By Chris Sugden
- Wednesday July 2, 2008
For five years, the Episcopal church in US, the Anglican church of Canada, and elements of the Church of England and church in New Zealand have acted precisely like the student unions of the 1970s and Militant tendency in putting facts on the ground and defying the authorities to do anything about it. Some bishops and others have been presenting a different Christian gospel, expressed in disobedience to the teaching of the Bible, and continue to persecute and harass those who resist and object.
If the current dispute is merely a matter of different perspectives and emphases, as the Archbishop of Canterbury suggests, why are the bishops who are promoting this different gospel driving people out of their churches and removing licences from priests such as Dr Packer?
Gafcon became necessary following the persistent failure of the current authorities in the Anglican Communion to do anything about this deliberate flouting of Christian teaching and decisions of the whole Anglican Communion and its leadership.What would be an ideal response of the Archbishop of Canterbury? The Gafcon pilgrimage was about relationships above all else. The pilgrims came to meet with God, through prayer and worship, through study of his word, and pilgrimage to recall his mighty acts of redemption in history. They came to meet with each other in fellowship, Bible discussion, meals, and pilgrimage together. One presiding bishop of a dispersed Anglican group in America, the Reformed Episcopal Synod, said he now had a family.
An ideal response of the archbishop would be to focus on relationships: to meet with the primates' council of Gafcon on neutral territory: not at the Lambeth conference, which is already a compromised gathering since those who initiated this crisis, the consecrators of Gene Robinson, will be present, and since the issues are fundamental questions about the authority of scripture in the church.
Read it all at the Guardian.co.uk