Comments: GAFCON UK responds to William Nye letter

Interesting that this rejoinder raises marriage to the status of a "core doctrine." There you have the nub of the problem: GAFCON and its fellows believe marriage to be a central doctrine of the Christian faith, about which there is one and only one orthodox position.

Obviously, as any reasonable review of Scripture and the Tradition show, this assertion is not true, since Scripture itself and the Tradition (both within Anglicanism and outside it) offer mixed testimony concerning the nature of marriage itself, and provide no evidence for a continuous place for marriage as a central doctrine. Marriage has rarely found a place as more than peripheral in dogmatic theology, if it is mentioned at all.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 25 November 2016 at 6:56pm GMT

Thanks to Zach G; one needs to read the essay to the end.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 25 November 2016 at 7:10pm GMT

I was present for the whole of the Lambeth Conference in 1998 and for the notorious plenary session which mangled the work of the sub-section addressing Human Sexuality and came up with the ambiguous Resolution 1.10.

Lambeth 1.10 is repeatedly used by the GAFCON axis as "the authorised policy of the Anglican Communion" for LGBTI people. The Resolution was put to the vote at the end of the chaotic debate and passed with 526 in favour, 70 against and 45 abstentions.

What is forgotten is that immediately after the debate those of us present, thanks to the initiative of members of Integrity USA, organised a Pastoral Statement from member bishops of the Lambeth Conference. It was signed by 188 bishops including 9 Primates. There was an immediate negative reaction to 1.10 and many bishops who had voted for 1.10 signed the Statement.

Posted by Colin Coward at Friday, 25 November 2016 at 7:27pm GMT

Once more, the GAFCON spokesperson founds his critique on the position and teachings of "the global church." The fact that there is no such entity does not seem to deter him. There is no global church. There is no global Anglican Church. There is no agreed upon Anglican doctrine on the subject of same sex loving relationships. There isn't even a consistent biblical view about sexual relationships, unless one man and all the women that he can afford is a doctrine. In the teaching of Jesus, there is a clear value given to faithful love between husband and wife. Evidently, the GAFCON spokesperson faithfully puts forward their view that a select and curated group of verses from the Bible constitutes orthodoxy, to which the partisans of GAFCON cling during these, admittedly, challenging times of changing social relationships. I offer the already much taught idea that the word of God subsists in the person of Jesus more than it does in a selection of words.

Posted by Karen MacQueen at Friday, 25 November 2016 at 7:37pm GMT

"Underlying the letter is an institutional mentality which does not locate ecclesial authority with the unchanging Scriptural principles of apostolic Christianity... More than ever, GAFCON UK with its clear confessional grounding in the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration has a vital role to play in our current context."

So GUK is also not located in scriptural principles, but something cooked up over a weekend a few years ago?

I still don't understand how it is possible to argue for scripture while remaining stubbornly determined that only one interpretation is valid. And how it is possible to be so completely ignorant of church history that you can talk of unchanging principles, as if the church has remained without change for 2,000 years.

Posted by Jeremy Fagan at Friday, 25 November 2016 at 9:49pm GMT

" I offer the already much taught idea that the word of God subsists in the person of Jesus more than it does in a selection of words. - Karen -

And is the 'Word Made Flesh' in Jesus Christ that is the determinative Word for all in the Christian era. In Him alone is the fullness of God - not in a collection of words in a Book no matter how holy

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 25 November 2016 at 10:54pm GMT

From the Farley article:

"Ian Paul, an evangelical member of the Archbishops' Council, said the group's original list was "extremely unhelpful to those within the Church of England who would like the Church to remain in its current teaching position on marriage". He said it lacked "mutual respect" and "demonstrates misunderstanding of the current situation in the Church of England"."

Ian Paul assumes that GAFCON is trying to be helpful to some part of the Church of England. Surely by now that is an assumption that we can all discard?

Of course, the CofE position might be a bit stronger had Archbishops of Canterbury insisted on provincial autonomy, and put Lambeth 1.10 in proper context, at some earlier point over the past 20 years.

Nye's statement is welcome, but rather late. The schismatic tank now has enough momentum to park on Lambeth's lawn.

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 1:32am GMT

"But in practice the Church is extremely diffident about explaining or commending this vision, not just because it knows that many in the ranks of its own leadership don’t believe in it..."

