Monday, August 5, 2013

Philip, what is going on?

Today is the day that the election in Synod begins. It is sad to report at the beginning of this day that the Very Rev Philip Jensen, Dean of Sydney and leading proponent of Rick Smith for Archbishop has been misrepresenting the other candidate's views in the context of an important election. (In the context of academic debate one could have a leisurely to and fro across several articles to clarify matters when misunderstanding/misrepresenting occurs. A couple of days out from an election it is plain unfair to make allegations about the theology of a candidate in an election where theology is very, very important). Read for yourself the pickle Jensen (and the also naughty Australian Church Record) has thrown the election into, here. Glenn Davies himself feels he has to respond to the misrepresentation. Sadly, if Rick Smith is elected there will be Sydney Anglicans who will wonder about the fairness of the campaign conducted by his supporters. A double sadness because Rick himself has kept entirely out of the fray of such tactics. 

On further reflection, do supporters of Rick Smith feel they might lose ...? What is at stake, let us remember, is not so much which person is elected but which grouping within the diocese has control of the future theological and missional direction of the diocese.

(PS: The link above takes one to a civil, polite response to the misrepresentation. But on Facebook I see a colleague noting that Facebook exchanges in the build up to the election are 'toxic'. What is at stake that leads to such intensity of feeling?)

In another part of the world there has been a bit of dust up over a book about Jesus written by a Muslim with a now viral video of a Fox TV interviewer making herself look silly as she interviewed the author. Good for book sales though. Of possible interest is review of the book itself, here and here.

++Justin Welby is going to be a great leader of the C of E and of Anglicanism. Why? Because he understands where we are in history. In a crisis we need leaders who can look beyond the crisis to what comes next. Check out a major address he has given recently to New Wine. His point about religious communities is pertinent - a visit yesterday to a local community here (Beatitudes, Leithfield, for local Canty readers) reminded me of the "light" work such communities do in the growth of the kingdom.

I have a motion to put to our Synod in a month's time which asks our ministry units to celebrate the bicentenary in 2014 of Samuel Marsden preaching the gospel for the first time on Aotearoa NZ shores by doing some evangelism. One possible way to do evangelism in our islands in 2014 is to embark on a local, even a national hikoi (journey) through sacred sites and special places. Bishop Kelvin Wright has a plan for his diocese which we could all read and ponder on the imitation thereof.

Near finally, for today, and maybe for a few days to come as busy in the life of our church, a reminder that each week I am attempting to publish reflections and notes on the readings for the Sunday to come, at Resourcing Preaching and Worship Down Under.

Last but not least in this round up, for NZ readers, and those here in Canterbury and Westland in particular, just seven days to go until the close of registrations for the Tough Questions Today: Exploring Theology of Marriage conference, 16-17 August. All the details are here.


Scott Mackay said...

Hi Peter,

Re: the document refuting Philip Jensen's claims about Glenn Davies' theology...

What better evidence do we need that Philip Jensen ≠ Sydney Diocese ≠ Moore College!

Peter Carrell said...

That is a very good point, Scott, and well made.

Anonymous said...

Peter Enns shares some thoughts on Aslan's new book, and a couple more reviews

Also worth reading some thoughts on the link between conservative Christian politics and distaste for such as Reza Aslan

Joshua Bovis said...

I am very disappointed to say the least!

Have a read of this.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am not publishing comments which make imputation about others behaving in a non-Christlike way.

The two candidates, incidentally, are not sparring theologically. Though it appears that some of their supporters are.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Joshua

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, your blog is becoming so sanitised, and so open to the pleas of S.H. to disenfranchise my comments, that I feel it may no longer be worth while my commenting on your site.

If you really want your site to be a one-sided poster-board for evangelical Christianity, I'm afraid I can no longer be bothered with it. I actually have much more positive objectives for the time I have left.

Bryden Black said...

Money quotes from the ABC:
"God does not repair; he renews." Then: "Above all, they seek first to know and love Jesus. There has never been a renewal of the Church in Western Europe without a renewal of prayer and the life of religious communities; never. If we want to see things changed, it starts with prayer."

Father Ron Smith said...

In the light of all the harruphing that is going on at the moment in Sydney; re the Covenantal or non-Covenantal Calvinist theology of the two candidates for Archbishop, one cannot but wonder what the official provincial Anglican Church of Australia thinks about all of this. I suspect; not much.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
What I a sanitising are comments which make snide remarks about other Christians.Stop doing that and I will publish your comments. Keep doing it and I will delete (as I have just done for another comment).

Andrew Reid said...

Father Ron,
The Anglican Church of Australia is in reality a fairly loose federation of the dioceses. It has no power to confirm (or not) elected bishops as in TEC, nor does it have any role in their appointment as in the C of E. We hold General Synod together, cooperate in issues that require national responses and have a primate who represents the church nationally, but we don't involve ourselves in each other's electoral synods except to pray and offer support.

The methods of appointment of (arch)bishops vary by diocese. Some like Sydney have elections with open nominations, others have a nominations committee who choose, others like Melbourne have a mixture with the nominations committee choosing a small list for the electoral synod to choose from.

Any Anglican diocese anywhere in the world has a fair degree of politicking and robust discussion around the election of a new bishop. There are elements of Sydney's process that I think could be done better and certain comments/articles that have been unhelpful, but the debate and politicking is hardly unusual.

As I commented yesterday, the time for narky criticism is over and the time for prayer is here.

Anonymous said...

All these debates over the finer points of scholastic Calvinism go right over my head, but Glenn's attributing the Westminster Confession (WC) in his reply to a group of 'Anglicans' made me smile.

If the English Puritan/Presbyterian divines who composed the WC were in any way 'Anglican', how could they have rejected episcopacy and the use of the Book of Common Prayer and consented to the judicial murder of the Supreme Governor of the C of E (not to mention the ABC)?

Maybe the Thirty-nine Articles aren't so 'calvinist' after all, if the WC was required to replace them, passed by Parliament as the convocation of bishops had been disbanded.

(Off message again...)

Kurt said...

Peter, these Australian developments are indeed disturbing, but I can’t say that I’m much surprised—considering the source. This situation may be somewhat novel in Sydney, but here in America, there has been a decades-long history of fundamentalists trashing other Christians for a host of manufactured reasons. I agree, though, with your analysis. If the Jensen-backed candidate does win, it will leave a bad taste in the mouths of many other Evangelicals in Sydney. High Churchmen/women, of course, don’t really have a dog in this fight, but this outrage might just begin the process of splitting the moderate Evangelicals off from the hardline Puritans in Sydney.

Kurt Hill
Enjoying perfect summer weather
In Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

HI Kurt
Both candidates are backed by a self-identifying Jensen!

Kurt said...

Hmm, that's interesting! Perhaps we are witnessing a split at the top...?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Andrew Reid said...


It's hardly a split at the top when an uncle and nephew support different candidates who differ in their approach and theology by about 1%. There was all sorts of robust debate and politicking before and during the election of Archbishop Jensen, but after the voting was done they got on with the job.

Andrew Reid said...

Peter, I just saw the first results for the voting here:

Rick Smith didn't get a majority in the clergy, which is VERY big news. If he can't improve on that, he won't make it to the "final list", which requires a majority in both houses. I imagine the Why Rick mob will be hitting the phones tonight.

The process is:
Select List (requires majority in 1 house only)
Final List (requires majority in both houses)
Archbishop (majority in both houses)

John sandeman said...

Davies wins.
My take here.
John Sandeman

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
If you want your comments to be published here do make allegations about clergy, here or over there, and especially not with phrases such as 'aggressive evangelising' and 'clergy envy'.