Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 31 October 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Challenges for Lambeth 2020. The end of the Anglican Communion?

Erika Baker ViaMedia.News Gender Recognition Act – Whose Lives Are Actually At Risk?

David Ison ViaMedia.News Brexit, Sex & Science: How Do We Tackle “Fake News”?

Winnie Varghese Patheos Oh, preacher, give us a good word

Andrew Brown The Guardian The Church of England should learn from Harry Potter this Halloween

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Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

Has anyone else noticed that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of 1920 when the Lambeth Conference issued an Appeal to all Christian People for unity and associated this with a revised version of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Andrew Brown, who writes, “…this makes Rowling more religious than Lewis, because if the supernatural does not have an edge of terror, then it is not worth bothering with…” Leaving aside Brown’s questionable juxtaposition of Rowling and Lewis, his views brought to mind one of my favorite children’s books titled, A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound, by American novelist John Irving, and illustrated by Tatjana Hauptmann. Now Irving is no stranger to the realities of life. Have you read either , A Prayer for Owen Meany, or, In One Person? Yet in his introduction to… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“Leaving aside Brown’s questionable juxtaposition of Rowling and Lewis”

What’s questionable about it? Both are popular authors of long sequences of fantasy novels which are, in literary terms, badly written but achieved popularity in spite of that because they resonated with people who weren’t looking for a literary experience anyway. Neither is a fraction of the writer that Ursula Le Guin or Alan Garner is, but both of those authors’ children’s books are sadly niche these days. I’d say the comparison is pretty clear-cut, qua children’s books.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

I’m surprised you think Lewis and Tolkien wrote badly. Perhaps you could explain your reasons?

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

I don’t think I said anything about Tolkien, did I? He’s not my taste, and there’s a lot of trudging, but sometimes there are flashes of brilliance. The Hobbit is a genuinely great children’s book. But I’m hardly alone in thinking Rowling is pretty turgid stuff. Nicholas Lezard skewered her here https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2007/jul/17/harrypottersbigconisthep but it’s a fairly general view. All those adverbs of speech. All those affectless descriptions. In the case of Narnia, I can cite Tolkien as my evidence (see, for example, https://www.crisismagazine.com/2008/tolkiens-no-to-narnia) before turning to the slapdash continuity, routine deus ex machina and flimsy characterisation. Children’s writing is hard.… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

I was taught English Lit by two men who had known both Lewis and Tolkien at Oxford. They said that Tolkien later changed his earlier unfavourable opinion of the Narnia Chronicles, and came to think they were better than he at first thought.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

A tad tardy I’ll admit; but there are so many lightning bolts and so little time. I’ve just now got round to reading your reference to Rev. Dwight Longenecker in, Crisis Magazine: A Voice for the Faithful Catholic Laity. If this were the back of an envelope I’d write: Competing artistic egos evaluated by ‘propaganda fide’. For evidence, I’m underwhelmed.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

I guess there is no accounting for taste; but to your ask i.e. what is questionable about Brown’s juxtaposition of Rowling and Lewis, it’s questionable with regard to his suggestion that Rowling is more religious when contrasted with C.S. Lewis. This is am opinion in the form of journalistic barb aimed at religious types.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Stephen Parsons has written an interesting essay. I would gently remind him that it isn’t a “gay issue,” it’s gay PEOPLE. And gay people are not competing ideologies, we’re just people, faithful people, created in the Image of God.

Kate
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Kate

Stephen Parsons said “We spoke earlier of the culture wars in the States which have brought together right-wing politicians and fundamentalist Christians in a messy alliance. Happily, the conditions for such an unholy marriage do not exist in this country.” It is strongly suspected that US fundamental Christian groups have been funding campaigns against trans people in this country and some right wing politicians have been climbing aboard. If Trump manages to define gender as genital appearance at birth and incapable of change, we are going to face the same battle here. There are already UK groups aligning with Trump’s… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

Re: Parsons and Lambeth 2020. Apart from the sociological evaluation, full of clichés and it does drone on, if the point is that Welby is torn, that hardly seems a major finding. In response to an an interviewer, at a moment of candor or confusion, he said as much with astonishing bluntness. The question rather is what kind of polity is now workable. 100 years ago one might be forgiven for thinking one individual in England ought to set terms for the entirety of anglicanism — a matter disputed at the time, of course, especially in England. At least he… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Im suprised how many in England now seem to talk about belonging to the Anglican Church when i would more naturally say Church of England. You increasingly find it in newspapers etc..and clergy who talk about “our denomination”..whereas i never thought of myself growing up in a denomination…age I suppose😕

