Friday, 22 April 2016

GAFCON Primates meeting

The Primates Council of GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference) met in Kenya this week and issued this Communiqué. It includes the following appendix referring to the recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Appendix: From Canterbury to Lusaka

Last January, we spent time together at the Primates Gathering contending for a restoration of godly order within the Anglican Communion. The sanctions passed at that meeting were not in themselves capable of restoring order, but they were a potential first step.

At that meeting, we acknowledged the reality of the “significant distance” between us and “expressed a desire to walk together” if possible. This distance was created when The Episcopal Church walked away from the Anglican Communion’s doctrine on sexuality and the plain teaching of Scripture.

Within hours of the meeting’s end the public responses from many bishops, clergy, and lay people of The Episcopal Church made it clear that they did not desire to share the same journey. The biblical call to repentance is a call to make a 180 degree turn. It grieves us that many in The Episcopal Church have again rejected this call. While we desire to walk together, until there is true repentance, the reality is that they are deliberately walking away from the Anglican Communion and the authority of Scripture at a distance that continues to increase.

The recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia has again highlighted the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion. Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates. This action has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of the Communion.

Nonetheless, we give thanks that these events have brought further clarity, and drawn GAFCON closer together in the mission of the Gospel. We are of one mind that the future of the Anglican Communion does not lie with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written. What others have failed to do, GAFCON is doing: enabling global fellowship and godly order, united by biblical faithfulness. This unity has provided us with great energy to continue to work for the renewal of the Anglican Communion.

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Comments

Earth to Lambeth: Your obfuscation isn't working.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 3:37pm BST

'What others have failed to do, GAFCON is doing' - sounds like a rather tired and sad statement in response to a rather successful ACC-16 meeting.

Posted by: Nicholas Henderson on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 4:26pm BST

TEC are 'walking away from the Communion'?! You set up your own alternative conference, you crazy fools! (Mt 7)

Posted by: DBD on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 5:51pm BST

Sawdust. Plank.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 5:52pm BST

The ACC is saying we can truly walk together with our differences. The ACC has prioritized the real Gospel of Jesus to care for one another over the ego needs of GAFCON primates to impose their fundamentalist view on the rest of the communion.

The GAFCON primates are the ones "tearing at the fabric of the Anglican Communion." For the most part, Anglicanism is not about a fundamentalist approach to Scripture, it is more holistic. We can share in the breaking of the bread and work together on compassion and healing without agreeing on everything.

The big picture doctrine is intact, and the ACC's priorities are beautifully aligned with the Gospel of Jesus. I note that the presence of women, both lay and ordained, clearly helped keep the focus on the Gospel imperatives. It was lovely to see pictures of amazing women who I met at UNCSW.

The Anglican Women made a statement in 2007 that they intended to stay in communion, no matter what, and they just re-affirmed it in 2016. These primates really need to look into their hearts to discern who is tearing the fabric of the communion, and if it's worth it. Jesus said that we can tell the real prophets from false ones by the fruits of their labor. There's a lot to reflect on at this point.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 7:03pm BST

It seems these Primates do not understand the meaning of "walking together". It does not mean everyone dutifully following one "leader", but often means negotiating about the direction, with plenty of room for disagreements. It seems they want to walk together only if they alone choose the destination and the means of getting there.

As to matters of doctrine or polity decided by ACC, the only thing close to a doctrinal statement that I can see is in Resolution 16.03.2: "upholds just relationships between women and men as a reflection of our Christian belief that women and men are equally made in the divine image". For polity, they did ask the Standing Committee to consider adding youth delegates to the membership of the ACC, 16.34. And weren't all the resolutions unanimous? Did any voting by representatives of TEC have any real effect?

GAFCON grows more and more childish by the day.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 7:04pm BST

The agenda of the GAFCON Primates is very clear. They will attempt to exclude the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion and admit the Anglican Church in North America as a full voting member. They will continue to use the so-called Instruments of Communion to accomplish this. The timeline is three years from now.

Posted by: Karen MacQueen on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 7:05pm BST

From the appendix, "This action [TEC-ACC] has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of The Communion." Indeed! What we have here is an example of projection.

What a study in contrasts. Here we have GAFCON with their dogmatism, and boycotts, and demands that the Primates are not to be "defied".

On the other hand, ACC has taken the conciliatory and diplomatic approach that holds out hope for effective conflict resolution.

Find the authentic "instrument of communion" in this picture.

