Archive for the ‘Current divisions’ Category

Soundbites and Little Else – Liberals and Theological Debate

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

February 17th, 2010 Posted in Theology |

The Revd David Ouldby David Ould, Stand Firm

This lack of proper engagement and even fair representation has led to a theologically illiterate church. But illiteracy is always the preferred option if you don’t like what you read – especially in the Scriptures.

I think what disappoints me most in what passes for theological debate on the interweb and related media is the paucity of actual engagement with what the other side are arguing. A classic example can be seen in the recentGuardian: Comment is Free piece by Christina Rees, chair of WATCH (Women and the Church) entitled, “Faith in the future“.Just check out this sample of blatant misrepresentation:

It is a testament to the women who sit on the revision committee that they have listened with graciousness to some of their colleagues earnestly arguing for places of sanctuary where they could be protected from the ministry of women. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

The observation is made repeatedly that if one were to replace the word “women” in these discussions with “black” or even “French”, the breathtaking offence of these views would become obvious. This verbal offence indicates a much deeper issue: females are still considered by some to be unable to represent Christ at the altar and as not being made fully in the image of God.

Of course, this is denied by the men and women who oppose women’s ordination. They cite tradition, as if that has remained static over the past 2,000 years, and ecclesiology, as if the Church of England’s relationship with some other churches is more important than what it understands to be true.

Where does one start? I think at the end, since it demonstrates the real issue going on here. Rees argues that the conservative position is an appeal to tradition – but it’s not, is it? It’s fundamentally an appeal to Scripture – which is bolstered by the testimony of tradition.

Read here

A first reaction to today’s publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

From Forward in Faith

The Holy See has today published the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which will provide for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church. The text of the Apostolic Constitution, and its Complementary Norms, can be read here.

The Chairman of Forward in Faith, Bishop John Broadhurst, has issued the following interim statement to those clergy who look to him, as Bishop of Fulham, for episcopal care at the present time and he is happy to share it with the membership of Forward in Faith worldwide.

I had thought the original notice from Rome was extremely generous. Today all the accompanying papers have been published and they are extremely impressive. I have been horrified that the Church of England while trying to accommodate us has consistently said we cannot have the jurisdiction and independent life that most of us feel we need to continue on our Christian pilgrimage.

What Rome has done is offer exactly what the Church of England has refused. Indeed it has offered the requests of Consecrated Women? with the completion of its ecumenical hopes. We all need now to ask the question ‘is this what we want?’ For some of us I suspect our bluff is called! This is both an exciting and dangerous time for Christianity in this country. Those who take up this offer will need to enter into negotiation with the Church of England about access to parish churches and many other matters. This situation must not be used to damage the Church of England but I do believe we have a valid claim on our own heritage in history.

The doctrinal standard demanded by Rome is the New Catechism which most of us use any way. We would be allowed to use Anglican or Roman rites and our ordinaries would have jurisdiction. We will all need to meet and talk. I would hope that this could take place in collaboration with the PEVs and other Catholic bishops. It is not my style to give a expansive analysis of a document that I have only received today nor will I answer the question ‘What are you going to do?’ That is something we need to work out together.

Every Blessing,

+John Fulham

Response from the Council of Church Society to the plans by the Church of Rome to receive disaffected Anglicans

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

November 9th, 2009 Posted in Roman Catholicism |

According to its own doctrinal standards and history, the Church of England’s true nature is that of a Protestant, Reformed, Evangelical and catholic (in other words, universal) church. Orthodox Anglicanism is therefore defined by reference to these characteristics only, which are set out in the Thirty-nine Articles and the Church of England’s submission to the over-arching authority of Scripture alone. Church Society seeks to defend and promote these defining characteristics, especially the Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone which is at the heart of the message and mission of the Church of England.

While acknowledging the correct stand taken by Anglo-Catholics against theological liberalism (the features of which do not represent true, Biblical Anglicanism), it should also be noted that the true doctrine of the Church of England does not embrace any of the teachings or practices which characterise the Church of Rome. For instance, the Church of Rome is fundamentally flawed in its claims about its own nature and authority and in its teaching about the means of salvation.

A proper rejection of theological liberalism should therefore not be accompanied by a turning to the Church of Rome and its unbiblical teachings and practices. Rather, both theological liberalism and the unscriptural teachings and practices of the Church of Rome are contrary to the Bible and to the historic doctrines of the Church of England as a Protestant, Reformed, Evangelical and catholic church. Read the rest of this entry »

We are underdeveloped and “only” 50 Behind the enlightened Episcopal Church – Bp Schori

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Episcopal leader holds firm on gay rights

Says N.H. bishop’s election a blessing

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori held a coffee hour at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. (GEORGE RIZER/GLOBE STAFF)

Saying “I don’t believe that there is any will in this church to move backward,” the top official of the Episcopal Church USA said yesterday that the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire has been “a great blessing” despite triggering intense controversy and talk of possible schism.

