Friday, 29 December 2006

‘Own goal’ rebuke for CEEC

The Church Times reports that Bishop Pete Broadbent has disowned the “covenant” document. Read Pat Ashworth’s report here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 29 December 2006 at 11:07pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

"There seem to be no grounds at this juncture to suggest that any of our liberal bishops have got more liberal, or become more outrageous, than they were six months or a year ago."

Indeed. I can't say I can remember any instance of the "liberal" brigade (such as remain) having *done* anything except call for unity.

(A cynic would add a contrapositive echo of that sentence, too...)

Posted by: Tim on Saturday, 30 December 2006 at 10:09am GMT

I have not seen this bishop’s letter and know only too well how news reports can often mislead.

But for me the idea that those who produced the "Covenant" have "scored an own-goal" is symptomatic of a mindset that I find deplorable.

I felt no joy in reading the “Covenant's” messy thinking; I did not feel justified or happy that those who would happily deprive me of my orders can turn out such tosh, quite the opposite.

Nor was I impressed by his “outrageous” references to his fellow bishops – silly stuff, nasty stuff, not becoming of his office.

This is not a game. My family are not sitting here wondering which “side” is going to score the most goals, we are looking to people like him and his fellow bishops to bring this fiasco to an end in a way that gives honour to God, Scripture, Tradition and Reason while at the same time not making us outcasts, rather honouring us too. If his heart is, as the extracts from this letter suggest, so deeply entrenched in “party spirit” then perhaps he may be in the wrong job.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 30 December 2006 at 7:40pm GMT

More good news. Hold firm. This storm will also pass.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 30 December 2006 at 8:46pm GMT

I must admit, that line made me laugh, that they haven't done anything more outrageous. Happy New Year to all the unoutrageous.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 30 December 2006 at 8:55pm GMT

I notice that +Pete isn't actually disagreeing with many of the issues raised by the CCE - even though he doesn't like the way it was issued.

However, according to the Chairman of CEEC: "The CEEC consented in October to the signatures of the President and Chairman being appended to this ‘covenant.’" ( http://www.ceec.info/library/positional/Note%20for%20CEEC.htm ) and many of the points of criticism raised by TA commentators were addressed in the explanatory notes that were issued with the list of signatories (which Simon already posted).

Personally I don't agree with the suggestion (from +Pete and +Wright I think) that non-liberals should have only spoken 'out of turn' if/when the situation became as bad in the CofE as in TEC. Speaking out now might well help avoid the same folly of rejecting Christian faith and morality.. Silence and uncritical listening are too easily assumed to indicate approval.

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 1 January 2007 at 11:57pm GMT

Dave - you're missing the point of +Broadbent's broadside. You quote: "However, according to the Chairman of CEEC: "The CEEC consented in October to the signatures of the President and Chairman being appended to this ‘covenant.’" "

Bishop Broadbent is quoted in the CT as saying: "... that members had not been able to read or agree to the document in its final draft. It had not appeared on an agenda paper, and minutes of meetings appeared no longer to be distributed. He describes the CEEC as in “deep disarray”."

He might or might not have agreed with much of the CCE - this is a moot point. He wasn't given the chance to do so, even though he's on the CEEC committee. So, I have to presume many or most of CEEC didn't consent. As we already know, Reform members never saw the final draft, or perhaps even a first draft.

The CCE is worthless, discredited, destroyed.

Posted by: Simon Morden on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 12:50am GMT

Well, what the real agenda of the document suggests is a wish to get liberals out of the CofE. They know they can't do it, sop they suggest this entirely spurious process in order to facilitate a split, which they think is on its way internationally.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 10:26am GMT

"Speaking out now might well help avoid the same folly of rejecting Christian faith and morality."

Whose folly are we talking about, btw? Anglicanism's or that of the ConsEvs?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 2:35pm GMT

"members had not been able to read or agree to the document in its final draft. It had not appeared on an agenda paper, and minutes of meetings appeared no longer to be distributed."

You know, that reads almost word for word the same as ++Ndungane's comments on The GS Communique. Do you think ++Capetown and +Willesden are co-conspirators in some deep dark plot:-)??

