From the Living Church:
'A Problem of America' at Lambeth
“The problem we are basically facing is a problem of America,” he said. “They want to push their problems on to other nations.”
“The problem we are basically facing is a problem of America,” he said. “They want to push their problems on to other nations.”
The Common Cause Partnership leaders issued a statement today welcoming the Jerusalem Declaration and the statement on the Global Anglican Future and pledging to move forward with the work of Anglican unity in North America.
We, as the Bishops and elected leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are deeply grateful for the Jerusalem Declaration. It describes a hopeful, global Anglican future, rooted in scripture and the authentic Anglican way of faith and practice. We joyfully welcome the words of the GAFCON statement that it is now time ‘for the federation currently known as the Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates Council.’
The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates Council.
We accept the call to build the Common Cause Partnership into a truly unified body of Anglicans. We are committed to that call. Over the past months, we have worked together, increasing the number of partners and authorizing committees and task groups for Mission, Education, Governance, Prayer Book & Liturgy, the Episcopate, and Ecumenical Relations. The Executive Committee is meeting regularly to carry forward the particulars of this call. The CCP Council will meet December 1-3, 2008.
The Common Cause Partnership links together nine Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America. Together, the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church represent more the 1,300 Anglican parishes in the United States and Canada. The Common Cause Partnership Executive Committee is: The Rt. Rev’d Robert Duncan, Moderator; The Venerable Charlie Masters, General Secretary; Mrs. Patience Oruh, Treasurer; The Rt. Rev’d Keith Ackerman, Forward in Faith North America; The Rt. Rev’d David Anderson, American Anglican Council; The Rt. Rev’d Donald Harvey, Anglican Network in Canada; The Rt. Rev’d Paul Hewett, Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas; The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America; The Rt. Rev’d Chuck Murphy, Anglican Mission in the Americas; The Rt. Rev’d Leonard Riches, Reformed Episcopal Church; The Rt. Rev’d Bill Atwood, Anglican Church of Kenya and The Rt. Rev’d John Guernsey, Church of the Province of Uganda.
The Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield remains a bishop of the Anglican Communion, though his exact status must be clarified, the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared.
"The long awaited decision by Dr. Williams as to whether Bishop Schofield is or is not an Anglican, avoids a confrontation at this week’s Lambeth Conference between two bishops of San Joaquin, and allows Bishop Schofield to withdraw from the conference due to his declining ill health, without conceding his right to attend the gathering.
Writing to the Presiding Bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina, on July 12, Dr. Williams rejected assertions made by the Episcopal Church that Bishop Schofield and his diocese were no longer Anglicans.
“I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion,” Dr. Williams declared."
"The Archbishop of Canterbury’s efforts to steer the Anglican Communion away from the theological and political shoals appears to have been for naught, as the 14th Lambeth Conference began to founder on its second business day.
While the three day retreat led by Dr. Williams was universally applauded by bishops from across the geographic and theological spectrum, once the bishops were loosed upon each other the tensions that have plagued the Communion stepped back into center stage."
Cardinal Ivan Dias, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples said internal dissention within the Christian world and external attacks were hindering the spread of the faith. However, “for a disciple of Jesus Christ” to “preach the Gospel is not an option, but a command of the Lord.”
St. John Chrysostom
Homily XLVII. Matt. XIII. 34, 35.
The idea of a Covenant as a way out of the difficulties in which the Anglican Communion finds itself has been proposed in several quarters. The St Andrews Draft Text of An Anglican Covenant is one such attempt. The GAFCON Theological Resource Team reviewed the St Andrews Draft Text during pre-conference preparations in Jerusalem on 20th and 21st June 2008.
An Anglican Covenant was intended as a response to a crisis in the Anglican Communion which has been accurately described as ‘a rending of the Communion at the deepest level’. Determined departures from the teaching of Scripture on human sexuality by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are the immediate cause this situation. There appears no prospect of repentance from this repudiation of biblical authority on the part of either of these bodies (or from those elsewhere who have followed their lead in endorsing behaviour which Scripture explicitly forbids). Underlying these actions is a long history of marginalising, avoiding and at last rejecting the plain teaching of the Bible. In other words, the issue which we should expect this covenant to address is one of apostasy.
Many attempts have been made to address the breach of relationships caused by the setting aside of biblical teaching by some provinces, dioceses, and individual bishops, beginning at Kuala Lumpur in 1997, at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, and culminating recently, after consistent efforts in the intervening years, in the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007.
