Thinking Anglicans

Chris Sugden and GAFCON

Chris Sugden writes in the Comment is free section of The Guradian Gafcon can save Anglicanism.

We are a response to the current authorities’ unwillingness to check the flouting of Bible teachings and can lead it forward without a split

Canon Sugden is executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream and one of the organisers of GAFCON.

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badman
badman
13 years ago

The comments after Chris Sugden’s article, which come from believers and non-believers, and Anglicans among others, do not suggest that he has a plausible case for anyone outside his own tiny hardline fundamentalist bigoted intolerant smug self-satisfied disobedient sect.

That was already my impression.

Richard Warren
Richard Warren
13 years ago

Save Anglicanism from what?

Treebeard
Treebeard
13 years ago

Save Anglicanism for what ?

WSJM
13 years ago

My goodness, reading the comments after Sugden’s article was certainly entertaining! “Flouting Biblical teachings”? Give me a break! The Bible has nothing — that’s N-O-T-H-I-N-G — to say directly about loving, committed life-long relationships between two people of the same sex. Yes, it is possible to argue that one can infer from certain passages that such relationships are not God’s intention for human beings. It is also quite possible to argue that one can infer from the Scriptures as a whole that such relationships can be a response to God’s call to us to love one another. But Sugden and… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

The reference to Militant Tendency and student unions is a reference back to Tom Butler (not me, though I was one of the first!), who used the militant example against GAFCON – and that itself is a typical Trotskyite thing to do, which is to accuse your accusers in their own language. It is a kind of inversion which seems oh so clever but rarely applies the same way. The statement about meeting the (“GAFCON is a”) Primates’ Council on neutral ground is a suggestion of humiliation – the Archbishop trekking to some other place to meet the gang of… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Dr. Sugden’s assertion – that we must collapse the Anglican big tent in order to save it – mainly from ungodliness and conscientious differences of one sort or another? – are highly disingenuous. Even more drastic and dubious is his belief that only he and believers with the collapse agenda can save Anglicanism from being a big tent, and thus from being true to its heritage, let alone lead it forward. None of this serves, except to further spin doctor the strange notion. What notion? That if conservative believers cannot freely continue to talk trash, tell half-truths and outright falsehoods… Read more »

christopher+
christopher+
13 years ago

Some pretty loud trumpeting in this, which seems entirely out of proportion, despite constant assertions here and elsewhere of just how many Anglicans these leaders represent. One supposes those people “represented” are just supposed to go along with it all; perhaps they even agree. Or perhaps they haven’t even been asked, or given a voice; perhaps it doesn’t matter anyway, because these leaders have the ultimate say.

Perhaps what we need saving from is such tremendous presumption.

Marshall Scott
13 years ago

What an interesting statement. I’m afraid he is talking through his hat; although I’ll allow for the possibility that he is simply thoughtless about Anglican history. He believes, or at least repeats, that the new GAFCON Primates “have decided that there is a way forward within the Anglican church that can bring order out of chaos and which does not involve a split.” On the other hand, he also says of them, “Gafcon is a Primates’ council, designed to bring order. It is also a movement.” The result of movements in Anglican Tradition is that many, if not most, have… Read more »

J Blair
J Blair
13 years ago

While Gafcon is a bit evangelical for my taste, does our claims to being inclusive as Anglicans not apply to those with whom we disagree on any of the issues, liberal or conservative.

Gafcon can credibly claim that its primates lead churches that are growing. I am not sure that the primates TEC, Anglican Church of Canada or the Church of England could say the same thing. If anything, those churches seem to be less than relevant to the cultures in which they minister.

pete hobson
pete hobson
13 years ago

I’m no apologist for Chris Sugden or GAFCON, and I do think he and they have fundamentally misread the situation and needs. But I do come from what used to be called the conservative evangelical camp (though now preferring the ‘open evangelical’ label if I must have one). I’d implore some of those who post on a ‘Thinking Anglicans’ site to examine the language they use of ‘conservatives’, to see whether it might just be that a bit of the to the ‘them and us’ that the GAFCON minded feel is down to the way they’re treated by those who,… Read more »

Malcolm+
13 years ago

I do wonder why the far right won’t debate the issues on their merits. Why is it that they must always tart up their arguments with a series of half-truths and untruths. Implicit in Sugden’s screed is the revisioist falsehood that there exist “Anglican authorities” who have the power to “discipline” provices who don’t tow the line. This is not a poor grounding in Anglican history and Anglican ecclesiology. This is an out and out lie which the far right hope will eventually become true is only they repeat the lie often enough. He also lies about the lifting of… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

Save the Church of England so they can have lay led Grape juice Sydneyite communions and divorce and re-marriage.

Gosh thanks that this is all out now…surely the Synod will not vote for a diocese or province option.

