Thinking Anglicans

What about Resolution 19?

Bishop David Rossdale asks this question: If resolution 1.10 is important, what about resolution 19?

The more I read the final Lambeth Document, “Capturing Conversations and Reflections”, the more I rejoice that we did not go down the road of resolutions and votes. To have a ’snapshot’ of the engagement between the Bishops is probably of far more worth, than adding to the fossilised remains of earlier conferences, which leave skeletal resolutions disconnected from the tissue of conversation lying behind them as some sort of guide to the heart and mind of the church.

Much has been made of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Conference, as though this is an enduring and unerring piece of truth. It has become almost a test for orthodoxy. But if this resolution has such enduring status, then all resolutions of the Lambeth Conference must be given the same status. So what about Resolution 67 from 1908? Very importantly it states…


  • Pluralist says:

    Rather pleased that in taking the intercessions this morning that I made reference to his blog as part of the reflection back.

  • john says:

    Amusing, spunky piece. How good it is to see that liberals aren’t going to roll over.

  • Bob in SW PA says:

    What I don’t understand is what about what the laity think? This isn’t Rome. In some of our member churches laity have a say. Lambeth 1.10 maybe be what bishops at that time felt important but what about those of us who choose a vocation other than the holy orders??? We can’t have a say?

  • James says:

    I have to say, I completely support all of those resolutions. I don’t see any conflict in doing so. Nor does it seem to me that there is any problem between 1.10 and the final resolution. It would seem to be a difficult argument to make that blessing homosexual practice is a local custom while at the same time saying that those who don’t accept it in other parts of the world are ‘homophobic’ rather than simply culturally different, as well as considering such blessings ‘prophetic’.

  • Jerry Hannon says:

    The Bishop of Grimsby, within the English Diocese of Lincoln, has hit the proverbial nail right on the head.

    How absurd it is, and how disingenuous, for the ultra-right wing fundamentalists of the Anglican Communion to data-mine Lambeth resolutions to suit their fancy, yet ignore resolutions which might be inconvenient for them.

    But, they do the same thing with Scripture (which parts of Levitticus shall we keep, eh?), so why should anyone be surprised by the hypocrisy.

    A few days ago, in responding to Kurt’s posting on another thread, where he posited Provinces of the Anglican Communion (not to be confused with the non-existant “Anglican Church”) which could form a liberal equivalent of GAFCON, I suggested that Kurt had missed naming Ireland and Wales.

    I went on to add that “I believe that not less than 50% of the dioceses in the Church of England, and perhaps one Archbishop, would be eager to attend and demonstrate that they, too, reject the hate and the narrow-mindedness as well as the absurd claim that the GAFCON crowd, and their fundamentalist supporters in provinces not so inclined, are the only ones entitled to interpret Scripture.”

    I feel that this posting on the blog of Bishop Rossdale is amble evidence that the Church of England, overall, will not let the Huns and Vandals of the Anglican Communion destroy its broad nature, no matter what Archbishop Rowan does, or fails to do.

  • Treebeard says:

    O puleeeze !

    Everyone knows that Resolutions which do not condemn gays are not binding !

    Get real !

  • Bob in SW PA says:

    I have to agree with you Jerry, the good bishop has hit the nail on the head. I wonder if we can’t do the same for some parts of the good book so many in this communion worship, as if it were the living creator of all. What amazes me with the Duncan’s, Nzimbi’s and Vernerables is that they pick and choose whatever suits they needs. They do it with Lambeth resolutions and with the bible itself.

    Of course this would never be fight for power and control???

  • Craig Nelson says:

    I really like the binding resolution referring to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and protections for human rights defenders and am glad this is a binding law on the whole Communion.

    I am particularly glad that the Universal Declaration is just that, universal and therefore covers LGBT people and includes rights to private life, freedom of speech, freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

    I think it would be a good thing to analyse adherence to the Lambeth Conference Human Rights resolutions across the Communion by both governments and Provinces.

  • JCF says:

    “It would seem to be a difficult argument to make that blessing homosexual practice is a local custom while at the same time saying that those who don’t accept it in other parts of the world are ‘homophobic’ rather than simply culturally different, as well as considering such blessings ‘prophetic’.” – Posted by James

    FALSE analogy, James.

