Thinking Anglicans

Eames at Yale

ENS reports:

The Most Rev. Dr. Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, delivered the 2005 Pitt Lecture at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale October 12, issuing a warning on the future of World Anglicanism.

The full text of his lecture Where now for World Anglicanism? can be found here.

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badman
badman
16 years ago

The tone is restrained: many more questions than direct statements or answers. Also a lot of very mixed metaphors! There is, however, a degree of pessimism about continued unity which corresponds to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s tone when he was speaking at the time of the ACC meeting in Nottingham. All the more striking, therefore, are the clear criticisms of the most recent moves of the Nigerian province. On the change to the constitution of the Anglican Church of Nigeria: “This wording not only removes what the Windsor Report described as “the pivotal” role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as… Read more »

J-Tron
16 years ago

It was amazing to have him with us at Yale. He’s a delight. But his message was not at all optimistic.
I worry for the state of the Communion.

steven
steven
16 years ago

The actions of Nigeria are merely one of the first steps in turning a de facto division into a de jure division. To see them as anything less is to misunderstand their importance and impact. However, they did not and do not create the division–it was already there. Still, they are merely a first step. The shape of the new communion being formed is, at best, hazy. I expect that there will be further actions as time goes by that will create some type of governing body that will determine whether a province meets (or continues to meet) the criteria… Read more »

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
16 years ago

Akinola has stated in the past that his interventions to save souls drowning in liberalism do not occupy the same moral plane as silly rules in the WR re: bishops jurisdiction, even if they do go back to Nicaea. So he has no need to let these rules interfere with his mission from God.

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

I suppose, though, when Nigeria officially announces that it is no longer in communion with Canterbury, it begins the process of placing itself outside Anglicanism, and the development of a new legal entity.

Göran Koch-Swahne
16 years ago

Yes, rules interfere…

That has been the message coming out of Calvinism for the last 35 years or so.

Strange that people never learn their lessons.

Kurt
Kurt
16 years ago

“Yes, rules interfere…That has been the message coming out of Calvinism for the last 35 years or so. Strange that people never learn their lessons.”–Göran Koch-Swahne

Past 35 years? More like the past 350 or 400 years.

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Though I’m not sure about the current politics, I must say that what Nigeria has stated is really uncontroversial if you read what it says.. Its just the position that many evangelicals and anglo-catholics in ECUSA,. ACCan and CofE take… that we stand by the [more-or-less] historical respect for the souvereignty of Scripture in matters of faith and morality.

As others have moved away from this they have “walked away” from us. The strange thing is that they think that *we* are breaking communion when we react to *their* changes in PRECISELY THE WAY THEY COULD HAVE PREDICTED.

Gerard Hannon
Gerard Hannon
16 years ago

If Dave somehow imagines that the Church universal has not evolved in its understanding, and beliefs, and practices, whether one would want to measure that over two thousand years, or merely close to five hundred years, then he is mistaken. Indeed, parts of Christianity have branched off, from time to time, precisely because of disagreements. If Canterbury and its supporters are continuing to evolve, and grow, in faith and in the love of Christ, and if Archbishop Akinola and his supporters feel that time must stand still for them, and that different understandings can never take place, then Akinola and… Read more »

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Dear Gerald, I didn’t say not evolving in understanding what I said was “stand by the [more-or-less] historical respect for the souvereignty of Scripture in matters of faith and morality”. Obviously understanding changes, as do cultural and social particulars, and even the way we think about things. As most evangelicals, traditionalists and ABp Akinola would agree, if we want to be the followers of Jesus (which is all that the Church is) we *have to* follow His teachings on faith and morality…. what else is religion about ? And what better to explain what He meant than the early church’s… Read more »

Tunde
Tunde
16 years ago

“Is polygamy thus a greater problem than the current debate about the ‘reality’ of God? ” ++Eames

What if an African or Asian province (where polygamy is legal) consecrates a polygamist as a bishop and another performs marriage rights for those interested in adding spouses? Will the church still go through the same process of ‘understanding’?

At the end of the process, will we be ready to adopt the trend communion wide?

Nadine Kwong
Nadine Kwong
16 years ago

“What if an African or Asian province (where polygamy is legal) consecrates a polygamist as a bishop and another performs marriage rights for those interested in adding spouses? Will the church still go through the same process of ‘understanding’? “At the end of the process, will we be ready to adopt the trend communion wide?” Tunde, you set up a strawman here. Let us say that the African/Asian province you posit adopts such an innovation after years of internal theological discussion and does so through its designated canonical means for taking such action. Short of ‘adopt[ing] the trend communion wide,”… Read more »

