Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON UK responds to William Nye letter

Updated Saturday evening

This new 1400-word article has appeared today on the GAFCON UK website: Secretary-General’s letter shows why GAFCON UK is needed.

Harry Farley has reported on it: CofE More Worried About ‘Twitter Mobs’ Than ‘What Is Right Before God’ Over Sexuality – GAFCON.

Zachary Giuliano had earlier helpfully noted over here that

… if one follows the news through, it seems that the GAFCON UK statements are being coordinated partly by Canon Andrew Gross. He is listed as the “media contact” or “press officer” for GAFCON, and has responded to criticisms of the statement. But his “day job,” as it were, is as canon for communications and media relations in ACNA, and he sometimes travels with Archbishop Foley Beach, as photos on Beach’s Facebook page and various stories attest. We have yet another sign of American Anglican conservative leadership (of a particular sort) attempting to shape attitudes throughout the Communion…

As references are being made to the process by which the Lambeth 1.10 resolution came into existence, I thought it might be useful to link to my original reporting of Lambeth 1998 which consists of a series of 22 near-daily and quite detailed reports written as the conference proceeded.

Update
And, here is the statement that was issued on 5 August, immediately following the passage of the resolution: A Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans from Some Member Bishops of the Lambeth Conference. Eventually this attracted 185 signatures, including many of those who had voted in favour of the resolution.

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Tobias Haller
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Interesting that this rejoinder raises marriage to the status of a “core doctrine.” There you have the nub of the problem: GAFCON and its fellows believe marriage to be a central doctrine of the Christian faith, about which there is one and only one orthodox position. Obviously, as any reasonable review of Scripture and the Tradition show, this assertion is not true, since Scripture itself and the Tradition (both within Anglicanism and outside it) offer mixed testimony concerning the nature of marriage itself, and provide no evidence for a continuous place for marriage as a central doctrine. Marriage has rarely… Read more »

cseitz
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cseitz

Thanks to Zach G; one needs to read the essay to the end.

Colin Coward
Guest

I was present for the whole of the Lambeth Conference in 1998 and for the notorious plenary session which mangled the work of the sub-section addressing Human Sexuality and came up with the ambiguous Resolution 1.10. Lambeth 1.10 is repeatedly used by the GAFCON axis as “the authorised policy of the Anglican Communion” for LGBTI people. The Resolution was put to the vote at the end of the chaotic debate and passed with 526 in favour, 70 against and 45 abstentions. What is forgotten is that immediately after the debate those of us present, thanks to the initiative of members… Read more »

Karen MacQueen
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Karen MacQueen

Once more, the GAFCON spokesperson founds his critique on the position and teachings of “the global church.” The fact that there is no such entity does not seem to deter him. There is no global church. There is no global Anglican Church. There is no agreed upon Anglican doctrine on the subject of same sex loving relationships. There isn’t even a consistent biblical view about sexual relationships, unless one man and all the women that he can afford is a doctrine. In the teaching of Jesus, there is a clear value given to faithful love between husband and wife. Evidently,… Read more »

Jeremy Fagan
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Jeremy Fagan

“Underlying the letter is an institutional mentality which does not locate ecclesial authority with the unchanging Scriptural principles of apostolic Christianity… More than ever, GAFCON UK with its clear confessional grounding in the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration has a vital role to play in our current context.” So GUK is also not located in scriptural principles, but something cooked up over a weekend a few years ago? I still don’t understand how it is possible to argue for scripture while remaining stubbornly determined that only one interpretation is valid. And how it is possible to be so completely ignorant of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” I offer the already much taught idea that the word of God subsists in the person of Jesus more than it does in a selection of words. – Karen –

And is the ‘Word Made Flesh’ in Jesus Christ that is the determinative Word for all in the Christian era. In Him alone is the fullness of God – not in a collection of words in a Book no matter how holy

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

From the Farley article: “Ian Paul, an evangelical member of the Archbishops’ Council, said the group’s original list was “extremely unhelpful to those within the Church of England who would like the Church to remain in its current teaching position on marriage”. He said it lacked “mutual respect” and “demonstrates misunderstanding of the current situation in the Church of England”.” Ian Paul assumes that GAFCON is trying to be helpful to some part of the Church of England. Surely by now that is an assumption that we can all discard? Of course, the CofE position might be a bit stronger… Read more »

Iain Baxter
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Iain Baxter

“But in practice the Church is extremely diffident about explaining or commending this vision, not just because it knows that many in the ranks of its own leadership don’t believe in it…”

As has been shown by independent research, MOST in the ranks of its own MEMBERSHIP do not believe in it.

This is why the church hierarchy cannot hold the conservative line, even if they wanted to.

