Comments: five primates respond to 21 English bishops

So now there are five clear signatures (or names at any rate) on the Not Going to Lambeth For Sure (Maybe) List. Venables is now listed among them.

They will not feel "at home" and will find themselves beset by "activists" -- rather than being assisted by an Archbishop such as their "champion" George Carey, who helped them through their "great difficulty in making [their] case heard in the face of the process of the conference [in 1998]." Yes, we know how helpful the Archbishop was in 1998. I would say he helped them make their case very clearly indeed.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 4:59pm GMT

What a crock.
a) The goings-on in another Province are no business of others
b) "Their congregations have either forfeited or are being sued for their properties"? Yes, so what? They deserve to lose them for opting out of TEC, too.
c) "how can we explain to our church members" ... simple. If conscience says something is wrong, go to Lambeth to try and sort things out; anything *less* is unscriptural hypocrisy.

It's even more clearly a case of "we're not coming to your party". A failure to weigh the good of being there with Canterbury against the fear of being there with people of differing opinion, lest they see their own fault.

"we could not feel at home…"
So Christianity is only applicable to one's friends, is it? No attempt to interact, negotiate, correct-if-appropriate, or bring the Gospel to the world? How homophobic can you get?

Posted by Tim at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 5:15pm GMT

"We are also mindful of the press interest in the Conference, and in the presence in some form or other of Gene Robinson and his male partner, and of 30 gay activists. We would be the continual target of activist campaigners and media intrusion. In these circumstances we could not feel at home…"

You'd think this was a meeting of the World Bank/IMF. Are they expecting the grounds of Lambeth Palace to be filled with obscene puppet shows?

We could use a man like Count Candidian again...

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.iii.html

Posted by Caelius Spinator at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 5:29pm GMT

Thirty gay activists expected? Is this accurate? Are they booked in? Are they a fringe event? Are they bishops?

The people not going to Lambeth, with the exception of Sydney (Ah, Sydney) are down to the rump of boundary crossers, and maybe not even all of them.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 5:43pm GMT

"in the presence in some form or other of Gene Robinson and his male partner, and of 30 gay activists. We would be the continual target of activist campaigners"

Oh, the collective cooties! Egads!

;-p

Seriously: the wedding guests have been invited, but some won't come. However, "30 gay activists" (or 300---or 3000---or 3 million) WILL. What did Jesus have to say 'bout that?

Posted by JCF at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 5:47pm GMT

I bet the former Archbishop Carey is pleased to see his name mentioned, as the good guy compared with the present guy in charge. I wonder what calculation went into putting his name into the letter, and where the advice for that entry came from.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 5:52pm GMT

Hmm the realignment stew thickens one suspects as the pots continue to simmer on slow boil.

These conservative leaders are shaping up to be modern equivalents to the ancient near eastern self-righteous of old, especially in the Jewish sects of NT report who stood in the audiences to hear Jesus and pick at both the gospel details as well as the incarnate authority that was often an occasion of remark in NT witness: This man speaks with authority, saying things like, This scripture is fulfilled now, before our very eyes, in me.

Or, You have heard it said, or heard it written that ... but I now say to you ...

Why can African or other conservative religious leaders not afford to be seen in public with anybody who does not already agree with them, in the neatest, most un-doubting, most conformed manner possible? Why do they so fear global media exposure of their most negative traditionalistic views, knowing that these days such exposure along with the free discussions which will comment upon their views, and gasp, criticize their views from several viable modern angles?

Why can conservatives like these not afford to be seen in public with people they define as sinners in a very closed minded manner, despite the fact that such ancient negative definitions are part of the hot button point nowadays among believers of different understandings?

Such conservative believers often escalate to preach that, if they can no longer plausibly define queer folks as that special bad sort of sinner to which straight sinners hardly ever really compare in real everyday cultural life, then the very possibility of Hamartia is undermined to the brute point that: Anything Goes.

Alas. What sorts of education did these folks receive? Who told them that ethics and theology were always categorical? Do they also dismis other domains in which empirical data has overturned ancient views - flat earth models? Ptolemaic Cosmology? The competencies of women who may not be properly submissive to a husband or older brother or father who wishes them not to attend school or train for a profession? The formerly alleged brain defects of Africans? Evolutionary and adaptational ecology paradigms in biology?