*Christopher
16 years ago

Nadine’s points seem all very sensible to me. It need not have gone this way at all if we’d followed the third option she suggests. But other things are involved, including $, which ++Eames alludes to, and egos, and in some cases, not finding ways to accomodate those who disagree within a province or in some cases those who disagree being unwilling to continue with those with whom they disagree no matter what accomodations are offered. Indeed, innovation on such matters as infant baptism happened in this local way. The greater problem is bonds of affection have broken down. Windsor… Read more »

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Dear Nadine, interestingly, polygamy is an issue that was thrown up earlier in debate on sexuality – by liberals who were, I think, alluding to the tolerance of the practice by conservative African provinces (and therefore why shouldn’t they also tolerate other non-standard marriages such as homosexual marriage?). As we all know, in Old Testament times there were polygamists who are now considered patriarchs and saints – Abraham, Jacob, King David and Solomon for example. Whereas in NT times the ideal is clearly one man with one woman – no other practice is ever justified, practiced or even descibed. Therefore… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
16 years ago

On the ‘polygamy’ issue. How about successive polygamy in the affluent Northern Hemisphere, i.e., marriage, divorce, remarriage? Even scripture is divided on this issue, comparing Jesus’ teaching in Mark’s Gospel with the Matthean (an adulterous spouse) and the Pauline exceptions (a Christian convert being married to a pagan spouse, who no longer wishes to be married to the Christian). Ever since NT times the Church has made ‘pastoral accommodations’ for imperfect human situations, which, strictly speaking, go against the ipsissima verba of Jesus, while considering Jesus’ teaching as an ideal to be aspired to. The last three of the XXXIX… Read more »

Nadine Kwong
Nadine Kwong
16 years ago

Dear Dave, The NT ideal explicitly upheld may be (lifelong; see John Henry’s excellent point above re divorce) marriage between one man and one woman. But it does not inherently follow from that that any variation from that ideal is inherently sinful, as opposed to merely less-than-ideal; and indeed, it further does not follow that other variations such as same-sex unions or even (egalitarian forms of) polygamy (e.g., modern polyamory) are necessarily even less than ideal — as opposed to, say, divorce, which is outright condemned by Our Lord in a way that He never did as to these other… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Mark Beaton
16 years ago

John Henry, your example of ‘polygamy’ is unconvincing unless one is an indissolubilist; and it is clear from Eastern Orthodoxy (which recognises divorce and remarriage) that the Roman claim has never commanded universal assent. Your claim that Mark conflicts with Matthew is *formally correct, but David Instone Brewer argues in his monographs that there is no real difference, that Matthew renders explicit what Mark understood in the Hillel-Shammai debate. The Pharisees’ question in Mark 10.2 would make no sense otherwise, since everyone already knew trhat divorce was permitted by the Law of Moses. The issue was divorce ‘for any reason’… Read more »

Gerard Hannon
Gerard Hannon
16 years ago

Dear Dave: Thanks for responding to my Oct 15th posted reaction to your Oct 14th comments, but you just don’t seem to get even the concept of an evolving understanding of Scripture and traditions. Nobody has “walked away” from you and the Akinolaites, but many Provinces have come to a different understanding than yours. There is nothing wrong with Archbishop Akinola being unable to accept interpretations different than his own, but there is something wrong with him trying to impose his standards on everybody else. The Church has changed over time, and has come to different appreciations of what Jesus… Read more »

Dave C.
Dave C.
16 years ago

If my wife has with pain and suffering endured my past indescretions and when I inform her I’m planning on some futher indescretion (only I don’t regard it as such) and she tells me if I go through with it our bonds of affection will be stretched beyond their limits, why should I be suprised that she is no longer willing to walk with me? As to the Southern Hemisphere acting because of love of conservative Anglican money, I am saddened to see Eames repeat such unsubstantiated nonsense. Several years ago Bp. Spong started down this road with his false… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
16 years ago

Nadine:

Thank you for posting the reference to Walter Wink’s biblical perspective on human sexuality. His is a scholarly rebuttal of Dr. Robert Gagnon’s The Bible and Homosexuality (2002). Of course, Dr. Gagnon is the traditionalists’ “nuclear” option or one of their “blazing swords” to keep gays and lesbians out of their “true” Church of God.

Mark Beaton
Mark Beaton
16 years ago

Nadine, the Wink piece you linked to actually goes back to 1998 or earlier, before Gagnon published. Wink subsequently reviewed Gagnon’s book and Gagnon replied to Wink’s arguments about the so-called ‘Holiness Code’ in great detail. It’s linked here: http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/gagnon3.pdf Warning: it’s 12,000 words long and interacts with every one of Wink’s claims and a lot more. John H, your admonition that Gagnon is ‘the (conservatives’) ‘nuclear’ option or ‘blazing sword’ to keep gays and lesbians out of their ‘true’ Church of God’ is an example of the logical fallacy of ‘poisoning the well’ with ad hominem attacks designed to… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Mark Beaton
16 years ago

Nadine, a question, please:

You stated: ‘it … does not follow that other variations such as same-sex unions or even (egalitarian forms of) polygamy (e.g., modern polyamory) are necessarily even less than ideal — as opposed to, say, divorce, which is outright condemned by Our Lord in a way that He never did as to these other unions.’
Are you saying here that polygamy or polyamory would be right for Christians in certain circumstances?

