Sunday, September 30, 2007

PBS' "Religion and Ethics Weekly" Interviews Bishop Bob Duncan

Watch the report and read more about it here.

You can watch the entire report by Kim Lawton here or listen to the report below (click on the left triangle to play):

Read more of Kim Lawton's September 27, 2007 interview with Bishop Robert Duncan of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Q: What did you think of the final document the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans produced?

A: The final document from NO was very much what the HOB has said before, and it revealed the commitment of the American church to continue on its move forward in terms of the innovations in faith and order. It did acknowledge the trouble in the communion and the pain that the American church has caused. It did maybe slow things down a little bit, but it's not going to change the direction, and clearly in New Orleans as there has been for some while there really are two churches under one roof and those two churches are one that is moving in a way with the culture and with secular society, moving toward embrace of the culture itself, and the other is moving in a direction -- I mean we are trying to stand where we've always stood. That's the reality. So that's New Orleans, but that's old news.

Q: Is it going to be enough to satisfy some others in the communion who have been concerned?

A: Well, it's not enough for the dioceses like my own that really don't see a way to go forward within the Episcopal Church. We believe that we will be forced to be something other than we have been, to stand in some new place, and we're not going to go to a new place. We're going to stand where Christians have always stood, where scripture and the tradition just have always caused the church to be. For the worldwide church already a number of influential leaders from major places in the communion have said this isn't enough. It's very sad for our communion. It's heartbreaking the way in which Anglicanism is tearing apart. The hope of course is that God will put it back together in a new way, in a stronger way, in a reformed way as part of the reformation he is working in the whole of the Christian world.

Q: Tell me about this meeting in Pittsburgh. What are you and all these groups trying to accomplish here?

A: There are 10 jurisdictions who have been working together, a growing number, we started as six in 2004, who have committed to make common cause for the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel as it has been received, and to make common cause for a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America. We are fragments, like some of us represent fragments, dioceses of the Episcopal Church that can't go down the road that the Episcopal Church is on, can't leave the faith once delivered, and other fragments [are] folks who as long as 134 years ago actually found themselves put out of the EC because of their stand on the gospel and their belief that the EC was shifting and wavering and moving away from its' reformation position. This meeting is a meeting in which these fragments, as bishops, and for the first time it's all the bishops of these 10 fragments from the US and Canada, they are together and we're together and what we've done is agree to the way in which we'll move forward, move forward forming a federation of the Common Cause Partners, pushing that schedule along, and before too long appealing to provinces within the communion to recognize this federation as a new ecclesiastical structure in the States, the very thing that a number of the primates just a year ago in September called for from Kigali as they looked to the problems in the US church and to the wavering and wandering of the majority.

Q: So the goal here is to create an alternative Anglican structure?

A: The goal has been to bring together all of those who stand on scripture, who stand with the tradition, who are committed to mission and who can't bring themselves to separate from what Christians have always believed. So we're working together as bishops, forming a college of bishops, again first ever meeting here, who can work together in mission. We've shared all kinds of ministry initiatives together, from ministry to youth, all kinds of exciting things with postmoderns to work with the global church in relief and development to the more ordinary matters of church planting. Indeed one of the calls of this conference was for us together to plant 1000 new churches, which would be quite something to see.

Q: These groups do have theological differences of their own, on issues like ordination of women, certainly worship style. Some are more charismatic, some more Catholic. How strong are those differences and how big is the challenge going to be?

A: These are important differences, but they are not salvation differences. They are differences that are part of what all of Anglicanism is comprehending at the moment. About half of the provinces of the communion ordain women, the other half does not. Again, the role of women in holy orders is a question that the church in the 21st century, the Anglican Communion, is looking at. Can women be priests? Can women be bishops? We're working that through, but since 2003 we have committed to each other despite this difference to go forward together. Again, it doesn't change the gospel message that we bring, that Jesus Christ came as God's answer to our problem, that we needed a rescuer and a savior, and we are all absolutely united about who that rescuer is, who that savior is, and the new life he brings, the transformed live he gives through the power of his Holy Spirit. We see that as incredible good news, and we all together want to share that. We have no differences about that.

Q: There are suggestions that there have been some challenging personality issues as people try to work all this out.

