Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Breaking News: A Way Forward is Paved with Good Intentions

Here is the text of the motion just agreed at General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui.

It is quite long and much needs careful studying but my immediate reaction at 5.31 pm Wednesday 14 May 2014 is that this is liveable and preserves broadly the boundaries I have argued for: that the doctrine of marriage is not changed but blessings are possible. Updated: Dave Clancey is right in his comment below: the resolution does not make blessings 'possible' though they are clearly envisaged at a later date. I therefore change 'blessings are possible' to 'blessings are under consideration.'

GOOD INTENTIONS: A commenter has noticed this phrase in my title and rightly wondered why it is used because it is commonly associated with 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions.' I suggest that the road to heaven is also paved with good intentions. In our case it remains possible that where we end up, in four or more years time is "hell", or "heaven" or somewhere in between. The good intentions include, the intention to secure and maintain a place for conservatives in our church, the intention to offer a way of blessing same-sex partnerships, the intention to hold our church together across geographic jurisdictions as well as across episcopal jurisdictions, and the intention to move forward in a reasonable time frame.

That is quite a few 'good intentions'!


Joshua Bovis said...

Hi Peter,

After reading this, terms like "contradiction", "relativism" "special pleading" come to mind but the word that sticks out to me the most is "fudge" and this is a classic liberal fudge. Two examples:

"We recognise a diversity of voices about what constitutes a right ordered intimate relationship between two persons regardless of gender".

"Although we are far from unanimous in seeing the way forward, there is a broad recognition of the dynamic nature of doctrine, and the call of the prophetic word to be attentive to the movement of the Spirit"

This is nonsense!

No doubt these so called "blessings" will be treated like marriage. The liberals will get what they want and the Anglican Church in NZ will split.

In every denomination the process on issue of contention that liberals have wanted and been granted has been:

1. You could
2. You should
3. You must
4. You will.

A very very sad day for the Anglican Church across the ditch.

Peter Carrell said...

HI Joshua
Respectfully, I strongly disagree.
Any other motion would likely precipitate the split you envisage. This motion has been crafted after very careful deliberation across a Synod with some of the most conservative and most liberal and many inbetween members of our church. If this is what that group, after careful deliberation have come up with (and, incidentally, likely not that pleasing to the 'liberal' wing) then I am not going to criticise it in the way you have.

Fudge, yes, but what was the alternative save an intentional plan to divide?

Joshua Bovis said...

It appears that we now at the official level going to have an Anglican Church in NZ that is teaching two gospels, two approaches to Scripture that are mutually incompatible, under the one auspice.

I understand your desire for unity brother, but at what cost? This sort of unity that is being promoted is organisational unity rather than gospel unity which is no unity at all and it is not the unity that we are called to maintain (Ephesians).

In my opinion this will not stop the division.

Dave Clancey said...

Peter, I don't think you are correct in stating 'blessings are possible'. Blessings are not possible. That's why a working group is being formed to bring back to GS in 2016 a possible way forward to allow for blessings. If (and it is very much an IF) these liturgical, canonical and possibly constitutional changes are adopted by that Synod, then they will have to go to dioceses, etc., before returning to GS in 2018. At this stage, no formal doctrinal or liturgical practice of our church has changed.

Indeed, the resolution passed by GS clearly states that "Such recognition [of same gendered relationships] cannot be marriage or a rite of blessing of a same-gender relationship."

Blessings are very much not possible under this resolution. All that has been clarified is General Synod's desire to move in that direction.

I'd delighted that we will therefore be able to continue to hold out the life-giving and sin-forgiving message of Jesus to people of all sexualities, which calls on us all to repent, believe, and be transformed by grace into the image of Christ, denying ourselves and submitting in love to his Word.

For those who seek to hold to the faith once for all entrusted to the saints it is a sad, albeit not unexpected, day. We just have to continue to contend for the faith both inside and outside our structures.

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
I haven't been following the GS closely so I haven't seen all the background to this. Can I ask a few questions first?
- What does a "rightly-ordered" same gender relationship mean? Is that defined anywhere or is it up to individual bishops to interpret? Does it mean a publicly recognised civil union or same gender marriage?
- If the public recognition of same gender relationships is not a marriage and not a blessing, what acutally is it?
- Isn't offering public reocgnition of same gender relationships now pre-empting the discussion at the next General Synod by establishing facts on the ground?
- Why should people who follow the church's traditional teaching on marriage stay in the NZ Anglican church, when they will be tolerated but not respected?

