Sunday, 31 October 2010

Covenant: a response to the IC/MC advert

Fulcrum has published an article by Andrew Goddard entitled Framing the Anglican Covenant: Trick or Treat? A Response to Inclusive Church and Modern Church.

The propaganda on the Anglican covenant produced by Inclusive Church (IC) and Modern Church (previously MCU) and published in the church press reveals a most frightening development in contemporary Anglicanism. Two of the Church of England groups most associated with an appeal to reason have demonstrated themselves to be incapable of reasoned argument. They have also revealed themselves so hermeneutically challenged when faced with a relatively simple and short text whose contemporary context is well known that, did I not know some of the groups’ leaders, I would conclude they were deliberately misrepresenting the situation and framing false charges just in order to rally their troops and engender fear in those relatively uninformed of the covenant’s background and content…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 31 October 2010 at 11:00pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | General Synod

"We are presented with a vision of the covenant as an oppressive mechanism which will be used against us by such dangerous elements as 'neo puritans' and 'Anglicans in other parts of the world - (than the U.K.)'

- Andrew Goddard - Fulcrum -

I couldn't have put it better myself! What Andrew Goddard asserts here is nothing less than the simple unadulterated truth.

The original architects of the Covenant - faced with the open hostility of conservative puritans in the U.K. and in the 'Global South', who were prepared to (and is some case did) enter into schism against TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada (for their attitude of acceptance of homosexuality as a normal feature in the lives of a minority of human beings) - were prompted to draw up a code of ethics that would ensure the exclusion of those Provinces which were seen to accept same-sex partnerships and the ordained ministry of homsexuals in their respective jurisdictions.

Any Covenant Document which includes the measures of disciplinary powers (such as Section 4 of the present document) would automatically exclude TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada from full membership of the Anglican Communion.

One of the drawbacks with such a measure, is that other problems within the Communion - such as the culture of Border-Crossing, which is rife among some of the Global South Provinces, seems not to have carried the same disciplinary weight. It has already been exercised, to the lasting detriment of TEC and the A.C.of C., and would be difficult to facilitate withdrawal - even if that were considered necessary by the S.C.A.C.

The diversity that now exists 'de facto' within the Communion can never be retracted - even if this was found necessary in order to fulfil the requirements of the Covenant. So this fact alone should tell us that the covenant will not work - as presently ordered.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 12:01am GMT

Andrew Goddard is quite correct. There is nothing to worry about with respect to the Covenant.

Now, pursuant to the Covenant:

I should like to lodge a complaint against the ecclesiological innovation of Flying Bishops in the C of E.

I should like to lodge a complaint against the C of E for not accepting the orders of clergy ordained by female bishops.

I should like to lodge a complaint against the C of E for limited acceptance of clergy ordained by male bishops who ordain women.

I should like to lodge a complaint against the C of E for discriminating against LGBT persons.

I should like to lodge a claim against the C of E to give me several choice properties for the exclusive use of Anglicans who agree with my position that neither women nor gays should be ordained. (I rather like Westminster Abbey and St Paul's)

I should like to lodge a claim against the C of E to give me several choice properties for the exclusive use of Anglicans who ordain women and gays. (I rather like Canterbury Cathedral and York Minster.)

I reserve the right to lodge further complaints and claims against the C of E and other members of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 12:36am GMT

'The propaganda on the Anglican covenant...' Pots and kettles perhaps?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 8:06am GMT

It is interesting comparing this to Andrew Goddard's 2007 briefing paper (for the Evangelical Group on General Synod) on the Covenant. According to this:

'At the heart of much opposition to the covenant process is a belief in the "autonomy" of provinces that is theologically and legally flawed and corrosive of the interdependence that is central to life together in the body of Christ - as the work of the Lambeth Commission showed. Paul famously reminded the Galatians that it was for freedom that Christ set them free (5.1) but went on to warn them that they must not use their freedom to indulge the flesh but rather be enslaved to one another in love (5.13). The covenant process seeks both to find a proper place for the freedom of member churches and to be a theologically rich means of expressing our mutual enslavement to one another in love through covenanting with one another about how we will act in our own provinces.

'It is clear also that much of the most vehement opposition to the covenant comes from those most determined to lead Anglicanism in an increasingly liberal direction theologically and morally. They oppose any idea of covenant because they do not wish to be accountable to the wider Communion or to develop means to enable us to keep in step with one another and with the Spirit as he leads us together in faithful obedience to Scripture.'

In the Fulcrum Newsletter in October 2008, Andrew Goddard wrote on 'Life after Lambeth' that 'it is now very clear that the developments within North America are not acceptable' within the life of the Communion, discussed what was being done to discipline the Episcopal Church, and the proposed Covenant, which offered 'the prospect of a development which will not only assist in the current crisis but provide a firm basis for a new way of being a global communion, a new pattern of life together based on shared affirmations, explicit mutual commitments and an agreed procedure for conflict resolution and discipline.'

He went on to discuss the 'realignment of Anglicanism underway in North America as a result of its leadership's rejection of Scripture and the mind of the Communion', and suggested that, though the situation in England was not as dire, 'We would be foolish to deny that the fault-lines in North America and the wider Communion are not present here or to pretend that realignment in these other contexts can take place without effecting us... The challenge especially for evangelical Anglicans in the CofE is therefore to find a way of maintaining their own unity and rejecting further fragmentation, standing in solidarity with others here in England and across the Communion who are committed to biblical teaching, and supporting the covenant process and all other means of reforming, healing and revitalising the Anglican Communion and serving God's mission in the world.'

