November 28, 2014

February 26, 2013


The Baucum - Johnston Conversation. Baucum: Johnston is an Orthodox Brother

Anglican Mainstream has published what they report to be the public conversation between Tory Baucum and Shannon Johnston at the recent Faith in Conflict Conference that we’ve been writing a lot about lately. There’s so much here to respond to I think it’s worth taking the time to work through. Do forgive me for the longish post, I trust you’ll find it worthwhile.

Do please also note AM’s caveat at the start:

These do not claim to be verbatim notes – and should be checked against a recording. But they seek to give the flavour of the discussion that took place in Coventry Cathedral at the Faith in Conflict Conference on February 26 2013, chaired by Canon David Porter, Director of Reconciliation for the Archbishop of Canterbury and in the presence of the Archbishop and 200 plus participants.

Here we go.

William Marsh began by asking the two discussants to give some background.

Rev Tory Baucum explained that he became Rector of Truro Church in 2007. The church had already been engaged in a lawsuit over its property for eight months.  There were accumulated grievances between Truro and the Diocese of Virginia and the national church (TEC). In the past Truro had helped introduce the charismatic renewal to TEC.  It also had a strong missions involvement, for example with a 40 year long relationship with the Diocese of Kigezi in the Church of Uganda which helped shape its understanding of spirituality.

“The tipping point came in 2003 with the consecration of Gene Robinson as a bishop, a man in a sexual relationship with another man.  The Primates Meeting (of 2003) said that such a consecration would tear the Anglican Communion at its deepest level.  Anglicans especially from the Global South said it was a schismatic act, which I think it was.  This led Truro Church to align itself with another part of the Anglican Communion. This was the setting in which I came into Truro.

Bishop Shannon Johnston:  I was elected Bishop coadjutor, with the right of succession in January 2007 and consecrated in May 2007.  I do not know what it was like to be a bishop without legal issues around. I became the diocesan bishop in 2009.  Truro was one of the fifteen lawsuits in progress when I became bishop. I agree that the tipping point was the election and consecration of a gay man in a committed monogamous relationship. This became the tipping point for the churches that decided to withdraw from the diocese.

Virginia is the largest diocese in TEC on the mainland of the USA.  It is an iconic diocese with the oldest Anglican churches – for example Jamestown in 1607.  It has many of the oldest congregations.  It has many iconic churches in an iconic diocese. It was involved in the same conflict that was taking part in different parts of the USA.

WM: What happens then?

TB:  The battle was protracted.  A lot of lifelong friendships have been broken. There have been battles over custody of the property. Personal life and ecclesial life has been affected.

SJ The relational side affected me more than the legal side.  The relational side is where I put my focus.

And here, friends, you see how Johnston is going to play this whole thing - he’s so hurt by the whole thing, so saddened by how relationships, which he focusses on, have been broken. This, also, will now become the thrust - restored relationships. Let’s see how it plays out.

WM.  So you are both in post and inherited litigation.

TB.  We met two years ago in 2011.  I had been wanting to meet Shannon.  We had been in a lawsuit at war. I had asked a predecessor of mine at Truro, Bishop John Howe to reach out to Shannon.  I went to Richmond to meet him.

The lawsuit was the occasion not the reason. I had been the rector for three years.  I had seen a reluctance in the church to reach out to different communities in our area.  There was fear.  I could not just tell people to reach out to people and places they were afraid of without setting an example. I wanted to reach out to an adversary.  We read that perfect love casts out fear, but equally perfect fear casts out love.

SJ.  My interest was in the relationships – I love to listen.  I was intrigued by the call that came out of the blue.  I was delighted Tory could come to sit down in the office so we could sit down to talk.  I was not sure what we would be talk about.  I felt there was a leading of the Spirit in this.  This caught me off guard. My sense would be to be defensive.  I was surrounded by something that felt godly from the beginning.

Here we see something that ought to be very concerning - both sides confirm that it was Baucum who initiated this process. Baucum, the rector of a church which had left the diocese because of heresy (for what other reason is there for such a dramatic action?) was actually the one who reached out to Johnston to establish a relationship of Christian fellowship.

The meetings were initially tense. But we ended with prayer.  And we asked why do we not meet each month.

WM Did people know you were meeting?

TB The meetings were private.  We considered that space to be safe.  Truro Vestry knew that I was meeting.  We kept it closed to protect it.

Truro Church has not been afraid to take a stand if it is a real matter of truth and justice.  Deep in the soul of the parish is the desire for peacemaking.

To give an example: the Chapel of Virginia Theological Seminary burnt down.  The Vestry decided to give significant sum of money to rebuild the chapel in our former diocese.

After the second ruling came which we lost, we called a special prayer meeting.  500 members gathered to pray.  A reporter who came said “I do not believe this. There is no anger but a sweet spirit.”

SJ My chief of staff, a practicing attorney was nervous about what the bishop might say. There were misgivings about a meeting behind closed doors and with no reports.  There was a fear of the unknown.  As the meetings went on they began to give it more space.  He began to see some change in me in relation to my ministry as a bishop from the time I began to meet with Tory. I had more of a sense of confidence.

BM Did this enhance you?

SJ.  I grew through this friendship.

TB This path changes you.

Well (and there’s simply no way to put this nicely) that is quite clear. This has changed Baucum. But it might be more accurate to say that it has taken him further along a road that he himself started walking on. There’s a clear sense of irony here, given his sermon that I commented on last year. For now let me just remind you of the text that was preached on there…

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…

now, back to the conversation…

WM What else developed?  What else progressed?

TB. God was with us.  There were always three present in our meetings.  Trust had been destroyed in this process.  The pathway to trust is transparency.  We would not paper over our differences nor would we exaggerate them.

I would not exaggerate them to say there were two different religions.  This has caused great disruption in a church which we loved.  We were doing this for the sake of the communities we were called to pastor.

I hope you all see why this is so very troubling. Baucum insists that he and Johnston do not have 2 different religions. And so here is the very heart of the problem he has now brought upon Truro. If they are still following the same one Christian faith then it was simply scandalous for Truro to part company with the diocese over what would have to be regarded as a second-order issue. He’s basically declared that there was no reason to make such a massive move. As I’ve said before, it utterly undermines not simply his own parish’s decisions but in reality the entire raison d’etre of the ACNA.

SJ Our prayers grew in scope and depth. I began to think something was opening up.  Our conversations were going to places we did not think they would go.  We talked about ordinary and personal things, theology and personal things.  Things opened up more and that set the stage for the next step.  It has always been we take a step into the unknown – we do not know why. Trust has been the great virtue.  Trusting God’s presence among us.  What do we see new? That new thing we see calls us to take another step.  We do not have much knowledge about where this is leading,

WM: What has been the impact on you of those who disagree with what you are doing?

TB It is painful and unfair. A lot of people who write about this have been wounded and betrayed.  They ask “Please do not let Tory betray us”. I have had those experiences myself.  I did not become the Rector of Truro to fight the Episcopal Church. I do not preach against TEC.  I still love TEC.  I consider Shannon a friend and a brother who has taken a wrong turn. This is not the same thing as not being a Christian.

He does worship the same resurrected Christ, he believes the same Nicene Faith. These are not nothing.  Those conversations do not happen on the blog.  By persevering over time – if this is godly and right God will vindicate it in time.

WM A brother who has taken a wrong turn.  Is one mutually exclusive of the other?

TB Augustine in discussion with the Donatists refers to his interlocutor as a brother.  One can be in serious error and be a brother.  The patron of a divided church is St Francis de Sales.  He did not convert the Protestants in Geneva back to the Catholic church. He decided to assault Geneva with love.  He only cited the authorities they could both accept.  This was relational orthodoxy. It does matter how we talk with one another. Even if someone is not in your view a brother, he is still made in the image of God. I do not feel lonely in terms of the great cloud of witnesses.

And here is the heart of Baucum’s betrayal (and that is what it is, despite his protestations). He declares that Johnston is to be regarded as orthodox. But there is more here. Let me outline just a few of many observations that could be made at this point:

  1. When Baucum says he does not preach against TEC there is something deficient and inappropriate given his position as Rector of a church that left TEC over heresy. While it ought not to define his ministry, he ought to be very aware of the issues that led to the departure and, of course, the duty of every minister is to not only speak positively of the gospel but also speak against error.
  2. Johnston’s serious error is so serious that it leads people straight to Hell - by affirming as godly that which the Scriptures say leads to damnation. With that in mind, part of his conversation with Johnston ought to have been to reiterate how terrible Johnston’s position was. Can you imagine a shepherd meeting up with the wolves and saying that it was acceptable since the wolves were only in serious error and had simply taken a wrong turn?
  3. Baucum’s appeal to Augustine is at best misguided. Yes, Augustine refers to the Donatists as “brothers” but consider how he does so (the citation here is from “Against the Donatists I.2
    For if the horse and mule, which have no understanding, resist with all the force of bites and kicks the efforts of the men who treat their wounds in order to cure them; and yet the men, though they are often exposed to danger from their teeth and heels, and sometimes meet with actual hurt, nevertheless do not desert them till they restore them to health through the pain and annoyance which the healing process gives—how much more should man refuse to desert his fellow-man, or brother to desert his brother, lest he should perish everlastingly…
    It’s quite clear that Augustine may use the term “brother” but he also states clearly that his idea of reconciliation with the Donatist “brothers” is that they repent lest they suffer everlasting damnation. I think it’s also clear that this is not the nature of Baucum’s conversation with Johnston.
  4. The appeal to De Sales is also misguided. The debates between the Reformers and Rome were full of citations from the Early Fathers but the point was that both sides wanted to make the argument that they were the true inheritors of those Fathers’  theologies. It wasn’t an attempt to affirm a common ground but a clear statement that the other had no genuine legitimacy. That was the preceding context for De Sales. He did not try to undermine that context or contradict what had been said before by Rome about the legitimacy of Reformed leaders or of Reformed doctrine. By contrast, Baucum’s words and actions serve to legitimize Bishop Johnston as a Faithful if mistaken Christian leader and disciple.

SJ I hold the same tension about agreeing and disagreeing. I am concerned about the way our position in TEC has been characterised.  Agreement is overrated.  What I am trying to do is stay in there and reclaim the best charism of Anglicanism – a ‘both-and’ quality. Looking back to the Elizabethan settlement. I am committed to being able to say that we do not paper over our differences.

WM How has your thinking about unity changed?

SJ I was a Music major and so I take an illustration from Music.  Leonard Bernstein is a favourite conductor of mine. In 1962 he conducted a concert of Brahms second piano concerto.  Bernstein said he disagreed with the pianist’s conception of the concerto.  Bernstein decided still to conduct the performance because of the integrity of the pianist.  They both disagreed with each other’s view of the score.  We make the music the gospel makes even when we find there are points of disagreement.

But consider 2 things here. First, briefly, this is not an appeal to Scripture as an argument. There is, tellingly, no appeal to scripture by either man anywhere in this interview (at least according to these notes). There can’t be since what is taking place between them is biblically indefensible. Second, what actually occurs in Johnston’s illustration is that the conductor submits himself to the pianist’s position. They may have disagreed with each other but there was no actual compromise. It may have been “unity” but one side had to capitulate his position to the others. And, of course, this is exactly what Baucum has done - he has capitulated to Johnston’s claim that TEC and the bishop of Virginia remains orthodox. Johnston has given up nothing in this whole “discussion”.

