Thursday, March 20, 2014

Church growth Global South style ... and a question (updated to include controversy)

Lovely report here of a fresh expression Anglican church plant in Cairo.

Speaking of Global South, the Diocese of South Carolina has decided in favour of its motion previously noted here, to come under the oversight of Global South Primates. But their press release (e.g. here) speaks of the 'Global Anglican Communion' which in terms of words looks like an amalgam of 'Global South' and 'Anglican Communion' and in terms of literal meaning is the same as 'Anglican Communion' (which is global in scope), but as a title, does it betoken a new forming of Anglican global fellowship? (Comments from South Carolina especially welcomed ...)

ADDENDUM: A consistent line through ADU over the years has been concern that the Anglican Communion find and maintain theological coherency and consistency over convictions which accord with Christian orthodoxy. Chickens are coming home to roost in most if not all Western Anglican churches as a largely liberal/progressive theological hegemony has driven leadership and vision for decades in order to make accommodation with the secularising societies in which we live only to find pews emptying out. Accordingly it is of great concern when we continue to find in Western Anglican churches certain theological commitments continuing to be fostered and encouraged by the episcopal hierarchy.

Yesterday, over  coffee, I learned verbally of a controversy brewing in Melbourne. I see that David Ould has two posts on the matter here and here. David makes an excellent point in the headline to the first post, "Stretching the limits of diversity?" We are Anglicans and that means there will be and should be some width to our theological appreciations, some tolerance of a range of views amongst us. But to diversity there is a question of limits if we have any regard for the matter of unity as in our almost banal 'diversity in unity' or 'unity in diversity' mantra.


Zane Elliott said...

Hi Peter,
I've been watching with interest the progress in South Carolina for some time. It was interesting to speak to folk from there at GAFCON II in Nairobi last year and to hear their stories.

Does SC coming under the oversight of the Global South Primates betoken a new forming of Anglican global fellowship?

Absolutel, and, despite the fact we're in lent - Alleluia!

What else could be done? It worries me on some level, but I think we are seeing a watershed here. No longer is Canterbury the centre. No longer does the one third dictate to the two thirds. No longer will geography dictate relationships within the Anglican Communion. Faithfulness to the Apostolic Gospel will.
The things that are supposed to hold us together - the BCP, The 39 articles, the Ordinal - these things have been rejected by some provinces. Doctrine which has long been considreed Anglican has been usurped for something thoroughly un-Anglican. South Carolina has made a bold move. they have nailed their colours to the mast and have made it clear that being Anglican isn't about relationship with a certain bishop, it is about much much more.

This encourages me, because I think it means our beloved Anglicanism has a future.

The progressive agenda was supposed to make faith more accesible to the everyday person. Over the past thirty years of it being unleashed in the ACANZP we haven't see it bring the full parishes it promised. What we have seen is the opposite.

This boldness of SC rattles me, it makes me uncomfortable, but it thrills me at the same time, to think that our beliefs might shape our faith and our Church, not our geography.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
You are breaking the rules with your comment: (a) speculation about people and their futures; (b) presumption that only you and those who think like you are loving of the whole world. Don't!

""No longer is Canterbury the centre. No longer does the one third dictate to the two thirds. No longer will geography dictate relationships within the Anglican Communion. Faithfulness to the Apostolic Gospel will." - Zane Elliot -

Seemingly, []


Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron,
This next comment is not good either. Don't speculate and don't denigrate. The comment Zane makes is a simple point that the Anglican Communion is showing signs that actual theological belief in keeping with Anglican historic theological belief might matter more than geographical divisions. Your critique of that should focus less on denigrating the commenter and more on the ways in which we might renew theological belief across the whole Communion. One way would be to agree to the Covenant but that is something you are publicly on record against. Please give us your recipe for Anglicans to find and hold common accord on what we believe. Mere appeal to traditional belief when so many Anglican theologians and bishops in the past century or two have distanced themselves from such appeal does not 'cut it.'

