This is not a Putinesque putsch in the sense of one major leader directing matters, but one group within the Communion is looking after those with whom it has common interest. The Global South Primates have had enough. Let's hear their voices:
"We thank God for the times of fellowship, Bible study and prayer together. We also appreciated the frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.
3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”
4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:
a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.
b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report."
Note that this is a realignment 'within the Communion.' As they offer 'pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses' - an action analogous to the oversight Russia is offering Crimea as they dissent from the change of government in Ukraine - they do so 'in order to keep them within the Communion.'
No doubt much comment will be forthcoming in the "wringing hands" mode of voiced concern. But I wonder how much that comment will focus on the simple reason for the realignment?
I suggest Anglican observers around the world need to ponder this: theological difference is driving this realignment. That is tricky for those Anglicans used to geographical alignments: you in your province over there and me in my province over here.
It is difficult for some of us to get our heads around the possibility that the revising of Anglicanism to include same sex marriage or blessings of same sex relationships is a theological revision of what being Anglican means. For example, it involves a theological revision of where the weight of authority lies in the triad of Scripture/tradition/reason. The weight shifts with this revision to 'reason' (i.e. reasoning from experience to draw a conclusion).
In a reason-based Anglicanism, everything formerly weighted towards Scripture or Scripture and tradition is open for revision. That necessarily includes the tradition of a territorial understanding of episcopal authority which has divided Anglicanism into non-overlapping dioceses and provinces (with a few exceptions: Europe, our own three tikanga church, etc).
Effectively Global South is saying, "If the Communion is changing its theology of human sexuality then it can change its theology of episcopacy too."
Geography has allowed us to develop notions of Anglican diversity (we are different but, hey, we are stuck in the same corner of the vineyard so we just have to get along). What happens when the theological diversity is stretched so far that it breaks? Do we expel the minority group and depose them from being Anglican? Does the minority leave the Anglican fold because we have had enough? Or do we re-organise ourselves as Anglicans within the one Communion according to theology and not to geography? Global South seems to be offering the third alternative.
For my own church, as day by day we move through the months of 2014 to May, we face a stern test of wisdom. Given our differences, how will we work out living together? What will bind us together? What can we avoid which will break us apart? Where do we locate the commonality of our life in Christ: geography? theology? history? tradition? tikanga?
The Global South - whether it is right or wrong in what it is offering - is committed to remaining within the one Anglican Communion. I hope that in ACANZP we have a commitment to remaining as the one communion of Anglicans in these islands, whichever steps we take to re-organise our future. If we do not have that commitment, then the Global South has indicated that options are available for dissenting Anglicans to remain in the global Communion.
Pray for our General Synod reps as they begin meeting to ponder the meeting in May and as, aroundabout now, proposed motions and bills will be sent to them.
"The Global South - whether it is right or wrong in what it is offering - is committed to remaining within the one Anglican Communion."
- Dr. Peter Carrell -
I'm not sure where you got that idea from, Peter. Maybe you haven't been reading the signs coming from the belligerent utterances of Gafcon lately - with which the G.S. Primates seem to be siding on these issues of gender and sexuality that threaten the unity of the Anglican Communion.
From my reading of the situation, the G.S. Primates will need to disassociate themselves from the schismatic intentions of Gafcon - if they are really keen to stay 'within the one Anglican Communion' as you aver here.
What seems to me more likely is that the Gafcon crowd will cease membership of the presently-constituted Communion - in order to high-jack our identity, under the false colours of Anglican 'orthodoxy'. Whether the G. S. Primates will follow them may be another matter altogether.
My bet Peter, and my hope (for what it's worth), is that ACANZP will not throw in it's lot with the Gafcon sodality - unless Gafcon accepts that we all live together with an agreed determination for an eirenic 'Unity in Diversity', which is the traditional Anglican stance.
In any event, this is God's Church not ours. Let's trust in God for the future - whatever it may hold.
I get the idea of the Global South being committed to remaining within the Communion from the Global South Primates' statement (as cited in the post).
