Thursday, January 13, 2011

Despite threat of boycott, Anglican Communion Primates will meet in Dublin, Ireland (Jan 25-31)

No one is served by such a boycott and I hope at this late hour the primates will listen to Archbishop Josiah of Nigeria and reconsider.  It's not too late.  We watched the Sudanese people show up to vote, despite the risks - they showed up. They are inspiring.

If one is elected or appointed a leader, a major portion of the job is to show up - one way or the other (and there are many ways to show up, by the way).  If we don't like what is happening in the room, then we say so.  Yes, much of the earlier meetings have been ignored, undermined, or overturned.  That is nature of the conflict - that is what happens on a battlefield, any battlefield.  Soldiers do not boycott.  They show up.  God is going to show up after all - so why don't we?

From the Church of England Newspaper via email and here:

THE PRIMATES’ Meeting in Dublin will go ahead this month, despite a quarter of the leaders claiming to boycott it.
Ten primates say they will not attend. They are: the Primates of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South East Asia, the Southern Cone of Latin America, Tanzania, Uganda, and West Africa. But Jan Butter, director of communications for the Anglican Communion, said that the meeting would go ahead and that he still hopes all primates will attend. “We are still waiting for all the responses to come in. We certainly welcome all the primates, it’s their meeting,” he said.
However, he was more confident about their attendance than was Canon Kenneth Kearon who acknowledged that some primates were not coming. “We won’t know how many primates are coming until pretty close to the time because the primates make their own travel arrangements, but I think that less than 10 will decide not to come,” he told The Sunday Business Post.
Those primates planning not to attend say that it is over failed promises in the past. The Primates’ Council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans said: “As we have made clear in numerous communiqués and meetings those who have abandoned the historic teaching of the Church have torn the fabric of our life together at its deepest level. “We have made repeated attempts to bring repentance and restoration and yet these efforts have been rejected. We grieve for those who have walked apart and earnestly pray for them and the people under their care."
Canon Chris Sugden, writing in an article to be published in next month’s Evangelicals Now, said that the boycott called into question the Archbishop of Canterbury’s leadership. “This refusal of his invitation calls into question the ability of the Archbishop of Canterbury to fulfil his role as gatherer of the Communion,” he writes. Archbishop of Kaduna, Nigeria, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, however, has published a plea that the primates do attend the Ireland meeting.
He argues that although Christians have suffered because of the Episcopal Church and its leadership the primates should still meet up to dialogue with those who have grieved them. Sugden writes: “The real problem is that all the decisions made at previous meetings, have been ignored, undermined or overturned.”

Read it all here.  


Wilf said...

Btw., I believe the word "boycott" that was in the title of the ACNA site above the "Oxford statement" was a bit of a web editor's error. That word occurs nowhere inside the document itself. Likely the administrator read it and chose this word for the title (which I find sad and unfit).

This does seem like split will be the solution. These Primates feel they can't go - very likely some or all believe it would be sinful to continue speaking given what we read in 2 John. They have been urged by conservatives, including TEC conservatives, to go, but reply either that they can't, or that doing such would be absurd.

I then read others from TEC who claim that not to go is a sin. But they refuse to address the questions of +KJS's Christology.

When we are forcing one party or the other to sin in their own eyes, and do something terribly objectionable, simply in order to discuss according to the guidelines set out, it means something is terribly wrong. Change has come, but the guidelines will not change and apparently also the structures won't. Thus new structures.

The beginning of a new Communion by TEC and ACoC and other churches will be welcome news to me.

It seems there is another window of reconciliation, but I don't believe this will take place. Dr. Turner of the Anglican Communion Institute (previous Dean of Berkeley Episcopal Seminary at Yale), after speaking with one Primate requesting that he reconsider, and hearing his answer, says:
the only circumstance that would warrant attendance by the Primates whose conscience has led them to believe they ought not to attend would be for the Archbishop of Canterbury to make clear in his invitation that the Primates were being gathered to confront and challenge those Primates whose churches had turned their backs on the moral authority of the mechanisms through which the Communion conducts much of its common life.

He adds:
Father Clavier has added another reason—the cultural imperialism of TEC which simply mirrors that of the nation in which it ministers. As father Clavier points out the Primates who will absent themselves are neither Pharisees nor fanatics. They rightly fear that their culture, tradition and identity are threatened by a form a imperialism far more dangerous than that which made its way by force of arms. They are right also to be offended by comments that suggest they are backward and unenlightened. They are right to have come to the conclusion that any conversation they have will be one in which they are on the defensive.

from here

I believe that we have to look the problem in the face and realize that our goal must be future reconciliation, and not reconciliation within the current structures of the Communion as it stands. Unless difficult decisions are taken, such as Dr. Turner suggests, or TEC (and possibly ACoC) decides to part ways with the Communion for a season, or create a fresh, new, alternative structure.

Steven in Falls Church said...

And the Great Anglican Kabuki continues.

Matt Kennedy said...

"No one is served by such a boycott"

In fact, Someone is quite well served. God, who very specifically and clearly in numerous places commands his people not to meet with defiant unrepentant heretics (2 John 7-11; 1 Cor 5:12; Titus 3:10 etc...)

And, in fact, it's not a "boycott". It's called "obedience" to God.

"and I hope at this late hour the primates will listen to Archbishop Josiah of Nigeria and reconsider."

I hope they will listen to God and do what he says.

"It's not too late."

Yes they could still turn and decide to violate what God clearly says but let's pray they do not do that.

"We watched the Sudanese people show up to vote, despite the risks - they showed up. They are inspiring."

Utterly illogical comparison of two completely different situations.

"If one is elected or appointed a leader, a major portion of the job is to show up - one way or the other (and there are many ways to show up, by the way)."

Unless of course, the "job" to which you have been called is to be a shepherd of God's people and servant and messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ and "showing up" means violating what Christ's commands commands.

"If we don't like what is happening in the room, then we say so."

And, "we" have.

"Yes, much of the earlier meetings have been ignored, undermined, or overturned. That is nature of the conflict - that is what happens on a battlefield, any battlefield."

Ah, but this is not a "battlefield". This is a venue in which heretics will be accorded the honor and legitimacy of true Christian teachers...a situation that we need not make analogies to describe since we have been given concise, clear, and direct instructions in scripture by our "Commander" on how to behave in this very concrete specific situation and those instructions are: don't show up.

"Soldiers do not boycott."

But they do obey.

"They show up."

Unless their Commander orders them not too.

"God is going to show up after all..."

Yes, God is, in fact, omnipresent. And this Omnipresent God will be present at the meeting. But the Omnipresent God will also be present everywhere else.

And the same Omnipresent God has clearly revealed that Christians should not meet with heretics.

"so why don't we?"

Because God said not too.

Unknown said...

I do not see evidence that we have a market on who speaks for God. We know for a fact He will be present in Dublin - there is no doubt about that. Where ever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in our midst. Staying home will not keep God from going to Dublin.

If we think for a moment that we have a market on speaking for God we are sadly mistaken. Where is our humility, where is our compassion where is our forgiveness - how many times are we called to forgive our brother or sister? How many times are we forgiven ourselves? And if we don't forgive, what does that say about us? What does Jesus say? "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing."

And three days later he didn't stay home, he didn't boycott, he didn't issue statements about how unfair the whole crucifixion was, he didn't give back what his friends and enemies actually deserved, no, he showed up and cooked some fish.


Matt Kennedy said...

"I do not see evidence that we have a market on who speaks for God."

Precisely. God speaks in scripture and we, being his people, must listen and obey.

"We know for a fact He will be present in Dublin - there is no doubt about that."

Yes. And I know for a fact that he is right here in this room and that he is wherever it is that you are right now and that he will be with the Primates who do not attend. Yes, he is truly everywhere. He is Omnipresent.

"Where ever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in our midst."

Oh, you are speaking about the promise of Jesus to abide with his church. I agree. If there happen to be two primates at that meeting who know Christ and gather in his name...Jesus will be present.

But since Anne and I are both believers, Jesus is right here in the room with us right now too.

And he is in a myriad of different locations abiding with his church wherever his church gathers. He is even in the global south. And while the Primates meeting is going on in Dublin Jesus will also be in Nigeria and Kenya and Uganda.

But not only is no Christian obligated to attend a meeting with heretics...the omnipresent and ever abiding Lord Jesus Christ actually commands us not too.

"And he Staying home will not keep God from going to Dublin."

Yes, and Abuja and Nairobi and Kampala etc...

"If we think for a moment that we have a market on speaking for God 'we are sadly mistaken."

Agreed...which is why it is so strange that you would berate primates for not heeding "your" call to "show up" over and against the word of God in scripture which addresses precisely such circumstances with the opposite command.

"Where is our humility,"

Right. How dare we defy what he has clearly revealed in his word by showing up at this meeting where heretics will be seated as if they are true Christian leaders.

"where is our compassion where is our forgiveness - how many times are we called to forgive our brother or sister?"

An infinite number of times. But, of course, "forgiveness" does not mean disobeying God's commands. We can forgive and yet not disobey God.

Wilf said...


It's not a boycott. The word "boycott" appears nowhere in the Oxford statement - the administrator of the ACNA website used the word "boycott" in the title, but this was likely simply a bad choice of a web administrator not properly aware of theological context.

With "market" you probably mean "monopoly." I suspect you wrote this last comment when you were tired, this isn't your best quality.

I'm sure the Primates who aren't planning on showing up are humble, and that they have forgiven. They probably feel that love compels them to stay at home. They have given enough credence to the sham of +KJS speaking for God's church. The most merciful act is to do what one can to ask +KJS to step down. Showing up would not help this cause.

I like your last phrase, "he showed up and cooked some fish."

I don't doubt that the Primates Meeting will claim to speak for the Communion. But God is with you and me when we meet, and we don't claim to speak for the Communion.

There is a time & place to end discussion, and this may be it. See 2 John.

I may also have a post that hit your spam box, it had a link in it.

Matt Kennedy said...

continued from above...


