Thursday, October 17, 2019

Bonus post: who are Marsden’s true heirs?

Thoughts on ++Davies assessment of Marsden’s authentically Anglican heirs, as articulated here?


Father Ron said...

Dear Bishop Peter, one only has to see pictures of the Sydney Archbishop in collar and tie to recognise his dissociation from the normal clerical dress adopted by the majority of Anglican prelates when addressing Synodical Meetings of their respective dioceses to understand the Sydney brand of Anglicanism as being different from that most other Anglican Churches.

His lauding of the separatism of soon-to-be-bishopped Jay Behan and his small band of followers in FCANZ signals the acute problem of Anglican separatism within the Anglican Communion of those embracing puritanism from those of us who believe we are ALL sinners, and therefore all redeemable by Christ - whether we belong to the binary sexual norm or not.

One wonders whether it will be important for Glen Davies - with other 'ministers' from the Sydney diocese, to be the principal layers-on-of-hands for Mr Behan, in his elevation to the hierarchy of his new church? Will you, Bishop, be invited to the ceremony, as the Anglican 'Ordinary' in this diocese? - I do hope not.

cam said...

Bless him.

That I know is scriptural.

Anonymous said...

"Marsden’s authentically Anglican heirs"

Is this a nationalist question or a theological one? Think it through.

St Boniface's authentically German heirs? Who knows? Who cares? Not the Germans. They listen to *neutestamentlers*.

St Patrick's authentically Irish heirs. Who knows? Who cares? Not the Irish. They listen to the presumed successors of St Peter.

SS Cyril's and Methodius's authentically Slavic heirs? Who knows? Who cares? Not the Slavs. They listen to the neo-patristic consensus of the Orthodox world.


Almost nobody uses founder-saints as a criterion of doctrine. Why? Because if we aspire to be authentic by being the heirs of any saints at all, the canon points us past the venerable founders of local churches to the blessed apostles of Christ himself.

And apostolic authority has indeed been invoked, albeit clumsily, on That Topic. Those for SSM invoke St Paul's inference about Spirit-moved Gentile believers in Galatia as the direct precedent for their own inference about Spirit-moved believers with SSA. If to be in the fellowship of the apostles, one has to use one's head as the apostles used their heads, then one has to acknowledge the possibility, force, and limitations of this analogy.

It is not beyond all discussion, but appeal to the obviously inferior authority, if any, of sainted founders or local constitutions cannot settle a question about the higher and universal authority of the apostles. So then why the appeal from St Paul to Samuel Marsden?

And what on earth does it mean that ++ Davies's synod applauds his criticism of ACANZP's General Synod? If the Holy Spirit guides both synods, this is very surprising. Yet if the Holy Spirit is not guiding them both, then why say anything at either about That Topic?


James R said...

Father Ron

Whilst I'm sure you will have a better grasp of theological labels and concepts than I do, it seems to me that you are voicing a fairly classic Armininan concept of unlimited atonement, available to all.

Whereas the Sydney Anglicans and now CCAANZ are much more in the Calvinist and classic Reformed tradition of theology - limited atonement being the difference between you and them here (amongst many other differences I am sure!).

The question is - who are Marsden's true heirs? Can we expand that - who are Cranmer's and Ridley's true heirs?

In terms of theology, and certainly looking at the 39 Articles, I am of the opinion that the English Reformers would see those today who continue to hold true to reformed thoelogy (Calvinism in particular) as being their heirs. I think Marsden, along with others in the Church Missionary Society of the 18th Century, also belonged to that evangelical and reformed tradition of the Anglican Church.

It's a shame that the broadness of the (established) Anglican Church has continued to stretch to such a point that opposing theologies cannot hold together without breaking. I despair at the vitriol expressed by certain prominent liberals withing ACANZP against ++Davies and +(elect)Behan.

Father Ron said...

And, as a direct result, a new Protestant Church in born in Aotearoa:

Father Ron said...

Dear James R. and Bowman;

I agree with Bowman that various branches of the Church may have their own saintly heroes but all, basically, must go right back to Jesus for their patristic origins.

As far as subsidiary authenticity goes, Rome goes back to Peter, while Aotearoa may have to - in its specific patristic foundation in this country - not only to Samuel Marsden and his CMS roots but also to Bishop George Selwyn, who was more inclined to the theology of the Oxford movement which gave rise to the more broad theology of the Anglicans missionised by SPG and UMCA. (Bishop Desmond Tutu was theologically influenced by Bishop Trevor Huddleston, for instance, whose own attitude towards sexuality would have been very different from either Marsden or Calvin).