GAFCON is a slightly different beast because it includes ACNA which (as you know) is interpreted by some as already left the Communion and by others as kinda-within the Communion (through connections to Nigeria).
Either way, I think talk of GAFCON on these matters is irrelevant. The Global South is a differently purposed grouping in relation to Communion matters.
I would put it to you that "Reason based Anglicanism" as you put it is a contraction in terms in that Anglicanism (whilst having Reason as an authority) is based on Scripture being the supreme authority. The BCP, the Ordinal and the Articles make this abundantly clear. Thus Reason-based Anglicanism is Anglicanism in name only.
BTW Ron, just wondering has there been any word of the formation of FCANZ? Just wondering.
Happy new year btw
Oh, one more thing…Ron?
before you have a go at us 'Sola Scripturists', can I remind you that "Sola Scriptura" does not mean want it appears that you think it means "Scripture only" (The term is Nuda Scripture)- as if tradition, reason and experience do not matter. They do, they just do not abrogate, overturn or re-interpret Scripture.
Good to hear from you in 2014!
Well, yes, it is a contraction of the classical meaning of Anglicanism; but then it could also be a contraction to move from territorial episcopacy to theological episcopacy ... that is, 'Anglicanism' as a defined word would appear, for one reason and another, and in one part of the world and in another, to be up for re-definition.
I like you point re nuda / sola scriptura. Precisely!
This is incomplete...
The weight shifts with this revision to 'reason' (i.e. reasoning from experience to draw a conclusion).
It must be stated how the conclusion is determined. Reason evaluates. The question that must be answered is 'evaluated according to what?' There is an unidentified standard of authority in play.
Now in fact reason is just as much in play with Scripture. We use reason to draw conclusions according to our understanding of Scripture. It's the standard; the norm that norms all norms. We may conclude from this that Reason is not properly juxtaposed with Scripture. The former is a process. The later is an authority that informs Reason. Instead we must identify the new authority being set in opposition to Scripture as the new governing standard for Reason. The actual trade is Reason informed by Scripture as opposed to Reason informed by something else. What is that something else?
It is never identified but in fact it is the Creed of autonomous man. That Creed says that the defining characteristic of man is choice, and his greatest good is found in maximizing autonomy. Otherwise known as "Doing what is right in your own eyes."
And you wonder why there is a conflict.
Perhaps the distinction, Carl, is between 'reason' and 'Reason'? Either way, your analysis is on the money.
Joshua and Carl helpfully elucidate the issue. No one uses sola scriptura as sola scriptura, and nuda scriptura is an even greater nonsense. All intertwine scripture, tradition, and reason. If there has been a shift in weighting, that started much longer ago with divorce, ordaining women, rapprochement with evolution, and the changes that Peter lists. If the alarm is only being rung now that means that it is not the shift that concerns people – but the present result of that shift. Only those who have consistently opposed the shift can do so with consistent integrity now. Others at the very least have to say that they were not really paying attention.
"What happens when the theological diversity is stretched so far that it breaks? Do we expel the minority group and depose them from being Anglican? Does the minority leave the Anglican fold because we have had enough? Or do we re-organise ourselves as Anglicans within the one Communion according to theology and not to geography?" - Dr. P.C. -
Anglicanism - before the incursion of Gafcon Primates into North
America - had always embraced the understanding of geographical episcopal care - in the belief that theological differences would be containable within the Family.
After that happened, however, the Gafcon Primates took it upon themselves (with Sydney's help) to endeavour to assert their radical conservative ethos upon the provinces of the Communion with whom they differed. That action caused a voluntary break from Communion Fellowship!
The fact that you suggest the G.S. Provinces have 'had enough' of the theological praxis of the rest of us in the Communion does not negate the incontrovertible fact that Gafcon itself has been the sole agent of schismatic breakaway from the Anglican Communion. It has already happened!!!
