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Ephraim Radner Resigns from the Anglican Communion Network

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 • 11:16 am


Via email:

It is with sorrow and deep disappointment that I tender my resignation from the Anglican Communion Network.  Since the time I assisted in its founding, its leaders, members, and mission have been dear to me, even when I have disagreed with some of its corporate actions.  The recent statements by the Moderator of the Network, Robert Duncan, however, so contradict my sense of calling within this part of Christ’s Body, the Anglican Communion, that I have no choice but to disassociate myself from this group, whom I had once hoped might prove an instrument of renewal, not of destruction, of building up, not of tearing down. 

Bishop Duncan has now declared the See of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference—two of the four Instruments of Communion within our tradition – to be “lost”.  He has said that God is “doing a new thing” in allowing these elements to founder and be let go.  I find this judgment to be dangerously precipitous and unfair under circumstances when current, faithful, and hard work is being done by many to bolster these Instruments as servants of our common life in Christ.  The judgment is also astonishingly self-confident and autonomously prophetic in a mode not unlike the baleful claims to visionary authority of those who have long misled the Episcopal Church.  Finally, the declaration in effect cancels out the other two Instruments of Communion that also uphold our common Anglican life – the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council.  It is the entire Anglican Communion, therefore, that Bp. Duncan is declaring to be “lost”.  The judgment is far too sweeping. 

Bp. Duncan has, in the end, decided to start a new church. He may call it “Anglican” if he wishes, though I do not recognize the name in these kinds of actions that break communion rather than build it up – for such building is what I have long perceived to be the “thing” God was “doing” with the earthen vessel of our tradition.  In founding his new church, furthermore, he is, I fear, not working for the healing of our broken Body, but repeating the mistakes of Christians in the past, whose zeal has not only brought suffering to themselves, but has wounded the Church of Christ.  It is not only his own diocese that his statements and actions will affect;  it is many others, including parishes within them, many of which have worked for faithfulness and peace, truth in love, for some time, and for whom new troubles and divisions are now promised. Enough of this.  I cannot follow him in this way.  There is great work to be done, with hope and with joy, if also with suffering endurance for the faith once delivered, in the vineyards of the Anglican Communion where the Lord has called us and still maintains His calling; just as there has been in the past, and all for the glory of the larger Church Catholic. 

Ephraim Radner (the Rev. Dr.)


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Comments:

I hope the Lord will give him strength in the future. He’s going to be feeling more and more isolated as his friends and allies depart TEC. I

know, other people have drawn all sorts of conclusions as to why he did this. As for me, when I read this, I hear the pain and the grief I believe that Dr. Radner feels for the Episcopal Church. I’m a cradle Episcopalian and it has taken my entire life to finally come to the realization that the church I love is no longer viable.

I hope and pray that he and those who think as he does, are spared as much of the pain and sorrow that I think will be heading for them. I also pray that he and Bishop Duncan may be reconciled at some future point. Preferably in the not too distant future.

[1] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 08-01-2007 at 01:50 PM • top

I hear only haughty arrogance in Radner’s statement.  What Bishop Duncan said at the ACN meeting is that the ABC has said nothing and done nothing to support the orthodox, ignoring the demands from the Primates that alternative oversight be established.  And, on the other side, by refusing to support any discipline of TEC, but rather inviting them to Lambeth, he has in fact damaged both the authority of Canterbury and the validity of Lambeth.  These are facts which Bishop Duncan had to courage to state publicly.  For Radner to attempt to “kill the messenger” ignores the reality that the orthodox in the US face.

[2] Posted by hanks on 08-01-2007 at 01:57 PM • top

Is my comment lost?  It was great (I thought so, anyway).

[3] Posted by Saint Dumb Ox on 08-01-2007 at 02:01 PM • top

So much as been said on Titus One Nine on this.

As far as I can tell, the only status Dr. Radner had with the ACN at the time of his resignation as that of one of numerous Episcopal clergy affiliates, the names of which are divided by state, found several clicks down on its website.  A simple “please remove my name from your list of affiliated clergy” would have been sufficient. 

The ACI expresses hope that the invitation list will change, hope that the ABC will call an immediate Primates meeting, and hope that a meaningful covenant will ultimately be adopted and enforced even if Dar was not. But its bottom line seems to be its resolve that US Episcopaleons should remain in TEC, and other Provinces should participate in the Instruments of Unity regardless of whether reform or dicipline occurs.  Someone else discribed it as a go down with the ship philosphy, akin to the conduct of boat commanders of the Japanese Navy who lashed themselves to a beam on the bridge to ensure they died with their ship.  By contrast, the general instructions of the Royal and US Navies and merchant marines was that the captain must first ensure the safety of those aboard before he looks to his own safety.  That means getting the passengers to the lifeboats.  That is precisely what the ACN and the GS leaders are attempting to do.

[4] Posted by Going Home on 08-01-2007 at 02:02 PM • top

Did he say the ABC was lost or did he merely express extreme disappointment? (It’s startling to realize that had Tony Blair chosen diffierently, we might not be in this mess.) I know he said the US Province was lost, but I don’t recall his saying it about the ABC and Lambeth.

The remarks about ‘the spirit doing a new thing’ were obviously ironic comment about TEC’s line of rhetoric. I think he means he’s trying to continue doing an old thing.

[5] Posted by henryleroi on 08-01-2007 at 02:05 PM • top

My longer comments are not posting….anybody else having this problem?...Tech help please

[6] Posted by Saint Dumb Ox on 08-01-2007 at 02:07 PM • top

Do read the entire link Matt posted of Dr. Stephen Noll below. You will understand Dr. Radner’s position a lot better.

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/4789/

[7] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 08-01-2007 at 02:09 PM • top

Bob+, your link goes to this post. Did you mean to link to this one instead?

[8] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 08-01-2007 at 02:17 PM • top

Modification of a t19 post:

Brian from t19, a couple of weeks ago, stated that CANA, AMiA and other continuing churches are not Anglican because their bishops didn’t receive an early invitation from the ABC. I posed the question to him whether those members of the TEC in New Hampshire were Anglican, and he said that was “difficult” and went no further.

A week ago, ABp Sentamu wrote that those who did receive an invitation but didn’t show up were not Anglicans. Apparently, the vacationing ABC quickly distanced himself from that through his channels, however.

Now we have Bp Duncan talking about the possibility of his intention of leaving the TEC and joining hands with our brethren in the continuing churches to form an alternative orthodox province. This, apparently, will receive the ecclesiastical blessing of bishops of over half the world’s Anglicans. Father Eprhaim has rejected this and said he doesn’t recognize this as Anglicanism.

I seem to recall a certain priest in a “continuing” church that was ordained bishop by foreign bishops. Not only was he not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was not recognized by any of the CoE bishops. He was never invited to Lambeth. Despite this, he and that continuing church came to reach magnificent heights in the Anglican Communion. Unfortunately, that church has been has fallen into disgrace of late. His name?...Samuel Seabury.

So if I could be so bold as to disagree with the good Bp Duncan, this is not a “new thing.” But I expect the new “continuing church” to rise to the heights of the former glory of the Episcopal Church. ACI may not see members of CANA, AMiA and perhaps the members of the new province as Anglican. I think that most readers of SF would disagree.

[9] Posted by robroy on 08-01-2007 at 02:19 PM • top

Dr Radnder has left his parish, friends, and for awhile his family, to flee from a revisionist bishop who probably was very glad to see him go.  Dr Radner has gone to a safe place to be what he is and do what he does.  Many of us have made the same decision.  I respect his move to safety and I would ask the same from him. The Network will help with the new wineskin and Dr Radner belongs to the old.  Rev Dr Radner- I wish you peace in Canada.

[10] Posted by Elizabeth on 08-01-2007 at 02:24 PM • top

How ironic.

