Monday, 8 December 2008


The CEEC has news:

Chairman stands down.


´The Executive Officer of the Church of England Evangelical Council informed the meeting that Dr Richard Turnbull had tendered a letter of resignation as chairman. The letter was read to the meeting and was received with great surprise and regret. “Richard has contributed significantly to the life of CEEC, for thirteen years as a member and for the last three of those years as its chair. The Council is very grateful to him for all that he has done over those years; and records that it is not the Council´s wish that he should discontinue as its chairman.” Having due regard to Richards priorities for home, for family and for his responsibilities as Principal of Wycliffe Hall, it was resolved that his resignation be accepted with great regret; and that Richard be invited to continue as a member of the Council.´

A statement from Bishop Wallace Benn, President of CEEC will be available shortly.

And, the Council has issued this statement:

The Council met on 4th December - its first meeting since the NEAC5 Consultation meeting at All Souls Langham Place on 15th November 2008. The following statement summarises our deliberations concerning the Consultation.

CEEC apologises for the fact that we failed to circulate the proposed resolutions prior to the Consultation day. We acknowledge that this was a serious mistake which understandably caused consternation on the day.

We appreciate the fact that, following 15th November, many people availed themselves of the opportunity to make their views known by e-mail to CEEC have heard a summary of what was said by this means.

We understand that what happened at the Consultation together with associated press reports has undermined the credibility of the Council. Though we are sensitive to the accusation that CEEC is not properly representative of evangelicals, over half the membership is elected and all those who subscribe to the Council’s Basis of Faith are eligible to stand for election.

We resolve to do all we can to fulfill our stated purpose of taking counsel together about matters of particular concern to evangelical Anglicans.

The Council, having listened to all that was said on 15th November, has adopted the following Resolution:

  • “CEEC affirms and rejoices that the Church of England professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and its historic formularies (the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons) and set out in Canon A5 and the Declaration of Assent.
  • Further we affirm (1) the CEEC’s own Basis of Belief, (2) Resolution 3.5 of Lambeth 1998 (concerning the authority of Holy Scriptures), (3) Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 (concerning human sexuality), and (4) the Jerusalem Declaration, and as members of the Anglican Communion, we acknowledge our obligation to stand in prayerful solidarity with faithful Anglicans across the globe.
  • We recognize that evangelical Anglicans will pursue a variety of strategies for dealing with the current crisis in the Communion, and we support those who are seeking to work through the existing Anglican Communion structures, those who are working within the framework set out in the GAFCON Statement, and those supporting both.
  • We call on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates to recognize the urgency of the situation as it affects parishes and clergy, particularly in the USA, Canada and Brazil, and to give immediate and serious consideration to granting recognition to the new Province in the USA.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 2:40pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Nothing, of course,on Lambeth V:13 - "Episcopal Responsibilities and Diocesan Boundaries". The usual GAFCON "cafeteria" approach to Lambeth resolutions.

The fact that "Richard [Turnbull has been] invited to continue as a member of the Council" shows his resignation up as the piece of shop window-dressing it very clearly is.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 3:32pm GMT

Ah, if Richard is going to resign in this context, (see my earlier analysis), perhaps he will do the honourable thing and resign from Wycliffe (for the same reasons)

Posted by: dodgey_vicar on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 5:03pm GMT

I think he's done the right thing.
Rachel Re vis.e re form

Posted by: Rachel on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 7:10pm GMT

All this commits Evangelicals who recognise CEEC as representative to supporting the breakaway, and not all do.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 7:42pm GMT

Hmm beneath all the talk about a misstep in procedures, I discern a deeper indication. Turnbs attempt to collapse even the NEAC big tents did not work out as he wished. Letting him stay leaves open his possible repentance from the erstwhile sins of being a tent collapser in the first place, all in God's name, by powerful ends which are not seen to justify his means.

From outside NEAC, this looks like a lab exercise which might point towards the global Anglican big tents staying up despite the hard realignment winds attempting to blow them all down.

