Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Covenant: Our Unity is in Christ

Carolyn J Sharp, Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Yale Divinity School has written an essay about the Anglican Covenant.

You can read it here: Our Unity is in Christ.

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Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

A worthy paper with many points worth affirming. Two main themes caught my attention. In point 4, Sharpe commented “…the Church was never “undivided,” as any reputable scholar of early Christianity will affirm and as any alert reader of the Gospels and the Book of Acts can see.” Absolutely. Read the book of Revelation and how the various churches already have clear personalities – with various strengths and weaknesses. Look at how Paul was shunted into his home town for seven years, ignored by the disciples, who only later capitulated after intense dialogue and demonstrations that it was not just… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

As more people at least on the liberal side come to dislike the whole idea of even am existence of a Covenant, so the Covenant is already an agent of division. I always thought it would be, once it was published, and opposed it from the start, but I’ll admit I did not expect its proposal and the pursuit of it would also be an agent of division.

I think the sooner the brakes go on, and a reverse gear employed, the better.

Columba Gilliss
Columba Gilliss
13 years ago

Am i the only one the whole covenant idea reminds of couples who want rules to keep a relationship together when their original attraction has failed? So often it is fear that makes one say to a pasroe or counsellor ‘tell him/her to do x.’The very demand shows that the relationship is fragmenting. If trust is to be rebuilt rules are not the means.
Columba

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Brava, Brava, Brava, Brava. (Throwing virtual reality roses towards the speaker’s podium.) Combine Professor Sharp’s comments with the recent Centrist statements from responding meetings, and we have the beginnings of a clear and reasoned – though still not lockstep and uniform – answer to the power play of the Primates Meeting. Behind which, obviously, is the brute drive of the realignment campaign to stomp everybody and every witness that is not it, pre-approved. One of the best things about Sharp is that she deftly resists the used car sales pitch that demands (by presupposing) that we can speak only in… Read more »

Viriato da Silva
Viriato da Silva
13 years ago

“God loves the humble who blush and repent over the arrogant who accuse and tyrannize.” True enough. Yet I am wary of deploying that line of rhetoric, because it fails to bridge/communicate with the realignmentistas/hide-bound-traditionalists. They read that reasoning, I guarantee you, and they agree with it 100% — because they perceive TEC and the other progressive voices as being the ones who “accuse and tyrannize,” and they wonder why *we* are not the ones “humble” enough to “blush and repent.” Akinola, Minns, Duncan, et al. — they all could in good conscience subscribe to such language, in a fun-house… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

I think I agree with Viriato this time Columba – do you know of any successful, long-erm relationship which does not have rules (written or unwritten)which are respected by those in the relationship?? The reason the AC is having to be more formal about what constitutes faithful AC membership is that the unwritten rules have been broken and abused….. eg despite Primates and others begging TEC not to tear the fabric of the Communion in 2003,, TEC paid no attention but still demands to be in the AC….so, it is now felt that a clearer definition of what is and… Read more »

erasmus
erasmus
13 years ago

I’m surprised that Professor Sharp lists eucharistic liturgies as one of the fundamentals which bind us together as anglicans, given the diversity of liturgy within the communion.
In any case liturgy doesn’t define doctrine, it simply attempts to express it.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

NP,

“the unwritten rules have been broken and abused”

Why do you never cite you My Lord of Abuja in this group? Surely he is just as guilty as the Americans. And could you comment on the serious charges being made against him in Nigeria, please.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

” … the unwritten rules have been broken and abused…” And which unwritten rules would those be? As an American who grew up and went to college and graduate school as the civil rights movement came into being and brought the beginning of racial equality and justice to our country, I have a hearty suspician of ‘unwritten rules’ and ‘the way everyone knows we do things’ and ‘how we’ve always done things here’ and the like. Of course, the ‘everyone’ in these statements means what white people do know and what people of color had better know, for their own… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

But they are not ‘unwritten rules’. They are not ‘rules’ at all

Anyway, any set of rules would be unacceptable if based on conservative evangelicalism

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

Viriato It is a legitimate point and your acknowledging it is respected. I was annointed to be a polished arrow. That is my mission. It was not of my choice, and God knows that I came to that point kicking and screaming. There are those that think my postings are my failure, they are God’s triumph. It is an extreme that will be turned down once priests are no longer allowed to act with impunity to repress and tyrannize. When wars are no longer fought in “God’s” name based on deceipt and greed. If people want to be greedy, cruel… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Any vital relationship which fails in trust, mutuality, openness, growth, and the like tends to fall back on rules. Nobody dislikes rules as such, particularly in two stellar cases. One, in cases where we are just starting to learn some craft or technique. Then rules are a good guide for early learning and practice, since we have to start somewhere. Two, in cases of instability or change or challenge. Then we hew to the rules as provisional guidelines while we either wait out the storm’s fury, wait for the sunlight to clear the dark clouds, or muse and discern as… Read more »

Kay Wisniewski
Kay Wisniewski
13 years ago

Gets up, clears throat, rumples back of head with hand. Picture an older, blonder, way unfunnier, unnose-jobbed Jeraldine Seinfeld. “Now, what I don’t get here, is what is this about “covenanting together”? That would make us “Covenanters”? But, I thought we were the Anglicans, right? Weren’t the Covenanters like, you know,– the bad guys to us Anglicans –, back in British history. I mean, what do they want us to to turn into … Presbyterians? And another thing — I get that what’s wrong here is all this innovating. We Americans, we just innovate, innovate– someone’s got to put a… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

