on Thursday, 25 May 2023 at 10.29 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of England, General Synod
A document from the Church of England Evangelical Council, which has appeared on other forms of social media, gives an explanation of that group’s plans for further responses to the current LLF processes.
You can read it here.
The most interesting thing about this document is that the CEEC would prefer that its content remain secret to outsiders. Is this an indication that they realize their position is profoundly unpopular and unsupported in the CoE, the wider Christian community and in the general public?
Not necessarily. But it is what diplomatically speaking is called “a Retreat”. Understanding that their position won’t prevail, and that outside of CofE they wont have too much luck, they’re retreating to a position that permits them to at least negotiate such a little peaceful settlement, with the happenings on the larger AC in mind, which would permit them to “save the face” in such a way. They’re just preparing their constituency to that IMHO, because there is another even more interesting thing on this one: They stopped to call explicitly or implicitly to clear schismatic actions. Now they simply… Read more »
CEEC have consistently called for a settlement. Vaughan Roberts, the de facto leader of orthodoxy, has called for a settlement. I am a nobody but one thing I have done is call for a settlement on this site, again and again and again.
The orthodox seek and will continue to seek a peaceful settlement.
The issue is progressives are just not interested. That is their prerogative, but please spare us the fiction that calls for a settlement are a surprise.
Out of interest, what’s your proposed ‘settlement’ Peter? There is already one ‘flying bishop’ for conservative evangelicals who parishes are able to sign up to. Does it involve buildings, funding of clergy posts, ordination training, pensions? I’m genuinely interested. And after this ‘settlement’, what will the next one involve a few years down the line?
A PEV (flying bishop) acts only on behalf of the Diocesan. The legal and ministry powers of the Diocesan are entirely unchanged.
The key to a settlement is bishops. It would be absurd for me to start coughing up thoughts on the iist of issues you describe.
Your third point makes no sense. When two people divorce they go their separate ways. There are no further “settlements”
In your view, then, does a settlement involve (or require) complete secession?
A settlement involves organised separation.
Secession is the disorderly collapse of the current structures. That is the last thing I would like to see.
Secession, in the sense I used it, means separation. The group remaining and the original body and structures can remain otherwise intact.
If the dissenting bishops separate from the C of E, but this is not about parishes, do the separating dissenters have dioceses and parishes? If not, in what sense are they bishops?
So these parishes you are speaking of would be looking for a ‘divorce settlement’ from the C of E – they would leave and break all ties with the established church in England?
My third point makes sense because I knew of clergy who took the payout after the 1993 Act of Synod, left and have since returned to the C of E.
It’s about bishops, not parishes.
And what would the criteria be for someone to be discerned, elected and ordained as a bishop for these parishes? Would they have to be male, and if male and married, only once to one woman? What position must they hold on male and female headship in the Church? On the marriage of divorced people in church? On the ordination of candidates who are celibate and in a civil partnership with a partner of the same sex? Must they be seen to order their household according to 1 Tim 3, including with submissive and respectful children? Who would they swear… Read more »
But parishes are part of a diocese, which is headed by a bishop. How would a parish choose to be a part of a diocese? By majority vote? And what happens to the dissenters?
“When two people divorce they go their separate ways. There are no further “settlements”” I realise divorce is anathema to people to want these sorts of church schism, but it is ludicrous to claim that divorcing couples go their separate ways. They have to navigate custody and child support and pensions and properties held in trust until children reach adulthood and a wide range of similar problems. Divorced couples can have lifelong entanglements Churches are far more complex. The British Rail Residual Body and similar for other nationalised enterprises still exists to deal with long-term legal issues: what happens if… Read more »
You taken what I said out of context and misrepresented it.
The context was the claim future theological settlements might arise. They would not in the Dane way that divorced couple do not have to settle the question of where they will live together in future.
You have made an absurd reduction of my point to a meaning it clearly did not have
It will be interesting when CEEC publish the signatories as they have promised to do, so we can take a look at which people signed up to the Statement. What happens in a church with divided views on these issues, if their priest/minister signs up in a personal capacity? Or would it be more proper for the priest to obtain mandate from the PCC before adding her/his name?