Translation:
I am so mad at you for threatening to abandon communion with TEC that I am going to abandon you. 

Hmmm… Does anyone else see the contradiction here?

[11] Posted by Spencer on 08-01-2007 at 02:36 PM • top

Hanks,

Would you believe that there are folks on the conservative side who see hubris in Duncan’s statements? Would you believe that not everyone agrees with your reading of Radner’s statement? 

This is directed generally—I grow so tired of certain conservatives who are so gung ho that anyone who stands in their way or dares to disagree with them has some fundamental character or spiritual flaw.  Where’s the love?

Back to Hanks—feel free to say you don’t like what Radner says, but spare me the judgmental (subjective) pronouncements.  “Haughty arrogance?” Do you know Radner? Have you ever met him? Puh-lease, tone it down, pal and show some respect, for Christ’s sake.

[12] Posted by Widening Gyre on 08-01-2007 at 02:40 PM • top

Some (non-consecutive) thoughts:

I can understand Dr. Radnor’s position, but at the same time, it feels as if there is great prejudice and elitism in the arguments he makes. Would not his same arguments have bolstered the Pharisees against The Way?

Order is good, usually. Nevertheless, there are times in Church history when “the establishment/hierarchy” is out of step with the Spirit, and there is need to reform against the wishes of those in charge.

Most all Christians, myself included, have some lingering idolatries. In the Early Church, I submit that those who clung to a particular understanding of God’s oneness (that did not allow room for Jesus’ Deity nor the Spirit’s), were actually idolaters of their own doctrine of God. Likewise, I wonder if those who cannot seem to separate from TEC today are idolaters of some doctrine of the Church. Perhaps it is time to expand one’s concept of the integrity and oneness of the Body of Christ.

I believe it was Matt+ who reminded us of the difference between how we are to treat weaker brothers and false teachers. He suggests many confuse the two and therefore sinfully indulge TEC while thinking it is love, instead of enforcing discipline with separation. No doubt that is true, but even if people are confused, those in TEC are not even being treated like weaker brothers. “If a brother sins, rebuke him; if he repents, forgive him.” First, there is too often encouragement and enablement instead of rebuke. Second there is cheap forgiveness without repentance. Thus there is indulgence of sin, no matter the protests to the contrary. This does not honor God. A Christian has no biblical choice but to disassociate from those who have been given fair opportunity, yet wilfully refuse to repent of sin.

[13] Posted by alfonso on 08-01-2007 at 02:42 PM • top

Spencer, there were many contradictions and ironies in Dr. Radner’s letter of resignation.

I have read all 150+ comments on Titus 1:9.  We need to differentiate between unjust destructive criticism and just constructive criticism.

I do not think that I have read any unjust destructive criticism of Dr. Radner on that thread.

Further, with the just constructive criticism provided to Dr. Radner which I hope he receives in that light, is it not reasonable to conclude that this was an entirely preventable and an unnecessary self-inflicted wound, a self-inflicted wound that unfortunately ripples out and also wounds the unity of the body of believers in the Anglican Communion?

[14] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-01-2007 at 02:43 PM • top

This is a difficult time for leaders.  I am confident that all who exercise leadership in stressful times look back on actions done and words said or not said with regret.  I certainly do.  Bp. Duncan wishes that Arbp Williams had said more and been more openly supportive of the Orthodox position.  No doubt, Arbp Williams has an opinion about Bp. Duncan’s words.  Bp. Duncan also has a responsibility to lead in a moment of great uncertainty, and whether anyone likes this or not, this includes the possibility that the results of the September meeting of the TEC HOB with Arbp Williams will be the splintering of the communion.  Bp Duncan, by his comments, indicated a course of action in the event this happens.  I remain hopeful that it won’t, but I have the luxury of not having to anticipate this on behalf of thousands as Bp. Duncan does. 

I don’t think Bp Duncan’s comments in any way undermines Arbp Williams.  Nor do I think they will influence the outcome of the September Meeting.  I do think Bp. Duncan did need to say something that anticipated a worst case scenario, even if hearing those words was painful to many who support him.

[15] Posted by Ed McNeill on 08-01-2007 at 02:44 PM • top

WG, I did not tone it down much, if at all, but I should add that I too, am susceptible to an elitist view. In other words, I grant “it takes one to know one” seems applicable in this case.

[16] Posted by alfonso on 08-01-2007 at 02:48 PM • top

Alfonso says: 

I believe it was Matt+ who reminded us of the difference between how we are to treat weaker brothers and false teachers. He suggests many confuse the two and therefore sinfully indulge TEC while thinking it is love, instead of enforcing discipline with separation.

Is there a link for this? I have been puzzling over this distinction and am delighted to read that someone has been working it through.

[17] Posted by Deja Vu on 08-01-2007 at 03:03 PM • top

To ascribe “haughty arrogance” to Dr. Radner’s decision may not be the most circumspect observation.  While our dear Cantaur has given us several indications of strong vaccilation, a handy dismissal of the office, and of any future occupants, might prove less than entirely discrete, and in that view Dr. Radner was well-advised to take the steps he did.  As a Gospel “agent of change” in his own ministry, also, it was wise that he avoid positioning himself with +Duncan’s apparent renunciation of the Instruments of Unity or he would be at risk of limiting his own effectiveness.  It is my prayer that a new, conciliar, fellowship be built up so that we may truly remain united as Christians, as well as Anglicans, with Canterbury as a beloved brother.

Sorry for all the purple words- if I’d ‘a used plain talk it might’ve sounded rude!  For a lighter side to the story, come by Sanctifusion.

[18] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-01-2007 at 03:04 PM • top

WG, I accept your criticism of my “haughty arrogance” comment.  There was no intent to attack Radner personally.  My problem was that his leaving ACN seemed arrogant when he was at the same time attacking Duncan for challenging the ABC’s inactions (on behalf of the orthodox) and actions (in support of TEC).  I fully agree that we need to keep these discussions on a higher, non-personal level.

[19] Posted by hanks on 08-01-2007 at 03:05 PM • top

Two comments/questions: 1) I can’t understand how the Archbishop of Canterbury can be said to have offered no support to the orthodox faith when it was he who started the processes which led to the Windsor Report and to the Draft Covenant, and who has consistently supported that faith through his carefully worded writings. I’ve read _Anglican Identities_ and much of _Christian Theology_.  [By the way: some of his remarks in _Christian Theology_ were taken out of context by “Father Jake” in a thread on the creeds, I think, in 2006; Fr. J’s citing was referred to in a link by Matt Kennedy and I tried to respond yesterday with the full context, but the response section was down].  2)  Ephraim Radner helped write the Draft Covenant in good faith, and it is a sound expression of orthodox faith.  He reported on it in good faith to the HOB; however, Kathy Grieb, the other American on that committee, pretty much ignored the contents of the Covenant and said in her report to the HOB that it was the Primates’ Communiqué which was the important thing, that its purpose was disciplinary, and that as a lawyer she was afraid of it. The HOB then ignored Radner and paid attention only to her.  That seems to be the stance the Network and Common Cause are taking:  that discipline was the primary purpose of the whole process, starting with the Eames report, and that the present voice of Primates, not the carefully written Windsor Report and the ensuing Draft Covenant, is what is important.  All along, in whatever I can see that Ephraim Radner has done or written, it has been the listening and teaching process, done in a clear, forthright,  and open way,  where he has put his mind and heart.  I admire him for his consistency in resigning from the Network.  I hope that, contrary to the expectations of some who have responded to this thread, he will not be alone in TEC witnessing for the orthodox faith and   wonder if there is an organization where those of us who want to continue to witness to the orthodox faith while remaining in TEC can provide mutual support.  At least there are blogs like this one, although we don’t all agree on everything; I am grateful for this blog.  P.S. Paula—thanks for your very good answer to my question about how to deal with doubts about the creeds expressed
by confirmands, students in Episcopal schools, and so on.

