Tuesday, October 4, 2016

They asked for a structure ... and here is a possible structure ...

The Board of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ has published its submission to the Archbishops re the Way Forward. They are proposing an Extra-Provincial Diocese be formed ... and before anyone gets over-alarmed about that, let's remember that the call for submissions has had a particular focus on submissions about how structural arrangements might accommodate differences in viewpoint.

Note that while it may be interesting here to discuss the proposal, no FCANZ Board member is compelled to read ADU, so please note below their suggested forum for discussing the submission and thus giving feedback to the Board about it.

Their covering letter (with links to find the actual submission) is as follows:

FCANZ submission to Working Group

The General Synod of our Church resolved in May to establish a Working Group to identify “possible structural arrangements within our Three-Tikanga Church to safeguard both theological convictions concerning the blessing of same gender relationships”.   While the composition of this Working Group is yet to be named, suggestions of structural arrangements were to be in the hands of the Working Party by 1st October.  
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand was pleased to make a submission.  Regretfully, we are unconvinced that a single structure can safeguard both theological convictions with integrity, and so have suggested that the best way forward for our Church is the creation of an extra-provincial diocese.  
Such a diocese will be distinct from the current ecclesiastical structures of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, and will be authentically Anglican.  A number of extra-provincial dioceses exist globally, and are all recognised as being genuine expressions of Anglicanism.  The existence of two ecclesiastical structures within the same geographic location has occurred in Europe for a number of years and provides a model for a similar overlapping within these islands.  
Either theological conviction could make use of an extra-provincial diocese, and the FCANZ submission suggests that whoever adopts this structure retains their current assets and resources.  Most significantly, the formation of such a structure will ensure that both theological convictions can be held with integrity, and that no one will be required to teach doctrine, or submit to authority, which differs from their theological conviction on the issue of blessing same-gendered relationships. 
You can see a copy of the full submission by following this link www.fcanz.org/media-messaging

We welcome your feedback. Tell us what you think by replying to this email, or head to www.facebook.com/fellowshipofconfessinganglicans and private message or post. 


Father Ron said...

I am against an 'Extra Province' for this purpose, on principle. If people are going to reneg from associating with the main body in the Province, they need to make a clean break - from associating altogether - and forming their own 'church'.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
I trust you realise that what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

Anonymous said...

An extra-provincial diocese may well be the only solution. If liberals are going to reneg from Biblical teaching in order to accommodate currently fashionable sins, they give the rest of us little choice. If liberals want to radically change Anglican teaching, they can always form a new and fully separate liberal church. Globally speaking, liberals are in the minority in the Anglican Communion. Why should the majority who hold to Anglican and Biblical teaching have to leave?

Brendan McNeill said...


I have read their submission a couple of times and on the basis that they are working with what’s before them and attempting to make the best of it, then I guess it has some appeal. Not being completely familiar with all of the technical authority structures contained within the Anglican Church I’m assuming the creation of a separate diocese is an attempt to create a unique authority structure where either orthodoxy or novelty might reside.

Then individual parishes might decide for themselves which theological stream best represents them. I’m guessing Bishops may also be required to make this choice, although the question of how that would work is not addressed in the paper.

They raise the question of accountability to synod. Would this new diocese have its own synod, and not be accountable to ACANZP? Would that mean practically, that its ‘another church’, just as (say) TEC is another Church?

Would its presiding Bishop of the new dioceses be accountable to any ‘arch Bishop’ that presides over all NZ diocese, or would it be entirely stand alone, or would that be up for discussion?

If it is stand alone, then is it effectively another ‘denomination’ or church albeit still calling itself Anglican in some shape or form?

Can there be two Anglican Churches in NZ, or would one need to call itself something like ‘the First Anglican Church of Aotearoa’?

I ask these questions because I’m uncertain about the level separation or connectedness these two entities would/could have from each other. Are you able to clarify based upon your understanding of current structures, or would this be an entirely new creature outside of our present understanding and therefore anything is possible?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
I would like to take care that I do not make myself some kind of interpreter of the proposal (and thus suggest you also ask your questions on their Facebook page).

But the following observations can be made:
- the possibility of two different dioceses (belonging to two different accountability structures) covering one geographical area is a feature of Anglican/Episcopal life in Europe (as their submission says);
- as far as I know such dioceses have their own synods;
- to the extent that what is proposed draws on the Europe situation, a form of precedent is being invoked but to the extent that what is being proposed is a theological differentiation it is a novelty [Europe is effectively a situation created as American Episcopalians working in Europe e.g. at American Embassies wished to have local Episcopal churches to worship at and Brits working in Europe and also in places such as Spain and France settling their wished to have local CofE churches to worship at ... so not a situation about theological difference].