When one looks at our confreres in the Roman Catholic Church, the theology of Vatican 2, which still aggravates the conservatism of some powerful people at the Vatican and beyond; attitudes towards certain human values (e.g. divorce, re-marriage and who is able to receive the sacraments of the Church) have changed, radically.

The earliest problem for the First Christian converts was, of course, the issue of circumcision, which Saint Paul himself has to adjudicate as being no longer necessary - in order to continue in the Abrahamic Faith tradition which was revised in the spread of Christianity. This, too, was a moral question that preoccupied the 'Judaisers' who wanted to continue that earlier tradition.

Spiritual understanding - especially in the social arena - has had to come to a more just and equitable evaluation of issues of gender and sexuality that have now been revealed to be necessary in order to emancipate a class of people (including Christian believers) - LGBTQI people - whose gender or sexuality is different from the previously considered binary 'norm'.

Arguments that the rules and regulations of ancient Scriptures can be uncritically applied to issues of gender and sexuality in this modern age of social and scientific discovery are only as valid as those R.s and R.s applying to matters like slavery, usury, and the subjugation of women in society. These have now been discredited by emerging theology and social science.

Jesus overturned the 'status quo' on matters of Scriptural Law and Order, in ways that the Scribes and Pharisees did not approve - leading to his crucifixion. His summarization of The Law into the concision of the Great Commandment of Love revolutionised the religious world of Jesus' day. Sadly, this movement towards justice is still being resisted by otherwise well-disposed 'believers'.

James R said...

Father Ron

I don’t think that being an heir of Marsden, or other founders of our church, including Jesus and the writers of the New Testament, is necessarily dependent on coming down on one side or another on ‘That Topic’. My point was about Calvinism and Reformed Theology, and that the English reformers and Rev Marsden were adherents to this, as are today the Sydney Anglicans and CCAANZ. I think it would be more than bold to declare Calvinism to be discredited today through emerging theology and social science.

Moreover, the authority of scripture (especially in the face of divergent trends in secular society including social and scientific discovery) is certainly a key tenet of reformed theology that is prominent in not just the 39 Articles but also the teaching of the reformers and Marsden. Therefore to come back to Bishop Peter’s original question, I think it is fair to say that the true heirs of Marsden are those Anglicans in NZ who not only adhere to Calvinist, reformed theology but also the 39 Articles.

Interesting that you bring up a South African bishop - of course Bishop Tutu would be far more influenced by the Oxford Movement - that is the entire history of the Anglican Church in South Africa! That is the very reason that in the 19th Century, the Church of England’s in South Africa (CESA, but now going by the name of ‘Reformed Evangelical Church in South Africa’ / REACH) split away from that body - the influence or dominance of the Oxford Movement in that place was deemed to be too heretical and non-biblical for faithful Anglicans who felt that they had not left their church, but their church had left them. I understand that Bishop Selwyn was also an adherent of the Oxford Movement, but that CMS needed a bishop / oversight, and Selwyn was who they got!

If the question was ‘who are the heirs to Selwyn and Cardinal Newman in Anglicanism in NZ today?’, I would be providing a different opinion. But in my opinion, the heirs of Marsden (but more importantly Cranmner, Ridley, Paul and Jesus!!!) today are those Anglicans sticking true to the 39 Articles, which means sticking true to reformed theology - five points, five solas and all that.

Father Ron said...

Well, James, your understanding of the Gospel being that of the 16th century reformation theology of the 39 articles - which I believe has been gradually superseded by a more theologically informed Anglicanism as introduced partly through the influence of the Oxford Movement in the 19th century - you may be pleased to know that today, Saturday, 19th September 2019; a bishop was ordained into the new 'Confessing Anglican Church of Aotearoa/N.Z.' in the chapel of Saint Andrews (Presbyterian) College in Christchurch, New Zealand.

This new (quasi Anglican) Church, was instituted today in the presence of the Anglican Bishop of Nelson and his predecessor - proof-positive that there are some bishops in ACANZP who believe as you do - that the new Confessing Church exists in perfect contiguity with some in our own Church who seem more at home with the GAFCON and ACNA bishops present at this ordination than they do with the Archbishops of ACANZP, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the ACC.