WM: What is the price you have chosen to pay?

TB So many of our sisters and brothers around the world have truly suffered for the faith. My experience has been most intense.  I have to say that it has not been worth it so far.  But I am living in hope.  I have a deep confidence that God has called us.  I am looking to see what God is going is to do. I come from a place where Jazz is the music. In Jazz there is no such thing as a bad note but there are no bad resolutions.

SJ We have come to know each other.  There is an incredible role of leadership in spirituality.  Some of Elizabeth’s (Mrs Baucum) comments been very influential.

WM: What are the challenges to being leaders in this context.

SJ How could I have a relationship with a church that had pulled out of the diocese?  They sense less than a steady hand on the wheel. I have received more affirmation than criticism.  Agreement is overrated. It has been very rewarding,  Many people have come out of the shadows.  Though it was right that the diocese should retain the property, they felt that the way we had been going through this divide has not felt right.  The way in which this was unfolding did not work for me. Something between Tory and myself enabled them to come to a better space.

Again, see how Johnston has won the argument here. “Agreement is overrated”. They are now both living into the tension of mutually contradictory positions being both affirmed. Please note, once more, Johnston has not had to move an inch, but Baucum has walked a long way down that Psalm 1:1 road.

Questions:

Q You both seem to be kind and generous and nice people.  How might it be possible to repeat the interaction you have had you have had among people who are not that nice?

What, like among the Stand Firm bloggers? wink

TB The quality of friendship is a common heart.  Can this be replicated?  What can be replicated is desire not to live in fear.  They are a son and daughter of God.  The other issues are not defining realities. If you start there and reach out there is no telling what might happen.  There are some principles we can learn – things we are not doing.

I can’t believe I’m reading this. “The other issues are not defining realities”. Think that through. The fact that Johnston is saying that sin is godly, that the word of God is not true, is not a defining reality alongside the fact that he is a son of God. But while you’re trying hard not to choke on your drink, can I advise you actually put your cup firmly on the table because the next sentence is shocking.

In living into this conflict we are living into the mystery of Christ.  It is not a problem to get around so that we can get on and do the real gospel thing.

And there it is. In black and white. “In living into this conflict…”.

Yes my friends, Baucum just read straight out of the Griswold playbook, from Schori’s deep scripts of profundity.

IN LIVING INTO THIS CONFLICT…

SJ How much of what we share is based on our individual temperaments? The substance is allowed for by our temperaments.  The methodology can be adapted to any sort of temperament.  Reconciliation is the gospel. It is a commitment to be who you are, if the other person can feel the authenticity.

Q.  Can you see the change cascading down?

TB   At Truro we have more seekers in the Alpha Course.

SJ Other voices have got involved other than the lawyers. I want to cleanse the wound. God is involved in this so I trust that God has all of this going on at the same time. I do believe that the Holy Spirit has all of this going on at the same time.

WM Do you not think Shannon should repent?

TB Yes. How does one repent? The kindness of God leads to repentance not the wrath of man.  My tribe have been wrong about a lot of things.  The Episcopal Church stood up for civil rights in Mississipi, not the Evangelical Protestants.

And here is the utter incongruity of the whole process. Yes, says Baucum, Shannon should repent. And yet he is happy to affirm him as a senior pastor in the church. Presumably since this is “not a defining reality”.

My history causes me to be humble. I want to hear how he has come to this place. This is not just about two individuals. We are pastors of a church.  It is about how we disagree and make decisions about differences.  This is different from two individuals who have a disagreement.

SJ The church is always going to have disagreements.  We have not handled this disagreement well. We have made it more destructive than it needed to be.

Let’s be perfectly clear about this travesty. If one thing has made this whole saga more destructive than it needed to be it has been Baucum’s actions. Let me say it again, he has utterly undermined the raison d’etre of the ACNA. But more than that, he is now a danger to the church of God if he insists upon affirming a heretic and a wolf of the worst sort: a man that willingly and wilfully encourages people into activity that will result in their damnation and that is why we at Stand Firm will not leave this matter alone. It is, quite simply, the largest crisis that faces Anglicanism in North America at this current time and it will only get worse since the implications go far beyond ACNA.

Don’t ever forget, this is the example of reconciliation that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is holding up as a model for the healing of the Communion. What it essentially means is that no push to discipline to TEC is likely to come from Lambeth Palace. It saddens me to write that and I still pray that it will not be the case but there it is. So many of you reading this left TEC because it was “living into” some pretty horrific tensions only now to discover that ACNA is also now “living into” them too and so that’s why we will continue to bring it to your attention. There is too much at stake.


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94 comments

So many vacuities in this interview, so little time.  I don’t particularly care about Shannon Johnston’s—we’re all quite used to shallow, out-of-context, platitudes from TEC bishops.

But wow—to hear the kind of thing come out of an ACNA rector’s mouth—I shouldn’t be all that surprised, but it took only 5-7 years—it’s the speed of it all—that’s what so breathtaking about it.

Of all the emotive inanities said I think the most smile-inducing were Tory Baucum’s attributions of others feeling “wounded” and hurt as the reasons why Anglicans and Episcopalians publicly oppose and repudiate his actions in colluding with Bishop Johnston in promoting his ministry, his authority, and his credibility.  Note that it’s not Biblical principle—clearly laid out in the NT regarding church discipline of false teachers and heretics—that causes people to disapprove of Tory Baucum’s actions.  It’s that “a lot of people who write about this have been wounded and betrayed.”  So *that’s* why we are appalled at Tory Baucum’s support and promotion of a false teacher, heretic, and scoundrel who engaged in the legalized theft of the property of congregations.

What a silly—and narcissistically self-serving—bit of rhetoric there, blaming other people’s *feelings* for their reasonable, Biblical positions . . . and so very reminiscent of all the rhetoric that has poured forth from the mouths of TEC revisionist activists. The reasons why we opposed their heretical actions were because we were “afraid” and “ignorant” and “anxious about change.”

Same sort of self-protective rhetoric from this man.

[1] Posted by Sarah on 2-26-2013 at 11:47 PM · [top]

Mr. Ould,
You are absolutely right that TB has engaged in an unholy compromise that completely undermines the rationale for the ACNA. 
However, is this not the story of Anglicanism?  Was John Henry Newman incorrect when he described Anglicanism as an unholy amalgamation of inherently conflicting perspectives held together by state power?  Was Alister McGrath incorrect when he described the essence of Anglicanism as the via media (once between Protestants and Catholics in the Elizabethan Settlement)  and now between Fundamentalism and Moderinsm? 
Was Bishop Howe incorrect when said that via media is the essence of Anglicanism?

Can you point to one book on the history of Anglicanism that refutes the above?  Can you point to one history of Anglicanism that shows that one perspective,  say the Reformed, has been the dominant force and that those who deviate from it have been disciplined? 
There once was a group of believers who insisted on doctrinal consistency and purity in the Church of England-  they would be known as the Puritans.  They left the Church of England a long time ago. 
Right now, the draft catechism for the ACNA is being revised.  A key player in its drafting told me that the goal is to find the least common denominator between Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals.  He thought this was as good idea as doctrinal precision is not really a christian virtue. 

ABP Duncan believes firmly that baptism causes regeneration Evangelicals in ACNA do not believe that it causes regeneration.  Duncan believes in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, Evangelicals do not.  Bishop Iker believes that a woman cannot offer a valid Eucharist-the means of grace.  Many others in ACNA believe that a women can.  Some even believe that lay members can offer a valid Eucharist.  Is not the difference over baptism a salvation difference?  Are you with Tory B in saying don’t worry about these little doctrinal differences because its all about the feeling of friendship? 

I humbly submit that doctrinal consistency leads to either Rome, Constantinople or the Puritan route.  All those in the ACNA are just kidding themselves into thinking that they are not on the Tory B Canteury express to compromise city.

“From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.”
John Henry Newman
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnhenryn159151.html#oKxkKTiveUoZpW84.99

[2] Posted by Ordinary on 2-27-2013 at 06:20 AM · [top]

Has Bishop Duncan commented on this “reconciliation” anywhere? Did it have to get the go-ahead from Pittsburgh?

[3] Posted by Joel on 2-27-2013 at 07:12 AM · [top]

This is the same Baucum who was inhibited by one of the TEC bishops for being too orthodox, and given canonical shelter in another diocese. When Tory Baucum was a candidate for bishop in the diocese of Albany there were some whose concern was he would attempt to lead the Diocese out of the National Church.  It is somewhat puzzling to see one who knows the whips of the apostates and escaped trying to lead his parish back into comradery with TEC. Is he hoping that Johnston will stop listening to the voices in his head and repent?

[4] Posted by Stefano on 2-27-2013 at 08:10 AM · [top]

It does strike me that Tory Baucum appears to gloss over the difference between (i) a lay believer mistaken on one point of doctrine; and (ii) a false teacher actively propogating heresy, misleading others.  There is a biblical (and ecclesial) difference he does not appear to credit.

It is salubrious to point out the Shannon Johnston concedes nothing while enjoying enhanced credibility. 

This exchange does provide an opportunity to appreciate the monumental dishonesty and gall inherent in many Episcopal bishops:

“SJ.  My interest was in the relationships…”

So, his interest lies in the relationships he helped to break

That interest proved absolutely inadequate to prompt any forbearance from teaching heresy and causing schism - much less any charity in dealing with the departing churches.

Classic.

rolleyes

[5] Posted by tired on 2-27-2013 at 08:43 AM · [top]

This is most serious stuff.  Yet if you go to the mid-Atlantic diocesan website, you will see nothing on it.  Not one single word [that I could find].

So, these “issues” are not defining realities?

Seems that now I should write a congratulatory letter to the Bishop of Mississippi to proclaim he has gloriously put that diocese on the same trail that Fr. Tory is so ably blazing?

Someone better step up to the microphone very soon and explain what is going on here.  Nature abhors a vacuum and in the silence of official explanation, many who bear numerous scars from the battles over the faith will start to fill that vacuum.

[6] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 2-27-2013 at 08:48 AM · [top]

Hey Ordinary—I understand that you’d like to turn the conversation to why Anglicanism is intrinsically and fatally flawed, but you’ll understand that those of us who are Anglicans are disinterested in that and have certainly explored—and already found the idea wanting—in other discussions.

It doesn’t appear that you have anything to contribute that is on topic on Welby/Baucum/Johnston discussion, so we’ll understand if you choose not to participate. This is a warning.

[7] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 08:52 AM · [top]

In other words, “Oh yeah, he (SJ) should repent, but I won’t beat him up about it because we are say the same words in the Creeds.”

If you you are going to dine with sinners, the dinner comes with a price, and that is the teaching that will lead some to repentance,  and though some will reject the teaching, we are to keep on trying. That is nothing like the modern notion of reconciliation. Modern reconciliation is tacit approval of sin and unlike saying to another, “Go and sin no more,” it is more akin to saying, “Go and sin some more.”

I don’t see T.B. standing firm here at all.