Why do you think God commands us not to meet with heretics or show heretics hospitality, support, or any other kind of generosity? Because wolves thrive because they deceive the flock. They wear "sheep's clothing" so that sheep will think they are shepherds.

True Christian leaders meeting with them, participating with them, according them any measure of respectability as leaders only contributes to this deciet. Compassion means not helping wolves devour the flock.

"How many times are we forgiven ourselves?"


"And if we don't forgive, what does that say about us?"

That we are not followers of Christ.

"What does Jesus say? "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing."

Yes. I am sure that the Gafcon primates forgive the heretical leaders of TEC. But they can do that without disobeying God's command.

"And three days later he didn't stay home, he didn't boycott, he didn't issue statements about how unfair the whole crucifixion was, he didn't give back what his friends and enemies actually deserved, no, he showed up and cooked some fish."

Yeah. And then he ascended into heaven and then he sent the Holy Spirit through whom he spoke to the Apostles and said: "Don't meet with heretics" (2 John 7-11; 1 Cor 5 etc...)

Peter Carrell said...

I cannot support a boycott by ten or so Primates when it is likely to be interpreted as 'they could not get their own way, so they are staying away.'

The one thing it will not be interpreted as by those attending is 'Here are false teachers; gosh we disobeyed Scripture by turning up.'

Better to show up and, once again, plead their case and speak face to face with those they disagree with. At the very least ++Rowan and Canon Kearon might get the message.

But on present absenteeism plans, the ears of +Rowan and Kearon will be receiving carefully rehearsed talking points from those who are going.

As someone once said to me, You can sum up all Christian ministry in two words: Be There!

Observer said...

BB and Peter C - you are highly respected by us who support those Primates who are not going to Dublin..... but please would you address Matt K's points re scripture..... are those Primates not obeying what is written in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere by not going to Dublin?

And where would you point us to in scripture to support going to Dublin given we have had years and years of discussions and the ABC not implementing Primates' decisions (eg taken at Dar)

Unknown said...

I think I answered it. We forgive and we show up. That's the heart of the Gospel. Jesus said, "If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:23)

How powerful a witness it would be if these leaders brought their tears in humility and repentance and demonstrated in their actions what they believe by showing mercy, compassion, and a gentle heart. Oh that we would forgive - for we have been forgiven for so much.


Observer said...

BB - sorry, I don't think you have addressed what Matt K brought up. we are not talking about having a coffee with a friend who has sinned against us..... we are talking about church leaders and years and years of unrepentant actions - why is Matt K wrong in suggesting that the Primates who are not going are actually obeying what is taught in 1 Cor and elsewhere re how to deal with false teachers?

Matt Kennedy said...

Hi BB,

Over on SF I wrote:

"I always find it amusing when revisionists take biblical themes like “love” and twist, pervert and mangle them to fit the cause du jour. This “thematizing” is a fantastic trick. It allows you not only to divorce a biblical theme from the bible but also to define the theme yourself without much reference to the bible. So, for example, “loving your neighbor”, becomes “enabling your neighbor to kill unborn children” or “worshiping your neighbors' Aztec goddess."

The process can, again, be very amusing to watch if you know the trick.

It's not so amusing, however, when orthodox Christian leaders and scholars do the same."

Unfortunately you are doing the same here with your appeal to your own embellished and thematized definition of forgiveness. You have taken this principle out of scripture, you have poured your own definition into that word, and you are now using it to trump direct and clear injunctions given directly by God.

You assert, with no biblical grounds or basis, that forgiveness necessarily means associating and meeting with heretics when every biblical passage dealing with the treatment of unrepentant, defiant false teachers says precisely the opposite.

What really is the difference between your thematization and embellishment of "forgiveness" to justify violating 2 John and 1 Cor 5 and the revisionist thematization and embellishment of "love" to justify sexual perversion and the violation of Romans 1:18-33 and 1 Cor 6:9?

ettu said...

If forced to choose between love and forgiveness versus legalism and fundamentalism the issue to me becomes crystal clear. I do not consider any of us so innocent of sin that we can afford to reject the first option and, if I need it, how can I then withold it from my sisters and brothers?

BB I thank you for injecting kindness into this conversation.

Anonymous said...

ettu - should we just ignore the issue of what the NT says re how to deal with false teachers?

ettu said...

to anon -- "Ignoring" is a strong and limited word - should we also just "ignore" the golden rule? Should we temper our actions with Christ's love???

Anonymous said...

ettu - certainly....we should do what the NT says re how to deal with false teachers in a loving way.... gentle, honest, loving.... but not ignoring what the NT says repeatedly re how to treat them.....

ettu said...

and glass houses and logs in eyes?? Anyway I have long ago decided we have limited ability to forgive others unless we first forgive ourselves and those in our past who injured us in one way or another. I am not interested in playing "power over" games except under special circumstances and this is not one of them - go in peace

Matt Kennedy said...

Forgiveness means no consequences? What an odd suggestion ettu. I can forgive the person who steals my car but he still has to go to jail. And until he shows himself trustworthy, I'm not going to let him take it out for a spin.

Love toward yourself and love toward anyone else in a state of defiant, unrepentant sin means loving enough not to enable destructive behavior.

Jesus certainly forgave his persecutors and yet there were/are definitive consequences to their rejection of him.

Closing Down said...

This is why we feel leadership needs to be more clear and more visible.

Go and speak up loudly or stay home and speak up loudly. But do it so the pew potatoes know how to go forward.

L2 are praying for all to listen to God and heed His will.

ettu said...

To MK -- Of course there are/will be consequences! It is a question of who the Judge and Jury are. When someone steals my car I appeal to a higher authority as I assume you would. Taking the law into our own hands is not acceptable in the polity of modern society. ( it was the norm I assume thousands of years ago of course). I prefer to trust God to work things out in the course of time and step in only when there is a clear and urgent need - I understand you feel this urgency so "go for it" - however we could trade biblical quotes all day long that would work against your attitude of righteous indignation but I doubt you would see any merit at all in my viewpoint - so take your attitude and run with it -
P.S. I am reminded by these posts of a statement made around the time of the French Revolution - just after the Terror - about the Revolution devouring it's own children.. When I see the falling out already going on within the conservative ranks this observation assumes new relevance and poignancy.

Matt Kennedy said...

Hi ettu,

"Of course there are/will be consequences!"

Good that we agree.

"It is a question of who the Judge and Jury are."


"When someone steals my car I appeal to a higher authority as I assume you would. Taking the law into our own hands is not acceptable in the polity of modern society."


"I prefer to trust God to work things out in the course of time and step in only when there is a clear and urgent need...."

Hmmm. I trust God "to work things out too" but when he commands that we do things...say "feed the poor" I don't wait for him to "work things out". I do what he says. The Judge has rendered his judgment and given clear instructions: "feed the poor"

"I understand you feel this urgency so "go for it" - however we could trade biblical quotes all day long that would work against your attitude of righteous indignation"

heh...I am neither righteous or indignant. But I am sure that scripture does not contradict so I am more than happy for you to quote all the passages you BB did above. For example: "Forgive those who sin against you" does not conflict with "don't meet with heretics". The two can be quite easily harmonized and, in fact, it is our duty to do that work.

"but I doubt you would see any merit at all in my viewpoint"

If your hermeneutical reasoning is anything like your reasoning on this thread, you are probably correct.

"so take your attitude and run with it..."

heh...speaking self righteous indignation ; - )

"P.S. I am reminded by these posts of a statement made around the time of the French Revolution - just after the Terror - about the Revolution devouring it's own children..."

Not really. It's just that when a revisionist sees two orthodox people arguing as brothers and sisters are wont to do it undermines their own cherished worldview in which conservatives are all goose stepping fascists. So they construct this little fantasy about "the great falling out already going on within the conservative ranks..." which is really quite amusing

ettu said...

To MK--
Well, hope you're more convincing with others - after all time is on your side as is the Lord - too bad others see things differently - I feel guilty taking time away from your Church and family life so thanks for sharing and giving me a bit of your energy but I feel you might best expend it where ears are open and not made up - we can att least always pray for one another and for all of GOd's creation

Matt Kennedy said...

"Well, hope you're more convincing with others"

Oh, heh, I'm sure I will not be persuasive to revisionists like you ettu. And I'm not worried about that either.

"after all time is on your side as is the Lord - too bad others see things differently"

Oh I think the Lord is on his own side. But it is nice that he has revealed his will to us in the bible so that we don't have to cast about wondering what to do when things like this come up. Makes it pretty easy.

"I feel guilty taking time away from your Church and family life"

Don't be. It takes me about five minutes.

"so thanks for sharing and giving me a bit of your energy but I feel you might best expend it where ears are open and not made up"

I'm really not at all tired ettu. Are you okay?

"we can att least always pray for one another and for all of GOd's creation."


Anonymous said...

There's also a discussion of the issue of attendance at the Primate's meeting at MCJ:

The GAFCON/FCA Primates stated in November 2010 Oxford Statement that they would not be attending the Primates meeting this month and why. Do not look for them to back down after patiently plodding through meetings from Dar to Jamaica. The ball is in the court of TEC, ACoC, and the rest of those who have defied Scripture (and science) to embrace sexual sin and syncretism.

Anonymous said...

The unrepentant also includes the Church of England which has granted homosexual clergy spousal benefits for same-sex partners.

Anonymous said...

If the primates still believe they are of the same communion with TEC, the ABC and other revisionists, then they should show up.
If they are not any longer of the same communion, they should devote their time, talents and treasure to advancing God's kingdom.


Anonymous said...

Because there are practicing homosexual clergy with benefits in the CoE/UK, the ABC should be treated the same as Shori and Hiltz. He has no moral right to call or preside over the meeting of the Primates or Anglican Communion. Further, those who vote with TEC, etc. should be treated the same as they.

See Romans 1:32 and Numbers 33:55

Anonymous said...

RE: "I cannot support a boycott by ten or so Primates when it is likely to be interpreted as 'they could not get their own way, so they are staying away.'"