Not difficult to see who really has taken concern for The Communion to heart.

GAFCON is looking at training for bishops. I've attached a link to Bishop Douglas' bio. His long standing commitment to The communion is evident, as it was at ACC. Some of the GAFCON types might think about getting some mentoring from Douglas.


https://www.episcopalct.org/Staff/bishop-ian-t-douglas/

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 7:19pm BST

"Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates."

Or so holds a blogger at Episcopal Café.

The ACC isn't a doctrine-producing body. It is consultative in character. Thankfully even Tom Ferguson is calling for a halt in TEC's efforts to make ACC something it isn't.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 8:56pm BST

"The Episcopal Church walked away from the Anglican Communion’s doctrine on sexuality and the plain teaching of Scripture."

I was not aware that the Anglican Communion had a body of doctrines beyond the creeds. What am I missing?

Posted by: June Butler on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 9:24pm BST

When did the Anglican communion get "doctrines"?

Posted by: Daniel Berry on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 10:13pm BST

"Thankfully even Tom Ferguson is calling for a halt in TEC's efforts to make ACC something it isn't."

Classic projection! Wow.

The ACC asserted their independence from the primates, not TEC in particular. It's the primates who overstepped and who have absolutely NO authority to determine doctrine for any province other than their own.

TEC merely said that they were there and participated in an event that was very positive in fellowship, worship, and outcome.

If ACC doesn't matter because "isn't a doctrine-producing body," then the full participation of the TEC delegation shouldn't be a big deal. But clearly, it was a big deal to the GAFCON primates.

Also, I see that the new top leaders of GAFCON are deeply complicit in human rights abuses against LGBTQI people. That pretty much makes them irrelevant as a faith institution.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 2:37am BST

Hmmm. So the ACC isn't a doctrine producing body, yet the primates somehow found it necessary to keep TEC folks from voting on matters of doctrine at the ACC? Sounds a little odd, there cseitz.

Additionally, the TEC reps didn't introduce the resolutions on doctrine. They just voted on them. So if someone is trying to make the ACC into something it isn't, I suggest you look to the folks who proposed the resolutions. In the case of the resolutions on doctrine, that would be Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order. In the case of the resolution that I am aware of on polity--the much discussed c34 regarding the primates communique--the proposer was that well-known liberal firebrand Archbishop Daniel Deng of Sudan and South Sudan.

Finally, the sentence you quote was not written by a blogger at Episcopal Cafe. It was quoted on Episcopal Cafe, but the text is from the statement of the GAFCON primate's council.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 3:12am BST

This is pure madness. Blind belief and God's true word always a recipe for disaster.

Posted by: Frank Paul Morgan on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 4:15am BST

"We have no doctrine of our own. We only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic Creeds, and these creeds we hold without addition or diminution." G Fisher ABC.
Trouble is those same creeds contain no reference to that which the Primates and the ACC delegates find to be so vexatious.
If only we could conjure up from history one of those famous letters bearing the Trent postmark addressed to his successor giving helpful advice to Michael Ramsey. Letters which so often got accidentally smeared in breakfast marmalade and sometimes found their way unopened into the Lambeth Palace waggapaggabagga. I'm sure that Geoff would be only too pleased to offer some helpful guidance and advice.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 6:45am BST

The whole thing is a mess: Primates who think that they act as a Magesterium over a global denomination; they don't. Consultative bodies who issue nice sounding statements and make resolutions and then individual churches, many of which 'hold' a wide range of differing views and theologies. If the 'communion' is to continue it can only do so as a loose federation with the provinces relating to Canterbury. This would be a far more democratic and economically more sensible model. But, there again the Primates aren't really interested in 'democratic' theology, still less the principle of subsidiarity.

Posted by: Andrew Lightbown on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 9:41am BST

I find this all rather sad. The number of grassroots parochial Anglicans who give a flying fig about this political posturing is tiny. Even in the Provinces where the GAFCON Primates serve (note the word), the bonds of affection across the communion remain strong and continue in spite of the efforts of a small number of British and American 'ultras' to turn churches to their sectarian agenda. None of this is to diminish the right of African or other Provinces to take a view on sexuality that differs from that of the US (the Primates meeting sort of reinforced that right) but the hardline activism behind GAFCON goes against the bonds of communion that define the nature of global Anglicanism. I also think that it is ultimately self-defeating: increasing numbers of Global South Anglicans know they are being drawn into other people's agendas and I don't think it will be long before we see more public dissent like that of the defiant Kenyan delegation who went against the wishes of their GAFCON Primate. Sectarianism always ends up in endless spits and disputes.

