Saturday, 14 July 2007

The Common Cause of a Common Light

The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group, and currently Rector of the Church of the Ascension, Pueblo, Colorado, USA but soon to become professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada has written a paper, published at the ACI website, entitled The Common Cause of a Common Light. Here’s how it starts:

The movement towards a separated North American Anglican church, aligned perhaps with one part of the Anglican Communion and not another, appears to be gaining steam. The focus of the Anglican Communion Network’s official leadership has shifted perceptibly towards this goal, overtly transferring its energies from its work as a coalition of American traditionalist bishops working representatively with the larger Communion, to the strategy of a “Common Cause” formation of a new ecclesial structure that would function either as a new Anglican Communion province, or as a province in a new alternative Anglican Communion. Regular consultation among Network bishops has diminished in frequency, while the work on Common Cause has demanded new and steadier communication.

Is this shift of energies positive? As a founding member of the Network, I would urge more open discussion about this. Indeed, it is a discussion that has not taken place in any organized, illuminated, and Communion-wide basis, and it needs to, quickly and honestly and without rancor. Obviously, the topic has long been a staple of blog debate. But however informative such debate can be, it is not a substitute for common prayer, discussion, and discernment as a Body in the Lord. Indeed, most bloggers are anonymous or pseudonymous, their representative roles blurred or hidden, and their actual numbers limited by the psychological demands of the genre. Yet, from Lambeth to North America to Africa, much that we know about the hopes and strategies of the coming months comes only on internet discussions culled from partially leaked memos, recorded off-hand comments, indirect interviews, secret informants, and pure speculation. And on this basis people declare their allegiances! The Anglican Church is longing for an open council, un-manipulated by guile and passion; yet what we are getting instead are the sparks of competing political strategies that have the effect of inculcating ecclesial passivity drunk on anxiety.

It’s worth reading right through, despite a problem with its formatting which one hopes will be fixed soon.

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Radner's concerns in point 2/3 are very pertinent.

Especially "It seems as if some of the quiet strategizing that is taking place derives from such a deep suspicion with respect to large parts of the Communion, including its Instruments of Communion, that only stealth is deemed an appropriate and prudent way forward."

Yet I do not agree with his conclusions that the Episcopal church as a whole has shown a brazen disregard for taking counsel and discussion. They have taken counsel and discussion within their own dioceses and their own dioceses have made choices that are appropriate for their jurisdiction.

Others might be concerned about the precedent being set to be applied within their own dioceses (e.g. the possibility of ordaining women seems to have sent some dioceses feral many years ago).

But to be honest, I think the problem is that they are worried that if the slaves are given freedom in another nation, they might have to deal with their own slaves desiring freedom too.

Once again, the complaint seems not to be about failing to listen to people, but failing to win the debate.

For some Christian ethics has become the equivalent of "We love Jesus and never say anything bad about Jesus, so therefore we are good (even if we do bad things behind closed doors)."

There is a Jewish joke that a husband asks his rabbi that if he speaks alone in a forest where his wife can't hear him, is he then right? It is based on the Jewish tradition that if a husband's conduct is going to bring disrepute to the family's reputation, his wife explains to him long and carefully where his theology and conduct are in error.

Paul's exhortations for women's submission should also be applied in kind for men. There is a higher calling, and that is to honor the intent of the Torah, which supercedes any one personality, no matter high up they are in God's authority structure. No individual is above God's Law. An individual bequeathed responsibility for all the peopleS of all the nationS has to provide justice to all peoples in all nations. Not just to the flattering sycophants who do their ugly machinations behind closed doors whilst singing flattering praise in public.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 14 July 2007 at 11:40pm BST

"The focus of the Anglican Communion Network’s official leadership has shifted perceptibly towards this goal, overtly transferring its energies from its work as a coalition of American traditionalist bishops working representatively with the larger Communion, to the strategy of a “Common Cause” formation of a new ecclesial structure that would function either as a new Anglican Communion province, or as a province in a new alternative Anglican Communion."

Yep, there we see the bait-and-switch tactic right there. The Network has been telling parishes that they need to join and leave TEC in order to remain Anglican, when their eventual goal is a smaller and purged Anglican Communionish structure.

Posted by: ruidh on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 2:42am BST

I wouldn't hold my breath for anything coming from the ACI.

Having said that, I wouldn't hold my breath either for any of what Radner seems to be saying here: on the one hand, its all about the politics of defeat and accomodation; on the other hand, he seems to be talking about a veeeery different Anglican Communion than the one I'd be ready to give witness for (stuff like "...If the ACC cannot consider and respondto the executive desires of the Primates, there will be no commonfollowing..." just gives me the shivers!)

Yespleasesomeone findaword editor forthatarticle.

Posted by: Leonel on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 3:33am BST

I have just read an Evangelical commentary on Covenant by Professor Noll.

Please note how there is no definition of what constitutes marriage, other than it is between one man and one woman. Whether Christian marriage is indissoluble or breakable is simply ( Like the REFORM and SUGDEN led Covenant) skirted round. This is deliberate , as if there is an admission that the Anglican Communion cannot agree on this, it will make the stance on homosexuality and the claim of evangelicals to Biblical clarity laughable.

Truly this is self deception par excellence. "Saving marriage", by lowering the bar so as many can jump over, and yet making sure the gays can't surmount it. Heterosexual immorality, adultery is painted out of the picture completely.

There is no point blocking a future adoption of lay presidency , but there is a statement that the eucharist must be in the elements ordained by Christ...this would exclude many evangelicals who refuse to use wine.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 9:25am BST

One of the several foundations of this Church dilemma is American cultural regionalism - a foundation that is not often considered - truly it is the "800 pound gorilla" in the room that is ignored - this cultural viewpoint may seem to add little - it is not "theological"- but it should be an important part of the discussion - it explains much - not the least of which is the geography of the dispute in the USA - As an aside, I must admit that one of the major commentators on a well known conservative blog had me stumped - I questioned how a pastor from Binghamton, NY which is on a fringe area and where cultures mingle became so vehement and judgemental until in a recent post he declared himself to be a fellow Mississippian with Faulkner - that, to me, explained a lot of where he was coming from emotionally and culturally. Our interpretation and view of Theology is conditioned by our culture and this is ignored in most posts - perhaps it is too "fine a point" to translate well overseas but it is worth considering and realizing how regional much of this and , accordingly, not a great surprise when further fissioning occurs within the unique Southern US subculture with its attendant pioneer individualism - this is not the same culture that other US regions have.

