Saturday, 1 October 2005

Recife: a clarification

A document has been issued by the Recife Diocesan Standing Committee. This is reproduced in full below the fold. It can also be found linked from the official diocesan site.

An alternative view is presented in a document which can be found on the American Anglican council blogsite, here.

In case you are wondering which body is the real Anglican Diocese of Recife, you can check here.

Update
The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables has intervened in Brazil, see
SOUTHERN CONE PRIMATE ACCEPTS REJECTED BISHOP AND CLERGY
Text of Abp Venables’ letter

These events are also reported by TLC in Southern Cone Primate Annexes Brazilian Diocese

SOME CLARIFICATION CONCERNING THE ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF RECIFE

Open Letter from the Diocesan Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Recife, Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 19th Province of the Anglican Communion, to the brothers and sisters of the Anglican Communion and other Christian churches.

Beloved brothers and sisters,

Greeting in Christ!

In the past few months a series of misleading, distorted, and in many cases untruthful, news and information about the Anglican Diocese of Recife have been circulating on the internet, and at some occasions being broadcast by the international religious press. It has, therefore, become necessary for us to publicly clarify the facts of the current situation in Recife and about what has really happened and is still happening in our diocese.

In the year 2004, the Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR) went through a process of schism, and this for the third time in four years. This time, however, taking advantage of a period of an international crisis in the Anglican Communion and a certain homophobic feeling that still exists in many places, the then diocesan bishop Robinson Cavalcanti, who was already for some time clearly and publicly promoting hostility against the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB), personally led the process of schism, advocating that the diocese should break any institutional ties with IEAB. At the same time, he started an aggressive campaign of persecution against clergy and laity simply because they did not agree with his position. All this can be easily observed by analysing the articles written and recorded public speeches given by Mr Robinson Cavalcanti in the weeks leading to the canonical process of disciplinary hearing against him.

The then diocesan bishop was taken to the ecclesiastical court, denounced by two clergy, two lay members of the diocese and two bishops. All the canonical proceedings were rigorously followed, having also as evidence the articles written by bishop Cavalcanti himself, and the evidence given by several witnesses during the investigation done by a special commission appointed by the Brazilian province. Bishop R Cavalcanti totally ignored the disciplinary hearing arguing that he had no respect for the leadership of IEAB. Thus, he did not care to present before the special commission his defence concerning the accusations which had been filled against him. He was, consequently, tried and condemned, and after all the right proceedings were fulfilled, he was deposed form Holy Orders from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. Mr Cavalcanti then tried to obtain a court injunction form the Civil Court in an attempt to suspend the decision by IEAB, but the court denied the injunction and attested the validity and legitimacy of IEAB’s decision to depose him. Mr Cavalcanti still went to the Supreme Court of the state of Pernambuco, and once more the Court confirmed the deposition of Mr Robinson Cavalcanti. More recently, the former bishop, omitting the fact that he had been deposed, tried to obtain a court injunction to prevent a diocesan synod organised with the help of the province from taking place. The injunction was denied by the court and in the process it became clear that Mr R Cavalcanti had acted in bad faith and ideological falsehood. The diocesan synod, under the ecclesiastical authority of the suffragan bishop Filadelfo Oliveira as well as the decisions and resolutions taken there were considered legitimate and valid by the court.

The former bishop Cavalcanti had indeed ended relations with the Anglican province of Brazil since the end of year 2004, taking with him two thirds of the clergy and parishes. Even before his deposition, Mr R Cavalcanti had belligerently taken away all the symbols and signs of identification with IEAB from all the institutions and diocesan bodies. This can also be observed by simply looking at his new homepage. Already during the year 2004 the then bishop Robinson did not acknowledge the authority of the Brazilian Anglican province. He surreptitiously took measures to change the statutes transferring property which belong to the province, depriving the province from its properties in Recife. Bye the end of last year during one of his pronouncements in a illegally held diocesan synod, Mr R Cavalcanti came to summon all to leave IEAB. However, and to the surprise of many, he has been trying to present to the public opinion that he has been unjustly persecuted and expelled by the Anglican province of Brazil!

