Thinking Anglicans

CAPAC again

This new organisation got relatively little attention in Britain, when reports of it first appeared, so maybe this further longer version of the article by Auburn Faber Traycik in the Christian Challenge will change that: Pan-American, Pan-Anglican.
Notice in particular the wording of A Covenant of Understanding which can be found here.

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Martin Reynolds
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There seems to be a wilful inertia here, Simon. The CEN covered the story well and recognised the importance of the new organisation and its foundation document. But the Church Times only whispered of its existence in passing. The Official line may be something like this: “Such gatherings were requested by ACC-13 Resolution 53, and were part of the Runcie plan for the future of the Communion.” But, I think behind the scenes the concerns are genuine, for all know these “gatherings” were intended to be regional gatherings of all, not centers of disaffection and mechanisms of realignment. Most observers,… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I believe Martin Reynolds’s analysis is right on target — I don’t believe I’ve ever said that before.

I wonder if our improved communications have served primarily to reveal to us the depth of our disagreements (reminiscent of the Babel Fish of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” which performed perfectly accurate translations of all languages & was thus responsible for more wars).

Dave
Guest
Dave

It isn’t just a question of compromise that has driven us to this point. Recently liberals seem increasing unwilling to make compromises to honour conservative’s beliefs (which were and are formally those of much of Anglicanism), particularly on issues like gay equality (in the US) and women in leadership (in the UK). People who want to obey the teachings of the NT are UNABLE to accept that homosexuality is not sinful. And people who take a traditionalist or a more literalist to the NT approach CANNOT accept women in church authority over them. Hello, are we hearing this!! If provinces… Read more »

matt
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matt

I’m hearing it very clearly, Dave.

But I don’t see many of those people plucking their eyes out and cutting their hands off. I think they jolly well should, because otherwise it’s not obeying the new testament or being very literalist; that is, unless they never sin.

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

Dave wrote: “If provinces impose these, without making space for people who can’t accept them, then there is no alternative but to seek separation.”

Well, since there really *is* no form of “making space” that would be acceptable* to a good many of the conservatives, we should part in peace. An amicable divorce is infinitely preferable to this unending rancor.

* My take is that only complete and utter renunciation would suffice here. (i.e. no “making space” for those of us who support the things conservatives object to)

We’ll all meet again “on that beautiful shore” in time…

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I agree David. I think a split would be a good idea – but this really isn’t about the USA any more. It’s far more about a definitive move towards an alternative communion. Makes sense to me.

And Dave ; clearly you wouldn’t wish to allow the same latitude to those with opposite views to you, now, would you?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Mike If we can’t agree I think it would be quite legitimate to separate (as amicably and respectfully as we can). Much better than having interminable clashes that achieve nothing but a waste of time and scarce resources.. The question is, of course, across which lines to make the break (presumably our “liberal” or “conservative” APPROACH to the authority of the bible…. that one would take some formulating!!), and how to distribute the “children”, buildings, and funds/debts fairly. What do you think “liberals” would think of creating two overlapping provinces in the UK (say one based on ACath/MCU, and… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

“People who want to obey the teachings of the NT are UNABLE to accept that homosexuality is not sinful. And people who take a traditionalist or a more literalist to the NT approach CANNOT accept women in church authority over them. Hello, are we hearing this!!” Dave, I object to the fatalistic *passivity* of these statements. The people you describe above are CHOOSING to obey *not the NT itself* but a certain set of *conservative interpretations of it*. They are, at the same time, CHOOSING to reject other interpretations of the NT, by Christians who are every bit as *faithful*… Read more »

steven
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steven

Dear J.C. Yeah, everybody can continue to insist on their particular spin on the situation and you are entitled to yours. However, it does nothing to advance the dialog at this point. Quite simply, it’s pointless–no one is listening any more: conservatives have their view of the situation and liberals have theirs, and “never the twain shall meet.” So, a proposal has been laid on the table by Dave in terms of how to make a split. In my opinion, that is (while not a more important question than who’s right and who’s wrong and why) more likely to be… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Dave, Steven, I have been in favour of a split for a long time now. I would emphasise, though, that I am lay. I think you will find that this view is held more by lay people than clergy, who I think may well feel thay have more, personally, to lose. I don’t think, though, that the split is likely to happen simply in one province – there are all sorts of possible permutations, and I think it may very much depend on what happens in Alexandria. Unfortunately, I think that the split will not be anything proactive within the… Read more »