A: Well, sure. What's true about a family is a family cares enough about one another that they actually disagree. This isn't a paper -- this isn't some "lite" association, this is a deep association for the future of our part of the Christian church, and we care enough about each other and are deeply enough related that we sometimes, you know -- voices get raised this way and that way, but I can guarantee that the end of it is not voices raised in anger but voices raised in praise.

Q: What do you hope the relationship of this federation will be to the broader Anglican Communion?

A: The next step in this -- we have articles of federation. I as the chair of this Common Cause Partnership -- we now have all but two of the 10 partners having had their councils meet and approve the articles of federation, which again a federation is a body that doesn't take away the distinctives or the independence of each of the jurisdictions but really creates a deep level of interdependence. I'm going to call the first leadership council for the first week in January. That council will appoint the committees that the articles call for. They will be the committees that really will structure things. Within a year we will actually gather the second council, and at that time we will be ready, I think, to go to the rest of the Anglican Communion and say here we are. We really are that new ecclesiastical structure in North America that draws all of the separated orthodox Anglicans together and that is ready to be partners with the rest of the world on the terms the rest of the world expects Anglicanism to represent, to uphold, to share and propagate.

Q: Many of your members already have direct relationships with some of the conservative Anglican international leaders. Are they encouraging this effort?

A: Well absolutely. From the beginning the message to me and to other leaders from the archbishops around the world has been get it together. Find a way to work together. Agree on a leader, agree on the way you are going to work together, and declare it and move forward, and we'll go forward with you.

Q: How complicated will it be for you to separate a diocese from the Episcopal Church, as you've announced -- the diocese of Pittsburgh?

A: The last time that Episcopal dioceses separated from the Episcopal Church was in the American Civil War. Nine dioceses actually separated for a period of years. When the war was over the EC came back together. There was an important social issue, I mean the whole issue of slavery divided the nation. The North and the South were divided. When the issue was settled the church came back together. Where we are right now is seeing the church moving in two distinctly different directions on issues of Christian morality quite different than the slavery issue. What our diocese and a number of other dioceses are going to have to do is try to figure out, okay, we joined, we federated. Can we break that federation? Again, the whole purpose of it is not because we've changed, but the Episcopal Church is so radically changed we as a diocese in order not to embrace that change or be forced into that change are saying the best course forward for us is to let them go their way and the way in which we will operate is in alignment with another province in another part of the world that still upholds what the worldwide Christian church, what worldwide Anglicans believe and teach and want to share.

Q: And do you anticipate the property struggles in all of this?

A: Those issues are all there. Jesus was real clear about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Again, if that's what you've really got your mind and your heart set on, that's what you get. What we've got our mind and our heart set on is preaching the gospel. And even if we lose our property, we lose our offices, so what? We believe these are the things that are our heritage. Again, the people here in Pittsburgh haven't changed. The church here is as it has been. Why should the property that generations here have given to the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh be taken from it? But if the courts should do that, if that's how it turns out, if for the good of the gospel we determine that's what we want to do is just give it away, we have a dominical mandate that sort of suggests that would be a good thing to do.

Q: is there anything else you want to add?

A: We are in the midst of an immense reformation of the Christian church. Anglicanism is just a part of that. It's particularly a reformation of the church in the West, because the West has drifted with its culture, and Christianity is principally countercultural. In what had been a Christian society, or for instance in England a state church, it was a vision for a time that the Christian church and the state could be one. That's not where we are any longer. We've secularized Western societies and the church needs to stand for what it has been called to do, for a saving message that takes people out of the "secula" in which they find themselves and into something that looks more nearly like the heaven God intended.


Anonymous said...

"Can women be priests? Can women be bishops? We're working that through, but since 2003 we have committed to each other despite this difference to go forward together. Again, it doesn't change the gospel message that we bring, that Jesus Christ came as God's answer to our problem, that we needed a rescuer and a savior, and we are all absolutely united about who that rescuer is, who that savior is, and the new life he brings, the transformed live he gives through the power of his Holy Spirit."

