Sunday, August 16, 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury now recognizes that The Episcopal Church is walking apart

From the Church of England Newspaper, Andrew Carey reports:
It’s been a week full of bad hair days for Anglican liberals. Their worst nightmare came to pass. Not one but two of Anglicanism’s world-renowned theologians made statements that had liberals fulminating, frothing and spitting in rage.

Firstly, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s surprisingly strong reaction to The Episcopal Church’s General Convention dealt a final blow to the bizarre pretence by the American leadership that their controversial resolutions were merely descriptive. Dr Williams realized that ‘pastoral generosity’ amounted to a green light for same-sex blessings, and that the reference to ‘no’ extra-canonical restraints on Episcopal elections was a turning away from an already very weak moratorium on the consecration of practising homosexuals.

Furthermore, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s clear recognition that the Episcopal Church was walking even further apart from the Anglican Communion was followed by strong language of a twin-track communion — with the Episcopal Church on the outside track.

Many liberals can scarcely conceal their sense of betrayal at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s defence of the ecumenical, traditional and biblical consensus on human sexuality. They thought he was one of them when he was appointed. After seeing off Carey, they were certain that good old Rowan would support a gradual overturning of Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality. Instead, he has supported Lambeth Resolution 1.10 as the ‘mind of the Communion’ at every stage. Perhaps he is now more aware than ever that the novel, liberal teaching on homosexuality would represent a massive departure from universal Christian norms and our ecumenical partners?

And then the worst nightmare came, the New Testament theologian, NT Wright, added his voice to the Archbishop’s censure of The Episcopal Church. Let’s not forget that this is a theologian who demolishes weak, tendentious and dishonest theologies for breakfast while the rest of us are blearily chewing our Weetabix. The Bishop of Durham both supported the Archbishop of Canterbury’s analysis but also called for immediate action to twin-track the Communion now. Don’t wait for the Covenant and the endless delaying tactics of The Episcopal Church, he warned, the Communion can be restructured tomorrow allowing a substantial and faithful remnant within The Episcopal Church to rally around the Anaheim statement with its declaration of loyalty to the Communion.

He was described as ‘megalomaniacal’ by Colin Coward of Changing Attitude for this contribution to the debate. But an even clearer sign that the archiepiscopal broadside had rattled the liberals was the knee-jerk statement by 13 liberal organizations, including Inclusive Church.

The statement’s muttering about strengthening bonds of affection “with those … who share our commitment to the full inclusion of all of God’s faithful”, together with their criticism of a “two-track communion” amounted to a declaration of guerrilla warfare in the Church of England.

The initial thinking is not just to strengthen ties with liberals in North America, but to encourage the creation of an Episcopal chaplaincy in England along the lines of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe.

But they are also intent on planting more facts on the ground. It has worked in North America, so why not here? The first initiative is a survey of gay and lesbian clergy in the Church of England in an attempt to demonstrate that far from being anomalous these relationships and civil partnerships are widely accepted. This might amount to a massive exercise in ‘outing’ clergy, but it could, in fact, be groups like Inclusive Church who are exaggerating the numbers of practising homosexuals in ministry. The other declaration in the statement is that they will “continue to work towards liturgical and sacramental recognition of the God-given love which enables many LGBT couples to thrive”. This is another aspect of planting facts on the ground, with the stepping up of same-sex blessings despite the fact that these are not permitted in the Church of England.

In other words, lawlessness on the part of those who claim to uphold the law of the Church of England and who have criticized evangelicals and others for undermining canon law.

Read it all here.


Anam Cara said...

Several years ago, Bishop Ed MacBurney told us that the entire Anglican communion was on the verge of breaking up. We say the problems in TEC, but we couldn't foresee what is happening now. When my husband told Bishop MacBurney that I had become Orthodox, he said that the theology was right on, but the worship seemed so strange - so - eastern! It sounded like he had considered such a move himself at some time (although he never said that to us).

But now there are Western Rite churches in many parts of the US - a right approved by the Orthodox Church (compiled by St. Tikhon) and based on the Book of Common Prayer. We have one in DC and one in Warrenton. It will be interesting to see what happens now as there are many Orthodox Churches in England already.

Unknown said...

You do bring a good point - there are those who think that the Anglican tradition in Christianity is a lost cause and are moving to the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church, but interestingly enough, taking their Prayer Books with them. What this does, in fact, is spread the Anglican influence wider, rather than narrow the scope.

What it doesn't do is strengthen a strong centralized base, which is how TEC has been moving for a generation. What we're seeing in the new economy - and it will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the current crisis - is that commerce and community are indeed acting internationally, but maintaining local ties, building networks and not empires.

What this brings is a sense of camaraderie and fellowship, which builds trust - on the economic front as well as on the church front. Networks get very very strong.

