Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 29 March 2017

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK The Independent Reviewer and the Sheffield See “A Review on the Reviewer”

Archbishop Cranmer Bishop of Sheffield: Martyn Percy asked for bread; Sentamu and Welby give a stone

Sam Charles Norton Elizaphanian Do the five guiding principles commit the Church of England to lay presidency?

Paul Bayes The Huffington Post For Carol’s Sake, For Christ’s Sake, We Must Look After The Poor

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Janet FifeDavid RuncornCynthiaJeremyEdward Morrison Recent comment authors
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Father David
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Father David

Not only have Managing Directors rather than Spiritual Directors taken over the Church but now legalism takes precedence over Scripture and theology. The disputes in the dioceses of Sheffield and Llandaff, having now been referred to legalistic independent review, shew no indication of having taken note of Matthew 5, verse 25 “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art on the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge…” etc.

Charles Clapham
Guest
Charles Clapham

Superb analysis from Archbishop Cranmer, and an intriguing line of argument from Sam Charles Norton. It makes one wonder whether we should recognise frankly that the Church of England is at the point where there are no normative ecclesial convictions that bind us together at all. We see ourselves as Christians of one kind or another, and we live alongside each other in the same institution, but we appear to have no common theological understanding of episcopacy, priesthood, sacraments, the nature of the church, ethics, etc., and are tired (or ‘exhausted’ as the Welsh Bishops might put it) even of… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

I don’t understand why Arch. Cranmer describes the ABC’s referral to the Independent Reviewer as ‘passing the buck’. Nor do I understand why he describes this as a ‘political’ review. That the process needs examining and held to account is plain to all. That is what I understand this referral to be about and I welcome it. But I do see it as sitting alongside a very necessary theological review and I have yet to hear if and how this is planned? Have I missed something?

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

‘It makes one wonder whether we should recognise frankly that the Church of England is at the point where there are no normative ecclesial convictions that bind us together at all.’ I think we have been at that point for a very long time, at least since the rise of Tractarianism and Evangelicalism, if not before. The 39 Articles were meant to provide normative ecclesial convictions for all in the C of E perpetually, but clearly have not done so. I wonder if anyone really believes them now? The argument that the link between the bishop and the presiding priest… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

There is of course this review already in progress. But that is concerned with the CNC in general, and not with the Five Principles in particular.

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/007373.html

Charles Clapham
Guest
Charles Clapham

‘The Principles themselves seem to be lacking in integrity, and requiring ordinands to sign up to them compromises the ordinands’ integrity at the outset.’ I entirely agree, Janet, and I don’t think I’d be happy to sign up to the principles myself. (I was rather surprised to learn that ordinands have to!) So one ends up with a situation in which (in order to get a piece of legislation through) the General Synod and/or House of Bishops have set out a set of principles that many clergy or lay people not involved in the decision cannot in good faith support… Read more »

Froghole
Guest
Froghole

Although I have no definite views about the North imbroglio, I am in some sympathy with Sam Charles Norton’s intriguing and perceptive piece. He has touched upon the tensions inherent in Anglicanism that have never been properly resolved since the Act of Supremacy, and which are now being exposed by the remorseless logical corollaries of those changes to Church policy made since 1993 that have been driven by the desire for gender equality. The question is whether it is now sustainable for the Church to declare itself as being both ‘catholic’ and reformed. We have ‘Apostolicae curae’ (1896, but arguably… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Gave the shop worn arguments in the Archbishop Cranmer article a glance: “The theology of patriarchal Church leadership is straightforward and well-known, not least because it has endured for 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy.” Well known it is; but it endures no longer. Feminist theologians and biblical scholars have already provided rigorous and erudite analysis regarding the bias of patriarchy/kyriarchy. “In short, Christ is the Son of God; God became man. He revealed to us God as Father. The Son of God chose 12 male apostles to establish and lead the Church.” This kind of short hand is largely a… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

What’s interesting about Cranmer’s piece which, I think, shows that he is a man of integrity prepared to listen to argument, is that it’s a pretty violent shift on his take on Martyn Percy’s argument. I suspect he differs from Martyn Percy on the eventual endpoint he would like to reach, but he now agrees completely with Percy’s basic argument: that the five principles are unworkable, because the “true and legal” part won’t be agreed to by the very people for whom the five principles were drafted to “protect”. That’s a double bind that once (to mix a metaphor) out… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

‘Incidently, the idea of eucharistic validity being connected to the relationship between bishop and priest is not a novelty unique to Thinking Anglicans ! It’s connected to the idea of apostolic succession’ Charles, I didn’t think the concept was a TA novelty (perish the thought!). I’m familiar with the concept of apostolic succession as being conveyed by the laying on of hands in unbroken succession – it’s just that I hadn’t previously heard that outworking of it. Coming from an evangelical background, I was taught that apostolic succession is a matter of conforming to the apostles’ teaching, being called to… Read more »