As has been shown by independent research, MOST in the ranks of its own MEMBERSHIP do not believe in it.

This is why the church hierarchy cannot hold the conservative line, even if they wanted to.

It is not what *the people* believe!

Posted by Iain Baxter at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 3:23am GMT

«Ian Paul, an evangelical member of the Archbishops' Council, said the group's original list was "extremely unhelpful to those within the Church of England who would like the Church to remain in its current teaching position on marriage".»

If he felt that way about the list he might despair when he reads this latest GAFCON rejoinder because it is devastatingly bad for conservatives within the Church of England seeking to prevent further progress towards accommodation of same sex unions.

The argument that allowing same sex marriage will cause division in the Anglican Communion is lost. The present accommodations are already causing division. Even if the Church of England stands still on the issue for a decade, schism will happen.

The argument that somehow it is possible to differentiate between civil partnerships and marriage, by avoiding the term 'marriage', is shown to be a farce. That division can no longer be maintained.

Blessing same sex unions is shown to be incompatible with a traditional view of marriage.

The Church of England cannot stand still. That leads to schism. It cannot go backwards to greater conservatism because the Church of England would self-destruct and there is zero chance of getting a regressive vote through General Synod.

The only way left is forwards. Politically when only one path is possible, no matter how you feel about that path, the best approach is to be seen to embrace it wholeheartedly. There will be tough times ahead still but conservatives in the Church of England, even if they agree with GAFCON, will be wishing GAFCON had stayed silent.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 5:45am GMT

I once wrote a 42,000 thesis on the Doctrine of Marriage in the Church of England. The debate, which can be traced over several centuries, focused on the question as to whether marriage can or cannot be dissolved. The gender of the couple was not an issue, although of course no one would have imagined a day when two people of the same gender could get married. I am concerned that we are now debating whether or not to bless two people of the same gender, who enter into a marriage. It seems that blessing becomes a power struggle over what we (the Church) will or will not bestow. In the Eastern Tradition it is God who blesses. If a marriage has obviously been blessed by God, then it is valid for eternity (and not ended by death). If it obviously has not been blessed, then divorce is what follows. On 2012 I traveled around Scandinavia, talking to church leaders about marriage. In that Lutheran Tradition, they told me, there is no such thing as a Doctrine of Marriage. Marriage is how the State chooses to arrange things. The task of the Church is to be there for the people and to pray with them at significant moments in their lives. This is part of the rich kaleidoscope of different views of marriage within the global Church. Questions over same-sex marriage are not part of that tradition, but a modern day question. For me, a formative moment in my thinking was when a previous Bishop of Salisbury, on visiting a hospice full of men dying of AIDS, said "In the love shown by those men caring for their dying partners, I have seen the face of Christ". It seems to me that the heart of the matter must be how we help people to live in a way that reveals the face of Christ.

Posted by Nigel LLoyd at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 7:52am GMT

Kate: with respect I don't understand what you have written.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 8:56am GMT

Dear Father Ron, you like this idea and have repeated it often. It is a favorite cliché of yours.

Let us compare the brilliant catholic humanist Erasmus. His favorite saying is "the Scriptures are the pure and genuine philosophy of Christ.”

Listen to his comment in the concio on Psalm 4 he prepared for the Bishop of Lincoln, John Longland. He writes, "the scriptures deliver the speaking, healing, dying rising Christ Himself, and thus render him so fully present that you would see less if you gazed upon him with your very eyes.”

Erasmus is a comprehensive reader of the history of interpretation and is simply repeating the view of Irenaeus, Jerome, Augustine, Arnobius and others with whom he is familiar.

This is a blog and you are entitled to your favorite ideas, but they would be rejected by the history of interpretation which, in the spirit of Luke 24, says with Erasmus the scriptures "render him so fully present that you would see less if you gazed upon him with your very eyes."

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 9:26am GMT

I have alluded before to a comparison between the behaviour of GAFCON and of, for example, Militant within the Labour Party. People who believe themselves to represent a purer, more truthful line and therefore feel justified in doing whatever it takes to command the forces of the larger organisation to enact their minority will. By dint of being more committed, more energetic and often plain nastier, Militant were able to take over quiet (some would say moribund) constituency and ward organisations and direct them to firebrand revolution.

