Comments: CofE bishops write to GAFCON primates

I have commented on this all in some detail, both the letter and the GAFCON Lagos Press Conference. As well as the blog

there is a website page that outlines and comments on Prof. Stephen Noll's blueprint for a Global Anglican Communion. It really does tell all we need to know.

The bishops are on a non-starter as regards at least four Churches in Africa, and makes no difference to the aims and intentions of GAFCON either in ideology (early Reformation) or structure (new structures of international Anglican governance).

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 2:58am GMT

Interesting that James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, and David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, are both conspicuously absent from this list of evangelical bishops. They are, of course, the chair and vice-chair of Wycliffe Hall Council. Maybe they want Wycliffe Hall to be the boot camp for GAFCOM in England? The Elaine Storkey mess suggests that they're going the right way about it. By the way, anyone know what has happened to the appointment they were meant to be making in New Testament? I hear rumors that no UK NT scholar would apply and they are are going to have to appoint someone from the USA.

Posted by Henry W at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 7:46am GMT

Not that those primates have actually said anything about not attending Lambeth, tue? I'd like to see the rsvp list for myself :)

Posted by A.J.Chesswas at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 8:12am GMT

+Sergio Carranza, Assistant Bishop of LA, speaks his mind here:

Here's a bit:

"Here we are, just a few months away from the Lambeth Conference and we find ourselves in an impasse: the Bishop of New Hampshire without an invitation to attend the meeting, the poachers from the Global South hunting in the U.S.A. and Canada, the schismatics trying to steal TEC's property, the Nigerian post-colonial neo-crusader-in-reverse uttering threats, and the Archbishop of Canterbury giving the impression that he is willing to sacrifice the Episcopal Church in order to appease the radical conservatives and thus maintain the unity of an already fractured Anglican Communion."

This has really upset Greg Griffiths at SF!:

He concludes his berating of +Carranza:

"The real message Rowan Williams should take from Bishop Carranza, if by chance he takes one at all, is to pause for just a few moments and consider that unless he does something - anything - to eject or discipline the Episcopal Church, he will soon be surrounded not by the men of faith who make up the Global South and the "lunatic fringe of American conservatism," but by men without chests, and without honor... "men" like Sergio Carranza."

Posted by MJ at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 9:38am GMT

Chelmsford is the other misssing evangelical

Posted by L Roberts at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 11:18am GMT

chester and lewes are also absent

Posted by poppy tupper at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 12:24pm GMT

But the conservative evangelicals regard Chelmsford as a Revisionist.
He is also a patron of Changing Attitude, so I don't suppose that his signature would carry much weight.
(Mind you, they also have Liverpool down as a 'Liberal Evangelical'.)

Posted by lapsang at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 12:59pm GMT

Clearly, the GAFCON attendees will all turn up at Lambeth having prepared to take on what they see as the liberal establishment running the CofE and AC.

This letter from English bishops is opening the door to them.....just in case it had been shut a bit too far by the statements of Akinola et al. So, English evangelicals want to make sure that the GS turn up without losing face....and they will turn up.........

I think this letter shows that liberals have lost the chance to persuade the so called "open evangelicals" to accept TECs innovations as legit in the AC.....notice even Bishop Tom Wright is going the extra mile in public, encouraging Akinola et al to attend Lambeth now (and he is no Reform "militant" evangelical or fan of GAFCON....)

Posted by Londoner at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 1:01pm GMT

I've just noted that they also have Rochester down as a liberal...

Posted by lapsang at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 1:03pm GMT

Gregg Griffith has just posted a piece at Stand Firm which appears to be an attempt by GAFCON organizers to reframe their problems with Bishop Dawani. The lead in to the piece states "a trusted source in the Middle East last week sent this email to one of the GAFCON organizers as a way of explaining what is going on over there". "A trusted source"; "one of the GAFCON organizers". No names.

"....... opposition to the Jerusalem meeting has nothing to do with the internal politics of the Anglican Communion, and everything to do with the politics of the Diocese of Jerusalem.

"Bishop Dawani is engaged in a power struggle with the former Bishop over control of jobs and contracts for the diocese's extensive school and hospital network. Bishop Dawani needs to keep the support of the Palestinian activists in the diocese, and his opposition to GAFCON is being driven by this internal political calculus, I believe."

Far more at

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 2:36pm GMT

Ah Yes GGriffiths.

For some reasons of his own, he seems to repeatedly connect his worried sense of the various modern looming threats and insults to manly masculine manhood - probably of a traditionalistic tilt? - with quite a few hot button themes of our Anglican conscientious believer differences.

This presumptive deep and strong connect follows, actually, from the standard going con evo reading of the Genesis creation stories, which starts out raising sex/gender so high that it is nearly indelible as an eternal mark of human being, and therefore well nigh ontological. The reading largely maintain a studied silence as to how one squares this vigorous presuppositional stance - which doesn't bother much with modern biology, although it is freely making proto-biological claims in part? - with either the direct NT words of Jesus - people are neither married nor given in marriage in heaven in service of genderized family-tribe-reproduction initiatives - or the familiar NT Pauline claim that in Christ we have neither male nor female.

