Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Nairobi Declaration: an offering

Having criticised the Jerusalem Declaration the least I can do is draft up Mark II which I will call the Nairobi Declaration. It is offered in freedom and without copyright constraints to GAFCON II!

For clarity. This is not being offered on the basis that all readers here at ADU will agree with it, or should agree with it. It is being offered on the basis that it improves the JD and on some assumptions about the likely make up of conferees in Nairobi that it might be agreeable to GAFCON 2.

It is worth noting at this time that, on the matter of the Anglican Covenant, the Church of Southern Africa these past few days has managed both to 'conservatively' affirm the adoption of the Covenant and to 'liberally' urge its bishops to provide guidelines for the blessing of same sex civil unions. The future of global Anglicanism lies in the holding together of conservative theology and liberal pastoral practice!


Towards The Nairobi Declaration (2013)

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:

We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Kenya. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.
  1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
  3. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, interpreted, preached, taught and obeyed respectful of the rule of faith expressed in the four Ecumenical Councils, the three historic creeds and the Thirty-nine Articles.
  5. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils (Nicea, 325; Constantinople, 381; Ephesus, 431; Chalecedon, 451) and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith (and orthodox faith) of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
  7. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as expressing clarification of the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic church for Anglicans.
  9. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
  11. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer. All expressions of Anglican worship should be theologically consistent with the theology of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and coherent with the sacramental and liturgical heritage represented in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
  13. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders for Anglican churches.
  15. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
  17. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
  19. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
  21. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships among churches holding the orthodox faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
  23. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice in accordance with this declaration, and we encourage them to join us in formal agreement with this declaration.
  25. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
  27. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
  29. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives."


Anonymous said...

I like it, and agree with it. I'm curious Peter as to what you see as the differences between this and the JS. It seems to make the same affirmations, though I would have to read them side by side to be sure.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn
The significant changes are to clauses 2, 4, 6 and a separation of the two parts of JD 11 into an 11 and 12 and subsequent renumbering.

I would like to think that the changes meet my own critique of JD, possibly the critique of others of the JD, and generally make for a better coherency for the overall statement.

Chris Hynde said...

Well, now that I as a gay Episcopalian have been declared an "un" member of YOUR church I guess I can bid you adieu.

So easy to banish and declare anathema in words, isn't it? And gosh I bet it makes one feel strong and right too. And so orthodox. God must be pleased, I suppose.

God bless anyway! I won't return. Good luck with your GAFCON church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Chris
I am not sure where the Nairobi Declaration makes Episcopalians, gay or straight, 'un' members of global Anglican fellowship (in the broad sense of that word), unless such Episcopalians are denying orthodoxy in word and in deed. But I thought a great claim of Episcopalians in the face of GAFCONesque debate about 'orthodoxy' is that TEC also is orthodox ...

Anonymous said...

I have been declared "un-Anglican" and disloyal, and much worse, by pro-gay advocates in the Church more times than I can remember.

All Christians have some view about what constitutes orthodoxy, and all of them, including those claiming to be "tolerant" and "inclusive" exclude some people and some views.

Tim Chesterton said...

I think it's true to say that the oldest non-English Anglican province, the Scottish Episcopal Church, doesn't look to 1662 (which stands in the heritage of 1552) but to 1549. This was the tradition that originally formed the American Episcopal Church, as the first American bishops were consecrated in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I have been thinking about the orthodox/non-orthodox discussion between you and Fr Smith. From a Catholic point of view, Anglicanism is a faith community whose doctrine is hard to pin down in many respects. There is, after all, no authoritative Anglican catechism other than perhaps the short one in the BCP (and 39A?). These lack the specificity of the CCC with pontifical authority. Of course, lack of specificity does not matter greatly in a uniform society. It can fill in the gaps. The problem arises when there is a pluralistic society and there is no real measure of orthodoxy. You have said to Fr Smith for example that there is no settled Anglican orthodoxy. If that is so, I do not understand how his views (scripture with an overlay of science as he understands it)are any less orthodox than your Nairobi "declaration". Of course, you can call to your defence sola sciptura, but the so-called Anglican orthodox view is of no more objective value than Fr Smith's. He simply has a different interpretation through prayer. If you then rely on tradition, he will rely on sola scriptura albeit a different passage. Without wanting to sound trite, I wonder whether the Anglican chickens have come home to roost. I suggest that Anglican orthodoxy is really a view of scripture that relies on a former cultural norm for its definition and legitimacy. That norm, at least in the west, has long gone. Although Anglican orthodoxy might in many respects attempt to emulate Constantinople and Rome, it simply has no authority (even on its own terms) to do so. It can pass itself of as orthodox in Nairobi, but not London. I can't attempt to solve this, but I suggest that it is the Achilles' heel of protestantism. Sadly, everyone's view of scripture is potentially valid.

For the record, my personal views accord with the CCC.


Tim Chesterton said...

I must confess myself to be mystified at the fact that the issue of heterosexual monogamous marriage merits an article all by itself, while stewardship of creation, justice, and care for the poor and needy get to share one.

