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Saddle Up, Boys… We’ve Got a Long Way to Go

Monday, August 4, 2008 • 10:03 am

If you are new to this site and to this debate, I suspect you are overwhelmed at what’s happening in your church, and overwhelmed by the amount of information there is (just on this site, and we’re one of many) to digest. We’ve been at this for years, and a lot has happened and been documented. My hope is that you’re primed for a fight, because that’s what we’re in, and that’s what you need to resign yourself to if you want to do anything other than leave, or be assimilated into the Episcopal Church’s Great Gay Borg.

I want to dispel two memes beginning to be manufactured about the Lambeth conference, one by Lambeth organizers, the other by TEC revisionists.

The first is that the Lambeth conference was a success. The second is that it held any kind of line, or was a setback for the Episcopal Church.

Before the Lambeth Conference even ended, there began the efforts to cast it as a success because, after all, “the communion didn’t split,” and “no one walked out,” and no decisions that were made caused further division among the opposing factions.

Ruth Gledhill mentioned that a poll of bishops in attendance revealed widespread support for Rowan Williams, noting that among those attending, three-quarters of them approved of his leadership during the conference.

No doubt this will be part of the spin coming from TEC bishops in the days and weeks to come, as they return to their dioceses and report on their experiences at the conference, but let’s take a moment to remind ourselves why this is nonsense.

The first, and most glaring, is that one-fourth of the Anglican Communion’s bishops, representing half the world’s worshiping Anglicans, were not present at all. Their opinions weren’t solicited or recorded in the poll. Your numbers can look great when you lop off 25% of those who are so dissatisfied with you that they don’t even show up.

The second is that, with the 25% most unsatisfied of your constituents not present, an approval rating of 75% of the ones that remain is nothing to crow about.

The third is that a walkout was never in the cards, not even by the most conservative bishops who decided to attend. The gravity and meaning of protest actions such as walkouts are directly proportional to the gravity and meaning of the event or setting out of which one walks. For example, imagine a national debate that had gone on for years, which prompted legislation to be passed by the U.S. House and handed over to the Senate. Debate in the Senate rages for days, and finally, late one night, it all comes down to one vote that will have major and lasting consequences for the whole country. A protest action at that moment has meaning, because of the gravity of the situation in which it is made.

Now imagine that instead of debating the bill and taking a vote on it, the senators had decided to gather not in the Senate chambers for a vote, but in the Senate cafeteria, in small groups around tables, to talk about how great it is to be a U.S. Senator and part of this elite club. Walking out - indeed, any kind of protest action at all - is by definition meaningless, because you’re not participating in anything worth protesting. Protests make sense only when Body A is faced with Issue B, and is committed to making Decision C or D, at some point in the very near future.

The Lambeth Conference was designed specifically to resemble senators gathering around tables for lunch, the goal being some warm-fuzzy strengthening of “collegiality,” more than it was to resemble senators debating and voting on bills that become law and affect the people in their care. In other words, it was designed to be meaningless, and to say the least, it accomplished its goal. This is not to say that Lambeth will not have any meaning in the history of Anglicanism; it most definitely will, but it won’t be what the planners intended, or what it has historically had.

This should illustrate the importance of yardsticks in evaluating the success or failure of almost any such event, but especially meetings of so-called Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion: If your measure of success is a meeting that results in no decisions being made, and as little comment as possible made about the current crisis, despite the fact that one-fourth of your bishops declined even to show up, then sure - this Lambeth Conference has been a success. The question then turns from the value of your conference, to that of your yardstick.

This brings us to the next point - the hang-dog look and droopy mood of some revisionist commentators.

Sherrod writes:

Rowan Williams did a very clever job of designing a conference that gave him everything he wanted - no resolutions, bishops who felt “closer” to one another, and - on the last day when they had been lulled into a sense of trust—a total smackdown of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The process may have been easier on the bishops than the brutal Lambeth of 1998, but the outcome is just as brutal for LGBT Anglicans.

I’m still waiting for a better explanation than Williams was able to give me at the final press conference about what the theological and scriptural grounding is for asking an entire group of Christians to sacrifice their vocations and relationship on your behalf. Simply saying that sacrifice has to be voluntary and that the Communion is worth that sacrifice doesn’t do the job.

As a priest in the US said, “When I climb up on the cross, it’s sacrifice. When you put me up there, it’s murder.’
So here we are with another Lambeth behind us. What parts of this will be used to beat up on LGBT Anglicans? Which parts will be raised to the status of Holy Writ, much as the Windsor Report and resolution 1.10 have been?

My, my, my… the drama. One would think the Episcopal Church has really been “slapped” down,” that things are actually going to change for the worse for Episcopal revisionists. Nothing could further from the truth.

Jim Naughton writes:

Numerous Episcopal dioceses permit the blessing of same-sex relationships, but without a rite.
Bishops Jon Bruno of Los Angeles and Marc Andrus of California, which includes the San Francisco Bay area, have already said that they would not attempt to stop the blessing of gay relationships in their diocese. Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Diocese of Washington has also said he would not attempt to stop same-sex blessings.

“I can only say that inclusion is a reality in our diocese and will continue to be,” Bruno said. “For people who think that this is going to lead us to disenfranchise any gay or lesbian person, they are sadly mistaken.”

Susan Russell has even constructed a little altar to this statement.

So you see, there’s no possibility at all that any Lambeth “moratoria” will be followed, because they’re not moratoria at all. They’re simply - as the revisionists will continually remind us - “requests,” and requests, of course, can be denied. And even if they were elevated to the realm of “moratoria,” they would have been issued - again, as the revisionists will continually remind us - by a body with no power to enforce anything, especially if impinges on TEC’s sacred “polity.”

At any rate, Lambeth’s decision not to decide is a huge victory for American revisionists, because while some of their more earnest foot-soldiers may believe that anything less than bishops processing into Canterbury Cathedral in buttless chaps and blue eye shadow is a “slapdown,” the more savvy among them understand full well than every time the gay question is put to the Anglican Communion, and the answer is, “let’s keep talking,” it is in fact a victory for them. It is one more day of dry heat that allows their cement to set.

So where does that leave us, especially those of us here in America?

In some ways, nothing has changed. We knew Rowan Williams was a weak, indecisive leader. We knew that revisionist TEC bishops and gay activists would never assent to anything that slowed - much less halted - their push to bless same-sex unions and ordain and consecrate partnered homosexuals. We knew that Lambeth would be a silly, childish get-together which serious men like Jack Iker and Keith Ackerman attended almost solely for the purpose of bearing witness to the Gospel the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion leadership are gleefully abandoning.

In other ways, much has changed. At the very least, we have as a community passed through the mental intersection of Lambeth, and we can now turn our attention to the road ahead having had all our questions answered about exactly what Lambeth would “mean” to our future.

If you are new to this site and to this debate, I suspect you are overwhelmed at what’s happening in your church, and overwhelmed by the amount of information there is (just on this site, and we’re one of many) to digest. We’ve been at this for years, and a lot has happened and been documented. My hope is that you’re primed for a fight, because that’s what we’re in, and that’s what you need to resign yourself to if you want to do anything other than leave, or be assimilated into the Episcopal Church’s Great Gay Borg.

If you’re a veteran, my hope is that you can take a deep breath and re-commit yourself to the fight, and prepare for a church future unlike anything you’ve encountered in the past. We’re going to be talking a lot more in the coming weeks about what this means, and what we do next.

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For what,precisely, are we fighting Greg? If we remain in the Episcopal Organization, will we be fighting to preserve an apostate and soul-threatening counterfeit church? If we remain in the Anglican Communion, will we be fighting to protect a particular protestant form of Anglicanism? And what, precisely, is Anglicanism and perhaps the most basic question is why are fighting for it?

[1] Posted by Dan Crawford on 08-04-2008 at 10:26 AM • top

I should hope that the full spectrum of the orthodox church will be present after the apostate PECUSA and it’s sister the ACoC are excommunicated from what remains of the Anglican Community…

[2] Posted by Bo on 08-04-2008 at 10:36 AM • top

I believe the fight is for the Gospel and fidelity to the Catholic Faith. All of those allegiances need to be weighed in the light of that. It is definitely going to get interesting. Someone called it the Chinese curse - “May you live in interesting times.” Here we are.

[3] Posted by Fr. Christopher Cantrell+ on 08-04-2008 at 10:45 AM • top

I think Rowan hoped to marginalize the American orthodox and show the rest of the communion it was a tempest in a teapot, and only the Africans were really a problem and they were not even at the table.  No big deal.  The only BIG deal was border crossings and that had to STOP.  We were labeled as American whiners and to be put in a corner until we could behave ourselves. The question is how successful was he?  I think he probably succeeded with the moderates and those who hate America anyway.  The liberal, white, Anglican Communion will toddle on to irrelevancy while Christianity is renewed and moves on to the real Kingdom.

[4] Posted by Elizabeth on 08-04-2008 at 10:48 AM • top


Those are precisely some of the questions we’re going to be asking, and which we’re all going to have to answer. Be thinking about it… I want to wait a couple of days before my next article along these lines.

[5] Posted by Greg Griffith on 08-04-2008 at 10:56 AM • top

What are we (or am I) “fighting” for?  An orthodox North American Anglican Church, one which can bring all those who remain faithful into her fold.
I am not fighting “against” TEC - It will self destruct without any help. 


[6] Posted by cityonahill on 08-04-2008 at 11:08 AM • top

There is no doubt that clarity has been received.  All will have to decide what path to walk but clearly remaining in TEC will only bring further heartbreak.  It on-ward and up-ward into the New Narnia and Christ leads the way via Gafcon.

Waiting until 2009 for a Primates meeting is just another error by Canterbury….sad…really

[7] Posted by Creighton+ on 08-04-2008 at 11:12 AM • top

Captain Yips has an interesting perspective on the state of the communion and on the ABC’s leadership:

[8] Posted by Theodora on 08-04-2008 at 11:21 AM • top

For those of you in CANA/Virginia, the legal argument from TEC will be something along these lines in your legal battle to retain your property.

TEC will say;
“We just returned from Lambeth, the once every 10 year gathering of the entire Anglican Church. We all decided to stay together. GAFCON has affirmed that they are not leaving the AC. Therefore, there is no division, only a cross border incursion from another province who desires to lay claim to valuable TEC property for their own selfish desires.

We all agreed at Lambeth that there must be a moratorium on these cross border incursions. Therefore, the division statue does not apply, and we still own the property.”