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-27-2013 at 09:01 AM · [top]

I am with Joel on this. Has ++Duncan commented on this? Is there any provision in the ACNA documents for discipline in this matter? It is like the heretical leaven has been reintroduced. Is this the ‘new model’ for reconciliation that will be used by Canterbury? It seems to me that Baucum+ has betrayed his congregation, ACNA and orthodox Anglicans. This needs to be dealt with! Baucum to Johnson was like a moth to a flame.

[9] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-27-2013 at 09:17 AM · [top]

I am flat out angry about this. This reminds me of when Rowan Williams once stated that it was just a difference in “Styles” between the traditionalists and the innovators. Have we suffered in vain?

[10] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-27-2013 at 09:22 AM · [top]

Can’t telly you how disappointing this is.  We here in KY considered Tory+ a friend when he was among us.  Now he proves to be a turncoat and a false shepherd.  I feel sick for the poeple of Truro who have suffered so much for the Gospel, and are now betrayed by their rector.  Shame.

[11] Posted by evan miller on 2-27-2013 at 09:22 AM · [top]

What a namby pamby.  I’m not saying the ortho should wish evil on anybody, but goshdangit, at some point it is just better for everyone not to let wishy-washy people, through not wanting to deal with real differences, to just walk away, like a man, and go tend to your flock. 

Where do these guys come from?  The Oprah Winfrey School of Emotive Theology?

Just saddle up, and ride on dude.  Take care of your people, the rest will come.

[12] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 2-27-2013 at 09:26 AM · [top]

[13] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-27-2013 at 09:35 AM · [top]

Evan—did you see any sign of this in Kentucky?  How long was he there?  And did he come from the COE and *then* get to Kentucky?

Is it possible that he was like this all the time, and you were simply blinkered?

Or do you think he’s *changed*?

[14] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 09:46 AM · [top]

Truro is an ACNA congregation (maybe still CANA?). Archbishop Duncan could presumably put a stop to this…or approve of it. Or Bishop Guernsy could - right?
Bad bad bad for ACNA.
My thesis is we stick with ACNA because of how we think of how it *will be* in the future, not for its current state, which is awful.

[15] Posted by Joel on 2-27-2013 at 09:55 AM · [top]

Friends,

#2 Ordinary - what you say is to a large extent, true; however, there are NO perfect Churches.  Not the East, the West, nor Anglican - the best of them is shot through and through with compromise and inaccurate doctrine.  Even the most holy of all the saints is compromised and inaccurate in some aspect(s) because they are all human.  This is not is not to apologize nor to excuse, but simply to observe the fallenness which every person, and church carries within, and which we all must struggle.  Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God have mercy on us - sinners!

As to the specific situation: I agree with David’s analysis on almost every aspect; and 98% of the other comments, and I thank you all.

However, for me, this ongoing destruction highlights one of the most subtle of the snares which Satan has used on the Episcopal/Anglican churches - to misuse the multi-faceted Scriptural understanding of “fear”.  I want to discuss one of those facets.

Through painful experience I have learned that there are some things which we should indeed “fear” - enough so, that we don’t go near them! 

It is not “love”, but PRIDE and ARROGANCE, which motivates us to engage where we are most vulnerable.  We forget that our judgment and conscience are on the front line of our spiritual defense.  These can, and are breached, when we are tempted to engage without a clear understanding of the risks; and most importantly, a sufficient reason for taking them!

Consider what CSLewis said when he was asked to write more “Screwtape”:
“I fear to do so.” (not an exact quote)

[16] Posted by carl+ on 2-27-2013 at 10:10 AM · [top]

RE: “we think of how it *will be* in the future, not for its current state, which is awful.”

Joel—as I’ve pointed out over a period of five or six years now, the problem is that the decisions ACNA makes now create the future.

[17] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 10:17 AM · [top]

Sarah,

I believe he was here in an official role with ALPHA but I’m not sure if he had any other affiliation.  There was abig Alpha Leader’s course at Asbury College in Wilmore several years ago, before Gene Robinson and I believe he was a part of that.  When our (then Ugandan) parish decided to put on its first Alpha course, our leaders were taught by Tory+ along with the leaders from Centenary UMC in Lexington, a very orthodoc UMC church.  I had a few conversations with him during the training and we certainly all assummed he was thoroughly sound.  I got the distinct impression that he was not on +Sauls Christmas card list.  He was at last year’s Mere Anglicanism Conference, but I can’t recall if we spoke then or not.  I would have to believe he at least appeared orthodox to others as well during his time in central KY, else he would not have been called to Truro.  We have several former Truro parishioners in our parish and they are as sound as can be, though a bit low church for me.  I can’t imagine the people of Truro, after all they went through, selecting a rector who they weren’t convinced was sound.  I will say, that in hte few times I met him, as well as in his presentations to our leaders’ class, he came across as very reserved and soft spoken.  I can easily believe that he would be one to avoid confrontation.

[18] Posted by evan miller on 2-27-2013 at 10:19 AM · [top]

So many vacuities in this interview, so little time.  I don’t particularly care about Shannon Johnston’s—we’re all quite used to shallow, out-of-context, platitudes from TEC bishops.

[1]Sarah

Sarah says this so well. I’ll be a little more blunt: what a load of crap! Some more indaba-daba-doo, as my husband calls it! Does Baucum have any principles? How does he rationalize Shannon’s same-sex blessings stand?

Ultimately, one has to decide if he will follow Christ or some other god. One must decide to what he is trully committed - to being faithful to Jesus, or to the trappings of the organized church to which he belongs - whether TEC, RCC, or whatever. The church was established by Christ to spread the gospel. The primary purpose of the establishment of the church was not the beautiful buildings and art, or coffee hours, or sewing circles, or pancake suppers, or whatever else is enjoyable in a parish but not essential. The only essential thing in a church is faithfulness to God, and working to spread the gospel and to serve others. The most important “relationship” to be concerned with is the relationship with God.

At this point, I’m completely disgusted with TEC, and the RCC has shown itself to be equally - or maybe more - corrupt and perverted. For God’s sake, people, stand up, stand up for Jesus!

[19] Posted by Nellie on 2-27-2013 at 10:21 AM · [top]

Sarah,
“Joel—as I’ve pointed out over a period of five or six years now, the problem is that the decisions ACNA makes now create the future” I could not agree more. Catch it now while it is only a polyps.

[20] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-27-2013 at 10:35 AM · [top]

I should have included my disappointment with the ACNA in my previous comment, since Baucum is with the ACNA now - although heaven knows why he went through the trouble of making the break.

[21] Posted by Nellie on 2-27-2013 at 11:13 AM · [top]

The apparent silence from ACNA Bishop Guernsey is disturbing.  The Coventry event is not something new—this tete-a-tete between Baucum and Johnston has been going on for a good while and well reported on Stand Firm.  As noted above, this absolutely should not be what ACNA wants as the symbol of where it is heading.  Although Bishop Guernsey never had to experience the trauma of being deposed, Archbishop Duncan certainly knows well what he had to suffer through to get to where he is and where ACNA is today.

When I first read this account last night, I was struck by the incredible bit of Griswoldese coming from Baucum:  “In living into this conflict we are living into the mystery of Christ.”

Word from Baucum’s ACNA bosses is overdue.

[22] Posted by hanks on 2-27-2013 at 11:16 AM · [top]

“The relational side affected me more than the legal side.  The relational side is where I put my focus.”

That’s what SJ is saying.  Would be interested to know how he voted/participated in all the trumped up depositions and such.

[23] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-27-2013 at 12:18 PM · [top]

#22, I would assume that word “from Baucum’s ACNA bosses” would be in the form of Godly advice - a very private pastoral conversation.

If he has not been talked to, then ACNA is very weak indeed. The problem in TEC began when bishops would not discipline diocesan clergy, and the House of Bishops would not discipline their brother bishops.

Ordination does not free one from the influence of the evil impulse.

While a rector ought to have some autonomy (e.g., this season I will use Eucharistic Prayer A), they also need oversight, which is a bishop’s job, by the very definition of that word.

If he has been talked to, and is intransigent, then his bishop will need to deal with it.

[24] Posted by Ralph on 2-27-2013 at 12:37 PM · [top]

I do find it disturbing that this relationship is being held up as an example of what reconciliation looks like. I find it disturbing because there is actually no reconciliation here.  There is a friendship and perhaps some mutual regard, but I don’t see actual reconciliation.  I see people making nice after separating over irreconcilable differences.

Does reconciliation mean being nice to one another as we walk our separate ways?

I am interested to see what will happen following the enthronement of the new ABC.

[25] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-27-2013 at 12:42 PM · [top]

RE: “I find it disturbing because there is actually no reconciliation here.  There is a friendship and perhaps some mutual regard . . . “

Well—and the public declaration that a false teacher is a “brother in Christ,” and a promotion of the false teacher’s ministry, credibility, and reputation, and a holding all of this up as a “standard” of reconciliation.

There’s that.

But I agree—there isn’t a Biblical reconciliation at all.

[26] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 12:48 PM · [top]

#25. Ed McNeill,
“I am interested to see what will happen following the enthronement of the new ABC
I’m not. We have been waiting on Canterbury like Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot.

[27] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-27-2013 at 12:53 PM · [top]

This whole attitude - placing mutual regard and friendship and being nice to each other and not offending “anyone” - pervades the church from top to bottom - from Canterbury to the parish. No one seems concerned about offending Jesus or the people who truly seek to follow his teachings.

[28] Posted by Nellie on 2-27-2013 at 01:05 PM · [top]

My husband just said that if you’re conservative, you’re consigned to the category of non-persons.

[29] Posted by Nellie on 2-27-2013 at 01:07 PM · [top]

David,

If it is wrong for Baucum to have a friendship and meetings with Johnston, is it wrong for representatives of the Sydney diocese to go to the Australian General Synod?

[30] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-27-2013 at 03:18 PM · [top]

RE: “If it is wrong for Baucum to have a friendship and meetings with Johnston . . . “

Except that David in no way implied that in his post.

The wrongdoing is in the public declaration that a false teacher is a “brother in Christ,” and a promotion of the false teacher’s ministry, credibility, and reputation, and a holding all of this up as a “standard” of reconciliation.

Being friends with pagans happens all the time.  That is not what is being promoted.

[31] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 03:24 PM · [top]

Point taken.
So let me tighten the wording ... to make things clearer. If it is wrong to declare Johnston a “brother in Christ”, is it equally wrong to for Sydney delegates to go to general synod which is a declaration of being part of the same church.

[32] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-27-2013 at 03:31 PM · [top]

RE: “If it is wrong to declare Johnston a “brother in Christ”, is it equally wrong to for Sydney delegates to go to general synod which is a declaration of being part of the same church.”

The two don’t seem at all related or connected.

To participate in the accoutrements of an organization—which is what the general synod is—is not to declare that the participants are “brothers in Christ” any more than to participate in our House of Representatives is to declare that all participants share the same political foundational views.

Now—perhaps work should be done in methodical and calculated ways to enact church discipline on those participants in the general synod who do not believe the Gospel—just as work should be done in methodical and calculated ways to rid the US House of Representatives of those who do not care about individual liberty, the Constitution, private property, free markets, or limited government.