I don't believe in people making decisions about right or wrong based on what others might think of them. Nevertheless, I'm confident that all of the attending Primates -- having read the written-down words of the non-attending Primates -- will be quite clear about why they are not attending -- as will any of us who have taken the trouble to become informed.

This is an excellent testimony -- I am so proud of them!

I still think it unlikely that as many as 10 won't show -- but it's a great start for the future anyway.

RE: "At the very least ++Rowan and Canon Kearon might get the message."

Oh, I'm confident that they have the same message as they have been receiving over the past seven years. Up to them, of course, as to what they will do with it.

This is great news and I'm heartened.


Dale Matson said...

As I listen to this compelling discourse and am pulled back and forth by the comments of BB and Matt, I am reminded of Benedict Groeschel's Four Voices of God. Matt hears the same voice of God as did Aquinas, God as Truth. BB hears the voice of God as St. Francis God as Good. Groeschel also notes that the story of St. Francis was one of betrayal, manipulation and sorrow. The danger of those who seek God as truth is that they can be driven and tarry along the way.

Peter Carrell said...

Hello Again,

There are biblical injunctions to dissociate from false teachers and immoral people. But there are also occasions when no such injunction is given (e.g. Jude, Rev 2-3). The message rather seems to be 'stay, contend, wait for the Lord to deal with it.'

We are talking about the Anglican Communion: that raises questions about why a boycott now when so much false teaching has been part of so many Anglican churches for so long? Why pick on TEC and not on the C of E? Further are those boycotting a meeting because (a) false teacher(s) will be present squeaky clean on the false teaching front?

I have never, for instance, found a satisfactory explanation forthcoming from conservative Anglicans about why we tolerate remarriage of divorcees in many of our churches. There may or may not be an equivalence between blessing same sex relationships and blessing remarriages of divorcees (I am well aware of arguments that there is not an equivalence) but there is definitely some fast exegetical footwork going on when we conservative Anglicans find a way to square our Lord's teaching with current trends among Christians.

Anyone care to distinguish a 'false teacher' from a 'fast footwork teacher' at this point?

In short, a lot of people say that the PB of TEC is a false teacher, but does that end the nuances and ambiguities of life in the Western world these days that all of us who teach Scripture face today?

Would it be a more honest appraisal of the reality of life today in the West to drop the 'false teacher' line of attack, and persist in finding together understanding of Scripture which is faithful to God and realistic to life?

But that would involve meeting together, not being absent.

In the end, for me as an Anglican at the bottom of the world, what matters re the Primates Meeting is that something good happens to the Communion. Because the future has not yet happened I cannot deny that the boycott may turn out to be a salutary wake up call etc. But I am fearful that it will leave the 'left' of the Communion in charge of its future.

Anonymous said...

Peter -

"But I am fearful that it will leave the 'left' of the Communion in charge of its future."

Are we not already there?


ettu said...

To MK- "it is nice that he has revealed his will to us in the bible " - as a followup I wonder how revisionist all of us - perhaps yourself excluded and a few others - would be considered by those who have have gone before us - I have always wondered how it would be to have a talk with those were born 100 or 500 or 1000 or ?years before our present time. How many of us could honestly say we are not revisionists in one small way or another. Who was it who said that each generation is invaded by small barbarians and it is our responsibility to civilize these, our offspring. On a lighter note it has been my observation that children exist to produce humility in their parents and I widen that to understand that each generation has to learn not only from those who have gone before us but also to enjoy the fresh - yes,"revisionist" - insights that youngsters can give us if we are open to their vision of the world. PS One of my computers had a glitch so had to repair that before responding PPS I do not enjoy your use of the word "revisionist" as a term of disparagement or opprobrium- as the kids say "just saying"

Anonymous said...

St. Nikao:

Numbers 33:55 seems to address the problem of the native Canaanites and the necessity of driving them out of Israel. Does this provide guidance in this situation? Who are the Canaan-ite bishops and will the current Israeli authorities take kindly to it if Anglicans drive them out of Israel?


Wilf said...

[ I ]


You are right that the Church of England is in many ways in rather bad shape and that all churches at some moment or other teach things which are less than the fullness of truth.

Nonetheless, your argumentation seems to be leading to - "there is a problem - it is pervasive and has been around for a long time - so let's not do anything about it." A more charitable reading would point out then that you are in fact urging that we don't apply the "heaviest" measures - but rather seek some other measure for our ills.

Our specific problem is that the ill has reached the very top of our structures. Yes, many churches have had pastors who at one moment or another deny essential attributes of Christ - such as His divinity, or His resurrection. In our church, this has hit the very top - see See e.g. - with +KJS as a Primate - and a Sea of Faith person having been appointed to the Standing Committee. The situation changes, when the problem hits the top.

I realize that the argument over the last decade has been about sex, but at some point - other things come up which should bring additional clarity to what we need to do - e.g., when we have in a significant manner lost that very faith in which divine guidance regarding sex makes any sense at all.

Leaving the fellowship of +KJS and her advice regarding the future of the Anglican Communion is simply stipulating that if we wish to task someone (amongst others) with determining the fate of the Communion, we do wish that person to believe in the Risen Christ - who is not mereley some kind of metaphor for environmentalism, civil rights struggle, and other very noble causes. It is terribly difficult for many Anglicans to conceive that Christ is more than ethics and social justice struggle - but His message clearly points out that our turning toward Him in recognizing Him for who He is, is of paramount importance to Him. And that if we make of him a kind of mascot for our vision of world improvement, however correct or wonderful that vision may be - we are denying Him.

And in a sense, we are denying Him when we recognize +KJS as His ambassador in determining the future of the Communion, and telling all of us in the Communion what we must do.

So I believe the cause in invoking 2 John is stronger than you seem to think.

Wilf said...

[ II ]

I agree that pointing to people as "false teachers" does not help. I think we are ALL responsible for what has happened, and e.g. that we now have +KJS as a Primate - it isn't simply "her" fault, nor the fault of TEC. We enabled all of this to take place - we allowed the situation of faith and general cultural education in TEC to devolve to such a point that Spong and Borg became popular. This situation of little faith, and much ignorance and anxiety created the conditions in which +KJS's parish, and +KJS, believed that she should be ordained. It is us who put her there.

I think it is much more reasonable to see our church as a whole as suffering a condition of apostasy for which we are collectively responsible; and to do the reasonable things such as warning those who are not particularly well-grounded and educated in matters of faith, that they should be wary of being in an Anglican parish, unless they are quite certain that the faith and knowledge there is intact. That we should be warning other faithful Trinitarian churches not to follow our example, to avoid the advice of carping Anglicans, and if possible, to send gifted leaders and teachers in our own midst in an attempt to help those amongst us who are able to be helped.

They should look upon us as a school where it is discovered that our Principal can't read, and occasionally yells that books and learning are horrid things - our a plumbing business that sees its mission as making pipes leaky - or a hospital that kills its patients. And with this information, do whatever they can with the charity they have for us.

Our hope may be in the faithful example of other Trinitarian churches around us whose leaders do not deny Christ. In an Anglican context, that is indeed a most blessed hope.

Matt Kennedy said...

Hi Wilf,

1. I think the NT is abundantly clear that it is quite helpful to identify false teachers. Necessary even.

2. Certainly our failure to identify and discipline early has lead to our present state and we all bear responsibility for that. But the GS primates do not. Their attempts to discipline have been thwarted at every turn.

They are quite right to proceed to the last stage of discipline in this case.

Unknown said...

The lack of humility and mercy and kindness (and it is the Lord's kindness that leads us to repentance) breeds a kind of contempt that if it is not recognized, eventually will turn inward, if it's not happening all ready. That is the stuff of pride.

And no side has a market on such things.

God has permitted the leadership of TEC to take power. What do you suppose He's doing allowing that to happen - and to continue? Is it possible He allows it to discipline His people? His discipline is quite different than ours, it is loving, merciful, kind, and non-punitive.

Dare we ask that question?


Matt Kennedy said...

One of the more common manifestations of pride is to impose one's own will over the will of God as it is clearly revealed in scripture.

And it is even worse when it is disguised as humility.

Wilf said...

Matt, thanks for your interesting thoughts there, I'll be chewing on them for a while. Perhaps on a Communion Level we can no longer do what all other churches can, simply because of what we have allowed to happen in one of our Provinces. In your parish though, you most certainly are right to call out false teachers when they appear.

What I especially mean to say with the above is that these labels often do not help - e.g., "It's the fault of the liberals." We need to take collective responsibility and engage in collective repentance as did Ninevah.

BB, when things happen in the church, it's always co-action - a part us, a part God's work. God has permitted this, but we're also responsible.

Your question is a very worthy one and a very difficult one. Yes, I think we are seeing something of God's discipline in what is happening amongst us, the way things are getting progressively worse.

Dale Matson said...

"God has permitted the leadership of TEC to take power. What do you suppose He's doing allowing that to happen - and to continue?" He also allowed the Babylonian captivity of the Israelites. I think the issue is idolatry.

Matt Kennedy said...

Hi Wilf,

I don't see any basis in scripture for limiting the identification of heretics to the congregational level only.

Nor do I see any suggestion that the failure to stop heretics early in their progress somehow morally prevents you from doing so later?

Such a limit would utterly hamstring the church.

Think about what you are suggesting. It's okay to say something about a heresy at its inception, but if the church fails to stop it and it becomes full blown...individuals in the church should speak nicely about it?

So, because the Church allowed herself subverted by Arianism, Athanatius should have sat by and eschewed the use of labels like heretic and false teacher?

Is that really what you are saying?

Unknown said...

Friends, I'd like to ask you all to refrain from calling living people heretics. It is offensive and Hagrid and I are very very troubled.

It is appropriate to use the phrase "heretical teaching," but it is not acceptable to call any living person a heretic here at the Cafe.

Thank you.


John 8:7

TJ McMahon said...