I respect that you have gone through a proper discernment process and made a genuine attempt to respect all views, including a much more genuine attempt to value those who hold traditional views on marriage. However, I think in the end you have chosen organisational unity over a clear statement on what the Bible teaches and how that applies to today's context. It is really sad that the NZ Anglican church is heading the same way as TEC in reflecting the culture rather than transforming the culture, albeit through a more polite process.

Father Ron Smith said...

I, for one, am very glad that Joshua Bovis is not part of ACANZP. His view from over the ditch might suit the Sydney Archdiocese in Australia, but it has no effect on us! We are not part of the Gafcon ethos which seeks to maintain the status quo on matters of gender and sexuality.

His assessment - from Australia - has little relevance to us here in New Zealand - where even our domestic budget seems to be overtaking that of the Australian 'Lucky Country' economy.

What our General Synod has said is that the LGBT community is solidly part of our Church, and we will do our very best to welcome the sinners who - like ourselves - are fallen short of the glory of God. after all, is that not the message of the Gospel?

We asked for God's will to be done. It appears to have happened - for us in Aotearoa/N.Z. We don't need advice from other provinces.

Andrew Reid said...

One other point, while the NZ church is entirely free to decide its doctrine and practice, you might like to spare a thought for those Anglicans who live in contexts where homosexuality is illegal and socially unacceptable. When we get branded as the "homosexual church" it impacts our gospel witness significantly, as it did after the TEC events. In Egypt, our attendance dropped, our children and youth ministries were impacted by parents not allowing their children to attend and our inter-faith and ecumenical relationships were suspended or cancelled.

Peter Carrell said...


Dave C: good point re 'possible' - I have changed that sentence.

Ron S: overseas commenters are most welcome and it is the least meaning of 'Communion' as in 'Anglican Communion' that we listen to our brothers and sisters from other jurisdictions.

Joshua B: if we use 'two gospels' analysis then we already have 'two gospels' in our church. This Synod was never going to change that, and even less likely to change in favour of 'one gospel' as evangelical Anglicans understand it.

Andrew R: your questions are excellent and I (and I hope other observers) want to ponder them. At first sight the resolution is well crafted, on closer inspection, as pointed out by a private correspondent also, there are some phrases which beg questions. Your point re Egypt was well made. The resolution also makes the point that within some of the states that our church covers, there are laws against homosexual activity.

Bryden Black said...

Under another thread, What logic of inclusivism might prevail at our General Synod/te Hinota Whanui?, I have posted this which does double service:

To answer your first batch of questions, Ron: the 16th C was a messy time of both schism and remedy for a serious problem - series of problems really. That is my understanding of the movement, a broad historical movement, in which the CoE was caught up, due furthermore to the niceties of annulment versus divorce and the papal states being caught with realpolitik issues regarding the French and Spanish (for don’t forget whose kin that poor wife of Henry’s was!). So; pragmatism it was not, IMHO; rather, it became the necessary path via Henry, Mary and Elizabeth (via poor Edward), ensuring a modus vivendi for the National Church.

Just so again today: politics and money and power all have their place to play still. Otherwise why were our Diocesan Bishops so wary of the likes of Affirm and their supposed stand re ss ‘marriage’ - amongst countless other matters ...? And why is the ACO so wedded to ‘nice relations’ with TEC? And why (lastly, to be even handed) the furore re ACNA et al and those African provinces and certain new, gay legislation?

Then there’s the wee matter of “conscience”, that question of “men’s hearts” that ER I took so seriously. (She also allowed Thomas Tallis to continue to make such very beautiful music!) Add to this the trichotomous distinctions of the Reformers’ ecclesiology - invisible Church, visible Church, specific organizations. The upshot: I am absolutely a member in good conscience of the current ACANZ&P - so far. Should that organization itself sever itself from the Apostolic Community of Faith, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, then there are broadly two options, depending upon the specific call of God, whose Church it is anyway. Stay like Jeremiah amongst a people destined for Exile; or become one of the remnant (whose actual path was either staying in Israel or finally going to Egypt).

In principle, one needs to be able to read Church history via a biblical, figural lense, as well as know as best as one may the true lie of the landscape, where the Lord of the Church will establish the true marks/notes of the Church - in his time and in his way.