No, the only way the attempt at comparison could be relevant is if the Sydney delegates went to the general synod and loudly declared all participants to be “brothers in Christ,” promoting their ministry, credibility, and reputation, and holding all of their declarations up as a “standard” of reconciliation.

But the Sydney delegates do quite the opposite in their approach and none of us mistake whether they believe such things—we all are very clear about what they believe about the makeup of the general synod.  ; > )

[33] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 04:07 PM · [top]

If it is wrong for Baucum to have a friendship and meetings with Johnston, is it wrong for representatives of the Sydney diocese to go to the Australian General Synod?

hi John.

No, I don’t think so (and it’s a sneaky question given that I’m one of those delegates wink )
At General Synod we don’t have anyone like Johnston, at least least not a bishop who has openly and clearly maintained a heretical position. If, of course, there were such a person we might have to think a little more about it.

Even if that were the case, I think there’s an obvious difference between attending a glorified parliament with those we disagree and affirming them as legitimate ministers. One does not require the other. In the case of Baucum, it is the latter than is in view.

[34] Posted by David Ould on 2-27-2013 at 05:41 PM · [top]

obadiahslope:  One other issue is this.  Baucum is a rector in an ACNA congregation that has gone through intensive suffering for making the heart-wrenching decision to leave TEC.  The raison d’etre for the ACNA is that TEC had become heretical, its leaders were heretics, and so the congregations had to separate.  Note very carefully, that many conservatives have chosen to remain in TEC.  But Truro left, along with several other congregations in Virginia, and Johnson has continued without hesitation his predecessor’s legal assault on these congregations.

Now Baucum is saying “well, the church that we felt it was necessary to separate from due to its heretical beliefs, well it is a legitimate Christian church with which we have some differences.”  As many others have said - either (1) TEC is NOT just another orthodox Christian church with which Truro has some differences; OR (2) Truro committed a serious act of schism and needs to repent and return to the TEC fold.

Most conservatives who remain in TEC will be far less “charitable” to their TEC bishops than ACNA rector Baucum is to this TEC bishop.  There is no problem with Baucum wanting to be respectful in his dealings with Johnson, nor is there a problem for the two of them to meet and try to arrange some form of a more cooperative working relationship despite their differences.  Nor, even, is there a problem for the two to become friends.

The problem here is that if you take Baucum’s words, and apply them to any other concrete situation involving the Anglican “civil war”, you will hear that the liberal Anglican authorities are “brothers-in-Christ” and that taking concrete steps to differentiate yourself from them is rooted in your “fear” or “hurt feelings” - precisely the same message that TEC liberals give.

[35] Posted by jamesw on 2-27-2013 at 05:53 PM · [top]

I do find it disturbing that this relationship is being held up as an example of what reconciliation looks like. I find it disturbing because there is actually no reconciliation here.  There is a friendship and perhaps some mutual regard, but I don’t see actual reconciliation.  I see people making nice after separating over irreconcilable differences.

Does reconciliation mean being nice to one another as we walk our separate ways?

I am interested to see what will happen following the enthronement of the new ABC.

Ed - I think that the key is to understand how “reconciliation” is being defined.  I think that we are assuming one definition, while something else entirely is being intended (either implicitly or perhaps even explicitly).

Think of marital reconciliation in the case of one spouse’s unfaithfulness.  WE think “reconciliation” will mean - “the husband and wife have reconciled.  The husband has broken off his extra-marital affair, has confessed and repented of his sin, and has taken steps to hold himself accountable in his future activities.”

What I think the Welby/Baucum/Johnson reconciliation means is this - “look, you are going to have to become reconciled to the fact that your husband is having this affair.  That’s not going to change.  Now, do you really want to leave him and go through all the unpleasantness of a separation, or can you reconcile yourself to what’s going on and make the best of it?”

I have watched how a liberal diocese can turn a conservative parish.  One of the tricks is to target a well-meaning conservative leader in the parish, and give them a plumb diocesan public leadership position, but one that they know will require them to become friends with a bunch of liberals.  This conservative individual gets feted and made to feel very special.  Human nature being what it is, this individual soon becomes seduced, and wants very much to be liked by their new found benefactors, and they are subtly told how they should act.  And the way they are told they should act is very much like how Baucum is acting.

Now if this was just playing out in the context of Baucum, Truro, Johnson and the Dio.Virginia, it would be tragic, but this is far more sinister than that.  This isn’t just a case of an innocent rube rector who foolishly and inexplicably wants to make nice with the people who just put his congregation through the legal wringer.  This is playing out on the international stage, and the very future of the Anglican Communion is hanging in the balance.

This supposed reconciliation is a strategy, and Baucum is seriously undermining the Global South/orthodox position.

From 2003 till about 2008, the Anglican civil war was pretty much about the demands of the Global South that something be done to discipline TEC, and their attempts to achieve those goals via the Communion’s Instruments of Unity.  Rowan Williams fought this, and successfully derailed any attempts by the Global South to have any influence over the Instruments.  Williams had to effectively eviscerate the Primates’ Meetings and the Lambeth Conference, and then had to assert ACO bureaucratic control over the ACC.  But he emerged completely victorious from the field of battle.

Then, in the period from 2008/9 till now, we have seen the Global South turn from Instrument of Communion advocacy (which they understood would not work) to taking steps to come together, networking, and taking action amongst themselves.  For example, we have seen the former supposed “moderate conservative” primates and provinces such as the Middle East, Indian Ocean, SE Asia, move towards the a greater unity with the GAFCON folk.  We have seen the ACNA emerge on its own.

What we have also witnessed in England is a pending perfect storm of controversy over women bishops and the imposition of gay “marriage”.  We know that many liberals CofE leaders welcome both changes and we have seen actions such as permitting clergy in same-sex unions to become bishops.  We have also seen a growing openness by Global South Anglican leadership to intervene in the Church of England.  Justin Welby, and anyone else with sense, knows that the Church of England is a powder keg ready to blow.

Justin Welby desperately wants that NOT to happen.  And that is why he is pushing “reconciliation” so strongly.  Understand that from 2003 till now, Anglican conservatives had NOTHING to bargain with.  Nothing.  That is why conservative Anglicans were ignored by Williams.  Understand that, at its basis, the Anglican “reconciliation” process is inherently political.  For 10 years, conservative Anglicans didn’t have any “hand” in the political processes.  Now we do.

And Baucum’s little stunt is trying to cut off that hand.  I doubt that he is actually intending to undermine the Global South, but that is what he is doing.  The fact that Welby is pushing “reconciliation” means that he is willing to PAY SOMETHING to achieve his “peace in England.” 

Instead of buying the liberal “never mind our heresies, just join us in amorphous mission” line and telling the Global South to accept the western heresies, conservatives should be looking to this “reconciliation” process as a way to take some small steps to truly RECONCILE the Anglican Communion to faithfulness to our Lord.

In my humble opinion, Baucum needs to be called on the carpet by both the ACNA and Global South leadership NOW, or they risk wasting one of their best opportunities yet to push the Anglican Communion back to Christian orthodoxy.

[36] Posted by jamesw on 2-27-2013 at 06:33 PM · [top]

Does Stand Firm have a record of Johnson’s vote on the numerous depositions of bishops since he took office, and/or a record of how many priests he has deposed, or were deposed by Lee while he was coadjutor?

[37] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-27-2013 at 06:47 PM · [top]

David,

At General Synod we have had
1) a bishop who has (openly) licensed a gay minister. You have blogged on this!
2) bishops who have (quietly) licensed gay ministers
3) A bishop who committed adultery, but was not disciplined
4) A bishop who sabotaged the gafcon primates at ACC… no wait, two bishops who have sabotaged the gafcon promates at ACC.

Now I know that general synod is a “glorified parliament”. That is a mild way to describe it. But it does purport to be a council of a Christian denomination. I have never been able to get my mind around Broughton Knox’s description of it as “Secular” Its called the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia… not the Community Halls Association.

I had forgotten that you went to GS. I was not trying to be personal.
But I would have thought attending the GS is at least a strong association with heresy as the Baucum-Johnson conversation.

[38] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-27-2013 at 08:45 PM · [top]

HI John,

Don’t worry - I didn’t take it personally! I actually marvelled (and enjoyed) what I thought was your sly move wink

I think the difference in this case, is that no Sydney delegate to GS that I know of would so actively endorse and promote those bishops you speak of. There lies the clear distinction to my mind.

[39] Posted by David Ould on 2-27-2013 at 08:50 PM · [top]

I think that the key is to understand how “reconciliation” is being defined.  I think that we are assuming one definition, while something else entirely is being intended (either implicitly or perhaps even explicitly).

JamesW, This really is the question. If this dialogue were the only data we had to consider I would have to agree with you.  Soon to be Archbishop Welby has also worked extensively in Northern Nigeria and with the Province of Nigeria.  His appointee has worked extensively in Northern Ireland.  The weak understanding of reconciliation apparent here would be useless in both of those environments.  This is why I retain a bit of hope and wonder what will happen at and after the enthronement.

In 2003 TEC tore the fabric of communion.  Since then they have been shredding the pieces left over and claiming that the fabric was not really fabric at all.  I am hoping that he very nicely, kindly, and gently explains to TEC that they are walking apart from the Anglican Communion.

[40] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-27-2013 at 08:50 PM · [top]

David,

Don’t you think that the public is just a little bit confused by that? By being in the same church as say Abp Phillip Aspinall, you are to some extent endorsing him

[41] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-27-2013 at 08:55 PM · [top]

RE: “By being in the same church as say Abp Phillip Aspinall, you are to some extent endorsing him . . . “

I disagree that being in the same organization with someone means that one is “endorsing” that person.  The entire notion is ridiculous, not to mention that nobody—and I do mean *nobody*—can actually maintain such a standard consistently.

If people can not see the stark chasm of difference between 1) being in the same organization as someone—while pointing out publicly that you don’t share the same gospel, and that their beliefs are heretical—and 2) announcing that a false teacher and heretic is your “brother in Christ” and you *do* share the same gospel, and endorsing and promoting their ministry, authority, and credibility, and asserting that your relationship sets the standard for Christian reconciliation—then the English language is dull and void for those hearers, and it’s no longer possible to communicate with them.

But—blessedly—we all do see the stark chasm of difference.

[42] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 09:05 PM · [top]

As a side note . . . I’m perfectly comfortable with Christians announcing that they must not
be a part of ecclesial organizations which have corrupt and pagan leaders masquerading as Christians in those organizations.  If that’s what they believe to be right, then go for it.

But for those millions of us who do not grant that being a part of such organizations is intrinsically wrong, the question is only “when Christians are a part of ecclesial organizations which have corrupt and pagan leaders masquerading as Christians in those organizations, how must the Christians behave?”

The two questions aren’t even in the same ballpark, or playing the same game, for that matter.  Those [very few] Christians in the former category really have nothing to say about how Christians will behave who place themselves in the latter category.

The entire Baucum/Johnston debacle is concerned with the latter group of Christians—how should Tory Baucum behave, since none of us believe that all Christians must depart from ecclesial organizations which have corrupt and pagan leaders masquerading as Christians in them.

