Thinking Anglicans

UK letters of support for Canadian schismatics

Letters of support from the UK to Bishop Duncan and to Bishop Iker have already been reported.

It should not go unnoticed that another letter from the UK was sent to the Anglican Network in Canada. The full text and list of signatories can be found here, and the text is reproduced below the fold. Note that the signatories claimed to be writing not as individuals but also on behalf of their organisations:

Signed with pleasure and delight,
+Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes & President of Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC)
Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor, Anglican Mainstream
Paul Boyd-Lee, Chair of the 1990 Group in General Synod
Rev John Coles, Director of New Wine
Canon Andy Lines, General Secretary of Crosslinks
Stephen Parkinson, Director, Forward in Faith
Revd Paul Perkin, Convenor of the Covenant Group for the Church of England
Revd David Phillips, Director of Church Society
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream
Rev Dr Richard Turnbull, Chairman and for the Executive of the Church of England Evangelical Council
Rev Roderick Thomas, Chairman of Reform

But also, there is this letter from no less than the Bishop of Rochester:

The Right Revd Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester

I greatly regret the necessity for this step, but I am glad that an agreed way has been found for biblically minded and orthodox Anglicans to receive appropriate primatial oversight from the province of the Southern Cone and episcopal care from Bishop Don Harvey. I pray that this arrangement will be a blessing for many.

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali

A group of orthodox Anglican leaders in the United Kingdom on behalf of their organisations

We want to assure you of our prayers and fellowship in our shared Anglican heritage as you take your stand on the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures as the rule and ultimate standard of faith, contrary to those innovators both here and elsewhere who wish to give primacy to the demands of contemporary culture.

We rejoice in our fellowship as Churches in communion with the Risen Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Linked together by the apostolic ministry, our communion is expressed by the fellowship and mutual commitment of local churches, congregations faithful to the apostolic tradition, led by faithful clergy, and gathered around their bishop, however expressed, for example on a geographic or non-geographic basis.

With you we are committed to faithful biblical orthodoxy. This orthodoxy is defined by and centred on the classic formularies (foundational principles) of the Anglican tradition. Anglican doctrine is grounded in the supremacy of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, the catholic creeds and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as agree with the Holy Scriptures. In particular, it has confessed this faith in the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (our Anglican standard for worship) and the 1662 Ordinal, including its preface (our Anglican standard for the making of bishops, priests and deacons). This commitment does not mean we are perfect: we need constantly to reform our lives in accord with the scripture to learn and grow with the help of the Spirit and one another.

With you we are committed to maintaining and propagating the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ to make and grow disciples who will themselves make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and plant churches. Proclaiming the biblical gospel of the Kingdom of God transforms and renews us and the whole creation. It produces life-giving and life-transforming mission, holiness of life and unity in the Holy Spirit to the end that people are drawn into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ, and become members of the Body of Christ engaged with the challenges of their time and agents of transforming their communities and creation.

Although we regret that it has become necessary, we have been encouraged by the action of Presiding Bishop Greg Venables and the Province of the Southern Cone in offering oversight to some orthodox Anglican Dioceses in the United States. This interim provision is a sensible way forward. Extension of this oversight to Bishop Don Harvey in Canada with parishes and people gathered around him is a welcome expression of the proper duty of orthodox Anglicans to secure the provision of godly leadership and oversight.

We hope that this recognition given to your network will further benefit the recognition of those who have been given similar oversight in the United States and Latin America.

We share with you the goal Jesus himself gave us of making all nations disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We share with you, in obedience to Christ, his call to teach them to observe all that he has commanded. We share with you, and with the exalted Lord who now sits at the right hand of the Father, the call to pray for the world which he created and the people for whose salvation he died and rose again.

“To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.” (Ephesians 3.21)

for signatures see above

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David Wh.
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David Wh.

This isn’t schism. Schism is division over *secondary* matters where a range of opinions and practices are acceptable to Scripture and the Church. But the words of the New Testament, as well as Lambeth 98 1.10, Windsor and Dar-es-Salam, show that this is NOT a secondary matter.

Nor do liberal leaders believe it is a secondary matter, or they wouldn’t keep on with these moves that cause so much division. When will they grow up, admit that what they are doing IS a direct rejection of Christian teaching, and start acting like it ?!

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

“I greatly regret the necessity for this step, but I am glad that an agreed way has been found…” Bishop Michael

Agreed way?