    While I, and many (most?) Episcopalians would consider “blessing homosexual” ***couples*** “prophetic” (and refusal to do so “homophobic”), TEC’s ***POLICIES*** vis-a-vis the Anglican Communion, is to regard it as a local choice of *autonomous* national churches.

    TEC isn’t excommunicating ANYBODY for their treatment of LGBTs in the church (nor even the state—though in regards to support of *criminalization of LGBTs*, I think maybe we should!)

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    Jesus did actually countermand the Jewish Law that advocated stoning for the female party in the act of adultery (I wonder what was the sanction for the man involved?).

    If Jesus saw that as an act of religious institutional injustice; can not the Church (in Jesus’ Name) overturn the injustice of Lambeth 1.10? Or is it written in stone, like the original Ten Commandments – which, incidentally, did not mention anything about gay relations? – Neither did Jesus, for that matter.

  • James says:

    JCF, a surplus of stars and capital letters does not a good argument make.

    I see your distinction, but don’t see the merit in it. My impression from the GCs I have attended and the TEC bishops I’ve met is that the policy changes are motivated by a prideful belief in the ‘prophetic’ nature of TEC, and opposition in other parts of the world is regarded as something which will disappear when the developing world develops. So-called homophobia is considered a feature of ignorance, not culture, by those making the policies.

  • James wrote: “So-called homophobia is considered a feature of ignorance, not culture, by those making the policies.”

    Can you develope this?

  • JCF says:

    “My impression from the GCs I have attended and the TEC bishops I’ve met is that the policy changes are motivated by a prideful belief in the ‘prophetic’ nature of TEC, and opposition in other parts of the world is regarded as something which will disappear when the developing world develops.”

    I (and my punctuation) surrender to your “impression”, James.


    Quoth St. Malvina Reynolds:

    “It’s not nice” to block the doorways,
    “It’s not nice” to go to jail.
    Well, we’ve tried all the nice ways
    But the nice ways always fail.

    “It’s not nice.”
    “It’s not nice.”
    You’ve told us once,
    You’ve told us twice.

    But if that’s freedom’s price
    I don’t mind.

  • James says:


    Develop it how? If you mean sources, as I said, it comes from private conversations, which I didn’t record at the time, as well as attendance at committee sessions at General Convention 2003, I’m not sure if transcripts are available or not.

    I don’t expect you to take me at my word, and without quotable sources I’m not expecting to convince anyone, but then again, if I did have quotable sources I don’t think I would convince anyone here anyway, as such I’m not going to do a whole lot of research to find in print what I’ve heard in person. I suppose it’s just something to be aware of, even if you reject what I’ve said.

    JCF, I’m not sure how relevant this poem/song is. Obviously prison, beatings etc are not nice, but I have never personally met anyone who advocates such things for practising homosexuals. It doesn’t seem to apply to anything under discussion.

    In fact when it comes to sexual ethics, it’s a bit of a red herring. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because some people do wrong in committing violence against homosexuals, doesn’t mean that homosexual actions automatically become right. As far as I can see, the two issues have nothing to do with one another.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “I have never personally met anyone who advocates such things for practising homosexuals”

    That’s as may be, but there are many on the right who do. +Akinola has advocated jailing us. Ahmanson has publically stated he would be in favour of stoning us. Overt calls for violence against us are not all that rare in non-Anglican circles, actually, and are quite common in cultures like Jamaica. Where is Drexel Gomez from, and what has he done to oppose such things in his own country? The Primate of Sudan can claim publically that there are no gay people in Sudan, conveniently ignoring that it must be false, since his country has a law that imposes the death penalty on us. What has he done to change that, much less to listen to us and educate himself about the plight of gay people in his country? Oh, right, we don’t exist in his country. I guess they must have killed us all. Then there is the terminology used against us, the denials of our humanity, the claim that we are some sort of plague, that homosexuality is a Western “affliction” imported into Africa to continue the oppression of Africans, that we are sinful rebels against God who could be “normal” if we wanted to, etc. No, you may not have personally met anyone who does these things, but you cannot deny that the public behaviour of conservatives makes it pretty clear that underlying their position are assumptions that we deserve punishment, even death, that we are sick, subhuman, not really fit for human society. Indeed, we are clearly painted out as the enemy avidly attacking all that is good and decent, intent on destroying marriage and the family, preying on children, and infiltrating the Church with the help of our faithless pagan cronies in TEC in order to destroy the Gospel and persecuting the faithful remnant. According to GAFCON, TEC is “apostate”. Now where do you think GAFCON feels that apostacy comes from? Don’t be so disingenuous.