In an interview during a visit to Boston, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori compared the gay rights struggle to battles over slavery and women’s rights, and said she believes that it has become a vocation for the Episcopal Church “to keep questions of human sexuality in conversation, and before not just the rest of our own church, but the rest of the world.”

Jefferts Schori said that it could take 50 years for the debate over homosexuality to be resolved, but that she believes it will happen. She said she hopes that the Anglican Communion, an umbrella organization including the Episcopal Church and the Church of England, will stay together.

Where the protesters are, in some parts of Africa or in other parts of the Anglican Communion today, is where this church and this society we live in was 50 years ago, and for us to assume that people can move that distance in a year or in a relatively instantaneous manner is perhaps faithless,” she said. “That kind of movement and development has taken us a good deal of pain and energy over 40 or 50 years, and I think we have to make some space so that others can make that journey as well.”

Read the whole story here……..

Disconnecting Gene Robinson

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Charles Raven

The dilemma any false prophet has to handle is that there comes a point where you really have to start acting like a wolf, otherwise all that dressing up as a sheep would have been rather pointless. You can do it gradually and hope people will get acclimatised to the change, but there are nonetheless some risky moments.

This is a problem which Gene Robinson, the controversial Bishop of New Hampshire, has handled with some skill. He clearly sees himself as a prophetic figure for liberal Anglicanism and its enactment in the consecration of homosexual relationships. His elevation to the episcopate in 2003 was a risk and some have claimed that this was a strategic mistake; in so far as that led to the emergence of the GAFCON movement, they may be right, but within the United States it was not. Now Barack Obama has endorsed the mainstream status of this most controversial Anglican with an invitation to open with prayer at the pre-inaugural celebration at the Lincoln memorial, albeit as a counter balance to the evangelical Rick Warren, the new ‘America’s Pastor’, invited to deliver the invocation at the inauguration itself.

…………….  But now, speaking to The New York Times about the prayer at the Lincoln Memorial, he said “I am very clear that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that.” And true to his word, there was no reference to Jesus Christ, only a vague post-modern deism with the reference to the”God of our many understandings”. This relativism is a fundamental rejection of the earliest and most fundamental Christian confession that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’. It substitutes in the place of the Lordship of Jesus the worship of a god of our understanding who will ultimately be simply the god I choose to make for myself or, more likely, the god powerful and influential others chose for me – in other words, it is idolatry.

Gene Robinson is not confused. He knows where he is going. On hearing the news that Rick Warren had been invited to lead the invocation he told the New York Times that “it was like a slap in the face,” adding that “the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.” In the new religion of Gene Robinson’s church, Jesus Christ is essentially an ornament, useful as a bridge figure to ensnare the naïve, but ultimately dispensable.

While the orthodox in North America have largely come to recognize this reality and have formed what is effectively a new Province of the Anglican Church of North America, it is far less recognized how well the ground for this new religion has been prepared in England itself and the British Isles. This process has been going on for many years, but as SPREAD has consistently demonstrated, in recent times the writings of the present Archbishop of Canterbury have done much to undermine confidence in the authority and inspiration of Scripture, both in his understanding of Scripture itself and in his advocacy of ‘faithful’ same gender sexual relationships. This has practical consequences. He has not only failed to use his authority to exercise godly discipline in the Communion, but undermined the efforts of other Primates to do so, most significantly after the Dar es Salaam Primates Meeting of February 2007 which led directly to the formation of GAFCON.

The continuing media interest in the Bishop of New Hampshire owes as much to the fact that he is a Bishop in a Church still enjoying official recognition by Canterbury as it does to his personal convictions. If this connection were to be broken, the Episcopal Church of the United States would be clearly seen for what many in the Global South already know it to be – a post modern sect which merely reflects back the culture in which it is set. This is a disconnection which Gene Robinson and his church must truly fear. But the chances of the current Archbishop of Canterbury taking such action must be remote, not least because of the outcry this would provoke in his own backyard. In this crisis of authority, the defining role of Canterbury must face sustained challenge. The risks that false prophets are prepared to take need to be matched by continuing courageous action on the part of godly leaders, willing if necessary to risk institutional order rather than risk the truth.

Charles Raven

20th January 2009

If we didn’t leave, what did we accomplish at GAFCON?