Yes, divorce is an issue that effects a lot of people. But homosexuality? A tiny percentage of the population. It is far from the most pressing moral issue facing the church today. Let me suggest a few candidates that might have been included under the ethical section of this 'statement to orthodoxy':

1. Materialism. For every one gay person coming for communion in my church, there are probably at least twelve unrepentant materialists. Jesus tells us quite clearly not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, not to live in luxury while others starve, and that none of us can be his disciples unless we give up all we possess (not a saying of Jesus that many evangelicals seem to enjoy taking literally). Paul tells us in 1 Timothy that we ought to be content if we have food and clothing (I suspect if he had lived in my climate he would have added a warm house to live in as well!). And yet in my congregation there are several people who think there is nothing wrong with going on at least one luxury cruise a year. Jesus tells us that if we have two coats and our brother or sister has none, we are to give our extra coat to them. In my congregation there are several people with two houses...! This issue is poisoning the discipleship of perhaps the majority of western Christians, and yet this statement ignores it, while targeting homosexuality (which most of us, funnily enough, don't have a problem with - how convenient!).

2. Covetousness - obviously related to the first one, and yet in the Ten Commandments it merits a commandment all its own. The entire modern advertising industry is largely based on covetousness, and Satan uses it to rescue billions of dollars a year from mission, evangelism, and caring for the poor. This is an issue probably every Christian in the western world struggles with, and where is it in this statement?

3. Nationalism and Erastianism. Christianity celebrates the Lordship of Jesus Christ above all earthly authorities, and his church is meant to transcend differences of race and state. But Anglicanism began as a state church under Henry VIII, and liberal Anglicans in particular continually stress the independence of national Anglican churches. Nationalism has caused millions of deaths worldwide and continues to do so, and throughout European history millions of Christians have seen nothing wrong with slaughtering their fellow Christians at the command of the State. Can you imagine Jesus or Paul countenance go such a thing? And yet this is not mentioned here. No, let's go after the gays again!

I could go on, but I won't. In my parish are two couples (one lesbian, one homosexual) who love Jesus, love his church, and are trying to raise gentle, loving children in the context of their Christian faith. Sorry, but Chris' reaction shows what they will hear loud and clear in this statement. Whether or not you agree with their take on Christian sexual morality, is it really such an important issue that it merits the space it is getting today?

Kurt said...

Tim is quite correct; the Scots look to the PB of 1549. They also had no "Black Rubric," or "Articles of Religion" until the 1790s.

As far as the so-called "Nairobi Declaration" is concerned, it's just more of the same old, same old as far as I can tell.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
I do not understand Roman orthodoxy to be settled, otherwise how am I to explain papal bulls of the twentieth century, or the ongoing tussle over Vatican 2?

My talk about unsettled orthodoxy needs some nuancing! It refers both to the fact that aspects of orthodoxy are settled (e.g. The great creeds) and other aspects are or may be changed (e.g. wording of liturgies, whether women are ordained or not, the remarriage of divorcees). It also refers to the fact that Christians agreed on much re orthodoxy may yet disagree on important matters, the most obvious example being the dispute between the West and the East re the Filioque clause.

From that perspective Anglicanism has more unsettled aspects that Rome and Constantinople. But I do not see that means that Scripture necessarily means one thing in Nairobi and another in New York. ultimately that is a question of Anglican conciliarity. Which council will prevail in defining the meaning of Scripture?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Tim
I get your point and the attempt to offer an improvement to the JD via an ND could be developed further re the concerns you raise.

On the other hand, I am offering an ND which those who gather at ND might agree to and not an ND that conservative Anglicans around the globe, including you and me who are not going to Nairobi might agree to!

On that basis, and given the importance at this time of the issue of human sexuality for global Anglicanism, I suggest the ND needs to say something about marriage. Would you expect those going to Nairobi to agree to something in that area that you would agree to?

Father Ron Smith said...

Your Offering to GAFCON II, Peter, will be displaced by me this morning (Sunday, Feast of Dedication) by the Offertory in the 1662 Mass, at Saint Michael and All Angels, Christchurch.

Ours will represent 'The One, Perfect Offering, Oblation and Satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world' - not only the sins of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada.

By the way, are you off to GAFCON?

Father Ron Smith said...

I sincerely do think that the new proponents of the 'Nairobi Statement' do have a spiritual home - and that is securely in Nairobi, Kenya - rather than Canterbury, England.

Do not expect it to disciple the world of global Anglicanism. we already have our 'Statement of Faith' in the Apostolic and Nicene Creeds.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

I would say that the reason marriage needs a separate article is because it is currently a major issue within the Anglican Communion, because of the call to redefine marriage. Thus while it may not be a major issue in society (arguable) it is in the Church, and both the Nairobi Declaration and the JD are aimed at the Church rather than wider society.

I don't think it's fair to say "let's go after gays again." Nobody is doing so, but responding to very strident demands that we change our understanding of Christian marriage. It is the pro-homosexuality movement in the Church that started the debate, we are just responding.

God commanded the military invasion and religious/ethnic cleansing of Canaan. Jesus is God.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
My post on "going to GAFCON" makes it clear in the first sentence that I am not going!

Anonymous said...

Anglicanism has statements of faith in the creeds, the BCP catechism and the Thirty Nine Articles.

Father Ron Smith said...

The Anglican Communion has grown up since the publication of the 39 Artifacts - which now do not have to have specific acknowledgment in many Anglican Provinces (including ACANZP) by newly-ordained clergy. Although I suspect some new clergy may assent to them under their breath- clinging to them rather than the eirenic ethos of a non-Confessional Anglicanism.

As a hymn at our SMAA Dedication Festival rightly puts it, in today's Eucharist: "Christ is our Corner-Stone, on Him alone, we build" (not on any man-made rules - nor yet any modern conservative declaration - like J. or Nairobi!)

Peter Carrell said...

Yet the 2 Timothy epistle reading this morning, Ron, speaks of holding to 'sound teaching'.

