Friday, March 16, 2012

Archbishop Rowan Williams: Fare Thee Well

Fr. Dale Matson

My personal reflections on the resignation of Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams is a broad church intellectual from his head down to his toes. During his tenure, he was involved more with social issues, CoE issues and allowing the revisionist agenda to advance than he was with respecting and representing the views of the majority of Anglicans in the Communion. He was often tone deaf and never has reflected the mind of the conservative communion. He acquiesced to the liberal agenda because in his heart, it was his agenda too. His proposed Anglican Covenant did not restore order or unity to a deeply divided communion. Ultimately both liberals and conservatives reject it. Based on current voting the Covenant will even be rejected by the Church of England. Like the poorly attended last Primates meeting they are votes of "no confidence". The Covenant was not a band aid or even wall paper that could hide the cracks. He was at times even disloyal to Tradition and Scripture, calling passages from the Book of Revelation “paranoid fantasy”.            

The revisionists used him but have never respected him. He has been more willing to speak out in favor of incorporating Sharia Law than apostasy in the Anglican Communion. He squandered the authority of his position and diminished the office. He has been a terrible serial disappointment. Many of us hoped in vain that he would step in and step up at each turning point during his tenure. We are further from reconciliation with the Roman and Orthodox Churches than when he began.

The Dar es Salaam Primates Communique 2007, Lambeth 2008, the TEC General Convention 2009 were watershed moments that lacked a definitive response from the ABC.  Eventually we got the message and so did the Bishops of the Southern Cone who countered the Lambeth Conference with GAFCON and the Anglican Covenant with the Jerusalem Declaration before Lambeth in 2008. The Jerusalem Declaration reflected an existing unity unlike the Anglican Covenant, which attempted to create unity where it did not exist. The Bishops representing most Anglicans formed and framed a plan B for Anglicanism. Make no mistake. They have been patiently waiting to see who will become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

He has employed a Hegelian approach to leadership that insisted on the traditional side listening to the innovators. There can be no synthesis of Gospel and another gospel. The traditional side got tired of listening. Conservative Anglicans saw that innovation did not stand the test of Scripture and Tradition. Meanwhile TEC was deposing orthodox bishops in an effort to silence conservative voices, calling themselves "inclusive". This was done without one comment from Rowan Williams. When the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin voted to leave the Episcopal Church, Rowan hastily invited Jerry Lamb to Lambeth even though Bishop Schofield held an invitation, thus recognizing a retired and improperly elected bishop. When the ACNA was formed in North America he did not publicly encourage the new province recognized by more Anglicans than TEC and led by another bishop improperly deposed by TEC, Archbishop Robert Duncan.

I am concerned by the high praise of his most likely replacement, the Archbishop of York who said the following. The last decade has been a challenging time for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. Thankfully, Archbishop Rowan is a remarkable and gifted leader who has strengthened the bonds of affection.  Despite his courageous, tireless and holy endeavor, he has been much maligned by people who should have known better. For my part he has been God’s apostle for our time. (

For me, Rowan’s tenure has produced one thing. It has produced clarity. It may seem like grasping at straws at this point but I do believe a suitable replacement can be found to fill the position of Archbishop of Canterbury. I believe the fate of Canterbury Anglicanism may well rest on the supreme governor of the Church. Elizabeth II, who may, like her predecessor Elizabeth I, provide God’s will for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. The Queen’s 2011 Christmas message was stirring. I hope she would consider someone like Bishop Michael Nazir Ali.   If Canterbury is lost then England may be lost too. This is not just a flesh and blood issue. The Anglican Communion will survive. I pray for Canterbury and God's will in the selection of the next Archbishop. May the Lord have mercy on us all.


Dale Matson said...

William Tighe,
I am confused by your comment and need clarification and or evidence before posting it. I may have misunderstood you entirely. If so, I am sorry for removing your comment and will consider re-posting it.

Dale Matson said...

This is William Tighe's comment verbatim. I was initially confused by it. "RW had at least a sympathetic understanding of the position of those opposed to the purported "ordination" of women, since he was once one himself (until about 1977), ineffectual as were his attempts to render this sympathy real,while Sentamu, by contrast, has neither sympathy nor understanding for the position of those opposed to it, despite his joining with +rowan in recent years to try to promote some gossamer figleaf accomodation for opponents." More succinctly, RW was opposed to women's ordination until 1977. Dale Matson+

Dale Matson said...

Here is a press release from the Church of Nigeria.