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 6:22pm GMT

Shame on those terrible activists, making these holy and orthodox Christians feel beset upon. This response makes it sound like homosexuality is an airborne infection that they might catch or at last they might be tainted in God's sight if they're within visual distance with the gays.

Maybe they could bring some crucifixes and hold them out like in the Dracula movies (along with wearing some garlic).

Posted by bob in swpa at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 7:00pm GMT

I empathise with their concerns about how they might be treated. After all, we all know from Tanzania that they are experts in the very strategies that they fear.

JCF asked "Seriously: the wedding guests have been invited, but some won't come. However, "30 gay activists" (or 300---or 3000---or 3 million) WILL. What did Jesus have to say 'bout that?"

See Matthew 22:2-14. When the invited guests refused to come and attacked the servants, the Father told servants to "Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests."

Mind you, they had to come with proper decorum and respect, the guest who did not show honor to the couple was thrown out.

See also Luke 14:8-14. When invited to the wedding, take the lowest place and "when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”

After the 2004 tsunami, I realized that God was really pissed off. In my prayers I reminded him of his conversation with Abraham in Genesis 18:16-33. I said to God that if God was eternal and character does not change, then it was reasonable for me to see if there were enough righteous souls to save this planet. If ten were enough for a city, and the Jews say 36 are enough for a generation, then I was pretty sure I could find more than that.

I also know that, despite over a year's work, that the Christians in my local Sydney community could not lead this wave of righteousness. They'd catch on and surf the wave once it was moving. However, I needed to go global to give all souls a reasonable chance to hear and respond. The testimony page of www.wombatwonderings.org gives a summary of the key events that followed. Not unsurprisingly, it was the outcaste and oppressed that initially responded.

By the way, do you know what would have happened if Adam and Cheva had not partaken of that fruit? The names of this planet's two annointed guardians would have changed. God commitment to creating this planet and its occupants has never changed, Cheva continues to take responsibility for protecting and guiding humanity's evolution.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 8:11pm GMT

Well, I pointed out some time ago that the primates who established parishes in the USA because TEC is an apostate church (the words of our Lord being so clear about not blessing same sex unions or ordaining openly gay persons) pretty much had to refuse to receive Communion with the primate of TEC (since if TEC isn't apostate, they have no justification for retaining their new flocks). Now the same argument is used for non-attendance at Lambeth.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 8:21pm GMT

Not only will they not take communion with those they disagree with, now they can't even be in the same room with them? Or the same city?

Is this the Anglican equivalent of "This town ain't big enough for both of us?"

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 9:19pm GMT

I'm going to make an assumption, which is that Chris Sugden is the author of this letter. Chris has been involved in every initiative of the global south secessionists of late and is masterminding the disastrous GAFCON event. This is a pilgrimage, according to some, and an alternative to Lambeth according to the statement issued by Henry Orombi of Uganda on Thursday.

Whatever, Chris is wrong about the numbers of LGBT people coming to the Lambeth Conference. At present, Changing Attitude and Integrity are expecting about 50 of us to be present. To that number can be added the members of LGCM who will be coming, and to these combined forces can be added all those closeted bishops who are gay and will be present at Lambeth, including the English bishop Jonathan Wynne Jones so coyly declined to name recently.

As Chris also knows, he and I and other LGBT members of Changing Attitude and Inclusive Church have met with him and other members of Anglican Mainstream in amicable, Christian and totally respectful circumstances at different events in recent years. It is dishonest and disingenuous of him to claim as a reason for staying away from Lambeth that the global south bishops would be the target of activist campaigners.

I can't, of course, answer for the press, and Chris and his compatriots in the increasingly fractured global south coalition, might be taking a wise course of action in avoiding their probing and frightening questions and cameras.

Posted by Colin Coward at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 9:43pm GMT

In any case, surely talking to people one doesn't agree with is part of the 'listening process' they are supposed to believe in - but actually don't.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 10:54pm GMT

Four words: Hog Wash. Bye-bye.

Posted by Brant-n-LA at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 11:27pm GMT

There is only one reason not to come to the game.

If you know you can't win, you forfeit.

