Thinking Anglicans

A Church Asunder online

The article by Peter J Boyer with this title in The New Yorker magazine, which was mentioned previously is now online at the magazine’s website.
You can read the full text of it here. Only the cartoon is missing.

Hat tip to Jim Naughton for this. His earlier comments are here and here.

A negative view of this article can be found at the blog of John Zahl.

A rather different take on the article is on Political Spaghetti.

titusonenine comments are here.

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Ian MontgomeryMarshall ScottGöran Koch-SwahneJohn HenrySimon Sarmiento Recent comment authors
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Andrew Brown
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This is written from a notable conservative evangelical bias, and it omits entirely the important fact that the plotting between the proto-network and the “Global South” started long before the consecration of Gene Robinson — at least a year before the last Lambeth conference, in fact. No one reading it would suppose that the whole sexuality resolution was an ambush agreed in caucus meetings long before. None the less, it is extremely informative, and contains, so far as I can see, no errors of commission except for the assertion that “Christ’s substitutionary atonement on the cross” is “The central Christian… Read more »

Ian Montgomery
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Ian Montgomery

But the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the Cross is central doctrine. Without that what is left? Unitarian Universalism in sacramental and liturgical robes?

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

“This is written from a notable conservative evangelical bias, and it omits entirely the important fact that the plotting between the proto-network and the “Global South” started long before the consecration of Gene Robinson — at least a year before the last Lambeth conference, in fact. No one reading it would suppose that the whole sexuality resolution was an ambush agreed in caucus meetings long before.” I have to say that I didn’t detect a ‘notable conservative evangelical bias’ in the article. I also have to say to Andrew Brown that yours and Stephen Bates conspiracy theories, about how evangelicals… Read more »

steven
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steven

RE: Written from a conservative evangelical bias. That’s a very interesting assertion. It could only be made by one who is so biased in the other direction that someone attempting to give both sides an equal chance to present their cases looks far off to the right. I can make this statement with some authority as I feel inclined to criticize the article for the same reason, but from the opposite direction. Thus, for me to criticize overmuch would be “the pot calling the kettle black”. In fact, the aforesaid comment has given me pause–a mirror in which to view… Read more »

The Anglican Scotist
Guest

Andrew,
At least in ECUSA, precedence for the AAC and ACN stretches back decades; granted, most right-wing dissent is out in the open, but by no means all. For instance, in 1996 Bishops Wantland, Howe and others began to legally incorporate an entity called “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America Inc.” in an effort to set up a parallel province friendly to right-wingers; private investigators were employed to bring this to light.

Ian,
I’m pretty sure Abelard wasn’t a Unitarian.

Matt
Guest

I’ve just posted a long blog entry on the New Yorker article at PoliticalSpaghetti, summarizing my perspective on the issue. Some of you might find it interesting.

SS adds: the URL is
http://politicalspaghetti.blogspot.com/2006/04/things-fall-apart_19.html

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The background from which Peter Boyer writes is discernible from the interview with him which is also on the website of The New Yorker, at http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/?060417on_onlineonly01 Here is a quote: I came from a long line of church folk—preachers, evangelists. At the inception of this country, they were part of the evangelical wing of the Church of England. They were Wesley followers, who then became Methodists, who then became circuit riders, and so on. Then some of them became Holiness people and, at the beginning of the last century, Pentecostals. So I grew up with a pretty intensely felt fundamentalist… Read more »

steven
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steven

Simon: I am not certain whether you are implying that a conservative evangelical background means that the piece is written with a conservative evangelical bias. I still hope that there are journalists (whether lefties or righties) who strive for integrity and lack of bias in their writing. Some, but not many, seem to be able to achieve something close. I believe Mr. Boyer is to be commended for his effort to do so. Not dissed. Steven PS-I think most were already aware of the background of the author based on the last posting under the heading of “A Church Asunder”.… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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I perfectly agree with Andrew Carey’s view that Lambeth 1.10 is a “cock-up”.
Well said Andrew!

Andrew Brown
Guest

I think that calling Substitutionary atonement “The central Christian doctrine” is evidence of a pretty clear bias. The definite article is a hint here.