Personally I 'cling' to the 39A as a sound, Anglican guide to what the sound teaching of Scripture is.

And in doing so I believe I am on the side of the angels, St Michael included.

Anonymous said...

What does "grown up" mean? Which part of the Anglican Church? Especially given that parts clearly do adhere to the 39 Articles.

What is non eirenic about confessional Anglicanism? How does a Liberal ideology that puts down, belittles and attacks any expression of traditional Christianity claim to be eirenic? How does not building on man made confessions make any sense when the Creeds are man made? Did you recite Nicene creed at that service? If so, that makes no sense if you reject man made confessions.

Lots of dubious assertions and contradictions in that post Ron.

Anonymous said...

Peter, it may well be that Roman orthodoxy can develop, but on the publication of the CCC, JP2 declared it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. I can look up immediately for example that hatred is a mortal sin, but so is divorce. Just governments allow people to opt out of military service and so on. My point is that Catholics have an orthodox written standard that Anglicans lack. It seems to me that Anglicanism has historically relied on a gap-filling benign culture that is still very strong in the global south, but has all but disappeared in Europe. And, of course, that is why some Anglicans have adopted the Covenant. Anyway, Ephraim Radner and Philip Turner deal with the question of orthodoxy (and its stable mate authority) far better than I can hope articulate in The Fate of Communion, Eerdmans 2006. One interesting side comment in the book (which I cannot find in my copy at the moment) is that on one view of orthodoxy, A New Zealand Prayer Book is not orthodox. Of course the BCP is. Therein is the problem.


Anonymous said...

My point was that it is simply not true that the creeds alone are the only confessional basis of Anglicanism. Nor is it true that thevAnglican Church does not need man made confessions, otherwise we should reject the creeds as well. Unless the Anglican Church has suddenly become Hard Shell Baptist.

Within English Anglicanism it is not possible in my opinion to claim adherence to Anglican heritage while also rejecting the 39A's.

GAFCON on the other hand does accept the 39A's, affirming my view that they are far closer to the Anglican heritage than a Kiberalism which demands radical innovations and dismisses significant aspects of that heritage.

Perhaps the Liberal wing has not so much grown up as grown out of Anglicanism altogether?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
"eirenic" and "non-confessional Anglicanism" do not necessarily belong together in the same sentence.

Neither does "non-confessional" and "Anglicanism", as Shawn rightly points out, as long as Anglicans say creeds, ask their clergy and licensed lay ministers to sign declarations re use of prayerbooks and constitutions.

Hi Nick,
I agree that Anglicanism does not have anything quite as "tight" as the CCC. But then it hasn't boxed itself into a corner over unsupportable theological tenets such as some held by Rome re Mary ... or re the use of artificial contraception.

Tim Chesterton said...

Hi All:

I would like to make it clear that I'm not in principle against confessional statements. Nor do I think the 39A are adequate any more; they were created to deal with a particular moment in history and they focus on issues that were contentious then.

But that was the 16th Century; we're now in the 21st Century. If we're still arguing about how many sacraments there are (a word that's not even in the Bible), or how we ought to avoid excommunicated persons, or whether the Bishop of Rome has any civil authority in the realm of England, then I find that very sad. Theology must continue to engage with the issues of our present age, and it will be necessary for us to continue to produce confessional statements to reflect that engagement. But we must always sit lightly to them, and realize that, as Shawn and Ron have both reminded us, they are the words of people, and (as the 39A remind us) all churches can and have erred.

However, as an Anabaptist/Anglican, I have to say that I'm saddened that the Church doesn't spend equal time on statements of practice ("Because we are followers of Jesus we do X, Y, and Z"). I believe that the teaching of Jesus is primarily concerned with the practice of the Kingdom. High time we put lots more thought into that.

Peter and Shawn, I don't buy the excuse that 'we need a separate article about marriage because marriage is at issue in the Anglican Communion'. The current debate in the Anglican Communion is not about marriage in general; it's about one aspect of it: homosexuality. Divorce affects far more Christians than homosexuality, but I don't see us forming dissenting Anglican organizations because most western Anglican churches practice remarriage after divorce (thus 'redefining' marriage and accepting that sometimes it is not lifelong). And forgive me for being crude, but I suspect that far more Christians are fornicating with computers than with same-sex partners, but the issue of Internet pornography gets barely a mention in the Anglican world today - although Peter and I both know as pastors that it is responsible for the breakup of an increasing number of marriages.

And Shawn, you and I have had this conversation about war before, and you keep ducking the question. I'm not talking about whether or not God told the Israelites to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Canaanites (which he did, according to the Old Testament, so if you believe those words accurately reflect God's words, then you can't say that God is against ethnic cleansing and genocide). I'm talking about the issue of Christians going to war against their fellow-Christians at the command of the state, which is a violation of everything that the New Testament has to say about the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the unity of the Body of Christ. I have yet to see a New Testament argument that would justify Christians killing fellow-members of the Body of Christ.

Anonymous said...

But then it hasn't boxed itself into a corner over unsupportable theological tenets such as some held by Rome re Mary ... or re the use of artificial contraception.

Hi Peter, this is just opinion. If you are referring to the assumption of the BVM, it is orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox dormition is a similar tradition. As for contraception, I simply do not think you are being serious. It's easily supportable; whether people agree or live it is an entirely different matter. Anyway, let's get back to Nairobi.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
Let me try my point in a different way, which I think relates to what Nairobi may be about, or attempting to be about ...