______________________________

I cannot come.
I cannot come to your banquet,
don't trouble me now.
You won't run your life
the way I tell you how.
I've ego and ambition
and plan to steal a tidy sum.
Pray hold me excused,
I cannot come.
______________________________

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 11:40pm GMT

"As Chris also knows, he and I and other LGBT members of Changing Attitude and Inclusive Church have met with him and other members of Anglican Mainstream in amicable, Christian and totally respectful circumstances at different events in recent years. It is dishonest and disingenuous of him to claim as a reason for staying away from Lambeth that the global south bishops would be the target of activist campaigners."

This is an absolute key statement that should be referred to and quoted again and again in the coming months. I hope it will be.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 11:52pm GMT

"Maybe they could bring some crucifixes and hold them out like in the Dracula movies (along with wearing some garlic)."

They don't need to go to all that trouble. Just dressing in questionable taste would keep the gay activist at a respectful distance :)

Posted by Richard Lyon at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 1:03am GMT

I would be interested in the main argument that they seem to be raising ie

… You will know that some of us have not been able to take communion with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church since February 2005, - a period of about three years. The reason is that TEC took an action to consecrate Gene Robinson as Bishop in 2003 contrary to the resolution of the Lambeth Conference, an action of which they have not repented. The consecrators of Gene Robinson have all been invited to Lambeth, contrary to the statement of the Windsor Report (para 134) that members of the Episcopal Church should “consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion”.

Which I read as saying:

We are not going to come because it doesn't matter if Lambeth decides something -- the American church will ignore it -- and what's more, even something set up by the leaders of the church to try and make the system work (the Windsor report) it will also be ignored. Therefore we think this talkfest is a total and utter waste of our time. Later in the letter they suggest what activities they see as being of greater importance than a meeting that is totally ignored by the American church.

What is your take on this argument?

Posted by Margaret at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 1:25am GMT

Well, I heard that Martyn Minns is actually Chris Sugden in a beard disguise. In fact, isn't it true that Chris Sugden aka Martyn Minns actually went to university and theological colleges for all five archbishops as well and took all their tests and earned their degrees for them? And isn't it true that Chris Sugden aka Martyn Minns actually runs all the archbishops dioceses and provinces himself? Isn't it true that the Bishop of Rochester is in fact Mario Maguire from Tallahassee and Chris Sugden aka Martyn Minns actually does his voice off camera while Mario just mouths the words? What I've also heard is that Chris Sugden aka Martyn Minns was the one who really wrote Rowan Williams Feb. 7th lecture and switched it at the last minute and Rowan thought he was going to talk about Shakira (the singer) not Sharia (the Law) to a gathering of Anglican teens on holiday and didn't realize the switch until it was too late.

bb

Posted by BabyBlue at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 1:42am GMT

Da stehen sie, und können nicht anders. Gott helfe uns.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 2:00am GMT

Does this mean that Bishop Schofield will not be going? Pity.

Posted by Anthony W at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 4:35am GMT

"All of us have attended Lambeth before. As far as we are aware, only a few of you have been to a Lambeth Conference. In 1998, we had great difficulty in making our case heard in the face of the process of the conference."

Another breathtakingly arrogant claim.

These 5 Primates were all at Lambeth 1998 and participated in the final plenary debate on the Human Sexuality Report produced by the sub-section (a report they totally ignored).

They participated in the debate and successfully amended resolution 1.10 to make it the document of their prejudiced dreams. (They didn't totally succeed thanks to Bishop Michael Bourke's ammendment on listening).

Since 1998 they have proclaimed 1.10 as a success, a resolution which they have used to oppress LGBT people across the Communion and to justify their destructive actions since the election of Bishop Gene Robinson.

Now they claim (or Chris Sugden claims on their behalf) that they had great difficulty in making their case heard in the face of the process of the conference.

On the contrary, they were totally successful in achieving their goals set at the Kuala Lumpur Conference in 1997 and we in the Communion have been living with their "success" ever since.

Now they are casting themelves as the vicitms and we as the bullies. For those with access to the Church Times this week, check the LGCM insert. The front page prints the picture of Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma of Enugu trying to exorcise the demon of homosexuality from Richard Kirker. Who was being bullied and abused?