Surely an individual must be free to sign up without someone else’s permission regardless of whether they are ordained or not.
I would agree, but my point is that priests/ministers signing up should not be construed to mean their churches will agree to follow, although of course some may. Many evangelical churches have very divided views on these issues of sexuality.
Agree but with the growth of mega-benefices it’s even more complicated than that.
All this huffing and puffing doesn’t really matter. Last week in the gym a mate—I’ll call him Steve—came over to me and said “I see you’re a priest [Instagram gave it away]; I’m a Christian.” Steve told me he used to attend an independent church but was now looking for a new home. He’s tall, in excellent shape, mid 30s, highly intelligent, literate, imaginative, thoughtful, vigorous. He runs his own business catering largely to people of his age group. In my mind I’ve been going through some things that Steve would encounter in nearby CofE churches. Huge church with at most twenty people. Nobody… Read more »
Years ago, something similar was said about pubs: “You get more fellowship down the pub on a Saturday night, than in church on a Sunday morning”. Today, most of those pubs are shut.
Lots of pubs in Burton.
That doesn’t mean much statistically!
I’m visiting in Oakham, Rutland right now, and the pubs appear to be doing just fine.
You can get the figures from the internet. 7,000 pubs closed in the last decade and this year they are shutting at the rate of 50 a month.
Any statistic on what percentage of the total number of pubs have closed?
And as a comparator, how may churches are closing?
Although there is the question of how you measure that. If a festival church has two services a year and no active congregation or PCC is it open or closed?
What fun! TA is very entertaining. In my original post, I reflected on the fact that the attitudes of the CEEC and indeed the Church of England have no relevance to most people in the country, particularly post-WW2 generations who find other ways to explore community service and “spiritual” wellbeing. In that post I made no mention of pubs—that came from John Barton, then other commentators latched on. The tendency for barely relevant trivialities to be chewed over at the expense of a painful substantive point puts me in mind of this bit of Trollope’s “The Warden”: ‘Write to The… Read more »
In any instance there may be the question of whether the demise of various institutions, say churches and pubs, is coincidence or consequence. I’ve often thought of TA, from the angle of boisterous if wandering conversation, to be a kind of virtual pub– with no beer (see link). Comment boards, certainly on news sites, appear to be vanishing as well. Current forms of all social media are likely staring at obsolescence given the advent of chat tech and artificial intelligence. Indeed the hour cometh and now is. Back to Churches, religious systems are usually manifolds of meaning. As the manifold… Read more »
The important difference is that Christianity has a Saviour. The Church will prevail, but denominations come and go.
My problem with the CEEC is two fold. First, all this has to do with Church politics. There is no recognition of the context, issues and dilemma faced by ordinary, everyday, faithful Anglican Christians who need shepherding through day to day living, including many of the issues addressed by LLF. And secondly, I have never heard of them. I don’t mean as a group, but I looked up the Council membership and as individuals I have never heard of them. I worship in retirement in a Cathedral whose ministry tries to address the challenges faced by the city around it.… Read more »
As someone who strongly supports equal marriage and has done so for decades, I obviously disagree with the C.E.E.C., but I do appreciate that supporters of the traditional position have now outlined a way forward that doesn’t require the rest of the church to live by that teaching. Could there be some small hope of finding a mutually-acceptable solution that protects everyone’s conscience without compromising on opening sacramental marriage to all who can contract it civilly?
I wholeheartedly agree James. There is a sensible way forward which will allow for those holding to the orthodox view of marriage and those holding to a revised view of marriage to exist, flourish and remain within the Church of England. It must involve new structures, not just well meaning statements and promises.
Allow an autonomous group of orthodox bishops to care for orthodox believers and then ask the orthodox to get out the way in relation to the agenda for change.
It’s not that difficult to see the outline of a settlement. The difficulty is progressives see no benefit in it.
(On a point of detail, I have no connection with CEEC. I have been calling, on this site, for a group of orthodox bishops to be set up repeatedly. I’m not going to stop doing so because CEEC may at some point say the same thing).