Whether Motion 30, with all its ‘qualifications’, goes so far as to “sever” itself from the Apostolic Community of Faith, at this point I truly don’t quite know. I shall together with friends and colleagues “ponder” how it ‘stacks up’, as they say; and how/whether it succeeds in addressing precisely those marks/notes adequately, or not.

Father Ron Smith said...

In direct response to Andrew Reid. Did you not know that ACANZP did NOT adopt the 'Anglican Covenant'? One of the reasons was that we are part of the Anglican Communion on the basis of koinonia, and not central government. We have our own polity and governance.

Certainly, one of my reasons for opposing the Anglican Covenant relationship was that I did not want our Church to have to agree with the draconian laws against LGBT people that the Nigerian and Ugandan Anglican Primates signed up to in their respective provincial Churches. Collusion with such persecution of a minority group does not fit in with ACANZP's spiritual ethos.

Jemma said...

I understand that I work in a very different context from Andrew R (an expatriate congregation in China) but I also want to say that my experience is that our gospel witness is also impacted when we are seen to be a community that is hostile to the experience of those whose sexuality or gender falls outside of heterosexual "norms". In the last four years I've been asked many times how we will speak about issues of sexuality and who is welcome in our congregation before people are willing to become involved in the community or allow their children to attend programmes (including many from families whose relationships would appear to be upholding a "Traditional understanding of marriage") . This is particularly the case when they assume that the church might not share their values of respect for the dignity of all human beings and equality before the law. Whatever we believe we're talking about, this is how people in the broader community experience this conversation about sexuality, blessing and marriage.

Our capacity to proclaim the rich mercy of God who makes us alive together with Christ is affected by this conversation and can be a barrier to people experiencing saving grace.

Many of us who are characterised as "liberal" in this conversation also have a passion for evangelism, for mission and ministry that proclaims the Good News of Christ. This is a missional conversation as well as one about the order of our church.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

This may be my first comment at your blog, but I read it quite frequently (via the StandFirm around the web feed).

I confess you've got me really confused. Based on the title of your post, and it's seeming allusion to the well-known saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," I was assuming that you'd be quite unfavorable to the proposal from Synod. However you pronounce it "livable."

I confess I've not had time to read the full proposal, and I may not fully understand your context, but what I'm reading concerns me greatly.

Here's a slightly modified version of the comment I wrote at TitusOneNine, focusing specifically on 2 phrases:

1) "can remain in communion under Scripture", and
2) "right-ordered same gender relationships"

1) No one can unilaterally demand or dictate that those who choose to bless same-sex unions will “remain in communion.” Being in communion is a two-sided matter. It takes two, agreeing, in unity, to be in communion. (The verse from Amos, “How can two walk together unless they are agreed,” comes to mind…).

By making this proposal, NZ Anglicans are in effect saying that “same-sex blessings are adiaphora.” However many in the Communion have already made clear their convictions that this is not a matter that is adiaphora. Communion is already broken over this issue. It cannot be restored or maintained merely because those who wish to bless same-sex unions desire it to be maintained. Friendships may be maintained, dialogue may continue, but “COMMUNION UNDER SCRIPTURE” is pretty impossible to maintain if one side is willfully violating what the other side believes to be the clear commands of Scripture.

If, as I and other reasserters believe, Scripture is clear and direct in its commands against homosexual acts, those who bless them, and those who stand against them cannot both be "under Scripture."

2) Secondly, reasserters would claim that no non-celibate same-gender relationship can be “right-ordered.” So for NZ Anglicans to propose to limit SSBs to only “right-ordered SS relationships” is quite absurd. It totally denies Biblical anthropology. It’s equivalent to saying “we will eat only those oranges which are apples.” Well either something is an apple or an orange, it cannot be both. You can claim that an orange is an apple, or that an apple is an orange, but if you plant orange seeds, you will get more oranges. If you plant apple seeds, apple trees will grow. Wishing an orange were an apple will not make it so.

- that's the end of my comment at T19.

Just for context, I'm from the US, raised in the Episcopal church, now involved with a church that is part of the ACNA, but I work overseas in a Muslim area of W. Africa, and I have many of the same concerns that Andrew Reid has already commented about. My former association with the Episcopal Church was very troubling to local Christians were I live in Africa in the wake of the 2003 decision to elevate Gene Robinson as a bishop.