The Church of England in South Africadid not leave the Anglican Church of South Africa, it never joined the church when it was set up in 1870.

Tobias Haller
13 years ago

The question of growing churches is an interesting one, and I know that Dr Jenkins has thoughts on the subject. However, it is vital to remember the differences between growth in what is still a very real mission field (that is, where there are large numbers of unbaptized persons) and where admission to the church can be a step up in terms of stability and support and only rarely a step towards martyrdom, contrasted with growth in areas where we are dealing with at most a post-Christendom model (a new generation of the unchurched) which will require a very different… Read more »

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

“Gafcon can credibly claim that its primates lead churches that are growing.”

Growing HOW, J.Blair? (It certainly wouldn’t seem to be in Christian charity and humility!)

Lord have mercy!

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

Malcolm makes a good point. In fact he makes the best point.

What I see in the statements from GAFCON and this piece from Sugden _ and many others, particularly Dr Jensen is deviousness, dissembling, false stories, huge exaggerations, spin, duplicity and bald lies.

We see specious allegation accepted as truth – and a whole raft of Biblical literalism sold falsely as our heritage.

FOCa has become the evil incarnation of Virtue on line – it’s unbelievable!

It is – of course – what will ensure its destruction, but what terrible harm it will do on the way.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“Gafcon can credibly claim that its primates lead churches that are growing.”

So can the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) and the leaders of the Church of Scientology. Since when does growth in numbers indicate growth in righteousness?

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

And the fastest growing world religion is Islam – so what does the numbers game tell us? That premodern countries prefer reactionary, right wing religion? Now, there’s a surprise….

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Martin R, Have you come to see this as a game of “whoever throws the most mud wins?” Talk about allegations, Chris S is actually fairly straight forward in his statement. He does say certain bishops have acted to drive some people away and lifted the license of some (was there a need for M Ingham to do that in the case of Jim Packer, even if one disagrees on some matters, who has been doing his teaching faithful to historic Anglicanism all these years?). The issue as Chris S sets it out is standing with scripture, not an issue… Read more »

JPM
JPM
13 years ago

“Gafcon can credibly claim that its primates lead churches that are growing.”

Do you really want to go there?

The fastest growing religious affiliation in the U.S. is “none.” That is, at least in part, because of the common and increasingly widespread sentiment among younger people that Christians are judgmental, intolerant, and sex-obsessed.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

Furthermore analysis of the growth in the African countries is also primarily due to the birth rate! However when contraception gets a grip, it will slow!

Just read Archbishop jensen’scomments on why he can turn a blind eye to womens ordianton as still embrace those who practice it as orthodox…because it is not a salvation issue.

However he fails to note that in the passage that excludes the sexually immoral..liars are also excluded. Living out a vocation that is against what he believes is God’s revelation must be a lie?

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

“Gafcon can credibly claim that its primates lead churches that are growing.”

Now, can they really?

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

Pat O’Neill, although your response is true, what J Blair posts figured heavily in the deliberations of the AC in the production of the Windsor Report, and figures heavily still.

I remember – half an hour into the first consultation came this harsh political question:

“Should the Communion align itself with the Churches of the North many of whom are in terminal decline or the burgeoning Chuches of the South.”

Prior Aelred
13 years ago

Martin Reynolds — The answer would seem to me to be that the Communion should align itself with the Truth (& yes, the birthrate in the Global South is the primary reason for the poverty & corruption from which it can never escape as long as the average woman gives birth to seven children).

The notion that the “typical Anglican” — a young African mother, is primarily concerned about what to “Global North” men do in bed is risible (IMHO).

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

“Have you come to see this as a game of “whoever throws the most mud wins?” “ No Ben W I think my comments are thoughtful and careful. I am sincerely shocked that there is so much of this dishonest propaganda, false reporting and lying. I cannot believe it, it seems so unnecessary and the dishonesty is so easily exposed. Take, for example the declaration for the 1662 Prayer Book as THE standard for worship and then read here: http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/sydneystories/1463a/ Is it me, am I dreaming – am I choosing to see what is NOT here. Is this not the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“To Pat: Of course it is not simply a question of growth. What if the post office kept losing the mail and failed to deliver the actual packages? And if they kept shrinking and losing ground only to say, growth is not the issue we would call them to account. Are you still fulfilling your intended purpose? If the gospel is diluted or lost like the letter not delivered we ask some questions!” False analogy…the gospel is just (I might even say more) likely to be diluted or lost in the quest for more and more members as it is… Read more »

Commentator
Commentator
13 years ago

Ben W seems at last to be venting his wrath and showing his true colours. Those with whom he agrees are simply upholding Biblical principles. There is no space for debate or discussion when the premis is so clearly stated and so blindly applied. – When will it be acknowledged that there are two distinct entities inhabiting the Church of England and the Churches to which it has given birth across the glode?

