Thinking Anglicans

Open letter from Archbishop Akinola

The American Anglican Council has published An Open Letter from Archbishop Akinola to Archbishop Williams.

…In preparation for the meeting I asked The American Anglican Council to prepare the attached report on the continuing situation of The Episcopal Church to enable people in the wider Communion to have a fuller perspective of the circumstances in North America. I shared it with my colleagues in the Global South but did not release it more widely in the hope that we would receive assurances from the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada that they were willing to exercise genuine restraint towards those Anglicans in North America unwilling to embrace their several innovations.

Sadly that did not prove to be the case. Instead we were treated to presentations that sought to trivialize the situation and the consequences for those whose only offence is their determination to hold on doggedly and truthfully to the faith once delivered to the saints. In addition I have learned that even as we met together in Alexandria actions were taken that were in direct contradiction to the season of deeper communion and gracious restraint to which we all expressed agreement. For example, in the days leading up to our meeting, the Diocese of Virginia declared the “inherent integrity and blessedness” of same sex unions and initiated a process to provide for their “blessing”. While we were meeting, The Diocese of Toronto also announced that it will start same sex blessings within a year and The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia filed further costly legal action appealing the court’s decision in twenty cases favouring nine Virginia congregations. These and many further actions are documented within the report…

Associated with this letter are two documents prepared by the AAC, one about The Episcopal Church and another about the Anglican Church of Canada, both in PDF format. The former was prepared by the AAC, and the latter by ANiC.

28 comments

  • JPM says:

    I wonder which of Akinola’s ventriloquists composed this particular letter.

  • JCF says:

    {Yawn}

    Akinola wants us to restrain love—while he won’t restrain hate (more draconian anti-LGBT legislation in Nigeria).

    God bless him—but we really have nothing to talk about.

  • jnwall says:

    Akinola has just declared the Primates of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to be heretics. This is outrageous and absurd, not to mention confrontational and provocative. It should not go unanswered.

  • Tim says:

    What is a `faith once delivered’?

    I have a tendency to walk along paths, not revere their builders. Perhaps Akinola would benefit from doing likewise.

  • Geoff McLarney says:

    The allegations against the ACoC seem to boil down to:

    *Being soft on same-sex marriage
    *Disciplining “Network” clergy who tried to go bishop-shopping while maintaining the pretense of being in the Communion
    *Having a bishop (+Ingham) with dodgy views on the unique divinity of Christ

    I find only one of these as troubling as the document’s authors, and I expect that he’s something of an anomaly, not to mention a product of his generation.

  • BillyD says:

    “What is a `faith once delivered’?”

    Check out Jude 3.

    The letter and the documents that accompany it are nonsense. Surely no one with the ability to read a daily paper intelligently would find them persuasive?

  • Kevin Montgomery says:

    Wow, Pelagianism, Gnosticism, Marcionism (?)
    I’m surprised they didn’t bring in Arianism.

    Btw, pluralism is a heresy? And hoping everyone is saved in the end? Shock! That is totally unacceptable.

  • Roger says:

    This appears to be the planned counter-attack from the AAC, Martyn Minns is probably the ghoster, as he is for all of Akinola’s statements. This was probably the document delivered by Dobbs to Akinola in Alexandria, I’m guessing.

    They appear to think this is a clever strategy. Clever to them, maybe.

  • Pluralist says:

    Such a document could be made about people in the British Isles. Big deal.

  • I would encourage all Episcopalians to take the time to look through the AAC report. Especially, go to page 36, where the purport to link to resolutions in diocesan conventions that demonstrate American perfidy regarding the moratoria against consecrating partnered gay bishops and against blessing same sex couples. If your diocese is listed, to read the resolution. You may discover, as I did, that the writers of the report haven’t read the resolutions. The one from my diocese was about expressing locally the Listening Process. It quoted Lambeth resolution 1998 1.10, the Windsor Report, and the Anglican Communion web site. It said nothing – nothing! – positive or negative about the issues, as alleged by those who wrote the report.

    Now, this may be an oversight; or it may be an effort to snow Archbishop Williams under paper, so that he doesn’t have time to check such references himself.