This is unfortunate and the good Bishop is wrong if he thinks that this rather facile statement on WO will do anything but ultimately drive a wedge between those of us who are classical Anglicans. One does not have to be an Anglo Catholic to believe that that sacraments are necessary for salvation and if a woman cannot be a priest (or even if there is doubt about that, which he seems to suggest) then we cannot have any assurance that the Holy Communion she celebrates is valid. For those who do not believe women can be ordained this is merely lay celebration. Also when one begins to add up the jurisdictions that ordain women it isn't exactly legit to throw in the jurisdictions that one has just left because of heresy. Is the fact that half of them ordain women supposed to be persuasive? It also appears that half of them may support TEC's innovations as well. Watch this spot!
Fr. Glenn Spencer
All Saints Anglican Church
Charlottesville, VA

Unknown said...

I think a little history is in order here. For over a hundred years, Evangelicals and Anglo Catholics have been on opposite sides a deep theological divide (and it does far deeper than women's ordination - as Fr. Glen here illustrates with comments on the doctrine of the sacraments). Since I am an Evangelical I'm not going to attempt to state the Anglo Catholic view, but I will say that the two camps were so significantly divided and the acrimony so severe that it enabled the "Broad Church" - what became the liberal progressive wing to take control of the church. In fact, there's evidence that the fighting was encouraged because if we were so busy fighting each other how could notice what was going on in the leadership and the seminaries?

With the advent of the reimagining of liberal progressive theology and activism as a doctrine of The Episcopal Church itself - the theological shift was so severe (and I wonder if Canterbury completely grasps how theologically dramatic this shift continues to be) that suddenly Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals found themselves attending meetings and ending up on the same sides. In the early years of this it was particularly uncomfortable (and so "women's ordination" often seems to be brought out as a form of authenticating credentials, just in case anyone thought it was all settled, which of course it is not, the differences, profound differences still remain, as Bishop Duncan states).

But as the years went on the shock of what was happening to the Episcopal Church was so severe that in comparison our doctrinal differences seemed to pale in comparison. They are still significant, but when compared to what the reality on the ground inside TEC, we found ourselves allies.

There are long memories, that's a hundred years of fighting. How was the alliance born?

That in itself is a real story. It happened gradually, but interesting things happen when one finds oneself in foxholes. You find out where your real friends are - and the deep and abiding friendships that have formed between Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals were not made overnight.

As an Evangelical I have learned so much that I would never have learned if we hadn't gotten together and broken bread together. I've learned of the real hope of reunification with the Roman Catholic Church that many Anglo Catholics pray for and that would seem hopeless with the configuration of the Episcopal Church now. That is a devastating loss to those, like Bishop Steenson for example, that held that prayer in their hearts.

I've also learned more about the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, of it being more than a memorial. I've appreciated not only the beauty of the liturgy, but it's power.

That we've continued to work together and pray together and care for one another is truly a work of the Lord. Fr. Glenn illustrates the depth of the differences (and remember, Bob Duncan actually has Anglo Catholic roots which perhaps has been helpful in bridging the gap) and that the task will be before us how we all live together in the future.

Certainly none of us wants to return to the antipathy of hundred years ago or the heavy-handed "re-education" of the present-day Episcopal Church. The theological crisis for Evangelicals remains the authority of scripture and that foundation of Scripture and love for Scripture seems to have been passed on to our Anglo Catholic brothers and sisters as well. How do we respect those differences, figure out what are salvation issues, how much can we appreciate those differences - all from a biblical (not social) point of view?

We will be tempted to look back at "Egypt" and think it was so much better there, where Evangelicals and Anglo Catholics were fighting all the time and the Broad Church and swept the house. We will be tempted to forget just how intolerant the progressives were when their activism was challenged. We could long for the good old days when we never even got a seat on councils because we couldn't get elected.

Now we are in the seats and we will have to learn how to govern. A gift for administration is one of the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we should be praying for the raising up of those leaders from all the three streams of our orthodox church for theirs will be a challenging call.

One of the major things that brings us together is our shared conviction of the authority of scripture and that scripture can be trusted. We should not be lured into antipathy but should be energized to have those exciting theological discussions on the issues that mean the most to us. We will be able to agree on much and we will challenge one another in areas where we are different.

I do think we need to be careful not to be dismissive of one another when we do not share the same theological playbook. We should remember that we are friends - and that friendship was born not by human endeavor or wishful thinking, but by sacrifice, through tears, and in hope.

To the glory of God.


Anonymous said...