John Henry
John Henry
16 years ago

Mr. Beaton: I am not familiar with Instone Brewer’s handling of the “Matthean exception.” Edward J. Mally, SJ, in the Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968) on Mark 10, alternates between the position you ascribe to I. Brewer and the one I hinted at above, while John L. McKenzie, commenting on Matthew 19:1-12, in the JBC, ultimately comes down on the idea of pastoral accommodation along the lines of the Shammai position. J. Paul Sampley in his commentary on 1 Corinthians 7, in the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (2002), is insistent that Paul’s intention was that of pastoral accommodation. On… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Mark Beaton
16 years ago

John H, you can read David Instone Brewer on Divorce and Remarraige in the 1st Century here: http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Brewer/Grove.htm This is a taster for much more detailed work, that goes far beyond what Mally wrote in 1968. Do read it – it makes sopem very important points. I have never heard that the Orthodox Church considered marriage ipso facto to be indissolubilist. I have generally thought that to be alter Western belief. As for military service, since Jesus commended the faith of a centurion and Cornelius became a Christian, without any suggestion that either had to give up soldiering, it would… Read more »

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Jerry Hannon wrote “Dear Dave: …. you just don’t seem to get even the concept of an evolving understanding of Scripture and traditions.” Dear Jerry, It’s not that I don’t understand you methodology, it’s much worse than that… I don’t agree with it! Nadine Kwong wrote: “….. it does not inherently follow from that that any variation from that ideal is inherently sinful… I commend to you …(though it may profoundly challenge many of your most dearly held assumptions)..” Dear Nadine, In my understanding, God calls us to become like Him. Any “”falling short” of the ideal is sin… Hence… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
16 years ago

Mr. Beaton: With regard to the early Christians and military service, I would recommend that you read William Klassen’s brief summary on “The Early Church and the Military” under: “War in the NT” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol.6, ed. David Noel Freedman (1992). One of his references, Robert M. Grant, presents evidence that “Jesus’ pronouncements about non-resistance left an indelible impression on the minds of the early Christians. Early Christian theologians condemned murder and cited war as a prime instance. Manuals of church discipline refused to allow for the possibility of military service, and insisted that upon conversion a… Read more »

Gerard Hannon
Gerard Hannon
16 years ago

“Dear Jerry, It’s not that I don’t understand you methodology, it’s much worse than that… I don’t agree with it!” Dear Dave, it’s not my methodology, as you would try to put it; it is the historical fact about the Church universal, from its earliest days, to current times. The Church learns, through study and prayer, and usually it changes as a result of such learning. That’s the methodology of the Church, and not something of my personal creation. Otherwise, I suppose that the Akinolaites intend to reinstate heresy charges against Galileo, and that they would hold that anyone who… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Mark Beaton
16 years ago

John H, I’m sure you’re right about the later problematic character of Christian involvement in the Roman army, but my point was simply that it wasn’t evidently an issue in the first generation, when Christianity was a religio licita, indistinguishable in Roman eyes from Judaism. I see no evidence at all for the assumption that Cornelius resigned upon his conversion. Of course, by AD 66 things had changed completely in Judea, with the onset of the Jewish War, and it would be difficult to imagine a convert or proselyte staying in the army then. (Not impossible, though, since Josephus did… Read more »

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Dear Jerry, Maybe it was a mistake.. (or maybe it’ll help you to stop reducing Anglicanism to loyalty to whoever is Archbishop of Canterbury) but, interestingly, the ABofC sent a note of greetings to the 3rd Anglican Latin America Conference Creciendo Juntos that just met in Jaboatao dos Guararapes (near Recife) PE Brazil from 9-12 October 2005… where clergy and people from Chile and Argentina from The Province of The Southern Cone of Latin America, and the dioceses of Recife (ie Bp Cavalcanti & co) gathered to experience fellowship and exchange ministries and visions..

Gerard Hannon
Gerard Hannon
16 years ago

Dear Dave, I find your statement, begun by “Maybe it was a mistake.. (or maybe it’ll help you to stop reducing Anglicanism to loyalty to whoever is Archbishop of Canterbury)” to be interesting, but essentially devoid of logic. Just as the rather monolithic Roman Catholic Church is led by the Bishop of Rome, the Anglican Church, and the affiliated Anglican Communion, is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury. You seem to be suggesting a Communion that would be without any titular head, or any First Among Equals. That would seem to be an effort to redefine the Anglican Communion to… Read more »

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