Perhaps the Bishop Michael can only write and isn’t able to READ (or refuses to comprehend) the Primate/Metropolitans edict against PB Venables “actions” in Canada!

Don’t give us this “agreed way” nonsense and then expect us to believe you to be a trustworthy religious leader at the CoE!

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

I find the pious (meaningless) verbiage and sactimonious tone of these letters & ‘Statments’, most offensive. Who is taken in by such BS–let alone impressed ! Their behave is too ineffective to offend much, they are wasting their breath, hitting out at shadows, and creating pointless affiliations across the miles. They show the theological & emotional literacy of a gnat ! And yes, I love no less a figure (& no greater than) Rochester — not forgetting his lordship of Lewis ! I used to love the tea and psstoral care of one his prdecessors, a lovely ole anglo-catholic gay… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Note that the signatories claimed to be writing not as individuals but also on behalf of their organisations:”

Is it not possible for some church linked organisation (Inclusive Church?) to conduct a proper poll among the various Anglican groupings to determine whether those people really do speak for their followers or whether, as I suspect, common and garden Anglicans are much more liberal than that?

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Esgob ! Sorry about the bloomin’ typos in my last comment ! Of course, I meant, I love the reference to ‘no less a person’ than Rochester. I have never met him, nor seen him on tv enough (yet) to develop much love for him. Or the bishop of Lewes–though I was very fond, as I said, of the last bishop of Lewes but two or three. While I’m commenting, may i say that I disagree with David Wh…. — I always wonder what happened to him mid-Wh.. !? -the second coming perhaps ? However, I will agree with that… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dave WH. wrote “When will they grow up, admit that what they are doing IS a direct rejection of Christian teaching, and start acting like it?!”

Maybe because they don’t believe it is?

Maybe because they are waiting for you to grow up and start taking things seriously?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Schism is division over *secondary* matters where a range of opinions and practices are acceptable to Scripture and the Church. “ Oh please! By this logic, there have never been schisms in the Church. This is perhaps the most pathetic attempt at self justification I have seen in a long time. Mr. Packer should be ashamed for having made it. This is schism, pure and simple. Conservatives should at least have the integrity to call it what it is, regardless of the perceived necessity for it. It may or may not be a necessary evil, but it is an evil.… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

If growing up means that I have to accept the words of teachers who refute everything Jesus stood for, lived for and died for; then I choose to remain a naive child for the rest of my life. I childishly believe in a God that is above all humanity and who had reconciliation plans through Jesus that covered both masculine and feminine, Jew and gentile, human and animal, seen and unseen. I childishly trust in a God who promises everlasting covenants of peace and who really does intend to see that covenant implemented. I childishly refuse to recognise as a… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

I suppose Bishop Nazir Ali wants to go out with a bang and thinks he has nothing to loose rocking the boat. As for Bishop Benn, well he ‘s effectively killed any chance the third province had. Note Nazir Ali’s quote fron canon A 5 …”Church fathers and creeds in a agreement with Scripture” ( that is our interpretation of the scriptures)…just like the Mormons in their article of faith ” we believe the Bible is the word of God, in so far as it is translated correctly. ” the end clause invalidating the beginning. A little while a go… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

There is a breathtaking arrogance in these letters, an implicit assumption that people like me, like us, are unlike them. But we too, amazing as it may seem to them, are drawn into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ, and become members of the Body of Christ, engaged with the challenges of our time and agents of transforming our communities and creation. The two bishops and ten leaders identify themselves as biblically minded and orthodox Anglicans. This is in contrast to those they call innovators both in England and elsewhere who, they declare, wish to give primacy to… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

YAWN!

Nothing new here. Just the same old impious platitudes and hypocritical justifications from gangs of nobodies with pretendy organizations to make them sound like bigshots.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Well, My Lord of Rochester has just made a compelling case for liberals in his diocese to expect alternative oversight and declare themselves an extra-territorial part of New Hampshire.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

It is certainly the case that many evangelical Bishops such as James Jones are on record as saying that he does not regard the gay issue as a first-order matter.

Yet more evidence that Nazir-Ali is positioning himself for leadership of a Global South-led UK conservative Anglican grouping.

One can only hope that the split comes soon – for can you think of anything positive that Nazir-Ali could ever bring to any organisation,. other than his resignation?