Understanding that for anglo-catholics WO is an issue of salvation, and that for Evangelicals it is not, why are the Evangelicals so adamant that it not be given up? Why not give it up for the sake of greater and deeper unity within the Common Cause? If indeed it is merely a social issue, and not a biblical one, why are Evangelicals so unyielding? I just dont understand.


Anonymous said...


I endorse Jim's comment and I am speaking as an Evangelical who is in the process of leaving a basically 'good' TEC church only because it will not put a stake in the ground regarding the current unpleasantness. My wife and I have been attending an APA church since Ash Wednesday this year and have come to really understand the solid Anglo-Catholic belief of the salvation threatening significance of women's ordination. If Common Cause is to succeed, I am convinced Evangelicals will have to be willing to make an accession to the Anglo-Catholics on women's ordination to keep the alliance together. Leaving women's ordination as a TEC thing is just that important if the success of Common Cause is to be realized.

Unknown said...

I'm not a separatist - and so I am willing to embrace those who are in favor of the priesthood of all believers and those who reserve the priesthood for men called by God to serve. Those are two biblical views, supported by scripture (though obviously, if one takes one view and one takes the other view there will be disagreement). I hold to the view that men and women are called to leadership and that call is discerned in prayer and in community. So I do believe God calls women to ordained leadership - but the laity are the ministers, we are ones God sends out to do his ministry, the clergy equip the laity to do this, men and women.

The Episcopal Church does not recognize this biblical view. TEC sees it as a justice issue.

However, that being said - the crisis we face in the American Church is so severe that we have been able to bridge past difference and find "common cause" together. As we see in the comments here, this is no small thing. I continue to give thanks to God for how He has brought us through those differences to show respect and honor for those who hold theological points different than our own.

But this is not what we are facing in TEC or in the Anglican Communion crisis. There is a major gulf - one I saw in New Orleans - between a faith based on Scripture (and all the diversity we find there, not only in women's ordination but also in baptism, in the nature of the sacraments, and in the view of the saints and the Mother of Jesus - many more than that as well!) and a faith based on personal revelation. TEC's leadership believe they have heard from "God" and "God" is doing a "new thing" which is revealed in personal experience and justice. However, scripture and traditional ways of testing personal revelation are not applicable, or so we're told, because the whole of scripture can not be trusted as anything but "story."

So we are faced with whether we are able to trust Scripture as "God breathed" - the Word of God, we are faced with whether Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him, and whether the Holy Spirit acts apart from Scripture or whether "she" is doing such a new thing it is not found in scripture or scripture is reduced to metaphor or a subjective context.

What we see in Common Cause and the College of Bishops is that our bishops understand all too well that if we don't hang together we will surely hang separately. Therefore, while we can and should have robust discussion about the theological issues in which we have countering points of view, we must always keep in mind the reality on the ground - and who would most benefit if we started engaging in fierce friendly fire.

It is important, I think, to practice kind rules of engagement and be cautious about issuing declarations of what constitutes the true way when someone holds a differing point of view. We can show such charity with one another because we have confidence in our common salvation in the cross of Jesus Christ.

But for the Cross we are nothing, we are pitiful, despairing, wretched sinners. Wretched. We should let that word sit for a while, as the author of Amazing Grace did, oh how sweet the sound "that saved a wretch like me." Before we engage in even friendly sword play, perhaps we should spend some time living in that word "Wretched."

Knowing just what it cost Jesus - everything - to save me, how can I do anything but show my gratitude and be filled with joy that even in my wretchedness, He loves me. He loves you so very much. It truly amazing, His grace.

That is what I have witnessed in the building of this Common Cause partnership - those who have been engaged in the struggle all these years, huddled in the foxholes avoiding in coming fire - have discovered through much tears and sacrifice how much we are grateful for one another. We are family and like family, we don't get to choose one another. God does the choosing and He picks some interesting people - like Jesus' disciples. In fact, He loves the least, the last, and the lost.

I can tangle on my soap box as passionately as the next person. But before I start my finger pointing and exhorting, I am stopped in my tracks by remembering that it was never my idea in the first place to become a Christian. He found me and worked awfully hard to call me and help me to listen - something He continues to do every day of my life!!