Posted by: Simon Butler on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 10:02am BST

I just got slightly dizzy trying to do a 180 degree repentance move while walking. I don't recommend it.

Posted by: Cassandra on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 10:40am BST

"The whole thing is a mess."

Yes indeed.

Thank goodness no one has to go through this exercise for another 3 years or so. TEC claiming it is voting on doctrines; Gafcon claiming it is doing that so as to take exception to it; warnings about English law waved in the air; behind the scenes negotiations with +Douglas so that he steps back; paternity matters in the news.

If one returned from five years in outer space and read about this event, it would not be believed for its bizarre presentation.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 11:13am BST

Thanks to Cassandra for the voice of sanity in the context of much craziness. Goodness knows, there's a need for some humour in all this mess.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 11:52am BST

I'm not too happy to see that the recent meeting of some of the Gafcon Primates in Nairobi saw fit to include in their communique - as their allies in Aotearoa/New Zealand - 500 people gathered under the hastily-erected flag of FoCA, calling itself FOCANZ, over the last few days. These people have already aligned themselves with the one schismatic (ex-Anglican) parish in the Waikato diocese, hoping, no doubt, to takeover the name and legacy of ACANZP, under the self-nominated title of 'authentic Anglicanism'.

They are, admittedly, just a small bunch of Kiwis, but one is mindful of Gafcons' influence in ACNA and AMiE. We don't want that sort of trouble here.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 12:00pm BST

hope placed on technicalities..... so much faith in Welby?

Posted by: S Cooper on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 5:35pm BST

I've said this elsewhere, but don't mind repeating it: the only thing in our formularies that I know of that could conceivably be construed as an "Anglican doctrine" of marriage is in Article XXV of he 39 Articles, which says marriage isn't to be "counted for sacraments of the Gospel," going so far as to say that it "pertain(s) to a state of life allowed in scripture."

Since same-sex couples living together in self-sacrificing, unconditional love isn't mentioned in scripture; and since many of the instances of heterosexual marriage illustrated in scripture are so repugnant to modern sensibilities and ideas of justice that they've illegal in most civilized countries (though, alas, not in all African countires); I cannot, therefore, for the life of me, understand what's so friggin' great about "the" biblical idea of marriage."

Posted by: Daniel Berry on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 6:59pm BST

@ Cseitz, "...bizarre presentation." Really? Not to mention your own fanciful analysis, usually offered up either without evidence or contraindicated by the text of articles or documents as written. Continuing with your outer space analogy, how is life on Mars?

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 11:36pm BST

Yes, Daniel; we don't hear much about Art.XX4 from the thirtynine-artifacts group. Naturally, being non-sacramental, that makes marriage second-order material, and not worth argumentaion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 11:20am BST

@ Father Ron, "marriage second-order material, and not worth argumentation." That is certainly true on the face of it; but in many ways the marriage issue is a proxy issue, dog whistle politics of a sort, for the larger issues of a culture clash harnessed to politcal power within The communion. The presence of the ACNA guy at the Primates "gathering", the ongoing relationship between ACNA and some of the Primates, the inclusion of ACNA in the "Growth" section of the GAFCON communication, the presence of the ACNA guy in their Primates' Council, all evidences that the long game is probably an attempt to replace TEC and Canada, with ACNA, just for starters.

Destabilization i.e. ACNA, FOCANZ, is not a problem solving or conflict resolution strategy. All I can say is that in the case of Canada, for several reasons, it is hard to imagine ACNA/Anglican network making that work within present arrangements in The Communion.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 4:17pm BST

The Communion may not have doctrines, but the Holy Bible sure does. The ACNA believes in and teaches those doctrines.

Posted by: Kenneth on Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 4:43pm BST

Dear Mr Gillias, Just fine. I ran into Lonergan and he says to say hello! Sunday best wishes.

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 8:46pm BST

So what do we think Welby is thinking? Even if he managed to convince himself after the Primates meeting that they all wanted to walk together (and that the sanctions weren't sanctions but consequences), he's surely too intelligent to believe that any more.

Posted by: John Swanson on Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 9:01pm BST

@ cseitz, "Dear Mr Gillias [Sic], Just fine. I ran into Lonergan and he says to say hello! Sunday best wishes."