This sad state of affairs (from my point of view) perpetuates the dis-unity of the Anglican brand of Churchmanship that the next Lambeth Conference will, please God, seek to uphold - especially when we consider the high-priestly prayer of Christ "That they may be One, Father, as you and I are ONE". The Apostle Paul tells us that we are not saved by the observance of the Law, but by the Grace of God; who alone offers redemption.

Anonymous said...

To my mind, James, your comments have called up four excellent questions without quite stating them.

(1) Why do those who wish to be both Anglican and Reformed rest their case for that possibility, not on a present-day demonstration of the truthfulness of that position by contemporary lights, but on an appeal to a widely-disbelieved account of Anglican history and tradition?

(2) What demonstrates that the authority of the 39A in the CoE has been like that of the confessions of churches without an authorised liturgy, bishops and the royal supremacy?

(3) How do they answer those with undisputed Reformed credentials who deny both the completeness of the 39A, and the internal consistency of the 39A with the sacramental liturgy and episcopal order of the CoE?

(4) Who anyway are the true heirs of such Reformed divines as John Calvin in New Zealand, and how do we know that there are Anglicans among them?

To be both clear and kind, some of the finest minds working in Anglican theology today are Reformed scholars in The Episcopal Church. What is very widely in question is not the value of the recognised Reformed tradition in theology as such-- Lutherans, Catholics, and Orthodox will acknowledge that-- but a certain style of invoking its authority that does not seem to be authoritative to anyone but those who use it. Why should we not discount claims that cannot be broadly verified?


Anonymous said...

Postscript-- James R's thoughtful comments open a window that has been too long closed. I hope that he continues to post here on + Peter's continuing series and anything else that strikes his fancy.

My questions in reply are not anti-Reformed or even anti-Sydney. But by design they are subversive of a certain absurd Anglican quarrel that, like many moonlit fights in rocky marriages, continues with anachronism, selective memory, and bad faith on both sides. With a bit of poetic license--

"The Church of England was a completely new church! [A soup tureen crashes upon the wall.] It was founded in the reign of Edward VI by missionaries from the Synod of Dort whose teachings are explicitly taught in the authoritative 42 Articles of Religion adopted by Reformed Anglicans in the nineteenth century!"

"No! [A fist pounds the kitchen table.] The Church of England was a modern church founded as a debating society open to everything by synods of Latitudinarian divines in the long eighteenth century. Beyond the creeds (most days) and the liturgies (in their current versions) there are no formularies with enduring authority for Anglicans."

Neighbours hearing the shouting and shattering can tell that both are drunks talking rot. "There they go again." But as in all polarised controversy, each party needs the rot that the other is talking as a foil for its own otherwise unreal argument.

If the former party could admit to the very substantial differences between the Forms of Unity and the 39A, then the latter party would neither feel nor seem so heroic in defending doctrinal anarchy as liberty. Conversely, if the latter could acknowledge that a liturgical ordo cannot be an ecclesial experience without some core of common intentions, then the former would neither feel nor seem so heroic in defending something definite against nihilism.

At dawn, the sun rises on the exhausted couple, a lot of broken crockery, and the myriad facts that belie their faulty memories and *motivated reasoning*. Any mediator presenting a fuller account poses an end to the quarrel that wearies them, but also the end of the heroic identities that they cherish more than truth or peace.

There's the rub. The marriage can be saved, but only if the two happy warriors give up being heroes in their own minds and find some less grandiose way to make sense of their passage from birth through obscurity to death. This, we have seen, is very hard for a human being to want to do.

Meanwhile, the neighbours should discuss the sunlit facts among themselves, as we do here at ADU. Militance makes us stupid; curiosity makes us wise.


Father Ron said...

James said:

"If the question was ‘who are the heirs to Selwyn and Cardinal Newman in Anglicanism in NZ today?’, I would be providing a different opinion. But in my opinion, the heirs of Marsden (but more importantly Cranmner, Ridley, Paul and Jesus!!!) today are those Anglicans sticking true to the 39 Articles, which means sticking true to reformed theology - five points, five solas and all that."

I note James has included the names of Paul and Jesus with those of Cranmer, Ridley and Samuel Marsden. However, I might well include Paul and Jesus with the likes of George Augustus Selwyn and John Henry Newman - both of who lived more recently than Cranmer or Ridley - which makes my argument at least as valid as your own.