[20] Posted by celindascott on 08-01-2007 at 03:05 PM • top

Maybe he’s just sick of the battle and the hardening of the lines, and the only way he feels he can be get his point across to either side is to be a “hard-line” defender of the middle (which is now growing tired of being called “mushy”).  I wouldn’t judge him too harshly, this has been the most extreme thing he has said or done in the midst of this controversy (moving to a “safe place” notwithstanding).  He is a human being, and if his judgment of +Duncan’s words is precipitous, so are (it can be argued) the actions of TEC revisionists from New Hampshire on, as are the actions of forming CANA and AMiA.  But it’s done, let the chips fall.  9/30 is coming, before then any action is precipitous in my opinion.

[21] Posted by Zoomdaddy on 08-01-2007 at 03:12 PM • top

Just as i have complained about people making TEC an idol in their lives, it is possible someone could make the ABC or even Anglicanism an idol.  As Archbishop Gregory said at the convocation, it is not really about TEC or Anglicanism, it is about Jesus.  If the ship goes down, it is because Jesus is no longer its captain.

As someone who has been involved with the ACN from the very beginning and who has served on its steering committee for 3.5 years, i can tell you ACI has done nothing to help the Network.  This is no great loss.

Dean Reed

[22] Posted by rreed on 08-01-2007 at 03:26 PM • top

Hello celindascott.  Good to see that you are braving the bear-pit well done

Generally, I think it would be good to cut everyone some slack in the boilerhouse that is our Communion at the moment.

God Bless

[23] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 08-01-2007 at 03:26 PM • top

Based upon what appears in Radner’s statement and the wording from Duncan’s pronouncements, it appears to me that Radner was merely looking for a excuse to leave the ACN.  It may be that he has been overtaken by profound spiritual fatigue, which is a constant enemy and companion to those of us who choose to remain in the struggle for the faith once delivered to the saints.
Perhaps after resting and viewing all this from a distance he will be refreshed and once again join us who support the ACN and its goals.

[24] Posted by Mama Jeff-Thyatira on 08-01-2007 at 03:29 PM • top

As someone who has been involved with the ACN from the very beginning and who has served on its steering committee for 3.5 years, i can tell you ACI has done nothing to help the Network.  This is no great loss.

Dean Reed

I certainly hope these words, this judgment is not true.  But as an informed, outside observer, I have noticed that ACI/the Fulcrum crowd/open evangelicals have often saved their choicest words of rebuke for those who do not toe the line of Communion conservatism.  It is sad to observe but if you follow the debates amongst British evangelical Anglicans you see a similar split (cf. N.T. Wright’s charitable rebuke of Jeffrey John vs. his harsh reprimand of the Oak Hill group on penal atonement). 

It is very sad but these divisions in the orthodox ranks threaten the future of Anglicanism, I am afraid.  And for that reason, for a long time, I thought there was some wise counsel in the words of Radner+, et al., since they are acutely aware of it.  But, frankly, the arch, condemnatory stance of Radner+‘s resignation letter and the on-going finger-wagging by the ACI crowd is undermining the power of their message for the people who need it most.  That, I suspect, is what the one commenter meant by calling Radner+‘s words ‘haughty,’ for in lieu of the patient forbearance Radner+ often displays in his public pronouncements, he precipitously acted out in a way that has wounded the public credibility of +Duncan and the ACN.  (Follow the chatter on the House of Bishops/Deputies listserv, and you will see the real world political fall out of this episode.)

Sad, sad, sad.

[25] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 08-01-2007 at 03:47 PM • top

But as an informed, outside observer, I have noticed that ACI/the Fulcrum crowd/open evangelicals have often saved their choicest words of rebuke for those who do not toe the line of Communion conservatism.

I find this curious and odd as well.  Also, I commend all to see the T19 thread on Dr. Radner’s resignation, and to see Steve Lake’s comments therein which I think are quite good.

[26] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-01-2007 at 04:21 PM • top

I am a bit perplexed by this resignation and no doubt more enlightenment will follow as time goes on. I can’t help but feel that his decision to resign is going to have a very profound effect on those to whom he ministers to and those who found him to be a strong defender for the faith once delivered and fpor the Common Cause. I pray that this resignation doesn’t come back to bite him in the south posterior! But, then again in time it may prove out to be the right decision….Only God knows these things!

[27] Posted by TLDillon on 08-01-2007 at 04:22 PM • top

I’ve already commented on this news over at T19.  I won’t repeat that fairly long comment here.  Here’s the link in case anyone cares.
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/4770/#88172

Steve Lake, awhile back I gave up reading the HoB/D listserve (though I’m still subscribed using a separate e-mail address.  I *could* go read the messages if I want.  But I think I’ll probably not.

Any chance you could post a few brief summaries of the general content / tone that wouldn’t violate HoB/D policy.  No need to name names… but it might be helpful to hear a few of the details of the type of real world fall out you mention.

[28] Posted by Karen B. on 08-01-2007 at 04:25 PM • top

Hanks, thanks.  I could have worded my comment better also and I appreciate the charity with which you received it.  Peace.

I for one am feeling the spiritual fatigue mentioned above.

[29] Posted by Widening Gyre on 08-01-2007 at 04:38 PM • top

Word to all—do read Karen B.‘s comments (linked above) on T19.  Excellent, thoughtful analysis, Karen!  And thank you, too, TUD for your gracious words.

As per HOB/D listserv: basically, crowing from some predictable quarters about the break-up of the conservative movement and some discussion of what should be done to/with/for the ACN as its ship sinks.  On the latter point, there is a mix of charity/grace and bombast/retribution.  Most seem to agree, though, that it is only a matter of time before the conservative jump like rats off the sinking ACN ship.  Frankly, the prognostication feels dreadfully out of touch with where things are at. . .but we’ve never seen that out of TEC before, have we?!

[30] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 08-01-2007 at 04:39 PM • top

For those who, like One Day Closer, are perplexed by Dr. Radner’s resignation I really need to ask: What’s so confusing ?

The reasserter movement is splintering into an alphabet soup of different organizations & groups (ACN, AMiA, ACI, ANiC, APA, CANA, AEF, FIF/NA, “Windsor Bishops,” etc…). It’s the whole Continuing Anglicans, “we’re against women’s ordination” thing from the 1970’s all over again. And in the end, the results will be just the same.

As for Radner+, while I don’t often agree with his theological arguments, and have great reservations about his association with the IRD, I think he’s a thoughtful and honorable man. I vote for him as the first nominee for “Episcopal Straight Shooter of the Year.”

[31] Posted by Planonian on 08-01-2007 at 04:44 PM • top

I am very saddened to hear of Dr. Radner’s resignation. I was intorduced to him at a diocesean retreat in 2003, where he was invited by the Bishop. Dr. Radner in a very eloquent addressed the responsibility - and authority - of the HOB to address the very obvious departure from Lambeth, of which the VGR fiasco was the catalyst. I personally believe the comments made by Bishop Duncan just stated the obvious, as I believe the entire process of getting to where we are via the Instruments of Unity and the Board of Preference were doomed from the start by an unworkable outcome to “mend the tear” - and the ABC has chosen in to operate in those very contained, unenforceable confines where unity cannot be maintained. I disagree Bishop Duncan is starting a new church; rather I believe that there is a growing orthodox presence in the Common Cause partners (and Global South) that will save the church Dr. Radner so dearly loves. Dr. Radner - the door will always be open,  and I for one await your return.

