. The ABC has been playing a long game, longer than you foresaw. It is the liberal, orthodox, catholic position that will be the long-term legacy of a communion much more in the image of the current ABC than you realised. The absenting and departing of conservative evangelicals was inevitable by those who read the Covenant carefully. There is often a call to join the dots here – but the dots that have been joined here have been imagined ones, not actual ones.
First a small matter of clarity: I was wondering whether my bishop and I, both on the side of the Covenant in agreement, might differ from your perspective which seemed anti-covenant. BUT I now realise that you may be pro-Covenant too. A small but growing club among commenters here :)
Whether I disagree with my bishop on other matters is always a matter of interest to me, but we do agree on lots of thing. Believe it or not.
As for your view that mysteriously the Covenant has moved from being a tool of the conservative evangelical primates and bishops to oppress the liberals and progressives to, more or less, the other way round, you could be right.
If so it is intriguing that so many liberals and progressives remain thoroughly opposed to it. One might have thought that ++KJS and ++RW might have given more clues that it was actually on the side of progress!
Have they been playing a long game? Maybe. Quite a risky one, I would have thought: what if the primates had turned up to the Dublin meeting?
Anyway I appreciate your anxiety for the vulnerability of my position in a future Communion in which I am less than welcome. Funnily enough I have survived over fifty years in ACANZP, as liberally dominated and unfriendly-to-evangelicals an Anglican church as one can find outside of North America. I think I will survive ...!
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