    You can find my research and reflections at http://episcopalhospitalchaplain.blogspot.com/2009/02/if-archbishop-akinola-cant-dazzle-them.html

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “We will be at TEC General Convention in July 2009, as we have at previous General Conventions, to provide a strategic retreat for Biblically orthodox Episcopalians serving as delegates and alternates to General Convention”.
    – Phil Ashey – American Anglican Council –

    This GAFCON-generated ‘Anglican Council’ sounds like some weird and not-so-wonderful underground group intent on sabotaging the authentic witness of ordinary peace-loving church-goers in TEC.

    I notice the face of the Archbishop of Sydney among those of the assembly of eminent personages on the letterhead of this AAC message. What on earth is the Sydney Archbishop doing interfering in the ecclesial territory of TEC, I wonder – except to cause more dissention and division in the world-wide Anglican Communion?

    I think it’s about time the ABC and the Primates’ Council and the Anglican Consultative Council took note of this ambitious Australian prelate’s presence as a foundation member of this so-called *American Anglican Council*. By what authority does it call itself “Anglican*, I wonder? Is it a recognised body of the Anglican Communion? If not, why is it posing as such?

  • Fr Mark says:

    It’s very interesting to read the schismatics’ reports on TEC and ACiC. I don’t know whether anyone in the C of E has been paying much attention to these people, but the appalling heretical quotations from TEC/ACiC clergy listed for their shock value in the reports reads pretty much like the average Sunday sermon material you would hear in most C of E parishes… and indeed are the kind of views that most intelligent Anglicans hold.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    Are there versions of the two documents in format other than PDF?

  • bobinswpa says:

    “Offence,” would be a dead give away that the writer/ghoster is English not American.

  • Charlotte says:

    Fr, Ron Smith writes: “This GAFCON-generated ‘Anglican Council’ sounds like some weird and not-so-wonderful underground group intent on sabotaging the authentic witness of ordinary peace-loving church-goers in TEC.”

    Spot on. That’s what it is, and that’s what the key players in it have been doing for years on end. I’m afraid at this point that their lives would have no meaning if they gave up trying to sabotage the Episcopal Church. In addition, they are addicted to the adrenaline rushes they get off their own repeated episodes of bile, fear, and paranoia.

    So they keep on. No matter what the US and Canadian Churches do or don’t do in the future, they will keep on trying to sabotage and undermine it.

    Ignoring this screed would be the best course of action. Give it no publicity and let it quietly die.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    “”Offence,” would be a dead give away that the writer/ghoster is English not American.”

    Minns holds American citizenship, but is English by origin. Having, thankyouJesus, not heard him speak since he left TEC and our Diocese, I can’t recall how Americanized his vocabulary is. His accent is certainly English.

  • Pluralist says:

    The .PDF AAC file was made by MS Word 2007 but attempts to convert and provide more by properties have failed and indeed a to text reader can’t see it and a formatter to .RTF states that it is invalid. It gives the impression of accessibility in the properties.

    Obviously Sugden and Minns learnt their lesson from the earlier episode a few years back when their mitts were all over the documents.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    Bob:

    Or that, in the final edit, the documents were run through a Brit-English spell-checker.

  • Pluralist says:

    Another piece of software tells me that the Word document was converted by iSEDQuickPDF 4.14, and then enter that in Google and the top entry is a cracks based webpage http://4.madbe.net/tag/geo-spider. Its update replacement is a $350 application, at http://www.quickpdflibrary.com/(though there are lots of free print to .PDFs around and free programs to chop and merge).

    The author, title, subject are all left blank in the document properties.

  • karen macqueen+ says:

    “During a joint Hindu and Episcopal service celebrating an Indian Rite Mass in Los Angeles, Ca. in January 2008, a statement by diocesan Bishop Jon Bruno was read which apologized for centuries-old acts of religious discrimination by Christians, including attempts to convert Hindus.”

    I haven’t posted here in a long time, but how can I resist when David Anderson et al get to pillorying the Episcopal Church by misquoting my bishop and me, all in one paragraph. If this section represents the authenticity of the rest of the paper, it seems not to be worth much.

    There was no “joint service”, although I think the LA Times may have called it that. The service was an Indian Rite Mass, primarily taken from the Prayerbook of the Church of South India, during which a group of Hindu leaders in the Southern California community were honored, during the announcement time.