LOL, LOL; So you have been way past Mars I reckon, the seventh heaven maybe? Keep the quibbling, wedge politics, and talking through your hat coming. My blue collar union upbringing makes your rejoinders virtually irresistible. ( :

bon dimanche.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 11:32pm BST

I think Welby has to be coming to the conclusion that maintaining a facade of Communion unity is a fool's errand.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 1:07am BST

"The Communion may not have doctrines, but the Holy Bible sure does. The ACNA believes in and teaches those doctrines."

ACNA believes and teaches doctrines as it *interprets* the Bible, Kenneth. Those not affiliated w/ ACNA, every bit as devoted to the Bible as you are, interpret it differently.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 3:26am BST

I agree, Rod. The prsence of the ACNA 'Archbishop' on the hustings with the GAFCON lot, is the only way these African Primates have into their attempted invasion of North America. However,schism only leads to more schism, as experience has already proved in North America. I don't think acna/foca/gafcon will ever really take on in the free world of Anglicanism

In the meantime, Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 3:34am BST

@ Kenneth, "The Communion may not have doctrines, but the Holy Bible sure does. The ACNA believes in and teaches those doctrines." Whether or not, and to what extent, a "biblical" ethic is possible remains an unresolved problem in theology. ACNA and GAFCON may have resolved this for themselves, but that hardly closes the question for the rest of us.

Dogmatism is sometimes an additional complicating factor. It usually requires what writers call a foil to highlight the virtues of the (self) righteous. The usual targets include gays, women, Muslims, the "unorthodox" and so forth.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 3:59am BST

I agree with Simon Butler. This is rather sad and irrelevant.
Is anyone else tired of this phrase: "and further torn the fabric of the Communion"? If anything tears at the fabric of the communion it's this self righteous segregationist posturing of the Gafconites. They have 'cried wolf' so many times but don't actually seem to do anything other than huff and puff.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 7:26am BST

Perversely, I take some pleasure from this announcement, since it at least confirms that GAFCON had the same impression of the outcome as the Episcopalians. When the first report in these pages that ACC had declined to support the Primates' statement was via a link to the Episcopal News Service, I feared that GAFCON might have taken a different view, but this criticism confirms that they saw it the same way. Well Done to the ACC!
As to the ABC's bizarre attempt to spin the outcome as being supportive of the Primates' statement, dream on!

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 12:24pm BST

"My blue collar union upbringing makes your rejoinders virtually irresistible."

Thank you for sharing. Sounds very deep.

Amities en Christ.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 2:10pm BST

In the UK, as I think we all realise, this debate is entirely over. The predicted dooms that would follow from same sex marriage, the thousands of laws that would need revising, the families ripped apart, the rise in sexual diseases and, indeed, water levels, have not happened. There is no public debate about same sex marriage, outside tiny and rather nasty enclaves of the hard right. The idea that it is ever going to get back onto the legislative agenda and be cast into the outer darkness by a rising sun of righteousness is preposterous. The CofE can continue to obsess about sex, particularly anal sex, all it likes, but what it will do is look like a Sealed Knot Society for Bigots, re-enacting the battles of the past for an audience of people mostly sniggering at the people in funny costumes. I suspect that it has better, and more Christian, things to do than endlessly throw itself ono the barbed wire.

GAFCON appear to think that parishes should break off from running foodbanks, ministering to the poor and needy, worshipping God as they find him, maintaining lovely old churches, offering weddings and funerals to the masses and hosting Brownie Packs - the things that bring Christians joy and make cultural Christians warm friends - and instead hurls themselves on the barbed wire of same sex marriage in the hope that, well, what? That the law will be changed? That people who love each other will stop marrying? What? What, precisely, do GAFCON think is going to happen, or indeed should happen?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 8:59pm BST

"The ACC isn't a doctrine-producing body. It is consultative in character."

I agree on this point with cseitz.

In fact, there is no body in the Anglican Communion that makes decisions with respect to doctrine other than the local General Synods or equivalent. The highest legislative body in the Anglican Communion is the local General Synod. Period.

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 10:05pm BST

@ Kenneth on Sunday, apparently you didn't read or didn't comprehend the rest of my posting. Go back and try again, why don'tcha'?

