Thinking Anglicans

Rewriting History

Ekklesia has published Re-writing History: the Episcopal Church struggle.

In the global intra-Anglican ‘wars’ about sexuality, biblical interpretation, authority and church polity, The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA has been singled out from other Anglican provinces and subjected to harsh criticism and threats of expulsion. Why is this? What are the underlying issues about the use of Scripture and other questions which explain why TEC is such a bone of contention? Can Christians learn to handle differences in more creative ways which honour the life-giving Gospel message they are supposed to exemplify?

To read this new report and analysis from Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman in PDF format go here.

For a nine point summary of the report go here.

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Göran Koch-SwahneFord ElmsPluralistNPErika Baker Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

Outstanding. Alleluia! 😀

NP
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NP

The writer asks: “The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA has been singled out from other Anglican provinces and subjected to harsh criticism and threats of expulsion. Why is this?” Well, the answer is that in 2003, TEC was asked by ALL the Primates of the AC not to go ahead with making VGR a bishop because he is openly breaking the agreed position in Lambeth 1.10 – they REJECTED the AC’s pleas not to go ahead and presented VGR as a fait accompli to the AC. Many do not want to accept this fait accompli and others sympathetic to… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

NP,
I don’t argue that TEC perhaps ought not to have done what it did, but to suggest this is the sole reason for our current problems is just laughable.

Columba Gilliss
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Columba Gilliss

There are certainly other reasons that the Episcopal Church has been singled out — ones that are not about the named issues but arise from resentment of the United States, stereotypes of pushy Americans (some resulting from actual behavior of the government and individuals)and others the deliberate efforts of Americans both within and beyond TEC. I’d like to see them explored in depth.
Columba Gilliss

Prior Aelred
Guest

I second JCF’s comment — several days ago I forwarded this to a few people in spite of its length — the fact that the CofE has tolerated semi-openly gay clergy for decades but never been called to account indicates that TEC’s problem is its integrity — part of the significance of this paper is its Developing World provenance — the failure of almost all provinces to follow through on the listening process requested (not mandated) by Lambeth 1.10 is also notable — I suppose when the majority selectively ignores its own statements, such seemingly reprehensible behavior is inevitable.

Pluralist
Guest

I rather agree with this by Savitri Hensman the author: In some ways, the treatment of TEC has come to resemble a sports match where the referee threatens to send off players from one side for a disputed technical infringement while their opponents are allowed to punch, bite and do what they wish, despite the occasional plea to play by the rules. An atmosphere has also been created in which numerous Anglicans in other provinces are aware that, if hardliners take a dislike to any aspect of the way they themselves seek to be faithful to Christ in their own… Read more »

John-Julian, OJN
Guest
John-Julian, OJN

NP: What was it that TEC might have done to “block” the ordination of Bishop Robinson? What legal, constitutional, and proper action could TEC have taken which would have satisfied the protesting Primates? Any pleas “not to go ahead” would have had to be accompanied by a description of how that could happen given the polity of TEC. They would have had to disclose some constitutional or canonical impediment, and there was none. Every single detail of the nomination, election, and confirmation of Bishop Robinson conformed totally and completely to the Constitution and Canons of TEC, the Constitution and Canons… Read more »

Boularderie
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Boularderie

This is coming from Canada where perceptions seem mostly of shadows and one reads and one struggles to understand.

But– really –that was it, wasn’t it: the “imperialist manner” of it, as Ekklesia’s summary of Henson’s points expresses it?

It was the arrogation of the right to decide not even so much as the issue itself that was just so much gasoline on the match.

Is it too naive to wish that in that inkling of understanding there is also a germ of a resolution?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I’ve started to read Savitri’s paper. So far, it is well considered and balanced. One thing I like is how she has acknowledged how experiences and cultural influence souls’ perception of church and theology. There is an Anastasia song with a line “I wonder if you know how it really feels to be left outside alone. It’s cold out here”. Some might glibly point to the 2003 decision, but in reality there has been a layer in the communion that have been putting outside or setting up alternative communions for decades. They have a paradigm that only those who come… Read more »

L Roberts
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L Roberts

I second JCF’s comment — several days ago I forwarded this to a few people in spite of its length — the fact that the CofE has tolerated semi-openly gay clergy for decades but never been called to account indicates that TEC’s problem is its integrity (Prior Aelred) I’m not sure which comment this refers to; and I can’t find it. Can anyone help locate it ? Yes, the CofE has kind of tolerated or even accpeted at somelevels semi-open or openly gay ministers. But has been very very inconsistent. I was one such minister –though how one could not… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

“Their gilded Jesus doesn’t seem to care about manners, as long as they are “right” they have the “authority” to be as nasty and aggressive as they want to be. Their gilded Jesus is not consistent with the holy texts.” Cheryl Clough

I think you’ve just managed to say everything that needed to be said.