Pluralist
Guest

The names are the same and the organisations the same. The development of course is adding Canada to the USA, and no doubt other developments will follow as this bishop or that parish decides to jump.

Michael Li
Guest
Michael Li

It is exciting to hear about the formation of a parallel national church in Canada, under the oversight of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Now Anglicans in Canada have an option to remain in the Anglican Communion and do not have to accept gay marriages.

MJ
Guest
MJ

Canon 18 of the Council of Chalcedon should have been invoked long ago – there’s been no lack of evidence!:

“The crime of conspiracy or secret association is entirely prohibited even by the laws of the land; so all the more properly is this forbidden in the church of God. So if any clerics or monks are found to be either forming a conspiracy or a secret society or hatching plots against bishops or fellow clergy, let them lose their personal rank completely.”

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Now Anglicans in Canada have an option to remain in the Anglican Communion and do not have to accept gay marriages.”

And how is thins different from the situation before the Network began its schemery? Who in Canada is being forced to accept SSBs?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“if any clerics or monks are found to be either forming a conspiracy or a secret society or hatching plots against bishops or fellow clergy,”

Which is precisely how Essentials has been organizing in this diocese.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Now Anglicans in Canada have an option to remain in the Anglican Communion and do not have to accept gay marriages.” Assuming you’re Canadian, Michael Li, you “have to accept gay marriages” [sic: meaning “marriage between a same-sex couple”] six days out of the week anyway: they’re the LAW of the land! As for that seventh day: the AngChCanada doesn’t yet perform religious *marriage* for same-sex couples anywhere. At any rate, as Ford says, no one’s proposing any Anglican be *forced* to accept them. Finally, re “an option to remain in the Anglican Communion”: that’s far from clear. Maybe “an… Read more »

Michael Li
Guest
Michael Li

A parallel national church was formed ten days ago in Canada. It has been supported by over 16 archbishops and bishops outside Canada. But the Archbishop of Canterbury is silent on this new development. Perhaps parallel churches are going to become popular in the near future. It is no need for Dr. Williams to make any comment at this time.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Michael Li: the Archbishop knows the conservatives, by their tantrum-throwing, are hastening the day when the Church of England will have to talk about how it is going to go forward, and he knows there will be a small number of very loud and angry conservative parishes soon making unilateral declarations of independence there. The rest of the English Church (and the wider society), however, is as liberal as the Canadian, and tends to move forward together in the same way as Canadian society (in fact, you might have inherited this characteristic from us!). Things are going to get a… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

A small point: speaking of ‘schismatics’ is not only tabloidese, but also assumes without argument four things:
(1) that the debate has already been decided re who is in the wrong (a false assumption);
(2) that it is worse to stand apart (or to be deserted by others) than to be in the wrong;
(3) that there is no difference between staying where you are and finding yourself progressively deserted, on the one hand, and striking out on your own, on the other hand;
(4) that the ordination of Bp Robonson was not a schismatic act.
Arguments, not assertions, wd be good.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Michale Li, you still haven’t explained how anybody on the Right is being forced to accept anything. I know you believe SSBs are contrary to Scripture, but how are you forced to accept them? You don’t have to perform them yourself, neither in Canada do you have to accept a bishop who does, so what is it you are being froced to accept? The presence of gays in the Church? You can’t tell me that’s new.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, 1) We are constantly being told that in the minds of those on the Right, the issue HAS been decided. How often are we reminded, not only by NP, of “the mind of the Communion”? I have often referred to the fact that the debate is still ongoing, and it is conservatives who keep telling me it has been decided. 2) One doesn’t cease to be wrong because one side or the other “stands apart” in any debate. Is it not better to humbly accept the possibility that you may be wrong yourself than to assert that you are… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

Christopher Shell: “A small point: speaking of ‘schismatics’ is not only tabloidese…”

Yet it’s OK for ‘reasserters’ to throw the accusations of ‘heretics’ and ‘apostates’ at TEC & ACC?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Christopher: as someone who actively wants a split, the facts of the matter are that ONLY conservatives have broken away from their diocese, hence causing ‘schism’. They are the ones doing the breaking away. Now, you may argue that they do this for all sorts of reasons, but nevertheless, they and no-one else is doing the breaking away. And it is that which is causing the schism.