"And that if we make of him a kind of mascot for our vision of world improvement, however correct or wonderful that vision may be - we are denying Him." Wilf, I think that is a brilliant way of putting it. I have been struggling to find a metaphor for the way in which Christ is often described by TEC clergy of my acquaintance- and that is exactly it- Christ is the mascot for their social agenda.
When it comes down to it, it is not an issue of Primates going to a particular meeting, but of firing the employees who were responsible for not carrying out the decisions of the last 5 Primates meetings, and replacing them with people who will do the job.

Wilf said...

No Fr. Matt, the word "heresy" and "heretic" tend to be well understood in most churches and tend to be used appropriately. It tends to mean - someone needs attention, shouldn't be in a position of leadership and teaching in the church, pastoral care advised.

When we use the word in the Communion, it seems to be assumed, at least by some parties, that:

- the person using the word wishes to burn the person so referred to by the stake
- the person using the word has engaged in a sin or has committed a kind of ultimate offense against the spirit and nature of "Anglicanism" and is filled with violent hatred

when: it never is the case that the person using the word wishes to burn anyone at the stake; and "Anglicanism" has most certainly known, in the past, what this word "heretic" means.

At least, this is the case on a Communion level - I'm sure that e.g. in most churches of the GS this isn't the case.

On the Communion level, I think we are showing that much of our common language and means of dealing with situations have been lost; and that the means that other churches use, or are prescribed by scripture, are unintelligible to us. The gifts we have been given for keeping beauty and order in the church have been so abused that we no longer understand them, and they are relatively worthless to us. This is one of the consequences of our falling into apostasy. So we fall into chaos and ugliness.

The question arises: with the loss of God-given means - through Scripture and tradition - of maintaining order and beauty in the Communion, what we then must do?

I speak more as a philosopher than as a Christian here. But I'm not sure we can authentically speak of the Communion as Christians; that it is perhaps more appropriate when we describe it, to use secular frameworks of sociology, etc.. I do not know what I would say if you were to ask me for a response "as a Christian" to the Communion. As a Christian I would refer to Scripture, but this presupposes that we share the same referent when we use the word "Christ," which is not the case.

I think I would probably use language of avoidance of human disaster and suffering, and make a sociological case based on the foundational beliefs of the two groups, that a great deal of traumatic internecine warfare will take place, albeit without physical weapons, unless a resolution is found; and such resolution should involve respecting one another as separate religions, rather than pretending to share the same religion.

Unknown said...

I am asking for restraint. Let's imagine that the people are we talking to - and even about - are sitting at your table (they indeed are far closer than perhaps some of you realize). Just saying.

We can discuss heretical teaching and even identify authors of what might be considered heretical teaching and make a case for it, but it's another step entirely to shame someone else by labeling them a heretic. It is a form of shaming and it shuts down relationships, it does not build them up. It shatters trust.


Matt Kennedy said...

Hi Wilf,

I disagree with you. A heretic is one who commits heresy...heresy being a teaching that conflicts with the essential teachings of a given faith.

In a Christian context, a heretic is one whose teachings conflict with those of the prophets and apostles in scripture.

Since we are forbidden from applying the word heretic here, however, I see little use in continuing this discussion.

Wilf said...

Hi Matt,

Of course, you are right. But if a heretic is willing to step down from leadership and refrain from teaching while staying in the church, and accept pastoral care - that heretic may well be on the way to recovery. Those we tend to use the word for are those who refuse to refrain from teaching false things.

Both you and bb are sweeties, and I see where bb's trying to get at, asking us to refrain from calling living persons "heretics," and she's stipulated it's not a "ban."

TJ McMahon, thank you so much for the kind compliment. And thanks also for providing me with some encouraging words a few months ago despite my rather gloomy postings.

Dale Matson said...

I sigh also. It is because this is the same scenario at the Communion level that was played out in TEC with me hoping the Bishops would intervene. Now we are hoping the Archbishops will intervene. There seems to be a spirit of confusion regarding the appropriate response. Even the discussion of it for me is beginning to sound like babel.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Anyone care to distinguish a 'false teacher' from a 'fast footwork teacher' at this point?"

"False teacher" is a word that describes people who are leaders in the church who rather manifestly do not believe or promote the Gospel.

As such it has little to do with this or that leader having gotten a bit of theology wrong -- it's far more fundamental and foundational than that.

Which is why the organization is dividing. The leaders who believe and preach the two antithetical foundational worldviews and have mutually opposing mission, goals and values cannot physically remain united in the same organization -- which is probably one of the hugely practical reasons Scripture talks about what to do with false teachers. The leaders who believe and promote the two gospels will -- eventually -- be in separate organizations. It's just the way mutually opposing foundational worldviews end up -- like water channeled into differing streams.

RE: "In short, a lot of people say that the PB of TEC is a false teacher, but does that end the nuances and ambiguities of life in the Western world these days that all of us who teach Scripture face today?"

Not at all. Thankfully, the most basic of readings from the PB demonstrate that she has no Christian conception of the nature of the special revelation of Holy Scripture.

Somehow I have the strong suspicion that Peter Carrell already knew the difference between "false teacher" and occasional theological mistakes or nuances. ; > )

RE: "Would it be a more honest appraisal of the reality of life today in the West to drop the 'false teacher' line of attack, and persist in finding together understanding of Scripture which is faithful to God and realistic to life?"

I'm afraid that would be incredibly *dishonest* -- to pretend as if we are somehow "together" on foundational matters such as Scripture, Trinity, Incarnation, sin, atonement, salvation, resurrection, moral practice, Christ, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, etc, etc, such that we could have any sort of common understanding of Scripture. Believe you me, one has only to experience the joys of the "conversation" at two weeks of one of our General Conventions to recognize how wholly disparate those two gospels are.

Which is why . . . the Primates aren't not meeting together.

RE: "But I am fearful that it will leave the 'left' of the Communion in charge of its future."

I think there is no question that the left has been and is in charge of the instruments of disunity. I don't think there's anything either way that can be done about that, including continuing to prop up those same instruments.

Regarding calling folks heretic -- BB's blog, BB's rules!

I don't think, however, that it's "shaming" to call folks heretics. For instance, were revisionists to call me a "heretic" I wouldn't feel remotely shamed.

Nor would it "shut down relationship" with me or "shatter trust." Once you believe that someone is a heretic, the trust regarding spiritual matters is long since obliterated anyway -- so saying it out loud doesn't "shatter" it any further. If I like a revisionist and get along with them and enjoy their company, they may call me "heretic" till the cows come home.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Sarah and other respondents,

I think we are all on the same side of wanting the one gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to prevail among those Christians who also identify themselves as Anglican.

But I remain troubled by the particular tactic at this time of some primates boycotting the forthcoming meeting and many individuals here and there on the internet supporting them. It smacks of charging and convicting someone of a crime (in this case 'heresy') without an actual trial but on presumption of shared conviction at large in the world.

The fact is, no council of the Communion has found TEC or any of its leaders guilty of heresy. We need a Communion which is functional on matters of theological discipline. And that, I suggest, means leaders of member churches turning up to meetings, making proposals and finding majority agreement to them.

Yes, there is a lot of reason to mistrust ++Rowan and Canon Kearon if you think you have not previously been well heard by them. But boycotting is not the only response to such relational difficulty.

In the end, if there is conviction that boycott is the only decision to take at this time, could those absenteeing primates please meet together and determine the positive way forward from here, even if that means forming a new Anglican Something.

So far I have heard of no such intention but I have heard that these primates remain committed to the Communion ... but not to its key meetings. I find that very odd.

Almost as odd as TEC and ++KJS being tried without a trial!

Wilf said...


Please note that the Oxford Statement itself makes no reference to a "boycott," and I also have doubts about the appropriateness of the word "tactic."

The Communion has no official means of finding anyone, or any of its members, guilty of heresy. I suppose that the issue of bishop Colenso could be brought up - something discussed at Lambeth - but because of existing problems with the workings of the Communion, the last Lambeth itself did not work and was designed so as to issue no resolutions; and if things continue apace, the next one will likely be worse.

The Primates remain nonetheless faced with the issue in 2 John.

Should you have doubts about the issues there, there is this paper for your consideration.

Your reference to a trial presupposes that such a mechanism exists - but with only informal gatherings whose intents are not respected, the Communion is more like an anarchy or failed state where no trials take place. Ethical considerations may cause one to wish to no longer tacitly legitimating the conduct of the erring member and the meetings which seem in a way to be enabling that member to live with the illusion that nothing is wrong.

I realize that you are a strong supporter of the Anglican Covenant - but that Covenant isn't here yet, and many have lost hope in it due to the late behavior of the Standing Committee. As things seem to be currently moving, that very Covenant could be made into an instrument used for denying Christ and encouraging our sheep to do the same.

Dale Matson said...

Peter Carrell,
"Almost as odd as TEC and ++KJS being tried without a trial!" I do not believe there is any provision for this at the Communion level and there will never be a trial at the TEC level so why offer this as a way forward?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Dale,
On what basis then would a bishop, otherwise deemed to be in good canonical standing, be declared to be a heretic?

Otherwise we have the rule of the mob and not the rule of law.

Observer said...

Good to remember that BB, Peter C, Matt K all want the same thing ultimately... i.e. not for revisionist teaching to be adopted. So, we disagree on what attitude to take to one particular meeting.... one thinks it is time, after years of trying, not to go given the ABC offers no resolutions to issues, just more talking or false'indabas' (real ones have resolutions which are binding on the community).... another thinks it is worth going and talking more. Fine... but let us remember our greater unity, as BB and Peter C and Matt have shown signs of doing above.

Having said that, if the ABC has been playing the 'inch at a time' game for revisionists, never allowing Primates Meeting decisions (eg Dar) to be implemented but always calling for yet more chats with revisionists, well, when he fails to get around 10 Primates who represent the majority of Anglicans in the world, it shows up that tactic.... and busy Primates with millions in their churches probably do have better things to do than have endless chats with no resolution on offer with revisionists.... sure Wales and Scotland have time on their hands given hardly any of their countrymen go to hear about ubuntu or whatever, but if the ABC fails to gather the leaders of most of the Anglicans in the world because, just like with Lambeth 08, he insists on seating unrepentant revisionists, that shows something....... he carefully prevents any real consequences for those who just ignore 'the mind of the Communion' - but perhaps most of the Communion ignoring his call to gather is helpful in showing that the Communion will not be manipulated by endless chats, talking points and facts on the ground. I think Primates are right not to go to Dublin.... but I can see why BB and Peter C take a different view and that they may be right..... but the issue is not forgiveness, it is how best to reform a dysfunctional communion after its fabric was deliberately torn in 2003 and 2010.