- Karen B.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt
I am not prepared to publish your comment in full with its sweeping judgement about a group of people which describes them - in accurately - as "Sydney Calvinists." As best I understand the motion passed at our Synod it was not a defeat for anyone, let alone for people in our church or in Sydney or dioceses nearby who described themselves as 'Calvinists.'

"This compromise may not be perfect, but it’s a start. []."

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Karen B
I guess we all Down Under need to mull the resolution before we give a definitive verdict on it, but my immediate response is to say that this is not about those willing to live under Scripture and those not willing to live under Scripture. This is about those who lives under Scripture disagreeing about the meaning and application of Scripture for our day. Such disagreement has long been a feature of Anglicanism and this resolution gives expression to how we might both name this particular disagreement and live with it. (Thus there are plenty in our church who would disagree with your statement that those blessing SSBs are not living 'under Scripture.')

To ask what "rightly-ordered" means re relationships is an important question. My guess is that it refers to relationships which show evidence of ordering consistent with marriage: faithful, permanent, stable, etc. I don't think that is a difficult concept to grasp as it is identifiably the opposite to (say) a promiscuous style of living.

I ask that you (as with all overseas commenters) consider the possibility of appreciating how carefully this decision has been arrived at by a Synod that represented the full spectrum of views.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Jemma
Thank you for putting the "other side" of the "impact" our decision may have on the lives of people. It is not easy to hold in tension the concerns of fellow Anglicans in places such as Egypt alongside the concerns we have more locally!

Anonymous said...

Peter, it's not for me, living far away in Canada, to say what should or should not have been done at your General Synod, but I do want to say that when I read Jemma's comment I very much resonated with it as well. In the City of Edmonton, at the heart of one of the most politically conservative jurisdictions in Canada (the province of Alberta), this is a question I am often asked as well.

Tim C.

Bryden Black said...

Given the sorts of forces at play, Motion 30 is not at all surprising really. For what are those forces? I venture my assessment thus far; they are principally five in number.

1. Number 1 is clearly the deemed desire to stick together, which translates, at this point, to organizational integrity (of some sort). Now, to be sure; how one views such a mood depends upon many other things. The New Constitution of the 1990s and all that led up to it casts a quite specific spin on this question of ‘unity’. For some still reckon it was a foolish move to divide into Three Tikanga, while others consider it the unique and wonderful charism of ACANZ&P. Either way, these forces (for some sort of ‘unity’) colour powerfully where we are at today.

2 & 3. Then we have quite simply two opposing forces (“apples and oranges” ala Karen B). What to do about them? How to ‘read’ them? To this point, while there is supposedly an attempt to “continue to walk together” here in ACANZ&P, for myself, I have tried these past 20+ years to probe just how it is that, to quote my piece in response to the Theology Commission to Ma Whea?, we have “the stand-off between those who deem homoeroticism per se a sin and those who desire to see it set within what they suggest is a “reasonable and holy” relationship”. And let us again be clear: neither ‘side’ sees the matter to be truly adiaphora. Which only goes to make the “probing” all the more necessary: just how did western Christianity finish up here?

Which brings us to Scripture, 4 & 5. While I agree at first blush the language of the motion 30, “contrary to/consonant with scripture, doctrine, tikanga and civil law ... can remain in communion under scripture, doctrine and law” is perhaps curious, Peter Carrell has given us something of an interpretation. For myself though I’d go in another direction. From all the reading and discussions I’ve been involved in over the years, I’d rather say we are confronting two very different USES of Scripture here. I.e. those who read “contrary to” take both those specific sections that seemingly speak of homoeroticism and the metanarrative of Scripture in one way, while those “consonant with” appear for the most part to speak of those specific passages as being irrelevant to our 21st C context; in a vague Kantian way, our own experience would be “inconceivable” to the world of the Scriptures. (What this therefore does to any supposed Biblical metanarrative - ala Tom Wright’s Five Acts for example - is mostly left hanging.)

What therefore to do with these Five Forces? How to appreciate them more fully? And how will they eventually play out, in history? For the trouble with both logical and metaphysical assumptions/factors is, they have a habit of determining the outcome in the End ... As I have said repeatedly, what we are really dealing with here concerns the question of authority and our means of legitimation. Sadly, Motion 30 (and all that led up to it, Ma Whea? and the Theology Commission’s Report) only goes some of the way to truly addressing such matters.

Bryden Black said...