Brendan McNeill said...

Thanks Peter,

So, their proposal to one side, in your opinion can two ‘diocese’ each with their own authority structure, their own synod, and their own (conflicting) theology of marriage be realistically considered part of the same church?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
Your question suggests a misunderstanding of what is being proposed.
An "extra provincial diocese" stands outside of any one of the provinces of the Anglican Communion.
What is being proposed would NOT be part of ACANZP though it would seek to be in close and cordial relationship with it.
That is the meaning of the paper talking about accountability to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Brendan McNeill said...

Thanks for the clarification. :-)

Father Ron said...

"Not a part of ACANZP though it would seek to be in in close and cordial relationship with it" ?

Sounds pretty odd to me, and certainly not 'Anglican'. Reflective of current 'closeness and cordiality'? Maybe.

Exactly what would be the point of 'Pick'n'Mix in little old Aotearoa.NZ?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
No further comments in the vein of your comment above will be published on this thread.
It is basic Christian charity to seek to understand why Anglicans think and act as they do.
"Not Anglican" could apply to a number of proposals, including a proposal to change inherited doctrine.

Glen Young said...

"If people are going to reneg from associating with the main body in the Province,they need to make a clean break-from associating altogether-and form their own church." Ron.

This is exactly what Bishop Selwyn told the first General Synod of the Church of England in New Zealand (now the ACANZP-1992),March 8th 1859. Bishop Selwyn stated:"The Constitution of this Church in New Zealand was on the basis of mutual and voluntary compact.No one has to subscribe to it;no one has to belong.But if we choose to be members of this Province of the Anglican Church,we agree to the Constitution and what it declares to be foundational truths. If we reject those beliefs,we are free to find another Church which better suits their beliefs.We believe that the Doctrine of Marriage as explained in the Book of Common Prayer is part of that Doctrine of the Church to which all who receive a Bishops license pledged their allegiance. We do not see how that allegiance is consistent with affirming views which are clearly contrary to that Doctrine of Marriage.If one party persistently and actively takes measures to walk away from that Doctrine,we fail to see a way in which we can walk together."

There can be no better advice than that of the Bishop who oversaw the formation of our Church in this Province and had a major hand in formulating Her Constitution 1857.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury,I rest my case.

Jean said...

It is a good attempt; I see for some Parishes whose thinking is collective and in one accord this approach could work but in the majority of Parishes I think you will find multiple views amongst parishoners and clergy on the blessing of same sex relationships (regardless of whether said Parish has any same sex attracted attendees or not). Hence, you will end up with the same decision needing to be made, only at the local level.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jean
You are spot on about an advantage and disadvantage of the proposal:
Advantage: it might work for unified parishes
Disadvantage: it offers nothing for parishes with diverse views; and still leaves the problem of how in the ACANZP that remains diverse views would be handled!

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Jean and Peter

I think making the decision ‘local’ is healthy as it is then it is placed within the reach of every person, and not simply dictated from ‘above’ by synod.

Practically speaking it would be a decision made by the senior clergy in any given parish as clearly they could not lead a congregation into SSB if they personally could not agree with it, and vice versa. If members of the congregation (or other parish clergy) could not agree with their leadership, then they would be free to move to a parish that best reflects their views.

In this way Parishes would soon reflect the views of their parishioners AND clergy, which would remove all the politics from this issue once and for all for everyone.

It also provides a gracious exit, complete with property and dignity for all parties and without acrimony, and without winners or losers. It could be much worse.

Father Ron said...

Regarding your last comment to Jean, Peter, Unified parishes against motion 30 would certainly benefit both themseleves and an intentionally diverse Church by separating from ACANZP. However, those within parishes who intend to stay together in ACANZP - albeit with different views from one another - will obviously have a lot to gain - just from deciding to live with diversity and not being hassled or conerned by, constant threats of schism.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
And what do folks in the country areas do?!

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

You asked: "Hi Brendan And what do folks in the country areas do?! "

I suspect if they are in Otago, their local parish church has already closed or is about to, so for them the point is moot anyway.