[43] Posted by Sarah on 2-27-2013 at 09:13 PM · [top]

John, perhaps they might be. But again the difference is between being in the same organisation and going out of your way to publicly endorse someone.

[44] Posted by David Ould on 2-27-2013 at 09:15 PM · [top]

Beware of the Truro rector.  Funny, I’ve heard that somewhere before. . . .

[45] Posted by miserable sinner on 2-27-2013 at 09:16 PM · [top]

Ed:  But reconciliation in all of the instances you raise (i.e. Africa, Ireland, Anglican Communion) is an inherently political process.  In Africa or Ireland, I doubt very much that political negotiators insist on answering the “but what SHOULD it be like in the ideal world?” and instead ask “what can we all live with such that we no longer shoot at or bomb each other?”  And the negotiator/reconciliation facilitator will assess the relative political power and positions of the various sides in moving people towards achieving “reconciliation.”  This is exactly what I would expect Welby to do in this situation.

In a political reconciliation, each side has to make do with what they can reasonably expect to get given their respective political power and position.  So, return to the marital example.  If the wife is the primary money earner, and has the house, car and all bank accounts in her name, and the husband is utterly dependent on her for survival, then an acceptable “reconciliation” for her will look quite different then if the husband has everything in his name, if he is a high-powered lawyer who knows all the local family court judges, and if they live in a culture that will see her stoned to death if he accuses her of adultery.

[46] Posted by jamesw on 2-27-2013 at 09:44 PM · [top]

“Truro is an ACNA congregation (maybe still CANA?). Archbishop Duncan could presumably put a stop to this…or approve of it. Or Bishop Guernsy could - right?
Bad bad bad for ACNA.”

I am impressed to see Joel at #15, Hanks at #22, and other members of ACNA asking hard questions of their own church.  That is healthy. 

But I suggest that ACNA members have to go a step further and ask themselves:  ‘What have YOU done to raise this with the ACNA hierarchy?’

One thing you have done is obvious - participated in this blog discussion.  That is a worthy and useful action – discussions like this often play a major role in bringing issues to public notice within the church. 

But as a member of ACNA there is more that you can do:

•  Have you expressed your concern to your rector? 

•  Have you asked your archdeacon or rural dean (as the case may be) about it? 

•  Have you written to or telephoned your bishop about it? 

•  Have you shared the matter with your small group/prayer group/men’s group/women’s group/youth fellowship as a matter for prayer?

We don’t get the luxury of just sitting back and blaming the clergy for everything – as Anglican lay people, we have the right and the duty to call the clergy to account.  I suggest starting at the parish level - pray about it with friends and speak to your rector.  That in turn may lead others to raise it.  You might find that several of you want to get together to raise it with the bishop or at higher level.

Good clergy will welcome this, because it shows that we care, and it keeps them on their toes.

[47] Posted by MichaelA on 2-27-2013 at 10:29 PM · [top]

Just to add to Sarah’s and David’s responses to Obadiahslope:

John, Reverend Tory Baucum is the leader of a church in ACNA. +Johnston is a bishop in TEC.  They are separate churches.  There is no requirement for Baucum+ to have any dealings with +Johnston, except insofar as they concern practical matters like finalising the litigation, or co-ordinating joint use of church buildings etc.  Tory Baucum+ and his congregation have chosen to join in these ‘reconciliation’ activities with +Johnston, and they have chosen to introduce him to other orthodox groups and people that have links with ACNA.  That immediately invites the question, ‘why do this?’

The situation of Sydney is different.  It is part of the Anglican Church of Australia, and therefore is required to take part in its governance.  The same situation applied until very recently to Diocese of South Carolina:  They were part of TEC, and therefore were required to take part in its corporate life, such as by attending General Council.

Now as it happens, things in TEC reached such a state that Dio South Carolina decided to leave.  It was not a decision taken lightly, nor was it taken over a single issue of doctrine.  But once they took it, Dio SC no longer attended GC.  The same applies to Dio Sydney: If things ever got so bad that we severed ties entirely with the Anglican Church of Australia then of course we wouldn’t attend General Synod ACA anymore.  But until that day arrives, we attend and do our bit like everyone else.  Of course we publicly make our disagreements with the rest of ACA known, when required.

And a final point: the concern is not so much that Father Baucum is meeting with +Johnston - there are lots of reasons that he might need to do that.  Rather, the concern is that he has publicly and enthusiastically endorsed +Johnston, without apparently making any effort to state where their differences lie.

[48] Posted by MichaelA on 2-27-2013 at 10:56 PM · [top]

You wrote:  “you’ll understand that those of us who are Anglicans are disinterested in that [why Anglicanism is flawed] [rest of comment deleted]

Well . . . no, Ordinary—I wrote no such thing, though I understand why you would need to delete a few words.  I wrote “but you’ll understand that those of us who are Anglicans are disinterested in [why Anglicanism is intrinsically and fatally flawed]” because in fact we do not believe it to be so, and further, have thoroughly explored that little meme propagated by the clingy embittered and demonstrated how tediously inaccurate it is, in spades. That being said—you’ve commented yet again off topic, and this is a final warning. You will not be warned again on this blog.

[49] Posted by Ordinary on 2-27-2013 at 11:13 PM · [top]

Michael A- Given ACNA’s rather loose structure, the only people with any real influence are the vestry of Truro.  As with most Anglican dioceses worldwide, the rector of a cardinal parish has so much influence that the bishop (+Guernsey, in this case) is quite unlikely to intervene, and the obvious risk in intervention is that Baucum and a large portion of the parish will go back to TEC.  In ACNA, this may be even more pronounced.  Truro has more members than most of the dioceses. Given the weakness of ACNA bishops outside of the old Anglo Catholic dioceses, and maybe Pittsburgh, since they have no hold on the property (and in this case, the parish is essentially leasing space from TEC, so there is no property to hold anyway), and given the history, are unlikely to start deposing clergy, there is little that can be done UNLESS the Truro vestry tosses Baucum out, and I have no idea whether their parish bylaws give them the power to do that, or if there is even any inclination.  So far, there is no indication I am aware of that there is major dissent in the congregation. 

Most of us in ACNA have no need for rural deans or archdeacons.  There are so many bishops in this church, by now most of us have met several.

The OTHER part of this, of course, is the PR benefit to TEC in its ongoing legal atrocities against Falls Church, which Baucum, by his actions, has apparently abandoned to its fate.

[50] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-27-2013 at 11:16 PM · [top]

“Tory Baucum+ and his congregation have chosen to join in these ‘reconciliation’ activities with +Johnston, and they have chosen to introduce him to other orthodox groups and people that have links with ACNA.”

With all due respect Michael, while that is true, most of the orthodox groups Baucum has introduced Johnson to are groups in the CoE, which, by virtue of being part of the CoE, are in communion with Johnson, but CoE HoB has made it clear in the last several Synods that CoE is NOT in communion with ACNA.  So, those “orthodox groups” were already in closer communion with Johnson, before Baucum ever opened his mouth.

[51] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-27-2013 at 11:25 PM · [top]

Anglicanism is not hierarchical as is the Roman Catholic Church or as TEC is now trying to become.  Bishop’s may counsel Rector’s, even lean on them with Moral Authority, but they cannot tell a Rector not to meet with a Bishop from TEC

The Anglican Church in North America, in its founding documents, turned away from such ham handedness.  We either belong together or we don’t.  What we will not do is force each other to march in a neat line.  No one in the College of Bishop’s is going to call Tory Baucum to tell him he cannot meet with the TEC Bishop.  His Bishop has likely spoken to him at length about it, but will not publicly censure him.  If we wanted Bishop’s to have that sort of authority we would forgo bonds of affection and embrace a stringent disciplinary canon. Of course we would no longer be quite Anglican.  We would be more like TEC.

[52] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-27-2013 at 11:57 PM · [top]

I agree with Ed.

It is for Tory Baucum’s parish to determine if they wish to have such a rector and by all appearances that is what they have chosen.

Father Baucum has merely “lived into” his theology and I don’t think has violated the canons and constitution of ACNA.

Nevertheless, ACNA has options.  They can calmly and publicly gather, and repudiate the actions of Tory and explain clearly that his theology of “reconciliation” is not Biblical nor is it one that the rest of ACNA holds.

That’s the way, really, to reassert boundaries and further establish their organizational identity in a public manner.

In the absence of the ACNA HOB doing such a thing, individual bishops of ACNA may repudiate the actions of Tory and explain clearly that his theology of “reconciliation” is not Biblical nor is it one that the rest of ACNA holds.

The task of laypeople who do not believe in supporting false teachers and promoting their ministries is to publicize to the hilt Tory Baucum’s actions so that others may be aware and, as MichaelA has indicated above in comment #47, contact their parish, diocesan, and ACNA leaders.

[53] Posted by Sarah on 2-28-2013 at 12:11 AM · [top]

David.
It’s true. You have never publically endorsed any of the non-evangelical members of the Anglican church of Australia General Synod. But behind the not so closed doors (I think the press can go, but its normally too boring) the mebers of general synod pray together and (unless you absent yourself0 may well have holy communion together. that is not that difference from attending a conference at Coventry Cathedral together.
Many readers on this blog have decried Baucum and Johnston endorsing each other.
But many of us are in some form of communion with TEC, aren’t we?

[54] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-28-2013 at 05:58 AM · [top]

Hi Ed McNeill,

As a side note, I was one of those who helped put those founding documents together and I am unaware of any part of the CandC’s that would prohibit a bishop from admonishing and exercising discipline over a rector under his care…it is necessary for bishops to have that power. Of course the rector and parish in question could disobey and leave the ACNA property intact if they believed the bishop to be wrong but there is certainly a process for discipline.

[55] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-28-2013 at 06:17 AM · [top]

Tj, Ed,

Believe it or not, it is possible to exercise spiritual accountability without any coercive powers whatsoever.  What I find interesting is that you both ASSUMED that I was talking about coercion, when I didn’t actually refer to it at all. 

If you don’t like my post, read Sarah’s at #53 - it says essentially the same thing but in less words.

[56] Posted by MichaelA on 2-28-2013 at 06:30 AM · [top]

“Many readers on this blog have decried Baucum and Johnston endorsing each other.
But many of us are in some form of communion with TEC, aren’t we?”

Obadiahslope, I don’t understand what logical connection you are drawing between these two sentences.  I am in communion with every Anglican in Australia - why does that stop me criticising them?

[57] Posted by MichaelA on 2-28-2013 at 06:32 AM · [top]

Michael,
because proclaiming they are in communion with each other (in the general if not the technical sense), mutually recognising each other as brother Christians, is what Baucum and Johnson are being criticised for.

Yet in being in communion with every Anglican in Australia you are in communion with bishops who will teach the same things as Johnston.

Yes you can criticise them, but you have not disowned them… which is the remedy being sought by some postesr here.

[58] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-28-2013 at 06:58 AM · [top]

Tj, Ed,

Believe it or not, it is possible to exercise spiritual accountability without any coercive powers whatsoever.  What I find interesting is that you both ASSUMED that I was talking about coercion, when I didn’t actually refer to it at all. 

