Comments: two reports from Battersea Rise

The secret ways article of Revd. Simon Butler is most interesting, as is observing movements in some parts of evangelicalism.

It is interesting observing the progress of open evangelicalism and all the postmodern and post-evangelical moves. It has recently been defined again (in Bradford) as doctrine at the centre and policing that rather than the whole gathering; it also involves strategies of going out into the community and being a new form of church. I mention Bradford because it is the home of that vacuum cleaner of churches, Abundant Life Church, with its huge media centre for a church and outbuildings and resources (I did pay it a visit in 2003, when it was quiet). When this sort of place is in the city, and provides spirituality that overlaps with entertainment, it must suck the life out of other church-bound evangelicals doing their bit.

What are they to do? Religion today is like a spinning top of centrifugal forces, which is evidence of responding to secularisation (Theos, the think tank, is surely wrong), and to the speicalisation of religion that ALC represents. Open evangelicals in turn are specialising, and oddly the only way to do it is down the more thoughtful route, the route of creative spirituality and into the community dialogue rather than bashing away and banging away for ideological purity.

A big fuss was made when Steve Chalke, the Baptist, changed his view on Atonement - but he is only going down a road long travelled before. And so are open evangelicals like Revd. Simon Butler. It is unfortunate, but the centrifugal force is at work: it is the sociology behind todays theological changes. Butler puts it in terms of unity, but he is deciding the direction to go when the centrifugal force is at work.

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 8:20pm GMT

I think the most disturbing thing about this incident ("Chapman Memo"-esque, on the other side of The Pond?) is this bit from Rev. Perkins:

"we must support the Global South financially, as they were losing funding from North America."

If he is speaking of TEC, to the best of my knowledge there has been NO reduction in funding to Global South Anglicans, or to any specific entity among them.

Even as conservatives in TEC play politics with *their* financial support, TEC (as expressed in GC's outreach budget) has not.

*****

This is an outstanding observation by Rev. Simon Butler:

"I have come to the conclusion that some of my brothers (and generally they are brothers) are in danger of becoming so focused on being Evangelical than they are in danger of forgetting something central to being Christian."

This is a spot-on warning for ALL of us: will we be "party-members" (the very definition of heretic!), or will we be Christians?

Lord have mercy!

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 8:56pm GMT

I will echo the observation that funding from TEC has not been withdrawn, but in some places rejected.

In other places, it has been welcomed. The Diocese of Virginia continues - in very difficult circumstances - to support the Diocese of Renk in Sudan, with both money and people.

But I have not recently heard of any statements by ++Akinola about Sudan - just about his raising money for a giant delegation to Lambeth. Nor have I heard of his involvment in working to help the horrific situation of Lagos, recently described in an article in The New Yorker.

Instead, he is raising money that he says will finance his gigantic troup of bishops and hangers on going to Lambeth, as well as financing the running costs of his province. Must be another Nigerian money thing...

Read the New Yorker piece and then ++Akinola's screeds.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 13 November 2006 at 1:09am GMT

Simon Butler writes in his article: "I am one of those evangelicals who is constantly drawn to what might be called evangelical essentials, but who, since ordination, has never ministered in the evangelical subculture. I don’t go to the big conferences; I don’t just read the ‘approved’ authors; and I see the Church of England as much more than ‘the best boat to fish from’."

Didn't we use to call this kind of thing something or other?

5th something...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 13 November 2006 at 6:42am GMT

How many bishops would TEC like to send to Lambeth 2008? (If it is invited. Will they come even if VGR is not invited?)

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 13 November 2006 at 6:14pm GMT

Though I don't quite see the relevance of your question Alan M, the answer is quite simple: ***ALL*** of TEC's diocesan bishops should (and, I believe, WILL) attend Lambeth. Period.

[No Ifs, Ands, or "Seems +NewHampshire's invite got lost in the mail?" Buts!!! ;-p]

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 13 November 2006 at 7:31pm GMT

I was just comparing numbers in the light of Cynthia's posting. If Nigeria sends the same number of bishops to represent its membership, pro rata with those of TEC, then it will require rather a large number of planeloads.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 13 November 2006 at 7:47pm GMT

You are always talking of numbers, Alan.

As if numbers mattered.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 8:22am GMT

Good for PP for speaking out the truth as he sees it, without regard to fashion and trends. But the turning off of the mikes was wrong if he really believes in openness. (It was also pointless, as plenty of people would be able to report that the mikes were turned off). There is a danger of exhibiting a controversialist spirit.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 9:01am GMT

Actually Goran it was Cynthia who was rather concerned about numbers - of Nigerian bishops attending Lambeth 2008.

In practice it is ECUSA which is always vastly over-represented in relation to its actual size. But I rather think it will only be attending the next Lambeth via video-link, if at all.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 11:51am GMT

Given the level of intellectual or remotely relevant activity likely to take place there, I think they should save their money and let the fanatics get on with it. Let them enjoy their delusions in peace

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 10:27pm GMT

Alan Marsh wrote "In practice it is ECUSA which is always vastly over-represented in relation to its actual size. But I rather think it will only be attending the next Lambeth via video-link, if at all."

The reality is that neither numbers, nor wealth, matters. And, as to how many bishops come from Nigeria, or USA, or England, or Antarctica, have we really gotten to the point where we will have a litmus test of direct correlation of numbers of bishops to the numbers of "members" of their national churches?

What nonsense.

Mr. Marsh is entitled to his opinion, just as I am to mine, and my prediction is that he will be very disappointed by the collegiality of the bishops at the center of the communion.

And, TEC will be there, in numbers that will undoubtedly annoy him.

In turn, I will be annoyed that bullies and uncharitable bishops from other parts of the communion will also be there.

So be it.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 15 November 2006 at 4:19am GMT

Actually Jerry it was Cynthia who was rather concerned about numbers - of Nigerian bishops attending Lambeth 2008.....

Given the growing trend towards a synodical style of Lambeth meeting, it would be rather more democratic for the numbers attending, representing their churches, to have some correlation to the size of their membership, as opposed to their bank balances.

But I detect a certain irritation in some ECUSA quarters that the power of the dollar seems to have ebbed somewhat in the global Anglican communion. How sad to join Britain as a former colonial power!

Posted by Alan Marsh at Wednesday, 15 November 2006 at 12:20pm GMT
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