Mark Beaton
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Mark Beaton

I think Dave’s proposal probably is the way ahead – regrettably, because I am fairly sure a ‘trial separation’ will solidify into a divorce in 10 years. But how much more time, energy and money are we going to expend on this? In a generation the ‘New Churches’ will probably have surpassed English Anglicanism in numbers. Divisions within Presbyterianism and Lutheranism in the US have usually never healed. A liberal church without a conservative ballast would quickly become like Ecusa, and Anglicanism’s claim to be but a branch of Western Catholicism would become increasingly meaningless. On the other hand, interesting… Read more »

David Huff
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David Huff

Mark wrote: “On the other hand, interesting recombinations with conservative Continuing groups would probably follow.”

As would interesting recombinations of mainline Episcopalians, along with Methodists and (ELCA) Lutherans unburdened from their own “reasserters.”

About those churches who “without a conservative ballast would quickly become like Ecusa” – well, I *love* my ECUSA parish as well as my national church, so sounds good to me 🙂

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

“conservative Continuing groups” are already hard at work in the UK – with a growing number of congregations. Soon there will be an Anglican Mission in England. AMiE, even. As Merseymike indicates there will be plenty of church buildings for them to use.

Is it inevitable? Really, really inevitable? Is there any way of calling a halt to it all, even at this late stage?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Alan
Can you give any more details of such groups in the UK please?

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

There are numerous links on the Continuing Churches’ web sites, ranging from the TAC (the largest) to various offshoots of offshoots. At the moment only the TAC has large numbers, but there are also growing numbers in a variety of Orthodox jurisdictions, whose congregations are fast growing.

Google will provide numerous links.

In addition there are well known rumours of the impending consecration of a London clergyman to represent one African province in England, which will certainly set a precedent if carried through.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Mark, ECUSA *IS* a branch (on a branch) of Western Catholicism. We “claim” our place in the Body of Christ because, by God’s Grace, we *have* it. The idea of “well, if we split, we can link-up w/ like-minded of other denominations” sounds like Either/Or thinking, in my mind. We need to reach out to *BOTH* like-minded others, and other-minded likes. That’s why God gave us *two* hands. :-p “Quite simply, it’s pointless” That’s the wisdom of *the world*, Steven. I believe a Higher Authority is still ultimately in control! I may, in fact, be bringing nothing more than my… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Please keep comments on this thread related to CAPAC, or they will not be published.

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

None of the commentators here seems to have noted that a strong impetus to the formation of CAPAC are the moves by the leadership of the Epsicopal Church of Brazil to depose practically all the clergy in the Diocese of Recife, along with their bishop – a move that has virtually no parallel in the history of Anglicanism, as far as I know. The Primate of Brazil has confirmed this action. What do contributors to this site think of these actions? What do they mean? Do you think it justified and fair? I imagine the claim about the possible consecration… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

So far there has been no boundary-crossing into England by other provinces of the Anglican Communion, but the trend of developments suggests that it may not be long before CAPA and CAPAC link arms, and start a mission in England – with or without Sandy Millar. Of course the same thing may happen if the CofE consecrates women as bishops without making adequate provisions for Evangelicals – episcopal oversight will be obtained from one source or another.

steven
Guest
steven

The pieces of the puzzle are falling into position. Re-alignment is coming. CAPAC will be part of it–and yes, J.C., I do believe that God is in control. As a matter of fact, I believe that it is His will that this split take place. This is hardly “worldly” thinking. 2 Cor. 6:17-18.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

So what do you think the split will look like, Steven?