This progressive can for sure (well, progressive on equal marriage: generally I’m pretty traditional), and I expect many more would if the offer were extended in the right way, particularly if new structures helped usher in sacramental marriage for all.
At the least, those who hold to traditional teaching will never be in a stronger position to help shape accomodations.
That’s good to know, James.
Peter. Actually some CEEC folk have been telling people like me to leave. ‘We’ are ones departing from what you continue to call ‘orthodoxy’. The regular suggestion is to join the Church of Wales – CEEC’s version of Rwanda flights. But where do you find in the NT any idea of churches or their leaders being ‘autonomous’ – independent, separate from, self governing? But if a group chooses ‘autonomy’ why should the church they have separated from carry any burden or responsibility for providing for their ongoing buildings or bishops? I think the highest unity in the NT is unity… Read more »
I will “ pass” on the issue of what individual CEEC representatives say or don’t say.
Surely we would agree that the Church of England is a denomination not a church.
It is perfectly possible for a denomination to re organise itself.
No, I don’t agree that “the Church of England is a denomination not a church”.
The Revised Catechism ( still authorised) much used for confirmation classes in the 60’s and perhaps beyond, but neglected now , declares
“The Church of England is the ancient Church of this land, catholic and reformed.”
Hi Peter. ‘Autonomy’ and now ‘re-organise.’ being a good evangelical I am keen to anchor this in scripture and theology word. The more familiar word there is ‘reform’. ‘Ecclesia Semper Reformanda’ – the Church always needs reforming is the saying. Evangelicals have always liked that idea – except that the present challenge to biblical and theological reform is critiquing our own inherited ways of reading and thinking isn’t it?
All I mean by autonomy is we need bishops who are not there at the discretion of a Diocesan. The idea of PEVs is thrown around as if it should be the answer and it is clearly no such thing.
Re organisation is just a description of the current reality. It can happen chaotically or in a controlled manner. I prefer the second possibility
I think what happened elsewhere in the UK is instructive, if not necessarily predictive. Both the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland have authorised, but not required, the marriage of same-sex couples by their ordained ministers. In both cases there were a handful of noisy departures of both clergy and laity but most who were opposed accepted with good grace that the church could accommodate disagreement. No “reorganisation” has been necessary. My suspicion is that, when push comes to shove, the shouty minority represented by the CEEC will find that they’re leaders with no followers, and the bulk… Read more »
From memory, didn’t Watchman Nee promote this idea in his book “The Normal Christian Church Life”? I’m not sure if Hodder published it here, considering it controversial. The only person I knew who had a copy had had to fetch it from America. I borrowed his and read it. Nee’s idea seemed to be that each church was autonomous, and effectively had no connection with or authority over any other church. Some of the Restoration leaders such as Arthur Wallace, who were influenced by Nee’s writings in the 70’s also liked it. So, shall we all go and re-invent the… Read more »
It’s good to hear that you are involved in the discussions David, and I hope they are productive. My personal reservations about a “settlement” are that they could cement division in the church; that they will make the church a less safe place; that it will create the grounds for deeper separation in the future; that it is ecclesiologically alien to many in the C of E and that it is unnecessary when one considers how other divisive issues have been resolved (e.g. remarriage in church after divorce). For division in the church, most parishes are not uniform in their… Read more »
Hi Nic. You say: “Finally, I cannot see why the optional use of commended prayers requires such convoluted accommodation to be made, when previous commendation of prayers has been left to local clergy conscience.” I would suggest that concern is not only about the prayers themselves, but also – perhaps with good reason – about the ‘slippery slope’ implications. Conceding ground on optional prayers may well be seen as a prelude to having to concede further ground, and further ground, and there are understandable fears and anxieties about where it all ends. In a way, your expressed unhappiness with the… Read more »
A simple response to the slippery slope argument, i.e. “prayers today, equal marriage tomorrow” is to underline the different thresholds for approving things. Commending prayers can be done by the House of Bishops in their own right without synodical approval. Asking Synod to welcome the House doing this requires a 50% majority in all three Houses, which happened in February. The Bishops legally didn’t have to ask, but politically it was a good thing to have Synod’s backing. To approve the things necessary for full equal marriage would require a 2/3rds majority in all three Houses. To get a 2/3rds… Read more »
I believe the Church of England is being held hostage on gay marriage by a minority (49% or less). The situation is untenable and pastorally unsustainable. This adds to the justification for Parliamentary intervention, because not only is the status quo discriminatory (in a national organisation that is part of the constitutional establishment), but it is not democratic. The present status quo is so deeply damaging, and causes offence to ordinary decent people that it’s not really enough for Synod activists and bishops to say, “Well we’ll offer some kind of optional blessings, but there’s no prospect “any time soon”… Read more »
Equally, those who hold to the orthodox teaching on marriage are being told that their views are harmful, homophobic, transphobic and that there is no place for them in the Church of England.