Ford – I ain’t a bishop from Nigeria and will not be forced to defend others who can defend themselves. ++Akinola is not the issue here.But if you thought there was heresy somewhere, I guess you would not hesitate to cross boundaries – at least I hope you would not hesitate because there are more important things than “ecclesiastical correctness”, I am sure you would agree. The important choice now is not for the AC and is not between ++Akinola and something else. The choice on the table is for TEC to make – unequivocally to walk with the AC… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

NP, I was referring to the thread labelled: “Sunday, 10 June 2007 a news item from Nigeria” Lust for power isn’t heresy, but it gives a glimpse at the character of the man. As to “heresy”, I see it this way: the Church is currently, messily, grappling with a contentious issue, attempting to discern the will of God. Now let’s say you’re right. Do you really think that, even though the Church is trying to figure this out, God will still condemn to Hell those who believe the wrong thing? Do you seriously think God is that niggardly that He… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

Well, Ford – I am bound (by scripture) to take false teaching very seriously because I am told it does have consequences…. I am not going to take the risk with other people’s lives and tolerate those teaching the opposite to what scripture says – I am not at all sure they will get away with their “revisions”…..they do not have the right or the authority to make up rules, in my view. (I apply the same to the “prosperity gospel” etc etc) So, I will stick with scripture, even if it is very challenging to me and everyone in… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

Ford That was an incredibly beautiful posting. At the core of it is the question of “Would God condemn those that seek to protect the outcaste?” If they are talking about allowing criminals to rape, abuse and enslave others; then that is not protection and would incur God’s wrath. But if they are talking about encouraging people to feel real love, to choose to bond with another soul for life, to take on the responsibilities for caring and raising dependents in an safe home, to epitomise humility, faith, patience, and hope. Then I do not see God having a problem.… Read more »

Viriato da Silva
Viriato da Silva
13 years ago

“But if you thought there was heresy somewhere, I guess you would not hesitate to cross boundaries – at least I hope you would not hesitate because there are more important things than “ecclesiastical correctness”, I am sure you would agree.” This isn’t about “ecclesiastical correctness” paralleling the dreaded “political correctness” (which strawman in my experience tends to get hurled at anyone who advocates civil discourse or voices even the most polite objection to prejudiced/offensive attitudes or speech). It’s about *ecclesiology* — and after all, ecclesiology *is* a form of theology. “The choice on the table is for TEC to… Read more »

bls
bls
13 years ago

“++Akinola is not the issue here.” ———————– The question is, why isn’t he? He’s openly and unrepentently breaking the rules about the respectful treatment of, and the promise to listen to, homosexual persons – rules which were set in place by Lambeth 1.10. In addition, he’s blatantly violated human rights norms – yet hasn’t even been reprimanded, officially, by the Anglican Communion in whole or in part. So apparently the nebulous “heresy” (which has never even been defined yet continues to be charged!) of TEC is worse than Nigeria’s attempts to violate the basic rights of particular groups of human… Read more »

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

NP, I have a genuine question: how do YOU know something is a “false teaching”? Is it just question of reading/hearing something, and having the reaction “I, NP, don’t believe this squares w/ the Bible?” Or is there somebody (a living person) who provides an imprimatur for you? Or something else—e.g., say a prayer and flip a coin?

Your absolute sense of certitude ASTOUNDS me.

NP
NP
13 years ago

JCF – first test of all teaching (whoever it is from) is whether it is from scripture or not – then whether it agrees with the scripture in narrow and broader context and then (lastly and least importantly) what trustworthy scholars think….it is not hard to identify false teaching as it is normal trying to contradict scripture…..eg saying “do not….” means “it is fine to….” (obvious, for example in the “prosperity” gospel which seeks to justify greed

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

“trustworthy scholars”

Unpack those two words for me, please.

NP
NP
13 years ago

quite simple really, Mynster – trustworthy scholars would be those with a record of working hard to explain what scriptures mean – i.e. not those working to justify any particular agenda and certainly not those who say “ignore those nasty bits…focus on the bits you like” etc

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

Sooooooo… a scholar who said ‘we might expect this attitude to the headship of women in the C1 diaspora’ would be untrustworthy? Or would they only become untrustworthy if they were to suggest that we no longer necessarily share that cultural milieu?

I’m not sure your answer is that enlightening, unless you’re saying that any scholar who questions the cultural norms of any bit of Scripture is axiomatically off limits for Christians? Is that it in a nutshell?

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

As a supplementary on biblical scholarship:

1) ‘ignoring the nasty bits’ – does that mean the genocidal texts need rehabilitating?

2) when the Lord makes a statement like Mk 12 36, apparently attributing Davidic authorship to Ps 110, does that mean that no Christian OT commentator can dispute David’s authorship of Ps 110? Is it permissible for a Christian to contradict the Lord on such clear teaching about the authorship of the Psalms?

ruidh
ruidh
13 years ago

NP: “But if you thought there was heresy somewhere, I guess you would not hesitate to cross boundaries – at least I hope you would not hesitate because there are more important things than “ecclesiastical correctness”, I am sure you would agree.” I’m just not sure that heresy is one of them. One can fight heresy without violating the ancient canons of the church. One can fight heresy without rending the church with schism. Once can fight heresy without serving one’s own selfish desires to control others and to keep property. One fights heresy with sound teaching, not with consecrations… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Malcolm French+
13 years ago

But NP, Akinola IS the issue.

It is he (and a few of his fellow travelers) who have commited acts of schism.

It is he (and his fellow travelers) who have openly and incorrigibly defied the Lambeth resolution they claim is binding on the Communion.

It is he (and his fellow travelers) who have openly and incorrigibly defied the Windsor process which they claim is binding on the Communion.

To pretend that the conduct of the Primate of All Nigeria is not at issue is intellectually dishonest.

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