Martin Reynolds
Guest

The present coup is not one that translates into a happy settlement of disagreements on the ground within Provinces. The Communion is very diverse, and the depth of diversity is far greater than many Anglicans in the pews are aware of. The miracle of Anglicanism has always been that it contained people more “Catholic” than the Pope and more Protestant than Ian Paisley. For those, like me, who chose Anglicanism as a vehicle for their faith, this diversity is the “jewel in the crown” of our Church, this spiritual and theological untidiness its raison d’etre, not a problem waiting to… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

David Huff wrote: “Mark wrote: “On the other hand, interesting recombinations with conservative Continuing groups would probably follow.” As would interesting recombinations of mainline Episcopalians, along with Methodists and (ELCA) Lutherans unburdened from their own “reasserters.” About those churches who “without a conservative ballast would quickly become like Ecusa” – well, I *love* my ECUSA parish as well as my national church, so sounds good to me :)” Dear David, It’s nice to see we might be able to agree on something! (Though it is sad that it is only on the possible necessity for a separation!!) Do you think… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Alan, The CofE’s own hierarchy were considering inviting CAPA in, it wasn’t a “rumour”. Sandy Millar himself reported that he was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, whether he would be willing to be a “flying Bishop” attached to Uganda! There are several reports on the web; here is one: http://www.churchsociety.org/news/2004/news_2004-09-07_BishopMillar.htm In my opinion that would be a poor solution, because it would give the message that evangelical/conservative is a foreign thing. If the liberal heirarchies are really going to honour evangelicals and conservatives, then that has to be as *UK (or US) evangelicals… Read more »

matt
Guest
matt

I’ve got this horrible image in my mind that within the next five to ten years towns will have a confusing choice of (for UK for example) CofE Anglican Churches and CofE Anglican Continuing Churches: in the eyes of observers, all almost identical (the ‘reasserters’ having managed to ‘claim’ their buildings et al for themselves somehow) not only in the buildings, but also the liturgy, worship, basic theology etc., apart from one being a bit more ‘strict’ and ‘old fashioned’ and ‘bible literalist’, and the other being a bit more ‘wishy-washy’. Is this sort of thing that the US reasserters… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Dave puts his finger on the issue. CAPAC does offer a way ahead to the end of the warfare but it should be resolved fairly and not with a legacy of bitterness. When a divorce becomes inevitable, however the blame is distributed, an equitable distribution of property and custody have to be arranged. Congregations that want to leave (or feel compelled to go) have contributed for years to the buildings and other assets of parishes, and they have some claim in natural justice. It is hard to avoid the impression that the parlous financial state of many dioceses is making… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Interesting scenario, Martin. I suppose, for those of us in the UK: it may be a question of how many decide to switch to the new Communion. I wouldn’t have thought a huge number, but certainly churches clustered around Reform, and their fellow-travellers. Can’t see FiF going there, somehow. Too evo. The remaining Provinces are very unlikely to want to discipline USA/Canada further, and the CofE itself may be far more open to change shorn of their cons-evo wing. I do wonder how Sydney and ConsEvoUSA will be able to handle not being Top Dog. Unless, of course, the strings… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Matt ; ideally, yes, but if the choice is between the institutionalised homophobia we currently have, and a split which allows change, then I’d have to opt for the latter.

If there was an ability to mutually accept each others position, then we wouldn’t have reached this stage.

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

Dave wrote: “Do you think ECUSA would ever be willing to let the “Network of Confessing Dioceses and Parishes” go in peace – keeping their episcopal and clergy orders,” Yep. “..the buildings they use and the ECUSA organisations they run… including a proportionate share of the national churches assets (and liabilities) ?” That’s a bit stickier. In theory, “yes.” But I wonder if something will have to be worked out like they did at Christ Church Episcopal in Kansas City, for example. In that case, a very conservative church left the diocese, assumed the remaining mortgage debt on their buildings,… Read more »

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

Oh, and to add to my comments above, I think it only decent that clergy who leave be given their fair, vested share from the Church Pension fund (not that this is a controversial position, but just stated “for the record” 🙂

steven
Guest
steven

Matt: You lament the fact that a split will confuse seekers and others observing the Christian faith. Isn’t this a bit like worrying about closing the barn door after the cow has left? Christendom has been fissioning for a thousand years. Protestantism (always divided and dividing) has been spawning new denominations at a furious pace over the last century. This doesn’t make it any better, but at least what is happening isn’t a novelty to the world or believers. I can’t speak to what this split will mean in the UK; however, in the U.S., I don’t believe it will… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