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 2:38pm GMT

"folly of rejecting Christian faith and morality"
Wow, now there's a statement! Can you explain? Are you actually saying that people who seek some form of acceptance of gay people are rejecting Christianity? Funny, since all the "Liberal" discussion of this issue that I have read concerns Scripture, the Fathers, the Tradition, the meaning of the Incarnation and how it is redemptive, what it means for Christians to be free from the Law, and on and on. Quite the opposite of rejection of Christian faith, actually, since it addresses the issue from the historic Christian tradition and seeks to understand it within that tradition. How is this rejection of Christianity? Or perhaps you see rejection of Christian faith elsewhere than on this issue. Or maybe you've just been reading "Equipping the Saints". Disagreement on one point of doctrine is not rejection of the Christian faith.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 4:54pm GMT

Nothing good can come from a group (or groups) whose raison d'etre, at least in this action, is to deny freedom of religion to their fellow countrymen and fellow anglicans. And yet this is what they claim for themselves, and what could be more fundamental in a Western liberal democracy ?

The politicking, the misrepresentation, misleading of, and even prhaps lies to their own contituncies / members shows how group processes and political procsedures take over from considerations of truth, integrity and sound practice within a Christian body. We can all so easily get mired like them --but they like any of us need to flee such worldliness. No good can ever come of it.
That is why lavatories are private places, useful places, but their utility is exaggerated, if one ecides to leap in head first ! Wasn't this what Jesus was getting at, when he said 'its what come sout of a man that can defile' so no need for purity rituals, spliting and projection / scapegoating --that's what I'm saying any way--so there it is !

Posted by: laurence on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 5:27pm GMT

Dear Simon Morden, I guess the +Pete didn't attend the October meeting where the CEEC council agreed that the Chairman and President could sign the CCE.

Whether the CEEC is in deep disarray is I suspect "debate-able", but I certainly don't think that you can say that the CCE is "worthless, discredited, destroyed" - many people agree with what is in the CCE - even if they don't agree with the language, tone or timing.

In fact many churches have been quietly making 'arrangements' for years. Many larger CofE churches don't pay the full diocesan "share" - they just haven't trumpeted about it until now. One of the two CofE Mega-churches whose leaders aren't represented on the CCE, St Thomas Crookes, "spun off" a large part of its operations a couple of years ago by forming an independent mission church - thus side-stepping the restrictions of being a CofE parish. The other, HTB, is also hardly keeping within it's parish boundaries... but it does have a supportive Bishop who is enabling their church planting, international evangelism (outside Diocesn control I suspect) and plans to start a Theological college!

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 6:12pm GMT

Dear Merseymike and Laurence, I don't think that the CCE folk want to deny other people their "freedom of religion". What I guess they *would* like is for "Liberals" to decide whether or not they want to be Christians!

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 6:17pm GMT

Ford Elms wrote: "perhaps you see rejection of Christian faith elsewhere than on this issue"....

Dear Ford, Yes. The debate about sexuality is just one of several presenting issues. Other examples are: divorce, remarriage (and sexual morality generally), abortion, the uniqueness of Christ, the authority of Scripture in matters of faith and conduct, and the language/attitudes of traditional Christianity... I'm continuously amazed that liberals fail to feel uncomfortable that their recent "revelations" on these issues are more-or-less identical to recent changes in the values of the society in which they live!

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 6:57pm GMT

Dave - all you're doing is guessing. Unless you were there, you don't know. Neither do we have minutes which confirm what the chairman of CEEC says, that the council agreed they could (sight unseen) sign the CCE.

Sorry and all, but Dave Walker's cartoon is funny because it's *true*. There is nothing bar two men and a dog behind the screen. Beyond the CCE's language, tone and timing, there's nothing - it's a pricked balloon that went bang, startled some folk who thought it might be a bomb or a gun shot, but who laughed when they realised it was only hot air.