The real point at issue here is that ACANZP, despite protestations from the likes of the evangelical Australian bishops, decided to accept the Blessing of Same-sex Unions and Civil Marriages (without changing our current Canon of Marriage). As a sovereignly provincial Church, with our own canonical structure, this is our right.

Yesterday, however, despite this situation being made known to those Australian bishops who did their best (without success) to persuade our ACANZP bishops to change their minds on this issue; decided to ignore our Church's provincial boundaries, and join with other GAFCON associates in ordaining - in New Zealand - a bishop into a rival (quasi-Anglican) Church body in our diocese of Christchurch.

One of the GAFCON prelates present was from the Episcopal Church of Rwanda - which already has its own church in the U.S.A acting in direct competition with TEC (the official Anglican Church in the USA). Also present (seemingly the 'Master of Ceremonies' at this ordination) was the archbishop of ACNA - another rival 'Anglican' Church in the USA and Canada to the official Anglican Churches of those 2 countries.

This episcopal ordination took place without the authority of ACANZP (or of any other non-GAFCON-affiliate Anglican Church) and could be seen to offend against the Lambeth Quadrilateral, which officially binds all Anglican Churches to respect the local provincial borders and authority - in this case, the territory and bishops of ACANZP.

This morning, at Saint Michael and All Angels, Christchurch, we were addressed by Anglican Bishop John Osmers (expatriate Kiwi), who mentioned that part of his work in Lusaka is to host Rwandan refugees being driven out from that country - whose chief bishop was at yesterday's ordination in Christchurch! Bishop John expressed his great sadness at the chutzpah of Sydney-backed GAFCON bishops coming into the territory of New Zealand's Provincial Church - in order to ordain their own episcopal representative (under the banner of a new kind of Anglicanism that will be operating in competition with the local Anglican Church.

I doubt whether even Calvin or Marsden would have been so foolhardy or disrespectful of the local Church community. This ordination was not conducted within the parameters of Lambeth-eccesiology.

Anonymous said...

"This [consecration] was not conducted within the parameters of Lambeth-eccesiology."

No, Father Ron, it was not. You and I agree. And that is a bad thing.

But as we were saying several months ago, the old canons have another possibility that may be more conservative of tradition and more realistic for such a tiny number: the departed parishes could be episcopal peculiars of Sydney with a commissary or suffragan on the spot. Indeed, since one cannot invent one's own diocese or church, I am tempted to think that, no matter what they fancy or what anyone else says, they belong either to Sydney, or to Christchurch, or in some negotiated way to both. In an emergency, someone nearby has to take the call.

There is nothing new in sees having peculiars in an *adjacent* province. As we have mentioned, medieval and early modern York and Durham had episcopal peculiars in London. Very hypothetically, if + Peter wants a peculiar across the ditch, he can have it if he can get it.

What is new, so far as I know, is for this relationship to cross national boundaries. I've never heard that Armagh or Edinburgh had churches in London.

But in the circumstances, that novelty might be less disruptive than the alternate one of having two recognised national churches in New Zealand. Although very unlikely, ACANZP is not helped by that prospect. Meanwhile, the departed may prefer a solid relationship with Sydney to whatever joy there can be in belonging to an imaginary province. And as parishes of Sydney they could still have some occasional and negotiated relationship to Christchurch.

Two kinds of Anglicans? There have always been a few kinds of Anglicans. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.


Peter Carrell said...

Dear All,
I would be a bit surprised if ++Davies had “Calvinism” in mind when he talked about the heirs of Marsden - I think the context of the remarks and the context of the overall situation we are in (ecclesially, socially, geographically) means the question revolves around faithfulness to the gospel of sin and redemption and not to the specifically Calvinist/39A version Marsden no doubt had as an English cleric of his time.

But if we want to talk Calvinism and certain developments here, there and locally, I suspect we don’t have time to go into the nuances ... because what I see is a theology at work which is shaped by Calvinism to some degree or another, including the degree to which Calvinism influences the 39A, yet in a context where the prime Anglican vehicle of Calvinism-a-la-Anglican-reception-of-it, the Book of Common Prayer, is not much used (if at all?).

As for peculiar and non-peculiar Anglican arrangements, I suggest the prior question is when and if Anglicans will get together to talk, to listen, and in a spirit of not acting unilaterally if we do not like what we hear.