Please let’s try and avoid generalising. I said ‘some’. I have an actual group of people in mind. Not all are being told this and not all are saying this. if you mean there is some unhelpful language being used on all sides. Yes there is. But my example of the planning day attempted to provide a different way of meeting.
The statements that I referred to were made on this very website, approved by the administration of this website.
I didn’t deny it is being said. And providing this generous and hospitable space for discussion hardly means everything said here is ‘approved’.
The administrators are the gatekeepers of this site, so by allowing comments they are approving.
This is not true. We do not approve of the content of many of the comments. Including this one.
I am generally sympathetic to your comments, but this one is ill-judged by yourself.
Simon Sarmiento consistently publishes comments from myself which am absolutely certain he regards as in error.
I myself disapprove of Simon’s theology but he is a fine journalist and an all too rare progressive (my label, not his) who wants open candid discussion.
‘Approving’ of a comment is not the same as ‘allowing’ it on a platform debating issues and accommodating different views. I don’t ‘approve’ of the ban on gay marriage, but if I was a moderator I would ‘allow’ comments by those who support such a ban. All that said, I have found you an honest and forthright contributor, Bob.
David, is not the above comment about discussions in the national planning group a break of confidence.
I am not sure which comment you are referring to? Those telling me to go to Wales? That was not in the national discussion group. Of the discussions themselves I have revealed no details at all and the membership of the group is in the public domain.
Thanks David for your thoughts but just to say it’s The Church in Wales (not of). I do wonder whether the C.E.E.C. really understand the extent to which the CinW understands itself as a distinctive province. Not sure we would be comfortable providing cross provincial oversight.
“…then ask the orthodox to get out the way in relation to the agenda for change”
But we all know that’s a request not likely to be agreed.
The problem with any faction wanting its own bishops is simply that it’s bad ecclesiology. The creation of flying bishops in the 1990s was a mistake, not a precedent. What you’re effectively asking is the establishment of an ordinariate, like what Benedict XVI created in the Catholic Church.
I think making vague requests for “differentiation” is a flawed negotiation strategy. It’s so timid that nobody other than CEEC can see any advantage to their particular interests so it isn’t building support, let alone enthusiasm. That’s obvious even in the discussion here. It needs bold, concrete proposals. Personally I think they would be better offering something like a suggestion that the two provinces cease to be organised on geographic lines but instead have a theme. Canterbury could be ‘the mission province which promotes an authentic and orthodox vision of the Word” York could be “the pastoral province which responds… Read more »
The advantage to progressives of differentiation is that conservatives get out of their way so they (progressives) can do as they see fit.
I am not sure what more obvious a benefit there can be than that.
But CEEC aren’t saying it. Will they withdraw from Synod? From governance of church schools? From the Archbishops’ Council?
They need to say how.
I tend to agree. If the Bishops had been willing to negotiate an accommodation of different views on sexuality, and if pro-gay General Synod members had pressed for such an arrangement too, there would today have been more hope of building that platform in the near future. Instead, the can has been kicked down the road, while the Church of England lists further on all kinds of issues. Liberals could have had gay marriage in the foreseeable future, if people were willing to move forward on the basis of a fundamental respect for the right of conscience. What do we… Read more »
I agree that most bishops don’t want to move further so CEEC’s statements of pain are useful giving them an excuse to delay. Added to that almost nobody seems happy with the postcode lottery and flying bishops we have added for women’s ministry so any settlement would need to be very different and avoid the obvious drawbacks of the present experience.