Huff, puff, still standing, then.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 7:48pm GMT

I know it's unChristian, but one has to laugh. It's also a salutary reminder of the completely elementary but often forgotten truth that these disputes don't actually polarise between Catholic-Protestant, Liberal-Evangelical, etc. etc. There is endless boundary-crossing in all directions. If the C of E fails, it will still be necessary to invent it, because it represents - and celebrates - an absolutely inevitable reality. Keep the faith/Faith, guys and guyesses.

Posted by: john on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 8:21pm GMT

Wallace Benn issues threats.

You do not give us what we want so we will be even more awkward, uncooperative and fissiparous, and we will take away our money.

Someone really needs to nail this blackmailer.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 8 December 2008 at 11:42pm GMT

I wonder who actually formulated the CEEC's Apologia for the NEAC Crisis fallout? It would seem that, though bowed by the wishes of most Thinking Evangelicals, Dr. Turnbull is still Head of the Theological Think-Tank at Wycliffe Hall.

Also, the newly-promoted Credo still contains the word 'GAFCON' and so still may be Gaffe-prone - hardly what one may consider loyal to Canterbury.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 3:21am GMT

Mr Turnbull will "spending more time with his family..." as they say in Politics ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 6:06am GMT

Turnbull has nothing to fear with the Bishop of liverpool chairing the investigative committee. Within the next five years he will be one of the continuing bishops working within a Church of England Confessing network.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 6:07am GMT

Er, no. The Bishop of Liverpool chairs the College Council (and is not associated with GAFCON). There is no "investigating committee". Wycliffe Hall has been undergoing an inspection by Ministry Division on behalf of the House of Bishops. These inspections happen regularly (though this one has been brought forward in order to examine the recent controversy).

Richard Turnbull has resigned as Chair of CEEC. The Council is currently going through an election period. Presumably a new Chair will be elected once the new final composition of the Council is known.

The CEEC resolution reflects the reality, namely that among evangelical Anglicans in the UK there are very different strategies in relation to the future of the Communion. Some back GAFCON; some back a Communion-based solution.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 8:00am GMT

Robert, could you please clarify here. Are you making a prediction that Dr. Turnbull will be made a Bishop in the Church of God? Or are you guessing that the Bishop of Liverpool will become a leader in a new faction in the Church of England?

One does need to be quite clear about this - especially if one happens to be a Roman Catholic observer only.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 8:19am GMT

One big bag of sugar says GAFCON and its strategies and the breakaway group, and one small bag of sugar includes different strategies. Result, if you accept CEEC, the main GAFCON results and this faithful versus faithless (?) Anglicans so far.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 12:25pm GMT

I fear that Pluralist is beginning to believe the GAFCON propaganda. It is actually the other way round. There are many more evangelical Anglicans who would prefer a Communion-based solution to this mess. Explicit GAFCON supporters tend to be from among the small minority of ultra-conservative evangelicals, who are more vociferous. GAFCON may of course become a solution for more people if the Communion solution fails. But I'm glad to say that the bags of sugar simply aren't weighted in the way he suggests.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 3:14pm GMT

They are in the paragraphs. That's what they want.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 4:44pm GMT

"GAFCON may of course become a solution for more people if the Communion solution fails."

Pete, that sounds like a threat.

Posted by: Giles Fraser on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 4:56pm GMT

I appreciate +Pete's observations. I find that the observations from the UK generally fit the state of the English Church. Over in the US we Evangelicals are a minority that has been decreasing over the last years of conflict as more and more heterodox teachings make TEC less a place where orthodox Christians want to stay, particularly if they want traditional Christian morality taught to their children. WE are also much more united with the charismatics and Catholics. There is not an easily definable Evangelical party.

We do have those who are now differentiated as insiders and outsiders - Communion Partners and Common Cause (now the new province). There has been some lamentable animus between the above but several of us are striving to lessen this and in fact become supportive of each other. In some cases the difference between insider and outsider is really due to the degree of totalitarian litigiousness of individual bishops. My fear is that the insiders will eventually be forced out. My own bishop spoke the unutterable question before they went after Bishop Duncan - "when will they come for me?"