That is the point of the Bible, is it not, that we act in harmony and in concert as Christians? Yet biblical Christianity sometimes appears not to have read those bits of the Bible!

Anonymous said...

"the prime Anglican vehicle of Calvinism-a-la-Anglican-reception-of-it, the Book of Common Prayer, is not much used (if at all?)."

Peter, despite the several times that you and Bosco and Sam have mentioned this, the hardest single thing for me to imagine about religion Down Under is the motivation to be an Anglican who does not follow the ordo of the BCP. Hearing that churchfolk like that were threatening to leave, a friend of mine who is handy with a thurible quipped that the real threat was that they might stay. Why-- I ask this charitably-- would they not be happier as Baptists or Presbyterians?


Father Ron said...

re your last comment, Bowman (7.37am) is it not interesting that this odd ordination actually took place in a Presbyterian college chapel in Christchurch? You could be right in suggesting this new church might be more Presbyterian than Anglican. It is certainly not the sort of Anglicanism I was baptised, confirmed and priested into. It may be, though, a rather more extreme off-shoot of CMS conservatism.

Note the presence of not one, not two, but three Nelson-connected bishops! of ACANZP).

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Anonymous
It is policy here that a name is given and that is especially so when you seek to have published a comment which is in the form of "j'accuse."

Here is your comment:

I have been to Roman Catholic ordinations and consecrations where Anglican clergy (including bishops) attended. No one suggested that this meant that the bishops must support all Roman Catholic theology, or (which seems to be the concern here) share their views on sexuality or marriage. I have also seen Anglican clergy (including bishops) attend Islamic events. Again, no one suggested that these bishops were being disloyal, or that they must support islamic theology, or share the iman's views on sexuality ot marriage. Why is there such a concern over the ecumenical spirit at this particular event? If you can support ecumenical engagement with Catholics, and interfaith engagement with Muslims (both groups holding more conservative views than the Confessing Anglicans on average...) then why not embrace ecumenism here? I call some in the progressive/liberal Churchbon their double standards and hypocricy."

Here is my response:

Might it be a litle early in the history of this separation for people to be as emotionally sanguine as Anglicans and Catholics or Christians and Muslims are about their separation?

Is it as straigtforwardly a matter of ecumenical-bonhomie as you make out when one Anglican church is asked to play nicely alongside another Anglican church when the latter includes vociferous elements (whether human voices or written statements) which call the former "apostates"?

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I will post anonymously and leave it up to you to decide whether to publish it. But I will answer your two questions, even if you are the only person to read the reply.

Is it fair to ask followers of Jesus to pray for those whom they think of as enemies, or to bless those who call them names or persecute them? Well. Yes. I think it is straightforward! It is hard, but it is what we are called to do.

As for it being too early in the history. I do not think it is that simple. The animosity towards (and from) the Diocese of Sydney long predates this particular event. And the double standard applied to Catholics (who are accepted as ecumenical partners despite huge differences - as they should be!) and Conservative Anglicans (who are shunned for many of the same differences) has a history going back decades at least. It is not a situation which arose out of nothing one Saturday in 2019.

I think if we mouth the words of ecumenism, then we need to live by them too. Especially when it is hard, and painful.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Anonymous,
One last time!
Yes, we should pray for our persecutors, etc, but that does not mean we have a gauge when it is or is not right to turn up to an event with those we differ from ... there are many considerations. It is early days but I get it that some think the number of days passing by make no difference, while others think time heals most wounds.

I don’t think the situation has anything to do with animosity towards the Diocese of Sydney as though if Sydney did not turn up then all would be well.

The objection is objective - that no Anglican Communion bishop (at least four dioceses/provinces represented, I understand) bothered to observe the usual protocols about ministry in a diocese not their own.

What I can assure you is that in general terms, in various ways, work is being done on our relationships ecumenically.
Bishop Jay, for instance, is invited and will be welcome to national and to Christchurch “heads of denominations” meetings and none of us will not be there as some kind of protest etc.
There will be other conversations and ways of being in touch, keeping up to date, and ensuring that matters we need to talk about and to address are, indeed, talked about and addressed.

Some of these conversations, no doubt, will address matters which remain difficult between us. To give just one instance, there is a strong school of thought within Tikanga Maori that “Aotearoa” should not be used in the name of the new church.