Well, we now seem to have a growing formation of the traditional Anglican Communion, in its historical diversity, involving Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, and now Scotland.
Will Wales or Ireland be next?
Will New Zealand also acknowledge the need to retain that blessed diversity of believers who do not exclude, even when they may disagree?
I see a bright light on the horizon, and feel a fresh wind blowing throughout the global Anglican Communion, and I thank God for that.
The Abuja putsch may well be failing, and faster than I would have expected.
DON'T FORGET the GLOBAL CENTER of Central America, The Dominican Republic, American Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Equador...which is, by far, the hugest chunk of Latin America (including Brazil and Mexico of course as mentioned)...REAL is wonderful, it's just that reality sometimes takes some getting used to...when you add Canada and the United States there really is very little territory that isn't loving and Christian "willing" to "love oneanother!"
Peace from the Global Center of INCLUSIVE Anglicanism...let's get on with the business of being of loving service to one another at the Anglican Communion!
I do hope the Episcopal Church of the Philippines join this one. After all, underneath our norteamericano exterior, we've been Latin American all along!
Besides, if (and I hope this is true) the Global Center really stand for keeping the conversation open and for the hope that, in the end, we can still be in communion, then I am all for it.
I wish though that liberals do not paint this as a victory. Being this inclusive has a price--the acceptance of minimum doctrinal standards is a compromise everyone can and should live with. Freedom is not license to do bad!
Jerry's comment about holding onto disagreeing believers is instructive in view of the apparent disarray in one of the more peculiar 'traditional' Anglican (TM) set-ups. The Anglican Independent Communion has just apparently excommunicated its archbishop-designate. woe to those who use religion as a power-factory...
Christopher Seitz has posted some thoughts on the statement of the Scottish Primus on T19. His comment on the Scottish church? "It is a tiny church". Could it be that "NP" was actually a cover for Dr. Seitz? Seitz's comment is the second on this page; read also #4 by Doug Martin, which is very much to the point.
CUBA is inclusive and engages in INCLUSIVENESS at encourages it at ALL levels of Churchlife.
"...the acceptance of minimum doctrinal standards" is not the basis for foundations of a church.
That might be the criteria for being employed as a priest within any particular organisational structure, but that does not apply to the laity.
God calls to each and everyone of us as and when God is ready. No human can intervene in that process and no human can tell someone that they are not allowed to talk to God. Hebrews 11, the cornerstone is faith, not butt licking. Read the scriptures e.g. James 2:9-10 "...if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." Galations 3:11-14 "Clearly no one is justified before God by the law... The law is not based on faith.. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law... so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Romans 4:14-16 "...if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath... the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all... those who are of the faith..."
Souls can choose a communion that they feel matches their understanding of God. Most souls will go with the status quo. Some souls have specific callings and will feel a need to move to another faith or denomination or parish. Some souls will choose to remain aloof as God's polished arrows (e.g. Isaiah 49), prepared to assist and support all faiths, provided they are not devoted to destruction (e.g. Joshua 7:12) John 10:12-18, when the hired hands flee from the wolves or wasteful shepherds attack the flocks, God's polished arrows intervene to protect. If need be, they take on the worthless shepherds too e.g. Zechariah 11:17 If shepherds demand complete submission and refuse to allow liberal churches to form, even outside of the Anglican Communion then they are predatory wolves. Such shepherds are no better than any other faith that entraps their females and refuses to allow souls to convert to another denomination or faith. Such souls should be seen as the fanatics they are, any society that allows such an element too much influence is heading towards civil war.
We can applaud inclusiveness, but without clear reference to Christian identity it is self-defeating in the end. What is unity without Christian identity? So there is a unity within diverstity but Christian unity finally is grounded in the gospel or it is not Christian unity anymore. I pray God will enble that kind of faith and faithfulness in the church.
The question, Ben, is what do we mean by the Gospel? How would you interpret it? Would it be the Gospel that transforms our world--even I dare say the permissive, liberal, "justice-oriented" one--or the one that affirms our lifestyles?
I'd address this to everyone here, because Ben does have a point.
What do you suggest then, Ben Wiebe? Turning up each week and participating in the Christian liturgy?
There are a multiplicity of Christian identities. Some are anglican, some catholic, some orthodox. They are all parts of the body of Christ.
There are two choices, enshrine a sermon schedule and content that is to be repeated on an ongoing annual program with no variation (this is what some Jews have been doing for centuries), or accept that part of finding a parish is finding one that you are comfortable with.
Some people will like ultraorthodox and conservative interpretations. Others will enjoy a mish mash of different interpretations and find it rather pleasing that they all still end up at the same communion service.
It's likely there are going to be at least two different communions. There are those who love variety and diversity, and those who prefer predictability and orthodoxy. The diverse appreciate the orthodox as one form of Christianity, the latter unfortunately find us an anathema.
We heal through reform when times are too extreme and tyrannical, they heal through stability when times are in moderation and peaceful. Both forms are required, neither form is complete without the other. Just as strong souls need to work in the ghettos and find the refugees ready to leave; there then needs to be quieter souls to comfort the refugees once they are brought out of difficult circumstances.
Ren Aquila's question, "what do we mean by the Gospel?" is the biggie that probably should have been asked long ago -- except that there would probably have been coherent Anglican answer (or at least not one that would satisfy the puritans -- surely they seem never to have heard what I understand to be the Gospel).
Respecting Prior Aelred's comment: You're right about that, there is no (I think that's the missing word) single Anglican answer to my question. Indeed, even among Catholics, there is some disagreement on that point too.