It is not what *the people* believe!

Kate
Guest
Kate

«Ian Paul, an evangelical member of the Archbishops’ Council, said the group’s original list was “extremely unhelpful to those within the Church of England who would like the Church to remain in its current teaching position on marriage”.» If he felt that way about the list he might despair when he reads this latest GAFCON rejoinder because it is devastatingly bad for conservatives within the Church of England seeking to prevent further progress towards accommodation of same sex unions. The argument that allowing same sex marriage will cause division in the Anglican Communion is lost. The present accommodations are already… Read more »

Nigel LLoyd
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Nigel LLoyd

I once wrote a 42,000 thesis on the Doctrine of Marriage in the Church of England. The debate, which can be traced over several centuries, focused on the question as to whether marriage can or cannot be dissolved. The gender of the couple was not an issue, although of course no one would have imagined a day when two people of the same gender could get married. I am concerned that we are now debating whether or not to bless two people of the same gender, who enter into a marriage. It seems that blessing becomes a power struggle over… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Kate: with respect I don’t understand what you have written.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Dear Father Ron, you like this idea and have repeated it often. It is a favorite cliché of yours. Let us compare the brilliant catholic humanist Erasmus. His favorite saying is “the Scriptures are the pure and genuine philosophy of Christ.” Listen to his comment in the concio on Psalm 4 he prepared for the Bishop of Lincoln, John Longland. He writes, “the scriptures deliver the speaking, healing, dying rising Christ Himself, and thus render him so fully present that you would see less if you gazed upon him with your very eyes.” Erasmus is a comprehensive reader of the… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

I have alluded before to a comparison between the behaviour of GAFCON and of, for example, Militant within the Labour Party. People who believe themselves to represent a purer, more truthful line and therefore feel justified in doing whatever it takes to command the forces of the larger organisation to enact their minority will. By dint of being more committed, more energetic and often plain nastier, Militant were able to take over quiet (some would say moribund) constituency and ward organisations and direct them to firebrand revolution. It resulted, of course, in three thumping general election defeats (1983, 1988, 1992)… Read more »

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

Kate- why do you think Rowan Williams didn’t take your line?

The only way forward is a new, liberal, global group

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“The argument that somehow it is possible to differentiate between civil partnerships and marriage, by avoiding the term ‘marriage’, is shown to be a farce.”

Indeed. The fact that if one ‘upgrades’ from CP to marriage, the marriage is backdated to the date of the CP, means that you were married all along! Though that does create the somewhat anomalous position of having been in a same-sex marriage before such a state existed in law.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Though that does create the somewhat anomalous position of having been in a same-sex marriage before such a state existed in law.” It’s hardly a new concept. As an example, the original colleges of advanced technology (what became Aston, Bath, Brunel, Salford, Bradford and so on) granted diplomas accredited by the NCTA when they were founded in the 1950s, but these were retrospectively converted to degrees from the institutions themselves when royal charters converted the CATs into universities in the 1960s. Unlike when the polytechnics became universities in 1992, when CNNA degrees were supplanted by degrees granted by the new… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

@Nigel Lloyd – a great comment and very helpful.

@cseitz GAFCON have highlighted inconsistencies in the CofE official position and with arguments from both liberals and conservatives holding the present line becomes impossible and anyway even the present very limited compromises are too much for GAFCON to stomach. Change is now inevitable. Change backwards is locally unacceptable. An inch forwards and GAFCON walk out so we might as well run for the light and stop worrying about GAFCON.

@Lawrence Cunningham – quite so.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Kate–that part I believe I got. But I suspect Susan is more correct. A new, liberal grouping will be inevitable. I suspect the only question is its size and how individual provinces like Canterbury handle the differentiation. The former tension/disagreement between Gafcon and GS bodies is now minimal. They are the largest bloc of anglicans worldwide. +Welby is facing very hard odds and no one knows it better than he.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The sooner the Lambeth Conference reconvenes to sort out this act of rebellion from the GAFCON Primates – and their piratical entities around the Anglican Communion, the better it will be for all concerned. If GAFCON and its affiliates want to form another quasi-Anglican global Church, then it should declare its hand and stop stirring up further trouble for those Provinces of the Anglican Communion – including the ‘Mother’ Church of England – whose only desire is to promote the Inclusive Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the modern world – to ALL without distinction.

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“Marriage is how the State chooses to arrange things. The task of the Church is to be there for the people and to pray with them at significant moments in their lives.”

Erastianism triumphant! But, in the context of “1559 and all that,” an inevitable denouement.

