Even as an outsider, I agree that the Davison paper is a very good one in the sense that it theologises the already 'organic' connections believers have with each other.
It makes me think of language my group sometimes uses when it says 'We covenant together to', meaning * already in place *, and that's because we are already identifying as Unitarians, rather than the simplistic inference that we are starting to do something not already done. The error of the Anglican Covenant is that there is division that needs bringing together, whereas the foundational theology is that people are already together and have disagreements. This is a very good insight. It at a simpler level is the mistake made between unity and uniformity.
1. 'Covenants that are between one human being and another, or one nation and another, are unimportant'. Wrong. Consider marriage and personal covenants in the Bible: 'And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.' (1 Sam. 18:3)
2. 'the Letter to the Ephesians (quoted in the Covenant)emphasises that on the contrary Christ’s death abolishes divisions'. Fallacious unqualified use of division. Elsewere, Ephesians promotes behavioural division: 'So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.' (Eph. 4:17 -19)
Christ and the apostles recognised the necessity of the disciplinary division as a last resort: 'and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.' (Matt. 18:17).
'If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed.' (2 Thess 3:14)
'But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.' (1 Cor. 5:11) How schismatic!
3. 'The worst thing, theologically speaking, is that it doesn’t see that this unity is fundamentally a gift and a given.'
It may be a gift to believers, but it is not a given for those who profess Christ, and yet contradict apostolic authority. 'There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism', but St. Jude states, 'I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.' (Jude 1:3)
It is only as we contend for that apostolic faith ('built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone') that we can truly 'agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.' (1 Cor. 1:10)
The process of unity may invoke the ostracism of the obdurate, but needs NO COVENANT.
I see that Sheffield and Chichester have accepted the Covenant on 25 Feb
It was Winchester, not Chichester.
Thank you Peter, I must get my eyes / memory tested !
Why on earth, if the GAFCON Provinces are out of it, would the rest of us need the Covenant to remain who we are - in fellowship with one another in Christ?
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