It resulted, of course, in three thumping general election defeats (1983, 1988, 1992) as the electorate first rejected the project in its entirety and then punished Labour a bit more for being idiots. We're going to see the same thing in 2020 and 2025, a fortiori, because although Militant were economic illiterates they didn't have the taint of terrorism and (arguably, at least) anti-Semitism hanging over them. and it's much harder to operate in secrecy than it was then.

GAFCON are going to have the same effect on the Church of England if left to proceed. They will taint the CofE with homphobia which is, in 2016, and even more so in 2026, entirely lacking in a constituency amongst people who are the prospective audience for the CofE. By 1992, Labour had expelled Militant, and its policies owed almost nothing to them, but the electorate weren't convinced. They wanted a bit longer. They could just about afford this, because even in its darkest days in the 1980s Labour had a base is unions and the north, so could regroup in opposition. The CofE on current trends is like Labour today: it risks extinction, as the "tribal" membership no longer exists.

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 9:45am GMT

Kate- why do you think Rowan Williams didn't take your line?

The only way forward is a new, liberal, global group

Posted by S Cooper at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 10:17am GMT

"The argument that somehow it is possible to differentiate between civil partnerships and marriage, by avoiding the term 'marriage', is shown to be a farce."

Indeed. The fact that if one 'upgrades' from CP to marriage, the marriage is backdated to the date of the CP, means that you were married all along! Though that does create the somewhat anomalous position of having been in a same-sex marriage before such a state existed in law.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 11:09am GMT

"Though that does create the somewhat anomalous position of having been in a same-sex marriage before such a state existed in law."

It's hardly a new concept. As an example, the original colleges of advanced technology (what became Aston, Bath, Brunel, Salford, Bradford and so on) granted diplomas accredited by the NCTA when they were founded in the 1950s, but these were retrospectively converted to degrees from the institutions themselves when royal charters converted the CATs into universities in the 1960s. Unlike when the polytechnics became universities in 1992, when CNNA degrees were supplanted by degrees granted by the new university, but historic degrees were not affected, people became retrospective graduates. It's now fairly widely accepted that the refusal to originally establish the CATs as universities was a mixture of government snobbery about technology institutions (CP Snow's "Two Cultures" lecture came a few years after they were set up) and a cartel of the redbricks, mostly located a few miles from the corresponding CAT (Birmingham/Aston, Bristol/Bath, Manchester/Salford, etc), protecting their newly found status. Now, some decades later, no-one sane would claim that a degree from Salford was not from a "proper" university and the whole foundation story is forgotten.

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 12:39pm GMT

@Nigel Lloyd - a great comment and very helpful.

@cseitz GAFCON have highlighted inconsistencies in the CofE official position and with arguments from both liberals and conservatives holding the present line becomes impossible and anyway even the present very limited compromises are too much for GAFCON to stomach. Change is now inevitable. Change backwards is locally unacceptable. An inch forwards and GAFCON walk out so we might as well run for the light and stop worrying about GAFCON.

@Lawrence Cunningham - quite so.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 1:14pm GMT

Kate--that part I believe I got. But I suspect Susan is more correct. A new, liberal grouping will be inevitable. I suspect the only question is its size and how individual provinces like Canterbury handle the differentiation. The former tension/disagreement between Gafcon and GS bodies is now minimal. They are the largest bloc of anglicans worldwide. +Welby is facing very hard odds and no one knows it better than he.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 3:54pm GMT

The sooner the Lambeth Conference reconvenes to sort out this act of rebellion from the GAFCON Primates - and their piratical entities around the Anglican Communion, the better it will be for all concerned. If GAFCON and its affiliates want to form another quasi-Anglican global Church, then it should declare its hand and stop stirring up further trouble for those Provinces of the Anglican Communion - including the 'Mother' Church of England - whose only desire is to promote the Inclusive Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the modern world - to ALL without distinction.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 8:43pm GMT

"Marriage is how the State chooses to arrange things. The task of the Church is to be there for the people and to pray with them at significant moments in their lives."

Erastianism triumphant! But, in the context of "1559 and all that," an inevitable denouement.

Posted by William Tighe at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 8:45pm GMT

"They are the largest bloc of anglicans worldwide. "

And once again, we reduce theology and ethics to a numbers game. "They have the most people, they must be right." That may be the case in politics, but (one hopes) not in the church.