That's because, as the scholastics say, "quidquid recipitur per modum recipientis recipitur." (whatever is received is received in the recipient's way)
We call it hermeneutics. But if we can sit down and discuss what we have received without the temptation to reject them out of hand, and then to let what we have received speak for itself, then we are getting somewhere.
You do call us to focus! That was my intent. To begin, gospel is what the NT says it is (e.g. 1Cor 15:3ff.). As is clear in context that means our basic confession as Christians is "Jesus is Lord" (see Rom 10:8-13). Since he comes as the fulfillment of God's purpose as spelled out in the story of scripture as a whole we can follow the direction of scripture and discern his will. On slavery for instance there are compexities - God delivers his people from bondage and calls them to set people free (at certain points), at the same time slaves were sometimes kept and in the NT there are people who in some circumstances continued as slaves. Yet we know the direction was to freedom (1 Cor 7:21-24; Philemon).
On sexuality God's intention is expressed in creation itself and that is afirmed by Jesus (e.g.Matt 19:4-9). And any instruction we get is in line with that teaching (homosexuality is present in society and culture but there is no indication of a possible different design from God for this relationship). The direction of scripture on this is clear and consistent from one end of the Bible to the other. Will we hear and follow a self-willed culture, or in accord with our basic confession follow the direction we have in Christ?
So your answer then, Ben, is precisely that:
a.) nothing in the Gospel justifies homosexual relationships as right, even if the parties can claim a committed relationship; and
b.) as I surmised from the tone of your answer, you believe in the Gospel as transforming, rather than "affirming."
Thanks for clearing that up. I am sure that readers will have their own views on this matter, hysterical or otherwise.
Interesting that what Jesus affirms - the sexual union of a man and woman - we would contrue in negative terms! The issue is, what does Jesus affirm? That gives us the direction for God's good purpose in this. I am not against "difference," that is one thing missing in a same-sex relationship. I also understand there is reason for confusion in our culture about sex, there are a whole range of distortions (perhaps beginning with Christians not being able rightly to affirm the goodness of this creation gift).
So I do not accept your distinction between "transforming" and "affirming," the grace of God is for us where we are and God knows whether we are open to him and his way and can begin with us there. We are all people called, in the light of of the reality of our plight in sin, to transformation!That is, God affirms us all and calls us into fullness of life.
Why do I always feel excluded when I read 'inclusive' or hear the 'inclusive' drum being beaten. It's as much a party label or slogan as any other church grouping.
When I was a parish priest in the UK I noticed that conservative evangelicals were expected to be invisible - at Cathedral events,and rarely if ever appointed to cathedral staff. The only place such evangelicals were expected to be included and visible was at the top of the quota paying parishes lists. Inclusive meant 'pay up and shut up'.
Inclusive means including all who think the way our party thinks - especially on a handful of ethical/lifestyle issues.
Keith Horsfall. France
Just to clarify what I mean by "transforming and affirming."
The distinction between transforming and affirming I use is actually from a friend of mine who's quite on the conservative end. He would say that the conflict between the Global South and the Global North leadership could be seen as two approaches to the Gospel.
Those in the Global South, who are generally younger and have a stronger missionary impetus, would see the Gospel as world-transforming. It throws into question societies like those in the West who have succumbed in their view to the temptation to throw morality out the window.
Those in the North, he continues, are generally much older and tend to see the Gospel as affirming of the lifestyle choices he already made.
Sadly, wrapped up in this are cliches among reasserters: the graying and decline of mainstream liberal churches, and the youth and dynamism of conservative religious movements not only in America but in the rest of the world.
If you look at my country, we are the only state left which does not permit divorce or abortion. We have increasingly powerful religious movements that are neither Catholic nor mainstream Protestant. But our country has a poor human rights record with regard to LGBT people. Imagine if the Gospel were truly transformative in this society!
That is what I meant.
Ben is correct that the identity of Jesus is central.
Particular interpretations of obscure and highly contextual texts, often overlayed with centuries of commentary, are not central.
"The issue" is not central.
What is central is that "Jesus Christ is Lord." And while their may be a range of understanding of what this means (even among those who proclaim themselves "orthodox," I have yet to see any evidence that this central thing is being denied in any significant way by the Episcopal Church in the US or by any other Province.
But it appears that this is not what is central for the "conservatives." Given the amount of bandwidth wasted on "the issue," one would think that all Jesus ever talked about was gays, when there exists, in fact, no recorded dominical utterance on this topic.
Your reflection is at least in part accurate. We can lose our focus because we are anxious about some secondary matter. But it is too general, what is central for conservatives? Or for liberals? (individualism wrapped in Enlightenmaent rationalism may be affecting all
sides in this).
That "Jesus is Lord" is being directly denied by people like bishop Spong on any understanding of the NT in accord with its own intended sense (of course we can make up our own meanings as we go along). In the NT sense this is not a little isolated statement but relates to all of life. Jesus has affirmed in accord with God's design in creation the union in marriage of man and woman (departure from this is a falling off from God's purpose). What follows from the confession that Jesus is Lord? That is the question we answer with our whole life.
Malcolm - yes, his identity is central....and we have to be faithful to him and not pretend he said "go and carry on sinning, it is fine" when he always says "go and sin no more"
When I encounter an individual who will say "go and sin no more" as forcefully to those who are divorced and/or remarried, as he or she will say it to gays & lesbians, I will concede that that individual's views, however mistaken, might be based in scriptural belief, rather than purely in personal prejudice.
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