Posted by: Simon Morden on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 10:45pm GMT

Dave let slip
In fact many churches have been quietly making 'arrangements' for years. Many larger CofE churches don't pay the full diocesan "share" - they just haven't trumpeted about it until now. One of the two CofE Mega-churches whose leaders aren't represented on the CCE, St Thomas C....."

So in other words, all those postings which we've enduired from some contributors about how ConsEvs are really really looking forward to spending their money how they like and not supporting abyone else is cobblers — they're doing it already, and so the CofE as we know and occasionally love it will be supremely financially unaffected by their secession?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 12:21am GMT

Seems to be like Ananias and Saphira to me ......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 12:12pm GMT

Dave,
WRT divorce and remarriage, the Orthodox church allows both, with penetential aspects concerning the failure of the first marriage introduced into a second marriage service. Their attitude is that it is part of the Divine economy toward fallible broken humanity. "Traditional" teaching on this thus varies. As far as I know, the Anglican teaching on abortion is that it is acceptable when the life of the mother is in danger, and the "traditional" teaching on when human life begins has changed over the centuries. I do not see that modern Anglicanism has jettisoned its attitude towards the authority of Scripture, though it may seem so to those who insist on 'sola scriptura', a much more modern innovation in Christian understanding of authority. The language and attitude of Christianity? What is the tradition on this area that has been rejected? As to the uniqueness of Christ, to suggest that a Hindu may get into Heaven is not the same as rejecting Jesus as "the Way, the truth, and the Life". Why is this such an issue? Jesus tells us to let our light shine. How is this effected by telling others they have to convert or burn? The are better ways to evangelize, surely, though in my experience, Evangelicals use fear almost exclusively. I stand to be corrected. I'm consistently amazed that conservatives fail to feel uncomfortable at how their understanding of Scripture ties so closely to the mores of the society of a few decades ago. Why are previous compromises of Christian principles acceptable to conservatives when modern ones are anathema? Believe me, I have as much problem with the blessing of warships as you have with the blessing of gay relationships. Why is sexual sin so odious when it seems that economic sin is not, or when we allow people to kill when the government tells them to? I agree that we are too tied to the world. It's just that I see those ties as extending much further back than you do, and if we are to break those ties, and I think we ought, we need to look at a lot more than the "innovations" of the 20th century.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

Dear Ford, I did not state an absolutist position on divorce, abortion, or even salvation of adherants of other religions!

What I said about divorce, abortion etc is that they are other "presenting issues" - and highlight how Liberals' new "revelations" tend to look amazingly like recent changes in society's values.. :-)

And I disagree with you on evangelicals/traditionalists accepting compromises on yesterday's societal values - just think of what some of the great Evangelicals of yester-year achieved in the face of establishment opposition (eg William Wilberforce [slavery] and John Wesley's early followers [prison reform etc]).

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 6:34pm GMT

Dear mynsterpreost and Martin, Evangelicals still contribute proportionately more than liberals to central funds..

As for Ananias and Saphira: if the dioceses were as faithful and dynamic as the Early Church I think many evangelicals would be being extremely generous! :-))

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 6:59pm GMT

Liberals have decided, Dave.

They do not wish to be 'Christians' according to your conservative evangelical definition.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 9:39pm GMT

"Evangelicals still contribute proportionately more than liberals to central funds"

I think "non-evangelicals" rather than "liberals" is what you mean (members of staunch BCP & Hunt Ball congregations in the Cotswolds might choke over their Daily Telegraph' at being called liberals).

But your raw data (as all raw data) may be misleading. Do you mean that, as a proportion of disposable income evangelical Anglicans contribute more than non-evangelicals? Or that the Church's equivalent of (I think what the Bank of England used to call) M0 - that is raw cash, in which case correction would be needed to compensate for the tendency noted by the Bishop of Durham of evangelical congregations to be located in wealthy settlements? Have the statistics been standardised in any way?

Could you give me some sources for your statistics, then, or perhaps let me know how they are calculated?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 4 January 2007 at 9:50am GMT

Dave romanticised nostalgically
"faithful and dynamic as the Early Church"

to which I reply

Rev. 3 1-6; 3 14-22; I Cor 1 10-13; 5 1-13; 6 1-6; 11 17ff....

