Thinking Anglicans

MCU response to Williams and Wright

The Modern Churchpeople’s Union has published a critique of the responses of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Durham to the decision by the Episcopal Church of the USA (TEC), at its General Convention in July 2009, to abandon its earlier moratoria on same-sex blessings and openly homosexual bishops.

Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future: MCU’s reply to Drs Williams and Wright

Summary of the MCU paper

  • Both papers blame the American church for rejecting a consensus that homosexuality is immoral. There is no such consensus; there is only their dogma.
  • Even if there were a consensus, the institutions of the Anglican Communion have neither legal nor moral authority to impose it on provinces which dissent. Their claim to have this authority is an attempt to introduce a new authoritarianism.
  • The controversy about homosexuality can only be resolved by open, free debate about the ethics of homosexuality. These papers, instead of engaging in that debate, seek to suppress it.
  • A great deal of scholarly literature has recently argued for a revision of the traditional Christian disapproval of homosexuality. These papers deny knowledge of it, thus implying that their position is uninformed.
  • Both papers appeal to an idealising theory of the church in order to argue that it cannot ordain homosexuals or perform same-sex blessings. These theories neither describe what is happening in practice nor express characteristically Anglican views of the church.
  • Both papers deny that they seek to centralise power in international Anglican institutions, while at the same time proposing innovations designed to have exactly this effect.
  • Both papers look forward to an Anglican Covenant which would create a two-tier Anglicanism, such that only those committed to condemning homosexuality would have representative functions or be consulted on Communion-wide matters.

You can read the papers by the Archbishop and Bishop here:
Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future
Rowan’s Reflections: Unpacking the Archbishop’s Statement

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Pluralist
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Clear strong language – asking why, when he knows otherwise, the Archbishop of Canterbury chooses ignorance, whilst accepting that Wright just might well be ignorant (regarding the theologies that tackle the issue of the Bible and gay faithful relationships).

I picked out some choice paragraphs:
http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/08/smell-of-coffee.html

ettu
Guest
ettu

How much “gravitas” does this group possess?
Will this paper be taken seriously?
Thanks for your opinions. Regards.

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Thank you MCU for such a well reasoned and well expressed response, and thanks of course also to Simon for pointing the essay out to us. One thing came to my mind reading it and that is RW’s argument that we need a recognised authority in order to engage in ecumenical relationships. That of course is nonsense in the Anglican world where we have happily formed full communion alliancesprovince by province. So TEC is in full communion with the Lutheran church (none bishop variety), but C-of-E isn’t. C-of-E is in the Porvoo agreement, but TEC isn’t nor is the Anglican… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

Plausible cases can be made for all sorts of things by ” modern” exegesis. That is why I became a Roman Catholic, the promises of our Blessed Lord to St. Peter guarantees that you have the right definitive infallible answer… even if it does not fit your “reasonable” conclusions.

” but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, and when you are converted strenghthern your brothers. “

So simple..so perfect…so liberating.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

What a blessing the good MCU folks are. Thanks lots. Guess I am an MCU type Anglican, an Ekklesia type Anglican. I agree completely with them in tagging the faked, false arguments which sadly both Wright and Williams have most recently used to close down in favor of a presuppositional Status Quo, dogmatic. Indeed, dogmatic. The analysis of the power grab that will de facto centralise global Anglicans is deft, clear, and substantive. My own modest proposal? I’m getting tired of always responding critically and thoughtfully to the same old conservative spin doctoring – all Status Quo of course. We… Read more »

Scott Wesley
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Scott Wesley

Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that one of the most import aspects of the Anglican movement is that it is not, and has never been, a “confessional” movement in the way that Luther or Calvin moved. There is no Augsburg or Westminster confession. Hence no clearly articulated common doctrine – just common prayer. Leaving aside the “accidents” of this discussion – which are sex and biblical interpretation – there is a deep attempt to introduce a “confession” of sorts – call it “covenant” or “39 Articles” in some form… It saddens me greatly that the ABC… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

This MCU paper is absolutely superb.