Malcolm+
Guest

I must quibble with Christopher here. To say that the actions of Venables, Harvey et al are schismatical (and hence that the players are therefore schismatic) does not necessarily assume any of those four things. (1) that the debate has already been decided re who is in the wrong (a false assumption) It is entirely possible for one to be entirely right on the substantive issue yet still be schismatic. Schism is about the act of dividing the Church, which is a sinful act regardless of the view one holds on the substantive issue. In this case, the “conservatives” are… Read more »

David Wh.
Guest
David Wh.

TEC didn’t create schism when they consecrated Gene Robinson, but they did move outside the “canons” of the Anglican communion (in so far as Lambeth is the AC’s conciliar process) not to mention the Canon of Scripture.

TEC has effectively put itself outside the Anglican communion. They’ve cleraly indicated that they won’t go back on their moves, so they should be replaced. And orthodox churches and dioceses rescued.

…. Think Donatists in reverse!

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

David Wh.
Why you think that the Lambeth Conference is a “conciliar process”. What evidence do you have for this view?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Lambeth has advisory status only.

And does that also apply to all those in other provinces who agree with TEC.

Basically – this is the conservative agenda. Throw out all who disagree with them.

Roll on the split: freedom from conservative delusion!

Pluralist
Guest

Oliver O’Donovan has an opinion about what he calls conciliar at Fulcrum. As I understand him it means a bringing together processes The lengthy personal statement of June 27th 2006 confirms what was evident from the beginning, that the Archbishop’s own comportment in relation to the crisis is indissolubly identified with the conciliar policy of Windsor and Dromantine. …conciliarity has been his practice and not merely his theory, at a time when many wanted high-profile personal gestures. http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2006/20060803odonovan2.cfm?doc=128 It all comes up against the reality, that the Churches remain autonomous. I’m currently half way through a piece that redoes Andrew… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Several points here: A: Bp Robinson’s fault is not his ‘sexuality’. It is (or: they are) (i) his adultery; (ii) his divorce; (iii) his lack of regret or repentance for the above; (iv) his false teaching on other matters; (v) his refusal to note the obvious point that he is heavily influenced by rather local societal trends. If one has an individual who would not (while unrepentant) be accepted as a mere congregation member by the majority of denominations, then making them a bishop is not the obvious step. One thinks of the great Christians and they always had cross-spectrum… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Christopher
What adultery?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Christopher:

In addition to Simon’s excellent question, what “false teaching on other matters”? Specifics, please, with citations.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“his lack of regret or repentance for the above”

How do you know?

Malcolm+
Guest

Christopher: “Bp Robinson’s fault is not his ‘sexuality’. It is (or: they are) (i) his adultery; (ii) his divorce; (iii) his lack of regret or repentance for the above; (iv) his false teaching on other matters; (v) his refusal to note the obvious point that he is heavily influenced by rather local societal trends.” Malcolm+ ponders: (i) No “conservative” or conservative bishop has ever committed adultery? (Incidentally, no one can point to +VGR having done so either. All available evidence suggests he was faithful to his wife so long as he was married to her.) (ii) Given that a significant… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

Christopher Shell: “I don’t recall speaking of ‘heretics’ or ‘apostates’. The former is a slippery term, whereas the latter is a more precise and less judgmental one and I would not rule out using it.” Apostacy is the abandonment and renunciation of the entire (Christian) faith. To accuse any Christian of that is deeply offensive and, in the present context, is utter nonsense. Christopher Shell: “Bp Robinson’s fault is not his ‘sexuality’. It is (or: they are) (i) his adultery; (ii) his divorce; (iii) his lack of regret or repentance for the above; (iv) his false teaching on other matters;… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Some clarification: Bp. Robinson did not commit adultery, he is by no means the only divorced bishop (and surely it was absolutely right that he should divorce – the question is more the malevolent influence of the religion which pushes gay men into heterosexiual marriage in the first place), and there is no reason for him to ‘repent’ of things he has not done. There are many Bishops, including within the CofE, who are considerably MORE theologically liberal than Bp. Robinson. It is vital that Christianity can respond to local trends and insights – which is why the idea of… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I believe I have heard that the order was:

1) Divorce,

2) Prayers in church, giving back the rings, promises to continue to be joint guardians of the daughters,

3) Mrs Robinson meets guy,

4) Marries him,

5) Mr Robinson meets guy,

6) Guy moves in,

7) Mr Robinson is elected bishop,

next summer:
8) +Robinson and Guy gets their Civil Partnership.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Some clarifications: Adultery: Adultery to the secular world is as you say; to the Christian it is ‘anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery’. ‘Ecclesiastical party’: a truly honest person can only belong to all and none. The whole point of sitting round a table with other scholars is to seek the truth, not take a party line. I cannot remember a single scholarly discussion where the conclusion turned out baptist, methodist, evangelical, catholic or whatever – as opposed to truth-seeking. Societal trends: I agree that people of many and most nations are heavily influenced by their… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“to the Christian it is ‘anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery’.”