Susannah. Greetings. ‘If the Bishops had been willing to negotiate an accommodation of different views on sexuality’ – that is exactly what is being discussed at the moment. ‘I am not convinced the Bishops wish to progress to gay marriage’ – they are not of one mind on this so how could they? ‘What we have is a continuing debate of attrition stretching on and on into the indefinite future’ – actually until the July and November Synods.
Thanks David, and warm greetings to you too. I realise you cannot breach confidence or say too much, but I suppose the bishops are actually negotiating accommodation of different views on prayers of blessing – not on gay marriage itself (which is the key issue of course). I feel that they are (at least as a body) resistant to the concept of saying “Look, it’s obvious we cannot get agreement on gay marriage, so let’s negotiate a plural conscience settlement on marriage, and allow accommodation of different practices in the Church of England.” If anything, the accentuated differentiation of ‘marriage’… Read more »
It’s a rather Noddy document isn’t it?! First it takes as its starting point statements which CEEC know are contested. Then it makes some speculative remarks (‘likely to precipitate the ‘departure’ of large numbers of people’) and then it goes on to state how plans will be escalated, leading to Plan C, the core element of which would not be in its gift. Phrases like ‘unbiblical proposals’ are meaningless. However, I was pleased that slowly the CEEC is moving away from just speaking of ‘evangelicals.’ They don’t speak for me. They now use the term ‘orthodox evangelicals.’ That seems to… Read more »
Very much so.
Well, at least they nailed their colours firmly to the mast*. ‘The bible is clear in its teaching around sex and marriage’. I am not a bible scholar, just someone who has, a number of times, read it right through in a year. Taking the ‘big picture’ I would say the one thing the bible is NOT clear on is sex and marriage. In case anyone is wondering I’ve just been reading Genesis 29 & 30. ‘Issues around sexual intimacy are core to christian discipleship’. Someone once worked out the ratio of the amount of time Jesus spent talking about… Read more »
I’m unconvinced by the claim that the proposals will make it ‘very difficult for clergy and churches… to resist the use of blessings’. A pal of mine is neighbour to a Church which is baptismally rigorist, probably in defiance of Canon Law, and maritally indissolubilist; said parish seems to resist pressures to conform to The Spirit Of The Age effortlessly, save that the place now has such a reputation for interrogating enquirers that their Occasional Office trade has collapsed in a way unparalleled in the other parishes of the deanery (btw, the place is picture-postcard perfect, not a red-brick, flat-roofed,… Read more »
And we still waste time and energy on these secondary issues. None of the creeds mention marriage – so why is the C of E agonising over it. Let those who wish to bless, do so and those who can’t accept it, not do. Let us rejoice in our diversity. I would not expect All Souls Langham Place to use incense, nor All Saints Margaret Street, nearby, to have a worship band! Whilst all this nonsense is going on, I echo the wise words of John Milton in Lycidas: ‘The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.’ John 21… Read more »
Great comment – live and let live. Respect for people’s right of conscience, even if the guy next to me in the pews has different views. We can both still pray, and worship God, and visit the sick and lonely. Amor vincit omnia.
Oh, my goodness! I’m having flashbacks. You see, I am a lifelong Episcopalian, a priest since 1988, and an aspiring curmudgeon since I qualified for my pension. Let’s see if you see any similarities with the history of “accommodation” and “differentiation” that I recall during my blink-of-an-eye lifetime. The first call for a&d, I recall, followed TEC’s support of the Civil Rights Movement 50’s and 60’s as many objected to its disruption of the day’s political, racial, and social structures. The second one was over TEC’s 1979 revision of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. I’m thinking yours is a… Read more »
A detailed commentary on a new province for the Church of England
A commentary I can only conclude comes from another planet, because there is no way on this one that parliament will approve legislation to create an explicitly anti-gay and anti-trans province (which, with the ban on trans clergy, goes far beyond even the current CofE position, where trans clergy have served for decades). The added idea that parliament would accept legislation which, contrary to all constitutional precedent, would seek to prevent future parliaments legislating in respect of this province, is unmitigated fantasy. That’s aside from the ecclesiastical nonsense of having dioceses either overlapping or becoming discontiguous patchworks of parishes, with… Read more »
So that guarantees there are churches which are by statute hostile to LGBT people. I don’t see how that can be acceptable in the established church.