[9] Posted by BillS on 08-04-2008 at 11:23 AM • top

Thank you Greg, I have to share Dan Crawford’s concerns though. If there was an Anglican church that truly held to its own formularies, particularly the real Book of Common Prayer and the Articles of Religion, and some standard of worship then I would want to be a part of it. But if it is just going to be some nominally Anglican generic powerpoint guitar church why wouldn’t I just go somewhere else? I think everybody kind of knows what Anglicanism is supposed to be but it’s rare if you actually find it anywhere. There are churches that do that other stuff way better than Anglicans. The Anglican Communion has been blown to pieces, and it’s not just about gay bishops and SSB’s. I think the cavalier and arrogant dumbing down of the liturgy is part of the same problem that drives the other disorders in the church. Greg, your call to arms is inspiring but leaving may be really the best thing unless as Mr Crawford says we know what is we’re supposed to be putting back together.

[10] Posted by Hopeless Percy on 08-04-2008 at 11:27 AM • top

Bo, #2 writes, “after the apostate PECUSA and it’s sister the ACoC are excommunicated from what remains of the Anglican Community…”

In reality, by a person or group’s actions and words, they excommunicate themselves…this the way it happens in the Roman Catholic church.  In issuing a decree of excommunication, the Church is only acknowledging the reality of what has happened in the spiritual realm due to the person’s or group’s actions. 

When a Church or a leader falls into sin and apostasy, The Lord Jesus Christ enters their spiritual holy of holies, extinguishes the lamps and lampstand is removed until they repent.  Revelation 1:12-3:22

The actions of others and the spiritual consequences are not under the control or jurisdiction of a person, leader, group, even the Pope. 

We humans can pray, witness, instruct, but not change what is in another person’s heart or will.  Their actions are subject to law and penalties of law - except in the AC where rules and agreements are counterfeit or some wierd surrealistic metaphors giving rise to a new legal/theological genre, ‘Documents Noir’

[11] Posted by Theodora on 08-04-2008 at 11:37 AM • top

As far as the “poll” of the Times goes, no statistician would give it much credibility. If one asks a bishop in a public venue what he thinks about the ABC, you shouldn’t expect many to say they think he is a putz. Thus, the fact that 25% are honest about his lack of leadership doesn’t bode well for Rowan.

[12] Posted by robroy on 08-04-2008 at 11:40 AM • top

Part of me has to seriously wonder how any revisionist could be bummed about Lambeth.  I mean, really.  REALLY.  I don’t see how a rational revisionist could be bummed.  Part of me wonders: Are they faking being distraught so the ABC can go on thinking he’s found a middle ground?

But I know, they’re not faking—because they’re not rational.  They won’t be happy until they force their way on everyone else.  That’s what they mean by “claiming the blessing.”  Welcome to your future, Rowan.

Martin Luther King rhetorically asked himself “When will you be satisfied?”  And then he went on to say when, exactly, he would be satisfied.  Ask a revisionist the same question, and if they’re being honest, they’ll say, “Never.”

[13] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 08-04-2008 at 11:43 AM • top

Greg, I’m afraid I completely disagree with your analysis. I understand where you’re coming from, but I really feel things have changed thanks to the Lambeth Conference.

1) The connections made and the relationships developed are crucial to the future of a Christ-centred Anglican Communion. To disregard the conference because there were no hard-core resolutions really misses the point here. Christ’s call to his disciples was that they should “love one another as I have loved you”. This is the heart of discipleship and the Lambeth Fathers have poured out their love for one another these last three weeks.

2) This doesn’t mean that they all agree and that everything is okay. On the contrary, what the conference has done - much more powerfully than official statements and majority communiqués could have done - is bring home to the American and Canadian liberals (and, yes, the British ones too) - the cost of their actions, and the cost of any future actions.

3) Everything put out by the conference (and, much more importantly, everything discussed within the conference) emphasised that Lambeth 1:10 is the standard of the Communion. There was no watering down whatsoever.

4) The Americans and Canadians have been told (not by a motion passed with a majority of votes, but much more powerfully by people with whom they have genuinely engaged) that they either have to impose the three moratoria or else…

5) And now there really is an “or else”. Or else the ship will sail without them. The Covenant is happening. Most provinces will sign up for it. The overwhelming majority of bishops were in favour of it. It will be impossible to sign up for it without the moratoria.

6) And just as importantly there is now preparation being made for those in the American and Canadian churches who reject the direction their provinces are going in - much more importantly, because the Pastoral Forum will be official, Canterbury-led, and probably accepted by the American Bishops, it will be something that moderate Conservative parishes can join.

The crucial thing about this section is that should the American Provinces choose not to sign up to the Covenant, they won’t be able to take everything with them. There will be a way out for those ordinary, moderate, orthodox churches who don’t want to join CANA or AMiA or Common Cause, but do want to be a full part of the Communion.

7) I am hesitant to say “This is a victory for the Orthodox,” (realising I’m setting myself up for the soundbite against which my post will be judged…), for this isn’t really a matter of Victory and Defeat. The American Churches will probably choose to go their own way, with ever looser ties to the rest of the communion. Jim Naughton and Mark Harris and co will probably not be devastated by that. Dioceses and parishes who want to stay fully at the heart of Anglicanism will be able to do so - without lawsuits. That at least should please your heart. The Communion will get a covenant and will (by the grace of God) not end up in this mess again.

The Lambeth Fathers deserve all our thanks and prayers.

[14] Posted by Marcus on 08-04-2008 at 11:45 AM • top

BillS, and by the same token, the response should be a reminder to TEC and to the courts, that TEC was given a moratoria that reminded them that SSB’s and the consecration of those involved in active homosexual relationship to the clergy are a violation of Christian faith, and are not to be allowed.

So if TEC is sanctioning or turning a blind eye to those acts, they are publically stating that they are desiring not to stay together as part of the Anglican communion, and are abandoning the faith and it’s congregations.

They can’t have it both ways. I’d love to see a defense attorney or judge question KJS or one of her minions on their commitment to the communion.

There should be protests against TEC and their hypocrisies, that give out handouts of each and every hypocrisy they are guilty of.

[15] Posted by mari on 08-04-2008 at 11:51 AM • top

Bull Roar. Lambeth and ABC started in crisis and ended in failure. ECUSA remains non-Christian. Too many pretend to think otherwise.

[16] Posted by stevenanderson on 08-04-2008 at 11:54 AM • top

(#1) Dan,

- We’re fighting for the right to not have to use Sunday-School materials that present Christ as some sort of Palestinian hippie. 
- We’re fighting so that our children don’t have endure our rectors telling them that this or that miracle mentioned in Scripture did not occur;
- We’re fighting to be able to preach that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, that there is no one righteous, no not one;
- We’re fighting to define sin the way that the Old and New Testaments, and the Church has historically defined it;
- We’re fighting to be able to present Christ as THE (not “a”) Way, THE (not “a”)Truth, and THE (not “a”) Life;
- We’re fighting to be able to present Christ’s earthly ministry as something that the sinner must embrace, not as something that already embraces the sinner.
- We’re fighting to be a Church that actually disciplines in matters of doctrine and life. 

- We’re fighting for the Lord.  We’re fighting to be able to tell the World about Him, even the stuff that they won’t want to hear.  We’re fighting to be able to ask the World to embrace and emulate Him, for Who He is. 

- We’re fighting to be Evangelical and catholic, as opposed to neither Evangelical nor catholic. 

I’m Reformed, so I can’t speak for my Anglo-Catholic brethren.  I think though that they could agree with all of these things, contra what Revisionists would tell you.

[17] Posted by J Eppinga on 08-04-2008 at 11:59 AM • top

I, too, question what we are fighting.  Are we fighting against TEC or are we fighting for the soul of TEC?

In my less cynical moments, I believe that God in His graciousness has allowed TEC to leave Lambeth with two gifts:  more time and more rope.  More time to repent and turn away from the ungodly path she has chosen and more rope with which to hang herself if she doesn’t.

I hope for the former but fear the latter.

[18] Posted by sufficiently irreverent on 08-04-2008 at 12:02 PM • top

Marcus #14, I really don’t see the basis for your conclusions.

There is no “or else.”  Of course, the moratoria will not be observed by ECUSA, and, just as obviously, nothing will be done about it.  In your #5, it seems you want to link the proposed covenant to consequences, but, based on the drafts we’ve seen so far (which will only become weaker with time in a kind of Second Law of Anglican Thermodynamics), the covenant doesn’t even mention the topics at hand.  Thus, it will be quite possible to both ignore the moratoria and sign on to the covenant – and, that’s not even admitting the possibility (the likelihood, as far as I’m concerned) that ECUSA would sign on to it with every deceitful intent of then ignoring it.

Now, even if you turn out to be right, and ECUSA just walks away, again, your #7 connects two unrelated things.  The ability of ECUSA to persecute American Anglican Christians with lawsuits has nothing to do with its acceptance, or lack thereof, of the covenant; it has nothing to do with the Pastoral Forum; it has nothing to do with the wishes of individual dioceses to remain in good standing with the Communion.  Putting the strictly sui generis situation of Virginia aside, ECUSA has a legal standing that has nothing to do with Canterbury.

[19] Posted by Phil on 08-04-2008 at 12:03 PM • top

Moot #17,
That’s all good stuff, but there are already churches like that. What’s worth saving that’s Anglican?

[20] Posted by Hopeless Percy on 08-04-2008 at 12:23 PM • top

Floridian, (11)

While the breaking away may be done by the unrepentant sinner, it remains the duty of the observant church to toss such a one out from the Church (I Corinthians 5:5).  I wait the day when the presiding ‘bishopess’  the sodomite ‘bishop’ and all the ‘priestess’ get such clear notifications from the all faithful. (The Bishops of Africa lead the way, as in the time of Anathasius.

Orthodoxy doesn’t exclude the AngloCatholics, anymore than it does the Evangelicals (though some of the later would have to give up their ‘priestess’).

[21] Posted by Bo on 08-04-2008 at 12:23 PM • top

I would agree with a lot of what Marcus has said.
As far as Lambeth being a success only in the sense that disaster was averted, for now, and since that is all RW wanted it is fine to claim it.

I would say though that revisionists have every reason to have a droopy mood. Lambeth was a disaster plain and simple. TEC is already won and it was now time to branch out, that was an unmitigated failure. Despite the absence of virtually all their most ardent “enemies”, the outlay of millions and a PR push worthy of Madison Ave, TEC got squat. LGBT was everywhere at Lambeth and GR was all over the news. Nothing.