Thank you

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – the old boss of Enron might have said there would have been no problem for his company if the regulators had not made such a fuss – I am sure you would not have blamed the regulator for responding?? TEC’s actions are clearly the cause of the AC chaos we see. Sure, the AC Primates (ALL of them, including the doublespeaking Griswold and KJS) have responded ….. but they did not cause the problem….it is weak to argue that there would be no problem if there had been no opposition to TEC’s actions – the questions which matter… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

Why do people continue to even debate these issues with trolls?

Sara
Guest

I’ve heard from those in the know that even the c-of-E has a homosexual bishop in a live-in relationship who votes consistently with the other bishops on questions of sexuality. Apparently this is not a secret. Where is the integrity in that?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, Stop arguing against what you want me to have said, and argue with what I’m actually saying. I did NOT say that the current problem was caused by the primates or the conservatives. On another thread, which you ignored as you do anything that points out what’s wrong with your arguments and attitudes, I pointed out some of the many issues that have led to this. I acknowledge that as far as I can see, TEC’s actions were perhaps ill advised, given the attitude of many in the Anglican world to which you keep referring. But that one action,… Read more »

L Roberts
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L Roberts

Why do people continue to even debate these issues with trolls?

Posted by: Kurt on Friday, 27 July 2007 at 1:36pm BST

You were right Kurt –I recant !

There’s a great piece on trolls complete with cartoons over on Thinking Baptists. I admit I didnt really know what a ‘troll’ was (in your sense) until I came across that. An American term I realise.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Why do people continue to even debate these issues with trolls?” Because I have longstanding issues with Evangelical spiritual arrogance, because I am sick of being told that because I am not an Evangelical, I have no faith and am not a Christian, because I am sick of the hypocrisy that says that Evangelicals can be as rude and insulting as they like about everybody else, but if we even defend ourselves, much less get angry, we are persecuting them and “intolerant”, because I want people like NP to realize that there are people out there who are just as… Read more »

Pisco Sours
Guest

The Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands (which shares full communion with the Anglican Communion) allows same-sex marriage rites. I wonder why no one has taken them to task.

Does anyone know the stances of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church and the Church of Southern Africa? The answers would be illuminating.

Malcolm+
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Malcolm+

Financial regulators had the authority to investigate Enron.

Gamekeepers have the authority to apprehend poachers.

The Primates have no authority outwith their own Provinces.

After all, the investigators that intervened in the Enron case were not from Nigeria.

NP
Guest
NP

OK – here are answers to your points, Ford – 1) Are the GS right to insist that everybody accept their idea of Biblical authority as though it is somehow the only true way? – Their view?? THey are aksing for Lambeth 1.10 to be upheld. Nobody else agrees with them?? Not even +Duncan and many others in TEC? 2) Is the GS right to make the consecration of one bishop they believe to be in error into a communion breaking issue when they tolerate the errors of other bishops and when other bishops tolerate what some think are errors… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Ford-Right on with your reasoning on trying to deal with “trolls”. Here in the mid-west of the U.S. the emergence of (not necessarily population growth) of fundalmentalist Christians is probably causing many young to shy away from ANY Christian denomination because of their obnoxiously skewed beliefs (w/ the distortion of scripture to justify them) and equally disingenuous means of re-cruitment, or “evangelism” for instance. As we all know, children tend to react and rebell against what is forced upon them; and the popularity of paganism and outright atheism among the young in small towns has to be attributed to this.… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

NP:”…but is it loving to tell people that God approves of activities which He condemns in the Bible?

He=St. Paul???

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“…..you cannot expect people to stay silent in the face of blatant rejection of the “mind of the Communion” “ I darned well can when they themselves are guilty of ignoring the “mind of the communion”. Again, there’s more to Lambeth ’98 than 1.10, NP, why is this the only thing to which you insist on obedience? “I do not ignore them” Really? Minns consecration wasn’t ignoring the other parts of Lambeth? And you have already admitted to only having listened to yourselves talk about and judge gay people in absentia, which also represents disobedience to Lambeth ’88 and ’98.… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

As Ford pointed out recently, the arguments are fun. Plus sometimes the arguments are part of God’s greater plan. Even trolls are useful. God could never have so dramatically and emphatically made the point that he wanted nations such as the Jews if the Pharoah had not been so stubborn, the establishment priests so arrogant and complacent, Aaron prepared to speak on behalf of his brother, Moses prepared to continue to trust in God and hang onto that staff, Miriam prepared to nag her parents to continue their marriage and thus conceive Moses, the princess prepared to convert to Judaism… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

NP “Ford. I do know some people who would not agree with your claim that I do not love them” Your idea of love must be different from mine, I have yet to hear you say a single word that sounds loving, rather than lecturing, righteous, certain, cold and absolutely oblivious of the reality of the people you’re talking to. “I have a very busy job so I do not have time to keep up to date with every thread….sorry.” Considering that you post about 10 posts a day on pretty much every thread, and that Ford has made this… Read more »