Martin Davie is dreaming. None of this is possible without support from those whose instincts are utterly opposed. The Carolean Age is looking to leave the Church of England behind. The ‘Third Province’ movement is dead in the water.
Well at least that’s an attempt at the detail of a ‘settlement’. He seems to have a thing about gender transition. It is not to be ‘supported’. What does that mean? Clearly gender transition is legally recognised, and medically recognised, and supported. How would this ‘province’ pastorally support people who transition, if it declines to support them in that transition? Are they opposed to gender transition itself (for anyone), or just opposed to giving it distinctive liturgy of its own? Would they distinguish between people who just self-ID themselves, and people who have obtained medical mandate, and legal recognition of… Read more »
It’s more. The Church of England officially recognises Gender Recognition Certificates and, by the Equality Act 2010, GRC holders can legally marry in church in their recognised sex. Indeed, while individual ministers can decline to marry a GRC holder (if they know about it) I think the legal right to marry in one’s own parish church still exists even then, whatever the PCC thinks.
It is not up to a PCC to decide whether a couple can marry in the Church of England church in the parish where they live. People have the right to be married in the Anglican church of their parish, even if they are not regular Christians. That’s part of what it means to have a National and Established Church. As things stand, if a trans person is (say) legally female then they have the right to be married to a man in a Church of England church, whether the PCC regards them as both ‘men’ and therefore gay. or… Read more »
But CEEC are wanting to take that right away. They want whole parishes to be against gender transition, not just a particular minister.
They can’t. Whole parishes include all its residents, and gender transition is accepted and mandated by the law of the land.
Only an individual priest could opt out, but the parish church still has responsibilities and obligations invested in it, as part of the National Church. One of those obligations is the right of anyone living in an Anglican parish to be married in their own parish in its parish church.
Pretending that ‘all is well’ ended with the recent developments seeking to distinguish Holy Matrimony from blessing people but not their same-sex relating. It would be hard to know whether the progressives are more put out by that than those wanting the CofE position to remain unchanged.
Bring on more creative thinking.
I’m inclined to the view that Davie has gone into too much detail and just exposed his ideas to the kind of responses seen above.
Having said that, the conversation will surely progress beyond the “you must be joking” rebuttals to some kind of serious engagement on structures.
I’m pleased there are signs that might just be happening.
Why “surely”? I would say it’s just as likely that conservatives get directed to the flying bishops and, ultimately, told that they’re either in or out and to make their minds up. The sort of egregious injury to catholic order being proposed needs a great deal more justification than has been expounded thus far.
You speak as if what is being requested are concessions which need to be justified. Your satisfaction that a case has been made is not the issue. Just as the satisfaction of conservatives that a case for SSM has been mad is irrelevant. Neither are possible. The question is “Is an organised separation better than a dis-organised separation ? “ You obviously think the answer is a disorganised settlement is better because you think it will not be that much bother. Can we please at least frame the issue correctly. You do not need to be satisfied that a settlement… Read more »
If you want people to agree to something you must make the effort to convince them it is right, or at least necessary. What you rather grandly call “disorganised separation” I would term “people leaving”. I fail to see why the CofE should tie itself in knots over this particular faction any more than it did over those who thought women priests, or women bishops, were the red line and left as a result. People change denominations fairly often, including clergy. This can be simply a step on their faith journey, finding that there is something they need that the… Read more »
I’m not “grandly calling” anything.
Clergy are separating themselves from their bishops. It’s happening now. It’s also happening without any meaningful degree of general organisation.
I’m completely mystified by your claim they are leaving the Church of England. They are doing nothing of the sort.
You cannot just make up the idea that people are leaving the Church of England !