One final thing: I really appreciate those beyond our Islands contributing here. Precisely because there is (still, perhaps?) an Anglican Communion, voices from afar are absolutely paramount! So, please; no apologies, or denigration!

Bryden Black said...

Jemma/Tim C; for myself, as an inveterately international and so transcultural creature, I have merely to say local western (modern?) curiosity at our present church ‘dilemmas’ only speaks of what and how “the world’s mould” (JB Phillips translation of Romans 12:1-2) has become these past 50 years re things sexual. And 50 years is nothing really within the economy of salvation, just as the contemporary western church is but a fraction of the Kingdom of God.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
In a spirit of friendly discussion rather than argumentative opposition, I am interpreting the resolution, particularly with its unanimous support, as being more about family unity than organisational unity.

I like the way it frames the resolution, via the preamble, with theology (without, of course, claiming that it goes 'far enough.')

In the end, I am very pleased that this resolution recognises that we are a church with two integrities on these matters (however it is, pace your comment above, we have arrived at such a curious place).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Joshua
I am omitting the last sentence from your comment because it contributes too much heat in this particular context. There may be another day and another post to pose the question you pose.


Oh please! Spare me the histrionics Father! I fail to see what Sydney diocese has to do with my position since I am not a 'Sydney Anglican' and have never served as an Anglican minister in the Sydney diocese. The whole issue has to do with the very definition and nature of what it means to be a Christian, the essence of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture and the personal integrity of Anglican clergy.

I may not be part of the ACANZP but since the ACANZP is a province of the Anglican Communion and I am an Anglican Priest within the same Anglican communion, I think I am allowed to have an opinion and since I live in Australia and not China this is also true.

I wonder if you will ever actually respond to posts from Reformed Anglicans instead of reacting. The old adage is certainly true, "You cannot teach an old dog new tricks".

Your reply Ron is in short…nonsense.

When you said:

"We are not part of the Gafcon ethos which seeks to maintain the status quo on matters of gender and sexuality."

Your term 'status quo' should be replaced with "Biblical faithfulness".

Your last comment is also nonsense.

"What our General Synod has said is that the LGBT community is solidly part of our Church, and we will do our very best to welcome the sinners who - like ourselves - are fallen short of the glory of God. after all, is that not the message of the Gospel?"

The answer to your question is simply "No" Because your gospel Ron is one that is devoid of repentance, you flagrantly and blatantly and unashamedly ignore/gloss over/deny clear passages from Holy Scripture which make it clear that Homosexual sexual activity excludes people from the Kingdom of God and promote a gospel that says to Homosexuals merely come as you are. This is not the Gospel Ron. By telling practicing homosexuals that they can be Christians and continue in a lifestyle that God says keeps one out of the Kingdom of God Ron is a lie. You are lying to them and it is not loving in the Biblical sense of the term. You have confused welcoming sinners with endorsing the sin of sinners.

"We asked for God's will to be done".
Nonsense Ron! We do not need to ask God's will on the issue of same sex marriage because God has already his will on matters pertaining to sexuality in the Holy Scriptures. Your comment is simply smoke and mirrors because you have made it abundantly clear from your gay crusade that you simply don't believe what He has revealed.

Bryden Black said...

Yes Peter, I acknowledge your May 15, 2014 at 11:16 AM comment. I’d side mostly but not totally with it. Wherein the difference? I am not at all convinced that these two “integrities” will actually be able to “stand” - and here I invoke Eph 6 language notably. For how anyone “has arrived” at their respective positions is the entire point. For “probing” the extraordinary aetiology and genealogy of Western Christianity generally and ACANZ&P specifically is what underlies my all too brief Five Forces analysis. It remains a seriously unstable cocktail - logically and ontologically. Cocktail, not fudge is my metaphor - coz Molotov might still be the outcome ...

Peter Carrell said...

The stability, Bryden, will depend on the will of the people!

joshua Bovis said...


Regarding last question. Of course. Will save the question for another time, though in all honesty I think it is appropriate - it is all to do with personal integrity. It is analogous to someone who is an unashamed advocate of Pepsi and only Pepsi should be given a seat on the board of Coca Cola Corporation or that they should retain such a seat once their preference was clearly stated and understood.

Peter Carrell said...