""This boldness of SC rattles me, it makes me uncomfortable, but it thrills me at the same time, to think that our beliefs might shape our faith and our Church, not our geography." - Zane Elliot -


I find this arrogation to one's-self of 'our beliefs & our faith'
vis-a-vis Traditional Anglican Unity in diversity to be [].

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron,
You are most welcome here and always welcome to return. This is an inclusive blog but it won't (as best I can spot it and moderate it) include denigration of fellow Anglicans/Christians.

Even in your farewell comment which I now cite I need to remove unfortunate libel against a fellow cleric:

"Peter, you have just lost the only New Zealand-based Anglo-Catholic on you blog commentating team.

I can no longer take the anti-gay philosophy that you seem to have cultivated on your long-standing N.Z. blog.

Now I'm sure that suits you fine, but I hope that your audience, which I believe is pretty wide, had better take notice that it may not be possible any longer to expect any liberal commentary on this ADU blog. It will be mostly more of the same conservative protestant propaganda. Sort of like 'talking to one's-self.

I must say, I'm a bit surprised that you seem to be protecting the likes of one of [] Defence Force Chaplains, in his preposterous claims to represent what he appears to consider - [removal of derogatory comment] - as being the only way to be Anglican. This is a ridiculous situation.

Goodbye, its been a very mixed experience trying to represent a more eirenic view of Ecclesia Anglicana on your blog.

Jesus, mercy; Mary, pray!"

Ron, I am not trying to cultivate/protect/support any anti-gay stance and object to you saying that against me, but I can take that whereas I am not prepared to carry denigration of others here.

Your liberal voice has been welcomed here by me because I want to see that perspective. However I am surprised that you object to similarly confident conservative voices.

To all readers: comment here from all sides of issues, but do not slag off fellow Anglicans, do not speculate on inner feelings of others, and do not say things about others that could end you in court.

Anonymous said...

Ron, on the contrary, when I have voiced my own doubts about the traditional approach to homosexuality in the Anglican world, Peter has been nothing but supportive.

Tim C.

Zane Elliott said...

Fr. Ron is leaving again?
that's a shame. I've enjoyed speaking with an ardent traditonalist (in terms of Churchmanship) about my traditionalist point of view in terms of our heritage and doctrine.

Fr. Ron, you may never read this, but I do not attempt to promote any kind of 'arrogation to one's-self of 'our beliefs & our faith'' - but rather the key identifiers of our Anglican faith - the BCP, the 39 Articles and the Ordinal. I'm not sure how that is me imposing anything on others - in fact we agreed to uphold and teach nothing contrary to (and may I add Scripture?) them when we were ordained to the Holy Order of Presbyters!

I'm sure we'll see you back again soon. I look forward to continued conversation.

Brian Dawson said...

Hi Peter,

This is one of my very occasional jaunts into your blog, although I am an almost frequent reader.

I won't choose to debate the "key identifiers of our Anglican faith" with Zane or others, I am though intrigued about the supposed controversy in Melbourne.

I note in David Ouk's original post that Dean Shepherd has been invited to run "a stream lookimg at music". I doubt that has anything to do with atonement theology (and I would note there is nothing unusual or new in Shepherd's approach to that) or the physical (or otherwise - again, nothing new) resurrection of Jesus. So the position is, "if this person says anything we disagree with we aren't prepared to hear anything else he has to say".

I am very pleased to have not come across this sort of narrow-mindedness very often in NZ. Indeed your own previous diocese - no great fan of some of the causes I am well known for championing - has invited me to speak on other subjects on various occasions, twice by you yourself! and more recently by your successor.

Regardless of theological or ecclesiological difference, if we are not willing to hear ANYTHING the other has to say, then surely the plot has been lost and forgottem.



Kurt said...

Please come back, Father Ron! The progressive side needs you!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

carl jacobs said...