Dale Matson said...

"he carefully prevents any real consequences for those who just ignore 'the mind of the Communion'" One would have to ask why he would do this? I believe it is because he himself does not share the mind of the Communion.It is time to stop saying that he is entirely powerless.

Observer said...

Dale - I agree... that is why I agree withthe Primates who are not going to Dublin... it is designed to achieve no discipline on was Lambeth 08 (which was unusual in having no votes...only in the interests of revisionists and ignoring what the Primates said at Dar in 2007).

BB and Peter C want to Primates try again... that is fine, but it is asking for incredible patience as Primates have been trying since 2003 and the ABC has blocked discipline... e.g. not implementing what the Primates said in Dar in 07. I respect people who want to try again but hope they respect those Primates who think they have been patient enough since 2003.... leading Primates do not want to go to a fake 'indaba' in Dublin, given the ABC always wants to seat revisionists regardless of what new facts on the ground they produce.... as you say, he agrees with the he has consistently ignored the Primates and division has multiplied... 'an inch at a time' is a revisionist strategy.... they do not care what division that causes... the ABC seats unrepentant revisionists knowing it causes division.... many bishops didn't go to Lambeth 08 and many Primates will not go to Dublin now... but he acts in the interests of a tiny no of revisionists. Still, I can see that BB and Peter C may be right that all should show up and protest face to face... let's remember we agree on what really matters.

Anonymous said...

Peter C - did they not do what you suggest in 08.... is GAFCON not the alternative if the ABC refuses to listen to the mind of the Communion and insists on seating KJS and others who tear the fabric of the Communion but are too small to leave?

Unknown said...

The evidence that we are also contributing now to the tearing is difficult to escape. Our words can do tremendous damage when they reveal our own unforgiveness and lack of mercy. We have placed ourselves in a seat of judgment (look at all the words of condemnation to the Archbishop of Canterbury). Are these the words of prayer, words of hope, words of faith, words of confidence that even if the circumstances are troubled - our hope rests in the risen Lord Jesus Christ? We are to speak the truth in love - and caling peopel "revisionists" and "heretics" or "homophobes" and "fundamentalists" is not loving. We can label positions as revisionist or heretical or even fundamentalist, but we go deeper in when we begin to shamefully categorize and label people with the intention of shutting them down. That is troubling - the separation was not in the hope of creating a more perfect church (as was the case in the forming of the United States to form a more perfect union), but as a form of intervention. This view has changed dramatically from separation to divorce with the same kind of acrimonious mudslinging from both sides as one would see in any messy public divorce.

Staying home from this meeting in Ireland reminds me so much of weddings I've been to where one former spouse will stay home because the other formal spouse is invited. And who suffers but those who invited them both to come. Who do we think really makes the invitation? Do we really think it's just the Archbishop of Canterbury?


Dale Matson said...

"And who suffers but those who invited them both to come. Who do we think really makes the invitation? Do we really think it's just the Archbishop of Canterbury?"
You are making excuses for the ABC. Do you see his behaviors as culpable at all?
You may see many of our posts as insensitive and unloving. I see your posts as innocent as a dove but lacking in other respects. At this point Bob Dylan would have said, "Fare thee well".

Unknown said...

All right - here's an example since it's public now.

Bishop Martyn Minns was invited to Lambeth Palace as a guest last fall. A person in Anglican Communion leadership dinged his invitation for withdrawal and Rowan Williams intervened and said that, no, Bishop Minns will be invited and that's final.

And so he was. And so he went. I am sure there were there many there who were quite surprised to see him. But there we are.


Anonymous said...

RE: "we go deeper in when we begin to shamefully categorize and label people with the intention of shutting them down."

Of course, that's not the intention of labeling. Labeling is simply the use of words. That's what all of *language* is -- labeling. Categories are excellent and classification is a sign of the image of God -- precisely what God commanded Adam to do in the garden in labeling and classifying the animals.

RE: "This view has changed dramatically from separation to divorce with the same kind of acrimonious mudslinging from both sides as one would see in any messy public divorce."

Actually I know of no one who thought of this as some sort of odd temporary thing -- it was always clearly about the permanent division between those who believe mutually antithetical gospels, should there be no repentance which obviously there has not been.

RE: "Do we really think it's just the Archbishop of Canterbury?"

Yup -- he's invited the holders of the two mutually exclusive gospels. And it appears that Jesus has invited apparently up to 10 not to attend -- since I expect they are listening to His call.


Anonymous said...

BB said "Where ever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in our midst. Staying home will not keep God from going to Dublin."

Can we really say that just saying we are gathering in His Name is all it takes to be blessed by Him? Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

At what point does the one who watches become as guilty as the one who sets the stumbling block?

Scripture gives us much to guide us in our decision not the least of which is Rev. 3:16.


Unknown said...

Frankly, I am far more concerned right now what Jesus is going to be saying to the finger pointers. I think we should pause and not assume that we are confident we know which is which. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, period.

Our calling is to reach out with love with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone - not just the hand picked Happy Few. How many times are we commanded to forgive? How many? And what happens when we forgive?

What happens when we forgive?

What the scripture says is that He will be present. We know what happens when we call upon His Name. It should be done soberly, it should be done with humility. Because you know, He does show up. That's not something progressives or evangelicals or traditionalists or liberals should take lightly. No, not by a long shot.

And there will be three people at least in His name in Dublin.

Jesus is Lord - not just of the Happy Few, but He is the LORD. Before we start pointing out the specs we see, and there are some extraordinary specs, no doubt about that, but perhaps before we point those out, we should figure out what to do with our own logs.


Anonymous said...

BB - the issue in not forgiveness..... do you think some Primates are refusing to go because they will not forgive TEC for actions in 2003 and 2010? And, should they 'forgive' TEC for those actions?

As for judging anyone, what do you make of 1 Cor 5:12?

Chip said...

I don't see that BB has either made light of heresy or said that judgment is somehow out of the purview of Christians. Rather, her concerns largely involve the *means* we use to our ends -- the way we use language, whether we've first looked at the motes in our own eyes and dealt with them, etc.

Categorizations can be helpful, or they can be destructive of individuals. If they're keeping us from loving others, then we shouldn't employ them in a given situation. They can also cause us to miss nuances in people and keep us from seeing where God is working in their lives. Neither possibility (nor any other negative example we could conceive) will necessarily be the case in any given situation, but we always need to be on guard against them. And sometimes it is best not to use words that are at other times necessary in order to help draw people closer to Christ.

Revelation 3:16, 1 Corinthians 5:12, and other judgment passages, of course, are critical to all of us as Christians. Still, in this and a myriad of other controversies, how and when they are applied are often the cause of heated differences among orthodox Christians, including godly leaders. For one very public example, recall the John Stott/Martyn Lloyd-Jones division in the late 1960s -- an incident that still leads Stott to reprint his "Why I Am Still a Member of the Church of England" essay (including his recent book The Living Church).

Both sides here have valid concerns regarding the primates meeting boycott. Have we come to the point where we cannot respect those taking the opposite viewpoint from our own? If so, it bodes ill regarding the future of orthodox Anglican unity, and it is seriously troubling.

Anonymous said...

Is the issue 'forgiveness'?

Should the Primates not going to Dublin 'forgive' TEC and go and 'indaba' ?

When is it right to follow what the NT says and not associate with false teachers? Say, 7 years pass and false teachers are unrepentant of actions and actually go on to compound their actions - are we still to associate i.e. be in communion with them?

We are not talking about having a coffee with someone who has wronged us .... the issue is not forgiveness.... unless someone can show me where it says we must 'forgive' false teachers and stay in communion with them even after years of zero signs of repentance.

Matt Kennedy said...


Now now BB, we shouldn't "label". What grounds do you have to categorize a entire group of people--shouldn't you rather forgive? Don't you know that labels hurt people, offend people, divide people?

Anonymous said...

ok - so we all make judgments - that is normal.... we have to do so!

BB - pls answer re whether forgiveness is the issue. Do you really think some Primates are not going to Dublin because they refuse to forgive TEC or the ABC?

And say all the Primates went, what do you think would be achieved? I fear that little except talking is on offer....

And, when is it right not to associate (eg 1 Cor 5-7. 2 Tim, Titus)?

TJ McMahon said...

This is not a matter of "forgiveness", it is a matter of ecclesiology. TEC chose schism (when translated to English, the root word in Greek means "tear or rend fabric"- an all too familiar phrase). They continue to choose schism. They continue to make schism wider and deeper. The Anglican Communion is, supposedly, a communion of churches- not a council of churches, or an association of churches, but a communion. You cannot have a meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion that includes, as full voting members, persons who are not. KJS is not. She is in communion with fewer of the members of the Anglican Communion than is Bob Duncan. She is ex-communicate in at least 10, including a half dozen of the largest churches of the Communion. So, by no stretch is she a Primate of the Communion.
TEC has removed itself from the councils of the Communion by refusing to be guided by those councils. Therefore, what is about to happen in Dublin is not a meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, but a meeting of people who head churches Rowan Williams is in communion with- rather like when he holds one of those things in Europe where England, TEC, Wales and Scotland meet with their "full communion" partners- the Churches of Sweden, Norway, etc.- which are not part of the Anglican Communion, but are in full communion with Canterbury. It's just that this time he invited all the Anglican Primates in addition to the Western Churches that schismed from the Communion in 2002-3.
I don't speak for any church or person from the GS, but that is pretty much the reasoning as I understand it.
As for forgiveness, what I do is to pray daily that our Lord forgives these people for what they have done to His Church, as I pray that He forgives me for what I have done. And have done my best on my own to forgive those who have done something to me, personally. I think that is true for everyone I know in the GS, and most, if not all, within the ACNA.