Pat ONeill
Guest
Pat ONeill

“They are the largest bloc of anglicans worldwide. “

And once again, we reduce theology and ethics to a numbers game. “They have the most people, they must be right.” That may be the case in politics, but (one hopes) not in the church.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Ah, Christopher, you are wondering what will happen to the Anglican Communion, not CofE. Well GAFCON and GS have one hurdle still, and it is a big one. Which Primate / Province provides the leader? Once their politics turns inwards, we can predict how hard-nosed it is likely to be. They know that too.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Father Ron, I seriously doubt that the majority of bishops at the next Lambeth Conference–if there is one–will regard GAFCON as a problem. What Welby needs to prevent is a Lambeth Conference that passes fundamentalist resolutions that major parts of the Communion, including the CofE, will immediately and loudly reject. One might think that the time for the Church of England to make a liberal move on same-sex marriage is before the next Lambeth Conference, not after. Otherwise the Conference will prove a huge embarrassment to the CofE in the English context, and contribute to further rejection of the church… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Many of us would embrace a conciliar polity for anglicanism even as presently existing; and might understand its present struggles precisely as due to a overburdened role for Canterbury alone.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Pat: if five people step out to do something they judge ‘right’ and the remaining forty-five say they disagree with the path and will stay on the road they have travelled, one isn’t mistaken to identify the groups by size.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

” if five people step out to do something they judge ‘right’ and the remaining forty-five say they disagree with the path and will stay on the road they have travelled, one isn’t mistaken to identify the groups by size.”

Seriously? So the White Rose were wrong, because the majority of Germans were taking a different route?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Dr. Seitz:

But it is mistaken to suggest (as you almost always do) that the larger group is taking the correct path.

Nigel LLoyd
Guest
Nigel LLoyd

“Marriage is how the State chooses to arrange things. The task of the Church is to be there for the people and to pray with them at significant moments in their lives.” Erastianism triumphant! But, in the context of “1559 and all that,” an inevitable denouement. Hardly so! Lutherans have a strong and clear set of doctrines (see the 95 Theses) and there is no sense in which the State can trump clearly held beliefs. It is just that marriage is not mentioned in those doctrines, so they have much less of a problem if the State changes the rules… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Dear Pat and IO. Strange hyper reaction to my simply noting that the largest bloc of anglicans have not signed on to this soi disant more ethical’ path. Jeremy above intimates the same when he writes “I seriously doubt that the majority of bishops at the next Lambeth Conference–if there is one–will regard GAFCON as a problem.” Condemn them as hitlerian as you choose. The point was to do with the Anglican Communion as a whole and anticipated divisions. It will split the CofE down the middle, though some hope for a valient tertiim quid. I am in the Diocese… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

One of tho most effective ways to fight a fire is to deprive it of oxygen. I have not read the latest GAFCON rocket, nor have I much interest in reading responses to it. It’s time we had a moratorium on this conversation with GAFCON/ACNA which is largely oriented toward attention getting and audience share. There is nothing new to be said by either side. I can’t identify one post on this thread that I have not heard many many times before, pro or con. Nor can I think of anything new to say on the subject myself. As for… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“It will split the CofE down the middle.”

There I think you are quite wrong. One of the advantages of an established church is that is does have some institutional resiliency–and also some parliamentary oversight.

If same-sex marriage were ever to split the CofE down the middle, which I doubt, then Parliament would choose which half to fund.

It won’t be the homophobic half.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“It will split the CofE down the middle, though some hope for a valiant tertium quid” is how I put it.

I agree that establishment plays a major role. That could well mean that a split happens and there are effectively two CofEs — the ‘valiant tertium quid.’ This is something that is not and will not happen in TEC. The evangelical establishment — consider the numbers of theological colleges alone — makes for a very different consideration of the term division than what is the case in NA.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“That could well mean that a split happens and there are effectively two CofEs” There won’t be two established CofEs. There is absolutely no way on earth that a parliament today would back open homophobia. Justin Welby completely misjudged the mood of parliament, both houses, when he attempted to oppose the same-sex marriage legislation and found that he was working with just a tiny minority willing to support him. And in any event, opposition to same sex marriage reduces every day, and as all the ludicrous consequences that the CofE predicted (whatever happened to the claims of endless legislative confusion… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

“The evangelical establishment — consider the numbers of theological colleges alone — makes for a very different consideration of the term division than what is the case in NA.” Christopher: the evangelical establishment is by no means of one mind in this matter and never has been. And in another generation it will look quite different again. How many conservative evangelical bishops are there? How many oversee a diocese? How many more do you think there will be now that the matter of women in the episcopate is decided? Dioceses will not suddenly change in whom they seek for episcopal… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

The point arose in the context of contemplating AC divisions; and then in response to a comment about division in the CofE and what that might look like, given the leadership of Cranmer Hall graduate +Welby and the composition of the HOB — especially measured against the NA context where effectively liberal ascendacy is a fact on the ground.