Edward Prebble
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Edward Prebble

Reading the comments so far ( the latest I see is from Interested Observer 4.43) makes me wonder if I am a bit unusual. As I scanned down the Opinion offerings (thanks again TA for this amazing service) I saw first David Pocklington Law & Religion, and thought, “that looks interesting”. Next came Archbishop Cranmer , and I thought, “Also interesting”. Then Sam Charles Norton Elizaphanian, and as he is a new name for me, I thought “even more interesting.” But when I saw Paul Bayes … For Carol’s Sake, For Christ’s Sake, We Must Look After The Poor, my… Read more »

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

OK, I have read the articles now, and indeed they were all very interesting. I think I have to go along with Interested’s double-bind-out-of-the-bottle-catch-22 analysis.
But let’s not forget about Carol.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

A key paragraph in ‘Cranmer’s’ article is this: “. If a diocesan bishop can have no confidence in the women clergy he leads, believing, as members of The Society do, that women priests and bishops are inconsistent with the apostolic tradition, in what sense can Philip North assent to the whole of the first principle without obfuscating the meaning of ‘true’? Whether his objections are ontological (that women are incapable of receiving ordination), or ecclesiological (that the decision to ordain women cannot be taken by the Church of England in isolation), his theology of leadership refutes the ‘true’ validity of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” I’ve always considered that the authenticity of the Eucharist relies on the recipient’s faith in Christ (as indeed Article XXVI tells us). This is New Testament teaching, and anything else seems to me to hint of gnosticism. We have direct access to Jesus, we don’t need layer upon layer of intermediary. Thank God, since we intermediaries are so unworthy to carry the burden!” – Janet Fyfe – Your statement here, Janet, makes me wonder why you bothered with ordination to the priesthood – if you really believe what you say in your penultimate sentence here. How would your own… Read more »

David Smith
Guest
David Smith

Traditionalists have evolved a theology of communion in varying degrees to explain/justify their position in relation to those who support the priestly and episcopal ordination of women. However, a principle issue cited as the root of their doubt over the validity of women’s orders is the lack of catholic consent in the wider church. So, let us hypothesise a future time when, say, the RC church decides to ordain women to the priesthood and perhaps the episcopacy. How would our Anglican traditionalists view such a papal edict? What then would be the status of those women already ordained and those… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

«I suspect he differs from Martyn Percy on the eventual endpoint he would like to reach, but he now agrees completely with Percy’s basic argument: that the five principles are unworkable, because the “true and legal” part won’t be agreed to by the very people for whom the five principles were drafted to “protect”. » You and Cranmer might be missing a point. It is worth restating the first principle in full: “Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

‘Your statement here, Janet, makes me wonder why you bothered with ordination to the priesthood – if you really believe what you say in your penultimate sentence here. How would your own ministry as a priest be any different from the priesthood of the laity, which the Church recognises as that of a different ‘order’?’ I was stating the classic Reformed/Evangelical point of view. This is enshrined (oxymoron alert!) in historic formularies of the Church of England and is authentic Anglicanism. I have referred to it in several posts because I think it is being overlooked, and catholic theology and… Read more »

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

‘Any chance of moving [+Paul Bayes] to London?’

No way! We love him and need him here in Liverpool.

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

” Offices are a matter of law, not theology like orders.” — Kate

Having just whiled away ten minutes waiting for EP to start by reading the Ordination of Priests in the BCP Ordinal I am not so sure. The questions put to the candidate all speak of “the office” to which he is to be ordained. Those who drew up the principles must have known this; if they’d wanted to separate out “pastoral charges” from “priesthood” they surely would have chosen another word?

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

I have been trying to follow the issue about the see of Sheffield, mainly on TA but also in other places, and I cannot understand why it should be thought out of order to question the appointment of a member of The Society as a diocesan bishop. The first thing to say, of course, is that it is deplorable that Philip North has suffered personal attack and insult. There is never any excuse for such behaviour. But there are questions that have gone unanswered, and the Archbishops need to do better in their reaction to this crisis than they have… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“[T]he Archbishops need to do better in their reaction to this crisis than they have done so far.” I seriously doubt we will see anything more from the Archbishops, other than a thank-you to the IR once he issues his report. This episode was caused by the (arch?)bishops’ five principles. The five principles have either proven unworkable or have given anti-women-bishop traditionalists false hopes. Additionally, I would not be at all surprised if Ebor has been quietly pushing North’s candidacy to a degree that Ebor will not want made public. So for several reasons, the Archbishops will want this to… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

@american piskie

This is the Forward in Faith commentary:

“This principle states what the Church of England corporately holds, not what individual members of it may or may not believe. But in any case, it is not problematic.