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

I wonder if this is the US influence? I grew up in Baptist (mainly) churches in the US, but Episcopalians sometimes referred to themselves as Anglicans. And we considered every Church, including the Roman Catholics, a denomination. I still do.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

‘Surviving Church’ is not addressed solely, or even primarily, to Anglicans; it has a wide readership from various churches in different countries, and people who don’t attend church at all. So in blogging about the Anglican Communion it would be necessary for Stephen to give some background information for people who are not familiar with it. It may seem repetitive or unnecessary to some readers of TA, but it is necessary for many regular readers of SC.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

“Nigeria and Uganda do not stay away just because of their blinkered “fundamentalism”–a nearly useless term–but because they do not understand the polity anymore and do not accept its claims.”
Christopher that’s simply wrong. They are staying away because they don’t wish to associate with other Christians who take a different view of what you so quaintly call the ‘LGBT+ squabbles’. That’s nothing to do with polity. It’s everything to do with a particular reading of scripture. .

CRS
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CRS

Canterbury will be relieved to hear that…

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

I think we are all well aware of it Christopher. On what possible basis do you think that a particular reading of scripture has nothing to do with it?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

With regard to Stephen Parsons article,simply take those advocating the boycott at their word. The GAFCON communique states “….that the Archbishop of Canterbury should invite as full members to Lambeth 2020 the Bishops of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America and the Province of the Anglican Church in Brazil, and that he should not invite those Provinces that have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices that are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture …etc…. In the event that this does not occur the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) unanimously resolved that they… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Of course since the 1830s the Church of England has been sociologically a denomination but 50 years ago people had a stronger sense ( I think) of being C of E described in the revised Catechism ( remember that?) as “the ancient Church of this land,catholic and reformed” and its clergy as ordained into the Church of Christ “according to the form and manner of the Church of England”. that whole way of looking at the C of E seems to be passing away. The Lambeth Conference of 1948 stressed the provisionality of Anglicanism to the point of suggesting it… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

Thank you for a thoughtful and perceptive reflection. Without this, people will tilt toward near-battles and all the energy they suscite and forget the historical and larger realities. Fine, but then give up on thinking they both somehow correlate. I appreciate your questions.

CRS
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CRS

BTW, I welcome anyone with a robust theological defense of the place of the ABC vis-a-vis the entire non CofE Anglican Communion. It was contentious 100 years ago. But how is this role to be argued for today, given the CofE as an established church for so very few English people, and given the enormous expansion of the AC since the days of 1920.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

“I welcome anyone with a robust theological defense of the place of the ABC…” I’ll bet. Let’s change the channel away from ACNA/GAFCON who want a polity based on a cohort of like minded fideist patriarchs, and instead put the office of the ABC on trial. Of course, its a slick debating move that would put the cat among the pigeons for some who comment here. Contentious? What isn’t contentious in Anglicanism? Bishops, the Liturgy, the 39 articles, the signing with the cross at baptism, the sacraments, the position of the celebrant at the altar/table, the role of women, even… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

Just answer the question please. One gets the sense there isn’t one from your rambling.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

CHristopher: There is no theological reason that the ABC is primus inter pares of the AC is there? So how could one possibly make a theological defence of it? It’s simply a fact of history. The more pertinent question is why one would want to change it on the basis of two of the larger provinces wanting to exclude some of the others. (Ref the letter from Gafcon)

CRS
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CRS

I appreciate your response. Is one to put it, then, there is no genuine theological reason (as has been held in the past: history with a specific theological content). That is, now it is just historical and given that history doesn’t stand still, it is a history with little ongoing theological warrant. One would want to change it because the CofE is not in the position it was 100 years ago and the AC is now a different entity entirely. Once Antioch and Alexandria vastly overshadowed Rome, as bare historical fact. But that did not prevent their becoming far less… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Christopher: I just wonder how another primus inter pares might be chosen? If by election, then I can’t think that would be other than personality based in the current climate, and that would make for difficulties when they retired if they did so in the midst of say a ten year term. There might be objections raised by some about having a woman as not all provinces have women in the episcopate. These are just two of the potential complications. How exactly would you propose that another be appointed in a way that didn’t cause further division? What for example… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