Dale Matson said...

1. And there will be three people at least in His name in Dublin.
Would you care to clarify who you have in mind since you used the figure "three" and not two?
2. "Frankly, I am far more concerned right now what Jesus is going to be saying to the finger pointers." It seems to me that your comments about the Primates is an example of finger pointing.

Matt Kennedy said...

BB, I'm surprised at not only the original post but the quality of your subsequent response.

Not only do you refuse to even address the biblical evidence supporting the primates who do not attend--rejecting out of hand even a consideration of God's word and the possibility of faithfulness on the part of proven leaders and teachers--but the "reasoning" with which you support your accusations and appeals is indistinguishable from the reasoning employed by revisionist apologists.

I think you are, for lack of a better word, in love with your own strange sense of what your own idea of "forgiveness" must enamored that you refuse even to check yourself by scripture.

Instead you simply repeat yourself over and over again and accuse those who disagree of arrogance, pride, and fingerpointing--becoming the picture of what you condemn.

Observer said...

You're a tough guy, Matt. Think BB deserves more credit than you are giving, even if I agree with you on this issue!

BB - we disagree re this Dublin meeting... but I think you do a great job in many, many ways and I respect you a lot... Your blog is GREAT. You give so much in many ways - thank you! Not agreeing on this meeting is not such a big deal. But, I would be happy to see you replace the word 'boycott' and give more respect to the Primates who are not going to Dublin even though you disagree with them.... they are not merely boycotting it because they will not forgive something or someone but they are putting into practice scriptural principles, having been patient for 7 years and more. I can see your point of view and theirs... I agree with them on this one but value you and them just the same!

Unknown said...

Thank you.

And yes the Finger Pointing applies to us all, myself included.


Anonymous said...

The issue is not forgiveness. It is repentence.


Dale Matson said...

And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him.(Luke 17:4) I'm not hearing the repentance part.

Peter Carrell said...

Perhaps that (not hearing the repentance part) is because 'they know not what they do'. On such an occasion the Crucified One did not require repentance.

Wilf said...


The church can only have some assurance that they have turned to God if they repent.

In this case, it's not simply a case of killing someone - it's a case of bringing another gospel into the church, so we are dealing with "anathema."

2 John tells us that at times we need to "cut our losses" as it were - and give up the otherwise endless crusade of soul-winning, when it comes to persons who are bringing another gospel into the church. Beyond a certain point, fellowship with the person, prayer with the person, discussions with the person simply don't work; and what's most likely to work is obedience to God and separating ourselves from them.

Continued fellowship and discussion can be addictive and form a legitimating, unhealthy dynamic which prevents repentance and turning to God on their part.

This is utterly sad, but is worth considering.

Wilf said...

I think that another possibility here is that these Primates have realized that Christology issues have crept under the radar since 2003 with the election of +KJS and the way TEC is beginning to promote the work of Marcus Borg as teaching material for parishes.

It is true that we don't have any mechanism for a "heresy trial" - however, the evidence for the above is independent of whether or not we have any way of dealing with it. The evidence is still there.

Given that the Communion has done so poorly with the standing issue of sexual ethics - we simply can not entrust the Communion to deal properly with such a central issue as Christology. We do not want, at our next Lambeth Conference, people wearing orange ribbons who do not recognize Jesus as Christ (or who formulate this in non-Trinitarian terms - i.e., "Christ means an important ethical exemplar ..." or something similar), running behind bishops asking them to bless them as people who should be teaching what they believe about Jesus in Trinitarian churches.

We do not want the Media to be filled with messages like, "Anglican Primates Meeting considers the question: Did Jesus rise from the dead? Angry conservatives remain insistent." This would have tremendous consequences for world Christianity and could be a dagger in the heart of unity amongst Trinitarian churches. Some would be tempted to follow us and say, "As long as we pray together, it doesn't really matter what we teach people about who Jesus is."

We would likely be provoking a new "Fundamentalist" crisis; a good deal of the media would side with the faction they considered more "enlightened" (especially given the general illiteracy of the media with regards to religion in general), and we would very likely induce a great deal of pressure upon Christians who claim Christ as Lord in the Trinitarian sense, who would be seen as dangerous and divisive. Amidst the new angry words and nasty debate as we've seen in the Communion, the political groups that would inevitably form in world Christianity to defend Trinitarian Christology would be viewed as nasty, right-wing conspirators threatening the unity of the church and the fabric of society, and disrupting possible inter-faith by insisting on specific doctrines.

In my opinion, it would be much better for the Communion to dissolve than for this to happen. I do not wish to bring that winnowing fork upon us.

It is better that we encourage good scholarship and responsible, sympathetic ecumenism than letting the journalists of The Guardian determine what Christians should believe.

The fact that +KJS does not understand Trinitarian Christology does not mean that we must all agree that it is acceptable to teach Trinitarian Christians to deny Christ.

So given this new tension in the Communion and its inability to deal with the last tension, it may well be time to renounce faith in the Communion, as it seems these Primates are essentially doing.

Matt Kennedy said...

The need for a heresy trial before recognizing a teaching as heresy and teachers as heretics is a red herring. Arius was a heretic before the church declared him so because he clearly defied apostolic Christology--as the church ultimately recognized--and he was considered such by orthodox bishops before the council.

They recognized, as we seem to have forgotten, that the measure for heresy is apostolic doctrine not a church council. Paul did not castigate the Galatians in chapter 1 for not sending off to Jerusalem to find out whether the those who brought "another gospel" were anathema. He castigated them because it was plain, clear, and without question that the "gospel" being promoted was not the true gospel and that being the case, the Galatians themselves, without reference to council or meeting, should have cast them out.

The assumption of scripture is that apostolic doctrine (and the OT as well--see the Bereans) is clear enough for believers to measure against any teacher or teaching and come to a conclusion about whether it is false or true. The same, assumption, by the way, undergirds the Articles with regard to the teaching of the Church which must be measured against the teaching of scripture.

And those who purposefully subvert apostolic doctrine after having been warned and called to repent/recant are to be cut off from the community.

It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that KJS et al clearly defy, unrepentantly, apostolic doctrine and so meet that criteria.

The "judgment of the Church" has already been rendered against unrepentant, defiant false teachers--those who "run ahead". Have nothing to do with them until or unless they recant.

Wilf said...

It's important for us Anglicans to realize:

1) There are many churches who have clergy within their ranks who hold to a Christology similar to Spong / Borg / +KJS whose churches view this as regrettable, but have not yet found appropriate means of disciplining / discipling that works within their means of governance

2) The Anglican Communion is the sole significant church body claiming to be Trinitarian who in the last 1,500 years has risen to this level of open apostasy with denials of Christ of this proportion coming from a top-level leader (+KJS)

3) If we begin to openly debate Christology, those "alternative Christology" clergy will be empowered with media attention in providing a "voice" for the view that we may teach Christians things other than that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. The same "Spong effect" we saw in the U.S. amongst TEC will affect their churches - new partisanships, the argument: "Look - the Anglicans are doing this, why can't we?" etc. etc.. Thousands of spiritually weak clergy will decide in favor of the TEC Christology - they will teach in church and sow spiritual death amongst tens or hundreds of thousands of the spiritually vulnerable.

4) Ecumenical as we are, Anglicans have the responsibility of saving our fellow churches from this disaster, and do better to call an end to the "Anglican project" as a sad failure rather than let the "anathema" which has stricken us, move into the wider body of Christ.

Wilf said...

Given the above, continued insistence that we must continue discussing, that we must continue praying together seems to me like a dangerous form of "fundamentalism" - a kind of specifically Anglican fundamentalism with our recent myth-making around the notion of "Anglican comprehensiveness" (see Charles Gore, one of the most prominent "liberal" figures in describing this notion - and his condemnations of what we are now doing, and predictions that such would undermine us).

I.e., it focuses on a specific understanding of ecclesiology and few beliefs in adamant insistence, despite being clearly contrary to what should be more important to our faith: our adherence to Christ and acceptance of who He is.

Christ prayed for unity. This is interesting: that this powerful prayer was a prayer, but was not one of the things he explicitly taught His disciples. He did not tell them: "You must remain together at all costs, even if one of you insists on teaching others to deny me." We must also pray for unity - but realize that this is one of the many things which must inform our actions. Neglect of other essential values in favor of a particular interpretation of unity will destroy that very unity.

Wilf said...

If anyone doubts that we are already experiencing the effects of "anathema" amongst us, consider this:

In parts of the Communion, we are using lies about other Christians and hate speech regarding them to fill our pews.

Lies - e.g. Canon Cardy at St. Matthews in Auckland, New Zealand, Christmas before last, telling the world that people who believe in the virgin birth believe in "divine sperm." Google Cardy and "divine sperm" for the reference - I'm afraid of posting links & getting in the spam box.

Hate speech - many TEC parishes use the rather didactic video series "Living the Questions" even after liberal flagship magazine Christian Century reviewed it and warned that it was like "the mirror image of fundamentalism." It contains a video with John Crossan saying that people who believe that the passage about Jesus walking on the water should be interpreted literally and not figuratively ... have a "genocidal germ." In other Crossan materials, he tends to take this miracle of walking on the water, and move quickly from that to the bodily resurrection of Christ. It would seem then also that people who believe that Christians should be encouraged to believe in the bodily resurrection ... have a "genocidal germ." Google Crossan "genocidal germ" for the video. The slippery slope argument he uses is downright silly, and I doubt Crossan would have approved of it had he seen it a second time or thought about it - but somehow it got into the curriculum.

It's hard to get better than accusing someone of having a "genocidal germ" in making it likely for persons to generate a strong aversion toward the person so accused. It's possible that of church bodies, the Anglican Communion is the most prominent when it comes to the category of hate speech. After all, Fred Phelps only has 50 or so who attentively listen to his sermons - the rest of the world spits on him. But we have many parishes in the Communion using these materials.