Posted by: ettu on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 1:15pm BST

"our interpretation and view of Theology is conditioned by our culture..."

This would be the culture of Virginia outside Washington DC where Republicans have gathered to opportunize on the Bush administration, two isolated congregations. The others are opportunity zones for political right wing agendas, namely, Colorado Springs offshoots from fundamentalist, anti-gay, James Dobson.

This noise is not coming from within the American Episcopal dialogue. It's comming from fundamentalists who've added their voice. They propogate factionalism. If there's a "fine point" to be placed on it, it's that in the US we have a free for all for screamers. They are thugs who've found and easy mark.

Posted by: Curtis on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 2:51pm BST

Ettu, I agree: much of the schismatic energy in the US is a product of its Southern subcultures (have you read "Albion's Seed"?) -- just as much of the energy of the Sydney Anglicans comes from the subculture of Sydney, and not the other way around.

The strength of the US schismatics in recent years has been greatly reinforced by Southern dominance in US national politics, which was made possible, in turn, by the Southern, Evangelical, reliably Republican, "religious right."

A few years ago, this was all spiraling upward, rather like the housing prices in the "Sun Belt" suburbs, and we heard much about the brave new world US Evangelicals were shaping, in tandem with their hero, President George W. Bush, at home and abroad. Now, it is all rapidly spiraling downward again, just like those housing prices, and formerly right-wing Evangelicals are desperate to put daylight between themselves and the Bush Administration.

In one way, Radner's article is just another product of the US crash in right-wing Southern religion. In another, it's quite welcome, as, for the first time, a conservative Evangelical is willing to distance himself from the hugger-mugger of the Network and its supporters. It might have been the defalcation of the Rev. Mr. Don Armstrong, formerly Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Colorado Springs, USA and head of the ACI, together with his subsequent removal to CANA to avoid presentment for financial irregularities. Or perhaps it was the recent spate of irregular consecrations to overlapping US territories by various members of the ever-dwindling "Global South." Whatever it was, I am glad to see him willing to commit to transparency and open argument at last.

Posted by: Charlotte on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 3:02pm BST

The closer we get to various virtual communion reality deadlines, especially as held in the minds of realignment folks, the more and more openly we will hear declarations that are supposed to be obvious to the rest of us, but which probably are not all that obvious. We will probably continue to question special Cons-Evo claims of special godly authority.

The first declaration, naturally, is that the worldwide communion has been shown clearly to be broken beyond repair. We will hear yet again that this must be true, mainly because for several decades now, Cons-Evos believers of very loudly high-minded and exclusive views have little been able to persuade the rest of us that we should hew to this or that priceless flat earth Anglican relic - ranging on offer so far from exclusive iterations of penal liturgy, doctrine, and so forth, to disgust and outrage against excellent women in sacramental leadership, to disgust and outrage that any family member or friend would consider a queer person their gifted and competent equivalent and equal.

The louder this claim gets, the more we seek its empirical foundations. Aside from claims that simply presume that the noisy disgust and outrage are given, completely obvious and unquestioned, we ask: Is it so terrible that we have highly competent and Out queer folks on our teams at work - in businesses, schools, sports, entertainment, libraries, research labs, health services, and human services? That we have caring and partnered - and often parenting - queer folks present at our family gatherings?

The second claim we will hear preached, again ever so loudly, follows on the first. If Cons Evos believers of this special realignment sort cannot persuade the rest of our consciences, then some sort of force must be used. We must be disinvited from all institutions. Separating off into special Cons-Evos institutions is the first phase of realigning aka re-policing the worldwide Anglican communion.

Singling out provinces and dioceses that have turned down the special Cons-Evo path - after listening to it and discerning it as an unwelcome hardening of many Anglican ways - is hardly the best modern example of why church policing does so much better in church life than service and prayer and leeway and tolerance and listening.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 4:12pm BST

Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 9:25am BST --

I have been told on good authority (but I have not seen this for myself) that in the African Equatorial Anglican provinces that it is quite common for other elements to be used instead of the (non-cultural & frequently difficult to acquire) bread & wine -- so much for the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 4:37pm BST

Charlotte - Yes, I have read Fischer's "Albion's Seed" tracing the strands of regionalism up to the present - a required read and one which explains quite a bit of USA politics - I also like his older "Paul Revere's Ride" which - despite it's title- reads like fiction - and good fiction at that - I once left a copy of it in a a house in Stratford on Avon and have always wondered whether it was read or not - tata

Posted by: ettu on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 7:10pm BST

Charlotte and ettu, what has been most surprising for me about the ongoing unpleasantness in our church is how *non-Southern* it is. With some exceptions, the controversy is being driven by places like Albany, Fresno, Pittsburgh, etc.

Even in the case of Fort Worth, Iker is an Ohio carpetbagger. John Howe is from Chicago. Mark Lawrence is a fifth generation Californian. Ackerman, our Admiral of Morality, is from Pennsylvania. Beckwith hails from Michigan. Schofield is from Massachusetts. Bob Duncan is from Joizy. Kendall Harmon is a son of Illinois. And so on.

I have spent most of my life in such conservative places as Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, and I had no idea there were all these angry fundamentalist Episcopalians until 2003, because I had never encountered any. I knew some conservatives, yes, but not fundamentalists, and certainly not the sort of "orthodox Anglicans" who flop around on the floor and "prophesy."

As for Albion's Seed, I would approach it with caution. Its most enthusiastic backers generally know it only through Jane Smiley's crudely propagandistic--and hateful--piece in Huffington Post a few months back.

There is a long history in America of blaming the nation's ills on poor and rural people--I wrote a dissertation on it, in fact, but will spare you the details--and Smiley's essay is simply another example.

If we are looking for the reasons behind the rise of fundamentalist Anglicanism, I think it would be more fruitful to consider factors like privilege, wealth, the machinations of the political right, the rapid pace of social change in recent years, sexual psychology, and the legacy of colonialism, among many others.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 12:56am BST

I hear the comments about culture impacting on theology - Sydney is known as one of the brashest cities in Australia.

That said, I have also been delighted with the speed with which some southern baptist churches have picked up the cues and repented on difficult issues. I have seen several of them blush, and have yet to see that in one Anglican. It pleases God to see contrite hearts e.g. Psalms 57:17 and Isaiah 57:15, as it offers a crumb of hope that compassion and justice can be fully aroused in these souls.