For other country folks with viable parish communities, I'd be surprised if there was much demand for SSB amongst any of them, but I could be wrong. My guess is that it's mainly urban Churches that are most liberal, at least if the farming folks I know are anything to go by.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
There are quite a few viable parishes in Otago!
I think you would be surprised at the demand for SSB in country areas - might be as much as for some city parishes!
Anyway, I think you are missing the point: in a country parish, if I disagree with what (e.g.) my vicar thinks about such things, I do not have as much choice as in the city re the possibility of leaving the parish for another.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

That could well be true - BUT - either way decision time is looming and these folks will have to choose to 'stay' or 'go' from their local Anglican Church one way or the other regardless of which way synod acts. That was always going to be the inevitable outcome for a church that flirted with theological novelty.

Glen Young said...

The best possible STRUCTURE would be a Church based on Graceful Truth,a Church holding to honesty and integrity.A Church where the Bishops lead the charge and confess,that under the "DOCTRINES OF THE FAITH AS THIS CHURCH HAS RECEIVED THEM" and they have Vowed to maintain,the blessing of SSP/Ms are not possible;and upon prayerful reconsideration,they can no longer support Motion 30.And anybody who cannot live with that determination is free to leave.

Anonymous said...



Father Ron said...

Glen, God is the only unchangeable factor in the universe. Even the old Anglican Prayer Book speaks of "The Changes and Chances of this Fleeting World If there were no change in the human condition there would be no conversion.

Humanity is more sacred than human doctrines. After all, Jesus was content to take upon himself the fallen human condition; in order to change is. CHANGE is inevitable - and Godly. It's the stick-in-the-mud reactionaries who are left behind. Life is a journey, not a secure 'resting-house' "Here is no abiding city".

Anonymous said...

Change is certainly inevitable, but that is not the issue. Any change in Church doctrine has to be justifiable change. Some change might be good, some might be bad. A change in Church doctrine must make it's case based on Scripture. Even if we add tradition and reason to that, a claim for change must still make it's case based on them, and not on current cultural and political fashions. Otherwise how do we discern what change is good, and what is bad?

Being a reactionary in the true sense of the word does not mean being opposed to change. I embrace the label 'reactionary' happily, and I want radical change in the Western world. Being a reactionary means being opposed to the ideological construct of modernity. And as we are in modernity (as far as the West is concerned) being reactionary means wanting change.

We are, as Church, pilgrims on a journey, a great epic adventure in fact. But we are on a journey to a specific destination, and there are wrong turns and cul de sacs, and an Enemy who is out to deceive us and get us off track. So we must be on guard, and not simply accept any change at all merely because it is change. We must, at all times, especially with demands for changes in Church doctrine, test the spirits as Scripture puts it.

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. - C. S. Lewis

Glen Young said...

Certainly,God is the only immutable being which exists.But here,we are not speaking about "The Changes and Chances of this Fleeting World"...;we are speaking of "THE REVELATION,ONCE GIVEN".We are talking of HIS CHURCH,which He left in our STEWARDSHIP, for us TO BE FAITHFUL SERVANTS OF HIS HOLY WRIT.As Bicknel States:"So the Church has no authority to decree new doctrines,but simply to declare what the truth is and always has been.From recollection,it was St. Vincent of Lerins who wrote:"Ubique,semper,ab omnius".

Glen Young said...

"Behold,I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:be ye therefore wise as serpents,and harmless as doves". Matt 10 :16

How wise are we wanting to change Church practice to being contrary to Her Holy Writ,so as to accommodate the enemies' agenda when we know he is going to be defeated by CHRIST.Man,I for one want to be on the winning side.

Father Ron said...

Glen, I am firmly on God's side, Who has already accomplished the victory. We humans just have to live into that Reality. "Fear not, rejoice and be glad!"

Jean said...

I agree with Peter re country churches Brendan. First of all if people were to be asked to choose a response based on their different perspectives there would be no church! And really this would be a shame because this issue is not a burning issue in country churches, however, contrary to your indication the views around SSB are as diverse in rural traditional parishes as urban.

I considered the perhaps the Minister could decide the position but then this too has flaws because Ministers are not static. Country churches struggle to attract Clergy and could end up in the space of a few years having Ministers with opposing viewpoints - it makes one envisage the "revolving door" analogy in a somewhat humorous way!

While two churches associated by tradition and history but practising differently exist in Europe and America I am not certain given our numbers that the NZ Anglican Church has the luxury of this practice.

However, as you point out depending upon what the general synod decides Parishes or individuals may be forced into this position anyway if a suitable resolution is not found.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Jean

The Anglican Church is between a rock and a hard place. There is no common ground between the proponents of SSB and Biblical orthodoxy. We inhabit different worlds and are animated by different stories. The former has drunk deeply of our cultural narrative which includes marriage equality and believes it is a matter of justice and equity to recognize gay (marriage) relationships, and absent Scripture who of us would disagree?