“To understand it correctly, we must bear in mind the distinction between office and order. With parish clergy this is easy, because the names are different. ‘Rector’, ‘vicar’, ‘priest in charge’, ‘assistant curate’, etc are offices; ‘priest’ is an order of ministry. With bishops, however, we use the same word (‘bishop’) for the office and the order, and that may cause confusion.”

Source: http://www.forwardinfaith.com/WBProvisions.php?id=217#

Father David
Guest
Father David

I’m not sure if the “American Piskie” and I are reading the same BCP? He writes “The questions put to the candidate all speak of “the office” to which he is ordained.” However, the Ordinal in my 1662 BCP has the title “The Form and Manner of ORDERING of Priests” and the very first words are “Reverend Father in God. I present unto you these persons present, to be admitted to the ORDER of Priesthood.” NB. ORDER not OFFICE. The Ordinal of the 1977 BCP of The Episcopal Church of the United States of America uses neither the words OFFICE… Read more »

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

I apologise to Fr David and others; it is not (as I wrongly asserted) in the questions, but in the Bishop’s introduction to them: “You have heard, brethren, as well in your private examination, as in the exhortation which was now made to you, and in the holy Lessons taken out of the Gospel and the writings of the Apostles, of what dignity and of how great importance this office is, whereunto ye are called.” But I think I still stick to my point: the BCP, gold standard of C of E doctrine, uses “office” for something more than an… Read more »

NJW
Guest
NJW

‘in the BCP the priest is more usually referred to as the ‘minister’, and the BCP absolution can be used by ordinands, deacons, & readers.’ : Janet Fife The BCP is very exact in its use of words. It uses ‘Minister’ where the function can be performed by a deacon or priest and ‘Priest’/’Bishop’ where its is more restricted. Thus in the order for Evening Prayer: ‘The Absolution or Remission of sins to be pronounced by the Priest alone, standing: the people still kneeling. […] If no priest be present the person saying the Service shall read the Collect for… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

I have finally got round to reading Paul Bayes’ piece – rather late, to my shame. We need more prophets like him.

As Cranmer said (Thomas, Archbishop, not the blogger): ‘Food grows dearer. Do our brothers grow dearer too? No! they freeze and starve beneath our heaven-bent feet.’

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Chichester has been mentioned a number of times in the various discussion threads here about the Sheffield situation and the role of ‘The Society’. +Chichester is a Bishop of the society. Until recently no bishop of the diocese would ordain women as priests though the diocesan ordained them as deacons. Instead a retired or ‘assistant’ bishop was imported to do the deed. On the arrival of +Martin and the retirement of +Walkace Benn the new Bishop of Lewes was chosen from amongst those who would ordain women priests and subsequently the Bishop of Horsham resigned his membership of ‘The Society’.… Read more »

Garry Lovatt
Guest
Garry Lovatt

Actually, unless I am seriously mistaken, when the BCP uses the term “minister” it intends to mean that any baptized person can function as the minister. There also seems to be a misunderstanding among some here that a priest is required to administer baptism. While in practice that is going to be the common practice, and is an aid in maintaining order, it is also possible for a lay person to administer baptism when there is good reason. Eg., it is not at all unusual or inappropriate for an alert nurse on a neonatal ward to baptize when there is… Read more »

Edward Morrison
Guest
Edward Morrison

Richard Ashby –

As the deacon for the ordination of the Society priest in Chichester Cathedral last summer, I can confirm to you that no private blessings took place afterwards. It was a public blessing – traditional for a newly ordained priest – which was announced before the end of the service and which included women priests. I should think about 200 people received his blessing. It was conducted at the back of the cathedral simply for the sake of convenience, no theology of taint at all, as the women priests whom he blessed can testify!

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“no theology of taint at all”

Well, there wouldn’t be, would there, as it was a man, ordained by a man who ordains only men, doing the blessing.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

The foundation of the Society’s objection to WO and WB is taint. Otherwise, separate consecrations and ordinations would not be necessary. According to the Society, women taint apostolic succession (as if Mary Magdalene wasn’t an apostle) and women taint the sacrament. Apparently, women are so powerful that we can negate the internal Grace of God. I know they use other words, but it comes down to that. And that is why girls and women can’t flourish under a Society diocesan as things stand now. Get many more WB’s, then balance out Society bishops with WB’s within dioceses, then maybe there… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

Edward Morrison Can I ask you:
1. Is the rest of Richard Ashby’s summary correct?
2. Do you carry a card?

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

NJW – good points! I have forgotten what the Reformed answer to them is – it’s been a long time.