And unfortunately, it is accurate when it says that “Both Williams and Wright show themselves to be dogmatic authoritarians.”

Prior Aelred
Guest

Well, I am very impressed — I don’t know who the authors are, but they seem to have touched all the bases, including the truth of Dunelm’s claim to be clarifying Cantuar, but also the way in which his Calvinist perspective is blind to the ABC’s Catholic concerns (BTW — it seems clear that had Williams been ABC instead of Carey, the C of E would still not allow women to be priests) Wright does seem to miss one point about the schism having occurred, IMHO — viz., the GAFCON churches have written the ABC out of their title deeds… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well the ELCA vote dropped the other shoe today, Friday, August 21, 2009. See: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090822/ap_on_re_us/us_lutherans_gays After passing a resolution earlier in the week which honestly said that Lutherans were not of one conformed mind (rather similar to the sexuality commission report that Lambeth 1998 would have received and reported out, if not for the last minute conservative campaign which famously got us handcuffed into resolution 1.10, and subsequently frog marched by conservative realignment campaigning); Lutherans said that local parishes and synods could decide for themselves if and/or when to allow queer folks who are clergy in committed adult relationships be… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Meanwhile, the largest Lutheran church in the US has by quite a wide margin affirmed partnered GLBT people as pastors. As for Rowen et alia – ho hum.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

I was very encouraged by the MCU response, and felt supported for once, in my own thinking and place. I only wish they would have said and done a lot more. The liberal groups in the C of E have said and done very little sto support gay ministers like myself, and to refute those whose anti-gay ideology matters to them more than anything else. Yes, as I write this, I realize just how fed up I am with liberal bishops and organisations. They didnt stand up much to Carey and now they have failed to remonstrate with Wiliams as… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

A beautiful paper. Thank you and well done.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Plausible cases can be made for all sorts of things by ” modern” exegesis. That is why I became a Roman Catholic, the promises of our Blessed Lord to St. Peter guarantees that you have the right definitive infallible answer… even if it does not fit your “reasonable” conclusions. ” but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, and when you are converted strenghthern your brothers. “ So simple..so perfect…so liberating.” And precisely why I stopped being a Roman Catholic. I do not WANT my faith separated from my reason; I want each to inform and strengthen… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Plausible cases can be made for all sorts of things by ” modern” exegesis. That is why I became a Roman Catholic, the promises of our Blessed Lord to St. Peter guarantees that you have the right definitive infallible answer… even if it does not fit your “reasonable” conclusions. ” but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, and when you are converted strenghthern your brothers. “ So simple..so perfect…so liberating.” And precisely why I stopped being a Roman Catholic. I do not WANT my faith separated from my reason; I want each to inform and strengthen… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“That is why I became a Roman Catholic, the promises of our Blessed Lord to St. Peter guarantees that you have the right definitive infallible answer… even if it does not fit your “reasonable” conclusions.”
– Robert I williams –

And what, Robert, does this have to do with the subject on this thread? Your constant references to your swimming the Tiber are beginning to show signs of some sort of aberration. Perhaps you need to find a web-site more accommodating of your deepest spiritual needs: Virtue-on-line?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I have a few issues with the thinking in this and believe it misses much, but still I am glad to see it!

Perhaps someone needs to write a response to it … but then that would be a critique of the MCU piece which critiques blessed Tom’s crit of Rowan who critiqued the outcome of the 2009 General Convention …. and that might just be one crit to far!

Just some anoying factual errors ….
It was the Lambeth Commission that produced that nasty little document .. The Windsor Report
The Eames Commission did their stuff on women

TBL
Guest
TBL

In +Cantuar’s comments he noted: Without more ado Williams dismisses all human rights discourse as though there was no proper place for it in Anglican ethics. Against it he presents what we might call ‘the unchanging church argument’. The question is about whether the Church is free to recognise same-sex unions by means of public blessings… In the light of the way in which the Church has consistently read the Bible for the last two thousand years, it is clear that a positive answer to this question would have to be based on the most painstaking biblical exegesis and on… Read more »

Robert McCloskey
Guest
Robert McCloskey

One slight corrective to Sara. The ELCA does have bishops and the Concordat between it and TEC provides for Episcopal bishops to participate in the ordination of ELCA bishops, which has been going on for some time. [This to calm the concerns of those who insist on a lineal ‘apostolic successsion’ I suppose.] The nice thing about the ELCA bishops is that their terms of office are limited and eventually they return to parochial or teaching positions. How I wish TEC would do something similar. Meantime, ELCA’s entry into full communion with the United Methodist Church USA bodes well for… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

It has seem for a while now that Rowan wants us to be Romans and Tom wants us to be Baptists.