[32] Posted by Festivus on 08-01-2007 at 04:45 PM • top

the Instruments of Unity and the Board of Preference were doomed from the start

Sorry.. meant the Panel of Preference

[33] Posted by Festivus on 08-01-2007 at 04:47 PM • top

How interesting—Steve Lake describes how “out of touch” some HOBD posters are—and then, right below, Planonian
gives us an excellent illustration!

[34] Posted by In Newark on 08-01-2007 at 05:03 PM • top

Also, check out this glowing review of the ACN meetings.  Gives you a very good feel for where the cognoscenti in TEC (incl. the HOB/D) are right now.

[35] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 08-01-2007 at 05:12 PM • top

Steve Lake

Re:he precipitously acted out in a way that has wounded the public credibility of +Duncan and the ACN.  (Follow the chatter on the House of Bishops/Deputies listserv, and you will see the real world political fall out of this episode.)

One of the few indicia of sanity left in my life is that I don’t follow this chatter.  But did Duncan ever have any credibility with this lot?  I think your comment on Todd Granger’s piece is perhaps more important:  Radner has destroyed his own credibilty with conservatives.  “Enough of this.”

Dean Reed

Thank you for your comment and your hospitality in hosting the council.  As a native to your area, I wish I could have had some of the barbeque.

[36] Posted by wildfire on 08-01-2007 at 05:13 PM • top

“but repeating the mistakes of Christians in the past, whose zeal has not only brought suffering to themselves, but has wounded the Church of Christ”.
What does this mean? Those who gave their lives for the truth and suffered on the stakes or thown to lions only had the suffering brought upon themselves by their zeal? We need Moses’ Word again at this time: Who is on the Lord’s side?

[37] Posted by Yinka on 08-01-2007 at 05:18 PM • top

This guy sounds so sorry for himself.  You can just hear the whine.

[38] Posted by Tom Dupree, Jr. on 08-01-2007 at 05:20 PM • top

Planonian :

Why don’t you actually WATCH the next ACN meeting - it might help you understand that the ‘alphabet soup’ is more the Alpha/Omega soup centered on the Person of Christ.

The point was unifying and, by gum, they did it. 

Thanks be to God!

Too bad Mr. Radner preferred to live the ‘Left Behind’ series.

[39] Posted by Eclipse on 08-01-2007 at 05:26 PM • top

The Rev. Dr. Radner said precisely what I opined when Grace Church in Colorado Springs began breaking up, and when the Grace rector led half his flock out of the diocese and into (what was it?) a Nigerian church. This would have been laughable had it not been so sad.

What’s going on in the Episcopal Church at home and nationally isn’t about faith or theology; it’s about agendas, personal and otherwise. Dr. Radner understands that and is having none of it. That’s because he looks at the whole picture, not part of it.

[40] Posted by Jeremiah on 08-01-2007 at 05:31 PM • top

OK, the Alpha/Omega was a little cheesy - but boy was it fun to write.

[41] Posted by Eclipse on 08-01-2007 at 05:31 PM • top

RE: “As someone who has been involved with the ACN from the very beginning and who has served on its steering committee for 3.5 years, i can tell you ACI has done nothing to help the Network.”

No—the ACI has “done nothing to help” those parties within the Network who are Federal Conservatives.  But you can find plenty of Communion Conservative bishops who are in the Network [roughly half] who greatly value the ACI’s work and found it to be most helpful in highlighting and articulating their values.

I agree with Dean Reed, though, that it is a good thing that Ephraim Radner has departed the Network.  The two groups of conservatives really need to be in their own organizations to work for their different goals.

[42] Posted by Sarah on 08-01-2007 at 05:52 PM • top

It is the entire Anglican Communion, therefore, that Bp. Duncan is declaring to be “lost”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided a decent place for biblical orthodox Anglicans in North America to go to church.  Neither have the Primates Meetings.  Neither has the Lambeth Conference.  Neither has the Anglican Consultative Council.

Who is providing a decent place for biblical orthodox Anglicans in North America to go to church?  Rwanda.  Uganda.  Nigeria.  Kenya.  REC. APA.  Cono del Sur.  This is not soup.  This is Multi-Grain Bread from the LORD.

[43] Posted by Chazaq on 08-01-2007 at 06:06 PM • top

Just want to take a minute to analyze the sneering and contempt in the post by Jeremiahm above:

when the Grace rector led half his flock out of the diocese and into (what was it?) a Nigerian church. This would have been laughable had it not been so sad.


“into (what was it?) a Nigerian church”—The “what was it” in parenthesis seems to be an expression of contempt, it is beneath him to be bothered with such a petty detail.  In fact, of course, the Nigerians have a growing church and 10 times the ASA of the TEC. So, to consider the fact of it being the Nigerian Anglican church as trivial is asuming superiority over something about the Nigerian church that is not related to their size or success.
“would have been laughable had it not been so sad.”—Saying something is sad is also a way of positioning oneself above those one is describing. I have often noticed this rhetorical strategy used by a poster at T19 named “bobcarleton”.

[44] Posted by Deja Vu on 08-01-2007 at 06:16 PM • top

Mark M, sorry you missed out on the barbeque.  Come to Bedford next time and we promise you will be well fed.

Brother Leroy

[45] Posted by Brother LeRoy on 08-01-2007 at 06:17 PM • top

If Bishop Duncan did, in fact, declare Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference “lost”, then I think the Rev. Dr Radner has a real point. I believed the withdrawal of Global South bishops from the Lambeth Conference was exceedingly badly timed, and Bishop Duncan’s statements, (if Radner has described them accurately) are equally badly timed.

We have waited this long—could we not hold out for the September deadline and for the next Lambeth Conference. Lambeth could have been a turning point for the Communion, even if September doesn’t materialize the way we hope it will… but only if the orthodox majority are present, making the will of the Church Catholic heard. If the orthodox majority quit now, when the finish line is in sight, what was it all for?

I don’t think I have ever been as discouraged about the future of Anglicanism as I am at this moment. If Bishop Duncan did not say these things, sooner would be better than later in re: corrections.

[46] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 08-01-2007 at 06:32 PM • top

Farstrider—+Duncan did say that he and the others will be at HOB meeting, so they are waiting until the deadline.  In fact, the first person to grow impatient with the deadline was the ABC himself, who issued invitations in such a precipitous way.  No one would have talked of pulling out of Lambeth yet, if +++Williams hadn’t jumped the gun on this. 
Something real has to happen on October 1, or Lambeth will just be another excuse to kick the can down the road again.  If +++Williams imposes some real penalty—maybe a state of impaired communion pending the decision at Lambeth—then he can probably regather what he himself has caused to scatter.  But we can’t keep waiting for deadline after deadline while ECUSA goes on her merry way, untrammeled, uncondemned, undisciplined.

[47] Posted by In Newark on 08-01-2007 at 06:51 PM • top

It seems to me that Dr. Radner has made a hasty and unwise choice and I pray that he will get some rest.  We all need Sabbath time.  Unlike those who consider this statement to be “no loss”, I disagree Dr. Radner has given much and is one I greatly respect and agree with him on theological grounds and although I often disagree with him when it comes to strategy, I have greatly valued his point of view.  I too am a Communion Conservative which is the only reason I am still within TEC after such apostasy.  Yet, there comes a time when one needs to decide with whom we should be in communion with.  If I did not believe in the depths of my soul that TEC as an organization was no longer Christian then I would not be so eager to leave either.  Yet, as a Communion Conservative I have come to realize that to be in communion with Christians, I must abandon the pagans of ECUSA.  It may sound very judgmental to some for me to pronounce TEC as no longer Christian, yet I believe that God gives each person filled with the Holy Spirit the ability to discern good and evil if we seek Him so I make no apologies for the conclusions that I have come to.  I leave final judgment to God of course for each individual, yet as an organization TEC is lost at sea.