The US situation is quite different from the English one as we are threatened by a "Borg" (remember Star Trek) mentality that commands us to assimilate or be annihilated. The Common Cause folk have left and God bless them. The Communion Partner folk are holding on and resisting the imperial canon twisting regime in New York - but for how long? Please pray for us.

Posted by: Ian Montgomery on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 5:12pm GMT


As with anything there is always a small minority that drives the the majority in a frenzy. There are the leaders and the lemmings all scurrying fast to make that jump of the nearest cliff.

Posted by: bobinswpa on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 5:58pm GMT

I'm not sure that Pete Broadbent's definition of the bags of sugar is right. Aticle 13 of the Jerusalem Declaration states: 'We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.' This rejection of the authority of some churches and all that implies (presumably the US and Canadian churches -- who else?) is already to opt for a non Communion-based solution. A rejection of the authority of a church is pretty strong stuff, and this spirit of presumption does not reflect the Communion's stance -- unless this group not only reserves the right to define who affirms/denies the orthodox creed, but also reserves the right to define what the Communion thinks (or ought to think).

For what it's worth, none of us should be too quick to judge the other unorthodox. It would be too easy to go through General Synod debates on the creed to identify clear Docetist statements from fairly prominent Anglicans. When I heard such statements I was convinced that the speakers were clearly wrong, but it didn't cross my mind to excommunicate them (well, to be honest, it did, but not for very, very long...).

That said, Pete's words are encouraging.

Posted by: Joe on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 7:07pm GMT

I've just challenged Wallace Benn in the newspaper Evangelicals Now. He wrote defending GAFCON from an attack by Calvinist writer, Iain Murray... I pointed out that he never condemns the Anglo-Catholic activities of his own Bishop..even though he regards these as heresy.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 9:11pm GMT

Watching the coverage of the death of Patriarch Alexiy of Moscow and All Russia, it is interesting to see that one the achievements most praised by his eulogists was the rapprochement with the Orthodox Church in Exile, as this was a move to bring schism to an end. Why do we not have the same spirit? Some Anglicans are talking up a break in our shared communion on the basis of extremely presumptuous judgements about the faith of others: what a tragic failure of Christian witness that is! In the Orthodox (real Orthodox) tradition, schism is a great sin.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 9 December 2008 at 11:14pm GMT

Ian Montgomery wrote: "... particularly if they want traditional Christian morality taught to their children."

Please stop calling "traditional morality" Christian. It is all but.

Like it or not, it is Hellenist. The famous mixis of religions of 2000 years ago.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 6:01am GMT

Ron..Bishop Turnbull of course. When you are out of the wood ..sometimes you see the trees better.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 6:16am GMT

"CEEC apologises for the fact that we failed to circulate the proposed resolutions prior to the Consultation day."

So the resolutions on 15 November came about through organisational ramming techniques. Hardly gentle or compassionate, or truly consultative.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 7:12pm GMT

Relatively few principals of Wycliffe have been raised to the episcopate. I think the last one was F J Taylor who was bishop of Sheffield between 1962 and 1971. His episcopate was marred by serious illness, but rumour suggested that it was not a happy time for the diocese nor for those within it who were not conservative evangelicals. Rochet and chimere don't seem to go with the territory quite as much as with the headship of some other colleges.

Posted by: cryptogram on Thursday, 11 December 2008 at 10:33am GMT

What a shame it is that anglican evangelicals have lost all credibility as organized entities.

I no longer expect much from that quarter that is honest or practical. And I began life in the Brethren !

A spent force

(I do speak of the movements and organizations of Evangelicalism and not all individuals, all
churches and all organizations - not quite).
The genius and imperatives of Evangelicalism led me out of its narrow confines decades ago.

Posted by: The Rev'd Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 11 December 2008 at 9:15pm GMT
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