GS will be in deadlock for years without a settlement. Saying people are leaving is an invented idea that will make no difference at all to GS vote tallies
If you “separate” yourself from your bishop (and you are a priest) it seems to me that you have left the church, and should have the moral integrity to resign any office within it that you hold. Priests serve in Episcopally governed churches by the authority of their bishop. If they no longer accept that authority in what sense are they still in the CofE?
Bishops have authority only within the confines of Scripture. If they reject scripture they cease to hold legitimate authority.
You will of course say they have not rejected scripture but you are simply treating the correctness of your own general position as an axiom.
That is the logical fallacy known as bulverism. It is a form of circular reasoning.
That’s not what Bulverism means. You’re free to believe that the Bishops are acting improperly (and I can understand, given your views, how you reach that conclusion), and to leave the Church of England as a result. What you can’t do is reject the authority of the Bishops (you can, of course, think they’re wrong and still accept their authority) and claim to still be part of the CofE. It’s ecclesiological nonsense.
The flaw in your analysis is you appear to believe that “being part of the CofE” is a defined (and universally agreed) ecclesiological state. It is nothing of the sort. What does “part of” mean ? What does “CofE” mean ?. Who has decided ? Who now decides who is “in” or “out”. On what basis ?. The list of questions goes on and on. You obviously have your own answers to each of these questions and presumably apply them to yourself to the extent they are relevant. The idea that your answers are in some sense generally authoritative does… Read more »
I’ve posted this link before….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulverism
That’s very helpful.
Claim – Clergy must be obedient to their bishops. Why ?
Claim – Because bishops have authority. Why ?
Claim – Because bishops respect Scripture. How do I know ?
Claim – because they are bishops.
Its a circular argument which is then “spiced up” with a dash of disapproval for the lack of integrity for dissenting clergy.
Its a logical fallacy methodology but actually interesting despite that, and worth attention. It does get to the heart of the matter which is that it is all about the Bishops.
Except that’s not the argument I’m making. You’ve made it up out of whole cloth. Apart from anything else clergy must be obedient [in all things lawful and honest] to their bishop because they (in the vast majority of cases) will have made an oath to that effect. And the reason bishops have authority is because that’s part and parcel of episcopal polity which is one of the four uniting features of Anglicanism. Whether or not I think the bishop’s actions are right or scriptural, or whether I think they “respect” scripture is neither here nor there. You seem to… Read more »
You are trivialising the matter. It’s not about “disagreeing” with bishops.
The English bishops are being ostracised by Anglican bishops from around the World because they have abandoned the truth.
You will, I assume, assert that is “just a flesh wound” and English episcopal integrity remains intact.
Nothing could be further from reality.
And it refers to an argument. Peter and his allies have point blank refused to make an argument for “separate structures”, insisting that merely wanting them is enough for the demand to be acceded to. I can’t dismiss an argument on the grounds of who is making it if no argument is being put forward.
My rejection of giving people their own special set of bishops who agree with them has little to do with who is demanding it, I wouldn’t think it was the right or ecclesiologically coherent thing to do if it were being demanded by anyone.
I would turn your question around: how can you claim to be part of the CofE if you do not acknowledge the authority of its bishops?
You think the bishops have only just now started rejecting scripture? For centuries they have condoned the blessing of warships and allowed the hanging of military flags and wearing of swords in church, despite the clear teaching of Jesus about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies. you may point out that pacifism is not the teaching of the C of E, but I would respond that the vast majority of the early church fathers saw it as the obvious interpretation of the teaching of Jesus. The bishops worship in huge cathedrals which cost hundreds of thousands of pounds… Read more »
On your more substantive point, you want to frame the discussion as one in which you are exercising a moral or at least intellectual judgement in regard to what is being said. That is not engaging in a settlement dialogue. A settlement dialogue is framed around possible benefit to the parties to the settlement. I think it is fair to say you do not recognise any value in entering a settlement dialogue. Fair enough, but can you not pad your position out with the notion you are reaching a moral or intellectual verdict. You clearly do not accept that conservatives… Read more »
3 months ago, in principle I supported an agreed re-organisation. Having listened to CEEC, I no longer think what they are proposing merits support.