Posted by Pat ONeill at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 9:00pm GMT

Ah, Christopher, you are wondering what will happen to the Anglican Communion, not CofE. Well GAFCON and GS have one hurdle still, and it is a big one. Which Primate / Province provides the leader? Once their politics turns inwards, we can predict how hard-nosed it is likely to be. They know that too.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 9:12pm GMT

Father Ron, I seriously doubt that the majority of bishops at the next Lambeth Conference--if there is one--will regard GAFCON as a problem.

What Welby needs to prevent is a Lambeth Conference that passes fundamentalist resolutions that major parts of the Communion, including the CofE, will immediately and loudly reject.

One might think that the time for the Church of England to make a liberal move on same-sex marriage is before the next Lambeth Conference, not after. Otherwise the Conference will prove a huge embarrassment to the CofE in the English context, and contribute to further rejection of the church by the culture.

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 3:56am GMT

Many of us would embrace a conciliar polity for anglicanism even as presently existing; and might understand its present struggles precisely as due to a overburdened role for Canterbury alone.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 6:20am GMT

Pat: if five people step out to do something they judge 'right' and the remaining forty-five say they disagree with the path and will stay on the road they have travelled, one isn't mistaken to identify the groups by size.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 6:26am GMT

" if five people step out to do something they judge 'right' and the remaining forty-five say they disagree with the path and will stay on the road they have travelled, one isn't mistaken to identify the groups by size."

Seriously? So the White Rose were wrong, because the majority of Germans were taking a different route?

Posted by Interested Observer at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 10:32am GMT

Dr. Seitz:

But it is mistaken to suggest (as you almost always do) that the larger group is taking the correct path.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 12:59pm GMT

"Marriage is how the State chooses to arrange things. The task of the Church is to be there for the people and to pray with them at significant moments in their lives."

Erastianism triumphant! But, in the context of "1559 and all that," an inevitable denouement.

Hardly so! Lutherans have a strong and clear set of doctrines (see the 95 Theses) and there is no sense in which the State can trump clearly held beliefs. It is just that marriage is not mentioned in those doctrines, so they have much less of a problem if the State changes the rules on marriage. There are more than 72 million Lutherans in the Lutheran World Federation. The point I was making is that there is no one 'Doctrine of Marriage' passed down to us from the Apostolic age and now held universally by a 'global church'. Rather a lot of Christians believe that there is no such thing as a Doctrine of Marriage. I am not a Lutheran, but I question the elevation of ideas about marriage to the status of a universally held doctrine.

Posted by Nigel LLoyd at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 1:16pm GMT

Dear Pat and IO. Strange hyper reaction to my simply noting that the largest bloc of anglicans have not signed on to this soi disant more ethical' path. Jeremy above intimates the same when he writes "I seriously doubt that the majority of bishops at the next Lambeth Conference--if there is one--will regard GAFCON as a problem."

Condemn them as hitlerian as you choose.

The point was to do with the Anglican Communion as a whole and anticipated divisions. It will split the CofE down the middle, though some hope for a valient tertiim quid. I am in the Diocese in Europe (CofE) and don't think the situation is going to be anything but messy.

Bon Dimanche!

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 3:47pm GMT

One of tho most effective ways to fight a fire is to deprive it of oxygen. I have not read the latest GAFCON rocket, nor have I much interest in reading responses to it. It's time we had a moratorium on this conversation with GAFCON/ACNA which is largely oriented toward attention getting and audience share. There is nothing new to be said by either side. I can't identify one post on this thread that I have not heard many many times before, pro or con. Nor can I think of anything new to say on the subject myself.

As for Lambeth 1.10 , what could be more jejune than a generation old resolution enacted by a gathering of Anglican bishops? Most of those guys who voted on that are probably long retired by now, no?

For Christ's sake, leave the dead to bury the dead. Turn the page.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 27 November 2016 at 11:17pm GMT

"It will split the CofE down the middle."

There I think you are quite wrong. One of the advantages of an established church is that is does have some institutional resiliency--and also some parliamentary oversight.

If same-sex marriage were ever to split the CofE down the middle, which I doubt, then Parliament would choose which half to fund.

It won't be the homophobic half.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 4:54am GMT

"It will split the CofE down the middle, though some hope for a valiant tertium quid" is how I put it.