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Pat, You still don’t get it. I agreed it is not simply a matter of growth! True,the gospel can be diluted because people identify with the culture in concern with numbers, but the real pressing issue here for most is the concern to fit into culture to the point that they are prepared to dilute the gospel itself. The issue is not so easily shrugged off (do you care about the people who have been alienated and lost to the church? What about the people to whom the gospel becomes a dead letter lost in the confines of “liberal accomodation”… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Martin, If what you say above is “thoughtful and careful” (“huge exaggeration … bald lies”) what would wild distortion look like!? If you simply operate from the principle of suspicion you can turn almost anything into “bald lies.” You refer to the example of making “the 1662 Prayer Book as THE standard for worship …” and the church changing the evening service in Sydney. Does that have to mean there is no place for discernment in following proper standards? (I take it the “teaching” of the PB is the main concern at Gafcon – and I don’t know what all… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
13 years ago

Martin Reynolds, you must understand that the likes of Ben W and his accomplices in crime down under in Sydney are NOT Traditionalists! They are propagandists for bibliolatry, and will change, throw out, tear apart and destroy to achieve imprinting young minds (‘raised on rock-n-roll’ no less) to their selected interpretation and emphasis on what they deem is scripture. They think they are saving Christianity, but are ultimately making God into a monster of their own image. Good grief, eliminating Evensong for some bible indoctrination class. How selfishly repugnant. As a livelong chorister I’ve had to fight the dumbing-down of… Read more »

Malcolm+
13 years ago

Like so many “conservatives,” Ben is being wilfully dishonest in his whinging about puir wee Jimmy Packer having his license lifted in New Westminster. Jim Packer had been advocating for his position for years with no consequences. He had been openly defying the diocese and the bishop on a range of issues for years with no consequences. Your charge that he had his license lifted for being “faithful” is nothing but a bald-faced lie. He had his license lifted because he declared himself to be out of communion with the bishop. What sort of fool believes that ANY bishop would… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Martin, In light of the later comment about me to you I would just add that I am actually for traditional/classical practise and would not easily abandon that. Does that have to mean stick-your-head-in-the-sand without regard to relevance or good practise? If as in the case of Sydney the people have voted with their feet and are going where there is a ministry of scripture and teaching that is another “classical” practise (as old as Ezra reading the word and “making it clear,” or Jesus reading in the synagogue, Luke 4). What is the aim if not to build people… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

Ben ; do you realise what the 93% of people who never go near a church think of your ideas? Do you realise how people are just disgusted by what they contain and their implications?

This is the time where the fundamentalist extremes must go their own way.

Padre Mickey
13 years ago

“Gafcon can credibly claim that its primates lead churches that are growing.”
The only way the Church in the Southern Cone can make such a claim is by taking churches and dioceses from other provinces. That is not exactly growth through evangelism, is it?

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“do you care about the people who have been alienated and lost to the church?”

Indeed, I do–and I know far more who have been alienated and lost because of what they perceive as the church’s judgmental and condemning attitude towards the marginalized in society–gays, women, the poor, the homeless, etc.

Quite frankly, I don’t know anyone personally who left the church because it became too liberal; I know many who left it because they saw it as too hard-bound, too controlling, too narrow in its view of God’s all-encompassing love.

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Pat, As one person, speaking here from the outside on another thread summed up it just a day or so ago, what he is looking for is a church that stands for something. And he went on to say he cannot take a community seriously that simply goes with the culture and not knowing how to affirm its identity in the gospel(and following Gafcon he noted there were some affirmations!). I think that says volumes at this point. I am sure there are those who were alienated because of a “condemning attitude.” Certainly we are not in the position of… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Malcolm, On another post I referred to our human tendency to become “judges.” Here from your exalted position you have me “labeled” and judged all in one stroke (“one of those conservatives” – the category is in place the person does not matter and in fact is not really seen!). And of course James Packer is not only labeled he is also denigrated at the same time (after a lifetime of devoted service – this from a fellow-Christian?). I have known of his work over many years and have met him, I don’t have to see everything the same way… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“….what he is looking for is a church that stands for something. “

So am I. What I looked for (and found in the Episcopal Church–having been baptised and raised as a Roman Catholic) was a church that stood for the two great commandments–that you should love God with your whole heart, mind, and soul and that you should love your neighbor as yourself.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

BTW, Ben–even Jesus said of those two commandments: “On this hang all the law and the prophets”. Or, as I have said here in other contexts, “the rest is commentary.”

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Pat,

I think as Christians we focus on the same two great commandments (many outstanding examples of that in the RC Church – mother Teresa for starters). I guess the quesstion is can we actually hear and receive what this means in living in the small and large things of life.