If we are teaching lies and hate speech by example, using these to fill our pews, and we deny Christ, and resort to fear-mongering to prevent those in our pews from coming to faith in the resurrection, what really are we still good for?

Repeat after me: "I am an Anglican, and Anglicans fill their pews with lies and hate speech."

Dale Matson said...

Peter Carrell,
"Perhaps that (not hearing the repentance part) is because 'they know not what they do'." I think this is something that you don't even believe yourself. These are Bishops in the church charged with guarding the faith once delivered.You have just given the "no accountability" pass to Bishops. With this same reasoning Adam would still be in the garden.

Peter Carrell said...


A few responsive comments to recent comments:

(i) As someone living outside the States I often find myself observing the enmeshing of culture and ecclesiology (e.g. the vitriol between TEC and ACNA parallels that between Republicans and Democrats). So, yes, from one perspective the leaders of TEC know what they are doing (trying to change the world!); but from another perspective I wonder if they know not how entrapped they are in the cocoon of American culture (and, yes, I need to reckon with the same charge against myself re my home culture ... which is remarkably laidback and tolerant!!).

(ii) To shun or to dialogue as a way towards change in Christians deemed to be wayward in belief or behaviour? Personally I have always gained more in difficult relationships through persistence in dialogue than through shunning. In the particular case of the forthcoming Primates' Meeting I see no chance of change in PB Jefferts Schori via the boycott, and a smidgeon of chance via presence-and-dialogue. What would Jesus do with those odds?

(iii) To bring to heresy trial or not? I agree that in some instances the expression of heresy is such that all (except the heretics themselves) recognise it. But in this instance many Anglicans around the world do not yet recognise that heresy. One reason could be that some of the allegations against (e.g.) PB Jefferts Schori relate to remarks here and there. As far as I know PB Jefferts Schori has not published a body of work in which her views are set out at length for all to read and all to make a considered judgment. (A different situation from Spong whose views are set out at great length and easily accessible). Raising the concept of a heresy trial is not a question of letting this or that bishop off the hook if they are indeed a heretic. Rather it is a question of fairness, raised in pursuit of a widely accepted outcome across the Communion.

As it stands I fail to see how the boycott will convince anyone that PB Jefferts Schori is a false teacher ... other than those already convinced.

Wilf said...


The Communion doesn't have any means to do so, and if +RW isn't willing to faithfully carry out the mandates of the Primates, it seems impossible for the Communion to find anyone with the authority to authorize such an extraordinary measure.

Furthermore, TEC people tend to be incredibly defensive of their leaders, and +KJS in particular, since they view the first female primate as a kind of "prophetic" act of that church (i.e., it falls in line with civil rights progress).

Don't you think it would be likely that the scenario which I mentioned above would be played out, with the Communion setting itself as judge over Trinitarian Christology, and we would export our apostasy, denial of Christ, and habits of hate speech to all parts of world Christianity which are the weakest in faith?

Unknown said...

I think at this point it might be helpful to read this report and commentary by Anglican Curmudgeon found here:

Bishop Schori lost control of the Executive Council publicly for the first time and was even finally confronted by a fellow liberal woman member of the council. The Executive Council is charged with oversight in between General Conventions and it is way-beyond the pale that Bishop Schori assumed she was exempt from oversight.

This I think illustrates her lack of experience in dealing with vestries - she has never been a rector and so never in ten years (and she was only ordained for ten years when she was elevated to Presiding Bishop) did she have to learn how to work with a vestry. She has been given a long and generous rope over the past few years by the Executive Council, but that seemed to end at the last meeting of the Executive Council in Salt Lake City in November when the rubber finally - finally - hit the road and the multi-million dollar debts faced by the over-expenditures of 815, including the litigation (which led the council to actually mortgage 815 to secure a multi-million dollar line of credit) and lack of payments on loans taken to refurbish the Episcopal Church offices over years - well, it woke some people up.

Bishop Schori is now facing more problems from those who are alarmed by the debts, the litigation, and the drop in giving. One of the reasons I caution us on our rhetoric is that there are those who are questioning the direction of TEC at the top. That is why I am asking here "who is our audience?" Is it just ourselves, or does our appeal cast a wider net?

We may be right in our theological assessments, but without adequately communicating at the same time compassion and mercy and forgiveness, we are, according to Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, nothing.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Wilf,

Agreed that the Communion does not have the means to deal with heresy at the heart of its Instruments: hence the need for the Covenant (in my view, but I won't rerun the arguments here). But the Covenant's progress (I think) will be held back by the boycott.

Agreed that (pace bb's pointer to Curmudgeon's post) TEC would nevertheless gather the wagons around ++KJS if she is under attack from the wider Communion. (Hence considerable fascinated observation from abroad when it appears there is internal dispute within TEC's corridors and councils of power).

However, I would not over estimate the capacity of TEC to export heresy or for the wider Communion to accidentally or unintentionally import it (one or two notable exceptions accepted). I would distinguish between a kind of natural Anglican sympathy for minorities which keeps alive dialogue with TEC (because it is pioneering a way to include the minority known as the GLBT community), and a natural Anglican aversion to finally side with heterodoxy re the creeds.

Yes, Anglicanism, especially in Western countries, has tolerated a considerable amount of theological exploration at the margins of orthodoxy, even to the point of tolerating a few notable heretics. But I suggest we have an aversion to translating such toleration into a final commitment to heterodoxy or heresy re the creeds. (I am less sure about a Western Anglican aversion to heterodoxy re marriage!). Thus TEC can export all the creedal heterodoxy or even heresy it wants, but I do not think it will get very far. Sell a few books, fill a few lecture halls ... maybe. But I think Spong has been there and done that. Any successor will not get as far as he did.

Wilf said...


"I suggest we have an aversion to translating such toleration into a final commitment to heterodoxy or heresy re the creeds."

This is largely what TEC thought when dealing with Pike and Spong. The problem is: exposing members of the church to the church's own denials of Christ - through, e.g., denying the bodily resurrection, undermines faith. When that faith is considerably undermined in a large segment of the church, we see what we now have in TEC - not so much a "final commitment to heterodoxy" but rather a firm insistence that teaching such things is, and should be, an established part of the church (in addition to teaching the bodily resurrection). What is lost in this case is: the importance of the bodily resurrection. It can be this - or it can be that. When we no longer believe in its importance, we have also lost a central part of the teaching and of its logical coherence.

"I think Spong has been there and done that. Any successor will not get as far as he did." - I think Marcus Borg is doing just fine - he's a lot less vitriolic, and doesn't engage in such obviously specious argument, though its quality, in the areas where he moves into teaching rather than just speculation, leaves much to be desired.

To see what kind of inroads this sort of thing has made in AU, for example, google "Living the Questions" - you will find quite a few parishes using the materials I referenced above re. Crossan, fear-mongering to prevent faith in Christ, and hate speech.

Wilf said...


I'd also request that you consider that when Paul speaks of "anathema" in cases of bringing another gospel into the church - that we needn't simply be "conservative" and interpret this as some sort of post-mortem judgment - but that we should also be "liberal" in interpreting this to refer to grave consequences in the life of the church. In my experience, individuals who are exposed to denials of Christ from church leaders, when not of robust faith, are some of the most difficult in helping with faith issues. It is almost like an existential dimension of the individual's participation in the life of the church has been touched, sowing a profound lack of trust.

This is why I fear exposure to such things should the Communion begin this discussion. It's not for no reason that pastors tend to shield their congregations from news about such things.

I agree with you in that I don't think in most cases, this is a "willing export." But we are beginning to see propagation.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Wilf,
I see your points. We do reap what we sow, and one of the sadnesses of the current situation is seeing that happen in unfruitful ways in various parts of the Communion (i.e. not only TEC).

It is not always the case that tolerating a heretic leads to endemic heresy. It is interesting (to me, at least) that the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand seems to have moved away from the position Lloyd Geering took on the resurrection in the 1960s (which led to an unsuccessful heresy trial!) and is generally in a conservative state these days.

Observer said...

BB - you refer to Paul and what he taught in 1 Cor 13 but do not want to apply what he taught re how to treat false teachers in 1 Cor 5-7?

Peter C and BB - what are the Primates not 'forgiving'??? Never seen an answer from either of you about this - but you carry on talking about forgiveness...

Don't know where we are told to 'forgive' false teachers and stay in communion with them.... especially after 7 years and more of unrepentant actions on their part.... where would you point us please?

Wilf said...

Peter - Presbyterian churches in general were influenced by neo-orthodoxy - Barth, Tillich, Niebuhr - though this took a long time to "trickle down" - the older generation of church leaders who had been brought up in seminary with Bultmann usually not renewing thought and faith. TEC and the Methodist church seem to have lost this movement. Nonetheless, even though Christological problems were rife within that generation, I think you'll find that they didn't tend to be outspoken about such things in public. It's quite common in TEC to hear priests, on Easter day, preach that the resurrection is unimportant.

Yes, we are seeing many problems throughout the Communion, and not only in TEC. But what I've seen in some areas of TEC - general knowledge regarding scripture and theology is abysmally low - sometimes lay church leaders having what I'd expect from a 1st year highschool non-Christian student - a past TEC priest of mine hadn't read the Gospels through in English. Discussion of faith is also much more problematic than with atheists, persons of other religions or other denominations. It's often like something there is broken. Yet they are very "gung ho" about church. They tend to express themselves on matters of faith by talking about churches they don't like - ridiculing more extremist examples which they have heard of, and take pride that they are not like that. But there is very little "positive" faith.

Many TEC members also believe that TEC needs to be removed from the Communion if it is ever to repent.

This is also forgiving and loving TEC. A hateful position could be: "let them stay and slide further into their ways."

TJ McMahon said...