"Orthodox" is a word which is used in a number of contexts (I have found) as though there is a set of beliefs which are encompassed by the word "orthodox" and another set which are "unorthodox"; and, further, as though "the orthodox" are a bunch of Christians who all subscribe to the same set of "orthodox" beliefs.

In reality there are difference among people claiming to be "orthodox." An Anglican and Roman "orthodox" might disagree on the assumption of the BVM; an Anglican and Eastern Orthdox will disagree with a Roman about Papal Infallibility; a Roman and Eastern Orthodox will disagree re the filioque clause.

Nairobi moral to be drawn: Anglicans, take care, and then take some more care, about using the word "orthodox". It is not as clear as an Anglican might think.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

I have not ducked the question you raise at all, I have answered it several times. It is legitimate for Christians to serve in the military, even if this means going to war against fellow Christians. You claim that is against the teaching of the NT, and I claim it is not. We could get into a verse by verse debate about that, but that would not be appropriate on this thread.

I don't buy your critique of the passage concerning marriage. Sexual sin in the Church is widespread, and a serious problem. Always has been, and until the Eschaton it always will be.

But sexual sinners, as to some degree we all are, are generally not calling on the Church to make radical changes to Church doctrine to bless their sins. I think your whitewashing the responsibility that the gay rights movement in the Church has in making this an issue that has to be dealt with, and spoken to in statements like Nairobi. Sorry, but that's not going to fly with ne or most Anglicans, or most Christians. Gay rights campaigners in the Xhurch cannot demand radical changes to Church doctrine and then complain when others address those demands.

And that is true in civil society as well. We have had over fifty years of liberal changes to marriage and sexuality and has been deeply damaging to many peoples lives. We have more divorce, more fatherless children, more sexually transmitted diseases, and more abortion, all at epidemic rates. Sweeping that under the carpet in favour of pacifism and socialism is not good Cheistian practice. It's selective politics.

Anabaptists do not have a monopoly on being concerned for orthopraxis. Nor are their interpretations of what that means necessarily in accord with Scripture, or at last not necessarily more than others. I personally find the rejection of self-defense, and military practice immoral and contrary to Scripture.

Also, the core of Anabaptism is, as the name suggests, a rejection of infant baptism. What then is an Anglican Anabaptist?

Anonymous said...

This is not a response to anyone commenting here, just a general comment on the way Jesus is presented by some, perhaps many, in the Church today.

What Jesus didin't do.

Jesus called us to care for the poor. He never said we should steak other peoples money to do so.

Jesus almost never discussed the political issues of his day, and even when he did it was to dismiss them as irrelevant.

Jesus never calls his followers to engage in class warfare.

Jesus never criticizes Roman soldiers for being soldiers.

When a Roman soldier compares faith to military service and obedience, Jesus praises him. He does not give him a lecture on the evils of militarism.

Jesus call his followers not to engage in revenge, even when we are in the right. He does not tell us to stand by and do nothing when our neighbor or family member is being physically assaulted.

Jesus tells us to seek the peace of God. He also tells his disciples to buy swords for self defense.

When in the presence of Pontiys Pilate Jesus does bot give him a lecture on the evils of imperialism, or talk about the gap between rich and poor, or insist that Pilate institute a living wage.

Jesus was and is always concerned with what is in our hearts, not politics.

Father Ron Smith said...

Looking over Shawn's responses to other comments on this thread, I find myself totally unable to agree with him on most of his dogmatic assertions. I therefore can no longer take him seriously, and will not take his bait.

Regarding R.C. Nick's response to Peter's critique of some R.C. doctrine, one has to consider the dogmatic stance of Rome on many issues - and sexuality is perhaps the most difficult for them to cope with - problematic to say the very least. However, I share with him a pious belief in the possibility of Mary's entrance into heaven. After all, if it was good enough for God's prophet Elijah, why not for the Mother of God's Eternal Son.

I do think that Tim, Anaptist and Anglican as he professes to be, talks a lot of sense on relative values upheld by Anglicans that beg the questions being fought so avidly an ADU. Divorce and re-marriage really does hit at the heart of family stability, and yet it seems to garner less venomous interest amongst conservative evangelicals than the more juicy subject (for them) of homosexuality - which involves far less fellow Christians, whose faith we share.

And as for this much-disputed word 'orthodoxy' - 'right belief' - according to whom? It can't be the same God for everyone who has their own version of 'right belief'.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Personally I 'cling' to the 39A as a sound, Anglican guide to what the sound teaching of Scripture is."
- Dr.Peter Carrell -

Trying to think ecumenically, Peter; do you think that other Churches - such as Rome and Constantinople - that do not accede to the 39A.s, are in breach of Sciptural authority?

And, as a consequence of your expected answer, do you think that Anglicanism is superior to these other understandings of Scripture?
I would be most interested to know.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter, on the assumption (hopefully not presumption) that Roman Catholics fit "orthodox" under your Nairobi article 11 (and do not need to do some work under 14), I agree with you on orthodoxy. The CCC recognises Anglicans as real Christians and Romans (as far as I understand it) are invited to your altars. BTW, with humour I note that we both hold the filioque clause (probably erroneously)to be orthodox (see 39As, NZPB and CCC). How heterodox!


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron / Tim

Perhaps it is worth restating a reason why homosexuality is being attended to by conservative Anglicans.

As best we understand the situation, no one is proposing that Anglicans change the basic teaching of the orthodox through the ages that marriage is for life.

But it is being proposed that Anglicans change the basic teaching of the orthodox through the ages that marriage is between a man and a woman.

That change is being resisted. The resistance is on the grounds that this is a change to how we understand Scripture on the matter. In itself (how we understand Scripture) that also is a change being resisted.