Indeed, Joshua.
And to pursue the analogy a little further, much of our life here (perhaps over your way too) is about a group of Anglicans who cheerfully drink tea or coffee together regularly. But occasionally there is a situation with only cold drinks on tap and then it turns out that we have a mix of adherents to Pepsi, Coke, and anything-but-those-two-multinational companies.

That is, much of the time we are on much the same page about lots of issues and only on this issue are there significant differences.

Bryden Black said...

If you are correct Peter in your answer, that “stability" will be a function of "the will of the people”, then I am now truly alarmed! How so?

An indispensable part of my own ‘reading’ of the cultural history of the last 300 + years, which has explicitly brought us to this point (to remind you, and others: the root question is, “just how did western Christianity finish up here?” with “the stand-off between those who deem homoeroticism per se a sin and those who desire to see it set within what they suggest is a “reasonable and holy” relationship”), has to do with the emergence of our understanding of human being which I have repeatedly termed “the autonomous, self-positing personal subject”. I.e. embedded in this construction of human being is an explicit voluntarism - derived from a Cartesian legacy mostly, but also tied back into the Middle Ages and beyond that to Stoicism. So when you tell me I should have confidence in the will of the people, I, as a Christian, whose entire understanding is premised on a Trinitarian view of God and the Mediation of the God-Human, Jesus Christ, simply have to differ - profoundly! Where IS Augustine when we need one?!

The Gospel, so lauded in Motion 30's preamble, is either so premised as I aver - or it is a function of some other authority. And if the latter, then we have probably fallen into Gal 1 anathema territory.

I realize your comment is a blog one liner, a throw away line in effect. But then perhaps it is also a Freudian slip, revealing far more than intended. I wish I could rejoice with your assessment of our “family” patch-up resolution; but nothing truly makes me shy away from earlier, posted conclusions, nor now this even more resolute assessment - not even +Kelvin’s otherwise delightful blog summaries (for which many thanks, Bp Kelvin! But perhaps we need to talk ...).

Peter Carrell said...

It is not entirely a throwaway line, Bryden! But it is only one line and I would include God's glue holding us together (as it seems to have done this past week at GS).

Yet the line repays careful study. I am not asking you or anyone to have confidence in the people: we may fail one another! No. I am simply saying that if we have the will to be a stable mixture we will be a stable mixture. But if that will does not exist, God's glue might struggle to hold us fast to one another.

John said...

Family unity is only possible when all parts of the family have been properly heard. I've got several problems with the resolution as it stands--and I'm a good Anglican, and a good Kiwi.

1. It assumes the matter of same gender blessings is adiaphora. This automatically excludes people like me who think it isn't, and already puts on very shaky ground blather about integrities and structures--especially given prior experiences with, say, Women's Ordination, in which recognition of two integrities on a matter genuinely adiaphora has been only a pause in the rush to the favouring of one side.

2. The resolution takes such very great care to assure LGBT and allies that they'll have it their own way in time, while failing to offer any real language of assurance to conservatives, let alone conservatives who also struggle with same sex attraction, or conservatives stuck in liberal parishes and/or dioceses. In practice, this is a recipe for more marginalisation in the opposite direction.

3. It is completely incoherent to expect people who believe that same gender relationships are holy and blessed to exist in the same space with people who believe they are reprehensible and sinful--someone's gotta give on that, and given 1. and 2. it will inevitably be the latter group.

4. We don't do theology by taking a poll. We've functionally jettisoned our historical sources of authority by minimising, ignoring and relativising them out of existence. How, then, can you expect people who disagree with this decision to call it anything but illegitimate?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi John
Some of what you are concerned about will be tested as the future unfolds.

I make two observations in response to your comment (which is much fuller than my two bits touch on).

A. I do not think a 'two integrities' church is saying the matter of difference between the two integrities is 'adiaphora'. The two integrities exist precisely because it is not adiaphora.

B. It is not my understanding of the history of our church that our decision to ordain women as presbyters also created space for 'two integrities' on the matter. We were a much more united church on that matter than we are on this. In other words, the history of the ordination of women in our church is not a guide to how this (in my view) new 'two integrities' approach will work out.

jpfoxnz said...

The two integrities exist precisely because it is not adiaphora.

The Windsor Report called WO adiaphora, and the Lambeth Conference says both those who permit it and those who don't are faithful Anglicans. That formulation says "non-essential to Anglicanism" in big letters.