The ACI wants me to consider if my “rush to leave” is nothing more than typical American self-will.  Well, it isn’t.  If it were, I would not still be in anything resembling Anglicanism.  I would be as far as possible from this controversy.  I might have even gotten so fed up with the hypocritical church that I might have become a pagan myself if I were governed by self seeking desires.  No, I am here because “I believe” that this is not about “me” but about a culture which has yet again abandoned God.  I can’t help but have the attitude of Jeremiah.  I wonder if God’s final judgment upon us.  This is what motivates me.

I have pity on the ACI because although I agree with much of what they say, they seem to want to be in communion with pagans at the expense of Christians.  I agree with everything they say about remaining “one”, remaining “catholic” but only to the extent that I am remaining one with those who are Christian.  I pray that Dr. Radner will eventually come to the conclusion that the people he is tying to save are not God’s people, but false teachers.  I wish he could just let them go and leave them to God rather than trying to save those who do not want to be saved. 

I am sorry.  I am rambling… which means this probably isn’t even worth posting.  I guess my point is that I am sorry to see Dr. Radner go.  I hope that in a couple of months all will be made clear and that in a post 9/30 world, we who are of the Body, will be together again.  Until then, Dr. Radner and all in the ACI will be in my prayers.

[48] Posted by Spencer on 08-01-2007 at 06:51 PM • top

Jeremiah:

What’s going on in the Episcopal Church at home and nationally isn’t about faith or theology; it’s about agendas, personal and otherwise.

Don’t you love the projection?

In fact, from the orthodox side, it is all—including the continuing intramural debate, e.g. between Drs Noll and Radner—precisely about faith and theology (and ecclesiology).  For a full background on the controversy, I suggest going back a few years and looking at

  * Dr R: Letter to the Clergy of Colorado
  * Dr N: Response to Dr R
  * Dr R: Response to Dr N

Once you have absorbed all this (your head will hurt), perhaps it will become clearer that this is a genuinely deep disagreement over a faithful course of action in the current circumstances, and is not a suitable candidate for resolution by bumper-sticker.

As to ACI not doing anything for the orthodox, who on earth do you think has been producing white papers for the orthodox Primates to present to their colleagues all this time?  The principal audience ACI has been addressing since its inception is not the Episcopal pewsitter, or the orthodox blogophile, or even orthodox ECUSA clergy, but the Primates (including the ABC).  And if you really think these writings have had no effect, I’m afraid you haven’t been paying very close attention.

[49] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 08-01-2007 at 06:59 PM • top

Yet, as a Communion Conservative I have come to realize that to be in communion with Christians, I must abandon the pagans of ECUSA.

Out of curiosity, is the distinction between CommCon and FedCon more helpful or more unhelpful to the discussion?  My understanding is that the two are on the same team and they just have differences on the selection and execution of a strategy to keep the Anglican Communion together in the face of persistent, defiant, unrepentant theological liberal revisionist heresy.

Here’s a little humor on compromise to bring a little levity to the gloom:
http://www.despair.com/compromise.html

[50] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-01-2007 at 07:05 PM • top

Are people (for example farstrider) not paying attention?  Has Radner confused them into thinking ACN is officially out of TEC?  Did no one notice that those members of ACN that are part of TEC haven’t left?  That the ACN bishops will be at the TEC HOB meeting in New Orleans?  That they will still give the ABC and the primates a chance to act?  It isn’t over yet (although a certain portly lady is warming up quite noisily) and let’s not act like it is.  Why couldn’t Radner wait until Duncan actually started a “new church” before getting in that dig?  I commend ACN for preparing in a sensible way for an outcome that is probable.  As for Radner, he obviously wanted to make a statement designed to provoke a reaction.  It wasn’t a simple resignation.  Fr. Jake is happy, Susan Russell is happy, most StandFirmers are annoyed.  I hope he is enjoying the fruits of his barbed “resignation”.

[51] Posted by Nevin on 08-01-2007 at 07:07 PM • top

Why couldn’t Radner wait until Duncan actually started a “new church” before getting in that dig?

The timing of the delivery of this resignation is rather odd or peculiar.  The resignation was tendered on Day 2 of the ACN meeting(!).  So instead of folks focusing and discussing what was accomplished at the ACN council, more folks are focusing and discussing what his resignation means for orthodox Anglicans.

The liberal reappraisers could not be more happy with Dr. Radner and ACI.

[52] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-01-2007 at 07:14 PM • top

As a liberal, I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of affiliating myself with a separate, progressive neocolonial Anglican Communion rooted in Canterbury and made up only of wealthy nations.  As a conservative, Dr. Radner is obviously equally uncomfortable with the idea of a separate, conservative postcolonial Anglican Communion rooted in Abuja and made up only of poor nations. 

If the Anglican Communion splits, expect a lot of people to find themselves in Dr. Radner’s position—forced to make a choice between becoming part of an African-centered church that is consistent with their theology, or remaining part of an Anglo-centered church that is not.  Dr. Radner has made his decision, and we should applaud him for at least making it early in the process.  He is not ready to center the map of his church culture on Abuja, and I suppose I envy him even though that’s an option that I, as an anticolonialist, can only wish I had.

In some ways this is a microcosm of the world to come—the lowercase variety, I mean.  Within the next several decades, it is likely that India, China, and other non-Western powers will replace the United States and Europe as the center of global culture.  By the time I’m collecting social security, we may all be listening to Chinese pop music and reading sub-Saharan theologians.  It’s going to be a scary transition for a lot of people, I’m guessing.

[53] Posted by Tom Head on 08-01-2007 at 07:25 PM • top

Clumsy wording:

He is not ready to center the map of his church culture on Abuja, and I suppose I envy him even though that’s an option that I, as an anticolonialist, can only wish I had.

That should read “I suppose I envy him because that’s an option…,” not “even though that’s an option.”

Anyway, it seems safe to say that many people will be following in Dr. Radner’s footsteps and that many people will not.

[54] Posted by Tom Head on 08-01-2007 at 07:27 PM • top

TUAD:

The timing of the delivery of this resignation is rather odd or peculiar.  The resignation was tendered on Day 2 of the ACN meeting(!).  So instead of folks focusing and discussing what was accomplished at the ACN council, more folks are focusing and discussing what his resignation means for orthodox Anglicans.

I would agree with this - here you have this awesome meeting and right before it ends we have this ‘letter’....

as we say in my neck of the woods, “It wasn’t a God-thing.”

[55] Posted by Eclipse on 08-01-2007 at 07:37 PM • top

I wish Dr. Radner had been this quick to disassociate and resign from EcUSA as he just did with ACN.
Is this not the same reverend gentleman who since Plano ‘03 has been relentless in asking everyone to stay the course and work from within?

Why is Dr. Radner not staying the course and working from within with ++Duncan?
Why is Dr. Radner not handling this situation regarding the words of ++Duncan in the same patient manner as he (Radner) has been treating and handling the uncountable in-your-face nonsense and clearly unChristian statements and positions that EcUSA and her executive leadership and bishops have been spewing forth and celebrating for years now?

As a matter of fact, many Episcopalians have been listening to Radner and staying in spiritually injurious churches longer than they needed to.
Now, how should the Reasserters regard this gentleman who now seems to be moving more and more to the other side, literally and figuratively?

As far as my understanding of what ++Duncan said and what the ACN is doing, Dr. Radner’s characterization of this situation and his public resignation –read the his own words -are not helpful to the cause - and to the Cause, that is.

[56] Posted by Spiro on 08-01-2007 at 07:43 PM • top

Perhaps Fr. Jake and Susan Russell responded happily because they are the ones who are more spiritually mature than folks like Stephen Noll, Matt Kennedy, et alia.