As far as conservatives are aware, no other change to orthodox understanding of Scripture through the ages is being proposed in this way. (Pacifism has not been consistently taught through the ages. Etc.)

Where there is a fair point to be made is whether Anglicans, including conservative Anglicans, are consistent in pastoral practice, in the particular case, in permitting the remarriage of divorcees and not permitting the marriage of two men or two women.

There is also a fair point to be made (largely here by Bosco Peters) whether Anglicanism's characteristic (so to say) "agree to disagree" or "extraordinary ability to live with difference" can be extended to include difference over the matter of same sex relationships.

Where I may be parting company with fellow conservatives is on these last two points.

But where I share wholeheartedly with my fellow conservatives is on the matter of treating as important the fact that Anglicans are being asked around the globe to consider changing a traditional, orthodox teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman. It is quite a change and we are not taking it lightly. Not least it concerns us what the next change might be ... remembering that some of the pressure for change re marriage is coming from people who otherwise seem to hold lightly to orthodox teaching about God, Christ and salvation.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
It is wishful, romantic thinking that Mary was assumed when there is precisely zero evidence for this being so. And even less in the Bible itself.

I trust you might permit fellow Anglicans who find evidence in the Bible for our views on marriage to hold the views we do since you feel entitled to hold the unevidenced views you do!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
The 39A are a sound, Anglican guide to what the sound teaching of Scripture is.

I imagine if I was a Presbyterian I would find the Westminster Confession to be similarly and Prebyterianly hepful. Ditto re the CCC and being a Roman.

Conversely I do not expect that non-Anglicans will have much use for the 39A. Their impact is strongest on those whose spiritual DNA gives them a natural appreciation for the riches of the English Reformation!

Peter Carrell said...

I am confused, Nick, as to whether the previous Pope or the present one is more intensely orthodox (in Anglican perspective) than the other!

Anonymous said...


first you are all a-flurry about the wrong dogma. The assumption of the BVM is OOrthodox (sic). The Greeks agree with us, so (to be brutally blunt), that's what matters in our first century church paradigm. The Greeks do not agree with us on the dogma of the immaculate conception. So, that's where your bloggers need to criticise. As for Benedict XVI, he wrote (as Cardinal Ratzinger)the CCC. Francis p p has referred to the CCC when making his inspirational comments since his election. Floreat pontifex maximus Franciscus.


Janice said...

Hi Peter,

I have to catch a plane tonight and will be away for several days, but before I go I would like to direct your attention to this document titled, "An Economic Assessment of Same-Sex Marriage Laws".

As the title says, it is an economic assessment (not a theological assessment) of same-sex marriage laws (not of same-sex marriage per se). Nevertheless, because it is an economic assessment it deals with human behaviour and the incentives that motivate people to act in one way or another when the law allows them to do so. That is, it's the first paper I've read on the topic of same-sex marriage that gives an account of how what the law permits affects the behaviour of sinful human beings.

The author includes a very interesting discussion of the effect on marriage, and incentives to marry or divorce, of introducing no-fault divorce laws. Among other things, he says:

It is easy to understand that the effect of no-fault divorce was unintended: the results have been so bad that no one would have wished them on future generations. These results, however, were also unanticipated, because no one had a proper theory of marriage. Contemporary documents, like the
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Report, demonstrate that proponents of no-fault divorce had an inadequate theory of marriage on a number of dimensions.

Anyone who thinks legalising same-sex marriage will have no (further) damaging effect on the institution, and anyone who has any role in deciding whether or not to agree to blessings of such unions, whether they are called marriages or civil unions, should read this paper.

They might then go and consider the Garden of Eden and how, from the beginning, human beings have been thinking they knew better than God what is right and what is wrong.

Anonymous said...


You have never taken me "seriously".

Nothing new there. But I do not "bait", I simply give my view in response to often dogmatic assertions by yourself and others

But I would ask that in responding to my posts you respond to my views, rather than making silly comments about not taking me, or anyone else, seriously, or claim that I or anyone else is simply "baiting."

Such responses are not helpful, and nor Christian.

Anonymous said...


It would go along way towards avoiding grief here if you just stopped publishing any comments by Ron that, rather than respond civilly to my views, are comments about me personally, or his views about me or towards me.


Tim Chesterton said...

Well. It's Sunday morning in Canada (New Zealanders are so far ahead of us!), so happy Lord's Day, everyone.

Shawn, brother, you and I have disagreed on these issues so many times before that I do not expect that you will find anything I say persuasive. So I will content myself with the assertion that an argument from silence is a weak argument. It is true that Jesus said nothing specifically to Roman soldiers about leaving their profession. It is also true that he said nothing to prostitutes about leaving their profession. I do not draw from that silence the conclusion that he thought it was okay for them to continue as they were; I draw the conclusion that he thought the general commands to avoid fornication and adultery were sufficient - just as I draw the conclusion that he thought the general commands to love your enemy were clear enough re. military service.

As for 'Anabaptist Anglican' - well, the description was given to me by Anabaptist friends, so what can I say? I agree with them on many things - Jesus as the interpretive centre of scripture, discipleship as described in the gospels as the basic paradigm for the Christian life, simplicity of life, nonviolence and love for enemies - and I even go so far with them on baptism as to say that I think the traditional practice of infant baptism on demand is obviously based on a Christendom paradigm when everyone in society is considered de facto Christian, which, if it ever was appropriate, is certainly not today. Nothing I believe and practice as an Anabaptist Anglican is inconsistent with the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (Two Testaments, three Creeds, two sacraments, locally-adapted episcopacy).