Ben W

Malcolm+
13 years ago

Ben, perhaps you’d have the decency to read my post before misrepresenting it. I certainly said nothing that any reasonable human being could call derogatory regarding Jim Packer. What I said was that he had suffered no inhibition or limitation despite several years of opposition to the policies of the diocese in which he was licensed and the bishop from whom he held that license. That is not a slander. That is a fact. And, frankly, it is a fact that Jim Packer would stipulate with pride. I then said that his license was lifted, not for taking conservative positions,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

Hi Choirboy- I am sure that music is as much the joy of my life as of yours, and as much part of my training background. But in many cases ‘eliminating evensong for some [bible study class]’ is exactly what is needed for several reasons: (1) The existence of an evensong may presuppose that there is also a mat[t]ins and/or communion service – ample scope for liturgicl style worship where total weekly time is finite and precious and needs to be allotted according to proportional importance. (2) The liturgical is theological codification deriving from an oligarchy. A very fine oligarchy… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Malcolm, Actually there is no need for all this denigrating talk about “lying.” It comes out of a deep animus and suspicion that can hardly see anything but its own navel. People at GAFCON can make general statements or not fully accurate statements in light of more complete information revealed later, but people quickly jump to conclude “lies” (when there is absolutely no intent to misrepresent anyone or anything – so who is doing the lying?). In your earlier post you said, Ben is “whinging about puir wee Jimmy Packer.” Now you say, “I certainly said nothing that any reasonable… Read more »

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
13 years ago

Christopher: no, we are a liturgical church. Our parochial clergy (in England, at least) are obliged by canon law to say the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer in their churches. The Daily Office,the Mass and the other sacraments are our public prayer, and the leading of that public prayer is the chief duty of the sacred clergy. If you want extemporary services, you should go to the Non-Conformists. Your ignorance of the Anglican spiritual tradition reminds me yet again that, unfortunately, the so-called “conservatives” or “orthodox” are the people within the C of E who have the least… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

Hi Fr Mark- That is, in other words, ‘Elizabethan Settlement fundamentalism’. Not wishing to expose to scrutiny the deliberations of divines 450 years ago. A first principle is to weigh options on their own merits, not allow them to have trump=-value because they represrent tradition for tradition’s sake. When these traditions first began, they too were new-fangled. They did not fall from heaven. My question was about: (1) the intrinsic value of (for example) repeating Nunc 7 times a week to seven different tunes rather than using the same time more mind-expandingly; (2) my personal experience of observing ossification (and… Read more »

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
13 years ago

Christopher: “When these traditions first began, they too were new-fangled.” The celebration of the Mass and the saying of the Daily Office are the absolutely ancient traditions of Christian public prayer. If you think the worship of the Early Church was anything like modern Con Evo extemporary Praise Services, then you are woefully ill-informed about the history of the liturgy, that is, about the Tradition, which you are claiming to stand by, and which the rest of us are claimed to have abandoned. Evangelical “Traditionalists” are anything but.

Malcolm+
13 years ago

Keep on spinning, Ben. It won’t make it any truer. Despite the repeated dissembling, misrepresentation and outright lying of some, Packer was NOT stripped of his license for being a conservative. That is false. Anyone with a lick of sense knows it’s false. You know it’s false. He was neither suspended nor even threatened with suspension at any point over the many years he actively opposed the decisions of diocesan synod and the actions of the diocesan bishop. His integrity as a conservative was respected and any claim to the contrary is a slander, a fib, a gross distortion, a… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
13 years ago

Christopher, other than wasting time and space trying to convince you that liturgics have a much more deep history than somebody picking up a compendium of scripture (that was not printed for public use until Augsburg), comes down to this. As a chorister, I’m singing somebody else’s composition of the Mag and Nunc nightly. It’s a corporate effort. It’s not up to somebody’s ego to expose on what part of it is important to themselves (i.e. and therefore for everybody else’s). The only ego in singing the offices is the occasional tenor solo goodie that is thrown my way. It… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Malcolm, For all your carrying on about why James Packer’s license was lifted, I have not said to you specifically why (so much for your huff and guff about “lying” and “misrepresentation”). You manage to recognize that in the diocese they were on opposite sides. Do you recognize that here B Ingham was acting in oppostion to the standing direction of ACC? No wonder the bishop did not act to lift the license then, Packer was in a clearer position to function in the Anglican Church than was Ingham! When Packer acted to put distance between himself and this out-of-order… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

The NT evidence is anything but ‘liturgical’, though obviously as any organisation develops, increasing standardisation is part of its life-cycle.

It is not the case that these endless Nuncs etc have been with us since Christendom began, they began, and were new-fangled at a very particular point in time.

Otherwise your position is a false either/or. Rigid liturgy and guru-following anti-liturgy are far from being the only two options available to us, as surely you must agree.

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