Clarity helps us all so if your view is the general progressive view then once that is established no further effort will be wasted seeking a settlement.
I’m not in the same theological league as some of you but I’m old enough to remember disputes between the likes of John Stott, Dick Lucas, Martyn Lloyd Jones, David Watson et al over doctrines of baptism, church, Holy Spirit etc, whether to stay in the C of E or not and what constitutes orthodoxy. Surely most Anglican evangelicals have historically (and long before the names above) been content to be part of a Church which allows for diverse theologies but is united on orthodox (sorry to use that word!) Christology and Trinitarianism in the interests of preserving the unity… Read more »
Anglican Evangelicals of the Stott generation were largely Prayer Book Evangelicals. They accepted liturgical worship and sacramental order and pursued a parochial pastoral strategy usually, esp in regard to the Occasional Offices. But in the last forty years we have seen fragmentation and undenominational American evangelical styles coming to the fore. I’m puzzled by it all but it seems certain sections of Evangelical churchmanship see the gay issue as an absolute red line. There were schisms in the 19th century,( see Grayson Carter’s book). Perhaps we will see another one. The question I suppose is its size. Personally I cannot… Read more »
Conservatives know perfectly well that an acceptable new structure is improbable. I think Anthony Archer is correct in his estimate that the House of Bishops will never allow it. If a consensus developed between conservatives and progressives at the level of the laity and clergy that might just get the bishops to consider it. Such a consensus shows no sign at all of emerging. The carping at Davie (not from yourself) in the comments above is poorly judged. He knows the reality perfectly well. He is not naive . He speaks for conservatives because we see the damage that is… Read more »
Among those of us who acknowledge our indebtedness to the evangelical tradition for our forming and nurturing in the faith are many who are watching the behaviour of the CEEC with deep dismay. Commenting on the most recent pronouncement by the CEEC, the Church Times leader (2nd June) summarises it well. ‘The document manages to be irritating, puzzling, and frustrating: irritating for its casual appropriation of the term “orthodox”; puzzling for its selective honouring of individual conscience — a significant tenet of both Protestant and Catholic ecclesiology, but here used to refer only to consciences that come to a conservative conclusion; and… Read more »
CEEC understand themselves to be orthodox. They believe the plain reading of scripture supports their position.
They are perfectly entitled to say what they think, David.
Why all this effort to diminish CEEC ?
If you or others have a different view, just articulate your view. Is it really necessary to disparage those with whom you disagree ?
You don’t think insinuating that anyone who disagrees with them is a heretic who ignores scripture might be considered a little disparaging? It’s not an “effort” to disparage the CEEC – their own supercilious arrogance does that all by itself.
Today’s Church Times “hit job” on CEEC is lamentable stuff.
We are now in an entirely political process. The idea is to rubbish conservative evangelicals so that the smallest number of people support their position.
An amicable divorce is a vanishing possibility.
Peter Can you hear how this sounds? The CEEC can tell Bishops and everyone they disagree with that they have ‘departed from the faith’ and ‘abandoned the scriptures’, ceased to be Anglican etc. – and ‘they are perfectly entitled to say what they think’. But when others respond to comments about the CEEC it is a ‘hit job’, a political process, and conservative evangelicals are being rubbished.
David. You are conflating two entirely separate matters.
You are actually part of the process seeking to discern what the Church of England should do next !
The Church Times are journalists. They are reducing the process to politics. Their piece is a blatant “hit job”.
The full text of the CT editorial comment on CEEC is copied below. TA readers may judge for themselves whether it merits your description: …The Road Ahead, produced by the Church of England Evangelical Council, although made slightly more interesting by carrying the legend “Please do NOT post it on social media or blog/tweet about it — we would rather it remains ‘discreet’ to our constituency,” none the less contains nothing particularly new. Even before the General Synod’s endorsement of the Bishops’ plan to allow individual clergy to conduct church blessings of same-sex couples, conservative Evangelicals were talking about structural… Read more »
An “amicable divorce” implies two coherent groups that can be thought reasonably analogous to two individuals. What we’re dealing with here is a rather small number of schismatics who want to have all the privileges of establishment while also having the privileges of being independent.