I agree that establishment plays a major role. That could well mean that a split happens and there are effectively two CofEs -- the 'valiant tertium quid.' This is something that is not and will not happen in TEC. The evangelical establishment -- consider the numbers of theological colleges alone -- makes for a very different consideration of the term division than what is the case in NA.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 7:41am GMT

"That could well mean that a split happens and there are effectively two CofEs"

There won't be two established CofEs. There is absolutely no way on earth that a parliament today would back open homophobia. Justin Welby completely misjudged the mood of parliament, both houses, when he attempted to oppose the same-sex marriage legislation and found that he was working with just a tiny minority willing to support him. And in any event, opposition to same sex marriage reduces every day, and as all the ludicrous consequences that the CofE predicted (whatever happened to the claims of endless legislative confusion over all the laws that would need to be re-written?) haven't happened, no-one is going to touch the issue again.

Of course, parliament might wish a plague on both their houses and move towards disestablishment, which might also clip Charles III's wings a bit. Everyone in the CofE should be careful what they wish for: all those Grade I buildings won't repair themselves. you know.

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 12:02pm GMT

"The evangelical establishment -- consider the numbers of theological colleges alone -- makes for a very different consideration of the term division than what is the case in NA."

Christopher: the evangelical establishment is by no means of one mind in this matter and never has been. And in another generation it will look quite different again. How many conservative evangelical bishops are there? How many oversee a diocese? How many more do you think there will be now that the matter of women in the episcopate is decided? Dioceses will not suddenly change in whom they seek for episcopal leadership.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 2:08pm GMT

The point arose in the context of contemplating AC divisions; and then in response to a comment about division in the CofE and what that might look like, given the leadership of Cranmer Hall graduate +Welby and the composition of the HOB -- especially measured against the NA context where effectively liberal ascendacy is a fact on the ground.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 3:21pm GMT

Andrew G Best not to kid ourselves...... which current evangelical bishop is standing up for ssm?? Which is against the traditional line?

Posted by S Cooper at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 6:24pm GMT

Christopher: you didn't answer my questions. They were not rhetorical. Let me remind you what they were.
How many conservative evangelical bishops are there? How many oversee a diocese? How many more do you think there will be now that the matter of women in the episcopate is decided?

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 7:14pm GMT

I am not convinced by the argument that those who argue in favour of ssm or some form of blessing have capitulated to culture and the implication that somehow GAFCON is both true to Scripture and counter cultural. Isn't homosexuality illegal in many GAFCON territories - so how is that counter cultural? Isn't one emerging theme in western democracies the rise of the populist right with their lack of respect for all minorities? Maybe its the GAFCONites who are aligned with prevailing culture, not the 'liberals' they seem to have such contempt for?

Posted by Andrew Lightbown at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 9:35pm GMT

GAFCON is simply arrogating to itself a role in intervening in the affairs of the Church of England, aided by its GAFCON UK partners and their associated groups, Reform, AMiE, FCA and Crosslinks et al. It is seeking to prevent change at all costs but actually has no ammunition to do that. The CofE will make its own decisions, taking into account wider Anglican Communion issues, or not, as it sees fit. But there is already in place plenty of machinery to allow for difference, as there was and still is over women in ministry. Few, if any parishes, will actually try to secede, as in TEC, even if it could be done. The Bishop of Maidstone's ministry seems to cover some 39 parishes which have passed resolutions (with 29 others actively considering, per his Summer 2016 newsletter. I assume an update is forthcoming). Maybe more parishes would seek alternative episcopal oversight if, for example, bishops were given license to make arrangements locally for same-sex blessings. Would these parishes withold their Parish Share? Some might. But in many dioceses, these parishes are a tiny minority. In St Albans only one parish has effectively declared UDI and I know of no others which would vote with their feet so completely. Other dioceses of course have beacon conservative evangelical parishes (some very large) but there are plenty of large parishes which are very careful over this matter (HTB network for example) and they have far better things to be doing with their missional ministry than engaging in same-sex politics. There will be no split (of the schism sort) in the Church of England, although there seem to be plenty of 'foreign correpondents' on TA who seem to be wishing such and/or issuing dire warnings. It will not come to pass.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 9:40pm GMT

"Justin Welby completely misjudged the mood of parliament, both houses, when he attempted to oppose the same-sex marriage legislation and found that he was working with just a tiny minority willing to support him."