I could go on, but on my analysis the CofE is pretty well nigh a perfect mirror of the primitive Church:-) and the efforts of the neo-puritans are an attempt to subvert us from that scriptural and apostolic tradition:-)))

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 4 January 2007 at 9:57am GMT

Dave,
Usury? War? Two pretty big compromises there, I think. I haven't heard of anyone being in "impaired communion" with bishops who refuse to repudiate these things. Goodness, on this site I have had people argue that usury isn't a sin! I've also had conservative priests(on other boards) tell me I didn't understand the theological justification for war! I can't help but wonder why thius, admittedly ancient, compromise is so acceptable when modern ones aren't.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 4 January 2007 at 12:56pm GMT

Dear mynsterpreost, I think Simon had some official reports. Here is a newspaper report: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/12/10/npriest10.xml

I might add that many larger evangelical churches also employ extra staff. This is not taken into account when calculating the "share" (which is just based on electoral role and estimated average income) - but the CofE website still claims that additional expenditure as a part of the overall expenditure of the Church: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/funding/

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 6 January 2007 at 12:09am GMT

ps I meant the Early Church in Jerusalem (as per Martin's reference to Ananias and Saphira)!

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 6 January 2007 at 12:10am GMT

Dear Ford, I think you are a little fundamentalist in your interpretation of the Bible on usury - but I respect your self sacrifice if you have decided on principle not to accept interest on your savings!

On war - I think you may be a little confused if you think that the Bible condemns it! Try reading through the Old Testament and come back to me on that one!

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 6 January 2007 at 12:17am GMT

Dave lauded "the Early Church in Jerusalem".

You mean the one which became an irrelevance by its insistence on full ritual Jewish observance and finally vanished in one or other of the Jewish revolts? Not a good model....

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Monday, 8 January 2007 at 11:40am GMT

Dave, tour 'Telegraph' link is virtually meaningless.

If parish share is based on electoral roll and income, (it isn't in this diocese btw) then wealthy metropolitan mega churches will inevitably put more into the coffers per building than St Agatha-by-the-millpond (ER 25, Pop 35) somewhere in the Norfolk fens or St Martin-by-the-security-shutter in Moss Side (80% on state benefits).

The crucial statistic which I NEVER see ConsEvs coming up with is per capita giving as a proportion of disposable income, or correlated against prosperity.

And since I have rather boringly raised this question once or twice never to have had an answer from conservative posters, I conclude reluctantly that the only evidence there is, which is a Newcastle diocese study, is that when these sorts of factors are taken into account the ConsEv megachurches are simply not pulling their weight — which is something Tom Wright worries about as well.

Odd though it may sound, I rather believe that if the megabucks from the COnsEv shrines stops coming in (although there's evidence that many places are alrady withholding anything but the bare minimum, so perhaps we won't notice any difference), CofE may become a financially poorer church, but spiritually speaking we will be far more a servant Church, on the side of the 'people of the land', than some wealthy megapuritan set-up which distances itself from its impure neighbours.

Just because non-ConsEVs don't make a lot of noise about the depth of their faith doesn't mean we're not out there getting on with it, you know.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Monday, 8 January 2007 at 11:57am GMT

Dear Dave, I think you are a little fundamentalist in your interpretation of the Bible on homosexuality!

On war - I think you may be a little confused if you think that the Church didn't condemn it! Try reading through the Ten Commandments and come back to me on that one! You might also want to look at the saints who, before the peace of Constantine, felt that military service and the Christian faith were incompatible. Are you seriously saying that it can be acceptable for Christians to take a human life? You might also want to look at the ease with which you jettison your otherwise strict interpretation of Biblical "Laws" when they conflict with your acceptance of the way the Church has compromised Her principles in the interest of getting along with the world. BTW, the Church tells me usury is no sin. Are you telling me I can accept Her change of heart on that but not on sexuality? I am in good company in my belief that usury is a sin, Dave, Christians throughout the ages have said so:
http://www.anglocatholicsocialism.org/excursus.html

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 8 January 2007 at 2:19pm GMT
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