In spite of all those facts here described, Mr R Cavalcanti insists in presenting himself as the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Recife and as the representative of the Anglican Communion in the region. He also continues to issue accusations and aggressions against the Brazilian Anglican province and against those laity and clergy in Recife who decided to stay loyal to IEAB.

The Anglican Diocese of Recife is going through a sensitive and difficult process of reconstruction and rebirth, after the trauma that it has experienced. For that reason, we have, deliberately, refrained from answering or giving attention to the provocations and accusations promoted by the former bishop. We have already written a open letter in the past presenting our side of the story about what is happening in Recife. The sad and regrettable thing is that that letter was sent to the same very groups which have been publicising and broadcasting the accusations and defamations made by the former bishop, but in the case of our letter they refused to publicise it. We would, therefore, ask to all who receive this letter to careful analyse the facts, and that they may divulge it to others who might be interested to know about it.

We would also like to emphasise the following:

1.The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil is not a “dead church”, made up of “revisionist liberals”, “heretics” and “apostates”, as it has been publicised. IEAB is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is a church made up of men and women who acknowledge to be sinners, called by God to live in fidelity to the Gospel and so to grow day by day in the Grace of God and in the knowledge of the truth of which we do not presume to have the possession. IEAB is a living and active church that has sought to be a sign of God’s presence, through words and action, in an extremely adverse social context aggravated by a popular religiosity which is often pathological, marked by pharisaism and messianism;

2.The process of schism in the diocese of Recife is not due to a conflict between “orthodox evangelicals” and “revisionist liberals” within the IEAB, as it has been said by some on the side of Mr R Cavalcanti. Although it could be said that IEAB is hegemonically moderately liberal – if that sort of classification can say anything about it – there are many clergy and lay people who are of evangelical persuasion in all its dioceses. The group of clergy that refused to follow Robinson Cavalcanti in leaving IEAB and took the initiative to take R Cavalcanti to the Ecclesiastical Court correspond to a third of the diocese. The group is made up in its majority of Evangelical Anglicans, who have already made it public that they were against the decisions taken by the dioceses of New Westminster and New Hampshire. Most members of this group are well known and respected evangelical leaders who continue to be active on many levels of the Brazilian evangelical movement;

3.The Anglican Diocese of Recife, part of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 19th Province of the Anglican Communion, is also alive and active despite the allegations to the contrary by the Mr R Cavalcanti. We are now 13 church communities and 22 clergy who are carrying on celebrating Christ’s resurrection and seeking to build a living, welcoming, healthy, mature, ecumenical, relevant and socially engaged church. This is our dream, our desire and our prayer. Our trust and hope are in God. We are not receiving any financial help either from international sources or from any sort of “liberal conspiracy” as it has been alleged. Most of our clergy are “tent makers” and have dedicated themselves voluntarily to the Christian service. Again, we should make it clear that Mr Robinson Cavalcanti is no longer bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Recife. Neither he nor his spokesmen represent at any level the Anglican Diocese of Recife, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil or the Anglican Communion. His deposition was a final and non appealable decision taken legitimately by the Brazilian Anglican Province and attested by the civil courts;

Finally, we would like to express our deep disappointment and disillusionment with various international evangelical leaders within the Anglican Communion, who, it seems to us, have shown to be more interested in the manipulation, and political and instrumental utilisation of information about Recife, in an attempt of artificially creating a martyr than in a balanced and fair analysis of our reality. It is regrettable that part of the Anglican evangelical movement is rendering itself to that sort of game and manipulation. The crisis caused by the unilateral attitudes of the North American and Canadian churches seems to have paved the way for a state of emergency and the legitimising of unscrupulous, pragmatist, manichaeist and messianic mentality, incompatible with the best of our evangelical tradition.