Posted by: Daniel Berry on Monday, 25 April 2016 at 10:44pm BST

@ cseitz, "Sounds very deep." Funny you should say that. For some of my family, it was profoundly deep, ocean deep collieries deep. Some the smartest guys in the room paid for their education, or that of their children, by working in them.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 1:14am BST

"Funny you should say that. For some of my family, it was profoundly deep, ocean deep collieries deep. Some the smartest guys in the room paid for their education, or that of their children, by working in them."

Thanks again for sharing.

And this is related to anything how ... except autobiography?

"Irresistible" -- for whom besides yourself?

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 4:25pm BST

I wish the whole Anglican Communion, and all of us here, would reflect on Psalm 133:

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) live together in unity!"

Or as the gospel says:

A new commandment I give you. Love one another."

And in the epistles:

"Now these three remain - faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

We need to learn to wash one another's feet, and seek one another's prosperity.

The Anglican Communion needs to remember this call to grace, and it's really sad if we don't, because there is so much good work and love that gets done all around the world, and so much desperate need.

What matters isn't 'Who is right?'

What matters is 'Will you open your heart to grace and love?'

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 4:47pm BST

Mr Perry

Well thank God we agree on the fact that an Anglican Consultative Council is, well, consultative in character. TEC was producing a grandiose remit for it.

To my mind it would not matter whether someone classified 'Christian marriage' a doctrine or not. Orthodox Christians of various stripe have held different views. That the Primates appealed to this tells me more about their common mind than about the probity of the term as such. That +Curry referred to this common mind, and even referred to 'doctrine', tells me again that he was referring to the mind of the meeting. And I do not think that unclear.

What apparently now is confused is how and to what degree the consultative body meeting every three years may be said to have come alongside the Primates consequences-speak and their view of marriage. I see no evidence that they rebutted this in a formal way. +Welby, who was there, believes more than that was said, and as an Instrument in three senses I suspect that will end up counting more than this or that individual view. But he certainly has his work cut out for him.

Grace and peace.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 6:23pm BST

"TEC was producing a grandiose remit for it."

I disagree that we (TEC) produced anything remotely grandiose. I think the illusions of grandiosity are on the side of the GAFCON bishops.

The ACC decided to actually walk together. I would agree that that is just grand!

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 9:34pm BST

"What matters is 'Will you open your heart to grace and love?'"

That is a question so terribly well-intentioned.

"Mercy and Truth have kissed each other."

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

Appeals to 'love' will sound like 'good conduct requests' but these will never soar with the Love of God in Christ until they are brought fully within his saving judgments and Truth.

And that, dear Susannah, is where the larger disagreement manifests itself.

(I leave aside the pettiness and so forth that blogs engender.)

But God will plough the fields in his Time's swath. So be assured.


Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 10:24pm BST

I repeat:

"...many of the instances of heterosexual marriage illustrated in scripture are so repugnant to modern sensibilities and ideas of justice that they're illegal in most civilized countries..."

Does anyone here believe it's lamentable that civilized societies finally found it necessary, beginning in the 17th Century, deliberately to exclude the savagery of Bronze Age ethics that condition much of the bible?

Posted by: Daniel Berry on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 11:35pm BST

"TEC was producing a grandiose remit for it."

It was the Primates, especially the GAFCON Primates, who wanted the ACC to act beyond its remit.

That gambit seems to have failed, and failed spectacularly.

Yet here you are trying to spin it otherwise. No one is fooled.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 12:17pm BST

Exactly ten years ago I waded into Anglican/Episcopal cyber forums, blogs and chat rooms with great relish. Then, about eight years ago, I left that conversation. I am sad to say that as I peruse the comments in this post -- for the first time in many years -- I see the same exact arguments being made by (alas) the same people. Friends, this is not getting anywhere.

Posted by: Greg Jones on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 2:52pm BST

@ cseitz, "And this is related to anything how ... except autobiography?" You are partially correct in that it is an autobiographical aside; but connected to my previous point about growing up in a blue collar union background. I couldn't resist the play on words your apparently scornful use of the word "deep" handed me. Besides, as a guy who likes to engage in a little autobiography himself,I thought you might appreciate my aside.

But to return and continue, the first adult conversation I can recall having about the church and the social question, outside of distinctly church circles, was during high school in the coal mining region where I lived. I was researching an economics paper for which I interviewed veteran union organizers. These were guys, elderly at the time, who had been active in the 1920s and 30s. I was surprised to discover that there were very critical views, to say the least, of the role of organized religion in the community. It was my first introduction to the notion that the powerful (including religion at that time and in that place), often used language under the pretext of authority to spin support for the status quo. I was intrigued that a number of working people, while they continued to support the church financially, to help pay its bills, had little interest in it as a credible agent of social change. Now, a lot of water under the bridge in the decades since, but the general orientation is still valid. I enjoy engaging social conservatives in the church. One of the rewarding aspects of the same is surfacing the politcal and cultural views that are often baptized as 'theology'.