    Bishop Bruno’s statement did apologize for centuries of religious and racial discrimination against Hindus. Does the AAC want to argue with that? Is it not long past time for such apologies from Anglican leaders?

    Bishop Bruno’s statement did not apologize for “attempts to convert Hindus.” The Bishop’s statement is in the public domain, and the AAC knows that they are not stating facts here. The Bishop stated that we, in the Diocese of Los Angeles, renounce “proseltyzing”. It is a sad fact that the AAC, in its statements, seems unable to differentiate between “evangelization” and “proseltyzing”. In my next posting I will suggest what I think some of the differences are.

  • karen macqueen+ says:

    As I stated above, the Bishop of Los Angeles, +Jon Bruno did not apologize for “attempts to convert Hindus”. He did state that in our diocese we renounce proseltyzing. This is an extremely sensitive issue for Hindus.

    It has been a common practice among Christian missionaries in India, including Anglicans, to offer places in Christian schools to Hindu children on condition that they prepare for Baptism, or send these children home from school to tell their parents that they are demon influenced idol worshippers who are going to hell (So much for “family values”).

    Material assistance has sometimes been conditioned on conversion. This is not ancient history. During the aftermath of the recent Tsunami, an group of evangelical Christian churches committed several million dollars to aid the people of South India, on condition of the conversion of the recipients. When the local Hindu priests and Buddhist monks protested, the Christian group withdrew its money and its aid.

    That is proselytizing. This is hardly better than what the American settlers. pushing west, did to the native people of North America. This sort of effort has held the number of Christians in India to about three percent of the population for hundreds of years. I find nothing Christian about such an approach to sharing our faith.

    Evangelization might be pursued in India by groups of Christians, living in their own communities, offering to provide services in a humble manner, after the manner of our Lord. As Christians offer respectful service and friendship, and gather in sincere worship, living lives characterized by commitments to justice and peacemaking, some people will be moved to learn more about the Master who inspires such service, and, as moved by the Holy Spirit, we can share about our faith.

    I realize that, for some, including the AAC, there is not enough testosterone in this understanding of evangelizing, but there is plenty of Jesus.

  • karen macqueen+ says:

    from the AAC document on TEC,

    “The celebrant,” (of the Indian Rite Mass)… “the Rev. Karen MacQueen, an associate priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Pomona, said both faiths revere “great figures who embody the divine light, who teach the divine truth.” In a later interview, McQueen said, ―Perhaps there are enough Christians in the world. What we need to see is more Christians really living like disciples of Jesus and practicing love towards others.”

    As to the first statement, taken from my sermon at the Indian Rite Mass, I plead guilty. My sermon was focused on the theme that Hindus and Christians could learn from each other’s religious traditions and experience. I focused on Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as examples. The Mahatma, learning in part from Jesus, led a nonviolent movement of civil disobedience that freed India. Dr. King, learning from Jesus and the Mahatma, lead a nonviolent movement of civil disobdience that abolished racial segregation in the United States.

    I dared to suggest that this was the work of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the Holy Spirt, in our time, is drawing the various religions into encounter and dialogue so that we might discern her leading and respond to her promptings to save humanity from itself.

    I realize that this sort of thinking offends the AAC. Perhaps they are offended by the document of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, as well. In any event, my words are hardly revolutionary or unorthodox.

    Finally, in my interview with Mr. Patel, of the periodical India Abroad, I was misquoted. I did say these words, “Perhaps there are enough people who call themselves Christians in the world. What we need to see is more Christians really living like disciples of Jesus and practicing love towards others.” The words, “people who call themselves Christians”, were left out. This was a lengthy telephone interview, and I do not fault Mr. Patel, who did not record the interview, but took hand notes.