Thank you for your response. I am on record in published form as a committed conciliarist. Conciliar polity can adjust to historical developments. In one form, the primates meet and take the matter up as a body. They could decide that ABC has a proper claim, and then indicate theologically why that is so. Alternatively, they could decide that they have a common mind theologically about a different model. That is what a council does. This avoids claims to ‘scriptures says only this’ or ‘a couple of us wrote a confessional statement and we are looking for co-signers’ — which… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Gavin White in an older essay titled, Collegiality and Conciliatory in the Anglican Communion (Authority in the Anglican Communion. S.W. Sykes, ed. ) concludes, “…the suggestion that central organs of Anglican life possess an inherent collegiality or conciliarity…shows these concepts have not been previously used to describe anything found in Anglican central organs. Nor is there any great likelihood of change.” The conciliar model, as you describe it, is branding for jurisdictional hierarchy. We don’t just have one or two instruments of Communion, we have four. There is tension among them. One instrument of Communion has lay people and presbyters,… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

“Flogging ideas” “hijacking” “where I long to be” “subterfuge” — why all the drama? Be calm. And No, I have said nothing about the ACC being erastian. The instruments have different functions. Quasi presyterian? What in the world is that? You can go to your study and read up on conciliarism. It isn’t difficult. Properly put in place, Lambeth Conference, ABC and Primates Meeting would find a way forward and the ACC maintains its own role with its own remit. Do I think this will happen? No, I am doubtful. I suspect the AC will unravel much as it is… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

“be calm” And carry on? I’m a bit too Highland Scots for that, I’m afraid. ( : “I have said nothing about the ACC being erastian”. Actually you might review your comment and resulting back and forth on the thread of April 11th, 2016 i.e. “international erastianism.” See also your musing about “General Convention Congregational Church USA” on June 30 last. I mention these in the current context because I think these are something of a tell with regard to the conciliarism you advocate here. I already have long standing general familiarity with debates about various forms of conciliarism in… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

You seem to want to declare everything over all the time. What is that about? Stand up like a Scot. I do not believe the ACC was set up as a way to gather widespread representation –what you call democratization—from all levels of Christian leadership, including laity, only to have just this charism constrained by lawyers warning about the intricacies of English law and what it can and cannot allow. How is this democratic, worldwide, lay-involved representation? How is this true to the mission and charism of the ACC as conceived? If every time you are asked for your considered… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

So many questions. I’ll just reprise by connecting the dots: ” International erastianism” connects to favouring The Primates v. ACC connects as a clue as to how the conciliar polity you advocate might work connects back to your characterization of, and desire for replacement of, the current office of the ABC, declared all over again on this thread. “Stand up like a Scot …” Gillis (Gillies) is a sept of Clan McPherson. Touch not the cat but a glove. (Touche not la chat bot a glove). ( : I’m taking up a post retiree project, so I don’t expect to… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

You will search in vain for any place where I call for the replacement of the office of the ABC. What I am endeavoring to find out–in vain–is why this role makes sense, and arguments which explain that. The silence is deafening. I find that odd. There could be a healthy conciliarism which decides to retain the role and explains why. But at present we lack obvious theological or historical warrant, such as arguably did obtain previously.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Christopher: may I ask again (perhaps you missed this question below) What is your evidence for many in the CofE resenting the role the ABC has? I’ve seen no evidence of it at all, in fact only support.

CRS
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CRS

Pretty sure I answered that already. Perhaps you missed it. One can chronicle at TA a cry that the ABC 1) ought to stick to his role in the CofE; 2) is wrongly influenced in the AC role by conservatives and trying to attend to other provinces “out of step with progressivisim”; 3) really has no bona fide role outside of the CofE qua province.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“You will search in vain for any place where I call for the replacement of the office of the ABC.” I only had to go back to your comment of four days ago: You wrote: “In one form the primates meet and take the matter up as a body. They could decide that ABC has a proper claim, and then indicate theologically why that is so. Alternatively, they could decide that they have a common mind theologically about a different model.” So much for the appointment of the ABC by the C of E, or even an ABC at all.… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

You have trouble keeping your thoughts in order. I said nothing about the office of the ABC as ABC in the CofE. Obviously the comments deal with the role now exercised vis-a-vis the Anglican Communion. Read my remarks again.

“My work is done here” — such as it is, one can but hope.

CRS
Guest
CRS

I see par hasard this mention in the Trust scandal underway:

“The Private Eye article (Oct 5) relates to Revd Canon John Rees of Winckworth Sherwood, Chaplain to Her Majesty The Queen, Legal Adviser to the worldwide Anglican Consultative Council, and Provincial Registrar to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.”

This would be the gentleman who counsels the ACC about what it can and cannot do given English law…

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

A total red herring. The ACC is a registered charitable company with a Constitution, Trustees, Advisers (plural) and auditors. These are facts that are not in dispute.