I did not recommend coercion.  However, I don’t think I am misinterpreting David+ or Matt+ or Sarah or Greg if I say that Baucum is using a definition of “reconciliation” that is not consistent with Anglican doctrine as held by ACNA (that is, he is using the revisionist definition and doctrine), that in his position as rector of Truro, he is teaching this revisionist definition and doctrine.  I have to assume that anyone close to him who is orthodox is already trying to get him to return to the fold- and that hasn’t worked.  Now he is being publicly rebuked by numerous other clergy and laity in ACNA (Matt+, for instance), as well as others of orthodox persuasion (David, Sarah, you, me, Obadiah, etc.).  And the next step would be to remove him from his office, so he cannot continue to teach a dangerous revisionist doctrine, and present a proponent of gay marriage as an orthodox Christian bishop. Given ACNA’s canons, that is something that can only be done by the vestry and congregation, since the parish can leave ACNA at will.

If nothing else, Baucum owes it to everyone to explain himself.  So, for that matter, does +John Guernsey (who is one of those several ACNA bishops I have met personally- chatted with him for an hour when he was bishop over our little fellowship in Michigan).  As it happens, I know from personal experience that +Guernsey is very strict doctrinally.  And given that experience, I am quite confused that he remains publicly silent over this.  Which leads me to think there is more here than meets the eye.

I mean, it could be as simple as Baucum wants to buy the parish buildings from Johnston, and Johnston wants to sell them, but can’t, until KJS is out of office. All they have to do is draw this out until 2015, and they both get what they want, at the expense of some harm to ACNA and the souls of some of the Truro congregation.  This whole play, with its publicity and Canterbury seal of approval, actually gives Johnston a shot at being the next PB (assuming KJS allows an election to take place), and gives him a leg up against Ian Douglas in the early polling among institutionalists.

[59] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-28-2013 at 08:39 AM · [top]

#52

I certainly hope your are wrong in your view of the role and authority of bishops in the ACNA.  If in fact you are correct and they have been reduced to the role of mere figureheads and advisors to their clergy, then God help us.  Right now the ACNA is so undisciplined and chaotic that I fear for our ability to cohere into a truly united church.  This rampant congregationalism will be our undoing.  If bishops can’t be expected to exercise their godly authority to discipline wayward priests, we might as well give up.

[60] Posted by evan miller on 2-28-2013 at 08:52 AM · [top]

Right now the ACNA is so undisciplined and chaotic that I fear for our

ability to cohere into a truly united church

With all due respect, what do you mean by that?  I’m not being confrontational, I really am curious what you mean; I might even agree with you once I know.

But from where I sit [Gulf Atlantic Diocese], we are worshiping God, guiding folks along their journey toward spiritual union with Christ, spreading the Good News, and seeking to be a welcoming place of worship for all who searching for the true meaning of life.  And doing it that our authority comes from Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.  It does not seem chaotic, in fact it seems rather peaceful [compared to my last years in TEC] because I actually have hope that we are doing God’s work.

[61] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 2-28-2013 at 09:08 AM · [top]

Yet again—massive imprecision in words; the studied vagueness appears, now, to be deliberate.

RE: “But many of us are in some form of communion with TEC, aren’t we?”

Many of us are members of the organization called TEC—I am, for one, and most happy to be so.  And therefore it is the task of all of us who believe the Gospel who also belong to this organization to clearly differentiate ourselves from false teachers who are currently leading our church. I don’t know a one, personally, who has not done so, vociferously, publicly, and in spades.

But again—belonging to a corrupt organization is so dissimilar to a public declaration that a false teacher is a “brother in Christ,” and a promotion of the false teacher’s ministry, credibility, and reputation, and a holding all of this up as a “standard” of reconciliation that people both within TEC and within ACNA are perfectly able to understand that difference and decry it.

RE: “Yet in being in communion with every Anglican in Australia . . . “

No—being in an organization with corrupt and heretical leaders is not the same at all as “being in communion” unless you are speaking of taking Eucharist from the hands of known false teachers.  I assume nobody here does that. I certainly do my dead level best not to, and have risen from my seat and departed if there was the likelihood of that.

RE: “Yes you can criticise them, but you have not disowned them… which is the remedy being sought by some postesr here.”

The remedy being sought here is for a leader of a congregation *not* to declare that a false teacher is a “brother in Christ,” and offer a promotion of the false teacher’s ministry, credibility, and reputation, and a holding all of this up as a “standard” of reconciliation. The remedy being sought is for those who believe the Gospel to publicly repudiate the ones who do not and yet who ape the accoutrements of Christianity and lead sheep astray.

And one can do those things in whatever organization one chooses to; none of us are choosy about from which organization one chooses to do that.  Tory Baucum has demonstrated that he can do the opposite within ACNA, and others have demonstrated they can do the right thing while in TEC.

All of us can see the striking difference between a Kendall Harmon [when he resided in TEC] and a Tory Baucum, who resides in ACNA.  The difference is, now, a chasm, and it has absolutely nothing to do with in which organization either resides.

[62] Posted by Sarah on 2-28-2013 at 09:11 AM · [top]

Evan Miller—would you be satisfied with the kind of action by ACNA I mentioned above?

Nevertheless, ACNA has options.  They can calmly and publicly gather, and repudiate the actions of Tory and explain clearly that his theology of “reconciliation” is not Biblical nor is it one that the rest of ACNA holds.

That’s the way, really, to reassert boundaries and further establish their organizational identity in a public manner.

In the absence of the ACNA HOB doing such a thing, individual bishops of ACNA may repudiate the actions of Tory and explain clearly that his theology of “reconciliation” is not Biblical nor is it one that the rest of ACNA holds.

I am uneasy about forcing Tory Baucum to cease teaching or enacting his particular false theology. I think the only remedy for that is for parishes not to hire him, if they don’t agree with it, and deem it particularly pernicious, which many of us do.

[63] Posted by Sarah on 2-28-2013 at 09:14 AM · [top]

#61
Capt. Fr. Warren,
Are you in Pass Christian, by any chance.  My son and I worshipped there at Trinity when he was stationed at Keesler and I came to visit.  Lovely parish.  What I meant about ACNA is the hodgepodge of overlapping dioceses and multiple layers of affiliated jurisdictions such as PEAR, REC, etc., and the proliferation of purple shirts, some of whom have been newly-minted Anglicans.  Dioceses taking in or establishing parishes within the geographical area of existing dioceses.  A handful of parishes in a given state, and those being divided between 3 ACNA parishes and PEAR, with differing positions on WO.  Folks of every denomination, lay and glergy, preaching in ACNA pulpits.  It certainly seems like undisciplined chaos to me.  I realize these are early days for the new province-to-be, but the longer it takes to reslove some of these irregularities, the more likely such indiscipline is to become imprinted in the DNA of the institution.  Yes, yes, I know ACNA is a “movement”, and dislikes the word “institution,” but like it or not, an Anglican province needs to have an institutional structure and standards.

#63
Sarah,
I certainly think all of the actions you suggest are appropriate, but I don’t share your unease about forcing Tory+ to cease teaching or enacting false theology.  I have always understood a diocesan bishop’s duties to include driving out false teaching.  It’s a basic responsibility of the office.  In my own parish, due to our by-laws and our rector’s contract, he can’t be fired unless he preaches heresy or engages in immoral conduct.  The only effective discipline would be that which could be imposed by the bishop, although I suppose the vestry could vote to reduce his pay to $1.00 and year!

[64] Posted by evan miller on 2-28-2013 at 09:52 AM · [top]

Obadiah,

I’m going to assume you mean well, but I’d just let the matter drop if I were you.  In a battle of words with Sarah, you will come out bleeding.  Thus far, she’s being very gentle and dolphin-like…..

[65] Posted by evan miller on 2-28-2013 at 09:56 AM · [top]

Hi Matt Kennedy & all,

Let me expand upon the distinction I drew btw bonds of affection and disciplinary canons.  I think there is a key difference here that speaks to the nature of Anglicanism.

Anglicanism, more so than other denominations, institutionally lives into Jesus’ New Commandment.  All churches teach it.  No other church relies upon people seeking to live it out.  The Classical Anglicanism I know speaks in terms like “bonds of affection”, “Fabric of Communion”, and “Interdependence”.  We express ourselves in wonderful documents like the Quadrilateral. This is our strength.  This strength has a corresponding weakness.  We are lousy at resolving conflict with people who do not hold this core value of Anglicanism.  We have no facility to do so.  This is why, in my opinion the disciplinary section of the proposed covenant is so bad compared to the first section.

When a Bishop and a Rector are both seeking to live out of this core value, this New Commandment, the bonds of affection are powerful and no authority beyond a Bishop’s Moral Authority is necessary.  We know in our hearts that if we have to check the canons to see what our rights are than something precious about who we are has been lost.  Anglicanism is intensely relational.  This is part of the reason we are bothered so much by this odd relationship, and also why we look at it and say “but that’s not reconciliation!”

Anglicanism has classically tolerated oddness among both Rector’s and Bishop’s in case there was something important happening or being learned that we do not yet recognize that we need.  What is happening here is not heretical.  It hurts the brand, but we can live with that for a season provided our bonds of affection are strong.

[66] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-28-2013 at 11:53 AM · [top]

#66.

I would respectfully disagree.  there is nothing mutually exclusive about bonds of affection and discipline.  I also think that activities on the part of clergy that “hurt the brand” should be subject to episcopal discipline.  that’s one of the diocesan bishop’s main jobs and he undertakes to do that job when he is consecrated to the episcopate.  Nothing unAnglican about it at all.

[67] Posted by evan miller on 2-28-2013 at 12:10 PM · [top]

#67

I am not saying that bonds of affection and discipline are mutually exclusive.  I am saying that discipline exercised through Moral Authority looks different than discipline exercised in a hierarchical model with positional authority.

[68] Posted by Ed McNeill on 2-28-2013 at 12:18 PM · [top]

#68

I would contend that the bishop should exercise both moral authority and hierarchical authority.  He has the latter by virtue of his office and (should have) the former by virtue of his faith and character and the charism invoked at his consecration.

[69] Posted by evan miller on 2-28-2013 at 12:53 PM · [top]

In ACNA’s canons, there is most certainly discipline in the canons.  It starts with a Godly admonition from bishop.  That Godly admonition is a private matter.  It can end there with obedience, or go further into accusation, presentment, trial, etc.  There are most certainly provisions for censure, inhibition, suspension for a time or for life, all the way to being deposed. 

Canonically, in ACNA marriage, sex outside of marriage, is not treated as a matter over which the faithful can agree to disagree.  Tory is clearly out of line, in a very public forum (on purpose), so some form of public repentance is going to have to happen. 

Of course, it may very well be the case that Truro wants back into TEC.  The parish could choose to leave ACNA, and ACNA would let them go.  But what would they do for a rector?  I assume Tory was deposed when he left TEC (as I was), since the nice people of TEC wouldn’t transfer us to ACNA. That would also mean, then, that he couldn’t transfer in to TEC since such a mechanism just doesn’t exist…he would have to be ordained.  But maybe that could be fast tracked. 

Regardless, it should come as no surprise that there’s no official statement from +Guernsey at this point.  He was my bishop for a while, and he is quite clear on the standards.  I expect he’ll follow the canonical procedure.  Meanwhile, he has my support and prayers.