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

By Bishop John Rodgers, SPREAD


It is important, when considering what was accomplished at GAFCON, to keep in mind its singular focus. That focus was to identify the Anglican grasp of the apostolic faith, to claim that identity for the whole Anglican Communion and to provide a firm oversight and standing from which to confess the apostolic faith as we Anglicans have received it. This singular focus meant that many very important matters were not directly addressed at GAFCON, in the Statement or in the Jerusalem Declaration. This by no means relegates matters such as the status of 5th, 6th and 7th Councils, the ordination of women, the form of the Anglican Communion, abortion, the nature of and conflict with militant Islam, our relation to the persecuted Church etc. to secondary issues. There are serious issues and differences among the fellowship of confessing Anglicans that must and will be faced. It will not be easy, nor will solutions be sudden, nor can we be absolutely certain that some will not, in the end, decide they must walk apart. The difference is that they will be faced in the context of the authority of Holy Scriptures and the apostolic faith as Anglicans have historically received it. The Conference said, echoing Canon A5 of the Church of England: “The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teaching of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it.”

With that in mind, let me state I believe to be the most important things that we did accomplish:

1.      We are the Communion. “We are not breaking away from the Anglican Communion.”
In essence the fellowship of confessing Anglicans took things in hand and declared that we are the true and faithful Anglicans, upholding the historic Anglican grasp of the apostolic faith, and as such we are the true representatives of the Anglican Communion. Let those who are departing from historic Anglican convictions about the authority and content of the Scriptures come back to what Anglicans have confessed all along. If they are unwilling to do so, it is they, not we, who should leave. I suspect that there are differing expectations among those who have placed themselves under the Jerusalem Declaration as to the future of the structures and membership of the Anglican Communion as it is presently constituted. I myself do not see how we can long abide together structurally, but I could be wrong, my friends do remind me of the parting of the Red Sea and God still does miracles. However, of a faithful confessing Anglican Communion, all at the Conference expressed a confidence in a fruitful and “bright future”.

Read more ………………..

Will Egypt Primates Meeting “Finally help?”

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Canterbury won’t block or bless new province:

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, GAFCON.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will not block the creation of a third Anglican province in North America, sources familiar with Dr. Rowan Williams’ Dec 5 meeting with five traditionalist archbishops, tell The Church of England Newspaper.

However, the archbishop will not give it his endorsement either, arguing his office does not have the legal authority to make, or un-make, Anglicans.

On Dec 5, five members of the Gafcon primates council: Archbishops Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, and Henry Orombi of Uganda met with Dr. Williams in Canterbury for approximately five hours to discuss the current state of affairs within the Communion.

In a half day meeting interspersed with prayer and lunch the archbishops had a “full and frank” discussion of the issues, sources familiar with the proceedings said. “There was no indaba-ding on Friday,” one senior Gafcon bishop told CEN, referring to the ‘Indaba’ process of directed listening used at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The Gafcon bishop said the conversation was a direct and forthright discussion of all of the presenting issues.

According to several sources familiar with the proceedings, the archbishops discussed the boycott of Lambeth 2008 by 214 bishops, the on-going ramifications of the election of Gene Robinson, and the disquiet many Global South leaders felt with the innovations of doctrine and discipline advocated by the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada. While the idea of an Anglican Covenant was sound in theory, fears that the elastic interpretation given to language and law by the American Church would render the document meaningless, some conservatives said.

Dr. Williams sounded several familiar themes in his remarks, the sources said, stressing the need for on-going dialogue amongst the disparate parties. He shared his disquiet over ecclesiastical border crossings, saying that it implied that the trespassing bishops were stating that Christ was absent from the ecclesiastical structures who were their unwilling hosts.

The third province movement and the Wheaton constitution was presented to Dr. Williams as well—and was offered as a resolution to the archbishop’s concerns over border crossings. However, the gafcon primates did not ask Dr. Williams for his formal blessings of the project.

Legal advice given to the Archbishop of Canterbury held that his office had no role in the creation of provinces independent of the primates meeting and Anglican Consultative Council, sources told CEN.

However, Dr. Williams was able to come away with an undertaking by the primates who boycotted Lambeth 2008, that they would attend the Jan 31 to Feb 6 primates meeting in Alexandria.

Following their meeting, the Gafcon archbishops released a statement affirming their support for the third province. “The steps taken to form the new Province are a necessary initiative,” the primates said, as a “new Province will draw together in unity many of those who wish to remain faithful to the teaching of God’s word, and also create the highest level of fellowship possible with the wider Anglican Communion.”

By freeing the church from its seemingly intractable legal wrangling, a new province “releases the energy of many Anglican Christians to be involved in mission, free from the difficulties of remaining in fellowship with those who have so clearly disregarded the word of God,” they said.

Read whole article here…….