The only matter for us in Aotearoa to consider is: "Where do we lie in our alliance?" Is it with the Gafcon intentional breakaway lot; or with the non-Gafcon group? I for one sincerely hope and pray that we will continue in our own quiet way to struggle for justice and peace with the supporters of our historical Anglican ethos of Unity in Diversity. We do not have to copy Sydney in their rooted conservatism.
Perhaps Bosco we've run out of fingers to plug all the cracks with ...
I think Ron that we might up the tonal quality of your comment with a little redaction ...
"Hi. Joshua. I see that your web-site includes the  Sydney [angle] on women amongst the ordained in the Anglican Church of Australia. In view of the Sydney bias, it seems that Grafton is on the ball here.
re your question about the local standing of your own FCA position on happenings in the Communion, I'm happy to tell you that, as far as I know, there has yet been no open declaration of affiliation with the conservative FCA movement in Aotearoa/N.Z - even though a few individuals did find their way to the last [GAFCON]. I'm pretty sure you'll here about it on this web-site if it ever rears its head in God-zone/N.Z.
And, a Happy New Year to you, too!
I think it is a quite fair question to ask of some parts of our Communion, why this issue and why now?
No doubt different answers will be forthcoming.
I suggest, however, there is another question to ask, why has the Western Anglican Communion tolerated for so long a liberalism or progressivism which has permitted priests and even bishops to publicly deny core beliefs of our faith? I wonder what our answer is to that question? I also wonder why non-Western parts have not sounded the alarm before now on this dalliance with liberal/progressive theology?
Put another way, I see that more damage has been done to the patience and grace of many Anglicans by the inability of TEC to discipline John Spong as a false teacher than by its approving the ordination of Gene Robinson as bishop.
I could be wrong but Anglicans who in good conscience cannot accept the authority of a woman bishop is not a Sydney thing, (BTW Ron I am not a Sydney Anglican), nor is it reserved to Reformed-Evangelical Anglicans, I know Anglo-Catholics who also cannot accept the authority of women bishops.
Oops, sorry Ron, regarding the question about FCANZ, that question was actually meant for Peter. Sorry about that, you probably thought I asked you in order to provoke you…is certainly not the case. My apologies.
Regarding the new Bishop of Grafton, her gender is not my concern, it is not on my radar. Though I am not comfortable with women being bishops.
What I look for in a bishop is primarily three things:
But I shall stop now. Shall save it for the time Peter starts a thread on Women Bishops, though I think if memory serves Peter, you already have some time last year?
Ron, thanks for visiting my website, you are always welcome!
"What seems to me more likely is that the Gafcon crowd will cease membership of the presently-constituted Communion - in order to high-jack our identity, under the false colours of Anglican 'orthodoxy'. Whether the G. S. Primates will follow them may be another matter altogether."
So you keep wishing, Fr Ron. Sooner or later the awful truth will dawn on you – the Gafcon crowd have no intention of ceasing membership in the presently-constituted Communion!
“Anglicanism - before the incursion of Gafcon Primates into North America - had always embraced the understanding of geographical episcopal care - in the belief that theological differences would be containable within the Family.”
No it hasn’t, nor has the Christian church generally. There has never been a rule that dioceses or other groupings MUST be geographical, although that is commonly the case.
“After that happened, however, the Gafcon Primates took it upon themselves (with Sydney's help) to endeavour to assert their radical conservative ethos upon the provinces of the Communion with whom they differed. That action caused a voluntary break from Communion Fellowship!”
No it didn’t. The voluntary break in Communion Fellowship occurred in 1988 when Bishop John Spong of the Episcopal Church USA ordained a woman to serve in the Anglican Church of Australia, against its rules at the time.
When asked why he was ordaining an Australian Anglican woman, Bishop Spong replied: “I am quite prepared to meddle in the affairs of another country if it is to break the yoke of oppression by which 50 per cent of the people in the world are not permitted participation in the church”.
That certainly set a precedent, and when Archbishop Moses Tay of South East Asia ordained two men to serve as missionary bishops in the USA in 2001, he was doing no more than following in the footsteps of +Spong more than a decade previously.
Post a Comment