These Primates and their advisers have to totally distort the truth in order to maintain their stance. Is this Gospel or Christian?

Posted by Colin Coward at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 7:58am GMT

The LGCM insert in the Church Times is available as a PDF at
http://lgcm.org.uk/documents/CTS-Feb08-WEB.pdf and contains some articles of interest too...


Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 9:15am GMT

When I showed up as one of the uninvited guests according to Archbishop Akinola in the Primates meeting in Tanzania, it became clear to the conservatives that the smear campaign posted against me at the Church of Nigeria website are all false.

Now they are aware that African LGBT Anglicans from every province are coming to demonstrate our presence and to tell our true and honest stories to the communion Bishops, which the African bishops have been preventing and denying our existence and involvement with the church for a long time, they are now running and avoiding the Lambeth conference.

I need to remind them that Israel has a strong LGBT history and recently it has been approved that LGBT people in Israel has the right to adopt children like their heterosexual counterpart. I hope the GAFCON organizers did investigate the history of Homosexuals in Jerusalem before choosing it as the venue for their rival Lambeth Conference?

They can avoid coming to Lambeth but they can't avoid having some of us attending GAFCON.

Posted by Davis Mac-Iyalla at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 9:28am GMT

There was one Lambeth conference that did not involve the Americans (they weren't there). No one has the right to be upset that a non-participant refuses to acknowlege or bow to a decree that occurred without their input nor their consent.

To purport otherwise is to repudiate the covenant of peace and rely on sophistry and tyranny to continue oppression.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 9:44am GMT

"We are not going to come because it doesn't matter if Lambeth decides something -- the American church will ignore it -- and what's more, even something set up by the leaders of the church to try and make the system work (the Windsor report) it will also be ignored. Therefore we think this talkfest is a total and utter waste of our time. Later in the letter they suggest what activities they see as being of greater importance than a meeting that is totally ignored by the American church."

Margaret, my take is a barnyard epithet. If we're going to start talking about stuff being ignored, can we talk about how the GS folks keep ignoring the Lambeth prohibitions on border jumping? Or the way the US con evos ignore previously established processes for providing them alternate episcopal oversight if they think they need it?

It's OK if they ignore stuff based on conscience, but not if the liberal part of TEC does the same?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 12:01pm GMT

I have the advantage over Baby Blue in that, unlike her, I attended the Tanzania meeting this time last year, as I have most other Anglican gatherings over the last five years and, while I can attest that Chris Sugden and Martyn Minns are indeed different people, they do go round together an awful lot.
I can't recall them swimming in the pool, but they ate together and were certainly sequestered with each other every day in an upper room. Inseparable chums and, if not quite hand in hand, certainly hand in glove. It's quite touching really. If they spent any more time together they'd surely qualify for a civil partnership......

Posted by Stephen Bates at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 12:18pm GMT

You've made my weekend, Stephen Bates. Thank you! I treasure your last sentence and look to see it quoted in the future. Definitely the winner of this month's "qote most likely to get you banned at Stand Firm" competition! Thank you - and thanks to BB for eliciting your response.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 12:53pm GMT

"In these circumstances we could not feel at home… "

And if the 1st and 2nd century bishops had said the same thing about lions .....?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 1:15pm GMT

Thanks for the chuckle Stephen.

There are some very touching and very affirming relationships. There are souls who go a long way to protect and guide their friends and loved ones.

Jesus' words at Matthew 5:46-47 come to mind "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"

Isaiah 29:13 "The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men."

Psalms 101:5 "Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure."

Proverbs 6:16-19 "There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."

See also Zephaniah 3 e.g. "Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.” Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy."

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 9:25pm GMT

Margaret, the paragraph from the Windsor Report to which the dissident Primates refer will provide you with, I think, sufficient evidence as to their ability to "proof-text" out of context with this as easily as they do with Scripture.

Look at the whole paragraph in question, not only the excerpt so handily provided: "pending such expression of regret [by TEC], those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We urge this in order to create the space necessary to enable the healing of the Communion. We advise that in the formation of their consciences, those involved consider the common good of the Anglican Communion, and seek advice through their primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We urge all members of the Communion to accord appropriate respect to such conscientious decisions..."