Peter, with respect, a change in practice re. marriage and divorce is a change in doctrine. Until1977 divorced people could not get married in the Anglican Church of Canada while their former spouse was still living. After 1977 they could. No matter what we say about doctrine, this is a change to the understanding of the ages that marriage is always for life.

By the way, Peter, I think I am mainly with you on this issue. I am not myself convinced that we should call a same-sex union a 'marriage'. But I think we should be working alongside same-sex couples to help them raise their families and grow as followers of Jesus, and I think the big tent of Anglicanism accepts far bigger differences than this one

And now, I'm off to lead worship at St. Margaret's. I think I'll now bow out of this discussion, since I have apparently, rather unwisely, forgotten a recent resolution I made to stop getting involved in theological arguments on blogs!!!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Janice
An interesting paper! Thank you.
We cannot out-think God!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn
You make a fair point!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

Just some very brief points.

I am not so much making an argument from silence as from what Jesus did, in so far as he held up soldiers in a positive way. That combined with all the other Biblical evidence seems significant to me. "Blessed be the Lord my God who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle."

Thanks for explaining what you mean by Anabaptist Anglican. Just to be clear I was simply curious, and not at all being critical of that definition. As I have said before while my theology is, I think, fairly consistent with 39A Anglicanism, my spirituality is more Appalachian Pentecostal.

Finally, I have exactly the dame problem with resolutions about blog debating. :)

Father Ron Smith said...

"I do not expect that non-Anglicans will have much use for the 39A. Their impact is strongest on those whose spiritual DNA gives them a natural appreciation for the riches of the English Reformation!"
- Dr. Peter Carrell -

I accept Peter, that, for you, 'those whose spiritual DNA' was set in stone at the eruption of 16th century Reformation - that gave birth to several European Churches, not only Anglicans - do have what you are pleased to call 'a natural appreciation' for the 39 Articles, it's just that many Anglicans have moved on from that dogmatism into a new exciting ethos of 'Semper Reformanda' in the whole Church - (embraced even by Good Pope John XXIII, though resiled from by Popes John Paul II or Benedict XVI).

As other contributors have already mentioned, the Anglican Church has 'moved on' (changed doctrine) on the necessity of permanent marriage for heterosexuals, by dint of its acceptance of no-fault divorce and re-marriage. So Anglicans are not entirely innocent of doctrinal change! Whether one subscribes to the acceptability of divorce or not, it has become part of our DNA.

Concerning your remarks about the non-scriptural validity (or not) of Blessed Mary's Assumption, the two largest branches of Christendom (RC & Orthodox) have long accepted this as theologically coherent with the doctrine of the Saints. Where I part company with Rome (but not with Constantinople), is in their need for a theology of Mary needing to be free from 'original sin' in their doctrine of Mary's immaculate conception. For me, theologically, the nearest to the possibility of 'immaculate conception' was that of Jesus Christ himself, born of the Holy Spirit and the BVM.

If Jesus really was 'true God and true man', he needed to have partaken of full humanity - from his Mother, Mary a fully human being. If she had been immaculately conceived, that would have made Jesus without his 'human vesture'.

Enjoy your fast from blogging!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tim, actual final point! I agree with you about infant baptism.

Bryden Black said...

Thank you Janice for once more linking good material. It's the sort of thing I'd fully expect - when we consider how humans are inextricably social creatures, as per Gen 1 & 2. The issue however is that one must not let 'facts' get in the way of a (supposedly)'good narrative' ...!

Anonymous said...

A minority of Anglicans have moved on from the 39A's in favour of Liveral political ideology.

It's not new. It's been around for at least a hundred years, though it has gained dogmatic militancy by being fused with Cultural Marxism.

It's not exciting to most Anglicans. There is nothing exciting about declining parishes and no church growth.

It's not Semper Reformanda. It's Semper Cultural Marxism. Semper Reformanda means to reform the Church according to the Churches one rule of Faith, Scripture. Semper Cultural Marxism means to force the Church to conform to a deeply un-Biblical political ideology, and manifests in practice not as openness, inclusiveness and tolerance, but as an almost Stalinist rigid authoritarianism that excludes and persecutes opponents.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn
I am happy to publish your 2.20 pm comment as an interesting point of view.

It is not published on the basis that it is unarguable/beyond doubt that 'cultural Marxists' are at work in our church with 'Stalinist rigid authoritarianism'.

I am prepared to accept that 'cultural Marxism' is at work in our midst (as I see it as part of the ideascape of the 21st century Western world) but I know of no specific agents "forcing" the church to conform to its tenets.

Most liberal Anglicans I know are simply keen to foster a church which is kind, inclusive and tolerant.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

The claims of wanting a kind, inclusive, tolerant Church are too me euphemisms for Cultural Marxism, though I accept that some Liberals may actually believe what you say.

I have attended several Liberal churches on a regular basis, one long term. Kind, inclusive and tolerant was not my experience.

I base my claim about rigid authoritarianism on the current situation in TEC, which is much further along in the process of Cultural Marxist "reform" than we are.

I always submit my views as just my own subjective opinion, and the post in question made no personal remarks towards anyone.

Peter Carrell said...

Ah, Shawn, so long as we distinguish ACANZP from TEC then we may find common accord. Albeit seen from a long way across the Pacific, there do seem to be worrying authoritarian streaks in TEC's approach to dissent.

Anonymous said...