Precisely so.

Of course what the same-sex marriage legislation did split down the middle in 2013 was the Conservative Party.

I doubt Ms. May will want this politically problematic issue in the news again. So I suspect that at some point Welby was or will be given instructions similar to those he received on women's ordination--viz., if you want to solve this on your own, CofE, then do it soon.

Otherwise expect MPs to start asking more questions about the established church, and whether the public should foot the bill for its bigotry.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 10:44pm GMT

"Few, if any parishes, will actually try to succeed, as in TEC, even if it could be done."

I presume you mean secede. Although they're unlikely succeed if they do.

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 28 November 2016 at 11:44pm GMT

The CEEC has put together a document which outlines some of the possible future structures of the CofE ... http://www.ceec.info/uploads/4/4/2/7/44274161/guarding_the_deposit_-_apostolic_truth_for_an_apostolic_church.pdf

Posted by Andy at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 12:01am GMT

AA: thanks for making my point. The CofE will see difference and find ways to provide work-arounds -- unlike TEC. You have helpfully described several examples. I have lived and worked in the SEC, ACofC, and of course TEC. I am presently living in France. So I have some sense of the different contexts, though know TEC best. In the last decade, out of 100 Bishops it never had more than ten or so self described conservatives and has but a handful now. It is a liberal American denomination of about 1.5 million. The CofE is a different fish altogether. The AC context affects it in ways that are different than TEC, given the role of the ABoC. As noted above, many of us would happily contemplate a conciliar polity for the future AC, and at times I suspect the ABoC might agree...

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 4:49am GMT

Andy--it is useful to see this document again as it shows a level of reflection about models of differentiation that would have zero traction in the NA context even as a discussion piece. The presence of a sizable conserving bloc makes the challenge different in character.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 10:08am GMT

" The CofE will see difference and find ways to provide work-arounds -- unlike TEC."

Perhaps that is because TEC has recognized that there is no Christian "work-around" bigotry and discrimination.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 11:47am GMT

Pat: You have said it. And so it is!

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 12:41pm GMT

And there is a further riposte to William Nye on the GAFCON website from Stephen Noll rather pretentiously titled: CROSSING THE RUBICON: Lambeth Resolution I.10, the Church of England, and the Anglican Communion.

https://www.gafcon.org/news/crossing-the-rubicon-lambeth-resolution-i10-the-church-of-england-and-the-anglican-communion

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 4:22pm GMT

Noll's is preceded by Conger's re Lambeth 1.10.

ED: Here is the link: http://www.anglican.ink/article/perversion-lambeth-110

Posted by Cseitz at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 4:37pm GMT

Noll's piece contains the astounding statement, "These Resolutions, read together, form a fairly harmonious tradition." I suppose to give him benefit of the doubt his definition of "fairly" might differ to mine. But to pretend that Lambeth has consistency on matters of "family life" is an absurdity. Instead, the Lambeth resolutions explicitly rescind, overturn, or contradict each other on things such as birth control, polygamy, and remarriage after divorce.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 7:11pm GMT

I know it's pushing it, but I think Dr Noll is even more long-winded than I am.

There is no force of nature or intellectual torpor that dictates that Lambeth 1:10 has to be immutable and set in stone forever.

It was a holding position on a particular day in a particular year.

Opinions evolve, and both societies and oommunities move on.

The reality is that at least half the Church of England would no longer subscribe to the attitudes and assumptions that held sway 18 years ago.

The other reality is that some societies and communities around the world still would.

Jesus remains unchanged.

We just need to get on and live together, according to our consciences.

Dr Noll is wrong to cite a barrel going over a waterfall. Gafcon is trying to row up the Niagara Falls the wrong way in a boat if it thinks it can impose a uniformity on the consciences and practices of church members, priests and PCCs in England. It just can't be done.

Justice flows like a river, and there is a tide of history taking place. A societal growing up, a diclosure of grace. What's needed is not proof of who's right and who's wrong. We just have different opinions. What's needed is grace, to love one another, even if we disagree...

And carry on living out gospel love, whether you agree with gay sex or you don't. If Dr Noll doesn't agree with gay sex, all he has to do is not have a boyfriend.