CRS
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CRS

If you do not believe John Rees played a considerable role in the recent legal constraining of the ACC, you are in line for stunning purchase of Manhattan Island for a loony.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

PS: Re: Red herring, I have no idea as to who or what or what publication you are referencing there. I’m not up on local British news, I’m afraid. One simply needs to focus on the Constitution of the ACC. I’ve attached a link. Everything relevant is there.

https://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/39479/the-constitution-of-the-anglican-consultative-council.pdf

CRS
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CRS

John Rees is “Legal Adviser to the worldwide Anglican Consultative Council” and responsible for indicating what he judges the English legal constraints to be vis-a-vis the ACC.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Thanks, never heard of him: have not read, nor do I have an opinion on the tabloid article you reference. However, I did come across, just this morning, quite by accident, the article linked below, from Anglican Communion Institute which you co-authored in 2010. Clearly you seem to be dusting off an old politically eccentric argument you’ve had with this chap way in the past. It didn’t gain any traction. I doubt a second go around will either.

http://www.anglicancommunioninstitute.com/2010/08/the-acc-articles-of-association-questions-remain/

CRS
Guest
CRS

“never heard of him” — thanks for explaining your limitations in the matter.

By “this chap” you refer to the Chaplain to Her Majesty The Queen, Legal Adviser to the worldwide Anglican Consultative Council, and Provincial Registrar to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

In this essay you have put your finger on exactly the problems of an ACC meant to be an international and representative instrument being constrained by english law. Thank you for researching the matter.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

“…thanks for explaining your limitations in the matter.” No problem. I’m always happy to point out my limitations on an issue. We live in an interdisciplinary world. I’m an independent theologian-researcher, not a legal dilettante. I’ll leave English law to folks with expertise in that field. I’m sure the Communion has any number of QC types they may call on to take care of things.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Inapposite questions tend to produce spurious answers.

CRS
Guest
CRS

Nice dodge. Spurious answers are almost a métier at blogs. If you can’t produce a defense just say so!

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

“Nice Dodge”. Actually, I thought I was clear in my assessment of your pivot in my first rejoinder. “Spurious answers….at blogs”. As are Inapposite questions. “If you can’t produce a defense…” You’ve floated this issue on threads here previously. I see nothing new in your comments this time round. Suggesting that Parsons’ or GAFCON evidence a hypothetical displacement of the office of the ABC is a bit of hail Mary pass. However, you do seem to muse on this longingly every time you bring it up. Would you prefer a form of Anglicanism that does not have an ABC, replaced… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

Just indicate why the ABC should have this role, rather than pretending you have no interest and then pose questions on the same topic. You keep sounding off on Gafcon. Fine. You also speak as if contentiousness is some kind of anglican crown jewel. Tell it to the first ABC of the CofE as we know it. What is the reason for the ABC to have such a individual role via-a-vis the Anglican Communion in its entirety?

Kate
Guest
Kate

I believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury is the only Anglican Leader appointed by an anointed king / queen? Divine Right is part of traditional Anglicanism although, oddly, that’s a tradition GAFCON seems to choose to ignore.

John
Guest
John

To the extent that it is relevant, divine right does not feature in any part of the Anglican Communion outside England (and possible Wales). Much as I dislike Gafcon and all its works, it is not fair to criticize it for ignoring something that is utterly unrelated to it.

Crs
Guest
Crs

Why would anyone outside of the CofE decide the role of the monarch affected them? Thank you for your response. It clarifies the issue. And if the next monarch decides anointing is not in the cards, what then is the ongoing logic even inside England. Much less anywhere else.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

The idea of worldwide autonomous provinces really took root under Archbishop Fisher in the period after WWII. It is said (Edward Carpenter’s biography of Fisher is my source) that Fisher wrote many of the constitutions himself – or at least contributed substantially to them. The provinces are not theological entities per se, though any polity inevitably has theological resonances and effects. I understand that the Australian settlement (others may know better than I – but see Carpenter p489) allowed dioceses to disapply provincial canons with particular reference to tension between Sydney and the others. [The matter of an Australian constitution… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

How might you think your comment relates to the role of the present ABC, given that in recent years we have had the development of “instruments” as facts on the ground — ACC, Primates Meeting, Lambeth conference — which have also in turn allowed/necessitated a Canterbury with a clear critical authority? People can quite rightly dispute the idea of instruments tout court, but why would then also want to invest the ABC a critical role absent them? In the name of what? Perhaps the challenge to be addressed is the reality of a healthy Anglican Communion, vis-a-vis a CofE on… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Christopher you say:” A role many in the CofE resent as such,….” I’ve seen you make reference to this before, and I think asked this question before, but without any answer. What is your evidence for many in the CofE resenting the role the ABC has? I’ve seen no evidence of it at all, in fact only support.