Now we discover from Fred Hiltz (see Anglican Journal or Anglican Mainstream) that this is not to be a Primates Meeting at all, but a series of sessions led by a facilitator provided by ACO (no doubt the Primates have known this all along from the letters inviting them). The outcome of the meeting is therefore already known to ACO and the ABoC, since the person charged with directing the conversation (no decisions to be made, mind you) is in their employ and will follow their requirements. Since when is a Delphi expert necessary in a Primates meeting? At what point did the ABoC resign his office as chair?
Personally, I gave up attending facilitated meetings after training to be a facilitator. Wait until the Primates who do show up learn about the "common mind" of the meeting, which is no doubt predetermined to read something like "we explored many ways to engage in common mission despite our differences." It will talk about how everyone regrets the absence of colleagues, and hope they come to see that biblical revision, gay marriage and deposition of 500+ priests and bishops, and $20 million in legal fees are just trifles (of course, those will be referred to as "the things that divide us" or even "the second order issues over which there has been controversy" or even "adiaphora over which there remains some discussion"). It will ignore Lambeth 1.10 as a "statement of the mind of the church in 1998", toss out Windsor and Dar as unauthorative, and say something about the Covenant under the glorious Standing Committee being a mew beginning, and we can all start over and ignore the last 13 years.
What I am really getting at is that the meeting is designed to instill both revisionist values and revisionist process into the Primates Meeting, and to give ALL of its authority to the Standing Committee. Since the Standing Committee is the only organization that takes a vote on anything- what with the ACC chair now "sensing the mind of the assembly" on decisions.

Wilf said...

Yikes, TJ.

The facilitated discussion will ask these two questions:

"What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing the Anglican Communion at this time? What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing your own province?"

Hiltz on Canada's response:
'Three of the four metropolitans were available for consultation and “not one of them raised sexuality or the [Anglican] Covenant” as real challenges facing the Anglican Communion, said Archbishop Hiltz. The “real issues,” they agreed, are combatting disease, access to clean water, security, peace, and reconciliation with indigenous peoples.'

Note: this is a very "leading" type question.

Could it mean that they now fully accept Lambeth I.10?

I'm sure it doesn't, but the question is worth asking.

Peter Carrell said...


Forgiveness (or 'forgiveness') re the Primates Meeting could include forgiveness for leading the Communion on a merry dance going nowhere fast; for past avoidance of implementation of Primates Meeting recommendations; but, while I made a point about forgiveness not necessarily requiring repentance, I am not sure I agree with bb re emphasising forgiveness. My emphasis falls more on maintaining communication through face-to-face conversation.

I acknowledge that how the meeting actually turns out (facilitated conversations which avoid major issues, etc) could mean little face-to-face formal conversation would have taken place anyway ... but there is always morning tea time!

Observer said...

Peter C - thanks for addressing the my question re 'forgiveness' being raised as an issue. Would be grateful if you would also adress why the Primates not attending are incorrect in applying 1Cor5-7, Titus, 2 Tim teaching re not associating with false teachers....given 7 years and more of evidence and no repentance and the ABC only offering faciliated, fake 'indabas'.... are those Primates not attending simply not following scripture re how to treat unrepenant false teachers? Interested in your reply.... I get that you think it is worth talking more...that is fine but that is different to saying the Primate not going to Dublin are doing something you think they are or can you see their point? Thanks for your reply.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Observer,
The absenteeing primates have made a decision which I can understand and which appears to be driven (or mostly driven) by implementation of teaching in Scripture concerning false teaching.

My disagreement with them does not concern whether they are wrong to consider the matter of false teaching but whether the overall situation of the Communion, for which organisation they have an important official role (unlike bloggers!!), requires consideration of other matters such as whether patience and persistence in dialogue might contribute more to the shape of the future Communion than absence.

I am not doubting that they have considered such matters but I am disagreeing with the weighting they are putting on them.

Their absence makes a point about false teaching, but it appears to be received by those already convinced that false teaching is a problem and scarcely lamented by those who are not so convinced. Their absence makes it impossible for them to contribute to whatever course the meeting takes in Dublin. It is not difficult to imagine that those present will contribute to the course the meeting takes. Thus, as a conservative Anglican, I am sad that that course appears likely to be driven by an unbalanced representation of the Communion.

Dale Matson said...

"It is not difficult to imagine that those present will contribute to the course the meeting takes. Thus, as a conservative Anglican, I am sad that that course appears likely to be driven by an unbalanced representation of the Communion." The course was predetermined no matter who showed up.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Dale,
It is just impossible to get Calvinism out of the Anglican church, Even the progressives have failed to succeed. :)

Dale Matson said...

I didn't say predestined, I'm Anglo-Catholic. By predetermined I meant that there is already a template to be imposed on the meeting with expected outcomes. But you knew what I meant didn't you. The Comment from Fred Hiltz about the challenges facing the Anglican Communion demonstrates either that he is in denial or living in a fantasy world. I'm sure you can come up with even more options.

Anonymous said...

This thread is approaching it's 100th comment, the point at which all threads should probably be euthanized. We know that a discussion is falling apart when part of the rationale of one side or another is based on attaching labels to the other (in this case, the tired, old meaningless phrase of "revisionist."

There may be good reasons for certain bishops to absent themselves in Dublin, and I share the aversion expressed by some here to "facilitators", having been herded through a variety of meetings and conferences by such personages. But it should not be lost that the issue of attendance/non-attendance is part of a larger tapestry of the tactics and politics of schism and dissolution that did not start with this particular meeting. The goal is to make the other side appear to be the instigator of disunion in God's church.

BB has expressed a widely held view from the pews that, as Christians, we should not be quick to cast each other aside. Those with Fr. Matt's certainty of doctrinal righteousness have no choice under II John, I suppose, to avoid giving lodging to Gnostics, although I had not considered the current contentions to deal with this particular subject or that a meeting of Bishops falls under the prohibitions of II John. (Similarly, I do not understand that we regard any of those primates who are attending as drunkards, swindlers, sexually immoral, libelous, or idol worshippers, and hence do not believe breaking bread with them violates Paul's instructions to the Corinthians re associations and dining habits). But, if there is concern that either Gnosticism or scandalous personal behaviour are afoot amongst the attendees, I would not fault a pure living or pure thinking Primate who stayed away. However, we are in a time when communication and engagement will, in my simple view, do more good for the Church than harm. If this is the core sentiment that BB is expressing, I align myself with her, and suggest that the harshness of those who criticize her for this view be moderated. She and I and others who feel this way may not be correct in our views, but we do not reach them because we are unorthodox.


Anonymous said...

I think both Matt & BB are both missing the cultural nuance of the GS Primates decision. In the West we want a document that triumps our decisions as the epitome of rationalism. We want something to say, "Look, on this date so-and-so happened." (Take Oct. 31, 1517 for instance.) But in the GS there is a different way.

The GS Primates will not form a document stating, "The AC is now over" or "We have withdrawn from the AC;" that's just not the way they do things. In fact, they see such actions as arrogant. Rather, they will slowly withdraw - giving their opponents time to reconsider - until it's clear that there can be no reconciliation. Then they will allow their opponents to walk apart (and they'll even allow their opponents to claim victory whilst doing so!).

My point is this: please don't miss the significance of the "no show." These Primates are not saying, "We're angry at you and therefore won't play together till you say you're sorry." They are not petulant children.

On the contrary, in true humility the GS Primates have concluded what has been a long process of reaching a no-confidence in all four Instruments of unity. Unfortunately, since Westerners don't speak "humility" very well, a lot is lost in translation.

Lambeth/GAFCON was the beginning of the end. Then came the resignations from the ACC. Now, the refusal to gather in Dublin marks the final vote. In this gentle but clear act the GS Primates have separated themselves fully from both the PM and the ABC.

I know this is easy to miss, but please try to understand: what you are witnessing with Dublin is the tearing of the final thread of the AC. The AC is no longer.

Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that, casting all their care on you, they may know the consolation of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Dale Matson said...

I appreciate your thoughtful contribution to this thread. You have added to my understanding of things.

Observer said...

Peter C.... thanks - I can see your point (and it could have been applied to going to Lambeth 08 too - and was by some)..... and I am glad that you can see the scriptural basis for not going to these events, even if you might disagree with the timing of applying thoses verses and not going in 08 and now to Dublin 2011. I would agree with you if what was on offer from the ABC was ANY opportunity for resolution or even discussion of the mind of the Communion rather than just manipulated discussions with no resolution regardless of the mind of the Communion. I would agree with you if since 2003 the majority of the Primates were being ignored (eg their 2007 decisions at Dar were simply ignored by the ABC and Lampal).... and the AC has been manipulated to avoid any decision against revisionists regardless of view of the majority of the Primates and bishops and clergy and laity of the AC.... I would agree with you if the Primates' majority decisions since 2003 had been implemented rather than ignored....... all in the interests of revisionists and them gaining 'an inch at a time'. Fake 'indabas' - waste of time, I think... but I respect your desire for people to try again, even if we do not agree on that. Sadly, by ignoring 'the mind of the Communion' for the last 7 years, the ABC is presiding over the end of the Communion as we know it..... Gene and Katie may not care as long as TEC can assert its right to do what it likes and stay in the councils of the AC *contrart to Windsor - but I think this is a shame. I am sure you do too.

Daniel Weir said...

I could have separated myself from sisters and brothers with whom I disagreed on how to interpret Jesus' teaching on violence, but I chose to remain in communion with them. I am sorry that on this disagreement, some brothers and sisters have made the choice that I rejected.

Anonymous said...

Mr Weir - if you think that your decision means the AC should tolerate false teaching, you need to check your logic

Anonymous said...

I didn't read Father Weir to mean that. I suspect, however, that he may disagree with Anon 0239 as to whether attendance of primates in Dublin is clearly a toleration of "false teaching."


Anonymous said...

he may, what? The fact remains that the Primates of the major AC provinces are not in Dublin....the AC is falling apart... that one pacifist did not mind being in a church with people who took the opposite view (a view not incompatible with scripture according to our church) really does not shed any light on the mess the AC has been led into.... the AC is falling apart because of the decisions the ABC has made re invitations (Lambeth 08 and now Dublin 2011.....) TEC people can be happy they are sitting with the ABC.... but most of the AC is moving on - because the focus of unity is not ultimately a brilliant, Welsh academic but someone far less postmodern in approach to the truth.....