Some might have yet to come around treating GLBTs consistently with the same justice and standards that we require of heterosexuals. Hopefully, if we keep hammering away with the bible, we'll get get repentance there too.

God has an anathema at accusations and opportunism e.g. "You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son." (Psalms 50:20) "...the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim ‘peace’; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him." (Micah 3:5) and at Micah 3:11 "...leaders judge for a bribe, ...priests teach for a price, and ...prophets tell fortunes for money."

drdanfee makes some good points and fragmentation can be God's will. Many prophets warn that God tears down and scatters peoples when they have become too tyrannical and greedy, they can become cursed with only opportunistic priests who prophesy lies and false promises e.g. Jeremiah 14:15-16, Micah 2:9-11, Ezekiel 12:10-24, Jeremiah 23:33-40, 1 Kings 12

God's alternative inclusive vision can be found in Micah 4:6-7 "“I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation." and Micah 2:12-13 "I will surely gather ALL of you, I will surely bring together the remnant... like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head.” In this Godly breakout "... you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard." (Isaiah 52:12)

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 1:21am BST

Prior Aelred

The official consultation on Eucharistic Elements includes the comments from the Berkeley 2001 meeting of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (point 6)

at which diversity of practice is reported, and also some thought about sacred meals in scripture and culture, and also about the practices to be adopted when the official elements are not available.

The notes of the 2005 consultation refer to further work having been done, and to be done - section 13 at:

The progress of these discussions is followed briefly in Joint Liturgical Study 63 'A History of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultations 1983 - 2007' by David Holeton and Colin Buchanan.

Elements are clearly also of significance in Anglican/Methodist dialogue.

The issues are not entirely straightforward - some would ask 'how do wafers count as bread?' for example.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 12:39pm BST

"They have taken counsel and discussion within their own dioceses"
The point is though that they seem not to have taken council with people outside TEC, nor have paid any concern for the views of those outside TEC. I can understand that, and I'm not altogether sure I'd disagree. The idea that to take council with one'sself is sufficient goes against the nature of the Catholic faith, I think.

"I had no idea there were all these angry fundamentalist Episcopalians until 2003"

Same here, and I'm still shocked that there are Anglicans who carry on as you describe. When did hysteria become synonymous with holiness?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 1:38pm BST

"The idea that to take council with one'sself is sufficient goes against the nature of the Catholic faith, I think."

Where do you draw the line? Is the CoE allowed to make its own decisions or does it have to take council with the whole AC?
Or does the Catholic faith require taking council with all Christian churches?
And what does "taking council" mean - agreeing on everything? Putting everything to an international vote? Majority decisions?

I'm not being critical, I genuinely would like to know what kind of taking council you think would have been sufficient.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 3:29pm BST

Bread and Ribena is not unknown

Posted by: L Roberts on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 3:39pm BST


I love to hear folks at TA bandy around terms like "fundamentalist". And, as I have pointed out before, anyone who believes anything strongly on anything is, in that respect, a "fundamentalist"--i.e., one who holds certain beliefs/concepts to be basic, fundamental, and generally irrefutable. Obviously, the liberal "fundamentals" are different from the conservative "fundamentals", but the spirit is the same.

The original use of the term in the U.S. related to some folks who stood against weakening or abandoning some Christian doctrines they considered basic and fundamental. I can't recall that I disagree with anything they had to say, though I haven't done a point-by-point. And, interestingly enough, there are probably a lot of TA liberals who would agree with most of what they had to say on fundamental Christian concepts (Christianity 101) as well (especially as the whole LBGT issue was not anything raised or considered at the time).

So, why the need to constantly deride the "other" as being "fundamentalist"? All I hear is fundamentalists of one stripe deriding fundamentalists of another stripe, but so it goes.


PS-I agree with your comment on the necessity of taking counsel and acting in concert in the Church Catholic.

PSS-As far as I'm concerned, anyone who cares about the issues enough to comment on a board like TA should be presumed to be a fundamentalist of one stipe or another. And that in and of itself--i.e., caring a lot and having definite strong opinions about the big issues--is not a bad thing.

Posted by: Steven on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 3:56pm BST

Mark Bennet on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 12:39pm BST --

Thank you very much for these references -- I knew that the St. Thomas Christians had managed with raisin water for centuries because they couldn't get wine, but they did the best they could -- I think that mashing grapes shortly before a Communion service (analogous to baking a Communion loaf the day before) & serving unpasteurized grape juice that would (eventually) ferment should be approved -- it is not appropriate to offer a cup of death to an alcoholic

Re: wafers -- it has been said that it is easier to believe that wafers are the Body of Christ than to believe that they are bread


Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 4:05pm BST

I'm not sure what would have been sufficient, I doubt anything would have been actually. That's not the point, though. The GS certainly feels that TEC has acted unilaterally without even bothering to consider them and sees this as collosal arrogance. It is a statement continually made by them. While I don't question the consecration of Gene Robinson, it's a bit disingenuous for TEC to be surprised at the worldwide reaction they were warned would happen. And claims that "We are a national Church and can do what we want" are also, I think, inappropriate. There is no national Church, there is just the Church. It's organizational unit is not the parish, pace Falls Church, but it is even less so the Nation, it is the diocese.

We can only take council with those who will talk to us, which pretty much in our case might have meant the AC worldwide. I doubt it would mean that now. I don't get the feeling that My Lord of Abuja went to Dromantine, for instance, intending to listen to anything. We are supposed to "bear one another's burdens", we are supposed to love and care for each other. For either side, these are things we have left undone that we ought to have done. And, what's worse, neither side seems interested in admitting that. I've often said I see the lion's share of wrongdoing on the Right, but that doesn't mean I think TEC is squeaky clean, either.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 4:34pm BST

"And, as I have pointed out before, anyone who believes anything strongly on anything is, in that respect, a "fundamentalist""

For me, a fundamentalist is anyone who insists on a literal interpretation of Scripture, as written. It also implies a belief that anyone who doesn't hold such a principle is beyond the pale. In that respect, the fundamentalism you perceive in "liberals" I would call extremism. It certainly includes a belief that anyone who disagrees is beyond the pale, but doesn't include the idea that Scripture is to be taken literally as read. That's why I don't understand the difference between a Fundamentalist and an Evangelical, and why Evangelicals should take offence at being called Fundamentalist.