Lambeth was the functional equivelent of launching New Coke for TEC et al and it has failed just as miserably. Everyone hated it. Despite some wishy washy language in the Reflections document most everything coming out of Lambeth basically said to “Shut up and stop already”.
RW basically gutted their whole agenda for whatever they intend to “birth”, as KJS put it, in his last address and presser.

Why should revisionists be droopy over that? Because of what it says about their political power which is what this is about. TEC is for all intensive purposes a joke in the US. The PB used to be able to get the President’s ear with a phone call, I doubt KJS could work her way into a Congressman’s schedule without at least 3 months notice. TEC needs legitimacy to play with the UN. Forming their own Communion with some pitiful numbers isn’t going to cut it.

[22] Posted by Rocks on 08-04-2008 at 12:27 PM • top

The key issue for the revisionists was that the rest of the AC did not universally thorw open their arms and embrace the revisionst dream - did not throw open the doors and invite VGR into the deliberations, and thus the revisionists couldn’t proclaim in delighted bliss “you love me - you really love me!” on their terms. We may love them, as Christ commanded us to love them, but not so they could continue unrepentant and unregenerated in Christ.

We saw the reaction of TEC to the succession of mandates (Lambeth 1.10, Windsor, Dar, Primates) and we have the results in hand for all to see. The evidence is undeniable and irrefutable - TEC will move on, and continue down their progressive road unchecked by any tools that AoC throws at them (more likely a gentle and thoughtful toss, based on his past behaviors). The Anglican Fathers had an enjoyable series of chats, the Instruments of Unity remain ineffectual, and adding another one will not change that. The Covenant is still-born.

[23] Posted by masternav on 08-04-2008 at 12:36 PM • top

I am not fighting anymore.  I am patiently waiting for October 4th when DioPgh realigns with the Southern Cone and KJS and TEO are simply a bad memory.  This will occur as sure as the sun rises in the East.  Whether +Bob Duncan is deposed at the September HOB is irrelevant to the result.

One success of Lambeth is that +Mark Lawrences’s eyes have been opened to where the future of the AC lies for him and DioSC and that is with GAFCON.  My prayers are he has the fortitude to lead his flock into that future. I think he does.

[24] Posted by David Wilson on 08-04-2008 at 12:44 PM • top

#17:  I would add to your list:  We’re fighting for the right to hold up our heads when with Christians of other denominations.

[25] Posted by illinisouth on 08-04-2008 at 12:47 PM • top

Just two brief thoughts:

1. The orthodox would have to be crazy to wait for still one more event (this time a Covenant) to occur, as TEC will surely self-righteously ignore it.

2. To our leaders: Please, please, please make sure there is room in any new structure for ALL orthodox Anglicans, whether evangelicals or Anglo-Catholics or whatever; and do not quibble over each sinner’s favorite hobby horse. I could cheerfully attend almost any sort of orthodox Anglican church, but if this nonsense goes on much longer, I shall quit attending church altogether.

[26] Posted by rkreed on 08-04-2008 at 12:49 PM • top

Percy (#10) writes:

But if it is just going to be some nominally Anglican generic powerpoint guitar church why wouldn’t I just go somewhere else? I think everybody kind of knows what Anglicanism is supposed to be but it’s rare if you actually find it anywhere.

As a guitarist and A/V “helper”, I must take exception.  Everybody thinks they “know” what Anglicanism should be, but if it boils down to adiaphora like music, then heaven help us.  Indeed, if that’s what one considers the essence of Anglicanism, then there does seem to be nothing worth fighting for, and I would also be “Hopeless”, Percy!

[27] Posted by Connecticutian on 08-04-2008 at 12:57 PM • top

I’ve noticed just in this thread concern that there be made room for Anglo-Catholics, presumably so that whatever alternative Anglican Communion comes out of this is not seen to be just a low church Evangelical coup d’etat. What about Anglicans who don’t consider themselves to be in either of those two camps? Does anybody think there will any place for classical Anglicanism (like at St Michael’s, Cornhill) in any of this or will there just be a Sydney faction and a biretta-wearing group trying to co-exist in this structure? 

Sorry I just want to know, if anybody can tell me.

[28] Posted by Hopeless Percy on 08-04-2008 at 01:05 PM • top


Oh, they will be satisfied at a point.  That point is when all live the sinful life they live and call it good.

[29] Posted by BillB on 08-04-2008 at 01:09 PM • top

OK Connecticutian, fair point. BTW, I’m a a guitarist too. I’m in the Canadian Army as well, maybe that’s why I don’t like Powerpoint - we call it Death By Powerpoint”. But I mentioned a couple of other things in my first post too : the Prayer Book and the 39 Articles. So what about those? Do you feel they’re worth fighting for? And if you think music (and in particular Anglican hymnody and Anglican chant) are just peripheral I think you’re wrong.

Anyway, since the old Anglican Church has been destroyed I’d just like to know what this new one is going to be like, and thought someone in this discussion might know.

[30] Posted by Hopeless Percy on 08-04-2008 at 01:15 PM • top

Mari (15),

Thanks for your response, and in a rational world, I would agree with you. However, the world of TEC is a world of left wing secular power politics, not a world of rationality, or truly following Christ.

Within the legal realm, the courts will not try to determine who is responsible for violating canons, agreements, or tenets of faith. They will by necessity judge the merits of the case by secular legal standards.

One of CANA/Virginia’s strongest arguments has been the Virginia division statute, and on which they prevailed in an early round.

Within the secular court of law, TEC will now argue that the entire Anglican world just finished meeting, either in Jerusalem or Lambeth, and no one is leaving. All have decided to stay, and therefore, there is no division. Like any organization, there is disagreement, but not division.

The counter argument is that while the AC is still together, the division that counts is the one within TEC.

I bring this up because those of us who have left TEC to join GAFCON provinces need to anticipate the arguments that TEC will use in order to be better prepared.

[31] Posted by BillS on 08-04-2008 at 01:16 PM • top


I appreciate your response, but lt me explain why I think you’re wrong on almost all counts:

1) The connections made and the relationships developed are crucial to the future of a Christ-centred Anglican Communion. To disregard the conference because there were no hard-core resolutions really misses the point here. Christ’s call to his disciples was that they should “love one another as I have loved you”. This is the heart of discipleship and the Lambeth Fathers have poured out their love for one another these last three weeks.

Relationships can be forged in any number of settings. Lambeth was founded as a response to a crisis, and its role historically - especially in the 20th century - has been to express the mind of the communion as arrived at through structured deliberation of a kind very different from these silly “indaba” groups. Perhaps the communion could use more get-togethers where bishops get to know each other better, but by turning Lambeth into one of them, Rowan Williams has essentially eliminated it as an instrument of unity in the sense that we have always understood it.

2) This doesn’t mean that they all agree and that everything is okay. On the contrary, what the conference has done - much more powerfully than official statements and majority communiqués could have done - is bring home to the American and Canadian liberals (and, yes, the British ones too) - the cost of their actions, and the cost of any future actions.

Perhaps, but that’s of little value if their response to it is, “So what? We’re going to continue to keep doing what we’ve always done.”

3) Everything put out by the conference (and, much more importantly, everything discussed within the conference) emphasised that Lambeth 1:10 is the standard of the Communion. There was no watering down whatsoever.

That would be fine if before the conference there had been any attempt to discipline those who did not abide by Lambeth 1.10, but there wasn’t. An analogy would be the couple that has gone to a therapist because one of the spouses has been cheating. In a meeting last year, the therapist says, “You must stop cheating.” Now in a meeting this year, the therapist still says “You must stop cheating.” In the interim, there was no attempt to enforce the admonition - indeed, no mechanism by which it could be enforced - and there is no prospect if its being enforced in the future. So the effect is that no change has been made to a statement that has had no effect on curbing TEC’s actions, because they’ve disregarded it the whole time. That Lambeth 1.10 remains “the mind of the communion” hardly troubles TEC.

4) The Americans and Canadians have been told (not by a motion passed with a majority of votes, but much more powerfully by people with whom they have genuinely engaged) that they either have to impose the three moratoria or else…

...or else what?

5) And now there really is an “or else”. Or else the ship will sail without them. The Covenant is happening. Most provinces will sign up for it. The overwhelming majority of bishops were in favour of it. It will be impossible to sign up for it without the moratoria.

Not at all. The ship has sailed along with them. Jon Bruno and Marc Andrus and Katharine Schori strutted around Lambeth as full members of the communion, and they will continue to do so. They will not uninvite themselves to anything, now or ever. Neither will it be impossible to sign up for the covenant without moratoria against gay blessings and gay bishops. As Phil notes, the latest covenant draft doesn’t even mention them. Even if it did, it’s impossible to imagine that Rowan Williams, evidently satisfied by TEC’s non-response “response” in the form of B033, and its complete lack of response on the matter of same-sex blessings, is going to be bothered much by a lack of anything more specific or restrictive in the future.

But more to the point, as I noted in the main post, it doesn’t matter what TEC says it will do, or even what it passes at GenCon. It will continue to plow ahead with gay blessings, ordaining gay priests, consecrating gay bishops, and any other damn thing it wants to do, because unless it faces a real and immediate threat of being actively expelled, either by its actions or by the actions of the rest of the communion, it has no reason not to. It can do what it wants, and Rowan Williams will continue his farce of calling meetings, impaneling commissions, issuing reports, pleading with TEC to stop… then, when they don’t… calling another meeting, impaneling another commission, issuing another reports, pleading with TEC to stop…

6) And just as importantly there is now preparation being made for those in the American and Canadian churches who reject the direction their provinces are going in - much more importantly, because the Pastoral Forum will be official, Canterbury-led, and probably accepted by the American Bishops, it will be something that moderate Conservative parishes can join.

The crucial thing about this section is that should the American Provinces choose not to sign up to the Covenant, they won’t be able to take everything with them. There will be a way out for those ordinary, moderate, orthodox churches who don’t want to join CANA or AMiA or Common Cause, but do want to be a full part of the Communion.

If you’re telling me I should rest easy in the comfort that real discipline is going to come out of anything that’s “official, Canterbury-led,” I’m sorry. Remember what “official, Canterbury-led” efforts have gotten us so far:

- The Eames Commission
- The Windsor Report (ignored)
- The Windsor “process” (a joke)
- Dromantine (also ignored)
- Tanzania (also ignored)
- The sub-group report (another joke, and evidence of Williams’ duplicity)
- And now a neutered, indaba-themed Lambeth Conference

The best indicator of future performance is past performance; therefore, I could not have less confidence in anything initiated or led by Rowan Williams. it simply isn’t possible.