There is a difference between listening to what you might say, and acknowledging that what you are saying is within the bounds of Christian Orthodoxy.

A Christian is not someone who says "I am a Christian." A Christian by definition believes certain things because Christianity has necessary content. The man who denies (for example) that Christ was physically raised, or instead asserts that He was raised only in some spiritual or metaphorical sense, that man testifies against his own proclamation of faith. He is no more a Christian than a Buddhist or an Atheist or a pagan is a Christian.


Jean said...

Hi Brian

It was great to read your comment as a differing perspective. I know many people who have different viewpoints on certain theological points and similar ones on others. A good comment I once heard when listening to a speaker is, "If that hat fits wear it otherwise discard it."

However, I do think in this case Peter has a point as the physical resurrection of Christ is such a central tenant to the Christian faith. Not only Anglicanism, but for Catholics, Pentecostals, Methodists, Baptists.... . Paradoxically despite our differences in many ways it is this belief that binds us together in unity as Christians. It is like the cornerstone. The question is what will happen if we unwittingly allow this to be undermined within the church, for surely it is all too frequently done so by the secular world.

General comment:

Peter's comment referring to theology being re-aligned with commonly held beliefs in secular society I think is well founded. It is perhaps more relevant in America where the church appears more polarised. The teaching in the bible seems to have related to the context of people's lives at any one, time but not to the secular or other faith beliefs. If anything the underlining messages, is come out, be different, do not conform, there is another way. So an alignment by theology or in my more simple interpretation clearly standing alongside the uniqueness of the churches beliefs I think is a positive thing and I am glad SC has found a home.

I wonder though is this belief so thoroughly different from what we have had previously. We may have been aligned geographically for practical purposes, which I personally think is still necessary but surely the previous core of the Anglican Church was its theological beliefs centred on those adhered too by the Church in/of England.

I think the alignment has always been theological, however, what to me appears to be changing is the degree to which churches within the communion are now straying from the original theological viewpoint which bound the 'church original'. And subsequently whether or not the leadership or oversight of the Anglican Church should remain based in England given the perceived current divergences from core theology in England or their lack response to those divergences.

Last note: I respect the current Archbishop of England's efforts of late in contending with the same sex marriage bill in England as well as the consecration of Women as Bishops. While I may not agree with all the outcomes (hardly unexpected we agree with everything) I can see his genuine efforts to uphold the core tenants of faith. He is being criticised by liberals and conservatives alike which is probably a good sign.

hogsters said...

Re Brian's "if this person says anything we disagree with we aren't prepared to hear anything else he has to say".

A fait question Brian. However, as a follower of Jesus for 40 or so years and clergy person for 20 or so, I have seen many people encouraged and grow under the teaching of clergy, and heartbreakingly I have seen other have their faith shipwrecked under the teaching of other. I note Jesus said "feed my sheep" not fool them.

I believe we give, at the very least tacit weight or credence to errant theology when ones who hold such views are invited to such events.

Does that in turn give clergy who hold similar views, encouragement, permission even, to share such views from their own pulpits?


Brian Dawson said...

I also have been a follower of Jesus for around 40 years and a clergy person (in 2 different churches) for 20 or so. 'Shipwrecked' or otherwise is a matter of opinion. If the concern is for those newer in faith or ministry, surely it can only be positive to encounter different views and understandings - that's what theological formation is all about.

What are people so scared of?

hogsters said...

Hi Brian, I take your point in regards theological formation. Insulated faith, even if it is highly orthodox faith, if not tested will fall short when easy answers are not forthcoming.

PS Forgive my typos in my last post, must have been too early in the morning or something :-)


MichaelA said...

"What are people so scared of?"

If Christ and his apostles warn us to beware of ravening wolves, then why shouldn't we be scared - do we think we know better than them?

But the person who is not afraid when he should be - that person is likely to lead himself and others into grave danger.