If that is not the case, however, their happy response may be a crimson flag as to the thrust of Fr. Radner’s statement.

[57] Posted by alfonso on 08-01-2007 at 07:45 PM • top

“As to ACI not doing anything for the orthodox, who on earth do you think has been producing white papers for the orthodox primates to present to their colleagues all this time?  The principal audience ACI has been addressing since its inception is not the Episcopal pewsitter, or the orthodox blogophile, or even orthodox ECUSA clergy, but the primates (including the ABC).”

I could say something smart-alec here like:  Well, that explains why the average person only understands a small portion of what the ACI says.
But, I can speak only for myself.

So, are you positing that the ACI will collapse? or quit their efforts over a disagreement with +Duncan et al?

Grannie Gloria

[58] Posted by Grandmother on 08-01-2007 at 07:51 PM • top

Fr. Jake and Susan Russell more spiritual mature than Stephen Noll?  I nly know Terry Jame and Susan from their blogs and I see no reason from what they write or what they post to believe that they in anyway approach the spiritual maturity of Stephen Noll.  The answer is more than perhaps not.  What a silly thought.

[59] Posted by TonyinCNY on 08-01-2007 at 07:53 PM • top

Tony in CNY, if David Duke and Fred Phelps respond happily to a legal statement, and it causes, say, Justices Roberts and Alito consternation; knowing nothing else, how sound do you think that statement is?

[60] Posted by alfonso on 08-01-2007 at 08:08 PM • top

Yes Tony in CNY, and therefore alfonso suggests that “their happy response may be a crimson flag as to the thrust of Fr. Radner’s statement.”
Whatever Radner’s intention, he has delighted the worthy opponents and distracted the faithful from keeping their eyes on Jesus.

[61] Posted by Deja Vu on 08-01-2007 at 08:09 PM • top

Presumably because ACN is not a church. ACI has argued consistently, for staying within the brokenness of the Anglican Communion at the least until such point as the Anglican Communion no longer exists. (Presuming again that there will be no single answer to the question of when this will occur but it’s not unreasonable to suggest 30 September as a minimum).

Whatever the ecclesial status of ACN it is not a church. Indeed Rev’d Radner seems deeply concerned that ACN is a not-church on the way to becoming a church and it is to this he objects. This is entirely consitent with his view for the last decade.

I rather respect his view, which draws the ire of those more enthusiastically conservative and liberal, and somehow find myself thinking of Tennyson and the Charge of the Light Brigade

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them

[62] Posted by driver8 on 08-01-2007 at 08:10 PM • top

Dr. Radner has the right to go wherever he wishes, but his friends and allies have a right to be disappointed by his decision.  If they were not, that would suggest that he is disposable to the movement.

This is, incidentally, a key difference between good and bad organizing: If your movement is full of disposable allies, if losing one of your most vocal and respected members is not at least momentarily depressing, if an incremental change in affiliation means that a person is instantly no longer worthy of your outrage, then it’s probably a safe bet that the movement is not particularly effective at what it does.  All effective movements are religious movements in the original sense of religio—they bind people together.  If a planet’s absence does not affect the orbit of other planets in the system, then clearly the gravitational forces involved are not especially strong.

[63] Posted by Tom Head on 08-01-2007 at 08:18 PM • top

Canon to right of them
Canon to left of them
and what will come out of them?

[64] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 08-01-2007 at 08:20 PM • top

Grannie asks,

So, are you positing that the ACI will collapse? or quit their efforts over a disagreement with +Duncan et al?

I expect them to continue to do exactly what they’ve been doing—writing theological and ecclesiological position papers and analyses, and making policy recommendations to the _Primates.  I don’t understand the reasoning behind your question, I’m afraid, Grannie; why on earth should they quit or collapse?

[65] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 08-01-2007 at 08:29 PM • top

Perhaps Fr. Jake and Susan Russell responded happily because they are the ones who are more spiritually mature than folks like Stephen Noll, Matt Kennedy, et alia.

LOL! You’re kidding right? LOL! Best laugh I’ve had all day! Thanks alfonso!

[66] Posted by TLDillon on 08-01-2007 at 09:17 PM • top

TU&D;.
“Out of curiosity, is the distinction between CommCon and FedCon more helpful or more unhelpful to the discussion?”

It is coming clear to me that there are only Christians and pagans.  ComCons and FedCons remain together.  We are one!  I believe in my heart that Dr. Radner will see this truth very soon.

[67] Posted by Spencer on 08-01-2007 at 09:21 PM • top

Rev. Dr. Radner has been a torchbearer for the orthodox for years.  His resignation, (while not being of the type of gentlemanly speech we have come to expect from him), does not deserve the vitriol that is being served up to him.  We need to remember that he has a new job and none of us is aware of the kind of pressure he is under.  I think we need to cut him a little slack and hope he returns to our side of the fence soon.  I think we should add him to our prayer lists and quit beating him up.  His service deserves better.

[68] Posted by terrafirma on 08-01-2007 at 09:29 PM • top

Craig, I know the players involved. Trust me, it’s all about them and very little about theology or faith. God bless.

[69] Posted by Jeremiah on 08-01-2007 at 09:35 PM • top

Craig, I know the players involved. Trust me

That’s not exactly the most convincing anonymous blog comment I have ever seen.

[70] Posted by James Manley on 08-01-2007 at 09:40 PM • top

If Radner has been producing papers mainly for the primates all this time,  maybe he now thinks that Bob Duncan will not be addressing the primates too much longer so Radner’s flimflamming approach will no longer be needed—and he is now redundant.  Personally, I question his motives—and have for a long time.  If Bishop Duncan continues on his present course, he can expect other fair weather friends to fall by the wayside as well.

[71] Posted by GB on 08-01-2007 at 10:06 PM • top

For the sake of Christian love and objectivity, let’s all remember to write from a heart of love, prepared before God by the Holy Ghost.  I don’t know either Bob or Ephraim, but I understand that each of them has a singular calling to fulfill.  Bob has been called on to shepherd a fairly disparate flock of disaffected American church people (not an enviable task on a good day!), and Ephraim to teach theology in an Evangelical seminary attached to the Anglican Church of Canada.  Ephraim apparently sees that he cannot reasonably expect to do his job well and help Bob with his at the same time, but that Bob has a number of qualified people already in place.  I think God has who He wants where He wants them, and would like us to be on our knees to pray assistance for those He has chosen.  This is a difficult and trying time for the Body.  The Lord is at hand!

[72] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-01-2007 at 11:32 PM • top

Whether this would qualify as a “palate cleanser” or maybe just a fun reminder, Sanctifusion

[73] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-01-2007 at 11:39 PM • top

I dunno, Robert… Marty Balin is so stoned in that video… probably better to leave this in the “fun reminder” category…

wink

[74] Posted by Greg Griffith on 08-01-2007 at 11:46 PM • top

Nevin wrote:

Are people (for example farstrider) not paying attention?  Has Radner confused them into thinking ACN is officially out of TEC?  Did no one notice that those members of ACN that are part of TEC haven’t left?

Read my original post a bit more carefully—I was fairly clear in what I said and I said nothing about the ACN being in or out of TEC.

My concern was entirely focused on the ALLEGED (which I also went out of my way to specify) statements regarding Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference being “lost”. It might behoove some of the orthodox in America to remember that there are other struggling orthodox in other Provinces and that an American solution does not solve the problems of other struggling provinces. If that is the attitude of many here, there is little to distinguish your attitude from that of the liberal overlords of TEC who are equally to do it their own (American) way… with key international partners, of course.

IF Radner’s descriptions are accurate… that’s how it looks to the rest of us. It could look like some of the orthodox are setting up their own denomination. Rather than lambasting those who point that out, perhaps you could step back for a moment and consider if there are valid reasons why some (orthodox believers, as well as everyone else) might wonder if that is what is happening.