Really? I know an awful lot of perfectly good Christians who are living in adultery then–including a number of priests and ministers. This isn’t the Christian view, it’s the Roman Catholic view.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Adultery: Adultery to the secular world is as you say; to the Christian it is ‘anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery’.”

You mean “to SOME Christians including myself but by no means not all.”

This conversation is complex enough without muddying the waters further with half truths.

“‘He is not the only divorced cleric’ – what is the relevance of this point? how does that make it any more right or wrong?”

Only that I don’t see you campaigning to forcefully against any other divorced cleric.

Stephen Roberts
Guest
Stephen Roberts

Christopher Shell: “Adultery: Adultery to the secular world is as you say; to the Christian it is ‘anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery’.”

“The adultery he cannot regret since he is in it now”

You apply a Christian standard for adultery, yet the secular understanding of marriage. You can’t have it both ways.

It is impossible for +Robinson to commit adultery since the church does not recognise marriage between two people of the same gender.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“He is not the only divorced cleric’ – what is the relevance of this point? how does that make it any more right or wrong?”-Christopher Shell

That many are busting up a church over this one man certainly make it relevant. Again, it’s the disproportionate hate that demonstrates the fallacy of your argument.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Christopher: you seem, from your post, to be suggesting that a gay person should enter, and then remain in, a heterosexual marriage. Surely not?

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Pat You say ‘This isn’t the Christian view, it’s the RC view’. No comprendo. It is Jesus’s ‘view’. Where did you think my quotation came from? Are you saying we know better than him, or have I misunderstood you? Hi Stephen Roberts- Your point is pure semantics. Semantics are all good, but not when divorced from reality. The reality is that, whether or not you are correct about the semantics, what he is *doing* (whatever definition we give to it, whatever term we use for it) is equally bad either way. Hi Choirboy from hell- Clearly you have special… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“You say ‘This isn’t the Christian view, it’s the RC view’. No comprendo. It is Jesus’s ‘view’. Where did you think my quotation came from? Are you saying we know better than him, or have I misunderstood you?” No, I think you’ve misunderstood Jesus. Divorce in his era was a one-sided street…men could get a divorce, women could not. That meant, in general, men got divorced for all the wrong reasons…usually because they were tired of their current spouse and wanted a different one. And women–even heavily abused or abandoned women–were stuck. If Jesus had been speaking of modern society… Read more »

Stephen Roberts
Guest
Stephen Roberts

“Christopher Shell […] Your point is pure semantics”

No, your point does not stand in any way shape or form. He cannot be an adulterer in either the secular, or your “Christian” definition.

“The reality is that, whether or not you are correct about the semantics, what he is *doing* […] is equally bad either way.”

The reality is, I am right about the semantics and as challenged by Simon, me and the others here you should withdraw your groundless accusation that +Robinson is an “adulterer”.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Hi Christopher Shell:

I calls ’em as I sees ’em buddy.

If calling a bishop an adulterer on the web isn’t a form of implicit hate (or disgust, I concede), I can see no pretense of hiding behind the guise of an intellectual argument. Your sarcasm rose to the surface to make this point magnificently.

When a person pretends to be a follower of Christ attacks another who happens to share something in common with myself, my emotions are raw, unbridled and to a fault, honest.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The way I understand the Christian position is this: divorce is not recognised as a Christian option (according to the words of Jesus) except in the case of porneia, ie (something like?) sexual defilement which automatically produces another one-flesh situation (see 1 Cor 6) that compromises the original one. Scenario 1: G Robinson is intimate with some other bloke while still married. No reason to charge him with this; but should it have been the case, it would surely have counted as adultery by him even if he were married and the other guy were not. I stand to be… Read more »