Sadly this new draft of An Anglican Covenant is both seriously limited and severely flawed. Whether or not the tool of covenant is the right way to approach the crisis within the Communion, this document is defective and its defects cannot be corrected by piecemeal amendment because they are fundamental. The St. Andrews Draft is theologically incoherent and its proposals unworkable. It has no prospect of success since it fails to address the problems which have created the crisis and the new realities which have ensued.
This document falls in effect into two parts. Sections 1 and 2 mention some matters of faith, but section 3 is in fact the critical section of the document, because this introduces the thought of Churches as being ‘autonomous-in-communion’. It is on this concept that the proposed resolution of Communion disputes rests.
Our response will confine itself to seven areas of theological concern and will briefly mention two other significant issues in its conclusion.
Serious Theological Flaws
1. A failure to address the issue
Any covenant document has to recognise fully the mischief it seeks to address. This document makes no mention of the crisis which has generated the call for such a remedy, which is a crisis of obedience to Scripture. Further, it fails to recognise that in the eyes of many the ‘instruments of Communion’ (3.1.4) are themselves part of the problem. This means that trying to use such failed instruments as arbiters of a future solution is problematic in the extreme. Put bluntly, this covenant will not allow the real issues to be addressed.
2. An illegitimate notion of autonomy
The understanding of the individual Churches of the Communion throughout this document is fatally ambiguous. The language of autonomy in communion is introduced in 3.1.2., but there has been no justification produced for this concept in the preceding sections. More seriously this language is unqualified and so fails to distinguish between matters on which Scripture is silent (and where there may be legitimate liberty and indeed diversity) and matters on which Scripture has spoken definitively (and where autonomy is therefore a euphemism for sin). Our obedience to Scripture and our responsibility to each other must significantly qualify all talk of ‘autonomy’ with reference to any congregation, diocese, province or, indeed, the Communion itself.
3. No biblical theology
The entire document, and particularly the statement concerning ‘the inheritance of faith’ in paragraph 1, is detached from the Scriptural narrative of salvation and redemption from sin, which Churches in the Communion have seen realised. The principal concerns of Scripture are ignored as the document concentrates on matters which are dependent and consequential upon those concerns. The unity of Christians flows out of the redeeming work of Christ and the incorporative ministry of the Spirit. Any attempt to generate or sustain such unity on our own terms and by our own institutional efforts without reference to this prior and determinative reality must be judged sub-biblical.
4. A faulty anthropology
An Anglican Covenant is primarily concerned with the doctrine of the church. However, any doctrine of the church presupposes a doctrine of humanity. The anthropology implicit in this document fails to capture the reality of any Christian’s life in this world as this is explained by Scripture. Christians are those who are redeemed by Christ but who remain sinful until God’s purposes are brought to their completion when Christ returns. This twofold reality has very significant implications for the life of the church. The reality of temptation and sin, a reality experienced by all no matter what their office in the church, needs to be taken seriously.
5. An absent eschatology
This document fails to adopt an appropriately biblical eschatological perspective. Its preoccupation with institutional processes is at the expense of a proper sense of our corporate and individual accountability to God on the Last Day for proper custodianship of the deposit of Faith. There is no reference to sin, judgement, ‘the coming wrath’ or to God’s provision of a remedy in the cross of Christ and the forgiveness of sins which attends faith and repentance.
6. Neglect of obedience
Throughout this document an attenuated view of biblical authority is presented. A critical element of the Christian response to God and his Word is missing. The Church is called not merely to treat God’s Word respectfully (1.2.4.), but to obey it. The absence of the language of obedience to the Word of God throughout the document is one of its most serious flaws.
7. An isolated and vacuous appeal to unity
Throughout An Anglican Covenant, biblical values are not treated in their mutual relationship. In particular the biblical injunctions to unity are in effect disconnected from the equally serious injunctions of Scripture to preserve the truth given to us. Paragraph 3.2 deals almost exclusively with perceived threats to the unity of the Communion rather than moral and doctrinal error, once again ignoring that our current disunity is the result of departures from the truth taught in Scripture in both of these areas.
Given the profound and fatal difficulties identified in the draft covenant, the legal framework of the appendix will likewise be open to overwhelming objection. The proposed legal framework in any event exhibits the same flaws as the parent document, notably in the way unity is abstracted from biblical faithfulness and no account is taken of the possibility that the instruments of Communion themselves might be the focus of objection. Two other objections must be mentioned. First, the document describes four instruments of Communion, which it proposes will provide solutions to disputes. It fails to recognise the disproportionate influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who invites to the Lambeth Conference, chairs the ACC and calls the Primates’ Meeting. The problem of this undue influence is compounded by the lack of formal accountability on the part of the Archbishop and the prominence the document envisages for this Primate is frankly colonialist. Secondly, the prominence given to the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and Primates raises problems in increasing further the ability of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the ACC to exercise disproportionate influence over the Primates, thereby tending in effect to silence dissentient primatial voices.