And, Prior,

"Re: wafers -- it has been said that it is easier to believe that wafers are the Body of Christ than to believe that they are bread"

You can't put a muffin in a monstrance! And besides, at the Fraction, you end up with little bits of Our Lord going all over the place:-)

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 5:38pm BST

"You can't put a muffin in a monstrance! And besides, at the Fraction, you end up with little bits of Our Lord going all over the place:-)
Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 5:38pm BST"

Re: the first point -- that's why, at the Eucharist on the days when we have benediction after Vespers, although we bake our own altar bread, we consecrate a Benediction host as well (which is broken afterwards & reserved) -- Re: the second point -- it depends on the bread, but in the words Orthodox priest (seeing the concern of a visiting Episcopal priest behind the iconastasis), "He get in, he get out!"

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 7:33pm BST

Remember there is more than one strain of fundamentalism and evangelicalism w/in Christianity. Fundamentalism first appeared in the late 1800's out of the tent revivals in the UK and US as an intelligent and reasoned response to the Enlightenment. Wesley would be considered part of this movement. There are a number of formularies that cover the "fundamentals of faith" such as:

1. the inerrancy of the Bible,
2. the Virgin birth,
3. physical resurrection,
4. atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and
5. the Second Coming.

My guess is many (most?) liberals will subscribe all these points with some qualification.

I would argue the more conservative wings of mainline denominations are decedents of this movement with writers such as Stott and McGrath as prime examples. Here "reading the Bible literally" would be akin to the Reformation use of the term where one must consider the type of literature and context to get the full meaning of the text. Many would also agree with Luther or Cranmer that the Bible is the primary source for how Christians are to live, but that it Bible does not cover EVERYTHING.

Here, you wouldn't read Davidic Psalms and expect God to crush Bob-from-accounting's head because he's a jerk.

There was also a fundamentalist movement that came out of the 1950's against existentialism and early post-modernism that was also anti-intellectual. This group's formulary migh look like:

1. the inerrancy and supreme authority of the Bible for all parts of life,
2. the Virgin birth, b/c its in the Bible,
3. physical resurrection, b/c its in the Bible,
4. atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, b/c its in the Bible, and
5. the Second Coming, b/c its in the Bible.

This group will read the Bible literally without consideration of literary form or context - so Bob-in-accounting shouldn't get too comfortable.

Not surprisingly, I'm, at a loss to name a known writer for this group, but I'll name Page Patterson at Southwestern Baptist Seminary as an example.

I'm not sure where the beyond-the-pale line is drawn, but there certainly is a no-go point on both sides of the conservative-liberal divide. My guess is the beyond-the-pale line is somewhere in the Nicene Creed, if not the creed itself.

Posted by: Chris on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 7:57pm BST

Hi Ford:

No conservative fundamentalist would agree with your definition of fundamentalist. Fundamentalists, like everyone else, see that the Bible includes history, poetry, parables, visions, etc. Figurative language is understood by Fundamentalists, like every other sound exegete, as being figurative, not literal.

There are 3 principle characteristics of conservative fundies, as far as I can tell--and I've known a lot of "fundamentalists" in my time:

1. Fundamentalists believe that all of the Bible is inspired, not just the parts they like or agree with. I.e., they don't believe that the word of God is contained in Scripture like gold mixed in dross, something to be mined by peeling away the "uninspired" parts. Instead, the whole of Scripture is "golden".

2. Fundamentalists believe it is an abuse of Scripture to interpret figurative language literally, but it is an equal abuse to interpret edicts intended to be taken literally as "figurative" or to ignore them altogether. (This does not, of course, omit the possibility of some language having both literal and figurative applications).

3. They believe in certain "fundamentamentals"--which generally coincide with those typical in Christianity--i.e., the Trinity, the Virgin birth, etc.

Having said that, I will admit that they're not always consistent. But then, no one else is either.


PS-I still prefer "fundamentalist" to "extremist". The first is not necessarily pejorative--once stripped of a lot of unnecessary baggage. The second . . . . hmm.

Posted by: Steven on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 8:17pm BST

Just to clear up one thing, JPM: I'd read "Albion's Seed" twice before I saw Jane Smiley's piece. (And if you think that was bad, try Thomas Sowell's "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" -- the well-known American Black conservative produces an application of Fischer's thesis that has to be handled with tongs.) I admit Fischer can be reductive, but I found the book to be a very helpful guide when I was a new and rather panicked immigrant to the rural American South.

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 8:25pm BST

Well, at least in USA, calling a believer a fundamentalist used to mean that they held to a certain literalistic and conservative reading of scripture as the only, final religious authority. The question of hermeneutics - methods and responsibilities - was either sidestepped, ignored, and/or denied in this fundamentalist approach.

This sort of USA fundamentalist believer was only one stream of faith among many, across the diversities of those who followed Jesus of Nazareth - but of course, the real existence and worth of all the other streams were presumed insignificant among fundamentalists, except as signs of apocalyptic End Times.

Pots boiled over on all or quite a lot of our theological stove tops.

One crucial USA moment in both history and culture of this refusal of fundamentalist aspirations to institutional sway and power must surely have been when a wide USA radio and newspaper audience followed the famous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, held in Tennessee.

One of the most famous orthodox Christian orators in USA public life (Williams Jennings Bryan) eventually faced off with one of the most famous agnostic-unbeliever attorneys in public life, Clarence Darrow.

Bryan was brought up short in the witness box by Darrow. Clearly, modern science in 1925, was asking questions and submitting clear data that could not easily be harmonized or integrated with the legacy fundamentalist reading of scripture.

As some legacy believers still say - God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

A great account of the Scopes trial is published in the Pulitzer prize winning book by E. J. Larsen, Summer For the Gods. It looks very like we are yet again revisiting the larger pitched battle in a great many instances during our current Anglican realignment campaign.

A literalistic-conservative legacy reading of scripture is supposed to trump any and all disconfirming empirical data, or else following Jesus is diminished to the passing status of a parlor game.

So long as the realignment campaign is pitched via our using this predetermined frame, either/or, we cannot consider any larger intellectual picture. Nor are we encouraged to remember any workable solutions we Anglicans have already found in similar theological dilemmas.

Faithful Anglican believers can still do – what believers have already done by abandoning the Ptolemaic Cosmos when confronted by Galileo's careful observations and calculations of planetary orbits, or what we already did by attributing tooth decay to something else, besides evil spirits.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 9:16pm BST

.The Windsor Report would set the bar for full LGBT inclusion at something beyond the scope of the Anglican Communion's competence to determine for itself rather requiring consultation with its ecumenical partners.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 9:42pm BST


I agree with your comments about strong opinions, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. We toss words around like extremist and fundamentalist, but what I think we are all really worried about is violent or coercive manifestations.