In the C of E we find the Declaration of Assent and the oaths of canonical obedience to the Queen and the Diocesan bishop enough. Cant see any liklihood of the C of E accepting anything further....
Perry ( Canterbury UK)

Anonymous said...

In the C of E we find the Declaration of Assent and the oaths of canonical obedience to Queen and Diocesan Bishop enough.

Bryden Black said...

Enjoy the break Peter!

In your description of the church in October 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM you forgot that inestimable word "nice" ...

MichaelA said...

Nick wrote,

"Peter, it may well be that Roman orthodoxy can develop, but on the publication of the CCC, JP2 declared it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion"

Sure Nick, but so what? There are millions of Roman Catholics in the world and huge variety of belief among them. I know from just talking among a cross-section of RC friends in Sydney how widely their beliefs vary. Rome can promulgate a catechism if it wants – some RCs will try to follow it in all respects but they will disagree with other RC's as to how it is to be interpreted; whereas other RCs will consciously disagree with it in one or more respects; and still other RCs will simply never think about it or refer to it in those respects where they don't wish to (thus neatly avoiding any conflict with it!). The existence of a catechism doesn't mean that the Roman Catholic Church has any clearer or more uniform belief among its members than any other church.

"The Greeks agree with us, so (to be brutally blunt), that's what matters in our first century church paradigm."

But isn't the real question whether either of you agree with Christ and his Holy Apostles? I would have thought that was the primary consideration for both groups, to be equally brutal and blunt!

MichaelA said...

Tim wrote,

"I'm not talking about whether or not God told the Israelites to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Canaanites (which he did, according to the Old Testament, so if you believe those words accurately reflect God's words, then you can't say that God is against ethnic cleansing and genocide)."

There seems to be a gap in the logic there, Tim. How do you get from "God commanded the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites" (I agree, he did) to "God approves ethnic cleansing" (i.e. a human decision to commit mass murder for selfish reasons and with no divine sanction)? Are you seriously suggesting that the Bible gives any support to what went on in Kampuchea or a myriad other places around the globe?

"I have yet to see a New Testament argument that would justify Christians killing fellow-members of the Body of Christ."

Whereas the 39 Articles specifically disagree with you (as do I, see below). So I can see why you wouldn't want to accept the Articles.

"just as I draw the conclusion that he thought the general commands to love your enemy were clear enough re. military service."

Why would that be the case? On that basis, a Christian policeman could not enforce the law against wrongdoers, yet Paul tells us that secular rulers do the will of God when they execute judgment according to the law (Romans 13:4). Paul speaks with Christ's authority, so it is clear that Christ did not have a problem with Christians being involved in punishment of criminals by the State. Why therefore cannot a Christian serve in the wars at the commandment of the governor?

MichaelA said...

Father Ron wrote:

"I sincerely do think that the new proponents of the 'Nairobi Statement' do have a spiritual home - and that is securely in Nairobi, Kenya - rather than Canterbury, England."

I would have thought their 'spiritual home' is where the Apostle Paul's was, which is nowhere on this earth (see Philippians 3:20). Wouldn't you agree? But of course, if your spiritual home is of this earth, that is your choice.

"Do not expect it to disciple the world of global Anglicanism. we already have our 'Statement of Faith' in the Apostolic and Nicene Creeds."

Indeed, as do all Christians. Nobody is forcing you to do anything that is distinctly Anglican. But those going to Gafcon wish to go that step further and be Anglican.

"The Anglican Communion has grown up since the publication of the 39 Artifacts"

It has indeed. The vast majority of Anglicans in the world hold to them. But if you don't want to, you don't have to.

"As a hymn at our SMAA Dedication Festival rightly puts it, in today's Eucharist: "Christ is our Corner-Stone, on Him alone, we build" (not on any man-made rules - nor yet any modern conservative declaration - like J. or Nairobi!)"

Precisely. Any person may ignore man made rules – that was the position of Hooper in the vestments controversy and you are most welcome to side with him if you wish. But those of us who are Anglicans believe that man-made rules like the Book of Common Prayer still have their place, under the higher authority of scripture.

"Divorce and re-marriage really does hit at the heart of family stability, and yet it seems to garner less venomous interest amongst conservative evangelicals than the more juicy subject (for them) of homosexuality - which involves far less fellow Christians, whose faith we share."

It only garners interest because proponents of homosexual behaviour keep insisting that the Bible and church doctrine must change to suit them. If they weren't so persistent, the issue would never come up. Hence they are to blame for the focus on it, not the rest of us. And as for divorce, I know the clergy here in Sydney diocese preach against it all the time – do yours not do so?

"And as for this much-disputed word 'orthodoxy' - 'right belief' - according to whom? It can't be the same God for everyone who has their own version of 'right belief'."

Probably not. Why is that surprising, or a problem?

Father Ron Smith said...

My responses to 2 of MichaelA's criticisms:

1. "But those going to Gafcon wish to go that step further and be Anglican"

That 'step further' - the institutional exclusion of LGBT people from the life and ministry of the Church - is not 'Anglican'.

2."It only garners interest because proponents of homosexual behaviour keep insisting that the Bible and church doctrine must change to suit them"

That is not true. Supporters of LGBT people are concerned that their opponents seem to believe that the Scriptures, and Jesus in particular, hold the same view of LGBT people as themselves - based on out-dated understandings of human biology and social reality.

liturgy said...


From my own recent, personal study I am understanding that practically nothing exists from the Council of Constantinople 381. I would be interested if anyone had anything that assuredly is sourced in that meeting. Its ecumenical nature appears even disputed.