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

Andrew G Best not to kid ourselves…… which current evangelical bishop is standing up for ssm?? Which is against the traditional line?

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Christopher: you didn’t answer my questions. They were not rhetorical. Let me remind you what they were.
How many conservative evangelical bishops are there? How many oversee a diocese? How many more do you think there will be now that the matter of women in the episcopate is decided?

Andrew Lightbown
Guest
Andrew Lightbown

I am not convinced by the argument that those who argue in favour of ssm or some form of blessing have capitulated to culture and the implication that somehow GAFCON is both true to Scripture and counter cultural. Isn’t homosexuality illegal in many GAFCON territories – so how is that counter cultural? Isn’t one emerging theme in western democracies the rise of the populist right with their lack of respect for all minorities? Maybe its the GAFCONites who are aligned with prevailing culture, not the ‘liberals’ they seem to have such contempt for?

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

GAFCON is simply arrogating to itself a role in intervening in the affairs of the Church of England, aided by its GAFCON UK partners and their associated groups, Reform, AMiE, FCA and Crosslinks et al. It is seeking to prevent change at all costs but actually has no ammunition to do that. The CofE will make its own decisions, taking into account wider Anglican Communion issues, or not, as it sees fit. But there is already in place plenty of machinery to allow for difference, as there was and still is over women in ministry. Few, if any parishes, will… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“Justin Welby completely misjudged the mood of parliament, both houses, when he attempted to oppose the same-sex marriage legislation and found that he was working with just a tiny minority willing to support him.” Precisely so. Of course what the same-sex marriage legislation did split down the middle in 2013 was the Conservative Party. I doubt Ms. May will want this politically problematic issue in the news again. So I suspect that at some point Welby was or will be given instructions similar to those he received on women’s ordination–viz., if you want to solve this on your own, CofE,… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Few, if any parishes, will actually try to succeed, as in TEC, even if it could be done.”

I presume you mean secede. Although they’re unlikely succeed if they do.

Andy
Guest
Andy

The CEEC has put together a document which outlines some of the possible future structures of the CofE … http://www.ceec.info/uploads/4/4/2/7/44274161/guarding_the_deposit_-_apostolic_truth_for_an_apostolic_church.pdf

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

AA: thanks for making my point. The CofE will see difference and find ways to provide work-arounds — unlike TEC. You have helpfully described several examples. I have lived and worked in the SEC, ACofC, and of course TEC. I am presently living in France. So I have some sense of the different contexts, though know TEC best. In the last decade, out of 100 Bishops it never had more than ten or so self described conservatives and has but a handful now. It is a liberal American denomination of about 1.5 million. The CofE is a different fish altogether.… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Andy–it is useful to see this document again as it shows a level of reflection about models of differentiation that would have zero traction in the NA context even as a discussion piece. The presence of a sizable conserving bloc makes the challenge different in character.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

” The CofE will see difference and find ways to provide work-arounds — unlike TEC.”

Perhaps that is because TEC has recognized that there is no Christian “work-around” bigotry and discrimination.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Pat: You have said it. And so it is!

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

And there is a further riposte to William Nye on the GAFCON website from Stephen Noll rather pretentiously titled: CROSSING THE RUBICON: Lambeth Resolution I.10, the Church of England, and the Anglican Communion.

https://www.gafcon.org/news/crossing-the-rubicon-lambeth-resolution-i10-the-church-of-england-and-the-anglican-communion

Cseitz
Guest
Cseitz

Noll’s is preceded by Conger’s re Lambeth 1.10.

ED: Here is the link: http://www.anglican.ink/article/perversion-lambeth-110

Tobias Haller
Guest

Noll’s piece contains the astounding statement, “These Resolutions, read together, form a fairly harmonious tradition.” I suppose to give him benefit of the doubt his definition of “fairly” might differ to mine. But to pretend that Lambeth has consistency on matters of “family life” is an absurdity. Instead, the Lambeth resolutions explicitly rescind, overturn, or contradict each other on things such as birth control, polygamy, and remarriage after divorce.

Susannah Clark
Guest

I know it’s pushing it, but I think Dr Noll is even more long-winded than I am. There is no force of nature or intellectual torpor that dictates that Lambeth 1:10 has to be immutable and set in stone forever. It was a holding position on a particular day in a particular year. Opinions evolve, and both societies and oommunities move on. The reality is that at least half the Church of England would no longer subscribe to the attitudes and assumptions that held sway 18 years ago. The other reality is that some societies and communities around the world… Read more »