On faith and false teaching. We warmly welcome the Archbishop's affirmation of the Jerusalem Statement as positive and encouraging and in particular that it would be shared by the vast majority of Anglicans. We are however concerned that he should think we assume that all those outside GAFCON are proclaiming another gospel. In no way do we believe that we are the only ones to hold a correct interpretation of scripture according to its plain meaning. We believe we are holding true to the faith once delivered to the saints as it has been received in the Anglican tradition. Many are contending for and proclaiming the orthodox faith throughout the Anglican Communion. Their efforts are, however, undermined by those who are clearly pursuing a false gospel. We are not claiming to be a sinless church. Our concern is with false teaching which justifies sin in the name of Christianity. These are not merely matters of different perspectives and emphases. They have led to unbiblical practice in faith and morals, resulting in impaired and broken communion. We long for all orthodox Anglicans to join in resisting this development.
On the uniqueness of Christ. We are equally concerned to hear that 'the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God' is 'not in dispute' in the Anglican Communion. Leading bishops in The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and even the Church of England have denied the need to evangelise among people of other faiths, promoted and attended syncretistic events and, in some cases, refused to call Jesus Lord and Saviour.
On legitimacy. In the current disorder in the Communion, GAFCON came together as a gathering of lay leaders, clergy and bishops from over 25 countries on the basis of their confession of the common historic Christian faith. They formed a Council in obedience to the word of God to defend the faith and the faithful who are at risk in some Anglican dioceses and congregations.
GAFCON, where the governing structures of many provinces were present, affirmed such a Council of the GAFCON movement as its body to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.
In their primates and other bishops, the assembly saw a visible connection to the catholic and apostolic Church and the evangelical and catholic faith which many have received from the Church of England and the historic see of Canterbury. It is this faith which we seek to affirm.
On authority. As the Virginia Report notes, in the Anglican tradition, authority is not concentrated in a single centre, but rather across a number of persons and bodies. This Council is a first step towards bringing greater order to the Communion, both for the sake of bringing long overdue discipline and as a reforming initiative for our institutions.
Whilst we respect territoriality, it cannot be absolute. For missionary and pastoral reasons there have long been overlapping jurisdictions in Anglicanism itself – historically in South Africa, New Zealand, the Gulf and Europe. In situations of false teaching, moreover, it has sometimes been necessary for other bishops to intervene to uphold apostolic faith and order.
On discipline. Finally, with regard to the Archbishop's concern about people who have been disciplined in one jurisdiction and have been accepted in another, we are clear that any such cases have been investigated thoroughly and openly with the fullest possible transparency. Bishops and parishes have been given oversight only after the overseeing bishops have been fully satisfied of no moral impediments to their action.
We enclose a response to the St Andrew's Draft Covenant. (See separate post).
We assure the Archbishop of Canterbury of our respect as the occupier of an historic see which has been used by God to the benefit of his church and continue to pray for him to be given wisdom and discernment.
Friday, July 18, 2008"James Tramel went from convicted murderer to priest while in prison, a transformation that the Episcopal Church used to successfully lobby for his parole and celebrate him before politicians and the press...
After he was paroled early in 2006, at the urging of the Episcopal bishop of California, Tramel was quickly placed at the helm of the historic Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco...
It's there that the victim said Tramel, who is married and has a young child, took advantage of her during counseling sessions...The diocese acknowledges that Tramel abused his power and committed sexual misconduct, according to diocesan spokesman Sean McConnell, as well as a letter from diocesan Chancellor William Orrick and other documents...
The victim has asked for $265,000 for therapy and to move from her rent-controlled apartment, which is near the Bush Street church, where the relationship started. She also asked that Tramel be prohibited from resuming priestly duties...
The diocese countered with an offer for "spiritual support" - an offer the victim said infuriated her because it would replicate the situation in which she was taken advantage of... Andrus declined to comment. He is in England at the once-a-decade gathering of bishops in the Anglican Communion, the 77 million-member global body that is represented in the United States by the Episcopal Church. The Telegraph, an English newspaper, named him this week as one of the 20 most influential Anglicans in the world... When Tramel was placed at Trinity, Andrus approved the decision. Yet Lossing said Andrus had no power in the situation involving Tramel... "Obviously, Andrus is nothing but the representative, the titular head of the diocese," Lossing said. "He doesn't have any individual legal investment here..." But the victim said Andrus should have taken more action to supervise a priest with a murder rap...