And, AC, if you didn’t notice what was going on at Lambeth 98, you’re not a very attentive journalist. Or perhaps you weren’t there. But the meeting at Plano in 97 has been extensively covered, and I spoke myself to bishops who had been flown out of Africa to attend it.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Ian: To be less intellectually cute than the Scotist, there have been at least three distinct understandings of atonement. The substitutionary theory is one. So is the “Christus Victor” theory: that Christ once and for all time conquered sin and death in a quasi-miliatary conquest of hell. Abelard’s is a third. None of the five is perfect; none of the five (as far as I know) has ever been denied (or for that matter specified) in the Anglican tradition. That Christ’s death atoned and reconciled is a central Christian doctrine; any specific understanding of it is not. That isn’t so… Read more »

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

Andrew Brown, the meeting in Dallas produced a statement I was well aware of (I didn’t know that it took place in Plano – I had thought that was the 2003 meeting). Surely you don’t think for a moment that it was decisive? The immediate preceding events of Lambeth 1998 and the conference itself were the decisive factors in bringing forward Resolution 1.10 – the major part of which hadn’t even been tabled the night before. If you are saying that a number of conservatives wanted Lambeth to say something strong against the acceptance of homosexual practice by the Church… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“a journalist who seeks to present the views of both sides as they would wish to be presented.”

I believe there is a word for this in English also.

We call it text-reklam.

Ian Montgomery
Guest
Ian Montgomery

Thank you Marshall for not being “cute.” Re the substitutionary atonement my beginning is the Scriptures and their use of propitiation, expiation or atonement. Then of course Articles II and XV are to the point. I was ordained at a time in the UK, when subscription to the Articles was required even to get into theological college. Re the real presence there is a spectrum of ambiguity from the Zwinglian to the very Catholic. This means that I do not believe that the real presence is a central doctrine though the necessity of eucharistic participation is as essential as baptism,… Read more »

Counterlight
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Counterlight

I predict that this marriage of convenience between African Anglican bishops and conservative American Episcopalians will not last, even if they do succeed in their ambition to lovingly frog march the gays into prisons and mental hospitals to be “cured”, and to see liberals walk the plank and perish. The African bishops will discover to their dismay that the most enthusiatic constituency for the neo-imperial agenda of the current American presidency is conservative white evangelical Christians. I can only imagine their reaction when they see their friends here in the USA cheerfully endorsing policies that treat their countries as nothing… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Steven
My provision of the quote about Boyer’s background was merely intended to be helpful to readers. I am certainly not dissing his article, which I think is excellent.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“propitiation, expiation or atonement” are in the Bible?

No, they are Latin words.

A post 16th century Calvinist take on Anselm’s substitutionary “atonement” is “core doctrine” but not the Eucharist????

Why not Mel Gibson?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The proposed Nigerian legislation threats the Constitutional rights of a l l Nigerians.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The politicalspaghetti article also deals with Nigeria. Please, if you wish to comment on that part of the politicalspaghetti article, do it on the post titled Nigeria: latest developments. Let’s focus this thread on the New Yorker article and responses to it.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Ian: Well, I see what you’re saying about the background you bring to the discussion of understanding the work of Christ. I would have thought on that that Articles II and XXXI would have been pertinent; but neither specifies one understanding of how atonment happens. At the same time, Article XXVIII seems to me to specify real presence, while explicitly denying the specifics of Aristotelian physics in transubstantiation. At any rate, we have enough in common to speak. Regarding the Boyer article: it seemed a typical article for The New Yorker, written for a well educated (in the cultural and… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Regarding the Boyer article in the 17 April issue of The New Yorker, Michael Scott is right on target when he writes: “It might educate us somewhat more about the people – I learned things about all of Robinson, Duncan, and Griswold – but it doesn’t really add much to the discussion either way.” Ian Montgomery seems to be fixated on the ‘substitutionary atonement’ as a litmus test of true orthodoxy, as are many of the ‘reasserters’. I wonder what he would make of the pertinent chapter in Anthony Hanson and Richard P.C. Hanson’s Reasonable Belief: A Survey of the… Read more »

Ian Montgomery
Guest
Ian Montgomery

Marshall you are right to add Article XXXI to the case I am making. The word propitiation is latin and one of the commenters seems to object to foreign words. Such is the genius of the English language. I studied latin from the age of 7-21 as in those days it was an academic requirement. I rejoice greatly that these words continue to be used in Bible translation so as to give us English speakers the advantage of a rich vocabulary. I note that the other word under discussion is Eucharist which is Greek. It seems very popular to use… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ian Montgomery

There are very few, if indeed any, Latin words in the Bible.
2nd Millennium theological terms are not Biblical in any sense.
Please!

Marshall Scott
Guest

Apropos, today (April 21) is the Feast of Anselm in the American Church. You can find one historian’s discussion of him at http://www.missionstclare.com/english/people/apr21.html

Ian Montgomery
Guest
Ian Montgomery

Mea culpa – justus simul peccator