Both TEC and the C of E committed to the honouring of difference on WO in almost identical words about valuable contributions and integrities. Look how that worked out--the traditional Anglo-Catholics are running for the exit or the Ordinariate. As for this country, how many conservative Methodists are left in the Methodist Church, let alone thriving?

Father Ron Smith said...

"I may not be part of the ACANZP but since the ACANZP is a province of the Anglican Communion and I am an Anglican Priest within the same Anglican communion, I think I am allowed to have an opinion and since I live in Australia and not China this is also true." - Joshua Bovis.

However, you do not need to worry about ACANZP's trajectory, Josh.
We are quite capable of rendering the Joy of The Gospel in our own inimical way. Having a 3-tikanga Church gives us an edge on some other Provinces of the Communion. We have had to learn to 'Live and Let Live', which is a pretty good way of learning how to get along together with people different from ourselves - one of the real core values of true Anglicanism.

Dear Jemma, thanks for your welcome contribution to this thread:

"Experience will decide: How blest are they, and only they, who in the Lord confide".

I've always loved that old hymn. And you certainly have the real
experience of 'feet on the ground' in missionary-related China. May God continue to bless you!

Bless you, too, Tim! Aroha.

Thank God for ACANZP.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi jpfoxnz (John?),

WO has been declared adiaphora by many Anglicans, even accepted as so by those agin it. I am not aware of such acceptance of samesex blessings as adiaphora.

Yes, some attempts at two integrities have not worked out well. But let's give this church in its peculiarities a go (e.g. with the Dioceses of Polynesia and of Nelson in its midst).

As for the Methodists in NZ: that is an interesting story: some churches which left are making their way back in.

John said...

Sorry, yes, that was me.

I simply suggest that in giving this a go (which we're all going to have to do, I suppose) experience shows that two integrities do not last very long unless both sides understand the other. Those on my side of this issue do not accept same sex unions as adiaphora. The resolution assumes we can and will. Actually, for many, both Evangelical and Catholic, this is a Salvation issue, and two integrities on such a question are not possible--and they're certainly not possible if the only structural protection of our orthodoxy we get are vague reassurances of the kind which were issued over WO, and soon dishonoured once facts on the ground or politics changed. If we really are interested in holding together as a family, we who remain traditional in understanding sexuality must be heard when we say we think this isn't something we can faithfully disagree ob,

Father Ron Smith said...

I am sad that so many contributors here seem to have an outlook of doom and gloom - about something that has existed and remained un-addressed by the Church for many centuries.

The fact of the existence of human beings with homoerotic attraction (albeit, only in a minority of the human race) as well as the majority of an inherently homosexual disposition is as old as the human race.

Homo-eroticism is not a passing fad, nor something drummed up by the idle rich seeking a new and entertaining diversion. It is no respecter of a person's status, religious beliefs, gender, racial characteristics or social status.

In places like Nigeria and Uganda, it is a matter of life or death - depending on one's ability to hide the fact at the heart of one's very being. No one in their right mind in such places would ever choose to be homosexual. There is too much danger and heartache involved - not only for one's-self but also for one's family and friends.

In our western world, because of the traditional misunderstanding of the facts surrounding such an orientation, there has been a lot of hypocrisy about it - Yes! even in the Church.

Only now, when there is a lot more information about the aetiology, biological and social circumstance attached to homosexuality, has there been any effort to come to terms with the reality - instead the exercise of an inherited judgementalist attitude from the macho patriarchalists - for whom the prospect of a male person having feminine attributes has remained taboo.

However, things are changing. No longer are young fathers afraid to demonstrate their skills with raising their children, changing their nappies and preparing their food. No longer are women content to remain in the kitchen and the bedroom, waiting for the man of the family to come home from work.
In as more balanced world, where masculinity is not threatened by the feminine attributes; there is no longer room for out-dated and unjust attitudes towards the minority LGBT community - who happen to be different from what may have been called 'the norm'.

Jesus was passionate for justice - even before self-justification. But if Gays have to justify themselves - then society may now just be coming around to this new understanding of the infinite variety of human personae - each one created in the divine image and Likeness, love by God and precious in god's sight.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi John
A lot now rests on what the nest two years bring as the working group works on things and brings them back to the next GS.

One way of looking at this week from a conservative point of view is that a line has been drawn in the sand (in our favour). Will it remain there? I am confident it will, but we need to be vigilant.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that over at Thinking Anglicans there are a lot of upset liberals.