    The AAC, the Living Church, David Virtue, and others have all “quoted” from this interview, often with much handwringing, but none of them ever did me the courtesy of asking me what I said. So much for Christian standards in “reporting” and “journalism”.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Tis is my verdict on ACNA as published in the Cof E newspaper last week…..
    Dear sir,

    Canon Chris Sugden is always there to give advice ( Differences, Diversity and Division ), but he never answers the real question. Of all persons he has been more responsible for the ” conservative rebellion ” within Anglicanism. He is forever affirming Biblical standards and obedience to truth. However careful examination of what he is advocating reveals an alarming black hole. For instance the denomination he has helped pioneer in North America, and is now clambering for recognition within the Anglican Communion is in reality totally liberal on divorce and re-marriage, having within its ranks many divorced and re-married bishops and clergy. It can not even agree as to what the ” clear ” Word of God teaches on female ordination, and as regards the sacraments it is quite happy to allow Roman Catholic practices and doctrines which were illegally introduced into Anglicanism during the nineteenth century. The advocates of this position we are told are now within the orthodox fold and no longer to be attacked as they were for one hundred and fifty years.

    However the moral black hole on divorce extends to the Evangelical Covenant he helped draw up, which neatly leaves out the issue of divorce and re-marriage, which he well knows divides Evangelicals. Indeed the issue is carefully side-stepped even in the Reform Covenant, because the leadership of that group cannot agree as to the ” plain ” meaning of Scripture.. Immorality is to be condemend unequivocally if it is within a homosexual context, but there is this seeming equivocation over divorce. When one coinsiders that for well over four hundred years Anglicanism taught that re-marriage after diviorce was adultery one is left wondering whether the Anglicanism Canon Sugden represents is either in fact mainstream or traditional. Indeed one is left with the awesome words of our Lord about motes and beams.

    Yours sincerely,

    Robert ian Williams

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    “So much for Christian standards in “reporting” and “journalism”.”

    I would certainly not count Mr. Virtue as a legitimate journalist, despite his being credentialed [I guess] because of his blog.

    I know someone whose dog has a blog. That doesn’t make the pooch a journalist, although I suppose his owner could see if she could credential him. Hmmm.

    I’m not in the business of judging other peoples’ Christianity, but I would observe that Mr. Virtue seems to often lack charity towards glbt people and their friends.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    Karen:

    Didn’t you know that the Spirit speaks only to the “orthodox” and then only through the extant Scriptures? All others are hearing something else.

  • drdanfee says:

    This whole affair was skewed and tainted from the get-go. Asking one extreme conservative USA group to report back to another, international conservative group about the alleged status of goings on in USA and Canada – well this is a neocon preacher reporting back to a neocon choir, if you ask me.

    Any time you notice that the starting presuppositions are all wrong, and then ask if some framework for dialogue can be used that does not exclusively cater to conservative presuppositions – you will be accused of bad faith.

    But the real bad faith is the standard hewing to conservatisms, some of which fly egregiously in the face of either modern data or modern best practices tool kits for inquiry and discernment.

    Akinola, the carpenter, should know all about the bad work that gets built, using off-kilter tools. But he is just a talking head now, whose strings are apparently pulled often by others in the conservative Anglican movements.

    Truth is, Akinola’s famous objections to queer folks making lifelong ethical commitments are indeed trivial. As are his many fears and disgusts about – one suspects, especially? – two men or two women making out.

    Counting and policing orgasms pales in importance nowadays when we compare it to, say, stopping climate change, ODCs, or any of the global epidemics (malaria, HIV-AIDS, malnourishment, violence). Divorced-remarried neocon believers know this, actually; but hey, they hope to still get great mileage out of beating their antigay drums. Faith once delivered – yeah right. Wanna invest your hard-earned life savings with Robert Mugabe? Sheesh.

  • richard lambert says:

    What is this “faith once delivered to the saints” that people seem so insistent on? The words come from “Jude”,also seem implied by the writer to Timothy; and Paul advises his readers to adhere to what they had received from him;and Jn’s gospel is v keen on right “belief”. But,apart from one or two v basic things (such as Jesus is LORD, resurrection, salvation) there is no agreement in NT. No-one can possibly know, for example, what “Jude” had in mind. “Faith” in Paul is an attitude, not a set of rules or “beliefs”, more like”faithfulness” or “obedience”. In the later NT writers (Jude,John,etc)it takes on a more doctrinal flavour, but we have no idea whether it was a unified “orthodoxy”. Best to avoid the pretense that we know what we are talking about, and drop the expression altogether.

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