May the Lord have mercy on us.

Recife, 21st September 2005
Feast of St Mathew, Apostle and Evangelist.

Members of the Diocesan Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Recife:
Revmo. Dom Filadelfo Oliveira Neto* Bishop of DAR
Rev. Gustavo Gilson S. de Oliveira Chairman of the Diocesan Standing Committee
Rev. Fernando Antônio Gonçalves Secretary of the Diocesan Standing Committee
Rev. João C. Peixoto Filho Member
Rev. Josafá Batista dos Santos Member
Sr. João Batista Neto Member
Sr. Joelson Félix Member
Sra. Márcia Silva Member
Rev. Rodrigo Espiúca Executive Secretary of DAR

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 2 October 2005 at 12:09am BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Or, to clarify (for the Lambeth '08 invitation list?)---

Rt.Rev. Robinson (Gene) of New Hampshire: rightful (and faithful) bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Mr. Robinson Cavalcanti, formerly of Recife: . . . Not So Much. :-/

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Sunday, 2 October 2005 at 6:08am BST

I am amazed how the listing of the so called replacement bishop in the ACO can be shown as proof of who is bishop when that is precisely what is under appeal to the Communion Panel and the ABC. That simply is a clerical attempt at a fait accompli.

The letter from the so called standing committee is simply a letter from a group that has been part of the majority in an Anglican Province which has, in its majority, opposed the clear teaching of the Anglican Communion. Such overbearing behavior is very familiar to us in North America. It is now the expected totalitarian bullying of those who wish to impose a belief system at odds with what is both the received teaching of the Communion and above all, of the Holy Scriptures. It is why we have so often sought redress in the larger Communion. Who rules? Those with the votes or those who follow Scripture - which is meant to be our supreme authority and under whose authority only we find unity in Christ? St. Stephen the martyr was a majority of one contra persecution.

I thank God for the bold intervention of ++Venables who has sought to rescue these Godly priests, congregations and Bishop.

Posted by: Ian Montgomery on Sunday, 2 October 2005 at 9:37am BST

"The real Anglican Diocese of Recife".

The same line seems to be recurring in a number of places about claim to what is and is not "Anglican".

Apart from anything it is a shocking travesty of justice that the Anglican Communion Office has prematurely made this change to its database.

It's far from clear legally and far from agreed around the Communion that the Bishop of Recife can act as he has, or that the ACO should recognise his schismatic action.

As Greg Venables has pointed out:
"the actions against the bishop and clergy were prosecuted by the Province of the Church of Brazil despite the strenuous objections of senior leaders in the communion and the establishment of a Panel of Reference by the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury to address situation like this."

For more info:

http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=9224

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 2 October 2005 at 12:25pm BST

Well, if the website says so, that settles it.
It's official.
Like Ian Paisley's doctorate.

Posted by: Mark Beaton on Sunday, 2 October 2005 at 10:19pm BST

So it is 'agree to go with us or get denounced.' When are the stakes going to be reintroduced?

Luckily like AMIA, they are in through a back door.

Posted by: Tunde on Monday, 3 October 2005 at 3:24pm BST

"Amazing revelation, new leadership of diocese claims the previous lot were bad 'uns"... Hardly surprising that the new "Bishop" and his merry men are saying nasty things about the others. I'd believe them a bit more if:

1. they had at least acknowledged that the "previous" lot were not all bad
2. the majority of the diocese's clergy had not backed Bishop Calvati.. and had to be sacked to stop them supporting him in any synod meeting!

To quote the TLC article: "The Primate of the Southern Cone, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables, has annexed the bulk of the Brazilian Diocese of Recife, giving sanctuary to its bishop and *90 percent* of its clergy, congregations and property in their fight with the Primate of Brazil, Archbishop Orlando de Oliveira."

Nasty rebellious Bishops don't get the support of 90% of their clergy... especially if the clergy's jobs are threatened..