Dioceses and parishes who want to stay fully at the heart of Anglicanism will be able to do so - without lawsuits.

Good lord… what on earth leads you to believe that this is even a remote possibility?

[32] Posted by Greg Griffith on 08-04-2008 at 01:19 PM • top

A couple of things.
There were two realities that hit the reappraiser side of TEC and Canada, etc., fairly hard, I think.  I use the word reappraiser here in the original from Kendall, as it refers to the larger issue (or deeper issue, if you like) of biblical authority and what that phrase refers to in divine inspiration and commendation. 
First, reappraisers at Lambeth came to the chilling conclusion that even without the large Provinces and all their bishops not in attendance, the Anglican Communion is still - using the bishops as the measure - a reasserting Communion.  That in and of itself is something to give thanks to God about, and to hold onto as a balance of hope.  Because of that, GAFCON still has a place of influence : no matter how you define the purpose or message of GAFCON, its greatest strength was to underscore the high priority of biblical authority, and thus there is no separation in that regard.
I realize that is not much consolation to those of us in TEC who are looking for the same.  But that should not diminish the reality of what reappraisers at Lambeth suddenly had to come to grips with.
And God bless the Indabas, because that is the vehicle through which this awareness became apparent.  I’m not convinced yet that was the purpose of the indabas, but it was a byproduct if nothing else.  I am willing to attribute that serendipity to the Lord Jesus Christ and the working of His Holy Spirit.  If Lambeth had used the previous Lambeths’ procedure of papers and discussion, and some sort of legislative format, I do not believe the still-remaining reasserter essence of the Anglican Communion would have been heard, or if heard, conceded, which reappraising bishops had to concede.  But in the basic principle of the indaba, all must be listened to.  Reappraising bishops could not refuse, since that has been one of their self-identified playing cards for at least 10 years.
Second, the protest of the decade (and I know something about what it takes to make public protests withIN the venue) was the statement made by the Sudanese Episcopal Church bishops via their Primate.  Bishops know “connections”, and the Sudanese have powerful connections with US TEC funds.  For the bishops of that Province to zero in on +Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the bishop whose consecration was the precipitating cause of Anglican Communion destruction and “tearing”, including life and death ramifications in their Province (not that it started with him, mind you), and yet who has been the over-bearing ministry cause of the majority of the TEC House of Bishops, the bishops at Lambeth knew that the Sudanese who are indeed desparate for external funds had placed biblical authority ahead of connections-for-the-sake-of-funding.  It was a moment of principled integrity, and biblical conviction.
The immediate response from those who were stung by the statement, protest and demand for +Gene to resign, was all they could muster in such surprise, “Yeah? Who says?”  But the bishops themselves - including the reappraisers - knew what this all meant to the reappraiser agenda.  Given only a short time of reflection (because they are smart people), we heard the reappraising bishops say what they had to in order to maintain Communion, “We will not stop sending funds.”  In effect, the “all or nothing” folks, with Bp Robinson as their figurehead, had to take a step back.  Some of them may have felt undermined, or even betrayed in that moment of allies reassuring continued “connection.”  It was also at that moment that people began noticing that the reappraising bishops had become quiet, and that +Gene Robinson himself was off the radar - for a while, anyway.
So?  If nothing else - if +Gene does not resign, and the House of Bishops continues to be co-opted to “his” cause - what happened was the proper and public articulation of how the MDG’s should be considered, in relation to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as witnessed to by the breadth of the Old and New Testament.  This was a bucket of cold water.  I expect to see more bishops saying much more clearly that the MDG’s - and any humanitarian aid - are to be seen as a part of the larger priority of proclaiming that Jesus is Lord.  This will beg the question, “How do we know?  Because the Bible tells us so.”  And that statement leads to the very uncomfortable, even dangerous questions of what else does the Bible tell is so, or not so?

It certainly is the case that nothing will be “solved” without the conclusive discussion centered on Jesus is Lord, and the authority of scripture.  These two realities from Lambeth provide room and impetus for that REAL indaba to take place.  Reasserters can make use of these two Lambeth realities to press forward and witness to that incredibly necessary solving discussion.

For those in TEC and Canada, etc., what will you do to go forward in this way?

[33] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 08-04-2008 at 01:34 PM • top

#30, HP, Have you read the 15 part history of the Church of England at Lent and Beyond?

If you do so, you will find that there is no ‘classical Anglicanism’ but a history of evolution, revolution to the tune of burning, hanging, slicing and dicing, banishing, warring and overthrowing one’s opponents… people died for Scripture, the Prayer Book, the Reformation, in political conflicts, the changing of monarchs, paranoia, jealousy ... sometimes hundreds or thousands killed, at least one on the very altar of a cathedral.

There are strains of Anglicanism that come from Ireland and the Celts, from Scotland, from Roman Catholicism and Protestantism that have blended, dominated, disappeared and reappeared in the long ugly history.  Finding a classical norm would be impossible.

Jesus showed us the pattern of essentials for the Church, both the individual and corporate Body of Christ:
1. The Revelation that Jesus is Lord is the first necessary ingredient of the Faith.  (St. Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration) 2.  The second is Hearing and heeding His Voice and His Word. (Martha and Mary of Bethany)
3. The third is First Love devotion. (St. John and St. Mary, mother of Jesus at the foot of the Cross)
4.  The Fourth is Teaching, Governance,  Discipleship and Pastoral Care. (St. Peter by the seaside after Christ’s resurrection)
5.  The Fifth is Mission and formation of new Christians, Church bodies - true mission, not just social justice, works.  Mission and the spread of the Gospel is the mature fruit of the others essential components.  (St. Paul on the road to Damascus)

Each must follow in order to produce a mature body and healthy fruit.

So, Anglicanism is healthy when Anglicanism is converted, devoted, mature and holy and that doesn’t have a lot to do with form or outward ritual.

[34] Posted by Theodora on 08-04-2008 at 01:46 PM • top

BillS, TEC could NOT use that argument without allowing the breakaway parishes, etc.. to bring up the moratoria that they themselves have since violated/not addressed. It’s evidence of TEC’s lack of compliance with the unity of the communion.

TEC’s standing in the communion, under the moratoria is dependent upon it’s commitment to it. Their refusal to comply presents a problem to any claim of legitimacy as part of the communion, on their part. It would also display their lack of credibility as a Christian church, what TEC still tries to present itself as.

[35] Posted by mari on 08-04-2008 at 01:52 PM • top

#30, Hopeless - I’ve also come to believe (after five years of listening in on arguments, reading treatises)in male headship in the church as in the home, that women may be servants of the Lord in His Church, but not overseers or in the case of the sacerdotal priesthood, not consecrators of the Eucharist.  There is Scriptural mandate for women to teach women and for men to teach men and women, but for women to submit to the authority of their own husband.

[36] Posted by Theodora on 08-04-2008 at 02:03 PM • top

Rob, you are still assuming that the leadership of TEC have honor and principle: their actions have clearly shown that they do not. It’s fine for the reasserters to just keep talking, and to disapprove their actions; they, like wayward children, just keep doing their own thing so long as the hammer doesn’t fall, and there certainly has been no hammer from Lambeth, careful language notwithstanding.

[37] Posted by desertpadre on 08-04-2008 at 02:16 PM • top

Charge of the Light Brigade!

[38] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 08-04-2008 at 02:34 PM • top

If you’re a veteran, my hope is that you can take a deep breath and re-commit yourself to the fight, and prepare for a church future unlike anything you’ve encountered in the past. We’re going to be talking a lot more in the coming weeks about what this means, and what we do next.

Greg, there is lots to consider and lots to talk about.  I don’t know if Stand Firm and Anglican TV can pull it off, but it would be great to have several of our leaders help us put what has happened recently (mostly thinking GAFCON and Lambeth) into the various contexts in which we Orthodox find ourselves—inside, outside, confused, etc.

What I’m suggesting is an in-depth interview with bishops from several communities, talking to and with each other about what all this means and where we go as we pursue the fight.  My suggestions of participants is as follows:

Duncan and/or Iker

Lawrence and/or Ackerman

Atwood and/or Mims and/or Guernsey

You may have better ideas, but I know that I’d love to have these wonderful Bishops help us focus on what it all means and how we can engage in the fight.

[39] Posted by hanks on 08-04-2008 at 02:58 PM • top

I think, Fr. 3W (37), that your comment is more about what you assume than my assumptions.
For heaven’s sake, I cannot even assume that I have any honor and principle when measured next to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.  So I will not assume that for anyone, not even you, padre.
What reasserters must assume, however, is the mantle of responsibility for bringing forward the intra-church conversation about the Lordship of Jesus, and reality of biblical authority (nicely affirmed by Floridian (34) above).  Lambeth has provided the two things I mentioned as common ground for that discussion.  If reappraisers want to raise those points, not being in denial, then wonderful.  If reasserters within TEC don’t, then gospel shame be upon us.  And you, my friend, as a reasserter even outside of TEC should be praying for that very thing to happen, no matter how less-than-hopeful you may be of the outcome.  Jesus wants your prayers, and I and all within TEC need them.

[40] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 08-04-2008 at 03:00 PM • top

Greg, re my suggestion (#39), while you’re at it how about including ++Venables and ++Orombi.

I know you can pull this all off.


[41] Posted by hanks on 08-04-2008 at 03:04 PM • top

PM (38),
Was that a word from the Lord?
If so, saddle up, buddy.

[42] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 08-04-2008 at 03:04 PM • top

If you’re a veteran, my hope is that you can take a deep breath and re-commit yourself to the fight, and prepare for a church future unlike anything you’ve encountered in the past. We’re going to be talking a lot more in the coming weeks about what this means, and what we do next.

NOW we are talking!  This puts the fight back where it belongs… against the principalities and powers that Jesus spoke about!  Against sin, self and Satan.  Against the secularism that steals the souls of our children and our neighbors.  This is the fight we should ALWAYS have been in as Christians (and were, whether we knew it or not).  Now, hopefully, we don’t have to fight our brothers and sisters who don’t or won’t SEE!  We can work toward stop being a “scandal to the ungodly”.  Our Rector preached a sermon Sunday that said just like His Body, just like the Holy Communion we celebrate every week, when we offer or surrender what we have to Jesus, sometimes He has to BREAK it before He can use it!  As a BROKEN communion, maybe now He can share Himself through us!  That’s my prayer, anyway!