Since the "expression of regret" was made by TEC's bishops and General Convention, and reiterated on several occasions, and the attendance at Lambeth is clearly made at the request and invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it would appear to me that the ones acting out of keeping with this paragraph of the Windsor Report are the dissidents who are failing to "accord appropriate respect" both to Canterbury and the American bishops.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 16 February 2008 at 10:22pm GMT

"You will know that some of us have not been able to take communion with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church since February 2005, - a period of about three years. The reason is that TEC took an action to consecrate Gene Robinson as Bishop in 2003 contrary to the resolution of the Lambeth Conference, an action of which they have not repented."

Am I missing something? Isn't this Donatist heresy? And isn't Donatism a significant "departture from the historic faith?" And how is it that the development of a new religious ethical hermeneutic concerning sex is said to be such a "departure" and not just an expected thing in the historical development of the faith? Just possibly, the objectors have their priorities ass-backward.

Posted by Peter of Westminster at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 7:18am GMT

"Our Biblical Faith."

Is it the Anglo-Catholic understanding of Gospel and sacraments or the Protestant Evangelical?"

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 10:45pm GMT

Peter of Westminster --

Yes, but when you call the schismatics Donatists, they don't like it. There is a convoluted explanation that they use to explain why they are not Donatists, but I can't remember how it works because it makes no sense.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 10:56pm GMT

"There is a convoluted explanation that they use to explain why they are not Donatists, but I can't remember how it works because it makes no sense."

I think it boils down to..."It's not that we think they aren't performing a valid Eucharist, just that we don't want to have anything to do with them, so there!"

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 12:57am GMT

The old Donatist chestnut. Even Giles Fraser doesn't bring that one up after getting demolished on the Church Times letters page over it.

Tell you what chaps (and chapesses), perhaps you could remind us all what Donatism was about in the first place and then we'll see whether it fits the current situation shall we?

Posted by Peter O at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 10:04am GMT

Tell you what, Peter O?

I am not your chap. Please guard your language!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 11:25am GMT

Well, on the bright side, with these lads, the GAFfeCONfidence Men, not showing up at Lambeth, there's not much fear of any gay person being forcibly "exorcised" this time.

Les absents ont toujours tort.

Posted by Nom de Plume at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 2:32pm GMT

Peter O.
It's there in the 39 Articles, actually "Of the Sinfulness of Ministers, which Hindereth not the Effect of a Sacrament." During the Roman persecutions, many denied their faith, only to accept Christianity once the persecution was over. The issue was if bishops and presbyters could be allowed to celebrate the sacraments after denying Christ under trial. It was NOT the apostacy, but the sinfullness in general. The resolution of the issue was the exposition of the idea that it is God who acts in the sacrments, through the priests whom He has called. Thus, God having called them, and God being the worker of the sacrament, the sinfulness of the priest does not negate the sacrament. So, even if people took part in the consecration of +VGR, and assuming, which I do not, that it was sinful to do so, they are still bishops and their sacraments are still valid. +VGR is a validly consecrated bishop. So, even if his relationship is sinful, his sacraments are still valid. Likewise, even though it is sinful to lie about him by claiming he abandoned his wife, or that his lifespan is 30 years less than a straight man's, or that he chose his sexuality and can change if he wasn't such a self centred rebel against God, or any of the other things that get bandied about, the sacraments celebrated by those who sin in this fashion are also still valid.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 3:36pm GMT

Thanks for that Ford.

I wonder if we should review Paul the Apostle?

After all, it was obviously sinful to repeatedly commit murder in the attempt to culturally genocide the Christian church.

Maybe we should refuse to read his writings or heed his teachings, as his sinful past probably corrupted all his subsequent works?

Perhaps Wilberforce made a mistake, and being a slave trader we shouldn't trust in the storm that led to the song "Amazing Grace" and his campaign to end slavery thereafter?

Maybe that's why some conservatives won't now admit that they have been wrong and guilty of mistreating fellow Christians (and others) and of misusing the bible for personal self-aggrandisement? If they admit to their recurring sinfulness, it voids their right to throw stones at others who are less duplicitous in their conduct.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 7:30pm GMT

Peter O., the charge of Donatism should be restricted to those who have denied Gene Robinson is ordained.