Andrus declined to comment. He is in England at the once-a-decade gathering of bishops in the Anglican Communion, the 77 million-member global body that is represented in the United States by the Episcopal Church. The Telegraph, an English newspaper, named him this week as one of the 20 most influential Anglicans in the world...
When Tramel was placed at Trinity, Andrus approved the decision. Yet Lossing said Andrus had no power in the situation involving Tramel...
"Obviously, Andrus is nothing but the representative, the titular head of the diocese," Lossing said. "He doesn't have any individual legal investment here..."
But the victim said Andrus should have taken more action to supervise a priest with a murder rap...
Hundreds of English clergy appear poised to defect from the Church of England to join a new conservative movement after a conference led by rebel archbishops was swamped with delegates in London yesterday.
The 750 delegates attending the meeting in central London were asked to pledge their allegiance to a 14-point manifesto issued last weekend in Jerusalem by the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), a coalition of traditionalist clergy who have challenged the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury.
According to the conservative website, Anglican Mainstream, clergy and churchwardens are asked to "stand in solidarity" with Gafcon by registering their support online.
The popularity of the event caught organisers and speakers by surprise, as only half that number were expected. The attendance level, in addition to the 50 serving English clergy sponsoring the meeting, indicated the disillusion felt by conservative evangelicals.
Read it all at Guardian.co.uk
By Chris Sugden
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.
The answer turned out to be easy.
"We all sat around the table, and pretty well with one voice, we said, we are not leaving the Anglican Communion," Archbishop Greg Venables, who oversees several countries in South America, said from Jerusalem. "We are not going to break away and form another church."
There had been talk preceding the meeting of a theological divorce. The group did not split because, Venables says, "we are the true Anglicans."
"We don't accept that we can hand over the franchise of Anglicanism to people who suddenly, without consulting anyone, decided to create a new version of Anglicanism," he says.
Read or listen to the entire article at NPR
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has responded to the final declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference with the following statement:
The Final Statement from the GAFCON meeting in Jordan and Jerusalem contains much that is positive and encouraging about the priorities of those who met for prayer and pilgrimage in the last week. The ‘tenets of orthodoxy’ spelled out in the document will be acceptable to and shared by the vast majority of Anglicans in every province, even if there may be differences of emphasis and perspective on some issues. I agree that the Communion needs to be united in its commitments on these matters, and I have no doubt that the Lambeth Conference will wish to affirm all these positive aspects of GAFCON’s deliberations. Despite the claims of some, the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God and the absolute imperative of evangelism are not in dispute in the common life of the Communion [the letter continues]
Read it all on the Anglican Communion News Service
"All around the world the sleeping giant that is evangelical Anglicanism and orthodox Anglicanism has been aroused by what happened in Canada and the United States of America. It was an act of folly." - Archbishop Jensen (Sydney)
Conservative evangelicals representing half of the world's Anglicans launched a new global church yesterday, challenging the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and vowing to rescue people from the forces of "militant secularism and pluralism" created by a "spiritual decline" in developing economies.
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Foca, will sever ties with the main churches in the US and Canada, whose leaders they accuse of betraying biblical teaching. Foca architects will tomorrow go to the conservative evangelical church of All Souls, in central London, to discuss global Anglicanism and English orthodoxy.
Hundreds of disgruntled clergy, representing many Church of England parishes, will be in the audience and the speakers will include the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, and the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi.
Great swaths of Anglican provinces, including Africa, South America and Asia, are furious with their counterparts in the northern hemisphere, accusing them of being in thrall to contemporary culture, with the ordination and consecration of gay New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson acting as a turning point. The creation of Foca is a schism in all but name.
Outraged over the "false gospel" being promoted in the west, Foca pledges a return to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, ignoring 21st-century additions and interpretations. It will train its own priests by sending them to hardline theological colleges such as Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and Oak Hill, London, and will insist on more orthodox practices in its churches.
There will also be a primates' council, comprising senior bishops and archbishops who attended the Jerusalem summit that led to Foca's inception.
At a press conference Jensen said they would bring "order to a situation of turmoil" and help to deal with "the chaos caused in the Anglican church through revisionist activities". [the article continues]
Read it all at The Guardian