Comments: Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion

Having Jeremy Bonner as the person discussing church growth in the US is problematic. Bonner served as the church historian for ACNA in the law suits on church property in US. and is an ACNA partisan. He belonged to the Cathedral congregation in Pittsburgh when that Cathedral tried to serve both TEC and ACNA, but he was NOT neutral. He is not a credible source on TEC.

Posted by Joan Gundersen at Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 8:37am GMT

I hope you've actually read the chapter on which my presentation will be based, Dr. Gundersen. It largely reflects the conclusions of Kirk Hadaway - TEC's recently retired Officer for Congregational Research - who's hardly an ACNA partisan. Statistics - while open to interpretation - also have a habit of speaking for themselves. The fact of decline isn't in doubt; what's at issue is whether we're talking about secular decline or something else. I tend to incline slightly more towards secular decline, not least because ACNA, while growing, has absorbed no more than a quarter of the departures from TEC during the 2000s and TEC's decline maps that of much of the Protestant mainline.

With regard to the issue of partisanship, I can't help but note that the various affidavits that I've produced on the subject of church hierarchy (available on my blog) have received little in the way of direct scholarly critique from historians like Dr. Gundersen (scholars without tenure have a way of being judged to be of no account). Having laboured through the interminable Journals of the General Convention and other historical sources, I can safely say that my historical OPINIONS were grounded in the source material. The fact that Dr. Gundersen and I disagree doesn't make me partisan and she impartial. I can say, however, that compared with the overpaid Dr. Bruce Mullin (to whose affidavits I mostly responded), Dr. Gundersen's writings on the subject were much more substantive, even though I disagreed with her conclusions.

Posted by Jeremy Bonner at Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 8:13pm GMT
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