[70] Posted by Theron Walker✙ on 2-28-2013 at 06:54 PM · [top]

“No—being in an organization with corrupt and heretical leaders is not the same at all as “being in communion” unless you are speaking of taking Eucharist from the hands of known false teachers.

Now I don’t know if David Ould and other Sydney delegates participated in Holy Communion at the General synod (I know that some did not) , but they would have participated in the Morning and Evening prayer services at the start of each day.

Is that only wrong if it is publicised, David? Because it is a type of endorsement.

I don’t pretend this stuff is easy, but I am simply pointing out that there is a shade of grey in all of this.

As per his 2011 Presidential address Peter Jensen wants to have as good a relationship with the rest of the Anglican church in Australia without minimising differences of principle.

Maybe Tory Baucum is trying to do the same thing? I guess the key thing to work out is if Bp Johnston is a false teacher in the NT sense.

It is worth reading Michael Jensen (Peter’s Son) on the issue on who is a false teacher. He begins

“The term ‘false teacher’ is thrown around with some (gay?) abandon. It is increasingly the case that this term is used to describe any Christian or putative Christian whose teaching differs from mine – or, I say with all seriousness, to describe someone whose work I don’t understand and haven’t read at any depth. But what does the NT actually say about who ‘false teachers’ are and what should be done about them? Because the term sounds like it is biblical one, it is important that those who use it use it biblically, true? “

The rest is here: http://mpjensen.blogspot.com.au/2008/12/what-does-new-testament-say-about-false.html

Does Bp Johnston fit the NT description of “false teacher”? Can anyone tell me? (As Michael points out teaching false things is different from being a “false teacher” in the NT sense)

[71] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-28-2013 at 07:39 PM · [top]

hi John,

Yes, I appreciate what you’re saying here and yes, there can be some elements of grey.

And it’s a good question to ask, as to who exactly is a false teacher. Let me make a preliminary answer.

Jesus says that it would be better to have a millstone round your neck and to be cast into the sea than to cause a “little one” to sin. I take it from Jesus’ use of the word children following on in Matt 19 that although this applies not least to small children, it extends to all of us “children”.

Johnston clearly falls into this category. He endorses and encourages an action which the Scriptures say are sin and bring about damnation. I would say that means the label “false teacher” is more than fairly applied in his case.

[72] Posted by David Ould on 2-28-2013 at 07:43 PM · [top]

Theron Walker at #70, well put. 

Can I just add, that the first stage (often the only stage) in any ecclesiastical discipline is to SPEAK to the erring person. 

If a leader errs, a major part of godly discipline consists of telling him that he has erred, convicting him from scripture and urging him to repent.  This is a form of discipline that can be exercised by anyone - by a bishop with oversight, by a fellow rector speaking as an equal, by concerned laity speaking respectfully yet firmly. 

When our bishops and clergy rebuke an erring elder and warn them against god’s judgment if they persist, the bishops and clergy are acting on our behalf - they represent the entire church.

If you go back through church history, you will find that most opposition to heresy was conducted simply by somebody speaking out against it, and not being put off by the constant pressure to “not make waves”. 

And so, when the orthodox Primates issue communiques about issues in the Communion, that is all they are doing.  They witness to the truth.  They have no coercive powers whatsoever, but they still make it their job to set out a clear witness to the truth. 

Some will say, “but that has no teeth”.  On the contrary.  Words have enormous power, particularly when they are a witness.  In any case, that is the main point of church discipline - to warn the sinner that it is God who will judge them.

This was the point of my post at #47, but I think some are still not getting it.

This is why as laity, we have to be involved.  If we become aware of an issue like this, we should be actively praying about it, and drawing the issue to the attention of our fellow laity, our clergy, and our bishops.

[73] Posted by MichaelA on 2-28-2013 at 07:58 PM · [top]

Anyone who teaches falsely and causes people to sin is worthy of wearing a millstone and being cast into the sea. Agreed.

But is this a “False Teacher”. Here’s some more of Michael Jensen:
” The character of the ‘false teacher’ (like the OT ‘false prophet’) is that of a rapacious person who, as well as refusing correction, seizes for themselves power, money and sex. It can be hard to spot them because of their personal attractiveness, and it takes the serious work of discernment to do it. Spotting false teaching is a theologians’ job - and it is not easily done, but takes serious work and careful study “

Has anyone done an analysis of Bp Johnston to see of he fits this?

[74] Posted by obadiahslope on 2-28-2013 at 10:19 PM · [top]

obadiahslope,

I don’t think it takes a theologian to spot most false teaching. It does take serious study to spot some of the sneakier types, but no, we don’t have to refer all cases to Kendall.

[75] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-28-2013 at 10:45 PM · [top]

RE: “Has anyone done an analysis of Bp Johnston to see of he fits this?”

Hi ObadiahSlope—all the false teachers in the Anglican Communion teaching on the current fad say he’s not.  All the rest of the leaders of the Anglican Communion recognize that those who assert that gay sex is holy and blessed by God are false teachers.  All of that has been tediously hashed through in multitudinous documents and white papers over the past decade. You could surf to the archives of the ACI and Global South documents for a start, and then for the opposing side, head over to the Integrity website and various other representatives of their particular custom gospel.

If people don’t believe that Baucum is a false teacher, then that’s fine by me—it’s yet another demonstration of the two different antithetical and opposing foundational worldviews and values represented in one organization.

Re: “endorsement”—I don’t grant the assertion that participating in an organization’s structure is “endorsing” all the people in the organization as good members, and one may participate in an organization’s structure while publicly denouncing some of the organization’s members, and busily working to diminish their power, credibility, and influence, or even eject them from the organization.

[76] Posted by Sarah on 3-1-2013 at 12:25 AM · [top]

Sarah,

Scripture gives (at least) a couple of categories of people who teach wrong things. Is a more complicated picture than “false teachers” v “true teachers”

Christians who teach some things that are wrong: 1 Timothy 1:3-4 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. (Paul makes it clear these people are to be corrected in the hope they will change)

Then there are those who are ex-Christians why deny Christ: 2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (these people are decribed as being beyond correction)

Readers will have to decide where the people mentioned in this thread belong. In TEC I would think some there are some in the second category.

On “participating in an organisation’s structure”, Sarah you and I might have to agree to disagree. But please note I was talking about participating at the very top of the structure, and taking part in Christian worship with the leaders.

[77] Posted by obadiahslope on 3-1-2013 at 03:44 AM · [top]

Hi Obadiahslope,

A difference without relevance. In 1 Tim 1 Timothy is to command the false teachers to be quiet…and if they refuse we can assume further discipline. In 2 Peter 2, Peter is merely describing the effects of false teachers not the discipline of them.

Note that the orthodox parties involved are presently doing the Opposite of 1 Tim 1…reconciliation for Welby et al is all about NOT silencing heretics. 

Should a heretic refuse to be silenced once he is called to repent as Johnston has so refused (along with many other clergy) since 2003, then there is no conversation/dialog/reconciliation process. There is 2 John 7-11, Gal 1:6-9, etc. The idea that Johnston has not already received his warning and call to repent and therefore must be so entreated is absurd.

[78] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-1-2013 at 04:49 AM · [top]

Matt,

In 2 Peter 2, the false teachers ” secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves”

In Galations 1 the people “are turning to a different gospel” under the influence of the false teachers.

I accept that these sort of false teachers are in TEC.

Do you think that Bp Johnston “denies the sovereign lord who bought him” and preaches “another gospel”?

Do you think that he is a Christian, or someone that has moved on from his faith and is now teaching something else?

(I am not arguing one way or the other - I don’t live in the US)

[79] Posted by obadiahslope on 3-1-2013 at 05:19 AM · [top]

Way to avoid and ignore the distinction I made above and shift the argument Obadiaslope…but I’ll play along.

“Do you think that Bp Johnston “denies the sovereign lord who bought him” and preaches “another gospel”?

Absolutely.

“Do you think that he is a Christian”

No. No false teacher is a Christian. False teachers are wolves who seek to devour Christians. His teaching certainly devours. It promotes behaviors Paul teaches will bar people from the kingdom of heaven.

“or someone that has moved on from his faith and is now teaching something else?”

He’s a heretic. He is an enemy of Christ and the cross and preaches another gospel.

[80] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-1-2013 at 05:36 AM · [top]

Matt,

I think at times in this chain both I and the people replying to me have been wary about accepting each others premises. I don’t wish to offend.

Can I ask you a couple of follow-ups?

Is your judgement that Bp Johnston is not a Christian based on his teaching about homosexuality, or is there more to it? (I am not questioning your judgment, just enquiring about the basis for it.)

Or, to put it another way, Is it possible for someone to be christian, and have a false view about homosexuality? ISTM that Scripture is clear that homosexual sexual activity and being a christian are incompatible, but is it possible out there in TEC-land there are Christians confused on this subject?

[81] Posted by obadiahslope on 3-1-2013 at 06:02 AM · [top]

Hi Obadiahslope.

“Is your judgement that Bp Johnston is not a Christian based on his teaching about homosexuality, or is there more to it? (I am not questioning your judgment, just enquiring about the basis for it.)”

Yes.

When I say “not a Christian” I am making no judgment about the ultimate eternal destiny of his soul. That is God’s business. I am rather judging the fruit of his teaching (Matt 7:15) and according to that fruit he leads the Lord’s “little ones” into sin, openly defies the explicit consistent teaching of Jesus through his apostles, encourages the desecration the temples of God (1 Cor 6), undermines the call to repentance, undoes God’s ordinance of marriage, and promotes an image of Christ that is in direct conflict with the way Christ reveals himself in the NT. So on the basis of that fruit we must identify him as a wolf, not a brother. He has betrayed his baptism and ordination vows and is no longer legitimately to be considered a member of the body or to hold authority in it.

“Or, to put it another way, Is it possible for someone to be christian, and have a false view about homosexuality?”

Sure. But we are not talking about “someone”. We are talking about an ordained teacher and leader in the church. We are not talking about a sheep in sheep’s clothing but a wolf dressed as a prophet. I think you may be missing the chasm between being a guy in the pew who is confused and a teacher in the church who knows scripture well enough to be without excuse and yet leads the flock toward the pit and away from Christ.

There is a huge difference in the NT between people who sin and people who get confused and teachers who sin and teach doctrines contrary to the doctrines delivered by the apostles. The church is always to be compassionate toward sinners and - as a result of that compassion - in conflict with heretics who lead sinners more deeply into sin.

“ISTM that Scripture is clear that homosexual sexual activity and being a christian are incompatible, but is it possible out there in TEC-land there are Christians confused on this subject?”

see above

[82] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-1-2013 at 06:29 AM · [top]

On the basis of James 3:1 I agree with you about the special responsibilities of being a teacher. Please don’t take anything I have said here to take away my respect for you and David as Bible teachers. (I may be too much of an unreconstructed protestant to take ordination as seriously as you might).

“A teacher in the church who knows scripture well enough to be without excuse”. I may disagree with you there. IMHO the seminaries in TEC don’t appear to teach the Bible as much as they should. Your former Presiding Bishop is a case of someone ordained who does not know the Bible.