Ford, you made some good points. I think that one problem is that if one camp e.g. liberal TEC make an inclusive break, then others say they failed to listen adequately to them. Yet how often do we hear the converse being stated? e.g. How often do hear Sydney apologising for playing power politics to either its own parishioners or in other dioceses?

Many of the objections against the liberal end are based on their interpretations being "unscriptural". What has become apparent is some have a few favourite passages upon which they hinge their whole theology. They have glossed over what has yet to be fulfilled in the bible, claiming that Jesus was the complete fulfillment of the bible. If that is the case, then why do women still have to call men master and not husband (a direct contradiction of Hosea 2:16)?

Malachi 2:9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”

I like the word partiality in that Malachi passage. Partiality can be interpreted two ways, firstly only caring about part of the whole or secondly showing opportunism of which passages are acknowledged and which ones dismissed.

At the end, I think we all want to see robust theology that is not imposed upon others or used to justify violence or intimidation. I love the gentle inclusive imagery of Micah 4:2-5, which ends with "All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever." Thus God's vision never saw an end of Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, liberal Christianity, nor did it preclude the evolution of new theologies such as Islam. Micah’s vision is biblically viable and necessary if humanity is to survive. What made Jesus a suitable candidate was not that he built his own empire, but that he gave respect to all peoples of all faiths, irregardless of their social standing. Such a soul can bring global peace by building cooperation through compassionate justice.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 16 July 2007 at 11:17pm BST

Ford - why do you keep saying "My Lord of Abuja"? Is it some kind of joke? I don't say "My Lord of Grimsby" or any other such. These people are Lords of no one. If you are serious, then it is associating religion and people with feudalism and hierarchy. I have no time for it. People are people, and we are all as inadequate as each other.

As for fundamentalism, the term seems more problematic than anything. If I use it I take it to mean a selective literalism by a bunch of people who declare to each other via an alternative biology and history that the world was created with events following in such a way that the whole of creation was set up for Christ to come and get himself killed so that the rest of the fallen people might not burn in somewhere called hell, but that most will. One estimate is 95%, in England. It's what I call a myth, to be told alongside Norse myths and the like. I'm more iterested in the insights of Christianity.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 1:05am BST

'...1. Fundamentalists believe that all of the Bible is inspired, not just the parts they like or agree with. I.e., they don't believe that the word of God is contained in Scripture like gold mixed in dross, something to be mined by peeling away the "uninspired" parts. Instead, the whole of Scripture is "golden ...' (end quote)

In my experience 'fundamentalists' are highly selective. They particularly focus on personal morality which apparently is all about having --or rather not having sex. Institutional and corporate sin ---like the American Government's illegals wars and fat cat exploiters of the vulnerable and poor are skated over.

President Reagan's funeral was like his canonisation --Reagan of all people ! I was shocked.

I speak as a recovering 'fundamentalist' myself with the scars to prove it. It is a shame that a fine word has been ruined for wider uses. I hope that I am much more concerned with fundamentals than I ever was, but cannot add the 'ist'.

Fundament -- a solid bottom. Grounded. earthed ...

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 4:12am BST

"why do you keep saying "My Lord of Abuja"?"

Sarcasm. Consider his 'embarassing' humility, his obvious lust for power, etc., and the English tradition of referring to bishops as 'my lord' because of the lordships that come with the job. Now imagine a sneer in my voice when I say it.

"Fundamentalists believe that all of the Bible is inspired, not just the parts they like or agree with."

Thanks for proving my point!

"I'm not sure where the beyond-the-pale line is drawn,"

In my overwhelming experience, it is drawn where we don't go through some kind of tearful conversion experience and "accept Jaysusss as our 'personal saviour'" thus are not "saved". Oh, and we're not really baptised either. That and the fact we didn't convulse and babble uncontrollably every Sunday night, at least that's how it was always put to me. We were "the unsaved". Now that's just what they say about regular ordinary Anglicans, not evil Hell bound Liberals. And the whole "personal saviour" business is a whole other matter.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 12:38pm BST

Hmmm. It seems that "fundamentalist" is a word susceptible to a wide variety of meanings, or at least, one that has a wide variety of meanings in the minds of posters at TA.

I, for one, will continue to object to its use as a pejorative. I've known far too many "good" fundamentalists--liberal; conservative; religious; non-religious; and (horror of horrors) even low church, Southern Baptist, and/or Charismatic types abhorred at TA. Finally, I consider myself to be a fundamentalist--just as I consider almost everyone here to be a fundamentalist of one type or another.

As noted, having strong opinions and beliefs in certain fundamentals that are considered axiomatic--like compassion--is not, in and of itself, a bad thing in my opinion. What matters is the nature of those beliefs. There is a tremendous difference between Ghandi (or St. Francis) as a fundamentalist and Bin Laden as a fundamentalist.

To my mind it would be better if we stuck to criticizing particular beliefs and avoided the use of "fundamentalist" as a pejorative label. This word is a broom with too wide a sweep.


PS-L. Roberts--Thanks for the reminder on the meaning of "fundament". It seems we're all striving one way or another to be grounded on what's solid--i.e., fundamentalists. Now, if we could only agree on what those fundamentals include . . . .

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 2:16pm BST

I'm truly puzzled over what to make of Radner+. One the one hand, he does seem to be, as Charlotte puts it, "willing to distance himself from the hugger-mugger of the Network and its supporters."

Yet on the other hand, not only was he a founder of the ACN, but he sits on the board of the IRD - one of the SCARIEST, ultra-rightwing political groups in the U.S. (and *that's* saying something).

No matter how good he sounds, I'm not sure I'd trust him farther than I could throw him...

Posted by: David H. on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 3:00pm BST

Thank you Ford, for your comment about "My Lord". And now you have made your point explicit, please will you not repeat it.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 3:14pm BST

Steven said
if we could only agree on what those fundamentals include

Of course, the original 'Fundamentals' was a polemical document on which only a tiny band of dispensationalists/millenarians could agree. It's faintly ironic that the fundamentals were not fundamental to most Christians in the early C20.

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 4:57pm BST


God can use a variety of salvation experiences and they may be emotional. Mine was not, but there have certainly been moments when my experiences with God have been accompanied with strong emotion. I don't see emotion as a spiritual marker though - what happens when emotions fade?

I've never been a part of a charismatic church - nor attended the Sunday night service ;) - so the slain in the Spirit idea is not part of my experiences.