If this motion is such a great liberal victory as some conservatives here seem to think, then why aren't the liberals dancing in the streets?

Tim C.

Peter Carrell said...

Good point, Tim!

Peter Carrell said...

Good point, Tim!

Father Ron Smith said...

" If we really are interested in holding together as a family, we who remain traditional in understanding sexuality must be heard when we say we think this isn't something we can faithfully disagree.." - John -

This sounds OK for ACNA or GAFCON. However, I do not recognise the core value as particularly 'Anglican'.

The Church I belong to - ACANZP - has already declared its full acceptance of LGBTI people in our midst. (See the Statement made by the recent General Synod).

We cannot resile from this eirenic movement forward from the status quo.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi John
I am omitting one word from your comment below as it is the kind of word which generates heat and not light.

""In as more balanced world, where masculinity is not threatened by the feminine attributes; there is no longer room for out-dated and unjust attitudes towards the minority LGBT community - who happen to be different from what may have been called 'the norm"...."

This is part of a highly entertaining [piece], but there are so many assumptions, stereotypes and slogans in it that the mind boggles about where to start.

It shouldn't need saying (and probably doesn't to most fair minded and inclusive people) but for the vast majority of conservatives, both Evangelical and Catholic, this isn't about culturally determined roles, hurting or stoning anyone, or trying to return to 1955.

What young people my age (I'm 30) and younger really want is a Church which means what it says, and speaks to us for and from Christ, rather than recycling the same tired blather we get in Sociology class. Thank God, the long 1970's are finally ending, and many people (me included, I'm a convert) are discovering the immense joy of resting in the true, the good, and the beautiful, as opposed to the false, the ugly and the (thankfully) no longer fashionable slogans and straw men.

Bryden Black said...

In response to your comment of May 15, 2014 at 10:00 PM, I wonder, Ron, if it has ever occurred to you, just for one wee moment, that perhaps two wrongs do not make a right? That on the one hand much of the treatment of people whom we now know as LGBT has indeed been merciless - AND that the Church has been implicated in that lack of mercy - as you aver. Kyrie eleison! And yet also on the other hand, that same-sex attraction, and its expressions, are in fact manifestations of our collective fallen condition - which surely does ‘need’ the divine mercy, just as much, since they mar the original divine image in which the Good Lord made human beings. Have you ever seriously thought of that second possibility?

I know I’ve tried to both understand and accept the ‘new thing’ the Spirit is seemingly ‘revealing’ to some of you. But in the end, after some 20+ years of focused attention, the evidence, duly weighed and considered - biological, cultural, psychological, historical, philosophical and theological, you name it - just does not stack up, IMHO. In fact, I have been forced to the conclusion that this is no new revelation at all ... And that is why I also find our proposed pathway, triggered by Motion 30, fraught with snares and inevitable failure. Two wrongs do not make a right ...

John said...

"This sounds OK for ACNA or GAFCON. However, I do not recognise the core value as particularly 'Anglican'."

Good heavens, Rev'd Fr. :-)

I had assumed that the ACANZP, to which we both belong, was defined by the Prayer Book, the Articles of Religion, the Creeds, and the patristic trio of Scripture Tradition and Reason to which the Anglican Church has always been wedded. These are precisely the sources of authority which tell us we can't do what we've just done. (See my 4. above). Hitting the middle of absolutely everything has never been an Anglican distinctive, as the Articles make very clear.

In the narrative you run above (in which evangelicals and Catholics are unAnglican, foreign, patriarchal, and should have died in 1955), I'm afraid it's not as easy as that--although thank you for clarifying what you believe to be the one eirenic movement you don't believe we can resile from--you've illustrated the problem rather nicely.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
In a recent comment offered here you make so many remarks about commenters rather than comments that if I took out the 'commenter' remarks not much would be left, so I have simply deleted the lot.

I think we get it: you don't think much of those who don't think along certain lines but think along other lines.

Father Ron Smith said...

O.K., Peter, I get the message:
"Butt out, Ron, you're too confrontational". Message received. Over and out. I'll leave you with your mates. Enjoy.

Had a good talk with our Bishop this evening, about the lack of confrontation at the G.S. Does that please you, I wonder?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
If by 'confrontational' you mean 'personal' then yes, you are being too personal.

The aim here is to have discussion of comments and not of the commenters who make the comments.

I am not saying "Butt out".

I am saying, focus on the issues, not the person doing the talking about them.