That sort of loyalty comes from respect!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 3 October 2005 at 6:33pm BST

Simon has now revealed the real secret of the Anglican Communion; it is held together by a particular website.

It does help to laugh at ourselves in the midst of this tragic bifurcation and infighting.

Posted by: Kendall Harmon on Monday, 3 October 2005 at 10:17pm BST

"they had at least acknowledged that the "previous" lot were not all bad".

Now, I am DEFINITELY not implying that what I have to say pertains to the Recife situation at all, but I'm speaking of a general principle...

Dave, I don't know about you, but I have once had the misfortune to be involved in a church that had TWO complete sociopaths in charge. To most people they seemed thoroughly charming and were able to command quite a following, but, I was privy to affairs in a way that enabled me to see them for what they were.

Even when they were out of their previous positions of authority, they exerted, via wicked manipulations, an extraordinary influence in the otherwise oblivious church.

It is quite possible that the previous 'lot' in Recife were mostly very bad.

I'm not saying they were, but it is quite possible that they were.

So it is NOT necessary for the latter lot to make that particular concession you demand.

I know practically nothing of the people and events involved here, on either side, and very few of us do.

If there is a way to clear this up by way of some sort of an inquiry, I'd be all for it, instead of all this endless second-guessing.

Posted by: Augustus Meriwether on Tuesday, 4 October 2005 at 3:38pm BST

That's why the Panel of Reference should presumably be getting involved Augustus?

But as everywhere, its silence is deafening. :(

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 4 October 2005 at 5:00pm BST

Dear Augustus, 90% of any diocese clergy being so bad they had to be sacked is extremely unlikely. In addition, Bishop Cavalti and Recife have several good links to the CofE in the UK via a mission organisation (SAMS) and CofE folk who are working with him in Brazil.

He is also one of the main speakers at the Church of England Evangelical Councils forthcoming Meeting (CEEC is the main evengelical forum in the CofE).

I think CEEC know enough about him to know whether he's a "sociopath", and would be unlikely to support him and invite him to speak if that were the case!

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 4 October 2005 at 6:08pm BST

I am glad Kendall made his comment, but it seems the American Anglican Council does not have such a generous sense of humour, see http://tinyurl.com/dpmnr

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 4 October 2005 at 9:55pm BST

That's because it isn't really a laughing matter, Simon. It's a naked bid for power propagated by those who constantly recite the cant of 'inclusivity', even while they try to exclude most of the national Anglican church. How do you think this appears to most of the world's Anglicans?

Posted by: Mark Beaton on Tuesday, 4 October 2005 at 10:15pm BST

. . . and a thousand years ago, it was the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch "annexing" and "giving sanctuary to" yada-yada-yada.

Schism is schism.

It's always ugly.

Lord have mercy.

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Wednesday, 5 October 2005 at 1:59am BST

You miss an important part of my point, Dave.

The theoretical sociopath can often command quite a following, and can lead them even to their deaths (Manson for an extreme example, purely for illustration). It is standard for them to be charming and impress the right people, such as, purely by way of example, the CEEC or '90%' of a diocese. It doesn't take the full '90%' of the sociopath's following to be 'bad'. They would probably be perfectly well intentioned. I am obliged to say that I used 'lot' in my previous post as a euphemism for Calvacati and perhaps a few close to him, not everyone who sympathised with him.

In my time working in the field of mental health, I came across several and know how widely and effectively they can fool the rest of the world. That's the thing about sociopaths: they can be extremely destructive and self-serving, yet utterly charming at the same time. Usually they are expertly manipulative.

If for example, a sociopath was in the position of bishop and was causing disruption and harm to the local church and the church was to respond by removing him from his position of authority, I would expect that bishop to make it as messy and complicated and difficult as possible, and to take as many people down with him as possible and to convince as many people as possible that he was a victim and the church a monster. That would be standard, a given almost.