I will take away your distinction between saying someone is not a Christian, and saying that is not a comment on their immortal soul, and think about it. It troubles me.

ISTM that Scripture describes false teachers in 2 Peter 2, and Galatians 1 as people who bring swift destruction on themselves or have moved to another gospel respectively. I think the implication is that their souls are in peril.

Which brings us back to the Michael Jensen article I referenced above. (I come from Sydney, hence I look to Moore Theological College). If you get time to read it I would greatly appreciate your response. It makes the case I was trying to get across, much better than I can.

[83] Posted by obadiahslope on 3-1-2013 at 06:48 AM · [top]

#83. obadiahslope,
“(I may be too much of an unreconstructed protestant to take ordination as seriously as you might). I’m not sure what ‘unreconstructed protestant’ means but not taking ordination seriously is one of Baucum’s+ issues. Ordination and our vows is serious.
” I may disagree with you there. IMHO the seminaries in TEC don’t appear to teach the Bible as much as they should.” I must jump in here also and say, “So what” Those in holy orders in the church are without excuse. We are charged and agree to remaining in the Word daily as a part of our lives in our ordination vows.

[84] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-1-2013 at 08:23 AM · [top]

Hi Obadiahslope,

“On the basis of James 3:1 I agree with you about the special responsibilities of being a teacher.”

Good.

“Please don’t take anything I have said here to take away my respect for you and David as Bible teachers.”

Thank you, and likewise I’ve always enjoyed and learned from your comments.

” (I may be too much of an unreconstructed protestant to take ordination as seriously as you might).”

Well I am with you on that…its not so much any sacramental nature of ordination that I’m referring to but to the significance of the office of teacher.

“A teacher in the church who knows scripture well enough to be without excuse”...I may disagree with you there. IMHO the seminaries in TEC don’t appear to teach the Bible as much as they should. Your former Presiding Bishop is a case of someone ordained who does not know the Bible.”

There is no excuse for someone who has been exposed to the truth, as Johnston unquestionably has by virtue of being exposed to the texts themselves, for rejecting it and teaching contrary to it. I think the NT is pretty clear that there is no such thing as “invincible ignorance” in such cases. It is volitional ignorance…a culpable suppression of what one knows to be true. He has been exposed to the light but prefers darkness and attempts to lead others into that darkness.

“I will take away your distinction between saying someone is not a Christian, and saying that is not a comment on their immortal soul, and think about it. It troubles me. ISTM that Scripture describes false teachers in 2 Peter 2, and Galatians 1 as people who bring swift destruction on themselves or have moved to another gospel respectively. I think the implication is that their souls are in peril.”

I did not say his soul was not in peril. I said I do not know his ultimate destination and would not presume to judge it. Perhaps God will draw him back. Perhaps he knows Christ but is actively playing the role of the prodigal. That is a judgment that I cannot make.

The judgment I can make based on Matt 7 and elsewhere is that he is no longer to be considered a part of the flock or a leader of the flock but an enemy of Christ and a destroyer of the flock. So the title “Christian” does not apply to one who is actively destroying the Body.

“Which brings us back to the Michael Jensen article I referenced above. (I come from Sydney, hence I look to Moore Theological College). If you get time to read it I would greatly appreciate your response. It makes the case I was trying to get across, much better than I can.”

I will

[85] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-1-2013 at 08:29 AM · [top]

Okay, read the Jensen peice…I think it a bit too narrow. A false teacher “necessarily” has impure motives and “necessarily” lives immorally. No I think that is an unwarranted extrapolation to all false teachers made on the basis of evidence that this exists in some of them.

From the perspective of the community - the apostles gives us clear guidelines for identifying those who are to be silenced and if not able to be silenced cast out and if unable to be cast out avoided.

The guidelines are the same as they were in Dt 13 and 18…do they speak falsely? (I think Jensen fails, by the way, to see that the Apostles were Jews who largely carry forward the OT tests for false prophets). Gal 1 and 2 John both instruct us to use the test of teaching. Does this person run ahead? Does this person bring another gospel? If so, he is to be considered anathema and given no hospitality. There’s no need to delve into his personal morality or to seek some kind of clarity about his motives since the souls of people in the flock are at stake.

As for the point about Paul being a false teacher before his conversion it is a bit of a stretch to apply that to teachers in the church for two reasons.
1. Paul was not “in the church” - in fact the church, rightly, sought to avoid him while he persecuted.
2. Christ himself effected the conversion directly.

It is, well, acrobatic to use Paul’s conversion as warrant to encourage us to treat false teachers with kid gloves.

[86] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-1-2013 at 09:18 AM · [top]

RE: “Scripture gives (at least) a couple of categories of people who teach wrong things.”

Yes indeed, I recognize that—categories which we have not discussed since I am blazingly indifferent to re-trodding ground that has been trod over and over and over again for the past ten years on this very blog—indeed, plowed underfoot and sown with salt. 

If you haven’t come to any conclusions on questions that have been hashed through for a decade now about the appropriate responses to presenting issues [and of course for centuries prior about other issues] then I’m comfortable with that.  Or alternatively, if you’ve decided that people must depart corrupt ecclesial organizations which have corrupt and pagan leaders masquerading as Christians in those organizations, I’m comfortable with that as well, although it does cause one to wonder why one is participating on a blog one of whose presuppositions and raison d’etre’s is to serve those who have determined to be in such organizations by providing them with more information and more insight.

RE: “On “participating in an organisation’s structure”, Sarah you and I might have to agree to disagree.”

As we have done so from the very start of this thread, since we don’t share the same foundational assumptions.

My purpose in responding has not been to convince you of anything but merely to point out where we differ on premises and where your language’s imprecision has blurred distinctions and imported further red herrings.

[87] Posted by Sarah on 3-1-2013 at 09:31 AM · [top]

As a case in point…Pelagius and Arius were both personally virtuous and it is hard to find any evidence to suggest they were insincere in their beliefs. And yet both taught hellish doctrines. Both were “liars” bent on divisiveness in the sense that both taught lies and rejected the truth of the gospel clearly revealed and became thereby the causes of division.

[88] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-1-2013 at 09:36 AM · [top]

Matt,

I think there is an interesting issue of how to use bible language underneath your discussion of Michael’s piece. As you point out Michael is arguing for a narrow use of the term “false teacher” based on his analysis on how the Bible uses it. I think that is a tendency for Sydney Diocese in general and it is interesting to see it affect this discussion. (Normally I am on your side of the fence).
“It is, well, acrobatic to use Paul’s conversion as warrant to encourage us to treat false teachers with kid gloves. “
Feel free to have a go at me. But any implication that Michael is arguing for a kid glove treatment of people who are in favour of gay blessings is false. I do not think you were saying that, but i want to clear it up for a casual reader.

Michael is not arguing for papering over differences, but for precise language. He would descibe

Sarah,
I accept your criticism that my language was imprecise. To my mind “Iron sharpens iron” and I willingly concede your iron is sharper than mine.
I did not set out to to discuss your involvement in TEC. (That is indeed well hashed out territory).
  I made a comment about involvement in General Synod - which is a a more intimate group than TEC’s convention. The situation for evangelicals in Australian Anglicanism is different from TEC. My comment was directed at David. I am not sure that it was a red herring. But if he describes it as any sort of ruddy-hued-product-of-the-North-Sea,  I will say “fair enough”.

[89] Posted by obadiahslope on 3-1-2013 at 04:06 PM · [top]

Sorry for the rough edges in that last comment.
Now I was surprised that Matt seemed to base his description of Bp Johnston on his (the Bishop’s) views on homosexuality.
ISTM that is is common for people to take a liberal view on this issue to also move to a “different gospel”. Has that happened in this case?

[90] Posted by obadiahslope on 3-1-2013 at 04:28 PM · [top]

RE: “ISTM that is is common for people to take a liberal view on this issue to also move to a “different gospel”. Has that happened in this case?”

Hi Obadiah Slope—it’s not possible to believe that gay sex is holy and blessed by God without having radically non-Christian views on Scripture, marriage, the sacraments, tradition, the Fall, sin, repentance, salvation, sanctification and transformation—as has been thoroughly hashed through on this blog for the past number of years.

That being said, the question is off-topic, as all of the above is a “given” on this blog.  Feel free to inquire earnestly of Matt via private message in order to ascertain if clergy who believe that gay sex is holy and blessed by God believe another gospel.  Or you can listen to Kendall Harmon’s “iceberg” lectures . . . or go read any number of essays and articles and posts written over the past 10 years.

This thread is not for people to try to figure out what they believe about these long-hashed-through issues—the vast vast vast vast majority of our commenters are long settled on them—nor is it [far more likely] a thread whereby Obadiah Slope can try to lead the entire topic over to his own personal agenda in order to promote his particular theology.

[91] Posted by Sarah on 3-1-2013 at 10:16 PM · [top]

Hi Obadiahslope, I think you misunderstood:

“As you point out Michael is arguing for a narrow use of the term “false teacher” based on his analysis on how the Bible uses it.”

Right. And I think his analysis is an incorrect reading of scripture because he artificially restricts the use of the term to those who are both living immorally and teaching falsely. The reason I think it is incorrect is that he builds his case on the basis of examples drawn from first century heretics referred to in the epistles…not to actual principles laid down in the epistles for the church. In other words, he’s making a category error. He’s extrapolating from the fact that certain heretics were immoral and insincere and that in general this is true to assert that “all” heretics are insincere and immoral and if someone is not immoral and insincere he cannot be a heretic despite his false teaching. But when you turn to the passages that instruct churches with regard to heretics you find that the tests that the apostles give in the various passages I cited above are essentially the very same tests used in Dt 13 and 18. They do not require an indepth investigation of the moral life of the false teacher or an analysis of his motives

And this is borne out in the extra biblical cases of Arius and Pelagius I cited above.

Please do try to read a bit more carefully.

Now that Sarah has asked that you discontinue this discussion online, you are welcome to private message me with your response.

[92] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-1-2013 at 10:41 PM · [top]

A pity this aspect of the discussion is ending. 

In view of a comment above that seemed to make this ‘Sydney Diocese v Matt Kennedy’, I would just like to add that I have been a member of Sydney Diocese for five decades and I think that many people down here would have agreed with Matt. 

Masterful yet straightforward exposition from the relevant bible passages.

[93] Posted by MichaelA on 3-2-2013 at 03:53 AM · [top]

For the record, Tory Baucum was first a doctoral student then an adjunct or assistant professor at my alma mater, Asbury Theological Seminary in the missiology department.

There is a long and established animus between Asbury and the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington (KY).  As the idiocy of TEC reached its zenith over the past 10 years, that animus became an open war.  Said differently, Asbury graduates / students need not apply for ordination or licensure in the Diocese of Lexington.

Stacy Sauls, bitter enemy of all things orthodox and Christian in the EDL and sadly their bishop ordinary, would have none of Baucum functioning in his diocese.  Hence the requisite hassles.

Baucum’s words in the current case are deeply troubling to me.  I also agree that he must give an account for this with his Ordinary.

-Jim+

[94] Posted by FrJim on 3-3-2013 at 09:00 PM · [top]

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