TEC had no idea how strong those networks were, thinking that they were built the way the centralized regime built them. But they weren't - they were built over thirty years of deep friendships. The networks were very strong.

This is true between, say, Virginia Episcopalians and Anglicans, and South Carolina Episcopalians and Anglicans. The friendships amongst the clergy and laity, whether in TE, AMiA, CANA, or the ADV go back decades. That will be key in the next steps, especially for the next generation of leadership that is strengthening their relationship networks even as we speak.

So even though there are Episcopalians who have "left" TEC or the Anglican Communion, the reality is that the networks remain in place and the influence of the Anglican tradition is spreading. It is TEC that is becoming isolated.


Unknown said...

Sorry, Anon, but this is not Peyton Place. That last comment at 10:02 has been tossed out the door.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but is the rankest hypocrisy for a "remarried" person to pose as a defender of "the ecumenical, traditional and biblical consensus on human sexuality."

Of course, hypocrisy on this particular issue is a hallmark of the so-called "orthodox," as Mark Lawrence contends in an interview with you on this very site.

RMBruton said...

Let me set the record straight. The so-called Western-Rite Orthodoxy is something which appears under the jurisdiction, primarily, of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. It is in no way recognized by the vast majority of Orthodox Christianity, nor of the Orthodox patriarchates, aside from Antioch. I have a copy of the Western Rite Service Book and it is simply a hacked together hodge-podge which is not a re-working of "the Prayer Book" and certainly not the 1662 BCP. I know from whence I speak as a former Orthodox Priest in both the Russian and Serbian Churches. I see so many posts on the so-called Anglican blogs by persons claiming now to be members of the Orthodox Church, but who have never entered that Church by Canonical means, i.e. baptism by triple-immersion after a thorough period as a catechumen. I also fault their so-called Orthodox mentors and spiritual fathers who have misled these people. They are as bad as the liberals in TEC, in fact I see them as even more evil. The recent statements by Canterbury and Durham won't change anything and it will take decades to repair the damage done to the entire Anglican Church b y liberalism and apostasy. I have advocated for quite some time that people, in general, need to shut-up and go back to the sources, particularly the Bible and actually study it this time, not just have rap-sessions about it; but open the book and read it and see what it says and what God has said and is saying in it. It is not easy work and cannot be accomplished by simply attending a few Bible Studies or some weekend retreat. Bible Study is damned hard work; Miles Coverdale, who gave us our first complete English translation of the Bible, had in the flyleaf of his Bible the following words concerning laws of interpretation: "It shall greatly helpe ye to understande Scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken, or wrytten, but of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstance, considering what goeth before, and what followeth."

Unknown said...

Anon, It is certainly in order to discuss the way in which we fall far short of what the biblical standard of holy living is. There is indeed merit to offering a pastoral response to those who are in crisis and in need and to recognize the pain that comes when marriages fail and to recognize the warning signs that such a tragedy is at hand.

But that is not what is happening in the Episcopal Church where the offering a "pastoral response" is to bless the transgression and call it holy.

For those who have divorced and remarried in the church, it began as well as a pastoral response to a great need. It may very well be that it has gotten out of control and if marriages amongst Christians are failing at the same rate as non-Christians (and I understand they are), then we do indeed a crisis upon us that may cause us to rethink whether the earlier pastoral response was correct or that perhaps we are failing to recognize the warning signs of when marriages go into crisis.

But I do not recall that the church has ever taken the stand that divorce is good or that it should be blessed or that it should be encouraged. The stance, as I understand it, is that divorce is tragic and is indeed the death of a marriage, it is to be mourned, grieved, and the church offers pastoral care to those who are in recovery. But at no time can I recall the church actually encouraging divorce amongst it's members or offering blessings on divorce or saying that divorce is actually an illustration of holy living.


Anonymous said...

Jesus categorically and unequivocally forbade "remarriage," yet such "orthodox" luminaries as George Carey, Peter Jensen, William Wantland (who himself is divorced and "remarried"), David Roseberry (also "remarried"), and Michael Scott-Joynt approve of it while having spent all these years railing against gays and lesbians.

Rome, for all its faults, is pretty consistent on this issue. "Orthodox" Anglicanism, on the other hand, seems to have reduced 2,000 years of Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality to "Don't be gay!!!"

ACNA's talk of traditional morals would be a lot more convincing if people saw them holding to the whole Christian tradition of sexual morality, not just the parts that don't cramp their style too much.

As things stand now, though, with adultery getting the wink-wink-treatment while homosexuality is treated as the only sin that matters, it's hard not to believe that all this has more to do with disliking homosexuals than anything else.

Unknown said...