  • James says:


    You have put together a long list of wrongs, much of which may be true, although I don’t agree with your interpretation of some of it. For example, an evangelical saying that practicing homosexuals are ‘sinful rebels against God…’ is no more than they (or at any rate, no more than I) would say about any fallen human being. Further, the classical evangelical position is that all people deserve punishment and death, and as homosexuals are people they fit into that category, but it is the salvation offered by Christ that opens the way to eternal life. Any attempt by a human to inflict that punishment or death is usurping the right of God as the divine judge (who tends to be more merciful than we humans anyway) and in that sense completely blasphemous in my view.

    Which means, as I said above, that violence against homosexuals is wrong, which I think is a fairly uncontroversial thing to say, even amongst the dreaded evangelicals. I would add to that that such violence is blasphemous.

    Nevertheless, in debates about sexual ethics, that violence is irrelevant. The fact that others do wrong in being violent has no impact on the question of whether homosexual practice is ‘good’ in the sense of being in line with the will of God. My reply to JCF was simply pointing that out.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “an evangelical saying that practicing homosexuals are ‘sinful rebels against God…’ is no more than they (or at any rate, no more than I) would say about any fallen human being.”

    “the classical evangelical position is that all people deserve punishment and death”

    Well, you can convince yourself of the first statement, but the practical application of it, and this is very evident in what sinful rebellion Evangelicals will tolerate and which ones they won’t, is that gay people are on an entirely different order of rebelliousness and deserving of far worse than anyone else gets. After all, I don’t hear of any Evangelical bishop calling for the jailing of usurers for 5 years. As to the second statement, that may well be the classical Evangelical position, but it comes from a penal model of Atonement that is helpful in its way but is only one among several understandings of Atonement. Evangelicals here have insisted it be at least at the core of our understanding of Atonement, if not the exclusive understanding, but it isn’t the Catholic faith to give it centre stage like that. There’s a whole branch of the Church that looks askance at that attitude, indeed, they even think that Western Evangelical insistence on the core nature of the “sin as crime, God as judge” model of atonement is the leading cause of the decline of the Church’s role in Western society. Think of it, it makes God the One we are saved from. God becomes the enemy, and there is an intellectual disjunction between God the enemy and the God who saves us. I wouldn’t insist that Christus Victor be the only understanding of Atonement, but it is not helpful to ignore it out of hand and treat redemption as, essentially, God letting us away with our crimes. It is this understanding of sin as crime that I have the most difficulty with. It leads to wierd things, like that God hates sinners before they repent, for instance, or indeed that God hates any part of His Creation, that in order to be “saved”, one must first be “convicted of sin”. Whatever happened to falling in love with God? Why must evangelism be about condemning others? Or that redemption is anout getting into Heaven, as though the Kingdom is some sort of reward for good behaviour.

  • James says:

    As to your first point, you may well be right that evangelicals react to the issue at hand to rashly, although really what they react to is making acceptance of an at best controversial position church teaching. The church doesn’t teach from the pulpit that it’s ok to exact usury.

    On the second point, I agree that this model of atonement should not be taken on it’s own, and that there are many others in the New Testament which deserve equal or more weight, but nevertheless, the concept of sin as deficit and God as judge who extracts payment are there, so I pretending that this is not a valid interpretation is to my mind just about as problematic as teaching it to the exclusion of all else.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “pretending that this is not a valid interpretation”

    But, of course no-one is doing that. It is Evangelicals who are trying to claim for it a centrality it does not deserve. Perhaps the problem is the I am turning all my sinful anti-Evangelical bigotry on you and assuming you have a position you do not actually hold. It is not uncommon for me to do this. Perhaps your beliefs are more nuanced than I expect, or get, from the average Evangelical I meet. If so, I apologize. I don’t like it when Evos consider me a liberal, after all, just because I don’t like PSA or some such.