This traditional sense of having one's masculinity challenged accords well with the popular negative folk views - all to the effect that all manner of the infinitesimally varied shades of progressive men are queer, deep down, and that queer men cannot by pre-existing definitions, ever be manly masculine enough to suit their high requirements for manhood established by God and valued by manly men.

It's all as if WW II with its ranks of fighting gay soldiers had never really happened, nor really begun to be noticed by several different armed forces psychiatrists and commanders (who dangerously concluded, gee these guys are men too?). Ditch all the decades of later empirical research on gender identity, masculinized or otherwise. Who wants to read? Do real men read, or just look at pictures?

This sense of palpable threat would all be silly or ho-hum - except that it is meant quite seriously, believed fiercely, and used to justify meanness with God and Jesus invoked as holy witnesses.

Alas. Is the next Lambeth gathering to be the planet's largest bully boy playground where push and shove will indeed determine who is the manlinest masculine believer of all? Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 3:09pm GMT

It's a very interesting list, but many of these so called Liberal Evangelicals have nothing liberal about them. A word Revisionist is used in some cases. Some of the Liberal Catholics hardly qualify too.

I think the only motive of these evangelicals writing to specific primates is to protect the Lambeth Conference and add to their own weight, and not to become an outside flank themselves. It is in their interests not to have the evangelical wing split. There are also institutionalists (Rowan Williams is one). They never think that it might make more sense to have some sort of settlement of arranged division and tolerated relationships.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 3:24pm GMT

Note how FIF..UK ( Anglo-Catholics) are remaining quiet...maybe they too can see that GAFCON is really Evangelical ultra -Protestantism.

Better to go down with Gene than Peter Jensen.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 4:23pm GMT

Yes, I wouldn't have said their was anything very liberal about Southwell and Nottingham either, although I'm pleasantly surprised to see his name as a signatory. Almost as surprised as I am to see South East Asia not listed amongst those the letter was sent to - as the General Secretary of the Global South, I would have thought ++Chew would certainly have been staying away from Lambeth.

Posted by Graham Ward at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 5:10pm GMT

So Lapin

Have you given us another example of a retired bishop attempting to pilfer his former church's holdings?

Seems to be a common thread weaving there.

Pluralist, I enjoyed your insights, I think you're right about the preparation being set to create a new structure whilst keeping the channels open to see how much they can rip out of the existing infrastructure.

There's that pilfering theme again.

Romans 2:22-23 "You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?"

2 Chronicles 19:7 "Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery."

Proverbs 28:21 "To show partiality is not good—yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread."

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 7:27pm GMT

Isn't the Evangeliccal division between pro -women ordination and anti-women ordination?

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 7:53pm GMT

I think it is safe to say that South East Asia is not very happy with either GAFCON or with the way some of its organizers have characterized Dr. Michael Poon. They may or may not show up at Lambeth, but they may not go to Jerusalem, either.

Posted by Dale Rye at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 8:32pm GMT

"he will soon be surrounded . . . by men without chests"

Melanie (G Griffiths)-speak for ++KJS? ;-/

"I think this letter shows that liberals have lost..."

Funny, Londoner: I think it indicates exactly the OPPOSITE!

Posted by JCF at Friday, 1 February 2008 at 9:01pm GMT

"lunatic fringe of American conservatism," Sergio Carranza.

And then, a "message" from the "lunatic fringe of American conservatism," delivered by a "chest beating" conservative(?) which underscores Bishops Carranzas out-of-mind observation of free-for-all behaving "lunatics" at The Body of Christ.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Saturday, 2 February 2008 at 1:24am GMT

Assuming GAFCON can organise itself, what happens regarding Lambeth this time may well be framed to some extent by GAFCON.

Assuming GAFCON meets first and starts to set up parallel structures, then many of these evangelicals writing will want to press to cover as much GAFCON territory as possible. Yet the whole structure, those "lack of resolutions" approach of this Lambeth, will initially prevent too much from happening.

The result is that evangelicals at Lambeth may want to press for almost a coup there of method, to indeed start producing resolutions. If they don't, they leave ideological territory open to GAFCON. This is why the Advent Letter was so dangerous. Set up and agenda and don't be surprised if you end up following through.

So GAFCON could have a ropey launch, but might do better if it can raid, persuade and start to change allegiances after Lambeth. They have alienated so many so far that it will take frustration with Lambeth 2008 for them to be more successful - but it is more than possible.

Once GAFCON launches it will be in its interest to undermine the Anglican Communion. Evangelical bishops at Lambeth will be desperate to prevent this.

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 2 February 2008 at 2:29am GMT

The way to blow the GAFCON ship out of the water is to demand that Sydney comes clean on Lay presidency. No one is going after them on this...this is their achilles heel. They should also be challenged to come clean and clear on divorce and re-marraige, if they are going to mainly deal with sexual eythics as Jensen asserts. That would upset many of the common cause partners.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 2 February 2008 at 8:43am GMT

well done, robert ian williams, for slipping that one through the censor. ;-)

Posted by poppy tupper at Saturday, 2 February 2008 at 9:56am GMT
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