I don’t care about TEC as an institution any more than I care about any particular “national” body. My fondest hope was that they would walk away from the Communion and that an overwhelming orthodox majority would ratify that decision at Lambeth. But it seems like there might not be an orthodox majority. The “lostness” of the instruments could very well be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It may be hard being where we are, but it is not the right time to declare Canterbury or the Instruments of Communion “lost”. There is still hope if we hold one another’s arms up instead of giving up and walking away (and for what its worth I am in the Diocese of New Westminster, in case anyone thinks I don’t understand what it’s like being where you are).

But maybe Bishop Duncan didn’t mean all of that. A lot of us would appreciate a clear response, though… which is how I ended my first post.

[75] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 08-01-2007 at 11:53 PM • top

Yeah, Greg, but that was the best one I could find of that song.  I finally figured Slick’s condition just might be taken as underscoring the desperation of the need in question.  “Morning maniacs?”  Hmm…

[76] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-02-2007 at 12:14 AM • top

From T-1:9:

Ephraim Radner wrote:

Many of the postings here are quite angry at me, and I hope I will be forgiven for not having read every one of them.  I suppose I can understand some of the negative feelings directed towards me.  I have no desire, however, and despite my weakness in wanting to avoid this conflict, to slink away silently.  One should be willing to face criticism, and there is that aplenty.  So let me say a couple of things in response to some of the concerns raised here.

One view is that I have somehow “betrayed” the cause of orthodoxy within Anglicanism.  Obviously, I do not think so, and although there are more liberal bloggers who see all this as a matter of “Radner finally seeing some sense”, that is not the right take on this whole affair at all.  I am as adamant as anyone here that TEC has lost its way, perhaps irreparably in its present configuration, and in so doing has and continues (in its “official” Convention structures of Executive Council especially, and 815 bureaucracy) to subvert the Gospel witness we are bound to “propagate”.  And I believe this must be opposed and without dilution of effort and heart.

But my resignation from the ACN itself was a necessary move to make.  It simply made no sense – logically, theologically, and morally— for a member of the Covenant Design Group like myself to remain a member of an organization that has, through its chief leader and spokesperson, repudiated the very basis for the work I accepted and accepted willingly and under the Lord.  I vowed at my ordination before God to “take my share in the councils of the Church”, and the Covenant process is at the center of these councils within Anglicanism and its Communion at present.  There was no question in my mind, when faced with this choice, about which direction I am bound to go. I need to say very clearly, however, that it is not a choice I wanted to make, nor a choice that I wish had been forced upon me.  Yet, for all that, I did not seek it out or invent it.  Someone else did.

But the vow is not empty or merely “formal” here, nor merely personal and private.  I also believe – and I have argued this, I hope consistently for some time —that these councils, agreed-upon and worked out and followed through (however slowly), are the only means by which both to further the Gospel’s preaching and witness and (as an essential part of that Gospel) by which to act as a measure of unity in the Lord’s truth.  To say that this is all “over” and “lost” and that it is time to invent some new and better means to pursue this – in the midst of a broken church no less!, as if we have nothing to learn from the past as to what the dangers and failures are of this kind of desperate giving up on the mechanisms of our common life! – to say this is, as I said, not only a mark of uncalled-for desperation, but an arrow into the heart of the calling God has in fact given us.  Time has not “run out”, faith has not simply vanished from among us and those who labor for the Communion’s faith and witness, and the councils of the church, however unsanctified by our long-standing divisions and disdain of our gifts from the Scriptures, from the saints, from the past and from our separated brethren, are still the vessels God has given us for our repentance and renewal through His Spirit given where we find ourselves.  It is possible to feel, privately, that this is not the case; but we are not free, as servants of the Church of Christ, to pronounce upon the Church’s own viability in her structures of authority.  Even David respected Saul, and was commended for it.

This leads to the question of the method and tone of my resignation announcement.  Who am I to judge Bp. Duncan’s declarations?  And with such dark evaluations?  And at a time when conservatives are both desperately trying to hold together and to mount a coherent and unified alternative to the drift and actual deliberate shift towards a subverted Gospel?  Whom am I indeed – not much of anyone.  I can only speak in such a context with trepidation and with trembling, and so I have; and with a good deal of personal second-guessing.  But in the end, there are several reasons for the when and how in this – about all of which, of course, I could be wrong.  Among them are the following:

I must be as honest in my disagreements with colleagues, even friends, as with opponents, and even hostile ones; anything else shifts into hypocrisy.  I have come to the conclusion that unity among conservatives has not in fact been a goal for many, and that to pretend otherwise is confusing matters gravely; it should be, of course, but until there is greater honesty, it will not be. The unity of the Communion is under such serious threat, and is of such a value, that allowing words, actions, and strategies that are undermining our future go unquestioned, immediately and forcefully, is a dereliction of Christian responsibility.  We are becoming the mirror images of our opponents on the Left, in too many and too destructive ways; we are not offering a true alternative in spirit and in Christ.  There are many, many people, both inside and outside TEC/Anglicanism, who are yearning for a future that is not simply one of Christian warfare, and we dare not disappoint them.  The “mission of the Trinity”, that the Primates said in Dromantine was being “obscured” in this struggle, is being obscured for more than a few, and the march to unilateral separation is proving a costly and sorrowful scandal to the Gospel’s spread and the good Name of our Lord Jesus.  I cannot stand by, out of courtesy, and watch our common work and life – among faithful Christian, no less!— hurtle over the cliff.  There are better ways forward (e.g. the reconvening of a General Convention faithful to its Constitution, by willing bishops and their diocesan deputies, seeking the recognition of the Communion).

These are some of my reasons for being so forthright.  There are others. Are they enough, adequate, legitimate?  I am hardly certain; but they are the best I have to go on, and they are consistent, I believe, with both the “way” of Jesus in His Church, not only explicated in the Scriptures but in the Church’s history at its best. And I have only words – as many have pointed out before, nothing but words, no actions! – and so am but a weak instrument in this time and struggle. What is there to fear from even my potentially ill-directed remarks?  I will bear their burden, but I carry no votes and wield no authority.  Further, I bear no ill-will towards Bp. Duncan. Just the opposite:  he is a man whose Christian faith I salute and yield to.  I have said, and will continue to say, that he has offered more courage than many a bishop stacked one upon another.  It is, however, the wisdom of this new direction he has formally announced that I question, and question resolutely.  And even more than that, it is the angry refusal to allow such questioning by so many that I believe has weakened the substance of our Christian witness.

[77] Posted by Robert Easter on 08-02-2007 at 12:33 AM • top

Dr. Radner,

I wholly disagree with just about every point you make above. In fact I think the ACI has been more detrimental to orthodox unity than any other conservative organisation in the desire among members to offer interventions and our Common Cause partners as a sacrifice to maintain unity with Canterbury.  So I agree with this statement:

” I have come to the conclusion that unity among conservatives has not in fact been a goal for many, and that to pretend otherwise is confusing matters gravely”

but would offer that the ACI is among those who bear primary responsibility for this.

But, really this is beside the point. I do not share the view of those who believe your resignation out of place. It was a good and honorable thing to do. And, while I do not agree with your reasons, I certainly think you are right to act consistently with your goals and beliefs and state them.

I think what befuddled most commenters was not your public resignation but as, as you say, the way or manner in which you resigned. I notice that you mentioned your tone in your second note, but defended it?

Your second letter, above, is actually a wonderful example of the sort of tack you could have taken in your first.

In any case, Godspeed in your endeavors.