Help me out on the personal savior issue. If God knows the individual, calls the individual, works to sanctify the individual and has a plan or vocation for each individual why does the idea of a personal savior cause discomfort?

Posted by: Chris on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 5:27pm BST


Your response to Chris abounds in negative stereotypes and derogatory imaging. I remark on this because, while such things may be typical of some at TA, they are not generally typical of your posts--except perhaps in discussing Bp. Akinola (who seems to represent a veritable fount of evil in your mind).

Anyhow, I will look forward to the return of your more usual measured approach.


Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 5:34pm BST

Steven yes, as a fundamentalist as defined by you, I find Jesus' reported Summary of the Fundamentals very challenging and telling. "Love God and your neighbour as your self".

I also find the Sermon on the Mount / Plain and especially the Beatitudes fundamental, along with the parables of the 'kingdom' a wonderful commentary on his Summary of the Torah.

I never fail to wonder at the Churches neglect of these, Jesus' fundamentals, preferring their readings of some of the letters of Paul.

Posted by: L Roberts (aka ignoramus) on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 5:57pm BST

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett), I think the dispensationalialism/millenalism came in later - and is rejected by many conservative Anglicans.

Posted by: Chris on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 8:11pm BST

You might not like the stereotypes, even feel insulted by them, and for that I apologize. But please remember that these stereotypes, which I freely admit are sinful on my part and which I fight against, are based on my overwhelming experience. It has been quite rare for me, even here on TA, to meet up with Evangelicals who do not fit, in some fashion, these particular stereotypes.

It is not a denial of our need for a relationship with God, just an attempt to reaffirm that salvation is corporate, not some contract between God and the individual. A friend, when asked if he has accepted Jesus as his personal saviour asks the same of the person who first posed the question. When gets the answer "Yes" he responds "Well, give Him back, He belongs to everybody!"

"There is no salvation outside the Church wasn't just a means of asserting the Imperial power of the Papacy, it was also a statement of what salvation is. Again, I feel the idea of the "personal saviour" goes too far. I'm more comfortable with "Saviour of the World" than I am with "Saviour of me".

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 8:44pm BST


Really? Everything I'm reading indicates an initial very short list of mostly basic and historic Christian doctrines + a very high view of Scriptures + in some cases at least, a belief that 'da end was near.

However, it seems that the movement was taken up (and later seemingly taken over) by Dispensationalists and their fellow travelers. Still, I think most of what the initial takers of the name "fundamentalist" believed would not have seemed strange or alien to most Protestants. I.e., these guys weren't bunch of Hindus or some wierd Christian cultists.


Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 9:24pm BST

L Roberts

I always wonder what would have happened if Paul had walked and talked with Jesus the man. I expect we would have seen as many refining rebukes and clarifications as Peter and the other disciples experienced.

I always think of Paul's writings being autobiographical (his description of himself and his own reasoning) whilst the disciples were more biographical (their descriptions were written by others with Jesus as the editor). Our self perspective is always more flattering than how others see us.

Paul was a driven man, and he shunted aside the responsbilities of an ordinary life in pursuit of establishing a church. His motivations were pure, but there were excesses and he did not have the moderation of a wife or the frustrations of recalcitrant children to take the gloss off of the text books. Day to day responsibilities bring pragmatism.

One of the most beautiful things about God is not that he makes us perfect, but what God is capable of doing with such inadequate beings. God is the great pragmatist.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 17 July 2007 at 10:59pm BST

As for millennial and eschatological type movements, if you were in Karbala in 1844, an end-date shared with Christians, you might be one in the crowd expecting the return of the hidden twelfth Imam. It is from this violent time that eventually you get the very different Bahai faith. Sayyid Ali Muhammed Shrirazi claimed to be the Bab to that crowd, the perfect channel of grace to the returning hidden Imam coming to Karbala for a Holy War against all unbelief from 10th January 1845 onwards. The authorities took on this movement, some violent and some peaceful, and smashed it, whilst the Bab kept raising his own status up to the equivalent of Muhammad and then said another one would come and no one could falsely claim to be "He whom God shall manifest". Many did; his appointee to lead the movement after him had a half-brother called Baha'u'llah, who was a better organiser and via splits and expulsions came a more peaceful spiritualised movement moving West that was the Bahai faith, and that developed even more in a Western even Christian influenced direction through Baha'u'llah's son Abdul Baha (by all accounts an attractive and open figure), later bureaucratised by a descendent Shoghi Effendi after a crisis of leadership.

My point is that these Millennial and eschatological movements can be turning points. This is how I understand Jesus and Paul.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 1:56am BST

One of the most beautiful things about God is not that he makes us perfect, but what God is capable of doing with such inadequate beings. God is the great pragmatist.

Thanks Cheryl. Makes me think.

Makes me think of RS Thomas' line

'...heaven of such imperfection made'

Posted by: L Roberts on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 9:58am BST


Interesting point on the subject of "corporate" vs. "personal" salvation. This is not a topic I'm unfamiliar with, but I can't say that my thoughts are totally clear on the matter of how to interpret each Bible passage in relationship to this as a possible dichotomy.

I think a lot of confusion can be avoided by recognizing that salvation is always via our incorporation into Christ. To be saved is to be "in Christ". One cannot be "in Christ" without also being a member and part of "His body" the Church. Thus, to me this issue is--like the supposed conflict between "crawling" and "dancing"--at its heart a "both and" matter. I don't think you can have one without the other.


Posted by: Steven on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 2:35pm BST

Having looked again at the 12 volumes of 'The Fundamentals' I think that millenarianism still gets a very positive press. Dispensationalist hints are around, though, I admit, somewhat shrouded.

And the more I dig, the more I wonder just how 'fundamental' this stuff was even then - eg "I am aware that, if I undertake, to prove that Romanism is not Christianity, I must expect to be called "bigoted, harsh, uncharitable." Nevertheless I am not daunted; for I believe that on a right understanding of this subject depends the salvation of millions."


Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 4:20pm BST

"I don't think you can have one without the other."
Nor do I, Steven, which is my problem with the "personal saviour" business. It seems to me to state that our salvation is a one-on-one with Jesus, not with the Church, but then I have a pretty high understanding of Church! Jesus didn't Incarnate, live, die, rise, ascend, and send the Spirit for me. He did it for all of His Creation. That's pretty basic, old fashioned stuff, not some New Agey naval gazing. I'm redeemed because I am part of His redeemed Creation. And my stressing 'dancing' against 'crawling' was not to imply one over the other, either.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 5:05pm BST


I appreciate your stressing the communal aspect of Christianity and think some of those ideas are lost in parts of evangelicalism that at times become "me focused." Look at much of the current praise & worship music; first-person pronouns appear more often than God, Jesus or Christ. This type of worship can at times be done out of chasing an emotion. It has its place, but that place is not central.