I don't know the bishop in Recife, nor the details of its history beyond that which we get from these letters and press releases.

That's why every one of us who is not intimately privy to the facts (most of us) needs to accept that the situation could be anywhere along the spectrum of possibilities from my worst-case Calvacati-as-sociopath scenario to the AAC's Calvacati-as-martyr scenario. The truth has to lie somewhere along this spectrum. None of us is able to discern where it is, from looking at who associates with Calvacati (see Rasputin) or how many followed him (see Hitler). That indicates a big fat zero.

We need an independent inquiry to settle this once and for all. How independent is a 'panel of reference'?? Who is on the panel? How are those people chosen? Can that PoR be accepted by everyone, indisputably, as being independent?

I emphasise: all the above is entirely to illustrate general points, I am not saying anything about the integrity (or sanity) of Calvacati; in fact I'm saying I have no idea whether he is a sociopath, a martyr or something in-between. The only way to stop the slander (because slander it is, one way or another) is for an impartial, in depth inquiry.

Until then, anyone removed from the situation who uses it to shore up their own ideological campaigns, is not being reasonable to say the least.

Posted by: Augustus Meriwether on Wednesday, 5 October 2005 at 3:06am BST

Augustus Meriweather writes:
'I emphasise: all the above is entirely to illustrate general points, I am not saying anything about the integrity (or sanity) of Calvacati;'
- (but of course I've just suggested he possesses neither)
'...in fact I'm saying I have no idea whether he is a sociopath, a martyr or something in-between.'
- (now I've hinted he's a sociopath - and gosh, did you see how I cunningly compared him to Hitler and Rasputin?!)
'...The only way to stop the slander (because slander it is, one way or another) is for an impartial, in depth inquiry.'
Augustus, the way to stop slander is not to begin it. 'Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we should be silent' (Wittgenstein). And as you admit you know almost nothing about the man, you could at least find out his name, which is Cavalcanti.

Posted by: Mark Beaton on Wednesday, 5 October 2005 at 5:46pm BST

To be fair, Mark, the wrong spellings of his name started much earlier in this thread, and by those who might be supposed to be his supporters...

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2005 at 6:30pm BST

"the wrong spellings of his name started much earlier in this thread..." :-(

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 5 October 2005 at 11:17pm BST

Dear oh dear,

Mark, I'm very sorry I mis-spelled Cavalcanti's name. You see, I'm vulnerable to error - but that is to be expected because I hold to a different ideology to your own. If I held to the same ideology, maybe I would not make any mistakes... like Calvacanti.

"but of course I've just suggested he possess neither)"

That is exactly what I have NOT done. What I did do, as clearly as possible, was 'suggested he MAY POSSIBLY possesses neither, as much as you or I or the next person, and if you are going to discuss someone who you do not know personally VERY WELL, then it is not rational to deny this possibility as Dave, and apparently you are doing.

Similarly I very obviously did not compare Cavalcanti to Hitler or Rasputin. Sociopaths take many different forms, it is clear from my post that I was illustrating the folly of looking at who a given sociopath associates with or how many follow him in order to prove or disprove the condition of sociopathy, which Dave implied. I had to illustrate that. There's no point in me using 'client x' who I worked with in 2002.

Because I say a person's name in the same posting or paragraph that contains another person's name, does not mean I am comparing the two people with each other.

I think we should try to be honest about what each other is saying (or trying to say, for goodness sake!) for there to be any point to discussion.

By way of an example, is it slander to say Terry, who I have never seen, could be enormously fat, or he could be really skinny? I don't know what his weight situation is. So if I hear people, who have also never seen him, assuming and saying he is lithe and fit and so he should be allowed entry to the lithe and fit club, and the receptionist of the club, Hilda (who none of us has seen either), who we hear will not allow him entry on the grounds of her opinion that he is not lithe and fit enough, is extremely fat herself and should be barred rather than barring poor old Terry.