So it is nice to see that there are still some Anglicans in England.

Jonathan Boardman
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Jonathan Boardman

I’ve always considered myself a ‘catholic’ in anglican terms – this paper begins to convince me of my basic ‘liberalism’, if belonging to groups matters. I’ve tired desperately to be a Rowan loyalist (hoping against hope) but the more he has shifted towards the bullying of N.T.Wright the less I can take him seriously. I owe a great deal to those whose insight and clarity have compiled this masterful response. Roll on the General Synod’s next consideration of the covenant.

Counterlight
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Counterlight

“So simple..so perfect…so liberating.”

Yes, it liberates us all from the responsibility of thinking for ourselves like adults.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with over 4 million members and the 4th largest Protestant denomination in the States, just voted by substantial margins to accept their gay children as equals and as potential leaders.

I happily pass along the designations “marginalized” and “pathological” to the gay-hostile folk in the Anglican hierarchies and at Lambeth.

Revd Ivan
Guest

There will surely be a scramble for the position of the first Anglican Pope. I don’t think Bishop Wright will be satisfied with being an assistant.

rjb
Guest
rjb

How wonderful it must be to have easy, unmediated, and unproblematic access to the Whole and Complete Truth, RIW! So simple..so perfect…so liberating from any need for serious thought, active engagement with Scripture, or real moral responsibility. How I envy you! The Anglican tradition is quite a different one in this respect, although it seems that we are in danger of being taken over by an unlikely coalition of Catholics and evangelicals who do indeed want to promote exactly this kind of ecclesialogy: we are bound together not by the love of Christ, but by the unbreakable iron chains of… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

My last post may ahve sounded churlish. MCU have now done something ! Good. I was protesting at the time lag. Too little too late ? ! But also my words are directed at other C of E organisations, bishops and opinion formers who have not acted much. They allowed both Carey and now Williams to act as they ahve. They ahve not refuted forcefully the American and UK obscurantists and sectarians. They have not organzed. They have not organized and acted against the so-called ‘Covenant’ and all the Windsor and now 2 tier or gear nonsense. They have not… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

As a matter of information, L Roberts, Don Cupitt no longer is an active member of the church. http://www.doncupitt.com/doncupitt.html The fact is that the liberal groups have been reluctant to stand out, because standing back was seen to work in the past. But it doesn’t work now, and really Rowan Williams’s latest piece has jolted them into action. Some probably sympathetic bishops are becoming loud by their silence. What of the President of MCU? After Williams’s offensive writing, nodding and winking are no longer good enough. I thought you’d gone to the Quakers L. Roberts. Is that wrong? I don’t… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Both Wright and Rowan Williams seem to making it quite clear that no formal spaces for any sort of progressive believer will exist at top levels in global Anglicanism, newly covenanted into first track. This stark inference is pretty nigh unavoidable, if one takes Rowan Williams as one’s clue and example of just how shut down things will have to be, worldwide. Surely if any Anglican leader could still read science openly while paying attention in ethics and theology, it would have been supposed that RW would have been among the readers. Alas, no. He’s heard of something like that,… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Plausible cases can be made for all sorts of things by ” modern” exegesis. That is why I became a Roman Catholic, the promises of our Blessed Lord to St. Peter guarantees that you have the right definitive infallible answer… even if it does not fit your “reasonable” conclusions.
So simple..so perfect…so liberating.

Well – that used to mean that you had to believe the earth was flat. What a comfort! To be safe, all you had to do was not stray near the edge.