Posted by: Savi H on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 9:18am GMT

Andrew Goddard now has me convinced totally of the so-called *'Covenant's'* undesirability.

* Covenant -- it is nothing of the sort.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 1:12pm GMT

It's the stuck pig that squeals.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 1:27pm GMT

The phrase "relational consequences" is nothing but Orwellian doublespeak for "sanctions and punishment." That Andrew Goddard is unable to admit that speaks to Andrew Goddard's character.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 3:43pm GMT

I find I wish to have less and less to do with this brave new C of E and Anglican Communion. How dare he misuse the name of the on-going sacrament (as distinct to the initiatory one)as a synonym for the anglican communion ? Appalling misuse of language. But, one of a growing number.

He tries so hard along with the Evangelical parties to annex the term 'biblical' unto themselves. What is 'biblical' about right-wing,*clericalist (albeit Reformed*) anti-gay, white heterosexual, middle class males, as they launch their strategies to turn back the clock; re-imposing their domination over the 'unordained', female, gay, non-straight,
penniless, influence-less people.

A bold attempt to re-write or ignore the message of the Jesus of the Beatitudes. So 'biblical' to ignore his message and replace with your own !

So much for Christ's option for the poor !

* Reformed protestant clericalism is little better than the Roman sort ! *

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 5:12pm GMT

Thank you for this, Savi, especially this statement:

"They oppose any idea of covenant because they do not wish to be accountable to the wider Communion or to develop means to enable us to keep in step with one another and with the Spirit as he leads us together in faithful obedience to Scripture."

Accountability does not mean the same thing as submission or capitulation. It means being prepared to give an account of actions; whether that account meets with approbation or otherwise is another matter. The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have both given extensive accounts of their decision-making processes, their actions and the reasons for them. I would call that willing and open accountability.

Andrew Goddard's version of accountability would render the decisions of these Provinces, through their lawful synodical processes, null and void. Which of course contradicts his assertion that the Covenant would not interfere with the autonomy of the Provinces. In fact, it would do just that. Our synods would become superfluous, and Anglicanism as we know it would be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 7:34pm GMT

Wow. Goddard is so over-the-top ("demonstrated themselves to be incapable of reasoned argument"), that he's helping making IC/MC's case! O_o

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 9:04pm GMT

Well I couldn't dive too deeply into all AGs richly textured details - put in the mildest tones of plausible deniability, I have to say after reading a bit; without getting a good grip on his utter lack of regard for the new fangled covenant as a means of policing/punishment - and here's a nice dollop even sweeter perhaps: AG obviously assumes he and his no change sort will be on the business ends of that policing and punishment.

He's basically agreeing that righteousness in various cultural contexts which bother to take human and social sciences about queer folks at all seriously (so as to change their traditionalistic minds?) SHALL utterly be held hostage to what USA founding father Thomas Jefferson conceived of as the rule of the mob. AG already takes for granted that any mob worthy of ruling is somewhere on the no change ends of the Anglican spectrums. Other mobs will be called out, loudly, by AG and folks like him.

I think few things could make it more obvious than his quick and ready denials that power of some Anglican believers over others is the essential feature of the police/punishment features of the covenant? Dressing up power plays in language about love and responsibility is just about as low as a thinking believer can dare to go, that's my guess for now.

Okay, true colors are showing. NO to the covenant, thank you very, very, very much, AG. Betraying righteousness and calling it, of all things, Love ... goodness, what a bald ploy. The most to least punitive among the conservative religious have for centuries been preaching that their mistreatment of queer folks is, well ... for the good of those same queer folks, and besides that, it is loving to be honest enough to mistreat them.

We've heard it all before; and we know what comes next. Whatever the newly covenanted can get away with doing to queer folks, they will shortly attempt in targeting women, too. Ah, no thanks.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 2 November 2010 at 1:18am GMT

Surely a good side of the covenant will be improved ecumenism with Rome? look on the bright side and stop moaning.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 2 November 2010 at 5:02pm GMT

The "bright side" that the AC starts to become as imperious as Rome, RIW? (the easier to assimilated, Borg-style?) Please spare us your Schadenfruede...

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 2 November 2010 at 8:54pm GMT

"Look on the bright side and stop moaning"

- Robert I Williams -

If that is the 'bright-side' heaven knows what the 'dark-side' would be like!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 2 November 2010 at 11:51pm GMT

"Surely a good side of the covenant will be improved ecumenism with Rome?"

Why on Earth would that be good?!

Besides, the Covenanters may not find they have any more numbers than the ordinariate. People don't have to stay in a church, and if Anglicanism does that great a disservice to humanity as to adopt the so-called Covenant, it may find itself hemorrhaging.

It's also unlikely to improve anything with Rome, as it seems the most con-evo elements have been percolating this particular sewage.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 3 November 2010 at 3:59am GMT

What about the errors of Rome ?

Remember Latimer and Ridley

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 3 November 2010 at 4:58pm GMT
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