[78] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-02-2007 at 04:40 AM • top

In my 49 years of being an Episcopal layperson, I have observed a lot of this claptrap.  Part of it is why I am Episcopalian no longer.  In the US, our theologians have the ivory tower luxury of going into long dissertations of why they believe this and that, and why that is slightly different than this or that, and how that is profound, and should be thought to be so.  I do not know this Dr. Radner.  Many of you “in the know” seem to respect him.  But to me he seems to be a guy who ducks out when the water doesn’t quite agree with him.

Actions like this are of no use to those of us who must make our living and defend our faith in the marketplace, not from the comfortable confines of a church or university job.  Perhaps Dr. Radner’s position on things would be made much more succinct if he had to sell a little insurance on the side.  I don’t know.  He sure seems awful concerned that everybody really understand what he said.  Again.

[79] Posted by Tom Dupree, Jr. on 08-02-2007 at 05:28 AM • top

  I cannot stand by, out of courtesy, and watch our common work and life – among faithful Christian, no less!— hurtle over the cliff.  There are better ways forward (e.g. the reconvening of a General Convention faithful to its Constitution, by willing bishops and their diocesan deputies, seeking the recognition of the Communion). 

Unless I do not understand this statement of Dr. Radner’s, I am stunned by what seems the most naive thinking I’ve heard in a long time.  Is this “better way forward” to happen at GC 2009 or GC 2021 or when pigs fly?

[80] Posted by hanks on 08-02-2007 at 06:01 AM • top

Matt,
I cannot entirely agree with your statement on the ACI.  I think that the effort for a Common Cause and joining with others and remaining in communion with those who may differ on adiaphora but who share the same faith is partly if not largely due to the teachings of the ACI.  This is a good thing and I think we need to give credit where it is due.  We do not need to be running astray “each to our own way”.  I do agree however, that Dr. Radner and the ACI have played this one track mindset to the exclusion of everything else and this is where they are wrong.  In all things, moderation.  Truth is a balance.  We must have both justice and mercy; we must have both the pure gospel and have communion.  Some Christians I know left ECUSA ages ago for other denominations because they only wanted “their” faith and so abandoned communion, on the other end of the spectrum there are those who seemingly sacrifice the gospel for the sake of unity.  In my mind, the Common Cause is the middle way of forming communion with those who share the faith while leaving those who do not share the faith to their own way.  I agree however that it is time for Dr. Radner to “go”.  The ACI teachings have been important and remain so, but yes it is also clear that they have beat this one drum for far too long.  It is time to balance the drumbeat of “unity” with the gospel imperative to be “holy”.  This even becomes more clear as Dr. Radner now clarifies that he wants TEC to have a General Convention.  Dr. Radner must go his own way now.  Ironic, but I agree, it is needed for the time being.

[81] Posted by Spencer on 08-02-2007 at 07:08 AM • top

In response to TU&D;‘s question:
“Out of curiosity, is the distinction between CommCon and FedCon more helpful or more unhelpful to the discussion?”

Terry Wong from Singapore, one of the Global South leaders, has a very interesting comment on that over at T19
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/4770/#88567

[82] Posted by The_Elves on 08-02-2007 at 07:18 AM • top

Terry Wong is speaking with knowledge, from a unique perspective [I think he is secretary to the GS but not writing in that capacity] and he always speaks good sense.  Well worth reading his comment [linked above] in among all the thrashing around which is beeing greeted with glee elsewhere.

[83] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 08-02-2007 at 07:47 AM • top

A lot of these issues are over my head. But as a Bible-believing Christian, I simply don’t understand how ANY covenant could be made without compromising Biblical authority. It may not be a salvation issue, but in 1 Corinthians (6 I think), mention is made of those who will enter heaven only as those who are “escaping.”

Do you really want ANY covenant with someone who proudly declares the virgin birth is a “myth”??

Gene Robinson and I have some of the same friends, believe it or not. It is still beyond my comprehension that that could be! But I will not make a “covenant” with them as long as they keep telling me VGR’s actions are “not a sin.”

With no evangelical Anglican group near me, I attend a non-denominational church. And as I’ve shared often, the longer I go there, the more I see that I need to do what Christ called me to do (including posting on blogs!) and not worry about whether I’m “fully Anglican” or not!

[84] Posted by NancyNH on 08-02-2007 at 08:56 AM • top

An old gunny told me once “The only way to keep some troops from running is to be sure they know they are surrounded.”  Another “The sound of a bullet hitting meat in the next hole cranks up the bull s——rs quick.”
When things are getting real, the runners and the bs’rs purty quick get seperated from the rest. That’s what this all about. Some folks don’t know they are surrounded and take off just to be picked off later. Others see the effect of enemy fire and start whining. The rest just dig another foot deeper, clean their weapon’s gas ports, and wait….....At least they haven’t given aid and comfort to the bad guys.

(See Algore, Swift Boater, advancing to the rear while planning his speech to Congress for further examples of this behaviour.)

[85] Posted by teddy mak on 08-02-2007 at 08:56 AM • top

Mark McCall:  Your welcome.  The BBQ was very good.  Sorry you missed it.

I did read katie’s glowing review which is linked way above.  Just the same condescending tone we’ve heard from TEC leadership for 30 years.  In the comments she is lauded as a true hero for having to attend a meeting with so many white males.  In my observations, she was treated with nothing but respect and charity.  What a sacrfice she had to make.

R+

[86] Posted by rreed on 08-02-2007 at 09:35 AM • top

(1)  Spencer writes:  “It is coming clear to me that there are only Christians and pagans.  ComCons and FedCons remain together.  We are one!  I believe in my heart that Dr. Radner will see this truth very soon.”

(2)  The Elves write:  “Terry Wong from Singapore, one of the Global South leaders, has a very interesting comment on that over at T19…”

I agree that the term CommCon and FedCon has a rather limited usefulness.  I think it could be easily argued that Rev. Duncan is a CommCon and Rev. Radner is a FedCon!  It’s an artificial divide.  I think the ends are the same; it’s just that there are differences on the recognition of event triggers, the strategy, the timing, and the execution of making course corrections for the Anglican Titanic.

[87] Posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on 08-02-2007 at 01:51 PM • top

Before the damage to yourselves gets worse, at least investigate the Church with the direct linkage to the first Pentecost—no Great Schism, no Reformation, no Counter-Reformation, no new and novel doctrines and dogmas, just the Faith once delivered to the Saints—the Orthodox Church.  Choose Eastern or Western rites.  Choose OCA, Greek, Antiochian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Russian, or some other jurisdiction—just go and see.  My only regret about leaving the Episcopal Church and becoming Orthodox is that I delayed doing it for twenty years; don’t waste the time you have in this life.  You don’t have to believe me, it is better that you don’t, just go and see for yourselves. 

You will never regret it.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

[88] Posted by Basil1951 on 08-02-2007 at 03:09 PM • top

Basil1951,

your comment is not only off topic, but it is expressly against our comment policy. You are welcome to comment on the posted article or respond to other commenters. The topic of this thread does not provide a rationale to proselytize for Orthodoxy. This is your one and only warning.

[89] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 08-02-2007 at 03:12 PM • top

In a nutshell, Dr Radner’s position seems to be that it is more faithful to the way of Christ to stay within a body and reform it from the inside, than to form a new, separate body. Thus far, in my view, Dr Radner has witnessed truly to the mind of Christ.

However, Dr Radner goes on to allege that this is the Anglican way, and that to form offshoots is contrary to the spirit of Anglicanism:

He may call it “Anglican” if he wishes, though I do not recognize the name in these kinds of actions that break communion rather than build it up.

But is this not the very native character and spirit of Anglicanism? Had the founders of the CofE thought like Dr Radner, the CofE would still be in communion with Rome. And it is to Rome, if only he can remain faithful to it, that the logic of Dr Radner’s insight is calling him.

[90] Posted by Unsubscribe on 08-03-2007 at 12:20 PM • top

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