Oh blssings! Someone else will think for me! Gee whillikers! Faith is EASY! bring on the Kool-Ade!

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“Meanwhile, the largest Lutheran church in the US has by quite a wide margin affirmed partnered GLBT people as pastors.”

Tuna Noodle Casserole and Ambrosia for EVERYONE! Happy Day!

Seriously, this MCU paper is just what the doctor ordered-a forthright, no nonsense article that hopefully empowers the laity in the England to set a fire under the leading clerics. It is sad, where are the “liberal” bishops in England?

Kahu Aloha
Guest
Kahu Aloha

Talk about Calvinism – the newest “Anglican” bishop who will be ordained for CANA/AMiA is a guy who has been a evangelical fundamentalist minister for 25 years and an “Anglican” priest for six hot months. AXIOS!!!

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“”…but when the fires die down only a small number of extremists will carry on refusing on principle to attend the same church as active homosexuals and their supporters. We should not repeat the mistake of 1993, giving special favours to Anglicans who dedicate their efforts to condemning other Anglicans” – C.T.U. Response – What a timely and measured response by the Modern Churchpeople’s Union to the dual criticism by the ABC and the Bishop of Durham – of TEC’s re-thinking of the moratoria on the ordination of gays and the blessing of same-sex unions! In this pericope of their… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“you have the right definitive infallible answer… even if it does not fit your “reasonable” conclusions.
So simple..so perfect…so liberating.”

‘Well – that used to mean that you had to believe the earth was flat.’

Not quite, Cynthia. It used to mean that you could not say the earth went round the sun, even if you knew it did. But in fact you interlocutor is ill-informed about the scope of “infallibility”; he is perhaps a Catholic of recent vintage, who will mellow as time goes by.

JPM
Guest
JPM

Kahu Aloha, aren’t all (male) members of CANA bishops now?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Finally, yet again, a big loud thanks to Lord Carey and his conservative evangelical campaigners back at Lambeth 1998 – for pushing so hard so fast, all in retrospect to freeze a picture of changing Anglican views which otherwise would likely have been reported out of that Lambeth, per the sexuality working committee’s news. It really was a hard start to our current conservative realignment campaign.” Methinks it actually was Lord Carey who started all by pushing things too far… Way too far, waking people up to the dangers of this last minute anti Modern attempt at getting the Middle… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Rowan is correct to try to set the Anglican House in order, and redirect the queer drift.

Other good news is that Exodus Ministries reports almost a 60% success rate. So ex gay is possible.

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Williams dismisses all human rights discourse as though there was no proper place for it in Anglican ethics. Yet that is one of the fundamental tenants of the Jewish God. God does not oppress, thus any strategies that impose are not from God. Job 37:23 “The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.” Deuteronomy 23: 15-16 “If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand him over to his master. Let him live among you wherever he likes and in whatever town he chooses. Do not… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“That is why I became a Roman Catholic, the promises of our Blessed Lord to St. Peter guarantees that you have the right definitive infallible answer… even if it does not fit your “reasonable” conclusions.” We know. You are the kind of person who needs clearly spelled out statements of your acceptibility to God. Live by the Law, however that is defined, and God will have to love you. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, except that it reveals a certain weakness of faith. But, let’s be reasonable, all of us humans are weak in some area or another.… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Rowan is correct to try to set the Anglican House in order, and redirect the queer drift.

Other good news is that Exodus Ministries reports almost a 60% success rate. So ex gay is possible. “

After how long? And how many suicides? And how do they define “success”?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Rowan is correct to try to set the Anglican House in order, and redirect the queer drift.

Other good news is that Exodus Ministries reports almost a 60% success rate. So ex gay is possible. “

After how long? And how many suicides? And how do they define “success”?