But the individual does matter as seen by the time Jesus spent one-on-one with people. Christ brought salvation to me, an individual, so that I may join his family, the church, and through the church love and serve.

Posted by: Chris on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 5:07pm BST


You're picking and choosin' here. I also don't agree with everything the late 19th/early 20th century religious fundamentalists believed (including the sentiment quoted), but it has certainly not been an unusual Protestant sentiment over the centuries--even (I think) by some Anglicans. The reverse has also been held in some RC circles.

My point was merely that most of what they believed would be considered to be stock Christian doctrine--i.e., "mere Christianity" as C.S. Lewis would put it. As such, distinctives and peculiarities aside, they are not that different from the rest of us (who also have our distinctives and peculiarities), and certainly not worthy of the "demonizing" they get at TA.


Posted by: Steven on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 5:26pm BST

"Look at much of the current praise & worship music; first-person pronouns appear more often than God, Jesus or Christ. "

In "Why Catholics Can't Sing", Thomas Day comments on this. I think it says much about our culture that we so easily think we can speak with the voice of God.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 7:09pm BST

Chris and Ford

You can have both the singular and the communal. Some souls need the communal (they have a strong social contact need). Other souls need the singular (hermits who find people overwhelming). Most of us need a bit of both, the blend varying from individual to individual, and even over their lifetimes depending on what development challenges God is throwing their way.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 11:42pm BST

I agree. That's the problem with the "personal saviour" busness. It's all about MY contract with God, based on MY faith, whereby He lets ME into Heaven when I die. It also tends to be used by people with whom I have other disagreements about the faith. You don't hear it used by catholic-minded Christians all that often. I appreciate that it also contains a truth, that our faith must on some level be a one-on-one with God, but it seems awfully self centred to suggest that God is "mine" in this sense.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 2:28pm BST


I don't think that Ford is speaking about the corporate aspect of Christianity in the sense that you discuss. I think that he is talking about how we relate to God: As I and Thou, Lord-- or, as We and Thou, Lord. In the latter, the individual is not relating directly to God, except as part of the "We".


You'll have to clear up what you mean here. I certainly believe that the "We and Thee" relationship is valid, Biblical, etc. Likewise, I think that a relationship that is all "I and Thou" without any recognition of the "We and Thee" of corporate worship and membership in the Body of Christ is, as you seem to be saying, defective. However, I cannot help but see a relationship that is all "We and Thee" without the "I and Thou" as being equally defective. But, perhaps this is not what you are saying.


Posted by: Steven on Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 6:56pm BST

"However, I cannot help but see a relationship that is all "We and Thee" without the "I and Thou" as being equally defective."

I'm saying that both on their own are equally defective. For the most part, the people who use the "personal saviour" phrase seem to conceive of redemption as "getting into Heaven when you die". The old hymn "Eternity, eternity, where will you spend eternity" sums it up. I agree that it's not all about social justice. I have felt for a long time that many of our clergy are quite happy on a Sunday morning with "The Gathering of the Community" but are far less comfortable with what it is the community is gathered to do. The Liturgy of the Word is fine, but once you hit the Creed, you get into intangibles, and that freaks them out. We need both, not either/or.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 7:21pm BST

"The Fundamentals" are available online: the more I look at them, the less I think I can agree with Steven's "most of what they believed would be considered to be stock Christian doctrine". But it's getting a bit off-topic.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 10:30pm BST

Stephen and Fords' replies have left me chuckling.

Here is a classic example of why broad tent Anglicanism (or some other name) is required and inevitable.

Their replies can basically be summarised as "Yes Cheryl, we can see the potential for common ground. Now, back to the argument."

I can see now why God doesn't try and settle all disputes. Sometimes souls are having so much fun with the debate that they don't want to end the dispute. That's fine, just play nice (bullying is not a fair game strategy).

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 20 July 2007 at 12:19am BST

"back to the argument"
Indeed, Cheryl. This whole place is about argument. Let's be honest, we're not going to change anything by what we do here. We're not even going to change one another's minds to any great extent. We're here because we love to argue. In the arguing there can be learning about what others believe and how they think, and that can be beneficial. An example is that what I am continually saying to NP is as clear and logical and reasonable to me as everything he says is to him. Neither of us has swayed the other one millimetre. I have gotten some insights, I think, into what drives him, perhaps he has into what drives me, but I'm no more going to make him an Anglo-catholic than he is going to make me an Evangelical. I can live with his "heresies" as part of the Church, he can't live with mine. So be it. It's infuriating at times, but great fun at others. I hope there never comes a time when we can't receive at the same altar, he and I, in spite of it all.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 20 July 2007 at 2:48pm BST


I loved your posting

I am more of an optimist than you. You wrote "...we're not going to change anything by what we do here."

I've watched God over the years. God has a way of doing the unexpected with the most smallest and unlikliest of circumstances.

Who would have expected Jesse's runt of an eigth son would go on to kill Goliath and become one of the most respected Jewish kings ever?

Who would have expected a child of dubious ancestry in illiterate times would go on to become the keystone of Christianity?

Who would have expected that a child dumped into a river shortly after birth would end up leading slaves out of the Pharoah's clutches to found a nation that embraced a God beyond human comprehension?

Every organism starts with a single cell, who are we to determine when or where God will ignite a holy spark, or how or where God will send the consequent fire?

Have faith, all will be as it should be (eventually).

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 20 July 2007 at 11:47pm BST

Ford - I also hope we will not cease to be in the same AC....which is why we communicate at all (even if we irritate each other and harden positions, maybe unnecessarily)

If there is a split at the end of September over VGR, will you be with "TEC Global"?

Serious question - because I do not think your answer will necessarily be yes.

Posted by: NP on Monday, 23 July 2007 at 10:43am BST

can you please explain to me why you wish Ford to remain in communion with you, but insist on cleansing the AC of all other gays in stable relationships?

I'd like to think that actually listening to Ford over time has made you see him as a real person, one you would actually very much like to meet and be friends with.