If GAFCON in its explicitly unspecifying which 4 councils it accepts is being taken to include Constantinople 381, what, exactly do they accept? Even the canons attributed to it vary in acceptance.



Anonymous said...

"The step further - the exclusion of LGBT people from the life and ministry of the church - is not 'Anglican.'" - - Ron Smith.

If exclusion means practicing homosexuals cannot be married in the Church or receive ordination, then yes it IS Anglican.

It has always been Anglican teaching that marriage is one man and one women. A few individuals, dioceses, and TEC, who disagree does not change that fact,

Anglican teaching on that issue has been unchanged since the Reformation, thus GAFCON IS Anglican on that issue.

Your confusing Liberal politics with Anglicanism, something GAFCON rightly rejects.

Anonymous said...

I respond briefly to MichaelA
"There are millions of Roman Catholics in the world and huge variety of belief among them". Although this might be true, Catholics who hold views contrary to the magisterium of the Church do not hold Catholic views. So, the CCC is an advantage because everyone knows what the Church teaches. You don't have to believe it, but you might not then be free as a Catholic to share the eucharist.

"But isn't the real question whether either of you agree with Christ and his Holy Apostles?"

The Romans and Greeks claim to interpret scripture with the authority of the apostles, so your point (though I understand it) is made from a sola scriptura viewpoint.

There are Catholic sites which deal with these questions. The mark of quality control is the expression "nihil obstat" with the bishop's name and see.If there's no nihil obstat, it's just opinion.


Peter Carrell said...

Are you being just a little obtuse here, Nick? The 20th century, it might be remembered, is famous in the history of official Catholic theology for (at least) (a) proscribing critical biblical scholarship then permitting it; (b) proscribing various outstanding theologians (e.g. Du Lubac) then calling them in to advise at Vatican 2 ... there is variety in Catholic theology and it is an over simplification to paint a picture of all being sorted by the CCC.

Anonymous said...

Nick has a valid point. Anglicanism suffers from a lack of a clear confessional basis. The Lutheran and Reformed Churches have the Augsburg Confession, the Westminster Standards, and the Three Forms of Unity.

While clear confessional and catechetical teaching do not stop some people choosing to go their own way, it does have an advantage is laying out clearly what is or is not 'small o' orthodoxy within a particular church body.

And Peter, RC teaching over the last two hundred years has been far more consistent than Anglican. John Spong would never have become a Bishop in the RC church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn
I agree that a stronger confessional basis to Anglicanism would be a good thing.

I also agree that RCC theology is far more consistent than Anglican theology; and that, consequently, Spong would never be a bishop in the RCC.

Bryden Black said...

Bosco - October 13, 2013 at 1:47 PM

You ask a legitimate scholarly question, one that permits professional theologians to write screeds and put bread on their tables!

IMHO: see JND Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (Longman, 3rd ed 1972), Frances Young, From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to its Literature and Background (SCM, 1983), RPC Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy 318-381 (T&T Clark, 1988), Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology (Oxford, 2004), Khaled Anatolios, Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine (Baker, 2011).

Their bread is well worth digesting! The upshot: The Church of the Seven Councils clearly endorses 381 as the Second, even if actual minutes seem to have been kept only from the Third, Ephesus, in 431. Hence the delightful possibilities for speculation - and scholarly labour - for previous matters!

Meanwhile, we trust and pray the ABC might ensure fraternal relations continue among us in the AC. I for one think there's more chance for a snow flake in hell ...

liturgy said...

Thanks, Bryden. I only have (read) the first book. My understanding is (was?) that we have records from the first (Nicaea). You appear to be saying I am wrong about that?



Anonymous said...

I can't speak specifically about Constantinople 381 but I do know a bit about writing in the ancient world and later antiquity. The vast majority of writings (over 95%, incl. most of the works of the canonical Greek tragedians, and Aristotle's writings on comedy)from the ancient world are lost irrevocably because writing was costly and time-consuming and preserving records from fire, Arians, mildew, Manichaeans, Muslims etc is more a matter of good luck than anything else. The entire works of Aristotle would all have been lost, had not a disciple hidden them in a cave. Think how things might have turned out for Roman Catholic theology!
IIRC, we know more about Nicea 325 from Eusebius (and maybe Athanasius's correspondence, but I haven't checked this). That Constantinople 381 was universally accepted by Catholic Christians is not doubted.
Martinos Suggrapheus

Bryden Black said...

I sense Bosco it's a case of the kind of record: from stenographic type record to summation afterward (with strong bias one way or the other!). Nicaea has the latter in spades, but lacks the more official type account of Ephesus. 381 has always kept folk in business on the third hand!!

Anonymous said...

Checking through my comments under this thread, my consistent point has been that Anglicans should perhaps be careful when using the word orthodox in Nairobi or similar. You essentially agree cf October 6 at 3.44pm. The CCC (or as Shawn notes a confession)is an obvious advantage in any appeal to orthodoxy. I think you agree with that too. Perhaps my only small clarification is that I didn't say that the CCC sorted everything. It is the magisterium (the word I actually used)that defines whether a doctrine is Catholic. The CCC is a norm, but has only been published 20 years. I don't suggest that Catholic teaching is all uniform. For example, Eastern Catholic priests can marry, yet remain in full communion with Rome. They also have their own code of canon law.

I think that's probably all I need say on this thread.


Peter Carrell said...

Fair enough, Nick!

When a publisher offers a substantial advance I shall expand the putative Nairobi Declaration into our very own "CAC" :)

Anonymous said...

We had a Magesterium, but they all went to high tea in the Cotswolds and were never seen again.