frgavin on November 5th, 2008

By David W. Virtue

Progressive evangelicals in the Church of England simply don’t get it. They believe, falsely, that when they talk of the rich diversity of the Anglican Communion that they are dealing with men and women of basic good will. Herein lies the first fallacy.

The second fallacy is that all theologies and opinions, based on a misguided understanding of via media, can be reconciled within the communion and that the instruments of unity are capable of holding it together under the present Archbishop of Canterbury.

The third fallacy is that a Covenant will be written that will hold the communion together.

The fourth fallacy is that the present trajectory can somehow be reversed if the more (allegedly) strident right (now called Fundamentalists) can be made to see reason and agree to return and come under the diverse umbrella of Anglicanism.

Consider then the essay by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Goddard, Tutor in Christian Ethics at Trinity College, Bristol, England, and a member of the Leadership Team of Fulcrum – a liberal evangelical blog.

In a well articulated, even brilliant essay on the current crisis in the Anglican Communion Goddard offers four challenges and poses four questions, post Lambeth.

1. Are the developments in North America acceptable within the life of the Communion?
2. If not, has the Communion, through its Instruments, done sufficient to respond to these developments?
3. If not, are there signs that the Communion is now capable of responding?
4. If not, what form of realignment is necessary and what is the role of GAFCON in this?

On the first question, Goddard admits that developments in North America are unacceptable within the life of the Communion. “That has been the consistent position of the Communion over these last five years through the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ACC, three Primates’ meetings and the Windsor Report. The new situation now is that this has been reaffirmed clearly at Lambeth this summer with the renewed commitment to the Windsor moratoria. For most Anglicans, particularly in the Global South, the developments are wholly unacceptable in substance because they are contrary to biblical teaching on sexuality. For others, the problem lies more in terms of the process and the fact that fundamental ecclesiological principles – as articulated in Windsor – have been violated. Either way, the mind of the Communion is clearly opposed to what has happened and is continuing to happen in North America. However, it is also becoming clear that a significant minority of bishops and dioceses within North America do not accept this judgment and are determined to proceed.”

Goddard is correct. These developments are wholly unacceptable. The Windsor Report has been violated, and the actions of liberal and revisionist bishops within TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada have torn the fabric of the communion. He is also correct that both Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals are determined to proceed out of TEC and the ACofC and that there is no possible reversal on that score.
But then Goddard says this, “Some will conclude that is because of a lack of will, particularly on the part of the Anglican Communion Office and the Archbishop of Canterbury. While there may be an element of truth in that, and certainly mistakes have been made by the Instruments, I do not think it a fair explanation. Furthermore, as Christians we need to be very careful about alleging bad faith on the part of fellow Christians, particularly those called by God to positions of authority in the church. The answer is I think quite simply that the Communion Instruments are, to coin a phrase, ‘not fit for purpose’ when faced with this sort of action by a member church.”

Here he is wrong. He says we should not allege “bad faith” on the part of fellow Christians. That might be true in the Church of England it is not true in TEC. In TEC we have bishops like Charles Bennison, Jefferts Schori, Orris Walker, Jon Bruno, Gene Robinson and dozens of others who have no real faith or play-act as though they do, picking and choosing what part of the creed they believe in while picking from the ethical and moral smorgasbord as though it were a buffet of choices. There is a ton of bad faith to go around in TEC and it is only increasing. Pro-Gay bishops openly flaunt their sexual theology on Gay Pride days on public streets in major cities, something that would probably never happen in England. Orthodox Ordinands from orthodox seminaries like TSM are NOT welcome in liberal dioceses and are in fact told not to apply. Who’s demonstrating bad faith here?
The notion of “healing and revitalizing” the church that Goddard talks about will never happen. There are two very different gospels, “two irreconcilable religions” being proclaimed in today’s Anglican Communion. For the authentic gospel to thrive, it must separate itself from the dead vine. Only when it does so, will new and living branches break forth from a new tree with roots in a different soil, the soil of a revived Biblical faith.
Read full article here…………….

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