But beyond that, Donatism is a schismatic movement. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church notes this:

"Theologically the Donatists were rigorists, holding that the Church of the saints must remain "holy"... and that sacraments conferred by traditores were invalid.... The Donatists... went so far as to assert that all those who communicated with traditores were infected, and that, since the Church is one and holy, the Donatists alone formed the Church."

We need not search far or long to find similar language coming from the AAC concerning the Episcopal Church.

I have no objection (though I disagree) with those who say that Gene Robinson _should_ not be a bishop. But those (such as Drexel Gomez and Peter Jensen who have claimed that he _is_ not a bishop have crossed over into contemporary Donatism.

Sources: Gomez: "It follows that although the form of Canon Robinson's consecration was canonical... there must have been a defect of intention since those consecrating could not have been acting with the reasonable expectation that they were consecrating someone who could act as a bishop of the Catholic Church. It follows that the consecration should be regarded as invalid and that the see of New Hampshire should be regarded as vacant." Jensen: "The consecration that took place yesterday is simply not recognised. The Church in America, or some, may call him a bishop. Those who think differently are not going to treat or think of him as a bishop because they say he doesn't have the qualifications to be a bishop." That is Donatism, whatever the letters to the Times may say.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 11:04pm GMT

The renowned patristic scholar and now resigned Bishop of the Rio Grande, Dr. Jeffrey Steenson, who has been received into the Roman Communion, gave a lecture in Canada a couple of years ago, in which he drew parallels between 4th cent. Donatism and the schismatic actions of ++Akinola, Orombi, Kolini et al., who will no longer share the Holy Communion with ++Rowan Williams as Celebrant, if TEC's PB, a 'sinner', is kneeling at the same communion rail.

Posted by John Henry at Tuesday, 19 February 2008 at 12:38am GMT

Well done Ford - you've just illustrated why this has nothing to do with Donatism. Here's Article 26 in full:

Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.

Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.

It is the failure of the Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion to discipline those who have sinned that is the issue here, NOT whether their sacraments are validly administered or not. Nothing to do with Donatism at all, unless of course you're accusing Article 26 of being Donatist.

Posted by Peter Ould at Tuesday, 19 February 2008 at 8:48am GMT

"discipline those who have sinned"

Ah. Let's unpack this "sin", shall we. For at least three decades, Lambeth conferences have encouraged the Church to engage in dialogue with gay people. TEC did this, a relative rarity in the Anglican world. In the course of this, She found that much of what She had taught had caused, and was still causing, a great deal of hurt, pain, and suffering to gay people. It is not incorrect to say that the Church had been, in the distant past directly involved, and in the recent past less directly involved in the deaths, often brutal, of gay people. She is trying to atone for this history. She may be mistaken in how She is going about it, but She certainly is NOT mistaken in Her discernment of the pain She has caused. Her understanding of the issue is informed in part by a traditional approach to Scriptural interpretation, albeit one that comes up with a very non-traditional position. She can be said to have acted precipitately on that belief, and can be accused of disregarding the concerns of others. Yet She certainly has acted according to Her belief that She is called to better treatment of gay people than the Chruch has previously shown. For this, She has been reviled, falsely accused, slandered, propagandized against, and treated in a most base and unChristian manner by people who, while loudly procaliming the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality, blithely ignore its equally clear condemnations of the kind of behaviour in which they are engaged WRT TEC, and who actually justify the ways in which the Church has taught things contrary to Scripture in the past, but from which they happily benefit in many instances, while being all indignant about this particular "innovation". Is the sin TEC's actions before the Church had agreed the issue, or Her traditional approach to Scriptural interpretation that is the sin here? Where-ever you see the sin, it pales into insignificance, as far as I am concerned, when seen against the manifestly unChristian and Machiavellian actions of the Pseudorthodox. So, who's the sinners that need discipline? I'd suggest both sides, but the lion's share of the guilt for this mess does not fall with TEC, but with those who abandon the Gospel while pretending to defend it.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 19 February 2008 at 1:40pm GMT

Thank you, Peter, for laying out your Donatism for all the world to see.

Repent of this heresy, Peter. For the sake of your soul.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 20 February 2008 at 7:04am GMT
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