What Gafcon can't do is bully and threaten people against their consciences. Most of us here in England just don't look at gay relationships the way he does.

We see love and care and devotion and happiness. We have gay and lesbian friends and colleagues and relatives... and we wish blessing on their lives.

There is no one Worldwide uniform Anglican Church. There are Anglican Churches in different countries that have evolved from an Anglican background, trying to serve God in ways that are appropriate to their own local communities.

Church of England polity may not be the same as Church of Uganda polity. It doesn't have to be. But (a) let us keep loving each other anyway, and (b) let's keep on serving.

And let's stop trying to dominate each other.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 8:50pm GMT

And yet another letter to William Nye, this time from David Holloway

http://gafconuk.org/news/open-letter-secretary-general-archbishops%E2%80%99-council

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 10:13pm GMT

"Of course what the same-sex marriage legislation did split down the middle in 2013 was the Conservative Party."

No, it didn't. It was an unwhipped vote. About half of the MPs voted each way. It was a minor issue, had no impact on the 2015 election (the claim from headbangers that Yes-voting Tories would be driven from their seats come the glorious election proved to be entirely fallacious) and the attempt by Andrea Leadsom to become leader was another demonstration of how Marx was wrong about much, but his comment about history, tragedy and farce in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon is as true as it ever was. Theresa May is not hiding from a potentially explosive issue: it's an entirely dead issue. The predicted legal, social and moral chaos did not ensue. A lot of the no-voters are now saying they regret it; the converse is not, so far as one can tell, true. The issue is over because it's now as unexceptional for people to marry their partners as it is for women to wear trousers while voting

In the world of a few frothing obsessives, not only same-sex marriage, but the Sexual Offences Act 1967, might be up to re-litigation. They aren't. Hell, not even Donald Trump thinks it is.

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at 11:35pm GMT

Noll: "Mr. Nye’s position about the absence of formal discipline is legally correct but spiritually dangerous in that it appears to be clearing the way for the Church of England to work around Lambeth Resolution I.10."

This diagnosis seems quite correct. And it is doubtless why GAFCON is getting so worked up. They see Lambeth 1.10 nearing history's dustbin. So they are jumping up and down, and making dire threats.

The question, however, is why English bishops should pay GAFCON any mind at all. Why should the Church of England decide how it ministers to English souls based on threats from other provinces?

Do such threats matter a whit, in the context of English bishops' care for their English flocks?

Of course not.

Any other answer puts the fictive "unity" of a disputatious family of churches ahead of the spiritual health of actual people.

There is no such thing as a worldwide Anglican church. It doesn't exist.

This being so, the duty of English bishops is to ensure that the Church of England ministers to English souls. And any attempt to give serious consideration to the needs of any other province is a breach of that duty.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 12:00am GMT

'a tide of history' -- 'societal growing up' are the same phrases people used in the early years of the 20th century. Only to be followed by the Great War, global financial collapse, and the Second World War, in rapid succession. The Toronto/Oxford historian Margaret MacMillan tells the somber tale in her two grand accounts (Paris 1919 qnd The War That Ended Peace).

Arcs of history cannot be seen in their totality because mortals are short-sighted in the nature of the case. Ecclesiastes 1 says it brilliantly and soberly.

So whatever the case may be about this ss phenomenon -- located for the most part in one single if influential segment of the global reality -- it cannot be said that a tide of history has displayed itself fully to mortals so they may make sweeping claims to its finality. History doesn't work that way. Fascists and marxists also made confident predictions about tides of history and they were wrong, and sometimes thankfully were shown to be so in their own lifetimes.

We *pray* for justice to flow like a river because time is in God's hands. We may yearn for God's sure judgments, but it took a sober Lincoln to know they were beyond full mortal grasp.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 8:42am GMT

Stephen Noll and George Conger both seem to conveniently forget the Pastoral Statement that was issued by 185 members of the Lambeth Conference pretty much immediately after the much lauded resolution had been agreed.

And Christopher, of course God's sure judgments are beyond mortal grasp. That's rather the point in all of this isn't it? Which is why it is rather laughable that one commenter on George Conger's amusing piece dares to write: "What will we say to the Lost on Judgement Day, when they cry out "Why didn't you warn us" "

My answer might just be: "because We may yearn for God's sure judgments, but I knew they were beyond full mortal grasp."