[43] Posted by Goughdonna on 08-04-2008 at 03:19 PM • top

Greg, there is lots to consider and lots to talk about.  I don’t know if Stand Firm and Anglican TV can pull it off, but it would be great to have several of our leaders help us put what has happened recently (mostly thinking GAFCON and Lambeth) into the various contexts in which we Orthodox find ourselves—inside, outside, confused, etc.

Personally, I think something that could be done right away would be to take down the masthead photos of the oven mitt and the disco slippers (yes, I know, the pictures tell a story, but come on, Lambeth is over, we’ve had to look at those for more than 3 weeks now) and put up a photo of the entire HoB of the Church of Sudan.  I think we need to honor those people, and we need to start looking to the future.  What we want to happen will not happen by ridiculing KJS and VGR (which is hardly a challenge and after the last few years, not even amusing anymore).  We need to recognize, and pray for, the people in leadership of the movement to take back the Anglican Communion, and other than Christ himself, I can’t think of anyone who has done more in that regard than the bishops of Sudan.

[44] Posted by tjmcmahon on 08-04-2008 at 03:23 PM • top

Rob, I too have spent some time thinking about what reappraisers saw and received at Lambeth versus what they may have expected.  I think you are correct in your long post above.  I also would add to your list of unwelcome news received at or after Lambeth, the Global South primates/archbishops statement recently published, with a long list of signers that (I suspect) many TEC bishops thought were “ok” because they were at Lambeth.  That statement shows where those primates are looking for mission and the future.  It isn’t the next Lambeth Conference!

The old paradigm has finished itself off; the new one is emerging, and moratoria and the existing instruments of unity are irrelevant.

[45] Posted by Brien on 08-04-2008 at 03:36 PM • top

I love the Oven Mitt, it never gets old IMHO.
Actually I don’t have a lot of money but I do have time and 2 daughters who like to sew. So I was thinking of making a bunch of real mitts that looks like those and sending them to Greg to sell for Stand Firm.

[46] Posted by Rocks on 08-04-2008 at 03:37 PM • top

Percy, I don’t want to drag this further off-topic, but I do want to acknowledge your response; so I’ll just say I do find much of value in “Anglicanism” (incl. music) and I don’t think we’re far apart otherwise.

[47] Posted by Connecticutian on 08-04-2008 at 03:44 PM • top

The question is not just what we’re willing to fight for, but what we’re willing to fight WITH.  Too many times on these threads I’ve seen comments indicating that we can’t go toe-to-toe with our opponents because it wouldn’t to Christian, or it wouldn’t be polite, or it would “make us no better than them”.  I for one believe you should never start a fight that you don’t intend to win.  Our opponents will use any means at hand.  We have to do likewise.  I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

[48] Posted by illinisouth on 08-04-2008 at 03:45 PM • top

“So, Anglicanism is healthy when Anglicanism is converted, devoted, mature and holy and that doesn’t have a lot to do with form or outward ritual.”

But Floridian, I’m just kind of shallow and have always needed those things.

“There are strains of Anglicanism that come from Ireland and the Celts, from Scotland, from Roman Catholicism and Protestantism that have blended, dominated, disappeared and reappeared in the long ugly history.”

And strains from America too apparently, at least two as far as I can see, both going in opposite directions and leaving those of us in the middle with no church.

[49] Posted by Hopeless Percy on 08-04-2008 at 03:47 PM • top

Greg Griffith,

In your post you write

It is one more day of dry heat that allows their cement to set.

I would prefer not to pick nits but, unfortunately, your metaphor has it exactly backward. Cement (and concrete) constructions are strengthened, asymptotically, in direct proportion to how long they are allowed to remain wet during the curing process. If you have seen concrete foundation slabs in hot (especially if also dry) climates being watered by a hand-held hose on a daily basis during the first two weeks after being laid, and wondered why that was being done, now you know. If the construction is allowed to dry quickly it will be both less strong and more friable (i.e., crumbly).

I would be only too happy if those you call revisionists
were regularly experiencing day after day of dry heat on their cement innovations. What we traditionists need to look for is the means to make it “rain on their parade” and therefore also on their cement innovations.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[50] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 08-04-2008 at 03:48 PM • top

We are fighting for the Gospel and standing on the authority of the Bible. We want a North American province that stands for the this where the Anglo-Catholics, Anglo-evangelicals, anglo-protestants and the Anglo-Paptist can find a home to live in peace in because for all their differences. There will be dioceses, parishes, and mission that each may believe in each of these areas. a diocese may have a conglomerate of these entities including if possible a broad parish or mission with all entities inside it. They all see Jesus as the head of the Church and the author of our salvation. They all see him as the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. The differences can be worked on for living in peace, but the foundation is the same and their needs to be a home for all of us in. The New Communion will not be a copy of the old nor will be be so uniform to exclude those who worship and pray with both/or either the Protestant and Catholic flavors. Anglicanism is both Protestant and the Oxford Movement. Build on the good foundation of Jesus Christ. We have to trust our bishops to do that and to rescue those who do not have bishops that will do that. The council of bishops and primates need to lay the new fold. That is what was given to them by the Holy Spirit. We need to trust their discernment and not make demands of God, but pray for this direction.
And to #36 a lot of women are not married and not by choice although some are so are you saying they are outcasts because they have no longer and maybe never had a husband. I think you need to read more books of the Bible than one and in this case read the entire book and read about the book.By the way the scripture you are quoting never said anything about men teaching men and women. Look again and quote it right.
In case you are curious #36, No, I do not believe in women priest and bishops and yes, I am a orthodox/conservative woman and, shock of shocks, a boomer.
But I agree with Greg as we have a long way to go. So boys saddle up and women and children to the wagons. Housedogs you are on the wagon. Maybe I should change ny name to Wagon owned by the dog.

[51] Posted by Houseownedbythedog3 on 08-04-2008 at 03:48 PM • top

Re # 44


Thank you for your comment.  I agree that we will serve our goals better if we try to avoid ad hominem attacks on TEC leadership, references which disrespect the offices held by those with whom we disagree, or which impugns their motives or integrity.  I think they are wrong, flat-out wrong, but I don’t question their sincerity, however misguided I think it is.  I think that they are betraying those for whom they are responsible, but I am certain that they don’t think so.

I particularly like your suggestion that we, instead, honor the many inspired and inspiring orthodox leaders, and there are plenty of worthy candidates, including the bishops from Sudan.  We are more likely to accomplish our goals building up our leaders than disparaging theirs.

That said, the temptation to attack is great, hard to resist and provides instant, if short lived, gratification.

[52] Posted by Ol' Bob on 08-04-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

“I want to dispel two memes beginning to be manufactured about the Lambeth conference, one by Lambeth organizers, the other by TEC revisionists.
The first is that the Lambeth conference was a success. The second is that it held any kind of line, or was a setback for the Episcopal Church.”

Sigh…Perhaps a third by “reasserters,” that it was a failure. Each side claiming its own outcome for justification. Sure makes for a big whole in the middle, and shows, I think, cynicism at best. I do understand the emotion, energy, lack of patience, and anger, that drive all these wings, and why, but I am overwhelmed with sadness at the inability for us to grow beyond ourselves and to each other in Christ. I admire the ABC, who has stood by his guns and followed through with the agenda he envisioned years ago. He has shown far more christian understanding, integrity, courage, and patience, than anyone in this crisis.

[53] Posted by FrVan on 08-04-2008 at 04:15 PM • top

Hopeless Percy (#20):

That’s all good stuff, but there are already churches like that. What’s worth saving that’s Anglican?

If the stuff we fight for isn’t distinctively Christian, then it won’t matter if it isn’t distinctively Anglican.  Every Sunday morning, I drive by several parishes that are distinctively Anglican, yet not so much Christian.  Asking what can be saved from an apostate parish, to me, would sort of be like an Old Testament Jew asking what can be salvaged from the situation described in Daniel 5

Point being, if we have put up with seeing / hearing / saying evil Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day, then perhaps we don’t deserve to have Anglicanism preserved for us in the first place. 

Me?  I’d prefer to have a viable Anglicanism .. but for reasons other than being backside over teakettle in love with Anglicanism.  I don’t -love- it, but I do -like- it, because it doesn’t make best the enemy of the good.

I think your question has merit, but only as a secondary question..  And we’re a long way from asking the secondary questions.

[54] Posted by J Eppinga on 08-04-2008 at 04:30 PM • top

I’m late coming to this thread, but I’ll take a quick stab at answering Greg’s marvelous question, “what are we fighting for?”  Personally, and I can only speak for myself, not even for the whole NRAFC, much less the whole outside strategy contigent, here are some of the things that I myself am fighting for.

1.  I’m fighting for the soul of Anglicanism in the present and the future.  That is, I’m fighting for its basic character.  I want to see that an orthodox form of Anglicanism not only survives, but thrives in North America.

2.  But I’m also fighting for the soul of authentic Christianity in the whole western world.  All the so-called “mainline” churches in the industrialized world are facing a terrible challenge these days, since the “mainstream” culture has turned on us and chosen to adopt a relativist approach to ethics and the place of religion in public life that in antithetical to biblical Christianity.  We used to be culturally favored, part of the great majority of citizens in western civilization.  Not so any longer.  Now that we are an increasingly misunderstood and maligned minority (even in the US, but much more so in Canada or the UK etc.), we have to adopt a whole different stance in how we relate to the surrounding culture, which is indifferent at best, and suspicious, cynical, and increasingly hostile at worst.  My allies in this fight aren’t just fellow orthodox Anglicans, but orthodox Christians of all types.

3.  I am fighting for what I like to call “the New Reformation.”  And I don’t mean just the reformation of Anglicanism, but a radical, thorough-going reformation of ALL Christianity in the western world.  And that drastic, far-reaching Reformation will have to include a transformation of the whole culture of Anglicanism, leaving nothing untouched. 

This New Reformation will include an overhaul of the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of our noble but imperiled heritage.  New forms of each will be required by the times. 

That includes a new creed to uphold what’s of permanent value in the 39 Articles (and quietly dropping what’s not), but explicitly addressing and clearly excluding the relativist heresy that underlies the “gay is OK” delusion as well as explicitly excluding that delusion itself as unbiblical and intolerable.

That also includes new forms of polity at the international level, so that ENFORCEMENT of orthodoxy is possible, which it currently isn’t.  And yes, that does call for the creation of new Instruments of Union with binding, transprovincial powers, such as the Anglican Supreme Court I keep calling for.