One of my favorite verses - and one that means a lot on many different levels is this:

John 20:11-18 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
[NIV at IBS] [International Bible Society] [NIV at Zondervan] [Zondervan]

11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

16Jesus said to her, "Mary."

As soon as Jesus said her name she ran to Him and held on to Him so tightly He had to remind her that He wasn't leaving yet. She would not let Him go.

I love that story as I said for lots of reasons - one that Jesus would reveal Himself to her first, which is really astonishing (the first shall be last - and the last shall be first, which is what biblical leadership is all about). But I also love it as it shows Jesus' humor "who is it you are seeking?" He asks her, as if He didn't know. It was a rhetorical question, but she is so heartbroken and frantic that she doesn't realize who she is talking to. He is so patient with her.

But it's when He calls her by name - specifically by name - that she recognizes Him.

He calls us by name and we recognize His voice. We find our common cause in hearing His voice and responding as Mary did - to go tell others that Jesus is risen.

And that is what has brought Evangelicals and Anglo Catholics together for this historic moment in the life of the Anglican Communion. Hallelujah! Christ is Risen!


Anonymous said...

bb -

I agree with almost all you wrote above. My concern, having now looked closely at the Anglo Catholic perspective, remains that unless Common Cause avoids alienating its Anglo Catholic constituencies over women's ordination Common Cause will likely split over the issue. Perhaps not now while we are all focused on TECs apostasy, but soon when more form and structure are needed for Common Cause to advance, women's ordination will have to be addressed. And if I were plotting within the dark halls of 815 Second Avenue I would do my best to dump gasoline on this fire now to consume my foes.

Women's ordination is a salvation issue for Anglo Catholics. It is way beyond being a big deal within APA and REC (and probably other Common Cause components, as well). Women's ordination means something else entirely for ex-TEC Evangelicals; justice for some, social progress for others, still others see it as just the normal thing to do, etc. But it is key to keep in mind that for most ex-TEC Evangelicals women's ordination is not believed to be an impediment to eternal salvation. Women's ordination will be a show stopper for Anglo Catholics when pushed on the issue. They have walked away from PECUSA/ECUSA in faith over salvation issues before and I can't discount the liklihood of them doing so again over women's ordination.

The Anglo Catholic concern over women's ordination isn't going to go away quietly and I don't minimize the difficulty of coming to a solution. But if Common Cause is going to succeed and be recognized as the true Anglican Church in America and in Canada, the women's ordination conundrum must be concluded in a way that keeps Anglo Catholics on board.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of words above and an attempt to read the "Mind of God" - I personally believe in a quieter approach - one that emphasizes the "dark mirror" in front of us and I am unable to read or see clearly enough that I can exclude others based on my personal reading of scripture - where there is lack of clarity I prefer to stand in dumb awe and admit my lack of comprehension and admit that all others are equal before God. Therefore I can not for the life of me see how I can acquiesce to the exclusion of women from a full life in the Churh - I am unwilling to relegate them to second class when "words" are so ambiguous. Therefore it is safe to say I will not visit the Anglican church mentioned above on my next visit to Charlottesville to visit relatives. I think your arguements above are too precious by half. Furthermore and as a practical point they are antithetical to the advances women as a group have made over only the past 70 years and an insult to their abilities. (and please spare the holyier than thou quoting of disputed verses.)

Unknown said...

There is no doubt it is an theological conundrum for many. I am one of those that would not align with an organization that barred women from leadership in the church, based on my understanding of scripture that the job of the professional clergy is to equip the laity as the ministers and not the other way around - the laity as men and women. I do not take it as a "justice" issue which is where I would part with TEC. It is not about the "advancement" of women as it is about the priesthood of all believers.

As I've written before, when people are willing to crawl into a foxhole with you and then break out across the plains of battle (figuratively speaking of course), deep friendships are established and I have witnessed such friendships between - for example - Anglo Catholic bishops and clergy who are women. The bond of Jesus is very strong and I pray that this bond, found at the foot of the cross, will strengthen over time.

How capable are we to meet together - not based on our "rights" but on our wretchedness at the foot of the cross where we find mercy and at the door to the empty tomb where we find redemption.