However, those of us who believe that Scripture is preeminent in determining the boundaries of faith and practice in Christ’s church see nothing redemptive in SSB. Nothing in Scripture that suggests such relationships warrant the blessing of God, in fact quite the opposite is true.

Several weeks ago I made my own submission that you can view at the link below:


Consequently, there has to be a separation between those who seek to redefine what it means to be human, and those who seek to retain the historical Biblical narrative. We should welcome the divide because as Scripture says, what fellowship does light have with darkness? (2 Cor 6:14). Sure, there are those who think that we are the ‘darkness’, the illiberal, judgemental, bigots of history that will ultimately be consigned to irrelevance as we emerge into the sunny uplands of tolerance, diversity and universal equality.

I get that.

So, we must ‘choose this day whom we will serve’. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Glen Young said...

Hi Brendan,

C.S. wrote: "NO man who brothers about originality will ever be original:whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten,become original without ever having noticed".

Keep it up;the liberals may eventually realize that the Bishops could end this whole dilemma by confessing that their woeful lack of Episcopal leadership has encouraged the gay parishioners to belief that something that was impossible was possible; and that upon prayerful reconsideration,they would vote against motion 30.

Brendan McNeill said...

Thanks Glen

I have been quite surprised about the level of positive feedback I have received on my submission to the archbishops. Wouldn’t the scenario you have outlined, and that I have alluded to in my submission be something?

Perhaps amongst the Bishops there is one or more who are compelled by conscience, and even by the Spirit of God to step out of the culture of enforced politeness and show leadership - Biblical leadership. Could we have an Esther, or a Daniel amongst us who has come into the Kingdom for such a time as this?

Are we as a denomination destined to remain as children “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14) Or, will our Bishops rise to the occasion as the circumstances so clearly demand?

Or will we like Hosea (4:6) be forced to lament that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: (and) because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

The stakes are high and we are not going to get to do this over again - we look to God and to our Bishops for leadership in this hour and in the days and months ahead.

Glen Young said...

Hi Brendan,

Your thinking makes a lot of sense to me.Why don't so many in the Church today
understand the relevance of the Prophets, even to this modern world.Christ opened His ministry by reading from the Book of Isaiah and often quoted the Prophets.Cheers ,Glen.

Brendan McNeill said...

And on the global front:

"One of the largest evangelical organizations on college campuses nationwide has told its 1,300 staff members they will be fired if they personally support gay marriage or otherwise disagree with its newly detailed positions on sexuality starting on Nov. 11.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA says that it will start a process for “involuntary terminations” for any staffer who comes forward to disagree with its positions on human sexuality, which holds that any sexual activity outside of a husband and wife is immoral."


How ironic that the 'para-church' steps up to speak truth to a church that has lost its way.

Bishops, please take note.

Father Ron said...

Brendan - re your previous comment: One already knows the opinions of the ultra-conservative U.S.'Intervarsity Christian Fellowship'. We do not need to be reminded of their vitriolic anti-gay campaign in North America and their influence on affairs on the African Continent. We. here in New Zealand, are hopefully much less conflicted about human sexuality than the Bible Belt of American University life. There is no such campaign in Aotearoa, thank God.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Fr Ron

I understand you are a practicing priest within the Anglican Church. As such you would have publicly affirmed your agreement with Church doctrine and teaching on the institution of Marriage as being the only God ordained relationship permitting sexual expression.

I find it difficult therefore to understand why Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s affirmation of God ordained marriage is deemed by you to be ‘vitriolic and anti-gay’ were as presumably your affirmation is not?

Glen Young said...

Hi Brendan,

Intervarsity Christian Fellowship USA.is a breath of fresh air in a academic world which has gone mad. Prof. Jerry Z. Muller has done much research and writing on the subject of "how the homosexual movement has taken such a firm hold in academia.He points out such articles as "Lesbians in Revolt"by Charlotte Bunch, where she states:"Heterosexuality separates women from each other.It makes women define themselves through men;it forces women to compete against each other for men and the privilege which comes through men and their social standing.....Lesbianism is the key to liberation and only women who have cut their ties to male privilege can be trusted to remain serious in the struggle against male dominance".

With this sort of nonsense being push onto students in Social Science courses,it is wonderful to know that there is a conservative Bible based organization countering it.It is interesting,how this is seen as a"vitriolic anti-gay campaign",in the eyes of some liberal bloggers.