And it will include a much stricter and more coherent approach to liturgical discipline too, even while it will allow for considerable cultural adaptation in a worldwide Church (or family of Anglican churche, if you prefer).  That however, does NOT mean going back to 1662 or any other product of the Cranmerian tradition, but to something much older yet, the patristic norms that underlie the Liturgical Renewal movement that have guided the remarkable liturgical convergence that has taken place over the last 40 years since Vatican II.

4.  Finally (for now anyway), although much, much more could be said, what I’m fighting for is not only a whole new Global, Post-Colonial Settlement to replace the obsolete Reformation (or Elizabethan) Settlement we have rightly cherished for so long but which is now defunct.  I’ll go one (or two) steps beyond +Bob Duncan the Lion-Hearted here.  What I’m fighting for is not only a Post-Colonial style Anglicanism, but an emphatically Post-Christendom, and Post-English, form of Anglicanism.

I’ll gladly expand on those points, if anyone asks.  But I’ve addressed those issues in numerous posts on many threads in recent months.

But in conclusion, I’d stress that I’m not discouraged at all.  The Old Anglicanism has to die, in order that a whole NEW KIND of Anglicanism can be resurrected in its place.  One that is more biblically based, more theologically coherent, more ethically rigorous, and above all, MUCH more aggressively evangelistic than the old Constantinian state church style Anglicanism EVER was, even at its best.

I truly believe that the best is yet to come.  Thanks be to God.

David Handy+
Passionate advocate of high commitment, post-Christendom style, “3-D” (evangelical, catholick, charismatic), post-British Anglicanism of a confidently sectarian, agressively evnagelistic, Christ-against-culture sort.  Now that’s worth fighting for!

[55] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 08-04-2008 at 05:18 PM • top

Rob+ (sorry I left the cross off before) it is not judgemental to observe the fruits which folks bear, and to observe theit con tinuing actions—when have the liberals kept their word, or done as they were admonished by the Communion? Not for a long time, and there is nothing to indicate that they will. Sorry, but I’ve already been bitten too many times, and I’m probably about to be bitten again by the pretender to the mitre in San Joaquin. So you’ll have to parden my pessimism as concerns these people.

[56] Posted by desertpadre on 08-04-2008 at 05:42 PM • top

David, thanks for #55.

I would want to emphasize that we didn’t get in this mess because of Gene Robinson per se.  We got in this mess for a lot of reasons.  In my opinion the top reason is that we American Episcopalians like our pastoral praxis and our biblical and theological scholarship kept pretty much separate from each other.  This means that our pastoral praxis is oftentimes uninformed or ill-informed by theology (and what is worse, a lot of people are pretty damned proud of it) and, unfortunately, our biblical scholarship and our moral theology and our systematic theology are oftentimes uninformed by pastoral praxis.  Often systematic theology has not kept pace with the new methods and conclusions of biblical scholarship.  And some biblical scholars (not all of them working with a “religious studies” model) have not always trained their students to consider what the application of the methods of biblical scholarship would have to do with theology.

And my own theory is that the formerly two biggest issues in TEC, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate and the revision of the Prayer Book in the 1970s, actually contributed to the mess.  Not because the ordination of women is wrong (I believe that it is right) and not because the 1979 BCP is wrong (I love the 1979 BCP except for the marriage liturgy and Eucharistic Prayer C), but because we became too issue-oriented as a church.

Which is to say that as a church we became too oriented to getting the right answer before we had, for ourselves, analyzed the question.  This church made an unconscious or conscious decision to deal with the question of sexual behavior as a political issue within our church instead of a theological issue, with its roots deep in the interpretation of biblical texts.  As Erastian as Anglicanism sometimes is (David Handy is right about this) we let North American culture lead us rather than our taking the responsibility to say something important to the culture—which the culture desperately needed and still needs to hear.

And so the way so many people think is that “I knew Father So-and-so and he was gay and he was a good priest, so that means that any gay man should be able to become a priest.”  So that shifted the discussion away from the breaking of the sixth (seventh) commandment and made it a justice issue.  So the majority leadership of TEC thought it solved the problem by translating the issue of “who can be ordained” into a justice issue.  The sad thing is that the majority leadership of this church (1) thought it didn’t need to analyze the problem biblically and theologically and morally; and (2) it thought after the vote (a political process!) giving consent to the consecration of Robinson it was going to get away with it.  But the reality is that the majority leadership in TEC didn’t get away with it: not in the Anglican Communion, not in the wider Christian world, and not even with (I’d say) the majority of the laity of our church.

So now, here we are in TEC having given consent to Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, with that puny and embarassing blue book To Set our Hope on Christ when there are so many books which do a much better job of unpacking the morality of homosexual practice and which come to the opposite conclusion.  Rob Gagnon’s book The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics makes a definitive case.  Robert Jewett’s massive new commentary on Romans in Hermeneia takes the same view, as does Richard B. Hays The Moral World of the New Testament.  One is aware of the views of scholars like Bill Countryman and Robin Scroggs.  But most New Testament colleagues in this country and apparently all the major Pauline scholars in Europe haven’t found Countryman’s and Scroggs’ arguments convincing.  Everything about morality shouldn’t be reduced to property rights.  And it’s not clear that homosexual practice in late antiquity was limited to pederasty.

So, in my opinion, the theological analysis that should have been done BEFORE making the big change wasn’t done.  And after having done what we did in 2003, we still haven’t made a good case for making that big change.  The ecumenical aftershocks are only beginning to be felt (although Cardinal Kasper and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware were pretty darned clear at Lambeth, weren’t they?).


[57] Posted by Rudy on 08-04-2008 at 06:17 PM • top

Marcus, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I find no credible evidence that a covenant that meaningfully addresses TEC’s unfaithfulness will be adopted and enforced.  The opportunity cost associated with supporting that that “process” would be enormous for the orthodox cause.

[58] Posted by Going Home on 08-04-2008 at 06:31 PM • top

DesertPadre..your constraint is most admirable and your concern about the Jack-o-Bishop Jerry Lamb is most warranted. We will be expecting a most public prayer for you from Rob Eaton when HIS TEC bishop soon instigates his depositions upon you and the other Godly men of the only Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.
In prayer for you and your family,


[59] Posted by Intercessor on 08-04-2008 at 07:06 PM • top

Re # 57

Fr. Rudy,

I am both intelligently and spiritually enriched by your scholarly comments and at the same time frustrated by them.  (Please do not take offense, Fr. Rudy, as none is intended.)

To me, the issues, the questions are really quite simple:  1) is marriage only between one man and one woman? 2) is sex outside marriage a sin? 3) if sex outside marriage of one man and one woman is a sin, is not any homosexual sex act a sin? and 4) if deacons, priests, bishops and lay leaders persist in and flout willful, flagrant, unrepentant sin, what is the Church going to do about it?

If the answers to 1, 2 and 3 are yes, and the answer to 4 is nothing, then, in my opinion, the entity which was formerly a (capital c) Church has become a (small c) church and is no longer a member of the Body of Christ.

How many books do I need to read, is the Holy Bible not enough?  Who else do I need to get to the Father if I have Jesus Christ?  What else do I need to know to make a decision about AC other that is not in the answers to the 4 questions above?

“Two roads diverged in a wood.”  The AC does not seem able to choose.  We appear to be catatonic.  The two roads are there.  We are stuck in place because we cannot seem to choose.

Yeah, Greg, we are in for a long ride, with our horses prancing in place, as if in a dressage event, expending lots of energy, consuming lots of hay and grain, but prancing in place.  I am ready to find a way to stop the prancing and start galloping.

I pray for God’s guidance.

[60] Posted by Ol' Bob on 08-04-2008 at 07:17 PM • top

We are in for a Fight!  I certainly agree.  But it is certainly NOT a fight for the soul of TEC.  Much as we might wish otherwise, that ship has sailed.

Some things we know as inevitable.  Pittsburgh and Ft. Worth will certainly leave TEC very shortly.  Hopefully SC soon as well.  TEC will continue law suits and depositions while also continuing with same sex blessings.  GAFCON will grow and strengthen although by how much remains unclear, but GAFCON is and will continue to be separate from TEC.

Some things remain unknown.  GAFCON has captured the soul of the orthodox.  Prior to Lambeth, I feared that it would amount only to a conservative break away, but as the strength of GAFCON grows more and more on the moderate side will see its usefulness.  Many eyes were opened at Lambeth, these open eyes are more likely to be sympathetic with GAFCON.  IF and this is a BIG IF, but if support grows sufficiently then the Anglican Communion will not split, but instead will return to an orthodox Anglican Communion with the exception that it will not return to a model which includes a first among equals, but instead authority will be shared.  Lambeth did nothing and +Williams remains irrelevant, but nevertheless Lambeth was significant in that eyes were opened.  Therefore prior to Lambeth I felt that the Anglican Communion would shatter, but now I believe that the North Wind blew at Lambeth and this will soon shift people’s faces toward the south.  I am more hopeful for a New Reformation Anglicanism than ever.  In the short term however, here in the US there will be depositions and law suits.  Some will simply walk away and leave everything behind.  Very soon afterward however, the burden of lawyers and mortgages will bankrupt TEC and those same churches will be on the auction block en masse.  Moderate dioceses will sooner or later see the writing on the wall and will eventually realign as well.

As Greg said, it will be a battle.  This is not over, but I do believe that the tide has turned.  Of course admittedly, I thought that after Dar Es Salaam too, but back then it relied on Rowan doing as he promised which he didn’t.  This time Rowan is irrelevant and he will most likely start singing a more conservative tune just so he can hang on for the ride and come out of all this without looking like a looser, but instead will be remembered as the ABC who reformed Anglicanism.  Ironic huh?  Think I am crazy?  That’s OK with me.  Time will tell.

[61] Posted by Spencer on 08-04-2008 at 07:22 PM • top

You’re not alone, Spencer!

[62] Posted by Cennydd on 08-04-2008 at 07:27 PM • top

I know I am not alone, but I am not sure if I am not alone in thinking this way, or if I am simply not alone in having people think I’m CRAZY!  wink  It could be the later, but that’s OK too! grin

[63] Posted by Spencer on 08-04-2008 at 07:39 PM • top

BillS & mari, 9, 15, 31, and 35, those specific arguments will not come into the Virginia cases for one simple reason—the trial on “division” is over.  You don’t just get to introduce new evidence as events change.  The trial court won’t put up with it (having already decided the matter), and appellate courts don’t take evidence. 

And even if new facts did somehow come up (perhaps if the appellate court vacates the decision but remands rather than reversing, such that a new trial is necessary), even this Judge (in my entirely meaningless opinion) is not likely to consider who’s lived up to moratoria, what the moratoria mean for Anglicanism, and who’s really at fault in the AC.