That is what I have witnessed all these years and what I pray will continue. It is a testimony to the illustration in Acts of the church that gathered together for supper, to fellowship, to read scripture together and pray - that is what I have seen happen with women clergy and Anglo Catholics bishops. I have seen it with my own eyes and to that I give thanks to God. What we share in our common life as believers is a strong bond of fellowship. Let us pray that it continues with charity and mercy and kindness


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your response. What do you with the Tradition of the church on this question? Surely you dont agree with the many in TEC that Jesus was a sexist. And I further doubt that you would agree that Jesus was simply blinded to the truth of the issue due to his cultural conditioning. Certainly, he was radical and broke with the cultural norms on many many issues. Why then only male apostles? The only solution, I can see for those who would want to support women's ordination, would be to say that Jesus was willing to sacrifice the true calling of women in order to better appeal to the culturally conditioned men of his day. This seems contrary to "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life."

But apart from this dominical witness in the Gospels, you have its continuance in the apostolic, sub-apostolic, apologetic, patristic, and medieval eras. Perhaps, and I want to stress perhaps, you can attempt to link sexism to the continuance of the middle ages, but certainly not the other eras. Why would our great saints and Fathers in God raise women to such a level as they did, but yet stop short of giving them the priesthood if it was not an injuction straight from the LORD himself?

I appreciate you taking the time to respond to these questions. In my neck of the woods I have had the oppurtunity to speak with many evangelicals. But from what I gather, it seems to me that Evangelicals are willing to forsake their Christian History, even from the earliest most venerable times, if it conflicts with their current and personal understanding of the Sacred Scriptures. This is alarming to me, since as Christians we live in a body which most definitely includes the "Communion of Saints" whose voice is everywise as much important as ours today.

One last thought I would humbly appreciate your thoughts on...Bishop Duncan continues to say, and rightly so, "It is the Episcopal Church that left us" and "I look at TEC and this is not the Church I grew up in." We can all very much agree with him I think. But what does the Evangelical say when it is the Anglo-Catholic relaying that sentiment over women's ordination? It is, regardless of anyone's theological reasoning, a new development in the history of our religion, one which was forced upon and one which we find ourselves struggling against to remain where we are. Yet it is twice as saddening because it is not the pagans of 815 which are inflicting this, what I feel is a spiritual wound, but our conservatice friends, such as Duncan, Salmon, et al.

Again thank you for your time, I do appreciate your responses.


Unknown said...

Jim asks: what does the Evangelical say when it is the Anglo-Catholic relaying that sentiment over women's ordination?

I can only speak for this evangelical, but I think it's important to know that women have always been ordained for as long as I have been a member of an Episcopal Church - now twenty seven years. For me, the only Episcopal Church I know includes both men and women in clergy leadership.

However, I do not at all agree with how TEC has used the ordination of women as a "rights" issue - which basically the only rationale they ever use. I don't approve of the mean-spirited "compliance" that has been forced on Anglo Catholics and traditionalists in TEC. That is so wrong. The fact remains, the Anglo Catholic position can be defended from Scripture and so, from my point of view, it must be respected. It is not "anti-women" to hold an Anglo Catholic view of the priesthood.

I believe we can respect one another because I've been able to see it happen - and it's not easy, believe you me. It is costly and it is sacrificial. But that is also a paramount theme in scripture, that love is costly, that love is sacrificial. So evangelicals defend their Anglo Catholic brothers and sisters as fellow soldiers of the cross and Anglo Catholics defend their evangelical brothers and sisters.

How is this accomplished? Well, not by human flesh or even the human will. This is a sign of Jesus Christ in our midst, that where two or three gather together in His Name, there He is in our midst. When AC and E come together in the Name of Jesus watch out! He is at work, inside our hearts and outside in our walk.

I can bear testimony on how enriched my life has been by being ministered to by Anglo Catholics, like the nuns at All Saints Convent in Catonsville, MD. I love going there, this low church evangelical. I meet Jesus there.

But it is also wonderful to see Anglo Catholics open their hearts to women clergy, inviting them into their fellowship. That is no small thing and I am literally blown away when I've seen such an outpouring of the Gospel.

So it's done with prayer and that is why I think we pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit!


Anonymous said...