As for biography/autobiography, we all have one. It is usually eventually discernible in our views, views which are seldom "objective'.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 11:09pm BST

"Friends, this is not getting anywhere."

To the contrary, some parts of the Communion are getting closer to God's kingdom.

Over the past 20 years or more, TEC has shown leadership in treating all God's children equally. Other provinces--Canada and Scotland come to mind--are leading similarly.

Meanwhile, those reacting against such leadership have failed to persuade the majority of provinces to take the reactionary position.

Which is why those reacting founded GAFCON, and why several GAFCON provinces and primates have now separated themselves from Primates2016 and from the ACC.

This leaves the Communion more free to move ahead.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 11:23pm BST

"this is not getting anywhere"

Allow me to clarify my own motivation. (Others will respond or hoot or defend or whatever; this is a blog).

I do not read blogs or respond to "get anywhere" but rather to see what the church looks like and to pray about that. I try to understand what one segment of those claiming the name of Jesus Christ mean by that (especially in the case of the ambitious rubric "Thinking Anglican").

So this is an assignment, for me, of responsible stewardship. What does a church wanting to be 'Anglican' or 'episcopal' (or something else) mean by that? And how far can this stretch before a congregation formerly wanting to call themselves 'anglican' begins to want to detach altogether? What do sacraments/symbols mean if they lose definition especially for older Christians used to relying on them?

I doubt that reading/contributing to this blog will "get anywhere" but you are right to put it just this way... If I may say so. I am unlikely the only one who wonders, is this medium in God's good pleasure and at his good missional use?

The only "getting anywhere" will be God's judgment on the entire affair, by which is meant, his productive extension of his kingdom so as to make himself fully and gloriously known. He can use blogs to that effect: even as they may be a "Balaam's ass" in our media world, but for Him a megaphone of human idolatry and curiosity and hopefulness and mercy: all wrapped up into one.

Or at least I hope so.

You question is good and one that I hope others agree is a correct one, even many years on.

But the answer-- well that is now in his hands. And thank God for that.


Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 1:46am BST

This thread suffers in places from a kind of "fog of war" by partisans. The Anglican Consultative Council is, by virtue of its title, a consultative body. The constitution can be found via the following link and deserves close reading in its entirety.

http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/39479/the-constitution-of-the-anglican-consultative-council.pdf

However, what the Primates asked for by way of "consequences" is noted below from their document. Note the last sentence. It addresses decision making on internal bodies. Consultative bodies can make decisions, its decisions being non-binding notwithstanding.

Now, run down the list of resolutions passed by ACC -16, all 45 of them. (Thinking Anglicans has a link for this).

The question is, do any of them resolutions have to do with 'doctrine' or polity? Did GAFCON get it wrong? If so, they need to chill and retract. If not, looks like the primates were indeed "defied'. And, as Martha Stewart might say, that is a good thing.

"7.It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years TEC no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity."

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 3:56am BST

Christopher

Would Jesus see the Primates Gathering as a meeting of disciples or of Pharisees?

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 8:07am BST

"What matters is 'Will you open your heart to grace and love?'" -Susannah

More precisely, 'Will you open your heart to grace and agape?'

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 8:36am BST

"fog of war" by partisans -- Mr. Gillis, if you are claiming to be 'above' the fog you are more self-referential than I thought.

What we do know is that the Instrument +Welby says that the Instrument ACC and Instrument Primates are in agreement. And we know that Gafcon is a subset of the GS and doubts whether this is so on the terms he is claiming. What we do not know and cannot know is how things will now play out, and whether the AC will simply fracture further.

Kate: nice set of options! a) I take it you mean for 'Pharisee' to stand in for 'an obviously evil party', and b) 'disciple' to be a really good opposite of that.

I suspect that line runes down the middle of each and every person who clings to the Saving Cross.

And I pray that is how Jesus Christ sees each and everyone of those who walk in His name.

Blessings in Him.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 12:55pm BST

Christopher: "But God will plough the fields in his Time's swath. So be assured."