Of course, the arguments about the nature of the AC and whether or not it is a church that has divided were already part of the Virginia cases generally.

[64] Posted by DavidH on 08-04-2008 at 08:21 PM • top

Thanks for your comment Ol’ Bob (#61).

I don’t think we are in disagreement about what the issues are; I was just trying to unpack how TEC got to where we are now.

I changed my mind about the ordination of Gene Robinson in 2005.  Previously I had defended it on the basis of diocesan and provincial autonomy.  I said to friends: “We are not ready to make every episcopal election a national church or international Anglican issue.”  I did not want a repeat of the James DeKoven debacle of the 19th century.  (Of course, in 2003 I didn’t know that the DeKoven debacle would pale in comparison to the Robinson debacle!)

And what came crashing in to me in 2005, after conversations with other people, is that if I (as a priest and a biblical scholar) gave my approval to Gene Robinson to be a bishop, I would have given my approval to his lifestyle.  And if I give my approval to his lifestyle, a sexual relationship with another man outside of the bond of marriage, how can I then raise any objection to any other sexual relationship outside of the bond of marriage?  On what theological or ethical basis would I raise such an objection?  In other words, I cannot endorse “anything goes” as a Christian lifestyle.  If I say that Gene Robinson’s relationship with his partner is morally acceptable, how would I then be able to counsel a 20-something year old heterosexual couple to wait until marriage?

So it was that intellectual quandary that caused me to change my mind.  That, and taking seriously Romans 1:26-27.


[65] Posted by Rudy on 08-04-2008 at 08:41 PM • top

Re # 66

Thank you, Fr. Rudy.  Sharing your pilgrimage through this issue was very helpful to me.  We all came to where we are through different routes, different trials.  I tend to see things binary, one or off, right or wrong. Your story touched me deeply.

As Tiny Tim said, “God Bless Us Every One”.

[66] Posted by Ol' Bob on 08-04-2008 at 09:24 PM • top

Rudy, [66].  Bingo!  You have nailed exactly what has happened in Scandinavia vis-à-vis the Lutheran Churches there.  The legalization, or de-facto recognition, of gay marriage did not directly affect any already existing traditional marriages there.  In this regard, the pro-gay marriage proponents are correct.  But it was rather, the law of unintended consequences that came back to nail society on this issue.  Once a church decides to start blessing gay marriages, it loses any and all moral authority to speak out on any other matters related to sexuality.  Unlike in Western nations, in Africa, HIV/AIDS is a predominantly heterosexual problem.  By undercutting the Church’s moral authority there, the pro-gay lobby makes it impossible for the church to project the moral authority and offer the moral guidance it needs to be able to, in order to deal with the promiscuous heterosexual behaviors that lead to the spread of the HIV virus.  Because of this cause-and-effect connection between behaviors and the spread of the HIV virus, it would not be an incorrect assertion to say the pro-gay element within TEC shares a large amount of responsibility for the continuation of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

[67] Posted by wildiris on 08-04-2008 at 09:50 PM • top

I’m a liberal democrat, and was shocked when a friend from Massachusetts started sending me links to information online, regarding her concerns about what was happening in her kid’s school, regarding the desemination of booklets and other materials that promoted homosexuality, and promiscuity. Initially I thought perhaps she was over reacting, again, I was much more naive and trusting. My daughter hadn’t been subjected to that sort of thing, and I admit being totally out of the loop. It happened so fast that even today, many parents aren’t aware of what their children are being exposed to in public schools.

Booklets that are filled with suggestions that random sexual encounters are perfectly normal. Drawings of teenaged boys wearing t-shirts with the logo “Use Me” on them, the only time abstinence is mentioned is one sentence, with the comment “but what fun is that”.

There’s nothing about respect or responsibility (other than suggestions to use condoms, etc..)

My friend also learned that kids were instructed not to tell their parents what they were being told/given. She’s also justifiably upset that while funding for education is being cut across the board, more than an additional 600 thousand dollars was given to the homosexual lobby to fund these so called “outreach” programs in public schools.

It’s not just unintended side effects, there is outright promotion of promiscuity. I read here something about what Gene Robinson advocated to young people in his diocese, for them to just leap into sexual activity.

[68] Posted by mari on 08-04-2008 at 10:04 PM • top

The spin from Lambeth and revisionists reinforce one another in one aspect:  They concentrate on white-washing the sepulcher’s walls rather than addressing the heretical corruption within.  Since the close of this Lambeth Conference I have ditched any lingering hope of rescue from traditional Canterbury, and must trust in the Triune God to have faithful instruments such as GAFCON sort out the Anglican Communion.  You’re right, Greg, it is gonna be a long way to go.  God Bless, RL Harrell

[69] Posted by RLHarrell on 08-04-2008 at 11:40 PM • top

Rudy (#57 & 66),

I’m glad you entered the fray and I’m especially grateful for your candid testimony of how you changed your mind about Robinson’s confirmation.  Thank you.  As a fellow biblical scholar (at least by training), I too lament the divorcing of pastoral praxis from sound biblical and theological scholarship.  I too favor WO and on the whole I’m pleased with many of the important gains in the 1979 BCP in terms of recovering more of our patristic inheritance. 

But at the same time, I recognize that there are important reasons why TEC largely ignores real scholarship in the biblical and theological fields, despite all its false pride in being a church for “thinking people.”  On the whole, alas, the scholarly guild has not served the Church well. 

Unfortunately, the most highly regarded scholars who publish and teach at the most prestigious schools have largely chosen to give more allegiance to the secular academic world than the Church.  There are exceptions, of course (Dr. Christopher Seitz in OT and +Tom Wright in NT would be prominent examples of such glorious exceptions), but the general trend is all too clear.  Modern academia is largely resistant, if not hostile, to authentic Christianity.  And it is hard to serve two masters and live in two, rival cultures.

But that is actually a problem that ALL of us face, whatever the level of our theological sophtication.  We all face the terrible challenge of living in a culture in which it’s increasingly hard to be a real Christian.  Every single one of us, whatever the level of our education or whatever our chosen vocation or career, is increasingly faced with the necessity of “differentiating” ourselves (to use Kendall’s word) from the dominant culture in the western world.

Now, of course, in one sense, that’s nothing new.  All Christians of all times and places are called, in Paul’s words, to “Stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Rom. 12:2).  But we are living in an especially challenging era, as the long marriage between Christianity and western culture is breaking down at last, resulting in a bitter divorce.  This is the fundamental reality, the crucial underlying fact of our time, one that we still haven’t adequately recognized and squarely faced: We are living through the harrowing transition to a de-Christianized western culture, and not merely a secularized and pluralistic one.  The Church is increasingly a misunderstood, marginalized, and even openly opposed minority group in much of western society.

And this calls for a radically new approach to how we do Church in the West or Global North.  The old state church assumptions on which Anglicanism has always been based are now not only obsolete but in fact deadly; they are literally killing us.  And that is why I keep insisting that we have to dig deeper, get down to the roots of this terrible culture clash, and face the fact that Christianity in the West has to be completely overhauled and rebuilt on a whole new foundation, a post-Christendom foundation.

Now yes, I know, the ultimate foundation remains the same.  Of course, the ultimate foundation of the Church is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11), with the teaching of the apostles and prophets, especially concerning him, as another way of putting it (Eph. 2:20).  But my point is that every way of organizing the life and ministry of the Church is also based on certain fundamental concepts or assumptions about how the Church relates to the surrounding society.

And for well over 1,000 years in the West, the unquestioned assumptions on which the life of the Church has been based were Constantinian through and through.  But the long Christendom era is plainly over, even in churchgoing America, the most religious of all European culture societies.  And yet we still haven’t come to grips with all that this implies for the Church.  And the implications are very far-reaching indeed.  The longer I ponder them, the more radical, revolutionary, and immensely far-reaching I realize that those implications are and extend.

So let me conclude with one of my typically provocative quips.  As I never tire os saying:  “The only thing worse than a state church is an ex-state church that still pretends to be a state church.”  Or an ex-state church that is so addicted to Erastian ways, or so accustomed to Constantinian habits of thought, that it simply can’t conceive of any other way of being a church.

Fortunately, our brave brothers and sisters in the Global South don’t have that severe disadvantage.  They know what it’s like to be a minorit group in a pagan, non-Christian culture.  And in so far as that is true, they have a great deal to teach us in our neo-pagan western world.  And so does the pre-Constantinian Church that I admire so ardently, the Church of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian and so on.

But this fight is NOT merely over conserving or preserving the orthodox Anglicanism of the past that we know and love so dearly.  It is nothing less than a fight to REFORM the Church, adapting it to its new scary, hostile non-Christian cultural environment.

There are those among us who are content merely to resist all change and are fighting to protect and pass on intact the old-fashioned Anglicanism that has nurtured them so well.  I am far more radical than that.  I favor very radical changes indeed in the very nature of how we do Anglican Christianity in North America (and I’d be even more radical yet if I lived in England, where the de-Christianization of the culture is much more advanced and pernicious).  I’m not opposed to change at all (unlike many conservatives on our side).  I favor very radical, even revolutionary change.  But the changes I want to see and am fighting for are diametrically OPPOSITE to those of our liberal foes, the heretical advocates of a false gospel that inimical to the biblical one.  The changes for which I am fighting are in the opposite direction from the relativists in our midst, and necessiate a highly confrontation, in-your-face, adversarial stance toward my “progressive” colleagues in TEC, whom I believe have (often unwittingly) completely capitulated to the anti-Christian forces so powerfully at work in our western culture.

David Handy+
Passionate advocate of that New Reformation that will result in not only a radically new “Global (Post-Colonial) Settlement” (in +Bob Duncan’s words), but in an openly Post-Christendom, Post-English style Anglicanism that is unafraid of being genuinely countercultural.  And given our state church, Erastian heritage, that is a revolutionary change indeed.

[70] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 08-05-2008 at 09:11 AM • top

Dear David,

Thanks for your response.  Do you have any ideas or guesses about how long the New Reformation is going to take?

I think there are people in the scholarly guild who have attempted to serve the church well.  For example, John H. P. Reumann, who recently died, was a real stalwart among Lutheran NT scholars.  One also thinks of Bruce M. Metzger, Georg Strecker, Wilhelm Wuellner, J. Ian H. MacDonald, David M. Hay, Reginald H. Fuller, and Raymond E. Brown, who have also departed this life.  These were very devoted people who served both church and academy faithfully.  I can think of a number of living colleagues who would also fit into that category.


