Sunday, November 09, 2008

Africa's Anglican Provinces unite in recognizing Bishop Bob Duncan as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of PIttsburgh

The Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) declares that the actions taken by current Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and a minority of the Episcopal House of Bishops to depose Bishop Bob Duncan is a "totalitarian abuse of power" and will not be recognized by the Anglican provinces of Africa.

At a special session of the US House of Bishops on Sept 18 called to discuss the Lambeth Conference, the American bishops voted 87 to 35, with four abstentions to defrock Bishop Duncan, removing him from the ordained ministry for propounding the view that a diocese may withdraw from the Episcopal Church.

The bishops had worked “carefully and prayerfully” and their “conversation was holy” US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said. However, Bishop Duncan’s “actions over recent months and years constitute ‘abandonment of ‘the communion of this church” and that he should be deposed,” she said.

The American action was a source of “deep regret and profound sadness” Archbishop Ernest said, and was seen in Africa as being politically motivated. “We are sad because you are obviously viewed as a threat to the survival of a dominant order, and the actions are more appropriate to totalitarian governments than to an Episcopal leadership professing our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.

The African church had been “hopeful that after Lambeth, [the Episcopal Church] would at least exercise legal restraint and also sensitivity to the indignation expressed by the rest of the communion at their continued resistance to pursue an agenda which are not conformed to the biblical teachings we all vowed to uphold,” Archbishop Ernest said.

He commended Bishop Duncan for his forbearance, likening it to martyrdom. Citing Justin Martyr, Archbishop Ernest observed that “strangely the power of the gospel is even more evident when persecution arises” for when “numbers of persecuted Christians held fast their confession, the more others in larger numbers become believers.”

Read it all here.


Rick Arllen said...

No surprise in this response and that is very good news for all except TEc.

Robert said...

A-mayzing! The post-colonial Church could so well, by all outward speculations, go right in with the current, Afro-centric, "liberation theology" trends, but godly priests and bishops unswervingly hold to Christ and His Word as their standard, and stand head and shoulders above the craven conformism of the Modern West! Praise be to God!

Side note- Miss Blue, I get the occasional hit on Sanctifusion from up in your neighborhood: Am I just flattering myself to think it might be your illustrious self paying a visit?

Blessings on y'all!


St. James said...

The diocese headed by Bishop Duncan, which claims to have seceded from the Episcopal Church and to have become affiliated the the Southern Cone, still goes by the name "Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh."
What is the rationale for the use of this name?

Robert said...

James, could it not be that the diocese first incorporated under that name and is still "in the same business," as it were, as before. Else, it could be a reflection, intentional or not, on the entity from which the Diocese is disassociating? My dictionary relates "episcopal" with bishops. Is the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA really "The episcopal church?" That would sure be the morning news to a few churches, from Orthodox to Wesleyan and Pentecostal!

Robert said...

(And I guess that wasn't BabyBlue visiting SanctiFusion. Oh, well!

BabyBlue said...

Been by since though, robert! ;-)

St. James, there is only one Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, only one Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, only one Episcopal Diocese of Ft Worth. If they vote to separate from General Convention that doesn't mean they cease to exist. They aren't dissolved, they are separated.

Long ago, the Diocese of Virginia (otherwise known at "The Diocese") voted to join General Convention (and it took a while, they didn't come in yippy skippy, by the way) and conceivably - in theory - it could vote to separate from General Convention. We're not Roman Catholic - we're the antithesis of Roman Catholic structure in many, many ways - by design, much of it having to do with Virginia's leadership in the House of Bishops over the years, even to the last meeting of the House of Bishops when the Diocesan and Coadjutor refused to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh. And that's how it's taught in Virginia, one of the "lowest" in polity dioceses in the country.

General Convention does not make dioceses, parishes or dioceses do.

The Diocese of Virginia has also formed new dioceses out of the original parent diocese (they may need to rethink that - Southwestern Virginia is not in a happy state, so to speak). There was an attempt years ago to form a Diocese of Northern Virginia but most of the growth and cash flow (and church planting) was in the north and that got squashed by Richmond.

The parishes that decide to remain in TEC could create new mission dioceses until they are self-supporting or join a nearby diocese (it's not like TEC dioceses are flourishing - in fact, many more dioceses probably need to merge - including, perhaps, all of New Jersey and split Pennsylvania into two dioceses - East and West, which would probably make more sense).

But TEC is so deep into denial about its problems (and one wonders what sort of financial hit TEC is taking with the stock market crashing - the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) has all ready lost tens of millions of dollars just in the past month), that it's hard to imagine, at least with the current leadership.

But it isn't about "mission" - it's about plundering the assets, including not only the properties (which probably would not do well on the market right now anyway) - but more importantly, the endowments.

Yet it's also about proving that The Episcopal Church was right to overturn Anglican Christian doctrine in one full swoop at General Convention 2003 - that the new thing the spirit is doing is God's new idea and not in fact, false doctrine. One can imagine that could keep some bishops up late at night, if they still believe, figuring out what's going to happen if they got it all wrong. The consequences are far graver for shepherds who lead their sheep astray, a very sobering thought for us all.

Again, this is why it's important to have a biblically literate laity.


Robert said...

BB, at the risk of coming over like one straight from the peanut gallery, well said!