By your logic Mark, me saying, 'hang on, for all we know, Terry could be a right old chub, let's wait until we see him and Hilda before we make our minds up.' is slander. I disagree.

It is either Terry or Hilda and their supporters who are saying the other IS unfit and should be barred (one of them is correct, the other false) who is perpetuating a slander. The Recife slander should be stopped by an inquiry. They should get a move on. I'd still love to know who makes up the panel of ref, or how it is made up, etc.

(oh dear, I bet people will think I'm calling Calvacanti fat now)

I raised the issue because people -who don't know him, his opponents and the situation intimately- are claiming that everyone should confirm that HE is saintly and sane and everyone who has opposed him is as wicked as can be. That you consider it slander that in challenging this assertion I remind people that it is possible that anyone, including you or me or Calvacanti, or even his opponents (I implied as much with the Calvacanti-as-martyr scenario), might be suffering from a sociopathic personality disorder, because we are not able atm to know otherwise, confirms in me that I was right to raise that fact.

People can be mad and bad even though we don't want them to be. People need to adjust to this fact of life and not rush to make unqualified defense for someone, apparently (because they are not privy to the intimate facts of the case) simply because that someone holds similar ideology to their own.

Do you see? Dave says 'They should say this man is not bad', and I say, 'Nope, they needn't do that; for all you or I know, he might be bad because...' and you say 'that's slander and you spelt it wrong'. Round and round and round and round...

Posted by: Augustus Meriwether on Thursday, 6 October 2005 at 4:05am BST

Ian Montgomery wrote: I am amazed how the listing of the so called replacement bishop in the ACO can be shown as proof of who is bishop when that is precisely what is under appeal to the Communion Panel and the ABC. That simply is a clerical attempt at a fait accompli.

Now, regardless of any possible future action of the Communion Panel, under the rules of the game (Canon Law), this is how things stand at present.

I find it strange that the rules of the game are so often and so lightly dismissed not only in this conflict in the Anglican Communion, but in American politics in general.

Ian Montgomery wrote: The letter from the so called standing committee is simply a letter from a group that has been part of the majority in an Anglican Province which has, in its majority, opposed the clear teaching of the Anglican Communion. Such overbearing behavior is very familiar to us in North America. It is now the expected totalitarian bullying of those who wish to impose a belief system at odds with what is both the received teaching of the Communion and above all, of the Holy Scriptures. It is why we have so often sought redress in the larger Communion.

“Overbearing” or not these are the rules of the game.

And it seems to me that the former Bishop and his followers have put themselves in a somewhat awkward position, going against the rules of the game (like them or not – they are the rules).

And, as the rules are what they are, there is no “redress” to be had from the “larger Communion”, that is the politicizing Bishops of the self proclaimed “Global South”, financed from North America.

As to “both the received teaching of the Communion and above all, of the Holy Scriptures” there seems to bee little or no consensus on this point, only different theological traditions based on differing interpretations of a host of varying translations and paraphrases - advising caution.

Ian Montgomery wrote: Who rules? Those with the votes or those who follow Scripture – which is meant to be our supreme authority and under whose authority only we find unity in Christ? St. Stephen the martyr was a majority of one contra persecution.

Now, under the XXXIX Articles, the Bible is not “supreme authority”. This is Calvinism not Anglicanism. Sect not Church.

What the Reformers claimed was “sola scriptura”.

This does not mean “supreme authority”, but “not beyond what is written” (1st Cor 4.6). That is that nothing b e y o n d what is written in the Bible may be r e q u i r e d of anybody (meaning later and un-biblical teachings).

Which is precisely what this conflict is (officially) about.

These new mandatory “one man one woman heteromarried” social teachings placed on Genesis 1 and 2, are very late; 1960ies at the most, and virtually unknown in other churches (such as mine).

Before that, marriage was a lesser celibacy for those week in the Flesh. I remember distinctly.