[71] Posted by Rudy on 08-05-2008 at 10:19 AM • top

It is true that you are in for a fight if you want to do anything other than leave, unless you have already been assimilated into TEC. (I left for the Antiochian Orthodox 3 years ago.) There are also lots of truths found in the many comments posted so far. But what use is this? Christians have been given the order to “go and teach all nations,” We have been told that we are not to fear because “in this world you will have trouble, but do not be afraid, I (Jesus) have overcome the world.”
So some battles have been won, yet the world cannot accept Christ, it happens one heart at a time. How does all the Anglican fighting help in this? There is Virtue in the Unseen Warfare, and one way to fight the battle is here:
But trying to uphold the Anglican communion that met at Lambeth during the last week, goes beyond what is expected of the Christian heart. Please pray about where and how Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will be worshipped. He is a good God and loveth mankind. He will show each one the Way through this.

[72] Posted by Margaret on 08-05-2008 at 10:58 AM • top

Ol’ Bob, be thankful for those dressage horses, whose training was conceived by military for utmost precision.  It will be needed.

[73] Posted by LBStringer on 08-05-2008 at 11:32 AM • top

Rudy+ (#72),

You asked me how long I think this New Reformation will take.  And the best and most honest answer is: “I don’t know.”  Only God knows.  But one thing I’m sure of is that it will take more than one generation. 

I agree with those who say that the English Reformation lasted several generations, basically from the separation from the papacy in 1534 to the stabilization of the national Settlement with the restoration of the monarchy (1660) and the Prayerbook and episcopacy in 1662.  That’s over a century and a quarter. 

In Germany, it lasted maybe half as long with the Lutherans, say from Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses in 1517 to the great consensus represented by the Formula of Concord about 60 years later, when Lutheranism stabilized too in its enduring or classic form.  In any case, my point is that the Lutheran Reformation also took more than one generation, although it crystalized faster and harder than our Anglican Reformation did.

Now as for the roll call of great biblical scholars of ardent faith such as you began to list, I’d happily agree with your assessment of such fine men as exemplary models of combining world class scholarship with a deep loyalty to Jesus Christ and the orthodox Christian faith.  I didn’t mean to deny the existence of such figures at all.  But alas, I do think that they represent the exception, rather than the general rule. 

As you and I both know, Rudy, the professional guild of biblical scholars these days is now made up primarily of people who teach in secular university contexts.  There are over 5,000 members of the Society of Biblical Literature, and that professional organization is no longer dominated by seminary professors at distinctly Christian schools, but by people who teach “religion” in public or secular schools.  And the vast bulk of publications in the field of biblical scholarship is no longer oriented toward serving and building up the Church at all, but instead generally represents a very muted expression of Christian faith, if not adopting a supposedly neutral and “objective” stance toward matters of Christian faith and practice.  And of course, some prominent scholars are even openly antagonistic and hostile to orthodox Christianity, such as the Jesus Seminar types, or Bart Ehrmann, or Elaine Pagels etc.

My main point was simply that orthodox Christianity has lost control of western culture and many of its institutions, including ironically biblical and theological scholarship in our increasingly de-Christianized society.  And that means we have to relearn how to be “in the world, but not of the world.”  We have to UNLEARN our Constantinian habits that are second nature to us as Anglicans, and retrain ourselves to think and act in a very different way that is suited to our new, threatening (but also very liberating) post-Christendom social context.

And yes, I admit that will take a long, long time.  It’s taken me years to wake up to how Constantinian my assumptions about the relation of Christ and culture still were and are (the influence of Richard Niebuhr dies hard), despite the fact that I’ve been working hard at training myself to think differently for years now.  Habits that are 1500 years old aren’t changed easily or overnight.

But it’s absolutely essential that we do break those centuries-old habits of thinking and acting that are ingrained so deeply in all the “mainline” traditions.  For they are literally killing us.  I have no illusions that it will be done quickly or painlessly.  But even if the struggle to carry out this emerging New Reformation takes multiple generations, as the first English Reformation did, it’s high time we started to press forward and exert ourselves to implement it as rapidly and thoroughly as we can.

David Handy+

[74] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 08-05-2008 at 05:16 PM • top

Margaret, I do not believe that it’s the world that won’t accept Christ, many, many people around the world do. It’s the simple fact that those who seek to subvert Christianity have wormed their way into positions of power and authority, and want to silence those who do accept him, so as to minimize their voice, and hope that they eventually give up.

It’s an attempt to dry up hope, by depriving the faithful of hope. No matter how “progressive” those types paint themselves as being, it’s they who are the regressive ones.

[75] Posted by mari on 08-05-2008 at 05:39 PM • top

“trying to uphold the Anglican communion that met at Lambeth during the last week, goes beyond what is expected of the Christian heart”

I would not even attempt to prop up such a dead elephant.  However, what is worth fighting for is a Reformed Anglicanism.  This means letting go of the dead elephant and packing the gear on your own back for a while.  Difficult sure, but it sure beats hanging around a corpse.  GAFCON is the way of the future.  We need to journey in that direction.

[76] Posted by Spencer on 08-05-2008 at 05:58 PM • top

Bill S,
In the case of the VA churches that are part of CANA, we’re beyond the point of arguing whether there is a split.  Judge Bellows has ruled that a split HAS occurred.

[77] Posted by RalphM on 08-06-2008 at 07:07 AM • top

There have been some amazing comments in this thread.  But honestly, we aren’t fighting the TEC - we are fighting satan.  This is a spiritual battle played out on the battlefield of the Anglican Communion.  We MUST wage war on evil, or like a cancer it will continue to grow.  Our weapons?  Prayer and truth - satan cannot defeat them, only win some battles.  So be of good cheer - we win in the end!

[78] Posted by B. Hunter on 08-06-2008 at 02:49 PM • top


There is one property of those traditional marriages in Scandinavia that gay marriages HAS changed.

It is the property that that they are very nearly the last traditional marriages in Scandinavia.  The numbers are pretty conclusive.

[79] Posted by Ed the Roman on 08-07-2008 at 05:39 AM • top

Ed the Roman,

An interesting observation can be made here that leads to a powerful argument that traditionalists could use against the progressive’s agenda. 

The collapse of traditional marriage in Scandinavia could not have happened without the existence of a generous social welfare system that acts as a surrogate parent, father and mother.  If one wants to take the time to think it through, they will come to the realization that the progressive’s New Gospel of Social Justice depends absolutely and completely on the existence of an underlying government-run social welfare system.  (Which is probably why reappraisers are also big government liberals.) 

Take away the social welfare system, that by functioning as a surrogate parent enables all of the dysfunctional behaviors that the progressives have unleashed upon society, and the only social safety net left is the family!  Which is why, some form or another of a traditional family centered marriage has, through out history and across all cultures, been part of civilized societies. 

I would love to see this topic explored in more depth some day by the posters here at SFIF, but this thread is not the place for that discussion.

[80] Posted by wildiris on 08-08-2008 at 10:00 AM • top

wiliris (#81).

Excellent point.  I agree wholeheartedly.  The modern welfare state, as institutionalized in Sweden or England, has become a mortal enemy of the family in several key ways, and that is a very ominous threat to western civilization.  For the family remains the foundation of any sociery.

Those on the liberal side of the Culture War tend to imagine, in a perverse take off from the familiar African proverb that “It takes a village to raise a child,” that “It takes an activist government to raise children.”  For in the eyes of the so-called “progressives” on the left, the government is no longer seen merely as providing a safety net carrying out compassionate rescues of its neediest citizens, but as an active agent of social change.  But the law of unintended consequences has kicked in here big time, and it’s produced all sorts of pernicious and harmful results from this alturistic and idealistic campaign to improve society.  Such misguided idealism has wrought enormous damage by undermining marriage and the family.

Wildiris, you’ve also just highlighted one of the main reasons why we see this glaring divide of world opinion between the Global North and South.  The social welfare states are essentially confined to the First (capitalist, idustrialized nations) and Second Worlds (the communist and ex-communist countries).  The Third World, or as I prefer to say, the Two-Thirds World (since it includes two-thirds of the world population), simply doesn’t have the necessary resources even to attempt such a futile and doomed quest.  And in a way, that is proving a blessing in disguise, i.e., in terms of the Global South’s immunity to the alluring charms of the siren voices of western socialism.

And you’ve pointed to why we so desperately need a genuinely countercultural, post-Christendom style Christianity to arise in the corrupted Global North.

The fundamental problem is that the leaders of our “enlightened” churches fondly but vainly imagine that we must be inclusive and seek to include both sides of the Culture War in our “mainline” churches (while favoring the enlightend, progressive side of course).  But I emphatically reject that basic notion.  The sad reality is that there is only room for one side of the Culture War in the Church of Jesus Christ.  There is simply NO legitimate place for pro-choice, pro-gay relativists in the Church.  Such views are ruled out as inherently unChristian.

And that means that huge numbers of those deceived by the well-intentioned, but misguided dreamers in our midst are going to have to face up to the reality that to be a faithful Christian DEMANDS being radically counter-cultural in our time.  We have sadly reached the point when the only faithful option is a Christ-against-culture stance.  The popular Christ-the Transformer-of-cutlure stance so beloved of our friends and neighbors (especially but not solely on the left) is no longer a viable option.

We need to prepare for outright persecution in the not-so-distant future, as the Church becomes increasingly pitted against liberal western societies that have embraced an anti-family, culture of death.

David Handy+
Passionate advocate of Post-Christendom, and not merely Post-Colonial, style Anglicanism for the 3rd Millenium.

[81] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 08-10-2008 at 08:12 AM • top

Hopeless Percy,
I’m with you 100%, especially in your comment in #20.

[82] Posted by evan miller on 08-12-2008 at 09:35 AM • top

One and a half years later…..No fight left in me.  Life is too short.  My spitirual health is too important.  I’ve taken the plunge and enrolled in RCIA a few weeks ago.  I’m excited about my future and very much at peace.

I was born, raised, baptized and confirmed Episcopalian.  There are many fine Episcopalians who will always remain in my heart.  I wish the church the best.  It just isn’t for me anymore.  Love and peace.

[83] Posted by nochurchhome on 09-07-2008 at 12:54 PM • top

nochurchhome (#84),

I thought this thread had died out, but you’ve revived it.  It’s perfectly understandable that you’ve had enough of this fight, and you’ve decided to seek full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.  That is an honorable and very reasonable choice.

God bless you and uphold you.

David Handy+

[84] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 09-07-2008 at 09:57 PM • top

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