Anon, I think you are missing the point. Divorce is not blessed nor is it encouraged. I think that's the point.


Anonymous said...

The second marriages at which I have officiated have come only after a season of mourning and repentance, with renewed intention that the second marriage be lived in the grace of God and that it not meet the fate of the first. That is a far different situation than a same-sex marriage which is conceived in sin to begin with, with the intention to live together in defiance of the plain teaching of scripture.
desert padre

Anonymous said...

"Remarrying" people in our churches and letting "remarried" people serve as leaders in our churches does indeed place the church's blessing upon that which is sinful.

Those who divorce should be celibate, just as they expect gays and lesbians to.

Otherwise, as someone once observed, they place on others such burdens as they are not willing to carry themselves.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely true, anon--the church indeed blesses adultery (defined in the actual words of Jesus, who said nothing about homosexuality) when it remarries the divorced. Divorced people should remain unmarried and celibate, according to Scripture. Anything else is blatant hypocrisy.

Maybe the emphasis on homosexual relationships is to distract attention from the far greater number of adulterous relationships out there in the church and amongst the clergy.

Unknown said...

So if I understand this correctly, Anon, you want to have full blown blessings of same sex marriages and weddings for same gendered people in the Episcopal church and Anglican Communion, but you don't want to allow any kind of pastoral response or redemption to those who's marriages have shattered? Do I have that correct?


Alice C. Linsley said...

1662, Anam Cara's point is that Orthodoxy has become home for many former Episcopalians, a simple fact. I might add that many of these are exemplary Orthodox Christians - Fr. Stephen Freeman, Fr. Peter Guilquist, Fr. Gregory and his wife Frederica Mathewes-Green, to name a few.

I personally don't care for the Western Rite. We use the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom each Sunday and once a year that of St. James. There is richness and fullness here. Not everyone would feel at home in Orthodoxy. Hopefully, these will be able to find a right-believing Anglican congregation within driving distance of their homes. My prayer is that Anglicans put aside the warfare with TEC and start bringing souls to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Unknown said...

Changing the tone of these comments, "...blearily chewing our Weetabix."

OUCH. That's just mean, BB. We can't all of us be morning peeps.

Unknown said...

What is Weetabix? Is that the British version of Wheaties?


RMBruton said...

My point is that these people have been sold a false bill of goods and many of them, like Peter Guilquist realized this too late. The sad thing is that many of these folks were Episcopalians who weren't really rooted in Anglicanism, so they jumped onto the 'let's become Orthodox bandwagon". They don't generally get rooted into stable Orthodox Churches, but seem to go with the easier to join OCA or Antiochian jurisdictions and seldom get a grounding in traditional Orthodoxy because they tend to gravitate to circles of of other half-baked converts. I saw a lot of this with pilgrims from the West, while living on Mount Athos for two years.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Two years on the Holy Mountain? That qualifies you to judge these people who have come to Orthodoxy?

I worship at an Antiochian Orthodox church where about half the congregation is comprised of converts, not a single one is "half-baked".

Observer said...

Weetabix is a breakfast cereal, 100% wheat "biscuits"....most people eat 2....with milk and maybe some sugar.

Glad to see Andrew Carey's piece....but despite being a small group, the revisionists in the CofE ought not to be (as Dubya would say)
"misunderestimated".....they are political, they are determined and they are ruthless....that is how they have punched way above their weight in the AC and COfE for decades.

And there are still lots of people who do not agree with them but have little stomach for opposition ..... and speak grandly about unity as if the bible taught that unity at all costs, regardless of contradictory teaching, must be always maintained.....

Thank goodness the BIshop of Durham and some others are not silenced - despite the massive effort to neutralise them that IS going on and intensifying now.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Observer, The key is to block each year's pet project.

The Philadelphia ordination of the 11 women (several lesbians)came in 1974, the same year that the Episcopal gay action group "Integrity" was founded. The next year the "Me Too" document was sent by Integrity to all US Roman Catholic bishops and more lesbians were ordained. Here is the account in Louie Crew's wn words: "More 'irregular' ordinations of women took place in Washington, DC, in September 1975, after our convention. In Washington at the time, on a missionary journey to our new chapters in the east, Jim Wickliff and I yielded to the counsel of friends who advised that our visibility at the ordination might put in jeopardy lesbians among all early ordinands." From here:

Further efforts to erode the Historic Faith and Practice have happened every year since 1974.

The 1976 General Convention passed a resolution affirming homosexuals behavior, and in 1977, Bishop Paul Moore (NY) ordained Ellen Marie Barrett, who had served as Integrity's first co-president.

The homosexual attack on catholic orders has been persistent and steady. Those who uphold Holy Tradition are on firm ground, but we are surrounded by many who hate us and who will never desist from their demonically-inspired vision.