Ian Montgomery wrote: I thank God for the bold intervention of ++Venables who has sought to rescue these Godly priests, congregations and Bishop.

This intervention may be bold, but in Church Law (I’m not speaking only of Canon Law here) it’s a nullity.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 8 October 2005 at 6:18am BST

Göran Koch-Swahne: "under the XXXIX Articles, the Bible is not “supreme authority”. This is Calvinism not Anglicanism. Sect not Church."

Sorry to disappoint you:

Article XIX Of the Church
"......As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith."

And Article XX
XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
"The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another...."

The Church has erred and what it does must not represent anything contrary to God's Word written.
The plain meaning of that is that the Bible has the final say as supreme authority.

Posted by: Neil on Saturday, 8 October 2005 at 1:28pm BST

Neil, we've been here before. May I remind you of what Mr Hooker wrote:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001181.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 October 2005 at 2:03pm BST

Yes it's funny that. I guess your comment is addressed to those to whom I was responding too?

Hooker may or may not have said or understood something. MY point is very very simple: the Anglican formularies and 39 Articles are one of the things that Anglican clergy swear to uphold at every appointment. And they most certainly assent supremacy to Scripture.

Posted by: Neil on Saturday, 8 October 2005 at 3:57pm BST

Dear Neil,

These Articles do not talk of "supremacy". They say "not beyond what is written".

"it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's word written".

They further say that church organizations may decide "in their living and manner of ceremonies", but not against what is written.

And the following clause "neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another", which is what Rome and Calvinism do when they make laws for their followers, that go "beyond what is written".

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 8 October 2005 at 6:36pm BST

The article by Mike Russell is very clear.

The XXXIX Articles cannot be read as giving "assent" (funny word in the circumstances) to the Calvinist idea of a "supremacy" of Scripture.

They reject the idea.

I want to add, that the continental/lutheran sola scriptura means the same thing as Dr Hooker. But of course, there also, people have tried to re-interpret this quatenus; conforming to a Calvinist mode ;=)

But both Articles XIX and XX, and sola scriptura mean, that nothing may be required of anybody, that is not expressly stated in the Bible.

The Bible contains "all things nescessary for Salvation" and nothing outside of the Bible is necessary.

No inventions, no extra-biblical teaching may be made compulsory, may be made prerequisites of a sectarian "membership".

And there are a few of those both in Rome and in Calvinism ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 9 October 2005 at 7:29am BST

Clergy in the Church of England give assent to the 39 Articles only in the following terms:

I, A B, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorized or allowed by Canon

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 9 October 2005 at 8:03am BST

Revealed, set forth, bear witness.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 9 October 2005 at 10:21am BST

For the sake of full accuracy, the preface to the words Simon selectively quotes is:
"The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. In the declaration you are about to make, will you affirm your loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care?"

It seems that Anglican clergy do affirm their loyalty to traditional, orthodox, biblical Christianity as inherited in "its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons".

And for fear of being told that I am going over tired old ground, unlike the posts above: the plain English understanding of the church (which has erred) may not lawfully ordain anything which is contrary to the Word of God written is that the Word of God written "trumps" anything which the church unlawfully ordains which is contrary to it.
Splitting hairs does come to mind.

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 9 October 2005 at 12:55pm BST

I had intended to include the following link in my earlier comment:
http://cofe.anglican.org/worship/liturgy/commonworship/texts/books/mv/preface.html
but it got left out by mistake; shows you shouldn't post before church on Sunday :-)

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 9 October 2005 at 1:11pm BST

Dear Neil,

Splitting hairs is perhaps not what's happening, but colouring them.

It seems to me that somehow you are reading "revealed, set forth, bear witness" of the Church as the "supreme authority" of Calvinism.

How?

And it further seems to me, that the next phrase: "neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another...." really is what is happening in this modern anti-modern social politics.

The Bible is being subordinated to anti-modern political claims.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 9 October 2005 at 2:40pm BST
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