I shall take that as a hopeful sign!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 23 July 2007 at 12:04pm BST

I haven't given it much thought, NP. It's the same as it has been for me since Dromantine. I've said before, I was upset till that Sunday's Matins with its psalm that said "Be still and know that I am God." I know two things: I won't have to make any kind of choice in September, or even before Lambeth, and, given what has happened since Henry VIII's sexual immorality led to the formation of "Church of England global" 500 years ago, I don't think there's much to worry about now. Oh, and if the Evangelicals win out in the end, I'll convert to Orthodoxy. If I'm going to have to call myself Orthodox, I'll be with the ones that own the name, not a bunch of puffed up God botherers who want to equate orthodoxy with sexual conservatism and an innovative concept of authority in the Church. If you seriously believe the Reformation led to anything like "orthodox Christianity", what a nice little fantasy world you have!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 23 July 2007 at 12:47pm BST

There will be no "TEC Global" come September because nothing is going to happen come the end of September.

The "conservatives" are in full flight panic mode, knowing that their gambit has failed. That is why they are now screaming for an "emergency" Primates Meeting - because they know that the only body where their bullying has any chance of success is in the Primates Meeting.

But Rowan Cantuar will not oblige. (Of course, even if he did, there is no guarantee that the "conservatives," having overplayed their hands so egregiously, would still be able to bully the rest of the Primates in to acquiescence.)

So the next test is not end September, but next summer - when the bishop of the Communion will (or will not) arrive for a great big bunfight in England.

Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya have made it clear that they will only come if victory is assured. And victory can only be assured if they can force Rowan to rewrite the invitation list. And they have no hope at all of forcing Rowan's hand without an emergency Primates Meeting. And Rowan isn't going to give them one.

His Grace of York is correct. The decision of the "conservatives" to walk apart will split the Communion.

Of course, it won't be the split the "conservatives" were bargaining on.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 23 July 2007 at 4:27pm BST

Malcolm - you speak as if you are close to the ABC but I don't think you are in reality....what were you predicting before Tanzania??

Erika - yes, I would like to be in the same church as Ford as we are currently - and I am happy to be in that church as it is the same church which endorsed Lambeth 1.10 - while Ford disagrees with parts of the interpretation of the bible in Lambeth 1.10, he is still an Anglican and he is not one of those (like Merseymike) who just wants to see a particular rights-based agenda win out in the AC regardless of anything else (even unity) - so, yes, I hope we will sign up to the same covenant and stay in the same church

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 8:52am BST

the meetings of primates aren't a body. They'd like us to think they are. They are nothing of the sort. They are not a body and have no structural place in AC or its Churches. They have no authority. They speak for them selves alone --- if that !

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 10:42am BST

I speak for a great number of Anglicans - I believe it to be a majority - who do not wish to see our Church subjected to the rule of foreign prelates.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 5:19pm BST

"Ford disagrees with parts of the interpretation of the bible in Lambeth 1.10"

Explain, please. And I do wish you'd stop Lambeth mining. There's a lot more to that statement, as you well know. Why do you insist on obedience to only one "verse"?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 5:44pm BST

Malcolm - that is fine, I know many conservatives have left the US and Canadian churches over the decades, leaving a very liberal leadership - but please recognise that the majority in the AC is not in agreement with the majority in TEC.

Ford - I have consistently got the impression that you have no problem with vicars who reject Lambeth 1.10 when it comes to their own lifestyles - sorry if that is wrong but I have not heard you object to vicars who actively reject the teaching of the church on the issue in question.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 7:14am BST

"I have not heard you object to vicars who actively reject the teaching of the church on the issue in question."

And I have never heard you object to clergy who reject the teachings of Scripture that you ignore. In fact, you have defended them.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 1:53pm BST


>1. the inerrancy of the Bible,
>2. the Virgin birth,
>3. physical resurrection,
>4. atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and
>5. the Second Coming.

>My guess is many (most?) liberals will subscribe all these points with some qualification

Is it really true that most liberals would agree with these? This would disappoint me :-)

As a point of curiosity, why is it these bizarre and unprovable things have ended up being the things which determine the extent to which a person can become involved with the christian church, rather than some more obvious (or more practical) things about which wider agreement can be reached, such as the statements contained in the Beatitudes? After all (to paraphrase James), even if the statements in the creed were demonstrably true, it would be quite possible for a person to beleive every line of the creed, and at the same time be thoroughly awful and uncharitable.

If we must exclude people from the church (I'm not convinced of any explicit need), then we could at least make the grounds for exclusion more reasonable!

Posted by: Will Stevens on Saturday, 28 July 2007 at 6:55pm BST

As an outsider to this discussion and a "low minded" ie, uneducated Christian (like those from Gallilee, perhaps?) I have found reading through "some" of these posts interesting and disturbing at the same time. It seems to me that many do not believe the bible and the teachings of Christ and instead, have substituted their own personal philiosphy based, not upon truth, but their own experience. This would suggest pride at work in them. I am not their judge but I am called to judge righteously according to the Word of God and this is what I see.

Concerning "fundamentalism":

Was Jesus not the original fundamentalist? His no compromise approach to the leaders of the day would certainly raise the same hostility we see (and can read here) in the Church today among those who think they know better than Him, as He faced then. Of that I am certain. But, what do the non fundamentalists offer in place of fundamentalist believers? It seems that what they offer is a kind of cold, powerless and formailised religion in which there is virtually no power, little love and and straining out of scriptures they prefer not to even discuss. In other words, they are just like the Pharisees of Jesus' day. Disagree with them and they get nasty yet, they are convinced they are right above all others. Led, not by truth, but by tradition.

Personally; when Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life" that is good enough for me. I beleive He is the Son of God and that God is not a man that He should lie. In other words, I am suspicious of men and their philosophies but I trust God. Does that make me fundamentalist? I guess it does today.

Personally, I blame bible schools and theology colleges but then, what do I know? I am just a poor dumb Christian who beleives God and His Word.

PS. I can't spell very good either. Forgive me.

Posted by: George on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 at 11:28pm BST

Hi George

I'm glad I started watching the RSS feeds or you would have fallen through a crack in the system.

I empathize with your sentiments.

There are a layer of Christians who claim to have usurped the Jews as God's chosen people. But then claim that God would not and does not rebuke them.

Sorry, but to be one of God's annointed is like a marriage "for better or for worse". Sometimes that means your wife nags you for being irresponsible and jeopardising the family's name...

If they state that Jesus makes them immune to God's recriminations, they worship a parody of Jesus that has no relationship to the God who entered into a covenant with the people at Mt Sinai.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 9:55am BST
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