Archive for March, 2009


Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

I will be away until mid HOLY WEEK, Please visit

Until I am back at my desk.


Fr Gavin

CANA praises Church of Nigeria decision to be in full communion with Anglican Church in North America

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

March 20th, 2009 Posted in News |

HERNDON, Va. (March 20, 2009) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America praised the unanimous decision of the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee to be in full communion with the emerging Anglican province, the Anglican Church of North America.  The Church of Nigeria is the first Anglican province to formally accept the emerging province as a branch of the Anglican Communion.  CANA is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, which includes about 700 congregations.

“Once again, we within CANA are grateful to the Church of Nigeria for creating a formal branch between orthodox Anglican congregations in North America and the well-respected Province, as the Church of Nigeria did for CANA several years ago.  It is a significant decision that will strengthen the unity among those in the U.S. who wish to remain faithful to their Christian beliefs while remaining in good standing as part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.  Our continued prayer is for Anglicans across the world to be able to stay faithful to orthodox beliefs within the Anglican Communion.  This decision by the Church of Nigeria formalizes that hope,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

US Church to be asked to make marriage service gender-neutral

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Sunday, 8th March 2009. 6:02pm

By: George Conger.

The General Convention of the US Episcopal Church will be asked to authorize rites for the blessing of same-sex unions at their triennial meeting in July. On Jan 31 the Diocese of Newark synod endorsed a resolution asking the General Convention to amend the national Church’s canons governing Holy Matrimony, making them gender-neutral.

US Church to be asked to make marriage service gender-neutral

ewark’s Resolution 2009-05 asks the national church to amend Canon 18: Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony, substituting the words “two persons” where the words “a man and a woman” now appear, and to amend Canon 19: Of Regulations Respecting Holy Matrimony, to substitute the word “spouse” where the words “husband or wife” appear.

Delegates to the Newark synod also asked their diocesan clergy to henceforth record services solemnizing same-sex civil unions in the parish register “in a manner identical to the recording of marriages,” and stated the diocese’s intention of asking the national Church to amend its canons making this innovation church wide.

Originally set down as a resolution to be adopted without debate, but removed from the synod’s “consent calendar” after protest, the resolution to amend the Church’s marriage canons stated that it would not authorize any further public rites for same-sex blessings, but would modify existing rites “when the needs of the congregation so require.”

It was “important that The Episcopal Church modify its canons to reflect the gender neutrality now reflected in the law in those states where the law permits” gay marriage, the resolution said.

Recording gay marriages in parish registers was a matter of justice, the second resolution averred.

“Until same-sex couples are accorded full marriage rights it is incumbent upon the Church to recognize their unions in an identical manner as opposite-sex couples and to give civil unions the same dignity and respect bestowed on opposite-sex marriages. The Church does justice and exercises pastoral care by requiring clergy to record civil unions in the Parish Register” in states that have permitted gay marriage, the resolution said.

At their Feb 1-5 meeting in Alexandria, the Primates urged the Episcopal Church to maintain its moratorium on gay bishops and blessings as did the 2008 Lambeth Conference. While many US dioceses have called for an end to the moratorium enacted at the 2006 General Convention, it is unclear whether the church as a whole will repudiate Lambeth, the primates and Dr Rowan Williams’ call for “gracious restraint.”

Dr. William Witt explains why it is that most current TEC bishops tend have so little knowledge of Scripture, theology and historical Anglicanism

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

From Stand Firm (Hat Tip Barbara Gauthier)

In the late 1960’s the focus of Anglican scholarship and literature shifted dramatically — and so did the seminaries:

Liberal Protestantism (in the sense represented by Ingham) did not exist at all until Schleiermacher, and did not exist in Anglicanism until the late nineteenth/early twentieth century.

Historic Broad Church Anglicanism was not Liberal Protestantism. (F.D. Maurice and William Temple, for example, believed every article of the creed.) Additionally, until the last twenty years or so, liberalism was never considered at the center of Anglican identity, but was tolerated as a kind of protest movement in the church with the understanding that Reformed catholic orthodoxy was the heart of Anglican identity. Anglican authority was defined by the creeds and the theological content of the (1662) BCP , as well as the 39 Articles, all understood fairly literally.

I have seen little evidence that “historic Broad Church Anglicanism” still exists. What used to be called “Broad Church” seems to have morphed into Liberal Protestantism. Perhaps it still exists in the C of E some place.

Wherever I have found acceptance of same sex-unions, I have also found theological compromise on other issues as well. In TEC these days, the dominant theology seems to be either blatant Liberal Protestantism or an “Affirming Catholicism” that is really “Unitarian Dressup,” a love of “smells and bells” with minimal commitment to Catholic Theology.

Certainly the seminaries are largely responsible. If one reads the theological literature of the last century, one notices a sudden change in Anglican theology that took place beginning in the 1960s. In the first half of the century, the dominant Anglican theologians were people like William Temple, Michael Ramsey, Oliver Quick, Eric Mascall, Austin Farrer. Biblically, the scholars were people like C. H. Dodd and C. F. D. Moule. The most widely read Anglican authors were probably C. S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, and Evelyn Underhill.

Beginning in the 1960s, we have Bishop John A. T. Robinson’s Honest to God (warmed over “Tillich”), Norman Pittinger’s process theology, Bishop Pike, and the standard Systematic Theology text is John Macquarrie’s Principles of Christian Theology. (Macquarrie’s chief influences were Heidegger and Bultmann.) Donald M. Baillie’s immensely popular Christology, God was in Christ: An Essay on Incarnation and Atonement (1948) is twentieth century Nestorianism, although Baillie seems to have thought he was defending orthodoxy. Joseph Fletcher, author of Situation Ethics, taught Christian ethics at EDS. The dominant biblical scholars in this period were people like Dennis Nineham, John Knox (not the Reformation figure, but a Presbyterian NT scholar), W. H. Lampe (advocate of “Spirit-Christology”), and, of course, J.A.T. Robinson, all of whom were adoptionists of various sorts. The most widely read Episcopal author during the late twentieth century was likely Bishop Spong.

My colleague, Leander Harding, has been writing a book on the ordained ministry, and did some research at Sewanee on the literature that had been written by Episcopalians over the last century. In the early twentieth century, the primary content of the writing was theological. The main biblical text discussed was the Book of Hebrews. The writers discussed issues like the relation between Word and Sacraments, eucharistic sacrifice, etc. After mid-twentieth century, there was a shift to the therapeutic. Episcopal writers on the priesthood now talked about ministry in terms of counseling, management, parish leadership. The previous theological and biblical content simply disappeared.

So there is a sense in which our good friend [in] Santa Fe’s shock at the questioning of his orthodoxy is not surprising. If he were educated in TEC seminaries sometime during the 1960s or early 1970s, he likely would not have been exposed to historic Anglicanism, but rather to a liberal Protestantism that was new to Anglicanism, but had blossomed almost overnight, a kind of theological kudzu. I would imagine that most of the current bishops in TEC would have been indoctrinated in the new theology during their seminary days.

It is interesting that many Anglican/Episcopal theologians who started out fairly orthodox shifted ground later on. J.A. T. Robinson was initially fairly orthodox , writing some good books on biblical theology in the 1950s. Peter Carnley wrote some good material on the historical reliability of the gospels early in his career, but in the 1980s wrote a book on the Resurrection that was, to say the least, squishy. Richard Norris wrote some good material on Christology in the early 1980s, as well as a pretty good volume on Systematic Theology for the 1970s Church Teaching series. Toward the end of his life he endorsed “same sex” blessings.