Could you possibly translate that please? And all of it? It sounds sort of important but if I had just come from Mars I don't think I'd have any idea what you were actually going on about.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 1:28pm BST

Christopher
Thank you for explaining your own reasons for participation and your views on whether God might use a blog for his purpose. My own view is that He often speaks to just one person and that a blog can do that very well. Not the same person all the time, of course. I also find that I draft a number of comments which I never post - I think those were for me.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 4:32pm BST

"Friends, this is not getting anywhere"

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same...

It seems that there's always a scapegoat du jour and that reaching the Promised Land requires climbing mountains of obstacles. Race, gender, sexual identity, refugees, climate change, they all seem to test our compassion and our resolve to follow the Living Christ. Each plays out the same way. Members of the Scapegoat du jour are not as equally loved in the eyes of God because of x, y, z (SIN!!!! or Scripture, or historical understandings from cultures long gone). And because God Himself makes them unequal, it's OK if we exclude, discriminate, degrade, and demean scapegoat du jour - after all, we're just repeating God Himself.

We've been shown the Promised Land by Jesus, and by prophets and martyrs like Martin Luther King. There is a direct route, it's called love. But we don't take it most of the time.

ACC-16 decided to "walk together" and that is beautiful, and it's a breakthrough. The GAFCON bishops want us to scale another mountain of hate. It's classic. And love is going to win, it's just a matter of "How long, Dear Lord..."

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 5:52pm BST

"And love is going to win, it's just a matter of "How long, Dear Lord..."

Mr Godsall, here's your translation, right out of the oven!

The author and I probably disagree about what God's winnowing will mean in the end--when love and truth kiss each other--but surely not that we must wait for it in prayer and humility.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 10:42pm BST

@ cseitz, "Mr. Gillis, if you are claiming to be 'above' the fog you are more self-referential than I thought." The back and forth over ACC is unnecessarily obscured. Nothing a reference to documents can't re-mediate. You might try reading more closely, documents and posts both. It is not myself but the documents under debate that I am attempting to reference.

However, rest assured I own up to being fully partisan on the issues under discussion here; but I strive to be clear minded about my partisanship, in terms of both its rationale and goals.


Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 11:30pm BST

Christopher, you wrote: "The author and I probably disagree about what God's winnowing will mean in the end...."

So Christopher please tell me, what exactly, do you think, WILL God's winnowing mean in the end? As I said earlier, it sounds kind of important, but you seem pretty vague about it. Will it be like some exclusive club that you can belong to? And please don't tell me you don't know what it will mean, because if you don't know, how can you say that you disagree with someone else?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Friday, 29 April 2016 at 12:10pm BST

"rest assured I own up to being fully partisan on the issues under discussion here."

I am sincerely relieved to hear that. You spoke of a fog of war of partisans as if it were "out there" somewhere and not also your own partisanship (so much better at reading documents, of course).

I think the ACC discussion will evaporate into the mist soon enough and be forgotten. It was probably over-scrutinized this time around because of a new ABC who wanted to bring it alongside the Primates Meeting, and due to his close friendship with +Josiah. +Curry returned to the US speaking of doctrines and fair outcomes, and then that tune got swapped out for another one. Clearly Jennings+ didn't like that kind of talk. +CT has known +Josiah through previous work at the trans-provincial level and the character of the meeting began to take on super-heated expectations.

But the ACC doesn't 'do doctrine' and it is difficult to know how what it does is within the ambit of anything the Primates sought to deny anyway. So now we have an odd situation in which certain Gafcon members are giving it funny status so as to complain about TEC's participation in it. They are right, however, that certain TEC folk made it sound like simple attendance was defying the bad Primates Meeting.

But the dust will settle and a new battle frontier will emerge. We have two rough entities which as Christians operate with different presuppositions, sources of authority, understandings of the ongoing influence of the past on the present, and so forth.

Hence my comment that we are simply too close to events to know what they mean and how they will play out, and about which God will be pleased to prosper. Cultural historians tell us this all the time.

Blessings.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 29 April 2016 at 12:25pm BST

@ cseitz, "I am sincerely relieved to hear that."

All's Well That Ends Well. ( :

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 30 April 2016 at 12:58am BST

The most recent (1 May) statement of what he (ABC) believes was accomplished is now available.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 30 April 2016 at 11:27pm BST

I have linked to the Archbishop's statement in a new article.

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/007259.html

Posted by: Peter Owen on Sunday, 1 May 2016 at 12:24pm BST
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