    The Church doesn’t teach usury from the pulpit? I’d say She doesn’t have to. No-one’s trying to kick the usurers out of the Church after all, even dioceses make money off it, it’s pretty much accepted, and try claiming to an Evangelical that it is hypocritical to claim the Church has not changed Her mind on sin before, usury is the perfect example of it. You won’t get far. So is remarriage after divorce. So is the taking of another human life. We’ve changed our minds lots of times, right or wrong, this is no different, right or wrong. And all the Americans are saying about SSBs is that they feel called to do it but others are free to decide for themselves where God is calling them to go. How is that making something “church teaching”? And what about those who are trying to do that for things that others don’t agree with? Lay presidency is huge, yet no-one seems to care that Sydney and the Southern Cone are overturning 2000 years of teaching on that, and undermining the Church’s teachings on sacraments as a result. No-one on the Right seems to care that in one feel swoop, the bishops at GAFCON abandoned a Christology that the majority of the Church accepted for 1500 years and that was always considered the definition of orthodoxy, in their rush to redefine orthodox to mean having a particular understanding of Scriptural authority and a particular set of attitudes towards gay people and women.

  • James says:

    Ford, I suppose in the examples you mentioned I am at odds with what might now be the accepted church positions; I am against usury, remarriage after divorce, and the taking of human life (I would add – pre or post natal). Further, my father, a minister now part of Church of Nigeria and in attendance at GAFCON, would agree with me on all of those. (As I have said before, I find talk of all these bigoted evangelicals difficult to understand simply because I haven’t met many.)

    I have to add, although I do consider myself an evangelical, I also have big problems with the mentality behind GAFCON, in line with NT Wright’s position.(and have had lengthy discussions both with my father and with Bp Minns about it)

    For my education, what is the orthodox Christology overturned at GAFCON? As well as with regards to lay presidency?

    To get back to the actual point, I still firmly believe that this issue with the US and Canadian church is the change in church teaching which the consecration of Gene Robinson and resolutions allowing experimentation with liturgies for rites of blessing showcase. If church teaching on other areas has changed, even for the worse, it doesn’t make this particular change any better.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “what is the orthodox Christology overturned at GAFCON?”

    4 Ecumenical councils? There were 7. Assuming the three they couldn’t affirm were the last three, they cannot oppose Monothelitism or Nestorianism, and their differentiation from Monophysitism becomes vague. Marriage and Biblical authority have never been considered definers of orthodoxy, Christology is. It is important because the Incarnation is central to the faith. I feel that this is so easy for some to ignore because, for them, the Incarnation was merely about God providing a victim to be punished in our place. That was one aspect of the Incarnation, but certainly not the only one. It reveals a very skewed understanding of what’s important in the faith.

    And the issue with lay presidency? I think this impacts on our different understandings of the Eucharist. If it is merely a memorial meal, then there won’t be any problem with anyone at all saying the Words of Institution to make us remember. But the Eucharist is not traditionally considered a memorial meal, it is far more. For those of us who hold to this second, and more ‘orthodox’ (though I hate that word) position, the requirement for a priest becomes paramount. This is vital for my understanding and practice of the faith, but I’m an Anglo-catholic.

    Much of the anger from conservatives is that this represents an “innovation”. It is not as though we haven’t changed our minds before on what is and is not sin, so I fail to see why this particular “innovation” is a deal breaker. What’s more, many of the most vocal opponents of gay inclusion hold dear beliefs that, at the Reformation, were far more radical and innovative than anything being proposed now. So why all the to do about this as a bunch of “reassessors” trying to change things? The Reformers were reassessors, the whole Reformation was a “reassessment”, so how can those who now hold dear the results of that reassessment have the nerve to use the term “reassessor” to deride and revile others?

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