I appreciate the length of your response, but forgive me for saying that you didn’t answer any of the concerns or questions I asked in order to better understand the mind of the Evangelical. I apologize for perhaps turning this thread into a discussion on WO but I truly want to understand your position. Your response seems to be little more than “We can make this work.” Which while perhaps is true for a while, still doesn’t address the questions posed; and, is in reality, little more than what TEC gives us on just about any issue of the day. I appreciate the ways in which interaction with evangelicals and catholic have enriched both sides, this I do not doubt. But how does an evangelical so quickly dispense with one thousand, nine hundred, and seventy-six years of Christian practice? The fact that you have been in the Episcopal Church for 27 years does not at all mitigate the fact that some of us have been in this church since before 1976, or the fact that never before has WO been a Truth offered to the people of God. Therefore, the fact remains that for a large majority (and I say majority because the average Episcopal congregations are made up heavily of elderly members) this Episcopal Church is not the same Church that they joined and many are being forced out; just as Duncan is, albeit for different reasons. WO is to be blamed for that.

Now on the issue of being forced out, I most heartily appreciate that the Common Cause and yourself are not at all in favor of heavy-handed tactics to re-educate us on the issue, and I am also heartened by the fact that you understand it as not being a sexist position. However, it does not take heavy-handed efforts to be forced out, that is done simply by the presence of women in Holy Orders in this Church. You have to understand, that we Anglo-Catholics must now always question which priest has been ordained by a female bishop, we cannot go on vacation without first inquiring what sex the minister is at the local church. We will be forced to question the orders of even those conservative bishops who had KJS, a woman, as chief consecrator. We must leave our churches of 50 years because our search committees elect a woman. The end result is that we Anglo-Catholics are forced out of our homes, both our congregational homes, and our larger church homes. Make no mistake it is TEC and the continuers of the practice of WO that have indeed forced or rather are forcing me out.

Lastly, I noticed one quote of yours which deeply hurts, it really does, mostly for the fact that it is Christians who believe as yourself who are indeed deciding my future in Anglicanism, “I am one of those that would not align with an organization that barred women from leadership in the church”—BB. You say this yet the only Christian organizations that existed prior to the 20th century were organizations that did just this, bar women from Holy Orders, and they did so because they were stewards of what they received from the earliest of Christian ages. To hear a fellow follower of Christ speak thus saddens me. It truly has made me realize that if Duncan, Salmon, Love, Roseberry, et al. are as adamant as you are, then I fear there is no room for me and the traditional priesthood in this Communion anymore.


Unknown said...

I think what I would recommend is that - as Anglican - that we look to our primates and to our bishops for answers to the questions you raise. They model for us the life of Anglican Christians.

The primary example is in the life and witness of Archbishop Akinola and Archbishop Orombi. There is no doubt anywhere that these are brothers in Christ, they share ministry and vision and a common bond. They are brothers. However, Archbishop Akinola does not ordain women while Archbishop Orombi does. How do they model for us ways in which we American Anglicans can live out the diversity of our biblical faith? That is my question.

We also have the model of the Church of England, which has found another way to embrace those who ordain women and those who do not. Both are from a scriptural point of view - which differentiates itself from the political rights platform that TEC based its decision to ordain women.

There are two other bishops that also model different directions to go. One is Bishop Steenson and the other is Bishop Ackerman. Bishop Steenson has been on a journey that is leading him back to Rome. His story is a compelling one and I would be interested in learning how compelling it might be for those who cannot live with those who ordain or support the ordination of women. One path is the one that Bishop Steenson is following.

The other path is the one that Bishop Ackerman is following - for he also holds a deeply held traditionalist view of the priesthood. However, he has modeled his life in Christ by working along side women clergy and has shown them great respect, which they have also shown him. That is another model - where we respect our differences but do not require the other to change to accommodate our own biblical theological point of view.

I emphasize in the case of Bishop Ackerman and say someone like the Canon Mary Hays that both of their approaches to ordination are from a scriptural point of view. While they hold very different views, they have learned to respect one another because they find themselves more in common in their faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ then in their differences on these matters of doctrine regarding ordination. Again, this is very different than what TEC is requiring since their arguments are not made from a scriptural point of view since one of their major issues is whether scripture can be trusted at all and whether Jesus is indeed the only way to the Father.

I am curious what church you attend Jim? Is your bishop in thea Common Cause College of Bishops? Who is your bishop?

Thank you so much for posting.