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 12:41pm GMT

Mr Godsall: If you are saying over-confidence about the march of time--right now for the left or at the end for the right--is questionable, I agree. Blessed Advent waiting.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 4:13pm GMT

Input of Ugandan bishops (according to George Conger) into Lambeth 1:10: "the power of the Holy Spirit could help transform the disordered relations of Christians who experienced same-sex attractions".

I'm afraid this is SO out of touch with what British people think today (including the majority of Anglicans in the Church of England) that one can only conclude that 1:10 is now only applicable to another time and another continent.

To describe loving, tender, committed, gentle, sacrificial, funny, human, passionate, co-suffering, intimate, faithful, sensual, lovely, kindly relationships... as... "disordered"... is the thinking of a different time and a different place.

My sweet wife and I are "disordered" for loving and caring for each other?

Words fail me.

I'm just simply going to reply in what is effectively a foreign language, but the language of my love, and my sweet wife's love:

"The Floating Poem, Unnumbered" by Adrienne Rich

Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine - tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun. Your travelled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come -
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there -
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth -
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave - whatever happens, this is.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 6:50pm GMT

Christopher: when you say Mr Godsall I look over my shoulder for my long dead father. We are Christians and so we use Christian names.

I have no idea what your comment actually means, but what I'm saying is that any presumptions about God's judgements are, to use your own phrase, beyond full mortal grasp and so not worth the words.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 7:24pm GMT

I have to agree with Andrew about the Christian name thing. Of course, that's for each person to decide for themselves... no-one has a right to 'police' someone else's approach to this...

But personally, I always try to refer to people here by their first names, because it seems more personal and draws one a little nearer to the person, even if one is discussing dogma etc. By using the first name, it kind of acknowledges the other as a person, and shows a degree of humanising that we can otherwise fall short of.

I feel the same about when people are just referred to by their surnames... 'Welby did this' or 'Welby said that'... his name is Justin. Like all of us, he is a fragile, ephemeral, teetering human being on the fringes of eternity.

I am Susannah - Siusaidh to use my Gaelic name, which those closest do. Please don't address me as Ms Clark. It's sooooo formal. Let's keep our intercourse personal, kindly, humanising. Let's try to be nakedly who we are, even if some here need to hide behind a profile name for protection and privacy.

Let's try to be brothers and sisters, and children of God.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Thursday, 1 December 2016 at 11:43am GMT

Unless you want to be having these same conversations for another 20,30,50 years....we need a new liberal, global communion which can operate with integrity

Posted by S Cooper at Thursday, 1 December 2016 at 8:37pm GMT

For anyone still watching, there was also this from Christian Concern

http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/freedom-of-speech/andrea-williams-william-nye-gafcon-uk-and-the-archbishops-council

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 3 December 2016 at 6:05pm GMT

That Christian Concern piece puts me in mind of Hiroo Onada and Teruo Nakamura, Japanese soldiers (more accurately, soldiers in the Japanese Army: Nakamura was an Amis aboriginal from Japanese-occupied Taiwan) who, unwilling to accept that the surrender had happened, held out until 1974, considering themselves still soldiers of the IJA at war. Onada had maintained his rifle in perfect condition for 29 years, and had 500 rounds of ammunition that was still usable having been stored carefully: he was eventually persuaded to surrender by his long-retired commanding officer, by then an elderly bookseller, who was flown out to inform Onada of the surrender.

The parallel, I trust, is obvious.

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 3 December 2016 at 11:32pm GMT

Why is anyone still validating GAFCON's position that Lambeth resolutions are legislative, and, therefore, binding?

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Monday, 5 December 2016 at 10:43pm GMT

And the latest GAFCON references to the CofE are here

https://www.gafcon.org/news/chairman%E2%80%99s-advent-2016-letter

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 6 December 2016 at 10:28pm GMT

If God's Judgement is beyond mortal hands, then why don't we err on the side of compassion, marry couples who want to marry, and let God judge SSM?

The theological and moral problem in this is: who is hurt by SSM? No one. Who's hurt by exclusion? A lot of people. To say otherwise reduces faith and salvation into a personal checklist, rather than doing the hard work of figuring out what it means to love one's neighbor. Hint: Judgement by mere mortals is not loving.

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 10 December 2016 at 2:08am GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.