If only right-believing Christians were this persistent and steady in their efforts to bring poor sinners to the Savior!

Andy said...

Ya' know what BB? It's truly refreshing to hear something rising to a definitive statement from the ABC on the current state of the TEC.

Heritage Anglicans said...

Wheatabix is like shredded wheat but has a flakier texture. Shredded wheat is 100% wheat. No sugar or vitamins added. While made from wheat and no other grains, Wheatabix does have sugar and vitamins added. Approximately 2 grams of sugar per "biscuit." Wheatbix can be eaten with fruit, dairy, soy, almond, or brown rice milk, or dairy or soy yoghurt, and sprinkled with sliced almonds or chopped walnuts or hazelnuts. It can be eaten as a breakfast cereal or as a light supper. Wheatabix can also be crumbled like shredded wheat and used as a topping for desserts like stewed fruit or rhubarb.

Heritage Anglicans said...

Correction, 2 grams of sugar per two "biscuit" serving.

Like shredded wheat, you can also use Wheatabix as breading for chicken, pork chops, etc. Since I am a vegetarian, I havenever tried Wheatabix as a breading. I do, however, eat it sometimes for breakfast, sometimes for lunch, and sometimes for supper. It is great with fresh raspberries and unsweetened Silk soymilk.


"...we are surrounded by many who hate us and who will never desist from their demonically-inspired vision."

Wow! Here's me on vacation thinking I'll check out the blogs and see what's going on around the church-at-large and I stumble on this unmasking of the vast-left wing-homosexualist (demonically inspired) conspiracy.

I evidently missed a meeting or two ... but when last I checked, the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ meant ALL the baptized ... as in ALL.

Hard to see how that gets "spun" as hating anybody but I guess wires do get crossed.


Unknown said...

I don't know, Susan, I'm just trying to figure out what Wheatabix is.


Anonymous said...

Alice C. Linsley said...

It is a pity when wires get crossed, Susan.

Perhaps I should clarify the statement that you find offensive. It is not right-believing Christ-followers who are hated by homosexual activists in TEC, it is God's order in creation and God's plan of salvation. We simply stand as a reminder of these eternal verities.

Lapinbizarre said...

Thank you for that sterling example of "Anglicans" putting aside the warfare with TEC, Alice. Sometimes one wonders how much time, if any, the religious right has for the "Christ" in Christianity. For the sanctimoniously-inclined, Leviticus is so much more fun,is it not?

Weetabix is widely available in supermarkets on the East coast BB. Has to be easy to find in N Virginia. My favorite for many years. Try it - I'm sure you'll like it.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thank you, Lapinbizarre, for that sterling example of stereotyping me as the "religious right."

Anam Cara said...

Lapinbizarre, Alice, can't we all just get along?

BB, where are the cream pies? Perhaps those would lighten things up. I am particularly fond today of the weetabix discussion.

1662 BCP, I'd love to know just why you left Orthodoxy and where you were before. (I am assuming, perhaps wrongly, that you were a convert to Orthodoxy.) Please get in touch with me.

(Since I am late, as usual, posting, perhaps no one will see this. Pity.)

Anonymous said...

I was studying at City College of San Francisco in the 1980's, when between classes, a classmate asked me about my belief in Jesus. I was sharing with her how God sought me, with nothing was being said or implied about gays. A quiet conversation between two people. A guy in our class sitting a couple feet away - a gay - turned around and started yelling at me, livid and full of hate. It was a surreal couple of minutes, but I responded with Scripture while praying, God help me. Finally, when I didn't back down, he stomped off. If you knew me at the time, standing up to someone yelling at me wasn't something I did. I felt the peace of God and that He was speaking through me. My classmate looked at me and said she did know what just happened, but she knew something did - that it wasn't just an argument between the two of us. I told her I felt the same, that it was between God and Satan. She and I had several conversations after that about God - none of which included discussions about gays other than that day following the attack.

I wish that were the only time I've been exposed to such hatred. It isn't.

You can be baptized, and you can be fully included - but that does not mean your actions are fully accepted by God. If your behavior on any level isn't up to His standards, all the legislation in the world isn't going to change that no matter what the subject. The Israealites discovered this time and time again in the Old Testament. They would give into the culture at the time, someone would see the problem manifesting in the body and return to God - to the "old" ways. Life was not sweet and productive unless they returned to how God wanted them to live and worship.

God is the center. He calls, He chooses. It's about Him. Not me, not you. Him.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Beautiful, Anonymous. And thank you for telling this story and for your faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into the world to save sinners (of whom I am chief).

Throughout the 20th century Believers expended too much time and effort apologizing for the Gospel. May the 21st century see us proclaiming it without reservation or apologies.