The split, though, looks as if it will mean that many provinces no longer look to Canterbury – its not just an American debate.

steven
Guest
steven

Merseymike: Very true. I was looking at it from a national rather than a transnational level. However, I believe the same thing to be basically true at a transnational level–the future of Anglicanism will belong to those who bring it growth in numbers and cultural influence. Will a new alignment including COE, ECUSA and other 1st world Anglican churches grow or continue to decline until it is largely irrelevant? Will a new alignment including third world churches and conservative 1st world Anglican groups grow in influence as well as numbers? I am betting on the latter; however, I would be… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Haven’t a clue, Steven. In Europe, conservative Christianity has a very limited audience and I would perceive that as appealing only to those who want the simplistic and outdated certainties it has to offer. There is certainly a huge interest in spirituality, but I think the Church has been the last place that many look, and at least a liberal Church which does not constantly feel the need to compromise with conservatives will be able to fulfil a distinctive role. Though I think the days of large scale attendance on Sundays are gone forever. Its very different here, than in… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Matt, I do agree that it is incredibly sad that there seems to be no possible resolution regarding the “liberal” / “conservative” thing. CAPAC is a response to what is, in effect, oppression of “conservatives” by liberal dioceses and provinces (see latest persecution of the evangelicals in Recife, Brazil). This hardly brings glory to God in the eyes of the world! The trouble is, I think, that “diversity” was always intended for non-essentials. Toleration of “diversity” on essentials has lead to division (I mean the actual truth of the Creeds and the souvereign authority of Scripture). CAPAC Christians would… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But, Dave, liberals are being persecuted by conservatives – as you have explained, to you, we arenot even Christians.

The only solution is to split, because essentially, we have different belief systems.

And what was considered Christian to the first century church is of the utmost irrelevance. This is the 21st century. Countries nearer the first century in outlook may well be more receptive to first-century style religion!

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Mike, I would quite sympathise with a CAPAC type response if multiple liberal clergy were being defrocked, liberal churches were having their buildings requisitioned, etc etc… But I don’t think that this is actually happening – can you name anywhere ?

ps I don’t think that liberal christians are not Christians. Nor do I think that all “conservatives” are necessarily Christians.. Whether you are a Christian depends on whether you believe and trust in Christ, whether you turn to Him as Saviour and Lord, and whether you reject sin the world and the devil.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Errr…oh, we are only called insulting names and told that we shouldn’t be in the church altogether, with the intent to make that Church law ( read Akinol’s statements). And how about all the gay priests who have been dismissed over the years? Those who have been disciplined recently have left their church and declared that they are not prepared to serve their Bishop. They have left their church.

Oh, and that definition of Christian is a conservative one….

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Mike, CAPAC is there because Provinces and Bishops are making up their own religion and rules! And pushing out people who want to stay with Christianity (as originally revealed,reasonably interpreted), and so reject the Bishop’s purported authority to make such changes. My definition of Christian is the CofE’s own liturgy from baptism: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/worship/liturgy/commonworship/texts/initiation/baptism.html “In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him. Therefore I ask: Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God? I reject them. Do you renounce the… Read more »

matt
Guest
matt

I’ve sincerely repented of all sins including, at times over the last fifteen years when I was persuaded to do so by the attractive ‘rule-book’ approach to the Bible and conservative interpretation of scripture and tradition, my homosexuality. In common with most homosexual people who have been through this process of demonizing an aspect of their psychological make up, I was driven into a state of misery and despair – living in a purgatory of self-loathing, fear and anxiety about being condemned by God, to whom I sought to be near with all of my perverted heart. When it is… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Matt CAPAC members may think that homosexuality is incompatible with Scripture, but that doesn’t mean that people who perceive themselves to be homosexual shouldn’t be treated with compassion.. or ignorance of the strong emotional basis of “sexuality”.. or elevating homosexual sin above all the other sexual sins as a block to God’s grace. I went to a University in the ’70s where the Student Union had a very positive policy towards homosexuality.. GaySoc was strong, and the (evangelical) Christian Union was BANNED from booking Student Union rooms (as a group, not as individuals) and from receiving SU support, because… Read more »