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March 5, 2013


Truro - the Crisis for the Communion

This is the second short part in a brief 2-part series outlining the key issues arising out of the Truro affair. The first part, the crisis Truro has brought to the ACNA, can be found here.

Second, the crisis that Truro brings to the Communion.

Simply put, Baucum/Truro have crystallised and provided validation to what is becoming increasingly clear is Justin Welby’s approach of non-discipline of heretics in the Communion as long as they will “play nice” and “reconcile” according to his own understanding of that term.

Here is Baucum’s own reflection upon the recent Reconciliation Conference he attended in Coventry (my emphasis):

The reason we were invited to have such a role at Coventry is because +Justin Welby, the then new Bishop of Durham had already heard our story last May at HTB and was deeply affected by Truro’s marriage of doctrinal and relational orthodoxy.  He wanted the Church of England to witness what he witnessed.  I am humbled that he is holding our example up as a model for his archiepiscopacy.  The doctrinal conflict - neither in Virginia nor the Communion - has been resolved but our ability to relate to each other without enmity while still in conflict is the kind of model ++Welby promotes as a pathway toward reconciliation. This hard won space is not an end in itself, but creates a place where the doctrinal and relational wounds of the Church can be healed.  I am grateful that Archbishop Welby holds up Truro’s relation to the Episcopal diocese of Virginia as a model for the rest of the Anglican Communion.

As we’ve noted recently, the process that ++Welby is setting up is not one that disciplines TEC’s heretical leadership but, rather, allows space for “conversation” with them despite the differences. Most notably (and most crucially) it continues to treat them as authentic Christian leaders.

And Truro/Baucum have lapped it up and become the poster boys for just another variation of Indababble.

And so here is the crisis for the Communion. Welby shows no indication of bringing Godly and necessary discipline. Rather than doing the right thing, demanding that repentance precede reconciliation and a place at the table for the heretics, he is instead promoting a place for them. It was entirely right that we welcomed his appointment. Here was a man with clear evangelical convictions who, perhaps, would have called TEC and the Church in Canada to account. But, sadly, it seems that he is pushing for a different outcome. He is endorsing a process that itself endorses heretics as authentic and honoured Christian leaders.

Here’s what I wrote back in November when his appointment was imminent,

Globally we will all be watching to see if he takes a firmer line with the liberals than Williams did. The ABC has incredibly powerful influence whatever he chooses to do. Williams’ inaction spoke volumes - so what will Welby do? We will, of course, be hoping he will chart a far better path, recognising that the job of the Archbishop is not simply to “chair” the Communion but to guide it and drive away false teaching. Welby has a bit of a reputation in his own diocese for not upsetting apple carts. That will have to change if he is to be the man who can help pull us back to where we should be. At a minimum we’re sure to see him advocating hard for the Covenant - but will he go further and speak out clearly against revisionism? Only time will tell.
So we wait with great anticipation. My mind is that it could go either way.
...
there is the other possibility; that he will be the conservatives’ Rowan Williams. When Williams was first appointed the liberals were delirious with happiness since they knew he shared their convictions. That praise soon turned to criticism and worse when he failed to deliver for them. There is a chance that Welby could do the same for us. Perhaps, like Williams, he will be so keen to hold everyone together at the table that no-one will end up wanting to come to dinner. That would be tragic and, surely, he would have the wisdom not to repeat Williams’ mistakes, but ought not to be naïve about the possibility.

I am genuinely disappointed to have been proven right on this matter. It really grieves me.

But here we are. And the critical thing we need to get our head around here is that Baucum/Truro have not only allowed themselves to be part of this capitulation to the liberals’ desire to be recognised as authentically orthodox but have actually pursued the agenda.

In doing so they have not only brought a crisis to the ACNA, but to the Communion as a whole which could only have been held together by genuine discipline but now looks closer to a final split than ever before. Can any of us really see the GAFCON movement embracing this “reconciliation” process as it currently stands?


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5 comments

“It was entirely right that we welcomed his appointment.” I did not welcome his appointment. There were already signs indicating his willingness to listen to the GLBT folks, push for female bishops and attempt at unity through mission. The CoE chose their Bishop. He is a reflection of that ethos and culture. He is not suitable for the WWAC.

[1] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-5-2013 at 10:25 PM · [top]

Fr Dale, I share your opinion about +++Welby.  The man’s cut from the same mold as Rowan Williams, and if he continues to ignore the ACNA and other non-Communion Anglicans (yes, Mrs Schori, there ARE such people in this world) and the not-unreasonable demands of the Global South primates, then the Anglican Communion as we’ve known it is finished.  While I’m willing to cut him a little slack because he’s just getting started in office, he needs to be told that the tolerance level is very low, and it won’t be “business as usual” anymore.

[2] Posted by cennydd13 on 3-7-2013 at 04:22 PM · [top]

“These things I write unto you out of a concern for your salvation. With regard to the subject of your letters, this is my determination; I will not unite myself to the Arians; I anathematize their heresy. Neither will I subscribe against Athanasius, whom both we and the Church of the Romans and the whole Council pronounced to be guiltless. ...

Forbear, and be not influenced by evil men, lest while you act for the mutual advantage of yourself and them, you render yourself responsible. For here you comply with their desires, hereafter in the judgment you will have to answer for doing so alone. These men desire by your means to injure their enemy, and wish to make you the minister of their wickedness, in order that through your help they may sow the seeds of their accursed heresy in the Church. Now it is not a prudent thing to cast one’s self into manifest danger for the pleasure of others. Cease then, I beseech you, O Constantius, and be persuaded by me. These things it becomes me to write, and you not to despise” - +Hosius of Corduba, “Letter to Constantius” 355 AD

[3] Posted by MichaelA on 3-8-2013 at 02:16 AM · [top]

Non-discipline of heretics has been the norm since “Bishop” Pike in the 1960s.

Excessive deference is NOT Christlike. It is not a charism. It is not from God.

TE is DEAD. Period.

Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. (from Proverbs 29)

[4] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 3-11-2013 at 07:45 AM · [top]

“This hard won space is not an end in itself, but creates a place where the doctrinal and relational wounds of the Church can be healed.”

Where have we heard this before, i.e., let’s just sit a table and endlessly talk with each other? As we’ve witnessed over the last decade, this is no solution at all. Falsehood & truth cannot ever be reconciled.

“Doctrinal wounds”? What an odd concept. A doctrine is, by definition, “a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or
system of belief : dogma.” It cannot be ‘wounded’. In the case of Christian doctrine, it can only ultimately be confirmed or denied as true by its fidelity to the Scriptures, not by ‘what’s happenin’ now’.  The two sides in the battle for the soul of the Anglican communion are simply poles apart. Neither set of doctrines seem to be ‘wounded’. I’d say they’re both pretty chipper. But they BOTH cannot be accepted as the norm in one communion.

May I never be the one to simply quash hope - after all, Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle - but I was not encouraged when I read “Welby has a bit of a reputation in his own diocese for not upsetting apple carts.” I would say that some apple carts need to be seriously upset.

[5] Posted by GSP98 on 4-27-2013 at 11:38 AM · [top]

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