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

William’s paper is typical bait and switch. He has included things in it that are not only demonstrably daft but things he has actually demonstrated are daft in a past life (prior to his current elevation). Including such nonsense (Williams clearly doesn’t expect anyone to be taken in – anymore than he would have been, apart from those already taken in because it’s the way they rationalise their backdated beliefs and that’s the key to it all) suckers in the likes of Wright to regurgitate it giving the progressives an easy time to demonstrate the position’s absurdity (as MCU has… Read more »

john
Guest
john

I re-read it, especially in the light of the reservations of Martin Reynolds and the Rev L Roberts. I still think it is a wonderful statement of the kind of Anglicanism most of us (here) believe in. I also think it will have impact. Its power partly derives from its being unsigned – a corporate response from a grouping with some very big heavy-weights as well as inspirational activists such as Jean Mayland, partly from the fearlessness of its criticisms (no false deference anywhere), partly from the fact that it doesn’t sneer or bully (unlike NTW), and partly from the… Read more »

RosemaryHannah
Guest
RosemaryHannah

“Other good news is that Exodus Ministries reports almost a 60% success rate. So ex gay is possible. “

Ah, so of those who decide it is important to function as heterosexuals, and are therefore one assumes highly motivated to do so, forty per cent remain same-sex in their orientation. And those poor people are labelled as ‘failures’. How lovely. Thanks and no thanks.

JPM
Guest
JPM

>>>Other good news is that Exodus Ministries reports almost a 60% success rate.

There’s a man in Nigeria who reports to me, via regular emails, that he has access to $25,000,000 that he is willing to share with me.

Murdoch
Guest
Murdoch

One of the problems with even the nicest religion is, it trains people to believe without evidence — like accepting a 60% success rate claim from an ex-gay ministry with a dicey history. (60% of what? People self-select going in, many drop out, there’s no follow-up.)

Scott Wesley
Guest
Scott Wesley

John Henry said: “Other good news is that Exodus Ministries reports almost a 60% success rate. So ex gay is possible.” This is just wrong and also dangerously wrong. Exodus claims a “success” rate of about 53% – which doesn’t round to “almost 60” no matter how you slice it. But that rate is found in only one study conducted by two professors, one from Wheaton College and the other from Regent University – context is important. These two faculty members determined that in their group 0f 61, 23% reported conversion of sexual attraction, 30% reported achieving chastity – hence… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Other good news is that Exodus Ministries reports almost a 60% success rate. So ex gay is possible.” I’m sure they do. It is in their best interests to say so. But what exactly IS a “success rate”? The vast majority do NOT “become straight” or anything close to it. They live a lie, supported by people who pretend to follow the Truth. Many of them were never gay in the first place. Exodus itself reports an alarming number of its clients as having been abused as kids. They take this to mean that most gay people were abused as… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Exodus ex-gay success claims-rates are still remarkably shaky. A good, close look at their numbers and their methods raises perennial outcome research questions. Self-report is a problem. Subject Bias is a problem. Ideally, as with new drug studies and even sometimes with new surgical or other medical procedures, a double-blind method would be most reliable. So far, we can imagine a DB method, but nobody has published anything coming close to one. Certainly not the latest published Wheaton College-led study, which was more clear and careful than many. Not bothering to account for where subjects are before treatment, on the… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Fourth, we must seriously question how widely we should generalize Exodus outcomes – even if we conclude they are solid, lasting change. Surely one needs to be an Exodus sort of strictly conservative religious believer, for starters. And one needs to be deeply interested, either in being able to become asexual for a while (up to a point), or in being able to have some incidence of opposite sex activities for a while (up to a point). Making do for a good while – asexually, opposite sexually? – is not precisely the same as turning a Kinsey 6 into a… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

John, I accept you are surely right about Jean Mayland, and indeed it is an excellent paper.

Thank you.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

And, RIW, your words explain very clearly why none of us here, irrespective of our other differences, would ever want to even consider Vatican plc as representing the ‘truth’!

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

RIW, I’ll go even a bit easier on you than Ford Elms. I hope you will remember that there are many Catholics who are a bit more questioning, but won’t leave the Church. Many are cradle, and have made their peace. The will be there to catch you if you start to fall. But, meanwhile, decrees from the Vatican don’t hold a great deal of authority with most Anglicans. It’s just too much fun to search for the answers from all kinds of sources. And then when the definitive answer is in doubt – look to God. I’ve never known… Read more »