NP
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NP

Erika – what do you mean by “engage”? You reject certain scriptures and I do not….this makes it hard to “engage” if I want to stick to Lambeth 1.10 and the interpretation of the bible which underpins it….which even the liberal ABC says represents the mind of the Communion – so, I ain’t no extremist in the CofE or the AC, Erika! Are you “engaging” with the teaching of the church or ignoring it where it does not suit you? Ford – you are making assumptions (again). You used to be much more measured in your responses! Above, you just… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“who said we judged “people in absentia”?” You described the “listening process” as carried out in your parish. No mention of actually talking to gay people. I challenged you that you had listened to one another talk about us rather than to us. You did not reply to alter that perception. “Who said we drive people away?” The vast majority of the people I know, for starters. Everyone who publically ridicules Christianity for another. It is your style of Christianity they are mocking. I keep telling you, you need to talk to the people who hate Christianity. “You cannot as… Read more »

NP
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NP

NO, Ford- you are not “listening” but just putting +Akinola’s words or those you grew up with on me! Sorry if I did not reply…but no we did not just talk about people, we talked and do talk to people. (I have friends and family (none ordained!) in this group you think I never talk to!) As for people staying away…..why do we have thousands using our church 6 days a week and you have so few coming to your “inclusive” church? Surely not our fault….. I have said many times that I do not buy this nonsense that we… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“thousands using our church” And why are literally millions staying away? “your “inclusive” church” Actually, NP, I go to a quite conservative parish, in a relatively conservative diocese, in a Church that less than a month ago decided not to bless SSU out of respect for others in the Church. Just because someone disagrees with your attitudes on Biblical authority and points out the hypocrisy of your actions and statements, they aren’t necessarily on “the other side”. “I do not buy this nonsense that we turn people off church” You don’t talk to the people you have alienated. Or you… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

NP, I shall respond: do you think you should identify this church and, indeed, yourself, so that these claims you make can be compared. I use a web name but it does not take a minute to follow the link to find out who I am, which church I attend, and the cleric I know who posts on this board but is currently under canvas? You do not have to name which places are failing, just which is successful – where you go.

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – there are obvious candidates for my church in London. (I won’t identify it as I do not speak for it)

Ford – we see people becoming Christians all the time (all types of people!)….so I am not concerned that you know some who do not like the fact that we stick to the biblical teaching in Lambeth 1.10 and so stay away…..I am afraid that we cannot ditch that biblical position to attract in that sort of person. ….and the churches which have tried to accomodate them shrink, as we all know.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the fact that we stick to the biblical teaching in Lambeth 1.10 and so stay away…..” NP, NP, NP, it’s not Lambeth ’98, of which you follow one section. They would laugh you to scorn for condemning the “disobedience” of others while ignoring that of those you agree with, and would see it as yet another example of the hypocritical judgementalism of those who claim to follow Him who told us not to judge lest we be judged. And I’m not talking about judging doctrine here, NP, but people. Most of them don’t even know what Lambeth is, let alone… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I think Max Weber needs a new edition to The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. This is about the Puritans who, seeing their bank balances grow as they put in the capitalistic work and didn’t consume, took it as a sign that they were part of the Elect.

The new edition is called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Numbers.

NP
Guest
NP

Ford, again two wrongs do not make a right As I have said MANY times, I can agree with many of your criticisms of the church, evos and me…..but none of those change the main argument in the AC which is about the interpretation of scripture in Lambeth 1.10. People who do not like what the bible says can find a thousand reasons not to come to church etc…and we can give them more. Even if you think (wrongly!) that some are selective in their application of Lambeth 1.10, still you have no excuse in rejecting any of it….you don’t… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – Weber would have hated but not been surprised by the Bureaucracy we see in the AC!

Pluralist
Guest

Weber found the march to bureaucracy depressing against the human spirit, but in Anglicanism we have something called systemic authority, which is not quite the pyramidal authority Weber outlined. Systemic authority is where experts are found around the bureaucracy so that leaders to some extent must rely on them. These experts we can call theologians, and they are often liberal and radical in doctrine, advance biblical criticism, and qualify some key concepts, such as the meaning of Trinity.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“What does the bible say? What does God intend for you and me today?”

Abolutely nothing.

Only Lev 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27 come anywhere near, but neither addresses Homosexuality as “act” or “orientation” but Koítän; the Bed (in 18:20, 18:22, and 18:23 – you will have troble finding that Bed in modern translations ;=), and Gnostic/Gnosticist ideas on Sperm percieved as seeds, respectively.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“still you have no excuse in rejecting any of it” Well, by all accounts, +Akinola seems to think he does. The issue for the current discussion is this: why do you feel it is perfectly OK to ignore all the other parts of the Lambeth statement you mistakenly keep referring to as Lambeth 1.10, while being rabid that TEC be punished over your favourite verse? “People who do not like what the bible says can find a thousand reasons not to come to church etc” As a general rule, NP, the people I’m talking about have no argument with what… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The answer to the second question is

Love thy Neigbour as thy self (even if he be a false teacher ;=)